Boost your Wi-Fi
Q. My Wi-Fi is a little bit spotty in some of the rooms in my house. Are there any tricks I can use to improve the signal?
A. Wi-Fi antennas send signals equally in every direction, so make sure your router is as close to the middle of the house as possible. And definitely keep it away from metal, a microwave or a cordless telephone. If that doesn't do the trick, pop into the router settings - the instructions are in your manual - and play around with the broadcast channel. This will reduce interference from other routers. Stick with channels 1, 6 and 11. Newer 802.11n routers and 802.11ac routers should do this automatically for you. Another culprit could be your neighbors stealing your connection. Make sure your network is locked down. Finally, you could look into a range extender or Wi-Fi booster. If your router is 802.11g or an older 802.11n, you should probably just upgrade.
Get a 'kill switch' on your iPhone and iPad
Q. I recently saw a report on the rise of smartphone theft and that a "kill switch" will be built into all smartphones made after 2015. Doesn't Find My iPhone cover that ground? If not, is there anything I can do now to stop my iPhone and the data on it from being stolen?
A. Assuming you have a strong passcode set and Find My iPhone activated, you should be covered. In iOS 7 and higher, Apple added Activation Lock, which is part of Find My iPhone. It prevents thieves from disabling Find My iPhone, wiping the gadget and reactivating it, as long as they don't have your Apple ID and password. To make sure Find My iPhone is enabled, Go to Settings >> iCloud. Enter your Apple ID and then turn on Find My iPhone. Find out how a "kill switch" for more phones can actually increase theft.
Improve the quality of your TV's picture
Q. I recently bought a brand new LCD TV and the picture quality isn't what I hoped for. Should I return it to the store or is there something I can do?
A. New TVs aren't calibrated correctly for your home's lighting, so the colors will look off. Head over to a site called TweakTV and put in your TV model. It will have suggested settings for contrast, hue, brightness, sharpness and color temperature. Once you have these default settings in, check your manual to find out where they are on your TV, grab a few of your favorite movies. Jump to some scenes that are light, dark, filled with people or colorful and then make minor setting tweaks accordingly. You could also use a calibration disc to walk you through each setting. Some movies have a calibration tool built in. Check your collection for THX-certified movies.
Go paperless and digitize your receipts.
Q. I'm having trouble keeping track of all my paper receipts! How can I go paperless and make my life easier?
A. You might see ads for products like the NeatDesk Scanner that's made just for this. This scanner comes with a free 30-day trial and Cloud storage, but it will set you back a pretty penny. The scanner itself is $400 and after your trial period ends, you will have to pay $10 per month for Cloud storage. A cheaper option would be a smartphone or tablet and an app like Shoeboxed, Expensify, Lemon or others. These scan your receipts and organize them in the cloud. Keep in mind that you can also talk to your bank, credit card company, or stores like CVS and Walmart to sign up for online accounts that automatically digitize your receipts and send them to your email.
Selling classic cars online
Q. My deceased brother had a 1966 Thunderbird. Where and how is the best way to sell it online?
A. You will need to gather all the information about the car that you can. You already know the year, make and model, but what about the color, mileage, general condition? Be sure to disclose anything that might not be working, or if there are defects like chipped paint or rust. Also mention any recent repair work. Also, the more photos you have of the car, the better off you will be. You will want to look at other similar cars online to determine a fair price. Use a site like ClassicCars.com or AutoTraderClassics to compare prices. You can also post the car for sale on those sites. Of course, there are also other options like eBay.
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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