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December 6, 2010

Kim Komando answers your holiday electronics questions

OSKALOOSA — Q. My family is coming over for the holidays. I need to entertain my grandkids. What kind of gadget will do the trick?

A. The current entertainment in my household is Microsoft’s Kinect. This is a $140 add-on for the Xbox 360. It does away with a handheld controller. You control the games by body movement. It actually works well and it’s a lot of fun. Plus, it can be a good workout. If you have a PlayStation 3 already, check out the Move. This is a new movement-based controller similar to the Nintendo Wii’s controller. Don’t forget that the kids might have smart phones already. In that case, they won’t have any trouble entertaining themselves!

Q. I just got an iPhone 4, and I’m worried about it being stolen. I set the four-digit code to lock the phone. Will that really keep thieves out of it?

A. The four-digit code won’t keep out a determined hacker. There are ways around it, depending on your phone’s software. Make sure your phone is updated to the latest iOS version. It closes many of the security holes. The latest iPhone software also enables Find My iPhone. This lets you find and remotely wipe a stolen iPhone. Formerly, you needed a MobileMe subscription for the feature. You can also use a stronger password. On the phone’s Home screen, tap Settings. Then tap General>>Passcode Lock. Turn off Simple Passcode to make a password with letters in addition to numbers.

Q. I’m looking for a laptop for video editing. I will also use it for serious gaming. What components do I need to have? I want a Windows machine.

A. This one will definitely break the bank! Expect to spend $1,000 to $1,700 on the laptop. You will want an Intel Core i7 processor and at least 4GB of RAM. Eight gigabytes would be better. Make sure you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows 7. You’ll also need a high-end graphics card. Look for an AMD Mobility Radeon or Nvidia GeForce M. Higher numbers are better. AMD’s current high-end is the 5800; Nvidia’s is the GTX 480M. Additionally, make sure to get the biggest screen possible. You’ll need it for video editing.

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