December 21, 2010

Kim Komando answers your Web, photo questions

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Q. I’m interesting in buying a Kindle. I heard that it has a built-in Web browser. How usable is it for Web-surfing?

A. The Kindle’s Web browser is based on the same engine as Google’s Chrome. But it lacks tabbed browsing and flash support. It is also black and white only. You will want to use it primarily for text-based Websites. But, it can also access sites like Google Maps. Additionally, you can check Webmail from Yahoo! and Gmail. Just keep it mind that it may not always be stable. When you use it, do so over Wi-Fi connection. The Kindle does have 3G, but Amazon prefers that be used for book downloads only.

Q. I want to upload photos to share with friends and families. What is a good online photo-sharing service? I also want to have the option to order printed photos later.

A. For basic sharing, Facebook is likely your best bet. It’s likely that your friends and family are on Facebook anyway. And Facebook has recently upgraded its photo-hosting capabilities. Plus, it integrates with the popular Flickr photo sharing service. For sharing and printing, Google’s Picasa is a good bet. It is easy to create shareable Web albums. Additionally, Google has an excellent, free desktop photo organizer. It integrates closely with the Web version of Picasa. Picasa lets you print photos using a number of popular printing services.

Q. I just got my first digital camera. And I want to take pictures of upcoming family gatherings. Should I be shooting in RAW format? I hear it is better quality.

A. The RAW photo format is like a film negative; it’s an unprocessed image. This gives you more information to edit. And that allows you to make a better-looking final image. However, shooting in RAW format doesn’t guarantee a better image. And RAW files can be difficult to work with. Few programs can edit or view them. And they will need to be converted before sharing with others. For beginning photographers I don’t recommend shooting in RAW format. Focus on building your skills; worry about RAW format when image quality becomes an issue.

Q. I’m having family over for a reunion. There will be some kids running around. I’d like to set up my computer with some games. But I have a Mac. Are there any free games for it?

A. There are a number of free games available for the Mac. And most are age-appropriate. You can get a cute side-scrolling platformer like Frogatto. For the architecturally inclined, there is the Lego Digital Designer. Frets On Fire is a good Guitar Hero replacement for budding musicians. And finally you can try FlightGear, which is a high-quality flight simulator. However, for that one it helps to have a joystick. Note that these games are available for Windows-based computers as well. Find links at Komando.com/news.

Q. My mom wants to self-publish a book about my dad’s military career. What would be the best way to accomplish this?

A. The Internet provides many avenues for self-publishing. You will likely want a print-on-demand service. These only print books when they are ordered. Three good candidates are Lulu, Blurb and CreateSpace. Find links at Komando.com/news. Each one has a different method for submitting books. Do your research and choose the one that fits with your book style. Also, check prices carefully, as they change by book size and length. All three services have online stores for selling your book. Just note they do take a cut of each sale.

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 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.