Save money on printer ink
Q. Printer ink is incredibly expensive. Are there any corners I can cut to use less ink when I print?
A. If you think about it, you might not need to print as much as you do. Store and organize digital receipts and confirmations on your computer. You can even print digital PDF files using a program like doPDF. For paper printing of online pages, use a program like CleanPrint or PrintWhatYouLike to automatically strip out unnecessary ads and navigation. You can also delete images or text, decrease the font size and even add notations. For general printing, change fonts before you print. There's a special font called EcoFont that has tiny holes in every letter so it uses 25 percent less ink, but it's still easy to read. Finally, you may have more ink left in your cartridge than your printer realizes. It may tell you that your cartridges are empty. In reality, you could have as much as 30 percent more life left. Keep printing until you see the ink start to run out on the page.
Best underwater camera for vacation
Q. I'm off to Zion National Park this summer and need a waterproof digital camera as we will be walking through the water into the Narrows. I'm looking for something that will cost me less than $400. Is there one out there that will give me good quality photos (maybe some video, too) that I won't have to worry about getting wet?
A. The best extreme camera on the market now is the GoPro HD Hero 3. The White Edition is only $200, so you will be under budget. This camera is a favorite of outdoor athletes thanks to its combination of low cost, good quality photos and videos, and ruggedness. It also lets you get creative with your shots. You can take a single photo or video, or you can take up to 3 photos per second with the burst option, or, you can have it make a great time-lapse with photos being taken at set intervals up to 60 seconds apart. The Hero 3 comes with a waterproof case, a rechargeable battery, a mount, USB cable, and a quick-release button. It's also Wi-Fi enabled, so you can easily share your photos instantly or even stream video to a nearby computer if you wanted to. The Hero 3 has around 2 hours of battery life with the Wi-Fi on, so you'll want to have your battery fully charged before practice starts and you should have a spare battery on hand, just in case. That will only set you back $20.
Do Macs need anti-virus software?
Q. I'm thinking of buying an Apple laptop. Will I need security software with an Apple?
A. Unfortunately, Macs are not invincible. In fact, there have been several virus outbreaks on Macs in the last few years. Fortunately, you don't need to buy an expensive security program to stay safe. Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition and Avira Free Antivirus are both powerful, free solutions for Macs. These detect and remove viruses written for Macs with little effort from you. Plus, they detect Windows viruses as well, so you won't accidentally pass them on to Windows computers over the Internet, a network or via flash drive.
Stop Google from using you in ads
Q. A friend of mine recently said she saw my picture come up in an ad on Google. Where did Google get my photo from and how can I get it taken down?
A. Those ads are called Shared Endorsements and Google pulls your photos and "+1s" from Google+ to deliver targeted ads to your friends. It's annoying and - trust me - you're not the only one it upsets. The good news is that Shared Endorsements are easy to opt out of. Sign into your Google account and visit the Shared Endorsements page. Scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck the box that says "Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads." Click Save and you're all set.
Get the best deals on hotels for summer vacation
Q. Do you have any tips or tricks that can help save me money on hotels for summer vacation?
A. You can find quick deals on hotels from sites like Kayak or BackBid. That's nice for saving money on a regular hotel or motel, but one thing people don't consider is skipping the hotel or motel entirely. Instead, see what's available on Airbnb. The popular site allows people to rent out houses, apartments or even single rooms to travelers. Last December, Airbnb featured more than 550,000 listings and it has since passed 10 million users. That makes it one of the largest "hotel" operations in the world. So, it is a serious option to consider when you travel. If Airbnb doesn't have what you need, you can also check out HomeAway and FlipKey. They might have better deals in the area you're going.
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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