Oskaloosa.com

August 19, 2011

Have questions about computers, electronics? Kim Komando has answers

By KIM KOMANDO
The Oskaloosa Herald

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.



Q. I started an online store for my business. I’ve seen a small boost in sales, but not a lot. Is there an inexpensive to attract more customers?

A. Marketing is certainly important for attracting customers. Traditional advertising works, but you probably don’t have the money. Instead, consider going the free, social networking route. Start a business page on Facebook. Have your friends and family link to it. Create a Twitter account for up-to-the-minute inventory announcements. Run promotions for followers in both locations. Interested people will share your store site link with their friends. You can also find groups online that are interested in your type of merchandise. Visit their forums and invite them to visit your store. Just be sure to abide by the forum’s rules about advertising.



Q. I heard you say that law enforcement could have handheld facial-recognition scanners soon. How long do you think it be before everyone has one?

A. It probably won’t be long at all. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have already made a facial recognition app. They even sold the technology to Google. Facial recognition is scary enough. However, the researches went a bit further. Their app can recognize you and grab public information about you from online. This can be instantly compiled for the app’s user. With enough information, it can even guess your Social Security Number. The researchers aren’t releasing their app. However, it’s only a matter of time before someone else makes and sells one. Now might be a good time to check the security settings of all your online accounts. 

Copyright 2011, 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, watch the show 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.