Q: Touch screen phones don't work very well for me. When I touch the screen of a smartphone it often doesn't recognize that I've touched it. The strange thing is my mom has the same problem with touchscreens. We've always figured it had something to do with our circulation or something, but neither of us has cold or clammy hands. So my question is two part. First, what's up with that? Why don't touch screens like me? And second, I'm getting to the point where I need to upgrade my old phone which has a fold-out keyboard. Can you recommend a new phone that has a keyboard?
A: That does seem kind of unusual. I did a little Googling though, and you're not alone in your complaint. Some people refer to it as 'zombie fingers'. But don't worry, you're probably not about to develop a taste for brains.
The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of touchscreens - resistive and capacitive. Resistive screens are pressure sensitive. They are composed of two layers, and when you press down on them the layers make contact and send out an electrical signal.
Capacitive touch screens, on the other hand (hah!) work based on the fact that human skin is electrically conductive. When your finger makes contact with a capacitive screen, it creates a tiny electrical disturbance which the phone detects to know that it's been touched.
It used to be the case that there were lots of phones with each type of screen; nowadays most modern high-end phones feature capacitive screens and it's getting harder to find a good resistive screen phone. You have to apply pressure to get a resistive screen to recognize your touch, while with a capacitive screen you don't (that means that pushing harder on your iPhone screen won't make you any better at iPhone games). Most people don't like that, and they're voting with their fingers, er, feet.
Now, I haven't found any scientific studies on people whose fingers don't get along with capacitive screens, but my guess is that …
Q: I am thinking about getting a TV for our apartment for Christmas. How big should it be? I would like a bigger TV, but our apartment is small. What else do we need to know?
A: If you're like most guys, ourselves (Tom and Ray) included, it's hard to imagine there ever being such thing as a television set that is too big! However, HDTVs have managed to get so big that they can be uncomfortably large in smaller living rooms. If the screen is too large, you'll find yourself moving your head to keep up with the action on the screen. Also, the image on a TV that is too large for your room will not look as sharp because it will be easier to see the pixels. On the flip side, a TV set that is too small will be uncomfortable too, as you'll find yourself hunched over squinting to see the action.
There's a simple formula to calculate how big your TV 'should' be, based on how far away you will be sitting from it. The minimum TV size should be your distance from the screen in inches divided by 3. The maximum is the distance divided by 1.5. So if you are sitting 10 feet (120 inches) from your screen, take 120 and divide it by 3 to get the minimum TV size of 40 inches. At that distance your maximum TV size of 80 inches. However, if your sofa is only 6 feet (72 inches) away from where your television set will sit, you should get a television between 24 inches and 48 inches in size. You will find that you can have a pretty large TV unless you are going to be sitting extremely close. If you're having trouble with the math, we made a spreadsheet to make it easier. Just change the distance from your couch to your TV to find out the best size TV for your living room.
The size of your TV can also determine what screen resolution you need. If you decide to go with a smaller TV, 720p is cheaper and probably sufficient. If the screen is small, the lower resolution won't be as noticeable. But if you're going big, 1080p is definitely the way to go.
The other …
Q: How do I switch my iTunes account from my old computer to my new computer if my old computer is dead? I've downloaded iTunes onto my new computer, but it doesn't recognize my account. I have all my music on my iPod, but I can't put any new music on it, and I can't transfer any music off of it without wiping the iPod. This happened the last time I changed computers, and I had to start a new account on the new computer.
A: It sounds like you have a couple of problems. First of all, you should be able to log into your iTunes account regardless of the condition of your old computer. Go to iforgot.apple.com to reset your iTunes password. Once you have done that, you should be able to log into iTunes on your new computer. You can redownload any music that you bought through iTunes, or if you have iTunes Match, you can redownload your entire iTunes library.
If you don't have iTunes Match, the other problem is that the only copies of your music are trapped on your dead computer and your iPod. There is a way to rescue your music from at least one of them. If you still have your old computer, open the My Music folder (Music on Mac), then open the iTunes folder. Save the files named iTunes Library.itl and iTunes Library.xml files to a flash drive or external drive. Copy your music files from your old computer and save them to the same external drive. Now, open the same folders on your new computer, and replace those files with your library files from the older computer. Make sure that you move everything into the exact same location on your new computer as it was on your old computer. Assuming you do it correctly, you will be able to open iTunes and everything will be back to the way it was. If not, you'll still have your music, but you'll have to import the music into your new iTunes library on your new computer.
If you have unfortunately already gotten rid of your old computer, you can still copy your music from your iPod. What ever you do, don't sync your iPod …
Q: I just bought a new Macbook Pro laptop, and I am planning on selling my old laptop. I have Adobe Creative Suite for on my old Mac laptop and I want to move it to my new Mac. Is there anything I need to do to put it on my new laptop or can I just install it?
