Cooking With a New Computer

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Taste Largely Decides

Choice of Computer

Q. My wife would like to put together a keepsake family cookbook of her best recipes but needs a new computer first. We currently have a PC, but would a Mac or a new Windows model work best, and with most cookbook programs?

A. Unless you need to run a specific program that works on only one type of operating system, the decision between a Mac or a Windows computer comes down to personal preferences and how much money you wish to spend. Windows-based PCs tend to be less expensive, and if you have been using Windows you would probably have less of a learning curve -- as well as an easier time transferring files and other data from your old machine to the new one.

Apple's Mac computers may cost a little more upfront, but have their devotees for elegant software and ease of use. Things are shifting, but Macs are still generally less of a target for malicious software as well.

Although the Mac may require some getting used to after years of Windows, the latest version of Microsoft's operating system -- Windows 8 -- is noticeably different from previous versions of the software. If you can, you may want to go to a store that sells both types of computers and try out each one. (With extra software, a Mac computer can also run Windows if you cannot decide which to choose.)

Since both systems can easily handle standard tasks like e-mail, Web browsing, word processing and displaying photo, audio and video files, the cookbook software you like best may be a deciding factor. Some cookbook creation and printing services (like makethefamilycookbook.com or www.familycookbookproject.com) are Web-based and work on both systems, as does desktop software like Cook'n. Other programs, like Living Cookbook, are Windows-only.

Voice Memos

In Extra Large

Q. I used the Voice Memos app on the iPhone to record three hours of audio, but when I try to e-mail the file to myself, the app says it can only send a shortened version. I don't sync my phone with iTunes, so is there a way to copy this recording to my Mac?

A. If Apple's iTunes-syncing solution does not work for you, there are alternatives. One method is to use a third-party app likeiExplorer for Mac or iFunBox for Windows and Mac to browse the files on the phone and copy the ones you need to the computer.

For future large voice memos, there are apps like DropVox which records the audio and sends it right to an online Dropbox account for easy retrieval. And if you ever decide to try out iTunes, voice memos are automatically copied back to the computer's audio library when you have the "Include voice memos" option selected on the Music tab.

TIP OF THE WEEK To help protect your Facebook account, you can turn on the login approvals option in your settings, which requires that a special code be sent to your phone when you log in from a new computer. But even if you do not have a cell signal when you use Facebook from a new machine, you can still use the company's mobile app on your Android handset or iPhone to get the necessary security code.

In the Facebook app, tap the top left menu icon. In the iPhone version, flick down the screen, tap Code Generator and follow the steps on screen to grab the numeric code you need to log in. In the Android version, tap Account and then Code Generator from the top left menu button. Tap the Activate option and wait a minute or two to receive the code required to get into your Facebook account.

Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to QandA @nytimes.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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