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Dec. 6, 2008—Vol. 12, No. 49
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CLICK & FIND MY RADIO SHOW IN YOUR HOMETOWN
I'd really like you to call me. After all, they call it "talk radio" for a reason. You can join in the fun. I'm sure you have at least one question about something digital. I'm here to help with unbiased advice.
HO! HO! HO! IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THIS WEEKEND'S SHOW: The Kim Komando Show "Annual Great Giveaway" continues this weekend. Details about how to enter and what you can win are a few paragraphs down. I have over $80,000 in great prizes!
HERE'S HOW TO CALL ME DURING THE SHOW
NO PREEMPTIONS! DOWNLOAD & LISTEN WHEN YOU WANT!
A LITTLE EXTRA CHRISTMAS HELP
I can't help you get ready for your guests. But I can help you with some of your other Christmas chores.
Microsoft is offering plenty of cool Christmas templates. All you need is your computer and a printer. The templates are all free. Just download them and fill in the blanks. Or, customize them so they're just right!
HOW MANY VISITORS WILL YOU HAVE THIS CHRISTMAS?
We all appreciate the time we'll get to spend with family and friends. But, let's be honest. Preparing for guests is a lot of work. And it is nerve-wracking, making sure everything is just so.
Well, just be thankful you don't live on Christmas Island. This small island territory of Australia is home to about 1,500 people. But, around this time of year, it gets a huge influx of visitors—150 million! Okay, 150 million people don't visit the island. Rather, 150 million red crabs converge for spawning season.
You can learn all about this fascinating event in my Video of the Day. It's the perfect way to make light of your Christmas-time stress!
SPEAKING OF CHRISTMAS
ENTER DAILY TO WIN—OVER $80,000 IN PRIZES TO GIVE AWAY!
Here's a peek at our Grand Prizes:
• Photographer's Dream Prize Pack: Are you an avid photographer? You'll love this prize! One lucky winner will be taking pictures with his or her new Nikon D90 Digital SLR Camera! Plus, the winner will be able to edit, print and share photos with the great prizes included! Value: $2,509.96
• Gadgets & Gizmos Prize Pack: Everyone loves gadgets and gizmos. So, we've put together some of our favorites for this grand prize. We're giving away everything from an LG 19-inch W52 LCD Monitor to Garmin's nuvi 255 GPS Navigation System! Value: $1,128
• Home Entertainment Bundle: If you like games or movies, you'll love this prize package! It includes an 80GB PlayStation3 Entertainment System, along with four PlayStation3 games, eight Universal Home Entertainment DVD movies, and 10 Big Fish Games computer games. Value: $1,073.82
• GE Security's Simon XT Wireless Security System: Simon XT is a cost-effective wireless security system offering burglary and fire protection. Value: $2,100
• Sonos Multi-Room Music System: The Sonos Multi-Room Music System makes it easy to add music to every part of your life and every room in your house. Value: $1,715
• The HP TouchSmart IQ506: The HP TouchSmart IQ506 is a touch-enabled PC with a 22" diagonal widescreen. Value: $1,499.99
• Polk Audio SurroundBar 360˚ DVD Theater: Polk Audio's SurroundBar360˚ DVD Theater is the best performing single-speaker surround sound theater system on the market. Value: $1,199.99
• TriGem's Averatec 2575 Series Notebook Computer: The new Averatec 2575 Series notebook is a full-featured machine, combining powerful dual-core processing with infotainment capabilities in an ultraportable, ultra-light form factor. Two lucky Grand Prize winners will win an Averatec 2575 Series Notebook Computer! Value: $1,099.99
You could win a Sony PlayStation 3, Logitech network music player, Panasonic Blu-ray Disc player, LG 19-inch LCD monitor, Xbox 360 gaming console, Epson all-in-one printer, Garmin GPS, Shure earbuds, Kodak digital camera, Universal Home Entertainment DVD collection, DXG HD camcorder, Adobe photo software, Myvu Crystal media viewer, Microsoft goodies, Sony game or software package, Microsoft's Zune player, SOLO leather rolling laptop case, Total Training one-year subscription, Gifts.com gift card, Lynda.com online training library, Motorola GPS unit, Logitech QuickCam Webcams, Seagate's FreeAgent Go portable storage solution, Genius Touch Speaker System, Omnitech digital photo frame, Audiovox Homebase Message Center, Motorola mobile phone, Pathfinder Luggage CompuBrief, Big Fish Games package, Staples gift card, Rosetta Stone Spanish language software, and more!
