August 19, 2011

Have questions about computers, electronics? Kim Komando has answers

OSKALOOSA — Q. Did I read right that there is a new Kindle coming out? I’d like to give my lovely wife of 25 years my old one. She loves to read. Then, I’d like to buy myself the new Kindle.

A. There are rumors floating around about a Kindle 4. It may feature a touch screen and finally, a color E-ink display. Not much else is known, except it isn’t expected until late 2011 or 2012. However, Amazon is rumored to be preparing Kindle Tablets. These will run Google’s Android operating system. The tablets could come in three sizes: 7-inch, 9-inch and 10.1-inch. They’ll be tightly integrated with Amazon’s online services for movies, books and apps. Expect to see the smaller tablets this fall, possibly. The 10.1-inch tablet may not arrive until 2012.

Q. I just installed Apple’s latest operating system, OS X Lion. I like the new features, but it did something odd to window scrolling. The directions got reversed. How can I fix it?

A. One of the features Apple introduced in Lion was natural scrolling. This makes the scrolling work like it does on the iPad and iPhone. For computer users, that means it’s opposite of what it used to be. Natural scrolling makes sense if you’re using a touchscreen. On a computer, however, it’s just confusing. Fortunately, you can turn it off. Open System Preferences and go to Trackpad. Select the Scroll & Zoom tab. Uncheck the Scroll direction option. That’s all there is to it. Happy scrolling!

Q. I’m trying to use my smartphone and camera outside. However, the LCD screens go black when I put on my sunglasses. It’s very frustrating! What is causing this?

A. You are probably using sunglasses with polarized lenses. Polarized lenses only let light through in a certain way. Problematically, LCD screens emit polarized light. If the light and lenses don’t match up, no light from the screen gets through. Try rotating the screen; you may see the image come back. That’s the polarization at work. The only simple fix is to take off your sunglasses. If polarization isn’t the problem, you need to turn up your screen’s brightness. LCDs rely on backlighting to work. In strong sunlight, the backlight gets overpowered. So you don’t see an image. You can try shading the LCD as well.

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