The WHO Radio Wise Guys
Brian Gongol

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We talked with Rod Donovan of the National Weather Service office in Johnston, where they're hosting a free open house for the public next weekend. Just point yourself towards the big radar dome and show up next Saturday between 10 am and 3 pm.

It's time for families sending kids to college to start thinking about what kind of a computer to send that student off to school with. Anymore, the best choice is almost certainly a laptop -- they're portable, powerful, and affordable. There's no one-size-fits-all answer for what computer to buy, but as a general rule of thumb, you'll probably want to get one running Windows Vista, since that's where Microsoft is going to force us all to be. That doesn't mean you can't get a Mac, if that's your thing -- in fact, PC World says that the Apple MacBook Pro is the fastest Vista computer out there.

For our listener who lost a huge number of important e-mails in Microsoft Outlook, may have an answer. It's hard to tell for sure, because we don't know enough about why the files disappeared to know exactly how to get them back. But it could help. Outlook stores incoming e-mail in a file with the extension of .dbx, and it may help to search for answers under "dbx recovery".

This brings us to a couple of points:
  1. Don't use Outlook or any other POP-type program unless you have to
  2. Register a domain name and use it to forward your e-mail to two separate webmail accounts (like Yahoo or Gmail)
  3. If you must use a client-based program, place your archive files where you can find them, and back that file up as often as you can
  4. If you need a backup service, there are online-based backup programs available, like Mozy, which offers automatic online backup for a few dollars a month (I haven't used Mozy, but I've heard good things about it -- there are other online-backup services available, too)
If you want to record audio (like an audio stream) while you're away from your computer, Audacity (which is on my list of recommended open-source programs) has a timer-recording feature you might want to try. Other listeners called us to recommend the Easy Hi-Q Recorder from Roemer as well as AudioTime from NCH. Again, we haven't tested either Easy Hi-Q Recorder or AudioTime, but we've been told they have good features.

A consulting firm says it's designing a 4,000-foot building to be constructed somewhere in the Middle East. For reference, the Burj Dubai is only expected to be about 2,700 feet tall by the time it's finished, and 801 Grand in downtown Des Moines is 630 feet tall. The radio and TV towers north of Des Moines at Alleman, by the way, are up to 2000 feet tall -- making them some of the tallest structures on the planet.

An outage on YouTube this past week should serve as a reminder of why it's so important to have backup systems and plans in place. If a government bumbler in Pakistan can knock YouTube off the Internet for hours, many of the services we rely on every day could also be at risk.

In 20 years, will anyone really go to work? Maybe not.

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