How fast is fast enough?
Q. My Internet provider is trying to get me to pay for a faster Internet connection. I already have a 20Mbps package. Should I upgrade?
A. It depends on how many people are using the Internet. A 10Mbps connection or more is enough for the average single user or couple. Unless you have an entire family watching online video, downloading huge files or playing online games, 20Mbps is probably as high as you need to go. Learn why Internet “speed” doesn’t work the way you think, and make sure you’re getting the speed you’re paying for.
Dealing with a frozen computer
Q. My computer froze three times in two weeks. What should I do?
A. First, back up your information in case the computer is about to die. Next time the computer freezes, make a note of what programs were running. Restart and try those programs again. If you can narrow down a particular program, you have your culprit. Get more instructions for getting to the bottom of a freezing computer, including how to check for hardware problems.
Spot a phishing email attack before it’s too late
Q. I just came within a hair of giving my Social Security number to a hacker. How can I get better at spotting trick emails sooner?
A. Don’t trust any email that asks you to click a link, download an attachment or give out personal information. Period. It doesn’t matter how urgent the email says the situation is. Instead, go to the company’s website, get its contact information and call its customer service to verify if there’s anything you need to do. Still not sure you can avoid this type of scam? Learn five things most phishing emails do that are a dead giveaway.
Improve your TV’s picture quality for free
Q. I’m a little disappointed with my new TV’s picture quality. Should I return it?
A. Before you do, adjust some settings to see if that helps. New TVs are often set to the wrong viewing mode for the average home. Go into the picture settings and cycle through the preset viewing modes, such as Standard, Cinema, Sports, etc. See if there’s one that works better. If not, get instructions for doing your own free calibration to get exactly the look you want.
Get rid of battery-draining apps
Q. My smartphone’s battery is draining fast all of a sudden. What could be the problem?
A. You probably installed an app or two that constantly run in the background. Social media apps like Facebook often do this. One study found that deleting the Facebook app can save 20 percent of your battery life. And you can always look at it through your mobile browser. Learn about some more battery-draining apps you might have on your phone without realizing it.
Q. My router is 7 years old, and I need a new one. What’s the best one around?
A. For the average person, a sub-$100 name-brand model is going to be fine. But if you really want to spend some money, Google’s $200 OnHub router has great speed and coverage, and it’s simple to use. Everything is done through an app, and it even shows you what gadgets are hogging the Internet. Learn more about OnHub and two other great router buys.
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. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.