HOW YOU CAN WIN DURING THE SHOW:
HOW YOU CAN WIN ONLINE:
DID YOU WIN?
Every day, I pick a new winner. Check the winner's page http://giveaway.komando.com/winners.asp and maybe you'll see your name in virtual lights.
Be sure to tell 10 friends and family members! And get ready to call in to my show! Finally, don't forget about our sponsors. Be sure to check out the great prizes on the Great Giveaway area. The sponsors make the giveaway possible. So, if you ever want to learn more about any of the prizes, click those links (hint, hint) and you'll land at the sponsor's site.
NEED HELP ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY?
Some people are having trouble reading the verification code. Well, want to know a secret? Hold your mouse over the speaker icon beside the CAPTCHA code. The code will appear in the status bar at the bottom of your browser. Most people should find it easier to read.
But, maybe the text in the status bar is too small for you. I have that eventuality covered, too! Just turn on your speakers and click the speaker icon. The verification code will be read aloud to you!
SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTS
Just head over to my Download of the Day site! You'll find a slew of computer programs free for the taking. So, you can put your money to better use—like buying Christmas presents!
Here are some of my favorite freebies from the past week. Click on the links below to learn more about the free programs. Don't forget to come back, though. I still have plenty of money-saving advice!
• Losing weight is something we all struggle with from time to time. Maybe you need a little extra help to get it done.
• Decorating is half the fun of the holiday season. So, how about sprucing up your computer? I've found two programs that you'll love.
• Some older games are the most fun. Yahtzee has always been a blast. Now, bring it to your computer.
• The Start menu is a great tool. But for many people it could be improved. This program does just that.
Want a tip? Bookmark my Downloads page. Just go there and press Ctrl+D. That will add my downloads to your browser's favorites!
And remember this: If I say a program is free, it's FREE. There are sites on the Internet that sell free programs. There are also many ads on the Internet for similar programs, which aren't free. If somebody tries to charge you for a free program, back up. You've clicked on the wrong thing.Saturday's download — Microsoft Office is a powerful bundle of programs. I'm not sure Bill Gates knows half of its features. These templates make all that power easily accessible.
HAVE A FEW SPARE MINUTES? THEN, HAVE A LITTLE FUN
• We've all seen shooting stars. But this one gets a lot closer than normal. It's a great light show. And it was all caught on tape.
• Gambling is always a risky venture. But some people aren't happy playing fair. The cheaters' latest cash cow is online poker.
• Christmas has the best decorations. But as always, someone has to take it a step further. And the results are awesome.
Laughter is always the best medicine. And everyone could use a good laugh these days. I've featured some hilarious videos on my site. Here are my recent favorites. Find them right on my Video of the Day archive:
Saturday's video —The Great Depression defined a generation of Americans. One photo captured the feeling of that era. Get the story behind that famous photo.Sunday's video — Who could forget Jack Webb, and his alter ego, Sgt. Joe Friday. This video with Johnny Carson is from 1968. It's still hilarious.
NOTE: Are you having trouble seeing my daily video picks? Do you get a message that the video is not available? Sorry to say, it's probably not the video. It's your computer, my friend. Get help on my troubleshooting page. These problems are pretty easy to fix.
WANT TO SAVE MY VIDEOS?
All you need to know is the Web address or URL for the video. If you are not sure how to get the address for the video, click here to read a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it.
And to start saving videos you find online, use the free tool on my Web site. It's located at http://www.komando.com/myvideo/
PRIVACY AND SECURITY TIP: Monitor your home with security cameras
Need to find a radio station near you? Click here to use the official Kim Komando Show Locator Map. With over 450 stations, there's a station near you.
STILL TO COME: Useful tips, important news and a few laughs!
• Buying a camcorder on a budget
• Important security tips; and some awesome freebies!
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REFURBISHED IPODS CAN SAVE YOU A BUNDLE
I'm generally not a fan of refurbished products. They have been returned to the manufacturer due to a perceived defect. The manufacturer then restores the product to like-new condition. The defect should be repaired in the process.
However, if you purchase a refurbished 8GB iPod nano, you'll save $50. Granted, it will be the previous generation model. But it's still a great player.
Also, Apple offers a full warranty on the player. You're covered for a year. If that's not enough, an extended warranty is also available. Incidentally, I don't think a refurbished iPod is so bad. iPods sent in for repairs are not returned. Rather, Apple replaces them with refurbished models. I sent an iPod in for a battery change; the replacement unit looked and performed like new.
