October 5, 2010

Kim Komando tackles your technology issues

OSKALOOSA — Q. My wife is Japanese and doesn’t read English well. I’d like to buy her a Kindle. But, I need to know if it will display Japanese characters.

A. Yes, the Kindle will display non-Latin characters. You can read Japanese, Cyrillic and other languages on it. However, Japanese publishers haven’t embraced e-books yet. Very few sites offer Japanese e-books. One place you’ll find Japanese e-books is the world Public Library; it charges a $9 annual membership. Visit Komando.com/news for the link. You can also load Japanese documents using Amazon’s Personal Document Service via Whispernet. But Amazon says that loading documents with non-Latin Characters over USB won’t always work.

Q. I’m nearsighted. So I want to use my HDTV as a computer monitor. It will help me see better when doing accounting and preparing tax returns. Are there any drawbacks?

A. Using an HDTV as a monitor sounds like a good idea. But, in this case, it probably won’t help you much. HDTVs are better for watching videos than displaying text. That’s because HDTVs have fewer pixels than larger computer monitors. The resolution of HDTVs tops out at 1920x1080, no matter the size. That’s the same resolution as a 24-inch monitor. As monitor size increases, so does resolution. So, you’ll get a sharper picture when you’re sitting close. With an HDTV, you’ll have to sit further away for a clear picture. That defeats the purpose.

Q. I just bought a MacBook. The manual says to leave it in Sleep mode normally. It also says to use Standby if the computer will be idle for more than two days. What’s the difference in terms of power use?

A. Apple’s advice provides the best balance between usability and environmental friendliness. By default, your Mac goes to Sleep if it isn’t used for 10 minutes. It also does this then when you close the laptop lid. In Sleep mode, your MacBook draws 1 watt per hour. When it is in standby (or off), it draws .25 watts. I recommend following Apple’s advice. Just let your MacBook go to sleep when you’re not using it. Try to turn it off when you won’t be using it for an extended period of time.

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