Tech Q&A

iPads text, but only to a limited audience


Minneapolis Star Tribune

Q. My daughter, who is hearing-impaired, has been told that she can text from an iPad. Is this possible?

My daughter also wants to take the iPad outside her building, which doesn’t have Wi-Fi, and somehow still get on the Internet. What would she need to do this?

Maurine Dyrdahl Mounds View, Minn.

Any iPad using the current iOS 6 operating system, or the previous iOS 5, can send text messages using Apple’s iMessage function. But text messages can be sent only between Apple devices, so your daughter could only text people who have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Macintosh computer using a newer operating system. Your daughter could broaden her reach a bit with iPad apps such as the free Textie, which will work on iPads using an operating system as old as iOS 3.1; but everyone she texted would need to have the Textie app, too.

There are two ways to get on the Internet with an iPad: Wi-Fi or, if you’ve bought the more expensive cellular iPad model, via the cellphone system. Using a cellular connection requires setting up a separate cellphone account for the iPad.

Q. I would like to download e-books to my laptop, which runs Windows 7, and to my desktop, which runs Windows XP. How can I do this?

Harold Gabriel Brooklyn Center, Minn.

You can download the Kindle e-reader software for PC on Amazon’s website, at Kindle software is compatible with Amazon’s online bookstore and with some libraries’ free e-book lending collections. To get started with the Kindle software in the Amazon bookstore, visit Amazon’s help page at

Q. My Hewlett-Packard computer had a problem with a sticking keyboard. Cleaning the keyboard didn’t help, so I bought a new one. But I still had the same problem.

When I hit a key, the letter either does not appear, or else it will appear after I hit the subsequent key. Is there a PC adjustment that can fix this?

Gloria Palmentieri Margate

There are a couple of adjustments to try.

Make sure you haven’t accidentally activated a special Windows program for people with disabilities. Called “slow keys,” it allows the user to specify how long a key must be depressed before it registers on the screen. It can be set for as long as two seconds. Go to “Start,” then “Control Panel,” then click on “Ease of Access Center.” Click on “Make the keyboard easier to use.” Make sure the box next to “Turn on filter keys” is unchecked. Click “OK.”

If that doesn’t solve the problem, try adjusting Windows control for the rate at which keystrokes, particularly duplicate keystrokes, show up on the PC screen. Go to “Start,” then click on “Control Panel” and choose “Keyboard.” Under the “Speed” tab, you’ll find two slider controls, one for repeat delay (move it to the right for a shorter delay when you hit the same key twice in a row) and repeat rate (slide it to the right to speed up the rate at which the next character in a sequence appears on the screen.)

Contact Steve Alexander at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; e-mail

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