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Switch to digital radio will be way behind TV

The Baltimore Sun

A recent column ... on the advent of digi- tal television made me wonder what the switch to digital radio will mean to me. As I understand it, this will become a reality in the coming months. Does it mean that the old AM/FM radio I have had for years is kaput?

- S. Beckner

There's a big difference between the approach of digital television and the move toward digital radio. In the case of television, the switch to digital transmissions in 2009 is required by the Federal Communications Commission. Stations have no choice.

The switch to digital radio is voluntary. So, with no deadline and a relatively slow market acceptance of digital radio, there's no real end in sight for analog AM and FM broadcasters.

That doesn't mean that the day won't come, but I'd be shocked if we arrived at a digital-only radio landscape within 10 years.

You recently mentioned the issue of whether a desktop computer should be turned off when not in use. I have friends who leave their laptops on all the time, and I've heard that isn't good. Do you have advice on this? Also, what about powering down the UPS instead of just shutting the computer off? That way, the LAN equipment is also turned off.

- Michael Schmidt

While desktop PCs are made to stand up to 24/7 service, laptops tend to overheat when left on constantly. The innards are all jammed together - concentrating the heat - and the cooling system isn't nearly as efficient or powerful as a desktop's.

I use my UPS to keep my DSL modem and my router working - even when the power is down - so that I'd be able to go online during a power outage. (Obviously I'd use a laptop, not my desktop).

I think it might be smarter to keep your UPS powered up, then. If you want the hub, router or modem to be powered down, turn them off or pull the plugs.

Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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