Friday, December 19, 2003

George Mindling Column 12-19-2003


An Old Scam Pops Up


While looking at my telephone bill, trying to figure out why the taxes are as much as the telephone charges themselves, I noticed Sprint had included a warning about the return of an old scam: redirecting your PC modem to dial an international access number. The problem, called "hijacking," occurs if you click on certain Internet pop-up ads on your PC screen. You won't know you've been disconnected from your Internet service, or that the modem has called a new number, with charges, according to the Sprint flyer, of up to $9.00 a minute. They don't mention what happens if you are on a broadband service such as cable or DSL, but the scam probably tries to dial your PC's built-in modem anyway.

If you click on the ad, your PC is disconnected from the Internet dial-up connection you made when you logged on and a new, international number is quietly dialed without you realizing the new call has been made. The modem sounds are suppressed by the commands from the pop-up ad. Sprint states the action results "in you being billed for costly international long-distance calls you didn't realize you made."

I wrote back in February about the "809" area code being notorious for generating large, unwanted long-distance telephone bills. The problem isn't just dialing the 809 area code, which is the Dominican Republic. Any legitimate call to the Dominican Republic uses that area code. There are charge telephone numbers that happen to reside in that country, and in others that do not require the international access number of 011, and can bill according to those country's laws that are the problem.
Once you make the call, you are legitimately required to pay the bill. Remember, the bill is not from your long-distance 'provider, but from the number you dialed. The foreign telephone service forwards the bill to your long-distance provider. Your long-distance provider then submits the bill from the foreign number on your monthly bill. They are obligated to collect it by international telephone and commerce agreements. Disputing the bill can .be a challenge, as the disagreement will be with a foreign telephone company, not a U.S. long-distance provider. The long-distance carrier may help, but don't bank on it.

The 809 area code was splintered in 1997 into several different codes, with the Dominican Republic maintaining the original 809 area code. The 473 area code is now Grenada, while 284 is the British Virgin Islands, and 868 is Trinidad and Tobago. All can be dialed without the international "011" code.

Go to http://www.thedirectory.org/pref/ for a complete list of area codes. The Sprint flyer advises you to be cautious about any Internet pop-up screens you click on, and to read all messages carefully. While there should be consumer warnings, the flyer does not say those warnings will always be there. For more information' call Sprint Fraud Management a 1-866-255-5278.

Now all we need is a toll-free telephone number to prevent pop-up telephone taxes.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, October 17, 2003

George Mindling Column 10-17-2003


Murdock Village


The Murdock Village project is an issue polarizing our community unlike any since last year's courthouse restoration budget.

While many voters are opposed to the ambitious, forward looking mixture of residential, civic and commercial development, it appears a majority of business owners and many of the civic leaders are solidly behind the project. The issue of economic impact on Charlotte County's future is the major component of the discussion.

There is opposition to economic growth in Charlotte County and the Murdock Village project looms as the ideological battleground With the initial groundbreaking at least three years away, the possibility of the project being corrupted by an incoming majority of new county commissioners certainly exists as three commission seats will be up for election. The project has already progressed well beyond the point of no return financially, and most certainly will be contracted and well into the initial design phase before the next county election.

The project could possibly be prevented from successful completion, or at least significantly altered. The opponents of the project must show the voters that terminating or canceling multimillion dollar contracts and facing the lawsuits that will follow, is in the best interests of Charlotte County. Everyone sympathizes with the property owners who will have to forfeit homes and businesses they have already established. It is unfortunate for the commissioners to not have won general approval of the property owners beforehand by not involving them in the success of the project. A method of making current residents and owners some type of "shareholders" in the village, through some form of credit could possibly have garnered the enthusiasm and support it needed for the overall general acceptance of the project.

Fear of a tax increase to fund the project is one tactic the project opponents are already using to attack the project. Ironically, if the project is halted now, after the county has already acquired considerable property in the area and before the investors can buy or invest in the project after the completion of the acquisition phase, that possibility certainly exists. The county would then have a large amount of property that no longer generates tax revenue.

If a new County Commission stalls the project, the recently purchased property may not be what it was worth before the project was announced The area in question is not known in real estate circles as prime property. There are many desirable growth areas in the county, but the area currently being acquired is certainly not one of them. If the project is terminated now, property values in the area will fall back drastically, undercutting speculators who have been buying property in anticipation of leveraging the county into paying above assessed prices for property.