MP3 players are always hot gifts. So, I'm sure many of my readers will be buying them this year. Not everybody wants an iPod nano, though. So, I have advice to help you pick the right player:
Maybe you bought your favorite music buff an MP3 player last year. In that case, here's a great gift idea: canal phones. They're pricey, but the sound can't be beat! My buying guide will help you pick the perfect pair.
DON'T BE FOOLED BY INTERNET TV SCAMS
I assume you saw the ad in a spam message. Or, maybe you saw a Google ad touting the software. Either way, I wouldn't recommend this service. You should never buy anything from a spam message. That's just asking for trouble. And scammers often use Google ads to lure victims.
Basically, these services aggregate free television programming. The programming may be wrapped up in special software. But, you're really paying for a list of programming that's available free online. This may not be a bona fide scam. However, I'd feel duped by it.
You have other options. You can get a digital television converter box. Just connect it to your television, and you're good to go. The box will likely cost less than the services you saw. You can also get a $40 coupon to offset the cost. You'd probably pay about $20 for the box after applying the coupon. Keep reading to learn more about converter boxes.
A television and converter box is a lot of clutter for a kitchen. Using a laptop eases that problem. You can do that quite easily. First, you can buy a TV tuner card for your laptop. You'll find ones that connect via USB or PC card slot. Expect to pay about $50. My tip covers everything you need to know about TV tuners.
You can also watch programming for free. More and more networks are putting their shows online. You can watch what you want, when you want. Sound appealing? Learn everything you need to know in my money-saving column.
The DTV transition is about two months away. And I'm still getting plenty of questions about it. For example, Pam in San Marcos, TX wants to know if she needs a converter box for her HDTV. John in Phoenix wants to know if he needs to buy a special antenna for DTV. You may have questions of your own. So, you won't want to miss these important tips on my site:
• Can your TV receive digital signals?
• Get your converter box coupon before it's gone
• Do you need a converter box and an antenna?
• Finding a converter box for a battery-powered TV
• Choosing the right converter box
• DTV, cable and VCRs (oh my!)
• More answers to your DTV questions
• Will your radio work after the transition?
MANAGE ALL OF YOUR E-MAIL ACCOUNTS IN ONE PLACE
Well, Michael, managing multiple e-mail accounts certainly is difficult. And it becomes quite a hassle when they're with different providers. It means you have to jump around from site to site. So, I understand why you want to consolidate things a bit.
Your best option is to use Outlook or a similar e-mail program. This will let you send and receive messages from multiple accounts. If you don't want to shell out for Outlook, try Thunderbird. You'll find a link to this free e-mail program in my Downloads archive.
There's just one snag. Your e-mail provider may restrict your ability to use an e-mail program. You may have to pay to download and send mail from your desktop. There are a couple of programs that will help you get around this. Try Ypops or MrPostman. Both are free on my site.
Installing multiple programs may not appeal to you. And, you may have an ethical problem using programs like Ypops. In that case, there's ePrompter. This handy program will do everything you need. You can download it for free from my site!If you opt to use Outlook, you'll probably need a little help. Setting it up can be tricky. So, you'll want to read my time-saving column. You'll be up and running in no time!
BUYING ANY TECH FOR THE HOLIDAYS?
AMERICAN FORCES RADIO & THANKS
NO PREEMPTIONS! DOWNLOAD & LISTEN WHEN YOU WANT!
DON'T STOP YET – THERE'S MORE YOU NEED TO KNOW:
• Keep reading! I have more money-saving tips!
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COOL CAMCORDERS FOR TIGHT BUDGETS
There are several types of camcorders. MiniDV camcorders tend to be the least expensive. However, transferring footage to your computer for editing is time-consuming.
DVD camcorders are relatively inexpensive, as are blank DVDs. These camcorders were designed to bypass the computer. So, watching videos on a standalone DVD player is easy.
You'll also find hard drive camcorders. Transferring footage to a computer is a snap. Also, the hard drives provide plenty of room for recording. But, hard drives aren't very durable. And the storage can't be expanded.
Camcorders that use flash memory are becoming increasingly popular. You can switch the card to add more storage while on vacation. The memory is also sturdy. And transferring video for editing is a snap.Choosing a storage format is only one piece of the puzzle. Find out what else to look for in a camcorder in my free weekly column. It makes the buying process easy!
A LITTLE ABOUT ME:
HOW TO CALL ME DURING THE SHOW
• What should you look for in a projector and laptop?
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First, Charlie would like to know what size memory card he needs. He also wonders why this information wasn't included in the buying guide.
