Monday, September 1, 2003

Plug in to the Computing Unplugged mailbag


In this edition of letters to the editor, readers offer comments and questions on a variety of topics, including Palm m130 frustration, Xbox and access to online gaming, Linux advice, the FatFinger review, and when Computing Unplugged will be available on AvantGo.

Birthday bust

My son gave me a nice Palm m130 for a birthday gift. I brought the first one back because I had to press most buttons (tap on screen) over and over to get them to function. The second unit is not much better.

What a waste of money. I have heard wonderful things about Palm handhelds, but mine has been sitting here for months just collecting dust! It is so frustrating I have to put it away.

Is this a poor performing unit, this m130? What can I do?

Mike Bouyea

Editor-in-Chief David Gewirtz responds

Folks generally like their Palm handhelds. There's no question that the Palm m130 is a lower cost unit (which means, most probably, less robust). But most folks are quite happy with them. If you're having problems (especially during the warranty period), don't hesitate to contact Palm's support organization. I'm sure they'll want to help you out.

Another option (more of a long shot) is to do what's called a "hard reset" on the device. Make sure you backup your data first. Sometimes, these things get stuck in a weird state and a complete, fresh restart helps. Beyond that, Palm's folks are the experts.

Dead channels

Last year I was a regular reader of your magazine via the AvantGo channel. The news articles kept me up to date with the goings on in the palm world during my trip to work. Some time late last year you were having some technical problems and I have never received an update since March 2003.

Today I thought I would see what was going on via your Web site and noticed you are now rebranded Computing Unplugged, but I am unable to find an AvantGo channel as such. Do you have any plans to make a new channel or should I try to create my own?

Kind regards,
Chris Smith

Editor-in-Chief David Gewirtz responds

Uh, we broke them. Messily. We're trying to figure out what went wrong, but at one time, we were apparently feeding some stranger's entire site through our AvantGo feed. Probably not a good idea to do programming after consuming a big pile of chocolate!

In all seriousness, yes, it's a priority to get the AvantGo channels back online. They'll likely be at or, but we're not sure when. As for whether you subscribe by creating your own channel or through AvantGo, we're not sure which it'll be. We've been understandably a bit reticent about asking them to feed Computing Unplugged until we can get it working right.

Take care and thanks for reading!