A: You can go ahead and install it on your new computer, but you ought to deactivate it on your old computer before you sell it. Adobe only lets you activate the software on as many computers as you have paid for; with a single license for Adobe software you may install it on two computers. So, if you do not deactivate it on the first computer and you only have paid for one license, you will not be able to install it on any other computers. Fortunately, if you have already sold your old laptop, there is still a way to deactivate the old computer, but you'll have to contact Adobe.
Here's how to deactivate the software from your old computer if you still have your old computer. First, make sure that your old computer is connected to the Internet. Next, click Help, then Deactivate, and select Deactivate Permanently. That will take care of it. Now you can activate the software on another computer.
If you still have the computer, but you've already uninstalled the software, all you have to do is reinstall it. Then, you'll be able to follow the directions above.
If you don't have your old computer, you'll have to talk to somebody at Adobe. Go to the Adobe website and click the Chat Now button at the bottom to chat with an agent. They'll be able to deactivate the old computer for you.
Q: I have two old computers that I would like to donate to a school or organization. How can I erase any personal information on the hard drive before I donate them? Is there an inexpensive way to do this?
A: We've talked about this once before, but it never hurts to repeat. You have the right idea. You definitely want to wipe your computer before you give it away or sell it. If it’s a Windows PC you’re getting rid of, use a program like Eraser or CCleaner, or if it's a Mac, there’s a program called Permanent Eraser. All of these programs will completely eradicate any data, and they are free.
However, one of our listeners pointed out that these programs will not wipe the entire hard drive clean unless you wipe the operating system. This is true. To wipe the entire hard drive clean, you need to either boot it from the USB or CD/DVD drive or remove the hard drive and use a USB adapter to attach it as an external hard drive to another computer.
Most computers these days come with a recovery partition. Depending on who made your computer, you will press a button like F11 during the boot up process to access the recovery procedure. A prompt will tell you what button to push when you boot the computer. If you can create a bootable DVD or CD, there will be an option in the recovery menu. You'll have to look for the option in the menu or check the manufacturer's website for more information.
If you don't have a recovery partition, you should have received a bootable recovery disc. If you don't have a recovery partition and/or you can't find your recovery disc, you'll have to get one or create one. Check the manufacturer's website. If they offer one to download or send you for free or cost, you'll be able to order it there.
Another option is to take the hard drive out of your computers, and plug them into an external hard drive adapter. Then, plug the hard drive into another computer and run Eraser or CCleaner Also, If you simply …
Q: My cat walked on my computer one day, and now my Dell laptop boots upside down. That is, the screen is upside down. To get it right I have to press the Windows key and the "p" button to duplicate the screen. Then, when I press it again the screen reverts back to normal. How can I get it to boot up correctly?
A: I know cats can be pranksters, but yours has taken it to new extremes. Fortunately, as easy as it was for your cat to screw up your computer, it is just as easy to fix.
For some reason, some genius at Microsoft thought it was a good idea to have a hot-key combination that changes the orientation of your screen. I can see why very occasionally you might want to flip your screen 90 degrees, but I can’t imagine doing it often enough that you would need a short sequence of keystrokes to do it. Basically, Microsoft created the ultimate hotkey shortcut for pranksters or cats.
You can change the orientation of the monitor on most Windows laptops by pressing Ctrl-Alt and an arrow key at the same time. To change the orientation of your screen, once you’ve logged in upside-down, hold down Ctrl+Alt+Up, and that ought to return your screen to normal. Ctrl-Alt-Down will flip it upside down, and Ctrl-Alt-Left and Ctrl-Alt-Right will flip the screen sideways facing left or right respectively.
Do us a favor though: once you change your screen back, don’t use this knowledge for evil. Nothing will make your IT department hate you more than dozens of calls from frantic coworkers because their screens have flipped sideways and upside down.
If you try the hotkey trick and it doesn’t work for some reason, there is another way that will definitely fix it for you.
Click the Start menu and open "Control Panel."
Click "Adjust Screen Resolution"
Click to open the "Orientation" menu.
Choose from : "Landscape," "Portrait," "Landscape (Flipped)" and "Portrait (Flipped)" Click your desired orientation option to have Windows …
Q: Do you have a recommendation for a calendar app for my iPhone? I've kept my calendar as a list in my notes for years and have accidentally deleted it multiple times, which is all stupid, I know. I haven't found a calendar app yet that I like. I want to be able to integrate tasks I've given myself for the day and I'd like it to be easy to cut/paste from date to date. Suggestions?
A: Honestly, the built-in calendar app on the iPhone is pretty good, at least since iOS 7 came out. (Side note, if you have an iPhone 4S or higher and you haven't updated yet, you should update to iOS 7. It's great. However, if you have an iPhone 4, you should read my article before you update.) There are a few good alternatives like Cozi and Calendars by Readdle, Week Cal and Fantastical, but I honestly don't think you want a calendar app. I think you want a good task manager or to-do list app.
Maybe I am too much of a stickler for the Getting Things Done method, but you should only use a calendar for events that are set in time, not for tasks. In other words, the meeting you have scheduled for Tuesday at noon goes on the calendar, but the presentation that you have to get prepared for the meeting goes on your task list. You can set deadlines for your tasks, but you shouldn't put them on your calendar.
