Find a legit job online
Q. I have been trying to find something to do since I retired this year and want to get a legit job online. I travel often, so I'll need to be able to do work while I travel. I have all the hardware - laptop, iPad, Wi-Fi hot spot -but I don't know which sites are legit. Help!
A. The easiest job to get online is customer service representative. It can also make you up to $15 or $20 an hour! Just keep in mind that these sites do charge an application fee so they can perform a background check. They want legit workers just like you want a legit job.
Other options include teaching and tutoring with sites like Tutor.com or OKTutor. You can answer questions on a site like Just Answer or ChaCha. You can also explore your freelance options with sites like Elance and Guru. Finally, there's TaskRabbit and GigWalk, which hire for random tasks like assembling Ikea furniture.
Make phone calls using Wi-Fi, not your minutes
Q. I work from home and am burning lots of cellphone minutes. I want to be able to use my Wi-Fi to make phone calls, for free of course. How can I do this?
A. There are lots of different ways you can keep your cellphone minutes to yourself and not your job. Skype is the most popular option for phone calls and video chats; however, it's only free if you call other Skype users. Other popular options are Google Voice and Pinger. Both let you make calls and send SMS text messages from a real, working phone number. You can also send text messages from your computer, or download the app to turn your tablet into a phone.
Solving the TV volume wars
Q. My parents are staying with our family for a while and we're having a little trouble with the TV. My parents like the volume up, but it's a little too loud for the rest of us. Any ideas on what we can do so everyone is happy?
A. Agreeing on volume is a problem many families experience. Everyone has different definitions of "too loud," and that doesn't even take into account possible hearing loss. Fortunately, there are apps that turn your phone into a sound amplifier. Check out HearYouNow for iOS and Hearing Aid, Microphone Free for Android.
Tablet options to replace Windows XP
Q. I know that support ends for Windows XP really soon, so what is the best tablet to replace my old machine running XP?
A. Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet runs a full version of Windows and has a keyboard built into the cover for easier typing. But starting at $900, it isn't cheap.
Your other main choices are the iPad Air and iPad mini at $500 and $330 (sometimes $300 online), respectively. But if you want cheap, then you can grab a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch for $230. Both are solid and run the most popular apps around.
Manage your online reputation
Q. I recently came upon some negative things being said about my business online. How do I handle this without further damaging my brand?
A. First, you will need to get to the root of the problem. Was your website down? Less-than-stellar customer service? Once you identify the problem, you need to think about how to respond. Do you need to provide compensation? Should you give a gift card or a store credit to say sorry?
You will also want to keep an eye on the various places reviews could show up. There's the obvious Facebook, Yelp and Angie's List, but check out Google Maps too. You can also sign up with Google Alerts to monitor what folks are saying about your business.
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.