Facebook privacy settings you should change
Q. Facebook makes so many changes, I can't keep up. How do I make sure I'm still private on the site?
A. There are quite a few things you can do. First, go to your Facebook profile. In the upper right corner, click the upside-down triangle and then select "Settings." Now click the "Privacy" tab on the left, and you should see a bunch of options. Clicking the "Edit" button will give you a drop-down menu where you can select the options that best suit your needs.
Be sure to change "Who can see your future posts?" to "Close Friends." Facebook has long since defaulted to "Friends" for this, but if you have an older account it might still be set to "Everyone." You can even go a step further and select "Close Friends" if you want only specific people to see your posts unless you say otherwise.
Other steps include limiting the audience of your past posts and tweaking the settings of who can send you friend requests if you don't want to be found by anyone. Click here to learn 4 more settings in Facebook that you want to change right now.
Easy ways to travel with gadgets
Q. I'm going on vacation soon and was wondering if you had any tips for easy traveling with my gadgets?
A. Whether you're going on a road trip or traveling out of the country, a smartphone, tablet or laptop can be an incredible travel companion, assuming it works wherever you go. Download apps like The Wi-Fi Freespot Directory or JiWire to make sure you have Wi-Fi wherever you go. But you'll also want to make sure you stay safe on public Wi-Fi. Click here to learn how to stay safe on public Wi-Fi with these tips.
You also don't want to find yourself with a dead battery. Battery Doctor will run tests on your Android or Apple gadgets and tell you what's burning up your battery so you can stop it. Learn more about improving battery life on your mobie gadgets. A backup battery is also handy; check out the one I sell in my store.
Some vacations can get really busy, and it's easy to misplace a gadget or leave it behind. There also are thieves out there who love to prey on tourists. Luckily, most gadgets have GPS trackers to find your gear if it disappears. Apple users can install Find My iPhone for free in case something like this happens. There's a similar app for Android users called Android Device Manager. Click here to get more great tips on how to travel with your gadgets.
How to get an iPad for cheap
Q. I want to get a new iPad, but I'm on a tight budget. Where can I buy an iPad on the cheap?
A. Wouldn't you know it, now is the perfect time to start looking for lower-priced iPads. There are rumors that the iPad Air 2 will be released shortly, and it's going to be one of the hot-ticket items come Christmas time. Retailers will need to clear room on the shelves for these shiny new gadgets and that means there will be discounted older models of nearly any Apple gadget.
If you want to buy a lower-cost iPad, you will want to grab an older model. If you have an iPad that you want to upgrade, you can consider a buyback program. Apple's buyback program is called the Reuse and Recycle program, and it can save you hundreds. Best Buy has a similar program, and so does Wal-Mart.
Another good place to check is Apple's page of certified refurbished models. You can save anywhere from $80 to $180 off the original price. For example, a fourth-generation iPad is available for $299, $100 less than original price. If you're nervous about buying a used or refurbished model, know that Apple-certified iPads have a one-year warranty and a new battery and casing. That means it'll be more reliable than a typical used model. Click here to learn more secrets to getting an iPad at a discounted price.
Ways to extend your wireless network
Q. My Wi-Fi signal leaves much room for improvement. I put my router out in the open and in the middle of the house so the signal should be strong. I'm not sure what else I can do to strengthen my signal and get Wi-Fi throughout the house.
A. You may need to tweak a few router settings, especially if you have an 802.11g or older 802.11n router. Click here for a step-by-step guide to changing your router's settings. You also might want to consider upgrading to a new router with better range and faster speeds. Click here to read my essential router buying guide for more advice.
You can also buy a Wi-Fi booster or range extender. This is a special kind of router that receives the Wi-Fi signal and rebroadcasts it to areas of the house your router can't reach. Those can set you back up to $130, so for a cheaper option, try adding a reflector to your antenna, too. Click here to learn how to make one with a soda can. It sounds crazy, but it really works.
You might find that your signal isn't as weak as you think. In that case, your connection problems could be other people stealing your Wi-Fi bandwidth. Click here to see if a neighbor is stealing your Wi-Fi and how to lock down your network before the worst happens.
Q. My Internet speeds at home seem to have slowed down. How can I tell if I am getting the connection speeds I am paying for?
A. My favorite testing service is Speedtest, because it's simple to use and gives plenty of information. You also need to make sure everything is set up right. Be sure you're running Speedtest on a desktop or laptop plugged directly into your router or cable modem. Don't use a gadget on Wi-Fi, because Wi-Fi has potential speed problems of its own that can throw off your results. You should also make sure that none of your household gadgets are using the Internet. So stop any video streaming, file downloads or online gaming. Again, you'll get lower figures if something else is hogging your connection. Click here to learn more about how to conduct the test and understand the results.
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast, watch the show or find the station nearest you, visit: http://www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim's free email newsletters, sign-up at: http://www.komando.com/newsletters.