What not to buy this holiday
Q. I don’t want to make a mistake. Are there any gadgets that I should not buy during the holidays?
A. Actually, there are. Now isn’t the best time to pick up a laptop, for example. Wait until January after the Consumer Electronics Show. That’s when new models are announced and this year’s models get a serious discount.
I’d also avoid point and shoot digital cameras until February and name-brand HDTVs until a few weeks before the Super Bowl. That’s when you’ll find the best deals.
Get better Wi-Fi
Q. I’m having trouble getting a Wi-Fi signal in the back room of my house. Any suggestions?
A. The easiest solution is to move your router toward the center of your house. Put it up high and away from walls and metal objects. That will give you the best range.
If you have an older 802.11g or early 802.11n router, it might be time to upgrade. Newer routers will have better range. Learn about more advanced Wi-Fi-boosting tricks such as range extenders www.komando.com.
Test your computer’s security
Q. I’ve installed security software on my computer, but how do I know my computer is really secure?
A. Start by using the free Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer. It tells you if your system is up to date, if your passwords are weak, or if there are any settings that might leave you open to attack.
Then run the Mozilla Plugin checker in every browser you use. You’ll be able to update any outdated plugins that might give hackers remote access to your system.
New hidden features in OS X Mavericks
Q. I just upgraded to Mavericks, but I don’t see much has changed. Am I missing something?
A. Most of Mavericks’ changes such as more efficient processing are under the hood. Other cool features are somewhat hidden.
For example, there’s now a Do Not Disturb feature in the Notifications area. This stops IM, email and other notifications while you’re focusing on work or watching a movie. You can see how much energy each program is using by going to Finder >> Applications >> Utilities >> Activity Monitor and clicking the Energy tab.
Buy the right TV
Q. I’m buying a new TV. Should I buy an HDTV or a new Ultra HD TV?
A. I’d stick with an HDTV for now. True, Ultra HD, also called 4K, TVs have four times the resolution for a sharper image, but they’re also four times the price. And there aren’t many movies or TV channels that even take advantage of Ultra HD yet. Wait a few years for more content, lower price and new technology like OLED. Go to http://www.komando.com/buyguide/index.aspx?id=7634 to learn more about buying a TV this holiday season.
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.