March 22, 2011

Kim Komando answers your computer, video questions


OSKALOOSA — Q. Both Firefox and Thunderbird are made by the same company. What is the difference? 

A. Firefox is a Web browser like Internet Explorer or Safari. It’s what you use to visit Websites. It displays text, photos, video, audio and interactive animations on Web pages. Plus, it handles security for things like online banking. Thunderbird is an e-mail program. An e-mail program’s main purpose is to manage e-mail. It retrieves e-mail from a remote server so you can read it. And it lets you create new e-mail and send it. E-mail programs can also have features like address books and calendars. Visit Komando.com/news to download Firefox and Thunderbird for free.

Q. My Blu-ray player’s manufacturer just sent me a firmware update disc. What is firmware? Should I install it?

A. Firmware is a specific type of software. It directly interacts with digital hardware. Other software, like an operating system, sits on top of the firmware. Every digital gadget has firmware. Firmware updates shouldn’t be taken lightly. A mistake could wreck your gadget. However, updating firmware can add new features and fix fundamental security problems. If a manufacturer requests that you update, I would do so. There is probably a good reason. But in general, don’t upgrade firmware if your gadget is working fine.

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.


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