Walt Mossberg

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How to Split Up MP3 Files

There’s no other major item most of us own that is as confusing, unpredictable and unreliable as our personal computers. Everybody has questions about them, and we aim to help.

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 breaking MP3s into separate tracks, wireless mice and transferring emails to Microsoft’s Entourage from a PC.

I’m downloading some lectures in MP3 format and then transferring each to an audio CD to listen to while driving. An occasional lecture in the series is too large to transfer to CD. Is there a program that will divide these into two tracks so that they can be written to separate CDs?

Yes, there are multiple little utility programs that can split (or join) MP3 files. I haven’t tested any of them, so I can’t recommend one. But you can find them by going to www.download.com and typing in “mp3 splitter.”

I am in the market for a wireless mouse for my Dell notebook. Do they perform well? Do you recommend a particular one?

Cordless mice do perform well, in my experience, and are now quite common. The only downside is that you have to replace their batteries occasionally, or remember to place them in a charger, if they use one. For laptops, especially on the road, Logitech and Microsoft make cordless mice, which are smaller than typical desktop models. But you should go to a store and actually try some out, to see which size and feel you prefer.

How can I transfer my Microsoft Outlook contacts and email from my Dell into Microsoft’s Entourage program on my new MacBook Pro? Entourage, which is supposed to be Outlook’s equivalent for the Mac, doesn’t seem to recognize my Outlook files. Shouldn’t a Microsoft email program recognize files from another Microsoft email program?

Yes, it absolutely should. It amazes me that Microsoft Office for the Mac includes compatible versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but not Outlook. And it is truly annoying that Microsoft’s Outlook substitute for the Mac, Entourage, has no built-in way to recognize or automatically convert Outlook files from Windows.

Luckily, there’s a $10 third-party program that can do the conversion. It’s called O2M, from a company called Little Machines, and can be found at www.littlemachines.com. It turns your Outlook data into files that can be imported into Entourage, or into the Mac’s built-in email, address book, and calendar programs.

* * *

Because of the volume of email I receive, I can’t routinely answer individual questions by email, 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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