Q&A With Kim Komando: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro
Q: Now that there are new models of each, would you buy a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro?
A: I would go for the best of both worlds with the Retina display MacBook Pro. It has improved portability like the Air combined with the performance of the Pro. However, it starts at $2,200 — which may be out of your price range. If that’s the case, the right one for you depends on how you want to use it. If you need your machine to perform high-demand tasks like video editing, stick with the basic Pro. It starts at $1,200 and offers maxed-out performance and a beefy hard drive. If you’re just an everyday user or frequent traveler, look into the 13-inch Air. It has the same price tag and plenty of power, but it weighs half as much thanks to a solid state drive. You might require an external hard drive for extra storage space, though.
Q: I’ve used the same profile picture for years and I’d like to take a new one. What makes a great Facebook profile picture?
A: My first suggestion is to try to find a friend willing to snap your picture. You may have an amateur photographer on your friends list with some nice photo equipment. If not, most cameras and even some smartphones have a timer — use that for good self portraits. Pick a simple background that matches your skin tone and stand so you fill the frame. That way, the picture won’t look bizarre when it’s minimized to thumbnail — which is how most people will see it at first. Facebook profile pictures have square borders, so keep that in mind when framing your shot, too. Before you upload, make any changes or improvements with a Web editor, such as PicMonkey.
Q: I have a wired network set up, but I’d like to add some wireless connectivity for the bedrooms upstairs. Can I just plug in a wireless router to my network?
A: You could, but I prefer using a wireless access point instead. It’s like a wireless router without the router, which makes it easier to set up. Plus, starting at $30, it’s generally less expensive. The WAP will have a single Ethernet port. Just plug a network cable into it and you have a wireless network. However, before you start using it, be sure to enable encryption to keep out unwanted users. The WAP’s manual will have the instructions. If you already have a wireless router sitting around, you can use that as well.
Q: Whenever someone sends me a text on my iPhone, a portion of it pops up on my lock screen. I don’t want people reading my messages over my shoulder — can I stop this?
A: This handy feature could be embarrassing if the wrong person sees the wrong text. Luckily, it’s an easy fix. Go to Settings>>Notifications and select Messages. Here, you can turn off Show Preview. When you do that, the notification will show only the name of the sender — not any of the message. This should be enough privacy for most people. If you want to take it a step further, turn off View in Lock Screen from the same menu. This will make it so no notification shows up at all when you receive a message. Both of these work with your mail notifications in addition to text messages.
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 from noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.