Walt Mossberg

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Mossberg’s Mailbox

Shedding Light on E-Reader Glare

Q:

Can you help my light-sensitive eyes with e-reader advice? I thought Kindle sounded right for me, but I heard there might be an upgrade in the near future. True? Will it be an improvement I should wait for?

A:

Though Amazon hasn’t made a formal announcement, I expect there will be new e-readers from that company in the coming months. I don’t have details, so I can’t say if any new models will be worth the wait. But it’s probable that Amazon will continue to improve on its line of gray-scale, E Ink readers while possibly adding a full-color tablet. If glare is a problem for you, I’d plan on going with an E Ink model, such as the current Kindle or the latest Nook from Barnes & Noble. Full-color tablets like the iPad tend to suffer from glare, especially in direct sunlight.

Q:

I have a child who would like to go to college to become an engineer. Most engineers I know use a PC. I would like to buy my son a Mac for college, but I don’t want to get him something he can’t use.

A:

I know engineers who use Macs and others who use Windows PCs. However, my advice is to get your son whatever type of computer the college engineering department where he winds up suggests would be best. Your near-term goal isn’t to validate either your choice, or that of the engineers you or I know. It’s to get him the tool that is expected or preferred by the people who will be training him. If you want to buy him the computer before you know which school he’ll be attending, you may have to gamble, or research what likely colleges prefer.

Q:

I just started using OneNote on my Windows Notebook and love it. I am thinking of moving to a MacBook Air or Samsung Series 9. Both machines offer the balance of light weight and good performance I’m looking for. I was leaning toward the MacBook Air, until I learned that Office for the Mac does not include OneNote. I’ve read mixed reviews from MacBook Air users who run Windows and the Windows Office Suite. Do you have any experience in this area?

A:

I occasionally run Windows 7 and the Windows version of Microsoft Office on a MacBook Air and find it works just fine. However, I haven’t used OneNote in that scenario, so I can’t say if it works as smoothly as the rest of Office. The Air is a terrific computer, but, as I have said for years, if you are heavily reliant on Windows software, it’s best to buy a Windows PC—in your case, the Samsung—even though Macs can run Windows.

Email Walt at mossberg@wsj.com.


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