December 16, 2010

Kim Komando solves your holiday compter, electronics problems

OSKALOOSA — Q. I’m looking for a good GPS unit. But it can’t be too expensive. What would you recommend?

A. GPS units are much less expensive these days. Prices start around $70. Any of them will work well. Just choose one with street name vocalization. That way you can keep your eyes on the road. More expensive units have additional features like real-time traffic and multi-destination route optimization. They can also have free map updates and photo or music playback. The Garmin Nuvi 295 ($90) and Nuvi 1350 ($140) are good choices. Your choice will depend on your budget. Smart phones can also be used as GPS units. You just need a navigation app. They work well, and it’s one less thing to carry.

Q. I’m having family over for Christmas. How can I keep them from messing up my computer? I use Windows.

A. The best thing to do is to create a Guest account. Do this by clicking Start>>Control Panel>>User Accounts. Click “Manage another account.” Click Guest and then click the Turn on button. Additionally, make sure you password-protect your main account. In the User Accounts panel, click “Create a password for your account.” Enter and confirm the password. Create a password hint. Then click the “Create password” button. Finally, make sure your security software is up to date. Even with a limited account, guests can still download viruses.

Q. I just bought a new Mac. And I want to make sure my kids can use it safely. Is there a way to set parental controls in OS X?

A. Parental controls are built into OS X. Start by creating a new account for your kids. Click the Apple logo and click System Preferences. Then, select Accounts. Click the Plus button to add a new account. If the button is grayed out, click the padlock icon and enter your password. Once the new account is created, go back to the System Preferences pane. Select Parental Controls and then select the new account. You will see five areas of control: System, Content, Mail & iChat, Time Limits and Logs. You’ll have to determine the right settings for your kids.

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