Walt Mossberg

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Mossberg’s Mailbox

One More Browser with Tabs

Here are a few questions about computers I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability. This week my mailbox contained questions about the Opera Web browser, emailing digital pictures, software for IBM and Apple laptops and the Journal’s RSS feeds.

If you have a question, send it to me at mossberg@wsj.com, and I may select it to be answered here in Mossberg’s Mailbox.

In last week’s column, you covered Web browsers that featured tabbed browsing and the ability to read syndicated news feeds. But you omitted the Opera browser, which has had these features for awhile. Why did you leave out Opera? Do you hate it?

Not at all. It was mainly a space issue — I didn’t have room in the column to delve into every browser. Opera, which runs on Windows, Macintosh and Linux, is a very good, speedy, full-featured Web browser that pioneered many of the key features of newer browsers like Firefox and Safari.

In the past, I have felt that Opera suffered from an overly complicated user interface, and that it was aimed more at techies and tinkerers than at the mainstream, nontechie users who are my main audience. But the latest version, Opera 8 — available for Windows and Linux and coming soon for the Mac — has a much cleaner look and feel and hides most of the options that might overwhelm average users. The new version also features a security-notification system that helps users judge whether a financial site is genuine or a possible scam; and an impressive ability to resize Web pages to fit screens of almost any size without scrambling the page layout.

In my limited tests, Opera 8 looks very good. The only downside of Opera is that, unlike Firefox, it isn’t exactly free. There is a no-charge version, but it displays ads in its toolbar. To get a version without ads, you have to pay $39.

I have pictures taken with a three- and four-megapixel camera. How do I easily email them without having to reduce the size of each picture?

In Windows XP, just go to the folder where the picture files are stored and select the ones you want to email. Then, either click on “E-mail the selected items” from the command list on the left of the window, or the “Send To” command on the File menu at the top of the window, or on the menu that pops up when you right-click on the file icons. You will be given a choice of making the pictures smaller, or emailing them at their original size.

On the Macintosh, the easiest way to do this is in the iPhoto program, which comes with every Mac. You just select the pictures you want to email, click the Email icon, and the program will give you a choice of sending the picture at its original size, or at a variety of smaller sizes.

I am trying to decide between purchasing an IBM ThinkPad and an Apple PowerBook. In order to do a realistic price comparison, I am wondering if there is a suite of music, photo and video editing software, on par with Apple’s iLife suite, that you would recommend for the ThinkPad.

I don’t know of a multimedia suite for Windows (handling photos, music, videos and DVD authoring) that is anywhere near as well integrated and easy to use as the iLife suite that Apple includes with all new Macs. There are individual programs, some of them free, that do parts of the job, such as Picasa or Adobe Photoshop Album for photos. But, in a complete suite, the closest candidate on Windows is probably Roxio Easy Media Creator, which sells for about $85.

Why isn’t there an “RSS” news feed that would allow users to read summaries of your columns in news reader software?

There is such a feed of my three weekly columns, as well as feeds for other articles from The Wall Street Journal. All use the RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, system and can be viewed from most news-reader programs and Web browsers that support the RSS standard.

In addition to the feed for my columns, there are feeds available for Journal news and business headlines, the paper’s editorials and its technology stories. These feeds of headlines and story summaries are available free to anyone, but the actual stories behind them are viewable only by readers who have a paid subscription. There is one exception: a news feed for a selection of free stories made available each day.

To get the Journal’s RSS feeds, go to wsj.com, and click on the entry called “RSS Feeds” toward the bottom of the menu at the left of the home page. Or, to get the feed for my column, just paste the following address into a news reader or RSS-capable Web browser: online.wsj.com/xml/rss/0,, 3_7071,00.xml. To get the feed for each day’s free stories, paste in this address: online.wsj.com/xml/rss/0,,3_7077,00.xml.

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Because of the volume of e-mail I receive, I can’t routinely answer individual questions by e-mail, or consult on individual problems or purchasing decisions. I read all questions I receive and select three each week to answer in the column.

Write to Walter S. Mossberg at mossberg@wsj.com


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