The WHO Radio Wise Guys
Brian Gongol

Dan had a bad customer-service experience with a router for his computer, which resulted in a kernel panic, or the Mac equivalent of a Windows Blue Screen of Death. A "kernel panic" sounds a lot like WHO's old Barn Dance Frolic.

Dan is Twittering. So is Brian. Same for Ross.

Want to control your Gmail better? Try using the "+" symbol to create new e-mail addresses without adding new accounts.

Dan was very proud of himself for having found one of those free "star registries" online this week and "naming" a star after the show. They're not actually giving you any property rights. All they're doing is putting your name in a book that doesn't really have any legal standing whatsoever. So why pay for it? We could start our own "Wise Guys Star Registry" and no one could stop us.

If you really care about space and the stars, read some stuff from the International Astronomical Union or join one of the local astronomy clubs. Who knows? If you take a kid along, you could turn him or her into a rocket scientist.

Meanwhile, Ross found a bunch of sites offering to sell you land on the Moon, and on other planets. We're not even going to bother providing you a link because they're crooks. Besides, even if you could buy property on other planets -- which you can't -- you can't really build anything on Venus, nor drill for oil on Mars.

Speaking of energy, our Federal energy regulators may be finally getting underway with a long-overdue review of the reliability of our nation's electrical grid.

Is Google thinking about buying the New York Times? Google CEO Eric Schmidt says no, but the writing is on the wall: Google needs to find new lines of business if it wants to continue growing quickly. But Microsoft's history with MSNBC and Yahoo's trouble with subscription-music services tells us that sometimes it's best to have someone else dealing with the content.

That brings to mind the question of whether portal sites like Google should merge with social-networking sites like Facebook -- or whether either of them should merge with online stores like

Mark Cuban says newspapers shouldn't have "bloggers." He makes a very strong case that the notion of a weblog is antithetical to a news organization having a serious editorial role, so those newspapers ought to have lots of real-time reporting, but definitely not bloggers.

Listener e-mail question of the week:
Brian, enjoy listening to your shows when I am able. Wonder if you could help me out with this. I turned on my Palm Life Drive (PalmOne). I've had absolutely no difficulty with it until yesterday. It seems frozen on the PalmOne screen and will not recharge. I have soft reset to no avail. I understand that if I hard reset it that I will lose all data. It has much on it that has not been hot synced to my computer. I have never been able to hot sync to the Palm desktop on my computer. I have not entered day to day stuff on my computer, just entered it on the PDA. And of course not backed the Palm or synced to anything. My understanding is that I cannot, due to having the HP Media Center PC. I am at my wits end. Any ideas?

Best to answer this one via bullet points: Unfortunately, a story like Martha's is all too common. And it could easily have been avoided through regular backups. I cannot emphasize this enough: Back up the data on every computer you operate on a regular basis. It doesn't matter whether you're running a mainframe, a laptop, or a Palm Pilot. A computer is a computer, and computer hard drives will occasionally crash, often at the worst possible times. The only way to be absolutely sure that a hard drive crash won't turn into a major disaster is to always keep a backup of your data in a safe place. If it's a Palm computer, you should always back it up regularly on a desktop or laptop computer -- and, if possible, back it up on more than one computer for extra safety. Beyond that, you can ensure even more peace of mind by backing up those files from your computer onto a portable hard drive or a CD. Palm's desktop software includes convenient exporting tools in the "File" menu. It may be too late for Martha, but the advice applies to everyone: Always backup your data, no matter what kind of computer you're using.

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