I wish you had given me more information, Charlie. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to memory card capacity.
Will you be using the card to store photos or music? Or will you be using it for something else? And how long will data stay on the card? Will you offload data quickly? Or will you need enough storage for weeks or months?
Let's address music files first. One minute of music generally uses one megabyte of storage. And, most songs are about four minutes long. So, a 1-gigabyte card will hold about 250 songs. Using these guidelines should help you determine what size card you need.
Photo files aren't so easy. File size will vary based on the image size and image quality. File format will also affect memory card capacity.
I recommend that you consult your camera's manual. It should tell you how many photos you can fit on different-sized cards. This will give you an accurate idea of what size card to buy.
But I have a quick rule of thumb to help you out. JPEG files are generally half the size of the sensor capacity. So, say you have a 10-megapixel camera. Each JPEG will be about 5MB. This means a 1GB card will hold about 200 photos.
If the card will hold other types of data, you're on your own. I don't have enough information to help you.
Fortunately, memory cards are relatively inexpensive these days. So, I recommend buying a larger card than you anticipate needing. That way, you don't need to worry about offloading photos while on vacation.
Memory cards are much like batteries. To put it bluntly, they're not very exciting. But, all the cool gadgets need them. So, keep the fun going with these great tips on my site:
• Salvaging a wet memory card
• Get a boost with a high-speed card
• Offloading a memory card on vacation
A MESSAGE FROM THE KOMANDO.COM POSTMASTER
SEE SOMETHING UNDERLINED? CLICK & LEARN
GET MORE FREE TIPS FROM ME TO YOU
As always, I guarantee your privacy. Your e-mail address will not be sold, leased or given to anyone, ever!
IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO HELP THE TROOPS
At Operation Komando, you'll find a list of items you can send to the troops. There are both high-ticket and smaller items. Of course, you'll want your package to arrive in time for the big day. Don't worry. There's still time. My handy shipping schedule will help you out.
• Buying a laptop and projector made easy
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WELCOME, NEW AFFILIATES!
Ft. Dodge, IA (KVFD 1400 AM), Saturdays at 11 a.m. Digital Minutes in the 6 a.m. hour.
CHECKING IT TWICE
THESE FOLKS ARE NICE
MISS SOMETHING? LISTEN WHEN AND WHERE YOU WANT
STILL TO COME IN THIS WEEKEND'S EDITION:
• What you should know about buying a projector
KIM'S TIPS FOR KOMANDO KIDS: Choosing a cell phone for kids
CONTEST SITE: Epson HD Sweepstakes
CONTEST: The Annual Kim Komando Show Great Giveaway
FREEBIE OF THE WEEK: Try Yogi Tea
FREEBIE FROM KOMANDO.COM: Check out Google's browser
GET A COOL SITE EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK
In case you missed any this past week, here's a list of some of our favorites:
THIS WEEK'S FOCUS: Tons of Office templates
Let's keep it going; there's plenty more to cover:
Brought to you by my book, Complete Guide to Computer Security & Privacy. Order your copy today!
CBS SITE USED TO SPREAD MALWARE
THE END IS IN SIGHT, BUT I WILL BE BACK NEXT WEEK
My husband and I travel to churches to give a presentation. So, we're looking for a good projector to ensure consistency. The presentation includes pictures and text. Our budget for the projector is $1,500. We also need a laptop to use with the projector. A DVD player (but not a burner) is a must, as is high speed. Our budget for the laptop is also $1,500. Do you have any suggestions?
Prices of projectors range from $600 to $10,000 or more. And differentiating between models can be difficult. That is, unless you have a good grip on all the features.
First, you'll need to decide on a type of projector. You'll find CRT, LCD and DLP. If they sound familiar, there's a reason for it. These technologies are used in televisions.
You can eliminate CRT (cathode-ray tube) projectors. These are big and bulky—you certainly don't want to travel with one. They do offer outstanding picture quality. But you'll spend $10,000 or more. They're best suited for high-end home cinemas.
That leaves LCD and DLP. DLP (digital light projection) uses light reflected off micromirrors to generate images. Light passes through a rotating color wheel.
DLP projectors are great for home use. They can provide a high-resolution, bright image. They're also noted for good color accuracy and contrast.
LCD projectors are popular with business users. An image is displayed on a transparent chip. Light passes through the chip to project the image. Like DLP, LCD offers high resolution images. You also get good contrast and accurate colors.
Both DLP and LCD have their drawbacks. For example, you may see the rainbow effect with DLP. The colors may appear to separate. LCDs are susceptible to the screen door effect. You may see individual pixels on a large screen.
