Q. My friend just told me that they bought a Nexus 7. I researched the tablet and it looks exciting! Do you think it’s a good buy?
A. Absolutely! Google has finally taken a cue from Apple — it’s backing up a great piece of hardware with a quality content ecosystem. The Nexus 7 seems almost overpowered for its $199 price tag — with a quad-core processor and gorgeous screen. Plus, Google’s Play store now offers TV shows and movies, just like iTunes and Amazon. Google keeps adding more content, and I expect that it will rival those two media stores soon. Though Apple and Amazon could unveil new, powerful 7-inch tablets soon, I think the Nexus 7 is a game changer. It hits a sweet spot between performance and price that shouldn’t be passed up.
Q. I heard that I can use iMessages on my iPad and iPhone. I can’t see any of the messages from my iPhone on my iPad, though. What gives?
A. There is a little quirk in the way iMessages works on the iPad: It can’t recognize iMessages sent from a phone number. To fix this, you have to change the caller ID on your iPhone to match the email address you use for your iPad. Go to Settings>>Messages>>Receive At>>Caller ID. You’ll see the option to check your preferred email address for iMessages. If you’re using your Apple ID address, it should appear in the list. If the email you want doesn’t appear, add it by going to Settings>>Messages>>Receive At>>Add Another Email. Add all of your addresses so you can use iMessages with all of them.
Q. My 14-year-old daughter wants to join a site called Tumblr. I have no idea what the deal with this site is. Do you think she should join?
A. Tumblr is a blogging platform that is gaining popularity. Though users can make text posts, the service is often used to post and share images. You can follow your favorite Tumblr accounts, and those posts will be compiled on one page, like Twitter or a Facebook Feed. The site is much more open about content than most blogging sites. Tumblr users can share images with nudity and other content that you might not want a young teen to see. Of course, your daughter could still find these blogs and see the content if she knows the URL. So instead of banning her from the site altogether, monitor her surfing to make sure she’s staying safe online.
Q. I want to share some photos of my vacation with a friend, but he doesn’t have a computer. Is there any way I can print multiple photos on a page to save my printer paper?
A. There’s a way to do this built right into Windows Vista and 7. Select all the pictures you want to print and click the Print icon at the top of the window. Choose either the 3.5x5-inch option or the Wallet option. You’ll see either four or nine pictures per page, respectively. Unfortunately, you won’t have control over the order of the pictures. In addition, if the number of photos you print doesn’t divide evenly into 4 or 9, there probably will be gaps. If you want more control over how your pictures are presented, you could make a collage in a program like CollageIt or ShapeCollage and then print that.
Q. My laptop’s manual says I should drain the battery for a longer life. That sounds like strange advice. Should I do it?
A. Of course! Lithium-ion batteries in laptops and mobile gadgets have an internal charge meter. Over time, this loses calibration and reports that you have either more or less power than you do. Later, you might not be able to use your gadget as long as you should. That’s why, two or three times a year, you need to fully discharge the battery to recalibrate the meter. To do this, fully charge your gadget, then unplug it and use it as normal until the battery runs all the way down. Once the gadget shuts off, recharge it all the way to full again. That’s all there is to it.
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 from noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.