Walt Mossberg

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Monitoring Kids’ Web Access

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

I couldn’t find any columns on products you recommend for monitoring kids’ Web access and installing parental controls. I recently purchased a new computer for my 9-year-old daughter. I want to make sure she can only access specific Web sites and I want to protect her from inappropriate spam and chatting.

If you have a computer running one of the newer versions of Windows or the Macintosh operating system, I recommend using the extensive parental controls that are now built right into those operating systems. While you can never underestimate the ingenuity of computer-savvy kids, these built-in controls, if properly used, are generally harder to evade than the ones provided by third-party software.

I did recently review these built-in parental controls, which appear in Windows Vista, and in the Tiger and Leopard editions of the Mac’s OS X operating system. You can find that column at: ptech.allthingsd.com/20070614.

I want to switch to a Mac, but my life is on Microsoft Outlook, which is only available on Windows. Is there a simple way to convert all of this data to programs on the Mac?

There is a $10 program that performs this task. It’s called O2M (Outlook to Mac) and is from a company called Little Machines. It can be downloaded at littlemachines.com, where you also will find details about the Mac programs with which it works. This is a Windows program, which transfers your Outlook data into files you copy to your Mac. You then manually import these files into your Mac programs.

According to the company, the program exports Outlook email, email attachments, contacts and calendar appointments and allows you to import this data into Apple’s built-in email, address book and calendar programs, as well as into Microsoft Entourage, and other third-party programs.

Another approach is to install Windows on your Mac, and keep running Outlook. If you do this using the Parallels or Fusion virtualization programs ($80 each, plus the cost of Windows,) you can run Outlook simultaneously with your Mac programs.

Does the new version of Microsoft Office for the Mac work on pre-Intel Mac models?

Microsoft says it does, though I didn’t test it on one of these older machines. According to Microsoft, the new Office 2008 runs on any Mac “with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (500 MHz or faster) processor.” However, you also need a relatively recent version of the Mac operating system, either the new Leopard edition, or the latest update (called 10.4.9) of the Tiger edition.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online for free at the new All Things Digital Web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.

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