November 18, 2010

Kim Komando answers your computer, electronics questions

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Q. If I use a photo editor like Picasa, I can tag my pictures with keywords. Do these tags stay with the photo if I share them? What if the other person doesn’t use Picasa?

A. Tags let you search through photos using keywords. For example, you can tag a photo with the name of person in it. Then you could just type the name to search for the photo later. It depends on your editor, but usually tags stay attached to photos you share. This is the case with Picasa. It doesn’t matter what photo program the recipient is using. You can check this by e-mailing a photo to yourself and opening its properties (right-click the photo and select Properties). Look for a section marked tags or keywords. You’ll see your tags there.

Q. I have an e-reader but I still go to the library to get books. Why should I pay to read a book when I can do it for free? Are there any places that I can sign up to rent e-books?

A. Actually, there are plenty of places on the Web that let you download free e-books. And your local library probably loans e-books. If you’re looking for a subscription-style service, check out World Public Library. World Public Library offers more than 500,000 titles. Anyone can access basic HTML versions of the books. But for $9 annually, you get access to higher-quality PDF versions. Find links to World Public Library and free e-book sites at Komando.com/news.

Q. I have a MacBook that I use for school. I have several reading assignments per week. Are there any good, affordable text-to-speech programs?

A. You’re in luck. Apple actually packages some powerful text-to-speech software on Mac OS X already. Open up your System Preferences. Then click on Speech. Under the Text to Speech tab, check the box next to Speak selected text when the key is pressed. You’ll be prompted to enter in a key combination. Use something that won’t overwrite other shortcuts. I used Control + T. Now highlight the text you’d like read aloud. Use the key combination you made earlier. Your Mac should now be reading to you.

Q. My Internet connection seems really slow. I don’t think I’m getting the speeds my provider promised me. Is there a way to check?

A. First, let me say that there are a lot of variables when it comes to broadband speed. It depends on your provider, your computer, and your modem and router setup. But there is a free tool you can use to measure your Internet speed. It’s called Speedtest. Visit Komando.com/news for a link. Speedtest measures the three main processes involved in Internet speed. It even lets you compare your download speed results with the average user of your provider.

Q. I have my iTunes library on my desktop PC. I recently purchased a new laptop. How do I transfer my music from my desktop to my laptop?

A. The first thing you’ll want to do is update to the newest version of iTunes on both computers. Now you’ll need to consolidate your library on the old desktop. Click File>>Library>>Organize library. Now check Consolidate files. Once this is done, find your iTunes folder and move it to an external hard drive. In XP, this is in My Documents>>My Music. In Vista and 7, it’s in Start>>Music. Now connect the external hard drive to your new computer and copy the iTunes folder to the same location. You’re done!

Copyright 2010, 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.