Walt Mossberg

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Kindle Fire, USB on the iPad, and Disk Defragmentation

Q:

When the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is used to read an ordinary eBook, does the book page look like the new Kindle Paperwhite, or ordinary Kindle gray?

A:

Neither. Standard Kindle e-readers, even the improved new ones, use a technology called E Ink, that’s entirely different from the screen technology on the Kindle Fire series. The latter is an LCD screen, similar to what’s on an iPad or a laptop. I found reading a book on the Fire HD to be a good experience, but it’s different from that on a standard Kindle. For instance, like other LCD screens, the one on the Fire has much more glare than an E Ink screen, especially outdoors, even though Amazon claims the new HD has 25 percent less glare than its predecessor.

Q:

Does the iPad have a USB port? Can you attach a memory card reader to the iPad?

A:

It has neither a built-in USB port nor a built-in memory card reader. But Apple sells a $29 accessory called the Camera Connection Kit that includes two adapters, one with a memory card reader and one with a USB port for connecting a camera via a cable. The catch is that these adapters only work with photos, not other types of files.

Q:

Is it possible to run disk defragmentation in Mac OSX (Mountain Lion) and if so, what is the best way to go about doing this?

A:

Apple says its operating system does disk defragmentation—tidying up the arrangement of files for faster access—automatically, so doing so manually is unnecessary. I haven’t done it on my Macs for years. Still, some experts say it’s useful to do so, especially if your hard disk is almost full, or you’re noticing significant slowdowns. There are third-party defragmentation apps for the Mac. One, called iDefrag, can be found at http://bit.ly/M1ODBw. I haven’t tested it, so I don’t know how well it works.

Email Walt at mossberg@wsj.com.


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