Q: I listen to Internet radio at night with my Toshiba PC, using Auvio earphones. I recently noticed that I'm not getting stereo anymore on the religious stations I listen to, whether I use iTunes or Windows Media Player. The headphones seem to work fine on other devices, just not on the PC.
I've checked the PC's speakers and software, and they all seem to be set to stereo. My audio driver software also is up to date and working properly. What's wrong?
Mark Ortego, Baton Rouge, La.
A: I don't think your earphones or PC are the problem. Instead, I suspect that the Internet radio stations you listen to are streaming audio at too low a quality to produce decent stereo sound in your headphones. Your PC software adapts to that situation by sending your earphones a mono (monaural) signal in which both earpieces deliver the same sound.
What's the problem? Online radio stations don't all offer the same audio quality; it varies depending on the amount of data they transmit over the Internet. This is measured in bits per second, also known as the "bit rate." As a general rule, an Internet radio station transmitting both voice and music must stream its audio at 36,000 to 40,000 bits per second to produce even modest quality stereo sound for listeners.
But some religious Internet radio stations use bit rates that are at or below the threshold needed for stereo sound reproduction, such as 40,000 bits per second down to 24,000 bits per second. Cost is probably the reason. Internet radio stations must pay for the data transmitting capacity they use (called bandwidth), and they can save money by streaming their audio at a lower bit rate that sends less data.
Try some stations that have bit rates of at least 64,000 bits per second (also called 64 kilobits per second, or 64 kbps) to see if you can get stereo sound. For a list of some religious Internet stations and their bit rates, see tinyurl.com/785zaca. Google a station to find it online.
Q: I accidentally lost some important information from the Notes app on my iPhone 6 by choosing "select all," then "delete." And, because my iPhone and Macintosh computer are connected by Apple's iCloud service, the mistake was duplicated on the Mac. Is there any way to retrieve the mistakenly deleted data?
Rafael Coloca, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A: There are a couple of ways to recover deleted iPhone Notes items. If you have previously backed up your iPhone to your Mac (or PC), you can use iTunes to recover just the Notes portion of that backup and store it on the phone again (see tinyurl.com/kuwqmaa). There are also recovery programs for PC or Mac that can retrieve deleted Notes items directly from the iPhone, such as PhoneRescue ($50, see tinyurl.com/ozulfjn and tinyurl.com/q9aotxk) or MobiSaver (free, see tinyurl.com/p32zsfb).
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