Walt Mossberg

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iPad 2, Syncing Files and HDMI

Q:

I am going to buy an iPad 2 on Friday. Should I buy a Verizon or AT&T model? I have an AT&T iPhone and a Verizon MiFi device and I live in Washington, D.C.—but travel in the Northeast corridor and in rural Pennsylvania a lot.

A:

First, I should point out that with your Verizon MiFi, you could produce a Wi-Fi signal that would get you online even with a Wi-Fi-only iPad. So you don’t need to necessarily buy a model with either flavor of built-in cellular data. That assumes you get decent Verizon data speeds via the MiFi in the places you travel. If you want a cellular-equipped iPad 2, choose the carrier whose data service you have found to be the most reliable and the fastest where you live and travel.

Q:

Now that the file syncing service of Windows Live is going dark, and Windows Mesh is unavailable to us Windows XP users, what service do you recommend for syncing files among multiple computers?

A:

There are a number of contenders, but the one I use and find generally reliable is SugarSync, which does work on XP and other versions of Windows, as well as on Macs, and has apps for various mobile platforms. There are other well-known syncing services that work with XP, like Dropbox, that you might want to consider.

Both SugarSync and Dropbox not only store files online, but replicate them among PCs and Macs that have these services installed.

The main difference is, with Dropbox, you must store synced files in a special folder, while SugarSync syncs multiple existing folders on computers.

Q:

I have seen switcher boxes that allow you to have multiple HDMI cables going to/from one HDMI port. Do these work? Is there a loss of quality?

A:

These boxes are handy because HDMI is now the standard input for high-definition video and audio. And many users have more devices they’d like to connect via HDMI than they have ports on their TVs. I have used two brands of these boxes in my home, one that supported three cables going into one port on the TV, and another that supported four. In my experience, both have worked fine, with no loss of quality.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns at the new All Things Digital website, http://walt.allthingsd.com. Email mossberg@wsj.com.


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