Walt Mossberg

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Mossberg’s Mailbox

Staying Connected While Traveling

Q:

We’re a retired couple who travel in and out of the U.S.A. and need to keep in touch with our e-mails and Schwab account on line. Please recommend a netbook or laptop for this that we can use all over the world. We’d prefer to spend under $500.

A:

Since Wi-Fi works all over the world, and all netbooks and laptops today that I’ve seen have Wi-Fi, and your needs are modest, any sub-$500 laptop or any netbook would do. If you want to connect when you’re not near a Wi-Fi hotspot, look for one with a built-in data modem that supports the GSM standard which works world-wide and with AT&T (T) and T-Mobile in the United States. Make sure it covers all the various frequencies used overseas, not just those used in the U.S. Or, you could simply buy an external USB cellular data card that meets these criteria.

Q:

I just got my iPad and am wondering whether the more powerful iPad charger will work with my iPhone 3GS without damaging it, or whether the smaller charger that came with my iPhone will charge my iPad.

A:

According to Apple, the smaller iPhone charger will work with the iPad, although charging will be slower. I have tried this, and it works. As for the reverse case, Apple says you can also use the larger iPad charger with the iPhone, without harm, though it won’t charge the phone any faster.

I have tried this, and it works. As for the reverse case, I have charged my own iPhone using the more powerful iPad charger with no apparent problems, but I don’t know if Apple officially approves of this.

Q:

I have a new Dell Inspiron with Windows 7. My photos are all over the place—I still haven’t figured out this file and library thing. Can you recommend a program to find, organize and eliminate duplicate photos. Some have been renamed and are in various folders.

A:

I’d suggest you download the free Picasa desktop program for Windows, made by Google It will scour your computer for photos, allow you to organize them, and it includes an “experimental” features that hunts down duplicates so you can eliminate them.

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

Write to Walter S. Mossberg at walt.mossberg@wsj.com


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