Q I was reading your column about converting taped music to MP3 format on a computer. I want to copy a couple of DVD movies for my own personal use (I realize it's not legal to copy movies and sell them). What do I need to buy to copy movies for myself?
DAVE MOOTZ, COON RAPIDS
A The legality of copying DVD movies has been argued for years. The movie industry says it must protect against piracy, and consumer groups say the "fair use" provision of copyright law means individuals should be able to make movie copies for their own use. The result is that DVD movies are difficult, but not impossible, to copy. Search Google for "DVD ripping software" to find programs that will copy DVD movies so you can watch them on your computer or on an iPod, iPhone, Zune or PSP handheld game machine.
Q My husband wants to transfer the movies from our camcorder's mini digital videocassette tapes to DVDs. But I read in your column that DVDs may become obsolete because of new high-definition discs. Will this happen soon?
JO HENRIKSEN, WAYZATA
A DVD players and discs gradually will be replaced by new high-definition players and discs, although this probably will take several years. The rate at which they're replaced will depend on the rate at which people buy HDTVs capable of displaying a high-resolution image. But you should put the DVDs pending obsolescence into perspective: Any high-capacity recording medium you use will become obsolete in a few years. That means you'll eventually have to copy your movies again to a newer medium.
Q I'm having a problem with old e-mail addresses and website log-ins that keep popping up when I use Microsoft Outlook e-mail or the Mozilla Firefox Web browser. This happens even though I've tried to delete the old data from both programs. What can I do?
RICHARD SETHRE, MINNEAPOLIS
A Here are two things to try:
•Windows (which affects Outlook): Go to Start at the lower left corner of your screen, click Help and Support, then type in "Delete stored user names and passwords" and click on the link that comes up. On the right side of the Help and Support box, click on "Open Stored User Names and Passwords." You'll get a box that allows you to delete obsolete information.
•Firefox: Go to Tools, then Options, then click the Privacy tab. Click "settings" and put a check beside the information you want erased when you click the "clear now" button.
Steve Alexander covers technology for the Star Tribune. E-mail your technology questions to email@example.com or write Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488-0002. Please include a full name, city and phone number.