Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products and all things digital. Sometimes choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the most difficult part of my job.
This week, I received questions about fine-tuning your TV's picture quality, stopping webcam spies, and more. Do you have a question you'd like to ask me? Click here to email me directly.
Fine-tuning TV picture quality
Q: How do I know if my TV is giving me the best picture possible? I tweaked the settings, but now I think it’s worse than before.
A: If you’ve already fiddled with your TV’s settings, you probably know that getting the right picture quality is an art. There is no “standard” mix of brightness, contrast and saturation. Every TV is different, and even the environment can affect how you perceive the moving pictures on your screen. So how do you fix this? One word: calibration. There’s an easy way to fix this, but you should know what you’re doing.
Stop Webcam Spies
Q: I am freaked out that someone can watch me through my webcam. Can I disconnect it from my laptop?
A: Luckily, more people are becoming skeptical of their webcams. Yes, hackers can break into your laptop, and yes, people can spy on you without your knowledge. This is pretty terrifying, especially if you use your computer regularly in, say, your bedroom. Many people have taken to covering their webcams with pieces of tape, making it impossible to see anything worthwhile. But if this low-tech solution doesn’t make you feel any safer, I wouldn’t blame you for trying to switch it off. Click here to learn how to disable your webcam.
Best Sites for Tax Prep
Q: What’s the best site to use to do my taxes?
A: As is usually the case with taxes, this is a good question with a complicated answer. Basically, ask yourself how involved your taxes will be. If you only have one job, you have a consistent salary, and your employer withholds income tax, then you’ll probably get by with a free service. If you’re self-employed, you pay quarterly taxes, and you’ve itemized hundreds of expenses on a spreadsheet, you’ll probably need something a little more sophisticated. Click here to see the best online tax preparers.
Apps for the Ill
Q: My husband is ill. Is there an app that can track the meds he takes?
A: First off, I’m sorry to hear that, and I hope his health improves. After a sluggish decade, the health care industry is finally catching up to the 21st Century, and now there are some impressive apps to help you keep track of medications and dosages. One app even allows you to communicate directly with your doctor’s office so that you can check in with your medical records. Given how expensive illness can be, you may be surprised to see how reasonably these apps are priced. Click here for three apps that track your medical history.
VR on the Cheap
Q: I would like to try virtual reality apps and games, but I don’t want to waste $800 on the VR goggles. Are there other options?
A: There are at least two ways to think about consumer VR: On the one hand, it’s hard to believe that virtual reality actually exists, and it’s affordable enough for regular people to use it in their homes. On the other hand, $800 is $800, and as you point out, that’s not chump change. You probably won’t find any knock-off or generic versions of VR yet. But one company figured out how to give you the VR experience using only your smartphone and $15 worth of packing material.
What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.