What transpires in the next 12 months will determine how the voters see the County Commission candidates and the project itself. The commissioners have work to do, as do the candidates.

Charlotte County voters have the hardest job: They must decide what is right for our future.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, September 19, 2003

George Mindling Column 9-19-2003


Homeowners spared from Isabel's wrath


As Isabel pounds north Florida, it appears we have been spared yet again. The storm decreased from peak Category 5 status to Category 2 prior to landfall. Everyone in Florida should know there are five categories, and Isabel has been all five. Category 5 storms are the ones with winds at more than 155 miles an hour. A Category 4 is still enough to scare me into leaving. That is another problem with Isabel. If it were to hit mid-Florida, there isn't anywhere to go.

The eye of Isabel was almost 60 miles wide. Hurricane force winds can extend almost 300 miles across. New Florida homeowners should be thankful the new hurricane codes are in effect for all new home construction. Hopefully, the new homes are built substantially better than the ones that were demolished by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Hurricane Fabian just clobbered Bermuda and although exterior damage was severe and four lives were lost, there were few problems with the homes on the island. Bermuda requires all residential dwellings be built to withstand 130-mph winds.

Many Southwest Florida residents still cling to their lucky rabbit's feet and go about their business as if we live in a protected bubble. How about you?  Did you check your hurricane kit this past weekend when it was the right time to prepare for Isabel? Do you even have a hurricane kit? Fill the car with gasoline and stock up with canned goods and a mechanical can opener? Have you been to one of the many free hurricane seminars?

You will never forget the sound of the tiles being ripped off your roof in the middle of the night after hours of incessant, roaring, almost evil-sounding wind. You will cringe and hold your breath every time something slams into a glass window or door, and you will do it for hours. The walls of our inside hallway, our "safe" walls, bowed back and forth during Andrew, causing me to think for the first time I had made a mistake by not taking my family to a shelter. My garage door, with a 120-mph hurricane kit mounted on it, blew in and wrapped itself around my van. Yet, we were lucky. Many others, including our daughter who lived in Cutler Ridge, lost everything.

We lived 20 miles inland. We did not live near any coast, where unfortunately, the media always seems to focus its coverage. The average Florida homeowner complacently watches sailboats being blown ashore, or breakers smashing over a seawall somewhere and doesn't relate to the intensity that can destroy his or her house as well as business. Too many reporters standing by the water's edge in damp slickers trying to make an impression with viewers simply don't convey the sense of urgency that emergency management people everywhere wish they could turn on with a switch.

Watching Isabel slowly move past us to the north, I think how lucky we are again.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, August 15, 2003

George Mindling Column 8-15-2003


Mutually Exclusive


A recent article in the Sun about the new home for the Parrot Jungle in Miami bears an uncanny resemblance to what may happen in Punta Gorda with the current Charlotte County Auditorium. The property may be lost to the public if the Charlotte County commissioners follow in the footsteps of the city of Miami.

The old tourist venues that were an integral part of Florida's allure as a tourist destination are fading by the wayside. Our nearby Cypress Gardens is currently struggling to see if it can arise from the ashes of financial losses, but may fall by the wayside as did Miami's Rare Bird Garden, the Musa Isle Indian Village and many, many more. Of Miami's remaining attractions, only the Parrot Jungle, with city and county assistance of course was able to negotiate a leap to the 21st century.

The old location of the Parrot Jungle in South Miami on Red Road, was becoming an increasingly upscale residential neighborhood. The Parrot Jungle traded locations with the city of Miami for a prime location on Watson Island. The new location, directly across from where the cruise ships dock on Dodge Island. was called "a really barren island" by Ben Levine, a veterinarian and one of the owners of the Parrot Jungle.

I disagree. My daughter learned to sail there, as did many other kids since the inception of the Miami Yacht Club in 1927. We sat many times under the beautiful yellow Tabebuia trees on the weekends with many other families playing next to the old Japanese Gardens.

The public boat ramps between the working class MYC and the Miami Outboard Club were always filled with regular people who couldn't afford to live on Hibiscus or Star Islands, not far from the ramp, but who enjoyed the waters of Biscayne Bay. The "really barren island" is divided by the six-lane MacArthur Causeway, where countless sightseers still park next to Government Cut to watch the cruise ships.

