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August 9, 2010

Kim Komado has high-tech advice for consumers

OSKALOOSA — Q. I have a DSL Internet connection. During the day it’s great. But in the evenings, it slows to a crawl. My provider says there isn’t a problem on its end. Are too many people logging on at once? What can I do to fix it?

A. Theoretically, traffic from other users doesn’t slow down a DSL connection. DSL runs over a phone line to a switching station. As long as you are within a certain distance, you shouldn’t have problems. As you get farther away from the switching station, your connection gets slower. I recommend keeping a log of your connection speeds. Find an online speed test at Komando.com/news. Try to get empirical evidence of the slow down. Then take it to your service provider. That can help it track down the issue.

Q. I’m traveling for three months this summer. I would like to get cellular broadband for my laptop. But I don’t need a year-long contract. Is there a company that sells short-term wireless plans?

A. Verizon offers prepaid mobile broadband. You can purchase daily ($15), weekly ($30), or monthly ($50) access. Data is capped at 75MB, 250MB and 500MB, respectively. Virgin Mobile has Broadband2Go. The 300MB plan is $20, and $40 gets you 1GB. There is also a $60 5GB plan. T-Mobile’s Even More Plus webConnect 200MB plan is $24.99 a month. The webConnect Overage Free Plan is $39.99 a month. It gives you 5GB of data usage. Find links to them at Komando.com/news.

Q. I’m really enjoying using my new DSLR. And I have been using iPhoto to manage photos on my Mac. It used to launch automatically when I connected my camera. But this has stopped. I’d like to know how to fix this.

A. This is an easy fix. In iPhoto, click iPhoto>>Preferences. Select the General tab. Find the drop-down menu labeled “Connecting camera opens.” Set it to iPhoto. Then, close the window. Your settings will automatically be saved. You probably also pull photos off CDs from time to time. Why not make them automatically open iPhoto, too? Click the Apple logo>>System Preferences. Click CDs & DVDs. Find the drop-down box labeled “When you insert a picture CD.” Set it to Open iPhoto.

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