Q I'm planning a vacation to Naples, Italy, in the near future and would like to use my Apple iPad 2 while I'm there. Is this possible? Do I need any special instructions?
A Your iPad will work just as it always has. The question is how you'll connect to the Internet.
The easiest way to use an iPad 2 in Italy is to find Wi-Fi hot spots, which are plentiful in hotels and public places. Many are free.
If you want to be assured of having a Wi-Fi signal anywhere, you can rent an Italian cellular firm's MiFi device, which attaches to the local cellular network, then connects to your iPad via Wi-Fi. Rentals are about $15 a day for up to 14 days (see tinyurl.com/7d22red or tinyurl.com/3b5y5fr.)
Connecting directly to cellular networks in Italy is a little more work. Networks there are standardized on GSM technology, so if you are an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, you can connect to an Italian cellular carrier, provided you have an international data plan or, better, if you buy a temporary local account.
You can get a temporary local wireless account in Italy by purchasing a Micro SIM card (an internal iPad 2 memory card that identifies your wireless plan to the local cellular network) from an Italian phone store. The temporary plan ($30 and up) can include varying amounts of data, depending on how much you want to pay. (See tinyurl.com/37sxjtq or tinyurl.com/b3jo9sd.)
If you have an iPad 2 from Verizon, you can't connect to an Italian GSM cellular network. (This problem has been solved in newer iPad models from Verizon.)
Note that if you want to use your iPad for navigation, you can do it without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection because navigation is based on GPS satellite signals.
Q I recently had a computer failure that damaged my PC's hard drive and main circuit board. I'm told that it's virtually impossible to recover the documents I had on the computer.
But I was in the process of writing what may become a book, and the pages I lost had some dialog that I doubt I can remember. I'm 77 and am racing the clock to complete this project. Is there any way of recovering this data?
JACK PIPER, METROPOLIS, ILL.
A While no one but you can put a price on your unpublished dialogue, retrieving it will be costly. A data recovery service might be able to recover some, but probably not all, of the data from your damaged hard drive for about $200 to $1,000.
But if you want to pay, you'll find several data retrieval firms by searching Google for "data recovery services Illinois."