We knew developers had their eyes on the marvelous piece of property when the city of Miami forced the Goodyear blimp off the island. The "dangerous" blimp base immediately became a helicopter landing area. When the state of Florida deeded the spoil island to the city of Miami. in the 1980s, the city, under mayor Maurice Ferre immediately went after the remaining occupants of the island.

Miami wanted a grandiose theme and amusement park to rival Disneyland. Deed restrictions on the grant for the Japanese Garden and opposition from MYC and MOC stopped that deal. but the loss was only temporarily delayed.

Today, the huge brown monstrosity that is the Parrot Jungle parking garage all but blocks the sun from little MYC. The island once famous for Chalk's Airlines and the Goodyear blimp has added a $47 million attraction that will soon prove whether or not the city of Miami acted in the good faith of its citizens. Whatever happens, the property will never return to the citizens who played in the beautiful park that once was.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, July 18, 2003

George Mindling Column 7-18-2003

The Battle for Your Dollar


Have you opened a charge account at a major retailer lately? Have you checked your first bill to see the hidden 'cost of the "free" card'!

My wife recently received her very first bill on a brand new, “Value Add" charge card that offered dollar points on all card purchases. The bill was for $11, a $1 opening charge and a $10 late fee for not paying the opening charge! She had never used the card in the several weeks she had it and had not been informed of the charge on the "free" account! The thought of having her credit blemished because of a policy that borders on questionable ethics is not worth having the card. Needless to say, the card has been canceled.

Most people pay the dollar on their first bill if they have used the card and never notice the unannounced charge on the supposedly free charge account. It is only one of several minor ways to quietly, or even surreptitiously take your money without you even noticing.

Saving your money is an attitude! One dollar isn't going to bankrupt anyone, even though the late charge may damage your credit! Saving that dollar is a dollar earned. In today's environment, throwing money away is easy. It can slip through your fingers with incredible ease.
It wasn't uncommon to see women with little plastic clickers many years ago in most of the grocery stores, keeping a running tally on what went into the shopping cart. It was a good budget reminder and a great way to verify the cashier's total. Today's hurried housewife might look at that as frivolous, at best, but it was one way to monitor the money flow. Ever check to see if the cashier's scale is set to zero before weighing your fruit or produce? They have a pedal or level to zero the scale, it only takes a second. If you can't see the weight indicator, beware. A few ounces on each customer makes a nice daily total.

Florida Power and Light has a neat little service that may help find the fleeing dollars from your house air conditioner. FPL will do a vent and leak check of your house for a small charge. A recommended check if you plan to have your Ale upgraded or replaced, or if you can't seem to find why your house won't cool the way it should. Call FPL's customer service line at (800) 226-3545 for more details. FPL also offers an energy check to help spot the other energy areas to conserve power and save you money.
Double-check your telephone bill for more little drains on your pocket book. The feature called line guard is around $5 a month and double if you have two numbers. If you need it. fine, but if you don't. remove it from your charges.

Winning the battle for your dollar starts with remembering how hard you worked to win it in the first place.

George Mindling © 2003


Saturday, June 21, 2003

George Mindling Column 6-21-2003

Burning desire


Before attending a sales presentation for a PC video production system several years ago, 1 had visions of doing custom. upscale videos for home consumers. I wanted to do specially edited wedding videos and family special events. I was going to be the Steven Spielberg of home videos.

After seeing what I wanted to do was going to cost me a cool $30,000 investment for software and an Apple computer with a stacked array of hard drives, my enthusiasm vanished. I had tried different types of PC analog video capture cards and programming for output to VHS tapes as a hobby.

My first capture card set me back almost $900 and required a state-of-the-art 486 megahertz processor with 8 megabytes of memory. It was a hog that had miserable-quality output.

I tried again several years later with a Pentium with 64 megabytes of memory and a video card dedicated to video capture. Only $250 this time, but the output was still limited to VHS tapes that never played back the way I recorded them! It took many long hours to produce a short, half-screen presentation I was too embarrassed to show anyone. After attending the video workshop, I finally put it all away.

The new generation of personal computers now allows the average consumer to make nice-looking home video productions, within certain expectations. The fast computers in the 2-gigahertz operating range bring output rendering, the bane of all video productions, down to four or five minutes of PC processing time for each minute of output video.

