July 7, 2011

Kim Komando solves your electronics, computer problems

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Q. I need to stay at my parent’s home while my father is recovering from heart surgery. I would like to set up a surveillance system so I can see what the kids are doing back at my home. Can I use Webcams to watch the interior?

A. Sure, Webcams can be used for this. However, you will need software that can handle multiple cameras. You also want features like motion detection, audio and remote streaming. Visit www.komando.com/news for a free program that will help. Note that Webcams usually have poor low-light performance. USB gadgets are also limited to about 16 feet of cable. To go longer, you need to mess with hubs or wireless bridges. You might consider a dedicated security system instead. It will be easier to set up and use.

Q. I am looking for a new job. I know that prospective employers will search for me online. How can I remove my Facebook profile from public searches?

A. By default, your Facebook profile shows up in Facebook and Google searches. That can be dangerous to your job search. Fortunately, you can turn this off, if you know where to look. Sign in to your account. Then click Account>>Privacy Settings. At the bottom, find the Applications and Web sites area. Click the Edit Settings link. Then go to Public Search and click Edit Settings. Uncheck the Enable Public Search option. Your profile won’t show up in Facebook or Google searches. If your kids are on Facebook, you should set this option for them.

Q. When will Apple release OS X Lion? I’m waiting for it to be released before I buy a new Mac.

A. OS X Lion is the latest operating system for Macs. Apple isn’t being very specific about the release date. We know it will be sometime in July, though. Fortunately, Apple does have an upgrade program. You can buy a Mac now and get a free upgrade to Lion when it ships. Any Mac purchased on or after June 6 is eligible. You have 30 days to request the upgrade. The offer closes 30 days after Lion is released. Apple will post more details on its site in July. Check back to find out how to request your upgrade.

Q. There are several new tablets coming out. How do they compare to the iPad 2?

A. Samsung, Toshiba and HP are all releasing new tablets. These are called the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Thrive and TouchPad, respectively. In terms of hardware and operating systems, they’re all equal or superior to the iPad 2. Plus, they’re the same price or slightly less. Where the iPad 2 has the edge is the Apple ecosystem. There are more apps, and it’s easier to get content. Plus, Apple has iOS 5 and iCloud on the way. These further integrate the iPad with your other Apple gadgets. No other tablet can entirely match that yet. Visit www.komando.com/news for a detailed tablet comparison.

Q. My Internet provider has a plan that includes a static IP address. It looks like it costs extra. Do I need one?

A. An IP address is your computer’s address on the Internet. Most residential Internet plans use dynamic IP addresses. Your IP address will periodically change. For most people, this isn’t a big deal. However, sometimes you want that address to be permanent. For example, some people have home-based Web servers or security cameras. It’s easier to access these remotely with a static IP address. You’ll always know your computer’s address. If you don’t need a permanent address, don’t bother paying for one.

Copyright 2011, WestStar TalkRadio Network. All rights reserved.

Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast or find the station nearest you, visit: http://www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim’s free e-mail newsletters, sign-up at: http://www.komando.com/newsletters.