In your case, I would go for an LCD projector. It will save you some money over a DLP projector. It will also do better with PowerPoint presentations.
Next, I would look at the brightness. Brightness is often a big problem with projectors. That's particularly true when you're using them in a bright room. And, if you use a wall instead of a screen, the projector needs to be even brighter.
Don't settle for less than 1,000 lumens. In fact, I would shoot for at least double this. Since you're traveling, you can't count ideal conditions for your presentation. You should also invest in a good screen.
Contrast ratio is also important. A good ratio will produce nice crisp images. A low contrast ratio yields dull, washed-out images. Aim for 2000:1 or greater.
Resolution is a little trickier. For best results, the projector's native resolution should match that of the laptop. Most laptops these days have XGA or WXGA screens.
XGA offers a resolution of 1024x768. WXGA is the widescreen equivalent. There are several resolutions labeled WXGA. But, in laptops, WXGA generally means a resolution of 1280x800.
You should be fine with either resolution. You may be tempted to buy a high-definition projector. Save your money—unless you will also use it for watching movies at home.
There are a couple of other things to consider. First, think about a zoom lens. This will let you adjust the image size without moving the projector. This is a nice touch. Next, think about the projector's size. When you're traveling, smaller is always better!
Your budget of $1,500 isn't too far off the mark. I would put a projector matching these specifications in the $1,200 to $2,000 range. But don't go on up-front costs alone. Price replacement bulbs before making a decision. These can run hundreds of dollars.
Your budget for a laptop, however, is way off. These days, $1,500 will buy you a very powerful machine. You probably don't need all this power, unless I'm missing something. You can probably cut your budget by $600 or more.
Most laptops these days should have a DVD drive. So, I wouldn't worry too much about that.
PowerPoint doesn't require a particularly powerful processor. But, I would go ahead and buy an Intel Core 2 Duo. This will give you some room to grow. There are different versions of the Core 2 Duo. A low- to mid-end version will do just fine.
I recommend a fair amount of RAM, though. That way, you don't have to worry about your presentation stuttering. I generally recommend 2 gigabytes of RAM as a starting point for Vista. In your case, I would up this to 3 gigabytes.
Now, I'm not sure to what you refer when you say"high speed." You could be referring to the processor speed. Or, you could be talking about system speed, which is affected by RAM. You could also be referring to Internet access.
With a Core 2 Duo and 3 gigabytes of RAM, your system will be fast. Virtually any laptop you buy will have Wi-Fi. This will let you access high-speed Internet. So, your laptop should be high speed in every respect!
Finally, when you purchase a laptop, pay close attention to the operating system. There are several versions of Vista. Make sure you buy the right one. My quick tip will help.
There are also 32- and 64-bit versions of Vista. The 64-bit versions have one big advantage over 32-bit ones. Find out what this advantage is by reading my enlightening tip. There are also a few disadvantages to 64-bit Vista. Will these disadvantages affect you? My tip will help you decide.
When it comes to buying digital gear, everyone's needs are different. So, the advice I've given Rebekah won't apply to everyone. Never fear! I have more guides on my site that will help with your tough buying decisions:
• What to look for in an inexpensive laptop
• Buying a medium-range laptop
IF I HELPED YOU, CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME?
1. Tell your co-workers, employees, team members, fantasy sports buddies, family members and friends to check us out. I have a form that makes it easy.
2. Link your blog, online profile or site to my site. Instructions and cool artwork await you.
Have a great weekend. Thank you for your support of my show and newsletters! I appreciate it!
IF YOU THINK FOOTBALL FANS ARE BAD
Have a great day and I'll see you on the radio!Give me a call! I'd love to hear from you. It takes just three easy steps: 1.) Call the LIVE broadcast. That's this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the East Coast, or, if you live on the West Coast, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. 2.) Know the phone number. It is, of course, toll-free 1-888-825-5254. 3.) Talk to our call screener Andrew and tell him what's on your mind. That's all there is to it!
GET MORE TIPS FROM ME TO YOU
• Free cool site daily
• Free news links Mon-Fri
Copyright © 2008, The Kim Komando Show. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of The Kim Komando Show is prohibited and strictly enforced. Newsletters may contain links to sites on the Internet owned and operated by third parties. The Kim Komando Show is not responsible for the availability of, or the content located on or through, any such third-party site. Information in this document is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from infringement. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document. We will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the use of this information, including, but not limited to direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, and consequential damages.
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