Not nearly as fast as the television ads would like you to believe, but it beats letting your PC run all night, only to get up in the morning and find the rendering still isn't done! Don't be surprised though, if the 60-minute video you want to render still takes until the wee hours of the next morning.

Most new PCs also have a standard 256 megabytes of memory, and that will put you in the ballpark for decent video production system. The need for special audio-visual hard drives has diminished with the new high-speed, large-capacity hard drives. The best improvement in the PC video arena is the firewire (IEEE 1394) cable input from Digital Video Cameras. The old analog inputs, even USB I. I, arc just too slow for decent full-screen, full-speed video images.

Best of all, there is now an alternative to the fickle VHS tapes: DVD or the Digital Video Disk. As always, there is a hitch. There are two major competing formats for DVDs, DVD-R and DVD+R. Check out everything you ever wanted to know about DVD at: http://dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html

You certainly want to be able to show your award-winning production on any DVD player, even if you have to buy and install it for your parents yourself

If this all sounds like Greek, pass on spending huge sums of money on video production. If it sounds exciting, get out the old checkbook .... Again.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

George Mindling Column 5-16-2003


Port Charlotte May Not be Poor for Long


It was pointed out recently that Charlotte County lies between the two richest and fastest growing counties in Florida: Collier, one county removed to the south. and Sarasota, our immediate neighbor to the north. It is understood that someone, sometime, will get off the interstate while zipping between the two hot spots to see what's in the middle.

Even the big-time Tarpon fishermen flying in to the Charlotte County Airport will take a second look at State Road 776 as they slow down to read the new signs welcoming A: The Cleveland Indians. ' B: Manchester United, or C: well, probably not much else would slow them down en route to the waiting Silver King, unless they are startled by the construction that may be the new dream business and social center of Charlotte County.

Those who own commercial property elsewhere obviously oppose the new growth patterns focusing on the area the county plans on acquiring. Many current residential property owners in the affected area also oppose the plan. Even the interpretation of "property seizure by eminent domain" statutes may cause a disruption in the county's proposed financing. The proposed new center faces challenges just 01.0; all major growth projects.

It was also pointed out that the anti-growth people still have considerable leverage in Charlotte County, regardless of the hidden agendas that only surface after the start of construction or the passage of favorable laws. One thing is certain: Charlotte County will grow, regardless of the skills of planners or the vision of developers. In 20 years Port Charlotte will he as different as it was 20 years ago.

How it grows in comparison to Collier and Sarasota counties is obvious: climate and water will always bring the seasonal resident or the retirees who need a service support economy, while quality of life. which includes schools. employment and health. will bring the permanent wage-earning residents and their families.

Focusing on real issues of fiscal responsibilities and duties to the future of the community. rather than creating governmental empires or responding to financial or "political" pressure is always a difficult realization for any governmental body created of lay people. empowered by popular vote. Professional government employees, whether known as bureaucrats or not, are the mainstay of any government, on the federal, state and county levels. Through experience and education. they are the implementers, the approvers, the doers of government.

They know the boundaries of regulation. They are the dream makers or dream killers. They are the people at the heart of the decision-making process who research and analyze data, prepare and submit reports and surveys that arc used by the decision makers. They may report to the elected officials and are required to follow whatever rules and regulations are dictated to them, but the interpretation and implementation of those rules are the reality of government. They are the true builders of tomorrow.

Let 's hope they do a good job because Po' Charlotte won't be poor long.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, April 18, 2003

George Mindling Column 4-18-2003


Stuck in the Middle


In a recent meeting with Bob Tunis, North Port's Director of Economic Development, a distinct difference of attitude became apparent between our neighbors to our immediate north and our Charlotte County community. While many factors must be considered. from impact fees and permitting, and even access to Interstate 75, one attitude is immediately and obviously different: North Port considers growth a good thing.

It's not that certain segments of Charlotte County don't want growth. We, unfortunately, have an excess of CAVE people who rail against any form of progress. In case you're new to our area, CAVE people are Citizens Against Virtually Everything! And there are still enough around to cause Charlotte County to lag behind the rest of the state in average salary and median income!

