Q. I was really excited to start playing on my brand-new tablet, but then I read that tablets can get viruses. Is this true? Do I need anti-virus software?
A. Yes and yes! There already have been a few tablet-specific viruses, and itís only a matter of time before they become widespread. For anti-virus software, I recommend Lookoutís anti-virus app. It also works on smartphones, so download it for your other mobile gadgets, too. It helps to make sure your tablet is running the most recent software it can, too. To update an iPad, go to Settings>>General Software Update, and for Androids, itís Settings>>System Updates. I recommend switching your phoneís default browser, too. Chrome and Opera Mini both are fantastic mobile browsers that are more secure.
Q. Iím running out of space on my computer for photos. Iím thinking about cloud storage, but all of my photos are in RAW format. Do you think cloud storage can handle those?
A. Thatís definitely a possibility. Though the RAW files can be anywhere from 10 to 20 MB in size, cloud storage sites like Google Drive, iCloud and Amazon Cloud all give you 5 GB of storage space for free. Thatís enough to stash about 250 to 500 photos on each. Keep in mind that you can use multiple free cloud sites at once to add to your space. If you need even more space, sites like Winkflash might be able to help you out, but you have to convert your files to JPEG format. In addition to online storage, Iíd recommend keeping a local copy of all your files on an external drive. You never know when an online service is going to go away or change its use policy.
Q. I heard the most recent version of Java has fixed some of its infamous security problems. Is that true?
A. Yes, if you set it up right. First, you have to download the most recent version (Version 7, Update 10) from the Java site. Since the big problem with Java stems from website attacks, you have to turn Javaís browser functions off. Go to Start>>Computer and type in ďjavacpl.exeĒ into the search bar to launch Javaís control panel. Mac users can click the Java icon in System Preferences to find the control panel. Go to the Security tab and uncheck the box that says, ďEnable Java content in the browser.Ē This lets you run Java programs, such as LibreOffice, without allowing hackers the chance to use Java against you in your browser.
Q. I just shot my first video over Christmas, and Iíd like to edit it before I upload it to YouTube. Is there any free video editing software thatís good for rookies?
A. You might already have some. Windows XP and Vista came with Windows Movie Maker, while Windows 7 and 8 users can download Windows Live Movie Maker, which has extra features but still is easy to use. If youíve bought a Mac recently, it probably came with a version of iMovie that will help you edit your videos, too. If youíve tried those and arenít a fan, check out Avidemux. Itís incredibly simple to use and should give you enough power to trim and edit your videos. If you want to take your movies to the next level, try the free Lightworks. Itís powerful enough for Hollywood movies, but it has a learning curve to match.
Q. I accidentally erased family photos from my hard drive. Is there any way I can recover them?
A. This is why I always recommend that you backup your files. Thankfully, there are programs like Recuva that can help you bring back some of them. It checks for traces of files that havenít been written over yet and works for flash drives and memory cards, too. Just choose which drive you want Recuva to scan and it will bring up a checkbox of files. Select which files you want to recover and click the recover button. Keep in mind that this process might take awhile depending on how many different files you have. Also, you probably wonít be able to recover everything.
Kim Komando hosts the nationís 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.