Readers to the rescue! Several readers say there’s a better solution for the mother of a hearing-impaired daughter who wants to text friends via an iPad.

I pointed out in last week’s column that, while iPad texting is feasible, it’s limited to sending text messages to other Apple devices, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Macintosh computer.

Cletus Willems of Edina, Aaron Heagerty of Santa Cruz, Calif., and others suggested that the mother, Maurine Dyrdahl of Mounds View, should instead bypass pure text-messaging in favor of a free hybrid solution that involves e-mail and texting. By sending an e-mail message to the phone number of the intended text recipient, the e-mail will emerge on the recipient’s phone as a text message. Text recipients would e-mail back.

This has long been possible, and has the advantage of allowing an iPad user to send a message to any device that has a cellphone number, regardless of what type of cellphone it is. The catch is that you need to know the correct e-mail address for the cellphone’s service provider in order for it to work. For instance, to send an e-mail that will be received as a text message on an AT&T phone, the e-mail must be addressed to For Sprint phones, the address is, for Verizon Wireless it’s and for T-Mobile the address is E-mail addresses for other cell service providers are at

But there is a limitation to this messaging method. Although you are sending an e-mail, the recipient is receiving a text message, which is limited to 160 characters. So it’s best to keep your e-mail message short.


Q: I purchased a new Windows 7 laptop last June. At the time, it was much faster than my old PC. But now the start-up is slowing down. Is this related to the number of programs that run during start-up? How can I remove some of them?

Bill Coyle, Reading, Pa.


A: I think you’ve inadvertently downloaded some junk software, possibly malicious, that is slowing down your system. Go to and click “free download” to download a program that will help get rid of junk programs and malicious software. After you run the program, be sure that your PC is protected by antivirus software.


Q: Can you suggest a photo recovery program for a 4-gigabyte SD (Secure Digital) camera card that has become corrupt?

Martha Caparell, South Bend, Ind.


A: This is becoming a bigger problem as more people store their photos and data on camera memory cards and USB flash drives. You can find reviews of six data recovery programs at Prices range from free to $70.


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@ or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.