Q I have a three-year-old Apple iMac G5 desktop computer. In August, the screen started displaying a series of small, randomly distributed vertical lines. By late September, the number of lines had increased to 33.

Apple told me that the screen can't be fixed and that a new one will cost $500. But they can't tell me why this is happening, and I hesitate to buy a new screen without knowing the reason for the problem. What should I do?


A It's not clear that the screen needs to be replaced. You need a technician to check out three potential problem areas.

It's possible the problem is caused by a loose connection between the screen and main circuit board, which could be fixed easily. Or the problem could be that there's a flaw in the computer's video chip -- which could be replaced. Or the LCD screen could have malfunctioned because of an internal electrical failure and need replacement.

For the benefit of other readers: Because the iMac G5 has the computer and the screen bundled into a single rectangular unit (it was supposed to resemble an early iPod), replacing the screen isn't a matter of going to the computer store and picking one out. A replacement part from Apple is required.

If the screen has to be replaced, the Apple technician's estimate of $500 for purchase and installation was pretty close. For another repair shop's prices, see www.dttservice.com/imac/imacg5.html.

Why would your LCD screen fail? Inside the display, a flexible circuit board delivers signals to the screen. If the screen and the circuit board become partly separated -- perhaps because the computer was jolted or exposed to extreme temperatures (such as leaving it in a car in the winter) -- horizontal or vertical lines appear on the screen because those areas aren't receiving an electrical signal.

Q I've been burning my own CDs to listen to while I drive. It would be easier for me to print out an insert for the jewel case if I could "copy and paste" the list of songs I burned onto the CD. How can I do that?


A Most CD-burning programs don't make it easy for you to manually copy and paste song titles for a label -- but they'll do it for you. Commercial music programs such as iTunes and Roxio Easy Media Creator will automatically compile lists of the songs you're preparing to burn to a disk. Some print just CD jewel case inserts, while others also print special labels you can stick on the CD.

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