Perhaps North Port's lowering of the average age of its residents from the mid-60s only five short years ago, quite like Charlotte County, to an average age of mid-40s has something to do with the effort and attitudes in working to bring in clean, high-tech industries.  Charlotte County's median age, however, has increased slightly in those five years. It is still the oldest "average age" county in Florida.

To complicate matters, our economic development focus tends to emphasize an alignment with our neighbors some 30 miles to the south instead of the community a few miles to our north.

Charlotte County has elected to align with the Lee County Economic Development Council and not interact with North Port or Sarasota economic development groups.  Janet Watermeier, Lee County's outgoing economic development director, is well known and highly respected for the outstanding work she has done for Lee County and the Fort Myers area, and indeed the benefit of that alliance cannot be disputed. Why, however, must that alignment be mutually exclusive?

North Port is closer to the shopping and restaurants in Port Charlotte than to Venice. That is changing. As planning for hotels, civic centers, restaurants and shopping areas becomes actual construction, Port Charlotte will feel the drain of cash flow as traffic remains or even migrates to North Port. Major name retailers will soon find North Port. Only a 10 percent growth from its current traffic and residential numbers will validate a new expansion model that may well trigger another round of interest and development.

North Port will also benefit from the planned Murdock town center, which will be only several miles from there, It would be to Charlotte County's benefit to communicate and cooperate with not only the city of North Port, but Sarasota County as well.

North Port's overall demeanor. not just the economic development office. has a reputation for bending over backward s to welcome new businesses and residents to the city. We should look at North Port as an expansion partner, not as a competitor.

Even if we did get the new Bob Evans and Carrabas.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, March 21, 2003

George Mindling Column 3-21-2003


Hard to Focus Locally When the Action is Global


I have thrown away several attempts at today's column, being distracted by the ominous 8 pm passing of the Bush deadline for Saddam to get out of town. It is difficult to focus on our local economy when the events that will shape our destiny are unfolding on television right in front of us.

Our developing visions of a global economy may be about to come crashing down. The return of isolationism appears to be inevitable, with the ignorance and prejudice shown by vocal and often vicious attacks on foreign citizens and businesses.

I can't help but think back to when I saw my first "Ami go Home!" slogan painted on a bridge near Trier, Germany. We were the rich GIs then, when my $155 a month was significantly more than the average German wage earner brought home. We took it as jealousy, a typical attitude of the "ugly Americans." The Europeans, in general, did not support that feeling, however. I should know, I married a German girl and I lived there for more than five years. The few that wrote the slogans, however, got all the press.

That was the height of the DeGaulle power years, when the French were instructed to not speak English. Our honeymoon in France lasted only a day, as we abruptly changed plans and headed for Switzerland. A German and an American in France, the worst possible combination. Did that stop us from buying Michelin radial tires? No, they were the best tires available. American-made bias-ply tires were abominable, and today they are only found on museum pieces for authenticity.

I brought a VW 1500S notch-back sedan from Germany when I returned, shipping it myself from Antwerp. and picking it up at the old P&O docks in Miami. It had a set of the brand-new Dunlop CB57 "dog biscuit" radials that attracted attention until they finally wore out. I drove it off the dock with only a minimum of paperwork from the lone customs officer on duty.

Times change so drastically that America has just spent $50 million in the time it has taken me to write these few paragraphs. The first air strike against Iraq has taken place while I typed. We watch television and listen as networks and reporters beg for our attention. As unlikely as it seems, we watch live television broadcasts from the target city of our enemy!

We can only pray that sometime in the future, Iraqis and Americans will share the ideals and beliefs that the once deadly opponents of only a generation ago have realized bonds them more than separates them.  My daughter has photos of both her grandfathers in uniform, fighting in the same war.  One, in the U.S. 5th Army. 178th Field Artillery Battalion while in Sicily, the other sitting at his typewriter in his Wehrmacht uniform in Kiev, Russia.

Anyone who thinks peace and prosperity between former enemies is beyond the realm of possibility has not bothered to learn from history.  Hopefully, as Americans. we will again learn to trust and understand our neighbors. We cannot live here alone. The planet is just too small.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, February 21, 2003

George Mindling Column 2-21-2003

A Brand New Twist on an Old Scam


To direct dial an international telephone call to friends and family outside the United States. you usually dial 011 first to let the telephone system know you arc dialing an international call.

