Q&A with Kim Komando
Q: I’d like to buy a tablet computer, but those prices are awfully high. Is there any place where I can find a cheap iPad that isn’t a scam?
A: If you’re looking for the third generation iPad, probably not. However, Apple sells the iPad 2 for $399. That’s still a powerful tablet and the price tag is much easier to swallow. You could save even more if you buy a refurbished iPad from Apple. These are certified used models that come with a 1-year warranty, a new battery and a new case. Usually, you’ll save about $100, maybe a little more. Of course, you could try Amazon or eBay if you’re willing to take a risk. I saw a few iPad 2s for under $300, but they weren’t in the best condition. Keep in mind: When you buy from third parties, you usually won’t have a warranty to fall back on.
Q: I’m interviewing for a job in another state and they set up a video interview. I’ve never done a Web chat before. Do you have any tips?
A: Most of the things you would do to prepare for an in-person interview apply here. Dress very professional — don’t think you can wear pajama pants just because they won’t see your legs! You should position the camera so it captures you from the chest up. Leave a little elbow room between your arms and the frame of the chat window. The best way to achieve this is to place the camera right above your monitor. That also allows you to look directly at the camera while still seeing the interviewer’s face. Make sure you sit against a blank wall, not against a window or anything that would distract the interviewer. As always, practice makes perfect, so test your equipment multiple times before the interview.
Q: I have an 8-year-old to whom I’d like to give a cellphone so we can keep in touch. Are there any kid-friendly phone carriers? I don’t want to give her a smartphone.
A: Two of the major providers for kids’ phones are Kajeet and Firefly. Neither have long-term contracts and both offer parental controls like call and text blocking. Kajeet also has a GPS tracking service. With Kajeet, $25 a month earns you 300 minutes, unlimited tracking and unlimited messaging. The phones start at $35 for a basic flip phone. If you want an even more toned-down phone, Firefly’s $50 glowPhone has only five buttons, including two dedicated parent buttons. Firefly has its own service that costs 15 cents per minute or $65/month for unlimited calling. You also could add the glowPhone to an existing family plan with another carrier.
Q: Websites are constantly asking for my email address. I’d like to create accounts or receive newsletters without risking my main email address. What should I do?
A: You could set up an account just for that kind of mail, but that might become confusing. I’d recommend setting up an email alias instead. This is a disposable address that redirects to your main email. Yahoo and Hotmail users can set these up automatically from their settings menu. If you use Gmail, simply add a plus sign and any word to your current email address, and it will redirect automatically. For example, email@example.com could become firstname.lastname@example.org . If you use an email service that doesn’t offer disposable email addresses, sites like Jetable can set them up for you. You can find it at http://komando.com/news.
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.