The built in app Reminders in iOS is actually a pretty decent basic task app, and you can even use Siri to set reminders for you. Clear is another simple to do list app that many people swear by. However, if you're looking for something a little more comprehensive, Toodledo is a great app that will let you organize your tasks by context and by location. You can also create sub-tasks, and even assign tasks to other people.
One last note. If you really just prefer keeping a text list of tasks, you may be able to restore those lost notes that you have accidently deleted. If you have a Gmail account or a …
Q: Every time I take a photo and try to upload it to Facebook from my iPhone 5 it keeps adding it to a folder of old photos. It looks like the comments from my friends are from all the old photos. How do I get this to stop and just upload one photo at a time in a post?
A: You can upload photos to Facebook from your iPhone in one of two ways: from inside the Facebook app or directly from the built-in iPhone Camera and Photos apps. For some reason, Facebook puts every photos that you upload to your profile into Albums now. If you upload them directly from the Camera and Photos apps, it will automatically place them into the "iOS Photos Album." You can change which folder the photo goes into, but you cannot place them into a new folder.
However, if you upload them from inside the Facebook app or on the Facebook website, you can create a new folder for it to go into.
Here's how to do it. Open the Facebook app and tap the Photo icon at the top of the screen.
Choose the photo or photos that you want to upload from your Camera Roll by tapping them. If you want to take a new picture, tap the camera icon in the bottom-left corner. Once you have selected the picture, tap the blue button in the bottom-right.
On the next screen you can write something to caption your picture with. Just above the keyboard, you'll see a row of icons. Tap the fourth one from the left which should be a photo album.
In the next screen you can choose which photo album you would like the photo to go into, or create a new album by tapping New in the top-right corner.
Enter the name of the Photo Album, and optionally, you can write a short description of the album. You can choose who can see your new photo album by tapping the icon in the bottom-right corner.
Tap the audience you want to be able to see your new photo album.
Tap Save, and your album is created.
The photo album icon should turn blue.
Finally, tap Upload, and …
Q: I am considering changing my internet service provider. However, a lot of my accounts on other websites are connected with the email address from my ISP. Is there any way I can keep my email address even if I change my ISP? If not, is there a service that will forward my emails from my old email address to my new email address?
A: Unfortunately, when you change service providers, you cannot take your email address with you. It's just like it used to be in the old days with phone numbers; you just can't transfer them. When you close that account, your email address will be closed with it. Also, there isn't any service that can forward your emails after you close the account either. Only the ISP could do that since they own the email servers, and it doesn't make good business sense to help people leave their service. The smartest thing to do is get an email account that will move with you. You can get a free email account from Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Outlook.com, just to name a few. Then, once you have setup your new email account, you can set up forwarding on your old ISP email account to your new email address before you close it. You'll have to manually change those accounts online, but this will make it much easier. If you setup a Gmail account, you can create filters that automatically label any email addresses are forwarded from your old account so that you can keep track of which companies are still using your old email address.
To setup email forwarding in Comcast/Xfinity email, go to https://customer.comcast.com/Secure/UserSettings and sign in. Then click Email Settings, and Email Forwarding.
To setup email forwarding in att.net follow these instructions.
These are the two major Internet service providers in Jacksonville. If you are using a different Internet service provider, let us know in the comments down below.
Q: I have an iPhone 4. I like the new iPhones, but I am not in the market for a new phone any time soon. I just bought my iPhone about 3 months ago. However, I really like iOS 7. Can I upgrade my iPhone 4 to iOS 7, should I upgrade it to iOS 7, and, of course, how do I upgrade it to iOS 7?
A: Every time Apple releases the latest version of iOS everyone rushes to download it. In fact, so many people were trying to download it on the 18th of September that when my wife tried to download it, it told her it would take 51 hours! However, just like Mom used to say, just because everyone else is doing something doesn't mean you should. The reviews have been saying that iOS 7 does not run well on the iPhone 4.
Technically, iOS 7 works on the iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S and 4, but the older generation phones have lower and lower specs. In fact, Apple claims that every iPhone since the 4 can run up to twice as fast as the previous iPhone. So, an operating system designed to run on an iPhone 5S might not run perfectly on a phone that is three years older. It is likely because of that reason that the iPhone 4 does not get some of the latest and greatest features of iOS like Siri, camera filters, panoramic camera mode, and full screen Safari. Even with the missing features, according to Ars Technica, most applications take almost twice as long to launch in iOS 7 than they did in iOS 6.1.3.
Here's something that should also give you pause before you update to iOS 7: Once you update, there's no going back. Apple has made it so that once you upgrade to the latest version, you cannot downgrade to iOS 6.1.3 or earlier. It is somewhat possible to do with an iPhone 4, but you have to jailbreak your iPhone before you upgrade, and you have to have saved your SHSH blobs. No, I did not just make that up. Suffice it to say, if you think an SHSH blob sounds like a quiet monster from a B-rated movie, you probably don't want to mess with it.
However, if you still …