Walt Mossberg

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Reading Periodicals on Kindle 2

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.

In your review of Amazon’s Kindle 2 e-book reader, you didn’t say much about its ability to display newspapers, magazines and blogs. How does it do with this type of content?

The new model’s handling of periodicals and blogs is quite similar to that of the old model’s, which is why I didn’t dwell on it. This wasn’t an area where Amazon changed much.

While I know some Kindle owners happily rely on the device for newspaper reading, in my opinion, the Kindle doesn’t do as well with periodicals and blogs as devices like laptops and the best smart phones. Its ability to render the content optimally is limited by its low-power monochrome screen, and its navigation system is fairly primitive compared to that on a laptop or a good smart phone. Kindle’s features were built mainly for books, which, unlike periodicals, don’t contain links and prompt little navigation in most pages.

Whenever I watch an Internet movie, the monitor on my desktop Vista PC shuts off every 10 minutes unless I touch the keyboard. How can I solve this problem?

Unless your monitor has its own feature that turns itself off after some time period, this is usually easily controllable from within Vista. You simply need to go into the Control Panel, find the power settings, and set the option for automatically turning off the display to “never,” or to some very long interval. Remember to re-enable the screen dimming feature after you’re done with the movie, so you don’t waste energy. If this doesn’t work, check to see if the manufacturer has installed its own software for controlling power settings. If so, you may have to change the settings there.

I am retired and would like to buy a small, wireless computer for travel that would have email and Internet software and very few other applications. The keyboard would be bigger than a Blackberry’s and smaller than a laptop’s. Can you recommend something?

I would look for a so-called “netbook.” These are little laptops, with screens generally 10 inches or smaller, that usually weigh almost nothing and sell for under $500. They typically come with relatively slow processors and relatively limited storage, but every one that I’ve seen is wireless and does a decent job with email and the Internet. There are many models, from companies like Acer, Asus, Hewlett Packard, Lenovo and Dell.

  • 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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