Careful if phone battery's hot stuff

Helpline

July 22, 2004|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

When I reach for my cell phone, it is sometimes hot to the touch. Is there something wrong with the battery?

There have been at least two reported instances in the past year in which batteries overheated and caught fire. Verizon Wireless announced that it was recalling 50,000 counterfeit batteries masquerading under the LG Mobile Phones brand.

Check with your wireless carrier if you are concerned about your phone or suspect that it might be having major battery problems. Do not charge the battery if you think there might be something wrong with it.

If the problem seems sporadic and you carry your phone in a purse, bag or briefcase along with keys and coins, metal objects might be touching the battery contacts and creating a very hot short circuit.

Keep your phone's metal parts protected. Storing the phone in a case that shields its battery contacts from metal items can help keep it shielded.

Does the designation DVD+/--RW mean a disc can be used like a floppy by just dragging and dropping the files into the drive? I recently purchased a DVD burner and all it has is Sonic burner software.

Software for burning DVDs and CDs generally does not differentiate between what kind of disc is in a drive as long as it is correctly formatted. You will find that if you purchase one of the relatively costly rewritable DVDs (in either the + or -- configuration), the computer will let you save files to it and delete files right up to the disc's limit of 4.7 gigabytes. You can delete stuff and use the disc again just like a floppy, and you won't hear a peep out of either dedicated recording software or the DVD/CD burning module built in to Windows XP.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. James Coates can be contacted via e-mail at jcoates@ tribune.com.

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