July 24, 2008

Go Online for Cheap Digital Cameras

Question: I'm looking for a digital camera. But I'm on a budget. I'd like to find a camera for less than $100. What kind of features should I look for?

Answer: You may have difficulty finding a new camera for less than $100 at stores. You're more likely to find budget models in the $100 to $150 range. But, if you go online, you'll find better deals. I found several cameras for $100 or less. For example, there's the Kodak EasyShare M753, General Electric A730 and Samsung S730. These are point-and-shoot models. These cameras are about 7 megapixels. They won't have many settings. But look for one with as many modes as possible. They'll help you take better photos.

Q: My friend has been using a neighbor's Wi-Fi. One day, the police confiscated his laptop in a criminal investigation. How did he come to the attention of the police? Could files have been downloaded to his computer surreptitiously?

A: I find this story highly suspect. The police wouldn't have confiscated the computer without good reason. People can be arrested for stealing Wi-Fi access. But that's unlikely to result in a police raid. My guess: They're looking for child porn. The neighbor's router logs computers that connect to it. They probably traced illegal activity to your friend's computer. It's possible that files could be downloaded without your friend knowing. This can be done with malware. But if he wants to blame malware, he needs cold, hard proof.

Q: I wanted to ask about checking someone out online. I received a message via Flixter from a woman in Ghana. She asked for my help. I suspect this may be a scam, but I don't want to make any assumptions. What should I do?

A: Go with your instinct. I think it's a scam. Unfortunately, the Internet is a breeding ground for scam artists. Quite a few scams originate from Africa. You certainly could try an online background check of this woman. That is, provided you have enough information on her. But this is a message from out of the blue. The risk of being scammed is high. We all want to help those in need. Find reputable charities at sites like Charity Navigator or Network for Good. Find links to these at tulsaworld.com/komandonews.

Q: I am looking for some way to transmit wireless satellite signals. I want to transmit them throughout the house from the second floor. I don't want to run wires. Is there something that will do this?

A: What you need is a wireless RF modulated signal-distribution system. This sends audio and video via radio frequency. A transmitter is placed at the audio/video source. Receivers go on your other TVs. The systems start around $80. The same channel will be sent to all the receivers in the house. Look for a system that includes a remote. You'll find systems that operate on 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz frequencies. The latter will give you a longer range. And it won't interfere with cordless phones and other gadgets.

Q: I'm planning to buy a 42-inch HDTV. Right now, my couch is about 20 feet from the TV. Is this a good viewing distance for my new HDTV?

A: Twenty feet is much too far for a 42-inch TV. Proper viewing distance is determined by screen size. Multiply the screen size (measured diagonally) by two and three. This will give you the minimum and maximum distances that will work. To sit 20 feet away, you'd need at least an 80-inch TV! How's your budget? For a 42-inch TV, the viewing distance should be seven to 10.5 feet. You're going to need to move your furniture to make this work.

E-mail questions to Komando at [email protected]

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