This column offers solutions to personal technology questions from our readers. Neither the author nor this newspaper endorses products or companies mentioned.
Q: Now that the eMac is available for everyone we wonder whether we should buy it rather than the higher priced iMac. What is the difference between the two and which is the better purchase?
A: It really depends on what you need. Both the eMac and iMac have plenty of external connectivity and arrive with a nice software bundle. Apple has made the eMac more attractive with the recent addition of their SuperDrive, the optical drive that plays CDs and DVDs and burns data and audio CDs as well as DVDs that play in most commercial DVD players.
The eMac is an appealing midrange choice, peppy enough for most applications but not robust enough to really enjoy OSX or Photoshop. Its 128MB of memory and limited expansion make it a good choice for home users or students. If you work in an office environment and run multiple applications, are headed for OSX, or plan to use processor and memory intensive programs like QuarkXPress or Photoshop, you should consider the iMac. That low price on the eMac comes with some tradeoffs.
Q: As I surf around the Internet, I am getting inundated with ads appearing in different windows. I close one only to have another open. Sometimes there are so many I just quite my browser and start over. This is absolutely annoying. Is there a setting in my browser I can use or some kind of software that will filter out these unwelcome ads?
A: There are many ways of stopping Pop-up and Pop-under ads - which appear in front or behind your browser window. If EarthLink is your ISP they offer Pop-Up Blocker available for download at their Web site. It will also be incorporated in the next version of their TotalAccess software. Mozilla 1.0 lets you block pop-up ads. Mozilla is the first public version of the Netscape-inspired open-source browser and runs on Win PCs and Macs. It can be downloaded from www.mozilla.org.
For strictly PC browsers there is ActivatorDesk, a desktop, browser and Web filter in one. www.activatordesk.com. Another pop-up filtering browser is Crazy Browser and it's freeware, www.crazybrowser.com. CNET's Editors' Choice is PopUpCop, which stops animation, audio files, pop-ups and even cookies, www.popupcop.com. Also, check out AdSubtract at www.adsubtract.com or Pop-Up Stopper, which offers three versions, www.panicware.com.
For Mac browsers, look at Pop-Up Zapper, a great shareware application written by Ricardo Batista, http://batista.org/zap/. Also, consider WebWasher, a shareware program with three functional modules at www.webwasher.com.