You’ve got tech questions, here are the answers. Kim Komando helps you make the most of your technology by answering your thorniest tech questions. So if you’re wondering what to buy, how to plug it in, or how to fix it, Kim can help.
Shut down at night
Q. My daughter says it’s bad to shut down my computer every night. Is she right?
A. In the old days, leaving your computer on at night was recommended, but that’s not the case anymore. There are benefits and disadvantages to both shutting down and leaving your computer on. If you leave it on, it drains more power but it can do routine maintenance and updates while you sleep. If you turn it off, it saves power and won’t make annoying noises during the night. However, it can mean a very long startup in the morning. Of course, you can speed up your boot with Autoruns, but it can still be a pain. Overall, the choice is yours and neither will drastically alter your computer’s lifespan.
Gmail on your iPhone
Q. I’m going to switch to the iPhone 5 from an Android gadget. I’d like to keep using Gmail and other services, though. Can I do that?
A. Sure! Many Google services like Gmail, Google Maps, Google Chrome and more have official iPhone apps. If you want to use Gmail in your iPhone’s default Mail app, just go to Settings >> Mail, Contact and Calendars. Tap the add button and pick Gmail from the menu. Enter your information to sync your mail and your calendar. To get your Google contacts in your iPhone, go to the same menu and select “Other” from the list. Type “Google.com” in the server section and then input your Gmail information to sync it.
Skip rooting Android
Q. My grandson says I’d like my Android smartphone a lot more if I rooted it. What does this mean? Is he right?
A. Possibly, but I wouldn’t try it if you don’t know what you’re doing. Rooting simply means gaining “root access” to your phone, which opens up more of your phone’s features. To do it, you usually have to find a hole in the phone’s programming, which can cause all sorts of problems on your phone. It’s easier than it’s been in the past, but it’s still a risky change. Since you can easily load third-party apps from a program like AirDroid anyway, I’d skip rooting if you’re new to smartphones. Unlike smartphones, it’s actually against the law to root a tablet, so avoid that like the plague.
JPEG vs. RAW
Q. I just bought my first DSLR. Should I shoot JPEG or RAW photos with it?
A. If you have the extra memory cards to support it, I’d shoot in RAW. The difference between RAW and JPEG has to do with memory and file size. JPEGs drop some of the color information and other details to make the file as small as it possibly can. RAW photos are bigger files because they’re like a digital negative with more color information. That makes it easier to get a better picture when you’re editing the photo. Many commercial editing programs support RAW. If you need a free program to help you edit RAW photos, use RAWTherapee, www.rawtherapee.com/.
Q. I keep some of my sensitive records on a portable drive. Is there any way I can password-protect them?
A. There are several programs that can put a password on files that can work for this. I like AxCrypt, www.axantum.com/axcrypt/, because it can encrypt your files and turn them into .EXE files so they can be opened on any computer, even without the program. You can password-protect entire folders or just one file with a simple right-click. Remember, any time you encrypt or password-protect a file, you have to remember your password. If you don’t, you’ll be locked out of the file for good. I’d hate to see that happen with an important file!
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.