Browse in privacy
Q. I heard that most browsers have a private browsing feature that doesn’t record where you go. Where do I find this?
A. You can find it in your browser’s main menu. Firefox calls it a Private window and Chrome calls it Incognito mode. Internet Explorer keeps it under Safety >> InPrivate browsing. Or you can just hit the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + P in any browser aside from Chrome, which uses Ctrl + Shift + N.
Just know that this only hides you from casual snoops and some advertisers. Your Internet service provider still knows where you’re going and a hacker could figure it out, too. So don’t try to use it for anything illegal.
Make extra money online
Q. I’d like to make some extra money, but I need something flexible. Any ideas?
A. You can make money online doing odd jobs. TaskRabbit and Gigwalk are two great places to start. There are tasks like picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping or taking pictures of products in stores. They’re usually not too demanding and you can pick tasks that fit with your schedule.
If you want something a little longer term, and have solid skills in an area, you can check out Elance. This is a place where freelancers and businesses can find each other for short-term writing, programming and other jobs.
New HDTV technology explained
Q. I’m hearing that OLED is the next big thing in TVs. What is it?
A. OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode. Unlike standard LCD screens, it doesn’t need a backlight; the pixels glow on their own. That means it’s thinner and lighter. Plus, it can turn off pixels for deep blacks. That means you get better contrast and sharper images.
Overall, the term to describe OLED screens is “gorgeous.” But another term to describe them is “expensive.”
Expect to pay three or more times the cost of a comparable LCD TV. They’re also new, so there are some kinks to work out. Unless you’re an early-adopter videophile, or independently wealthy, I’d stick with LCD for now.
Speed up your PC
Q. My Windows 7 computer has been moving really slowly lately. Are there any tools that can speed it up?
A. PCs do tend to slow down over time, so you might just be dealing with an older machine. However, there are a few things that could cause sudden slowdown.
One common cause is too many programs, or a malfunctioning program, running in the background. Use a program like Autoruns to see and control what programs start automatically with your computer. You can easily remove unwanted junk programs with PC Decrapifier. If your computer is really bogging down, Process Explorer can help you track down the offending program.
Is your hard drive dying?
Q. My computer is making an odd clicking sound. Is this something to worry about?
A. Yes, it is. A new clicking sound, or grinding sound, is a frequent sign of a failing hard drive. CrystalDiskInfo and Speedfan can give you more information. They show hard drive errors and temperature, respectively. I would make sure your data is backed up because you might not have a hard drive for much longer.
Of course, you should really back up your data anyway.
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.