However, there are many area codes in foreign counties that can be called with just an area code, without first dialing 011. The AT&T telephone card response line even has an instruction. "to call within Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean, please dial a 1."

One area code in particular, 809, has caused grief to some unsuspecting callers - which some people assume is a toll-free line much like the 800 and 888 area codes. It is an international call and it isn't toll-free. There is an Internet scam update currently going around the Web warning of incredibly high telephone bills if they call the 809 area code. There is a real scam, but a little truth may help telephone users understand what to avoid and what is really going on.

The 809 area code is in the Dominican Republic. Obviously, if you need to call someone in the Dominican Republic, you must dial the 809 area code. Just dialing the area code does not generate the staggering telephone bill!

There are firms that use this area code to charge in-bound tolls, just like the notorious 900-numbers here in the states. However, it appears that in the Dominican Republic those numbers reside alongside the many legitimate telephone numbers in the 809 area code. The trick is to get you, the telephone customer, to call one of these toll numbers without your suspecting the call is more than just a long distance call .

Once you make that call, you are legitimately required to pay the bill. Remember, the bill is not from your long distance provider, but from the number you called. Your long distance provider submits the bill from the foreign number on your monthly bill. They are obligated to collect it by International telephone and commerce agreements. Disputing the bill can be a challenge, as the disagreement will be with a foreign telephone company, not a U.S. long-distance provider. The long-distance carrier may help, but don't bank on it.

The 809 area code was splintered in 1997 into several different codes, with the Dominican Republic maintaining the original 809 area code. The 473 area code is now Grenada, while 284 is the British Virgin Islands, and 868 is Trinidad and Tobago. All can be dialed without the international "011" code.

Go to http://thedirectory.org/pref/ for a complete list care area codes. There are other sites to check for help, including the AT&: T fraud site at http://www.att.com.fraud/home.html.
An "urgent message" on your answering machine is but one of the myriad variations to get you to call for more information. If the number is one of the toll numbers, you are not the one who is going to get rich.

George Mindling © 2003

Friday, January 17, 2003

George Mindling Column 1-17-2003


Remember, It's Important to Back It Up


Nothing is more devastating at tax time than to lose your records. Losing all of your business or personal data is one the worst things that can happen when you need the information for tax reporting.  It happens daily and not just to the other guy. Personal computer hard drives fail. It is not a matter of "if," it is a matter of "when." Component manufacturers use a term called "MTBF," Mean Time Between Failures, as a yardstick of reliability, usually measured in hours of usage. Those numbers have climbed in recent years to the multi-thousands as the overall maturity of products has led to higher reliability. Just don't tell that to two recent victims of hard drive failure in my neighborhood.

Hardest hit was a laptop user who works from home. The data lost was not replaceable; it had to be recovered. The hard drive suffered a catastrophic failure and could no longer be found by the laptop PC. The only recourse was to send the hard drive out to an Orlando company that specializes in hard drive recovery. Depending on the damage to the drive, it may not be able to do the work there. The company's "clean room" laboratory in Nevada is used when the platter must be pulled from the unit.

It isn't a cheap service. The company charges $695 for the first gigabyte of data, and $145 a gigabyte thereafter, if it can be recovered at all. The company also charges a nonrefundable $150 assessment fee, even if the data can't be saved. These fees are on the low side, compared to some of the services available. The fees for recovery of a PC hard drive can go as high as many thousands of dollars.

The other drive failure, while just as complete, had been backed up on CDs using a software back-up program that allows using the CD-RW, or CD burner, instead of the slow, time consuming tapes. The restoration process is not as quick or painless as it should be, but the data has been restored and, with only a few glitches, is again in use.

Most operating systems have backup programs, but typically, they are slow and limited as to what you can use as a medium. There are many ways to back up your data and programs. One of the most popular is the Zip drive. and recently, the rewritable CD has gained a strong following. The old 3.5-inch floppy disks and tapes have all but fallen by the wayside as too small or too slow.

Future programs will allow use of DVD writers as a backup medium. There are several versions of the DVD format and they may not be compatible, so DVDs should only be used to back up the unit they were created on. The advantage is the huge amounts of data that can be stored on a DVD. There are optical drives that can also be used.

Having your data backed up is a smart move.

George Mindling © 2003