Thank you, dear readers, for your many e-mail messages, which greatly enrich my understanding of technology and human nature. Some of you are...

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Thank you, dear readers, for your many e-mail messages, which greatly enrich my understanding of technology and human nature. Some of you are excellent teachers, others earnest critics, and a few are better left out of this reader-appreciation column.

Today, I’ll share some of your recent comments and advice regarding Apple iPod battery life, camera RAW images, and the Q-Link pendant.

The Q-Link (April 16)

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When I wrote about my experience wearing the Q-Link pendant, which is said to reduce stress, and noted there’s legitimate support for this alternative remedy, some readers objected. One wrote:

Ouch, you really hurt your street-cred with this silly product review. I enjoy your serious product reviews and hope you get back to them soon.

— Pat Barbour

Demonstrating an alternative approach to criticism, a medical doctor wrote:

Thanks for the Q-link article. “Subtle energies” in my “biofield” get out of whack frequently, and $129 seems cheap to keep my “matrix” arranged in an orderly fashion.

It’s wonderful to know that our local technology adviser is not one of those rationalist geeks who can’t see beyond scientific reality.

This crystal treated with a “special substance” seems to be a real breakthrough, and should perhaps be given to angry dictators in Russia and North Korea. This could be the world peace leap forward we have all been looking for.

May the Force be with you.

— Bruce C. Wright, M.D.

Other readers asked me for more information and where they could buy the pendant.

iPod battery life (April 23)

When I reported that my iPod mini battery lasts only three hours between charges, and proceeded to test the advertised 18-hour battery life of the latest iPod mini, one reader noted:

One thing you don’t understand is that iPods are designed to never really turn off, even when you turn them off. They just go to sleep.

This is so they will wake instantly and maintain information such as what track to play. Consequently, the iPod is constantly leaking battery juice, even when it’s “off.”

For example, if I listen to my iPod for a few hours and then let it sit for 18 hours, it will generally lose an hour’s charge in that time. You report your iPod got 9 hours across 9 days, instead of the advertised 18, but an hour lost every night plus 9 hours of use comes out to about the same 18 hours advertised by Apple. So the claim that it got only 9 hours on a charge is unfair.

— Silas Drubbins

When I inquired, Apple affirmed that the iPod will go to sleep after two minutes of inactivity (or when turned off manually), and after 36 hours of inactivity it goes into a deep sleep, which uses very little power.

I’m grateful to the reader for informing me and am passing it along to you. I wish this kind of information was included in the user booklets that come with consumer products.

Another reader offered this battery advice:

Most of the problems you experienced with your iPod can probably be explained by lack of proper care. Rechargeable batteries need to be cycled when purchased and then every once in a while after normal use. Cycling is the complete charging of the battery followed by uninterrupted use until the battery is empty, and should be done up to three times in a row.

Cycling “resets” the battery to allow it to take full advantage of its capacity.

When the Apple technician told you to listen to one song repeatedly until the battery ran down, it was most likely to cycle the battery, not to use it in that fashion.

If you did what he told you to once or twice, the battery would probably reset to its 7-to-8-hour capacity.

These instructions should be included with the iPod as they are with most other similar electronics such as cellphones.

— Ben Lukes

I tried this reader’s advice and cycled the iPod mini (with the 3-hour battery life) three times. After that, I was able to play the iPod 4 hours across four days; plus, the playtime would be longer if I played it more than an hour a day.

Camera RAW (April 2)

Readers seemed particularly interested in the column about saving images in camera RAW rather than JPEG. However, I (incorrectly) reported that Apple iPhoto can import and process camera RAW images, and one reader hastened to enlighten me:

You neglected to mention that importing RAW files directly into iPhoto is generally a no-no if you care about image quality. Why? Because as soon as you import a RAW file into iPhoto, it immediately converts the image to a much reduced inferior quality JPEG file.

You are no longer editing the original RAW file.

Best to open RAW files first in Adobe Photoshop using Adobe Camera RAW or your camera’s software for RAW file attribute editing (white balance, exposure, sharpness, etc.) then save as TIFF or back into RAW.

iPhoto’s supposed “support” for RAW is terribly misleading. It can only import that format, but not work in it, which it does in a highly compressed JPEG format, discarding much of the image information originally present in your RAW file.

— David Pakman

My Apple contact affirmed that iPhoto does convert RAW images to JPEG when importing them so the images can be used by other applications.

Consequently, I’ve developed a roundabout method that works like this: I transfer RAW images to a folder on my desktop. Then I drag them to Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) to process and edit. I save the edited images as highest-quality JPEG files and import them into iPhoto for storage and use in projects that require JPEG-formatted images.

Using RAW takes more time, but the images look better.

Thanks again, dear readers, for sharing your expertise.

Write Linda Knapp at; to read other Getting Started columns, go to: