Cheapest way to use your phone overseas
Q. I will be traveling to the U.K. and I want to know how to use my iPhone to make calls and send messages, find out the weather, navigate the public transport system, all without breaking the bank. What do I do?
A. The budget way to go is to keep your phone in airplane mode, and turn on Wi-Fi manually when you are out and about. You can use an app like JiWire to find Wi-Fi hotspots anywhere in the world. When you're connected to Wi-Fi, you can then connect to Skype, Google Hangouts or Pinger to make calls. If you want to use your phone for everything, including calls, check with your service provider and see what kind of plans they have for overseas visits.
A new laptop to replace Windows XP
Q. My current laptop runs Windows XP, so I'm shopping for a new computer. I have family members not happy with Windows 8, so I was wondering if it's OK to buy a machine with Windows 7 instead of Windows 8?
A. You certainly could get a Windows 7 machine; that's really the way to go for people who want to minimize the trauma of the changeover. Be aware, though, that it won't last as long. Microsoft will phase it out before they phase out Windows 8. That should be quite a few years down the road, though. As far as Windows 8, the company has listened to complaints and has integrated some of the missing features back into Windows 8.1. However, rumors say that Microsoft could be offering Windows 8.1 as a free upgrade for Windows 7 users, so that's something to take into consideration.
Ways to catch a cheating wife
Q. I think my wife is cheating on me. Is there a program I can put on her phone that would let me know what she is really up to?
A. You could try out the controversial mSpy. It's $40 a month and is the granddaddy of spyware. mSpy records calls, intercepts text messages, monitors browsing, spies on email, tracks GPS location and much more. It can even take control of the phone to lock or wipe the device or use the microphone as a real-time audio bug. Legally speaking, in very general terms, if you're paying for the phone, you can put anything you want on it. If you put it on someone else's phone, you could end up in what is known in technical terms as a mess o' trouble. Before you go this route, I suggest a little sit-down with your wife.
Do I need security software for a Mac?
Q. I bought an iMac desktop to replace my old computer running Windows XP. I've had it for a week, and my husband is worried about the security on it. Is it true that you don't need security software on a Mac?
A. Some say you don't need security software for a Mac; it was safer, relatively speaking, because there were fewer of them. And, truth be told, the company has had a relatively good security record. But they are actually just as vulnerable as any other piece of computer equipment. If you're worried, try Norton Antivirus. You could also try the free Clam AV.
Q. I'm looking for a good Android tablet to replace my 17-inch laptop. I like the big screen but it's too heavy and too clunky. What are your suggestions?
A. You want something light with a big screen. That means you have a couple of different options. For the biggest screen, you will want to look into the Surface Pro, which has a 10.6 inch screen and sells for $350 to $400. The Nexus 10 ($300-$400) or the Galaxy Tab 10.1 ($400 and up), both have screen sizes of 10.1 inches. I personally would go for the Galaxy Tab, which has a 5 megapixel camera and a USB.
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.
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