Do you really need unlimited data?
Q. I was grandfathered into an unlimited data plan on Verizon. Now I really want to upgrade my phone, but when I do, I’ll have to switch plans. Do you think it’s a good tradeoff?
A. Keep in mind that you can buy an unlocked phone and bring it on to your unlimited plan. That will probably cost you less in the long run.
That being said, I don’t think most people need unlimited data. The average person uses less than 3 gigabytes each month.
With tools like Onavo Extend to compress data and JiWire to find free Wi-Fi, you can use even less. That way, you can sign up for a potentially cheaper deal, or go for a tiered data deal such as T-Mobile and prepaid carriers use, and save a little bit of cash. Check out www.kimkomando.com for more ways to save on your smartphone bill.
Eliminate digital distraction to get things done
Q. I just started working from home. I love it, but I do find myself easily distracted. Are there any tools that can help?
A. Plenty! Cold Turkey and MinutesPlease make sure you don’t spend too much time, or any time at all, on distracting websites. Tools like Pocket and Instapaper let you save interesting Web articles for later. That way, you don’t feel like you have to read them right now or miss out. If the constant influx of email is the problem, you can temporarily stop your email with Inbox Pause. You can turn it off for a bit to finish that project and then come back without having missed a thing.
Make your own time-lapse videos
Q. I really love time-lapse videos. I think I want to take some of my own, like sunsets as the weather changes this fall. What camera do I need to buy?
A. In most cases, any camera with a tripod and a remote trigger will work. If you have a nice enough camera on your smartphone, you can use that. Pick up LapseItPro for Android or TimeLapse for iOS. These do most of the work for you. You just have to keep your phone steady and charged. Stop-motion, a close cousin of time-lapse video, can be just as easy! You want Animate it for your Apple gadget and Motion for your Android. These have all sorts of cool filters and animating effects that you can add to your video.
Best online security for businesses
Q. Can I use free security software for my business computers? If not, what should I do?
A. Sorry, but you can’t. Most free security software comes with the caveat that it’s for personal use only. Luckily, companies like avast! and AVG make good business solutions that feel like their free versions. Bitdefender, F-Secure and Norton are good options, too. It’s just as important to keep your business’ software up to date. So, don’t use any out-of-date versions of software or risky plugins like Java and Flash if you don’t have to. Finally, you can use a program like KeePass on your employees’ computers to keep their passwords safe.
Make your own photo book
Q. I’ve been honing my photography skills for about two years now. I’ve got a set of shots I’d like to turn into a coffee-table book of sorts. Are there any tech tools that can help?
A. There are two ways to go about this: The hard way and the easy way. The hard way is cheaper, but it requires a little more computer skill. Start with a photo editor like GIMP to edit your photos and then lay everything out with Scribus. Print on high-quality paper and find a place that does book bindings. If you feel like that’s too much work, it’s time to try the easy way. There are sites like Shutterfly, WinkFlash, and Blurb that make it easy to design and print your book. Some can even sell it for you.
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.