Q. I want to sign up for a streaming-video service, but there are too many to choose from. Is Netflix better than Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime?
A. Honestly, I don’t think any of the big name streaming services is flat-out “better” than one of the others. All three offer hours upon hours of videos to watch at high quality. They’re all priced about the same to start, too. Amazon ends up being $1 cheaper a month, but you have to pay annually. I’d see which service offers your favorite shows and movies. The site Can I Stream It? can help you find out. Sign up for the service that has what you want to watch. Keep in mind that a show that’s exclusive to one service now may be on every service in a few months.
Q. One of the pixels on my monitor is stuck on red color, and it’s distracting me. How do I fix it?
A. The easiest way is by quickly flashing red, blue and green images on the screen. You can find videos that do this on YouTube or on a site called Flexcode. If you have epilepsy or are prone to seizures, I’d ask someone else to do this for you. If that doesn’t work, you can try firmly pressing on the pixel with a pen cap or stylus to try to get it working again. You can massage it with a damp microfiber cloth when your monitor is off, too. Keep in mind, though, that this could make the problem worse and void your monitor’s warranty.
Q. My friend said I infected her computer with a virus. All I did was copy a few files from my keychain USB drive. Is it possible for a USB drive to carry a virus?
A. It’s definitely possible. Anything that can hold files can have a virus. However, a computer with active anti-virus software should have caught the virus as it was transferring. Tell your friend to grab free anti-virus software like avast! or Avira so this doesn’t happen again. You can carry an anti-virus program like Clamwin Portable on your drive, too. Run that when you plug into a new computer to stop viruses from infecting your USB drive.
Q. I’m buying a desktop, so I need a webcam to go with it. I’ve never purchased a webcam before. What should I look for?
A. The most important feature of a webcam is if it fits your office. Make sure the cord reaches your desk or monitor. If the webcam has a clip-on stand, make sure it actually works with your monitor. For great image quality, look for a resolution of 1280x720 (720p HD) and a frame rate of 30 frames per second. More resolution or frame rate is nice, but not necessary. If you don’t use video chat often, you can go down to 15 fps or a resolution of 640x480, but I wouldn’t go lower. After that, it’s all about add-ons. If you want fun video effects and the webcam software you like doesn’t offer them, you can get them with ManyCam. As for actual video-chat software, stick with Skype.
Q. I need to email a big PowerPoint presentation to my employees. Will my email service accept it?
A. It depends on your email service. Some email providers offer up to 10 gigabytes of space for attachments, while others are still limited to 20 megabytes. Even if your provider offers a lot of room, I still wouldn’t attach it. It is going to fill up your employees’ inboxes and take a while to download even if you compress it with a program like 7-zip. Instead, I’d upload the file to a sharing site like WikiSend and send your employees a link. You can even add a password to the download. You can tell your employees the password offline for security. You also could share it on a cloud storage site like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.
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