A reader writes: "I have a Hewlett-Packard iPaq 1945 Pocket PC, with Windows, Word and Excel. I like the capabilities and would love to use it to its full..."

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Q:

I have a Hewlett-Packard iPaq 1945 Pocket PC, with Windows, Word and Excel. I like the capabilities and would love to use it to its full potential. When I purchased the unit, I was told that with a separate card I would be able to access wireless Internet and e-mail.

The store isn’t as helpful with aftermarket information. Can you point me in the right direction to what I would need to access e-mail as I travel? I realize I would need to purchase Internet time at any wireless hotspot.

The iPaq also has Bluetooth. While I understand I would need another Bluetooth-compatible system to exchange information, I do not truly understand the benefits or uses of this option. What I would like is wireless Internet access to e-mail, and I believe this Pocket PC has the options if I can put together the correct components.


— K. Mantel, Seattle

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A:

The iPaq 1945 does have built-in 802.11 wireless connectivity for accessing the Internet. You can find a lot more information on your Pocket PC at the HP Web site, www.hp.com, where you can search for your model. You’ll find manuals and accessories all there.

In general, you’ll need to subscribe to an Internet service provider and an e-mail service. Depending upon your Internet service, an e-mail account may be provided automatically.

Bluetooth, by the way, is a wireless technology used primarily for connecting peripherals. You might use Bluetooth to use a headset with your Pocket PC, to print to a Bluetooth-enabled printer or to synchronize data with a desktop computer.


Q:

I have a home network using a DSL wireless 4-port router. All three computers (one wireless laptop and two wired desktops) are running Windows XP SP2 with the firewall enabled. The router claims to have a built-in firewall. Since it is hardware between my DSL connection and my computers, is it a sufficient firewall? Should I get a third-party firewall as well?


— Jeffrey Robinson, Seattle


A:

I wear my seat belt when I drive, and my car has an air bag in the steering wheel. Should I get a car that has a side air bag as well?

I’d say yes if either one of two conditions is true: 1. I have a lot of money and don’t mind spending it. 2. I expect to get T-boned. If neither of those conditions is true, I have to decide just how much the extra safety is worth.

Same thing with firewalls. First, recognize that no firewall and, hence, no computer connected to a network can be completely secure.

Multiple firewalls — and even more important, more configurable firewalls — can add to your security, but there is a price to pay both in dollars and configuration time.

Any judgment about whether that is time and money well spent will have to consider how vulnerable you are and what you have to lose. If you don’t keep any sensitive information on your computer and the main risk is someone taking over your computer, it would be reasonable to conclude the firewalls you are running are enough.

Sorry I can’t be more specific, but there is no specific answer to this question.


Q:

I purchased my V2 premier computer in 1999. For some reason, the date and time is not held in memory now. When I turn my computer on, I receive an error message. I make the changes to date and time and save them. The next time I turn on my computer, the date and time are set back to Jan. 1, 2000.

Is there something else I can do to correct this problem? I reviewed the user’s guide for my motherboard and don’t see anything other than how to change the CMOS.


— Sharman Williams


A:

It’s possible you have a virus or a corrupt CMOS, a semiconductor used as battery-powered memory to store date, time and system information.

More likely, however, the backup battery on your motherboard is dead. Most motherboards have a lithium battery that provides power to allow the computer to retain its configuration when the computer is turned off.

Check the documentation that came with your computer to see what kind of battery to purchase and how to install it.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by e-mail to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.