Services can help send big video
Q: I need some help sending videos to others. It seems that every video I try to send in various ways is always too large. I've tried to use a program that works with Outlook to compress the email attachment, but it's always still too large. Is there a solution other than uploading them onto YouTube or something similar?
A: I suggest you try one of the services that specifically exist to transmit files that are too large for e-mail. They typically work by having you upload the files to their servers, which, unlike YouTube, don't expose them to the world. Seconds after you upload these files, your recipients receive an e-mail that includes a specific link to the file you uploaded. The email is small because it includes only the link, not the file itself. The recipient clicks on the link, and the file is downloaded to his or her computer.
The service I use for this is called YouSendIt, and can be accessed at yousendit.com. It works in all the major Web browsers, and on both Windows and Macintosh computers. The company has a free plan that covers files of up to 100 megabytes in size, and allows each file to be downloaded up to 100 times, or up to a gigabyte of total downloads each month. For $10 a month, you get a maximum file size of two gigabytes, 500 downloads per file, and a monthly maximum limit of 40 gigabytes.
In my experience, YouSendIt works well. It can be used directly from within a browser, or via a small program called YouSendIt Express, that lives on your computer and handles large files faster than the browser version does. YouSendIt also offers an Outlook plug-in that can automatically route large downloads via the service rather than through regular e-mail, though I haven't tested this plug-in.
Q: Our daughter is heading off to college this fall. She will be an art/graphic-design major, and the school recommended that she buy an Apple MacBook. I'm not sure if she should get what the college calls the "midlevel MacBook" or the "advanced MacBook." The only differences are a slightly faster processor, a hard disk that is 40 gigabytes larger, and a "SuperDrive" for CDs and DVDs rather than a "Combo" drive. The price difference is $90. Which should we buy?
A: Either machine would be fine, and a lot depends on your budget, since college itself is of course very expensive. But I think, in this case, the extra $90 would be worth paying. This has nothing to do with the processor speed, which she probably wouldn't even notice. But, if she is going to be creating a lot of graphics files, which can be large, the extra hard-disk space could be important.
The same goes for the CD/DVD drive options. The "SuperDrive" is Apple's term for a drive that can create both DVDs and CDs, while the "Combo" drive can create only CDs. (Both drives can play both types of disks.) For someone who is producing large files, the ability to create DVDs can be handy, since DVDs have much higher capacities than CDs.
Q: My laptop has been infected by rogue viruses, posing as anti-spyware programs, that I can't get rid of. When I go on Google, I find a number of sites that claim to offer free software that will get rid of them, but I am reluctant to download anything onto my machine from a source that I am not sure of. What's a reliable program that will do that job?
A: I would immediately buy a genuine, legitimate commercial anti-spyware program, install it and run it. The best ones I know of are Spyware Doctor by PC Tools, at pctools.com, and Spy Sweeper from Webroot, at Webroot.com. Each costs $30, but that price can save you a lot of heartache.