Walt Mossberg

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Downloading Video Files

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.

Is it possible to download a YouTube or similar file to my computer?

Yes. One program that does this is TubeSock. It works on Mac and Windows, and creates a file you can keep for offline viewing on your computer. It creates the necessary formats for use on your iPhone or iPod, your Sony PSP or Palm Treo. The program works not only with videos on YouTube, but with those on some other sites. It’s available at stinkbot.com/Tubesock/, for $15. But while the makers of TubeSock believe their product is legal, as long as videos aren’t used for commercial distribution, Google (which owns YouTube) may not agree. A quick scan of YouTube’s terms of service reveals that the company sees most of its videos as intended solely for online streaming.

I have this thumb drive which I used to copy of the info from my old computer. I want to transfer all these files to my new computer. I want to transfer my 2007 Microsoft Outlook contacts and emails, and the My Documents folder. When I insert the drive into my new computer everything pops up, but how do I get it to transfer to the hard disk?

Your computer sees the portable drive just as it would an internal drive or folder, so you would just drag the folder or file icons from the portable drive into the folders of your choice on the hard disk. It’s just like copying folders and files from different places on your internal hard disk. Then, you can remove the portable drive, and the files and folders will be on your new computer. For the Outlook files, there’s one extra step, if you want them to actually appear in Outlook. You will have to use Outlook’s import function, found on the File menu, to incorporate them into Outlook’s own Mail and Contacts section.

Does the My Book World Edition networked hard disk you reviewed last week work with Apple’s built-in Time Machine backup software?

No. Western Digital, which makes the My Book, said it doesn’t, and, in my tests, Time Machine didn’t recognize the My Book as a possible backup drive. That’s one reason the company supplies its own backup software for the Mac, as well as for Windows. It’s likely that there is, or will be, some technical workaround, but, out of the box, this drive doesn’t work with Time Machine.

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