Microsoft

Tech Q&A: Windows 10, smartphone printing, new iPhone rumors and more

Illustration picture.

Illustration picture.  (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel )

Get your Windows 10 upgrade

Q. I hate Windows 7. I'm really looking forward to the Windows 10. When will I be able to upgrade?

A. Windows 10 is launching on July 29, but very few people will actually get the upgrade that day. Microsoft is rolling out Windows 10 in stages, starting with people in the Insider program. After 10 is working well for them, it will go to people who reserved a copy using the reservation system in Windows 7 and 8. Even that's going to take a while, because Microsoft is upgrading small groups one at a time. If you aren't an Insider and didn't reserve your copy, it's going to be a while. Expect months. Find out why Microsoft chose to do things this way and how you can move up the list.

Print from your smartphone

Q. Like a recent caller on your national radio show, my computer died, and between my smartphone and my tablet I don't miss it that much. But how do I print things? I used to hear you on Armed Forces Radio when I was stationed in Iraq. You were a breath of fresh air from home. Thank you for your support of our military!

A. First, thank you and your family for serving. We appreciate your sacrifices. Now, both Apple and Android gadgets include wireless printing systems. Apple has AirPrint and Android has Google Cloud Print. If you have a compatible wireless printer on your network, your gadget should detect it, connect and let you print with a tap. There also are third-party apps like Paper Hammermill (Android, Apple; free) that work with a wider range of printers. Of course, it isn't always as easy as it should be. Click here for step-by-step instructions for setting up and using these services to print from your mobile gadgets.

New iPhone rumors

Q. I'm thinking about upgrading to an iPhone 6, but isn’t a new iPhone coming soon?

A. The next iPhone, which could be the iPhone 6s or iPhone 7, is rumored to have some interesting goodies. The biggest addition is a "Force Touch" display that not only registers touch, but pressure. That means you can make different things happen based on how hard you tap or press the screen. There should also be a faster processor, more storage space and possibly a 12 megapixel camera to replace the current 8MP version. That's just the beginning; find out more about the next iPhone's rumored features. And in case you’re curious, Apple announced new iPods too.

An actual use for selfies

Q. I don't get the whole selfie thing, but my daughter and her friends take them all day long. What do you think this is going to do to society in the future?

A. The selfie craze isn't dying down, and some companies have decided to accommodate the selfie-loving generation. MasterCard, for example, is starting a trial of a system that lets you confirm payments by taking a selfie instead of typing in complex passwords. It's actually just a fun way to say "facial recognition." So far, facial recognition hasn't proven too secure on mobile gadgets, but MasterCard thinks it can make it work. Learn more about how this "selfie" system works and see it in action.

Daughter calls Mom paranoid

Q. My daughter is constantly posting her vacation pictures on Facebook. I tell her this isn’t safe. She says I am paranoid.

A. Tell your daughter this: Over 75 percent of convicted burglars admitted they use social media to target victims. These criminals need only a rough idea of where you live and access to Google Street View to start casing your home. Depending on where she posts her photos, your daughter could also be revealing her exact location. Suggest she wait until she’s safely home to post vacation stories. And instead of sharing potentially sensitive photos across social networks, create a private photo album on a site like Flickr or Google Photos. Click here for a tip on my site that details how precisely burglars use social media and how to avoid being their next victim. Send her the link. 

Bonus Question: Apple Watch woes

Q. I bought the Apple Watch and I hardly use it. I like the idea of a computerized watch. Maybe I just need a different one. Can you help out?

A. I hear you. I don’t wear my Apple Watch either. There are several other makes and models to choose from, including LG, Samsung, Sony, Pebble, etc. The differences between them span display type and size, battery life, voice controls, whether you need a smartphone to use them, and more. But I did the heavy lifting and made it easy for you. Click here for my Smartwatch Comparison Chart.

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.