Tech tips: Should I switch to U-Verse? |

Tech tips: Should I switch to U-Verse?

I am currently an AT&T customer, and they provide my DSL. I'm generally happy with my DSL service, but AT&T representatives keep contacting me and pushing me to switch to their U-Verse service. What's the deal? What is U-Verse and should I switch?

It would be easy to suggest that you simply do everything that any vendor who calls you on the phone suggests, but of course, that would be the wrong answer. In this case, as in most such cases, the answer is complicated.

First, please understand that U-Verse is simply a newer version of DSL; it's not a new technology. Switching to U-Verse will require you to have AT&T supply a new modem (the device that connects your phone line to your computer) because the technology U-Verse uses isn't supported by the older modems. Theoretically, U-Verse can support faster speeds than plain ol' DSL, although the actual speeds you can receive depend on many factors, including your distance from the phone company central office. AT&T will have to help you determine that information.

Next, understand that it's in AT&T's interest to switch you to U-Verse as this technology also supports digital television and land-line phones. In other words, once you have U-Verse, AT&T can upsell you on other services that they couldn't if you stuck with DSL.

Should you switch? It's hard to say. AT&T offers special deals on setting up U-Verse service, and you may find that you can get faster connections at a lower price than DSL, at least for the first year or so. Make sure you investigate the "after promotional" price to ensure that you don't get ripped off. In addition, if you do agree to switch to U-Verse, after it's installed, make sure to verify your connection speed (we recommend as an easy way to verify your speed — it should be at least 80 percent of what you're paying for).

If you're finding substandard speeds, make sure and contact AT&T support to get the speed issues handled. (This is true of any new connection, not just U-Verse).

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In addition, you may find the bundling of Internet, phone and television that AT&T provides to be enticing. If so, go for it. You will need to upgrade to U-Verse to take advantage of these features. If that's the goal, it's certainly a good plan to switch to U-Verse.

Mac Startup Getting Slower and Slower

My Mac seems to start up slower and slower over time. Have I done something wrong to slow down its startup process?

It's a fact/feature of computers: They simply seem slower, the more you use them. Maybe it's that you get used to the speed, or maybe it's an actual slowdown, but it's certainly a feature we've come to know and love.

But the fact is, it's quite easy to end up in this situation (and not just on a Mac, but that's where we're focusing here). The problem is that it's all too easy to agree to have applications start up automatically as you log in, and to solve the problem, you must manually clean up the log in startup list occasionally, weeding out applications that you really don't need to have start each time you log in.

Some applications ask you if you want them to start each time you log in; others simply assume you do and add themselves to the startup list.

To rectify the situation, launch the System Preferences application. In the icons that the application displays, select the Users & Groups icon.

In the list on the left, find your own login information and click on it. At the top of the pane, find the Login Items button and click that button.

Then, in the list of login items, find applications that you know you don't need to have running all the time, select each in turn and click the minus button ("-") below the list. (You can use Command+Click to select multiple items, as well.)

Don't worry, even if you remove an application that you actually do want to have running as you log in, you can always add it back later by clicking the + button.

Removing items from the Login Items list may not make a huge difference, but it can make a measurable difference in startup time if you have a large number of login items starting automatically. (For more information, check out this link:

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken's tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at Submit your own technical questions to

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