Walt Mossberg

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Fixing a Frozen MacBook Air

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 am considering the purchase of the MacBook Air (AAPL). If this computer freezes up, as my current Dell Inspiron does on occasion, how would I correct for that? I usually remove and then replace the battery on the Dell (DELL). But what would I do if this happens with the Air, since it has no removable battery?

You can force a frozen MacBook Air — or any current Mac laptop — to shut down and restart without removing its battery. You just hold down the power button for a few seconds until the machine shuts off, then wait a few seconds, then turn it on again.

I am a Verizon (VZ) customer and have a Palm (PALM) Treo 700W for personal use. I would like to replace the Treo but, in light of Verizon’s announced “open network” policy, I am wondering if this is the right time.

It’s far too early to know what new phones will be available under the new Verizon program, since that depends on which phone makers decide to make devices to run on the “open” network, and what kinds of devices they might produce. There is the potential for phones that are more creative or interesting than what is available today, but it’s only a potential. Verizon has just laid out the first details of the plan, and no product announcements are likely for quite a while. If your Treo needs replacing soon, and you want to remain a Verizon customer, you will have to choose from the company’s current smart-phone offerings.

Are there any cellphones that allow for two separate phone numbers? Right now I carry two devices, both with the same carrier.

At least in the U.S., each cellphone, or each SIM card that goes in a phone, is normally tied to a single number. To use two numbers on a single phone, you could purchase an unlocked phone running on a GSM network and then purchase two SIM cards, each with a separate number, and swap them in and out. But that would be an inconvenient process, since inserting and removing SIM cards typically requires opening the phone and even removing the battery.

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

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