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Ask TUAW: iPad browser refreshing, iPhone headphones, laptop upgrades and more

Welcome to Ask TUAW, your favorite weekly question-and-answer column. Now, we can never have too many questions, so please, go to the comments of this post and ask away. To get fabulous answers, we need your fabulous questions. You can also email your questions directly to ask [at] tuaw.com, or ping us on Twitter.

Now, off to the questions!

Mandojustin is frustrated by Safari on his iPad:

On my iPad, pages sometimes auto-refresh when returning to them, either during page-switching or when opening Safari. What's up with that? Can it be turned off?

When using Google Reader, I'll often check out a link and then decide I want to keep that item unread until later. However, when I go back to the page with reader open, the refresh makes the item disappear. I know I can go back and find it, but this is rather annoying.

Great question, and one I have been frustrated with myself from time to time -- and thanks to one of our commenters for answering it. Henry says:

This is due to insufficient browser cache (RAM) in the iPad. This is particularly true in the iPad 1 [which only had 256 MB of RAM], and is greatly reduced with the doubling of motherboard RAM [to 512 MB] in the iPad 2.

Unfortunately, Mandojustin, there isn't much you can do about the refreshing except maybe find an app like Instapaper to do your reading in. I installed that a few months ago on my iPad and haven't looked back. Or, you know, get an iPad 2.

Sang wonders:

Is it possible to use my iPhone headphones on a non-Mac machine as headset? I need to get a headset to use with Steam on my Windows machine and it would be convenient if I could just use my iPhone headset.

The iPhone headset uses a TRRS-type 3.5 mm connector, giving it stereo audio plus mic on one connector. If your Windows machine supports that type of connector, then you can use it; however, it is unlikely that it does. More likely your Windows box expects a standard TRS-type 3.5 mm connector, which doesn't have a microphone attached. If you look at the iPhone headphone connector, you'll notice it has three white grounding rings; a standard set of headphones only has two. That extra ring adds the microphone ability.

Douglas asks:

No matter how much storage capacity you have, you always want more. Me too. I have just about run out. My 3-year-old MacBook came with a hard disk of about 120 GB capacity. Nothing larger was then available. Of this, 87 GB is dedicated to Mac, the rest to Windows/BootCamp. I am running Windows XP Pro from BootCamp using Fusion. Why? Although I am moving away from Windows, I still have a major investment in Win software that I routinely use and am not prepared to discard. I have several external hard drives, including one for Mac, but those drives can't go with me when I travel.

I presume that larger capacity drives are now available, but the larger question is how to copy everything from both partitions on the current drive onto the new drive. The Mac data by itself should be easy, using Time Machine. The hard part would seem to be getting the Windows side copied over. I don't want to do a clean new install of XP (I do have the install disk) and then have to re-load dozens of programs. Will a Mac drive support 'ghosting' a copy of my current Win partition, registry and all? Any suggestions?

I'm sure lots of people have the same question about upgrading their notebook hard drive.

One of the easiest ways I know of to upgrade a MacBook hard disk drive is to buy one of the reasonably-priced kits from Other World Computing. What you get for your money is the new drive, an enclosure kit so that you can use the old drive as a secondary drive, tools to open and close your MacBook and complete instructions on how to transfer all of the data (not just the Mac data) from the old drive to the new.

Just to give you an idea of the costs involved, you can buy a 1 TB 5400 RPM USB 2/3 drive kit for US$122.99. Personally I'd suggest one of the 7200 RPM drives, as it will dramatically speed up your MacBook. They have a 750 GB 7200 RPM kit for the same price. If you'd rather go with FireWire, prices get a bit higher -- a 750 GB / 7200 RPM FW800 drive kit is about $166.

I've used these kits a lot, and they're really good. There are videos on the site that show exactly what to do to get your new drive installed and move the data. They actually include a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner, which should move over your Windows partitions perfectly.

Update: Be sure and check out the Ask TUAW video from yesterday: It goes over how to move your data from one hard drive to the other, including your Windows partitions.

Hope this helps!

Al asks about the future:

I'm impressed with the new Thunderbolt technology on the new Macs. I'm enchanted by the prospect of syncing my iPhone in less than an hour.

When will the iPhone take advantage of the Thunderbolt port?

Earlier this month, a new patent was granted to Apple to roll Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 into a newly redesigned 30-pin Dock Connector that is used to connect every iOS product to your Mac. So, Thunderbolt connectivity would seem to be coming -- perhaps in the iPhone 5?

But, there really is no way to predict exactly when it will be coming out. It seems likely that Thunderbolt will be included in the next releases of the iMac and Mac Pro, so expanding that support to the iPhone and iPad would make sense.

Thanks for the questions everyone, and remember: it's very difficult to have a Q&A column without Qs. So, put your questions in the comments of this post, or shoot us an email at ask [at] tuaw.com. Also, if you have anything to add to our answers, we love feedback and fresh ideas.

Seriously, we want questions! Now, have a great week!

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