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Interview With Kim Komando

Aired September 22, 2002 - 10:15   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: It's time for "Tech Talk." We know you have been waiting for this. What's new? What's happening in the computer industry? Can we give out a phone number correctly? All these are important questions that we have on our minds this morning.
CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, we fixed the problem now. Here is the phone number: 1-800-807-620. And now you can talk to digital goddess Kim Komando who is going to take your questions. She is the host of her own radio talk show, which is heard on 400 stations every week. She's a syndicated columnist whose work appears in nearly 100 newspapers. What a resume.

O'BRIEN: She is a busy geek. You know what, we have got to get this geek thing out of the way here. Do you consider that a diss or a compliment?


O'BRIEN: Geek -- diss or compliment?

KOMANDO: I take it as a compliment. I don't mind being called a geek. It's true.

O'BRIEN: Yeah, OK.

CALLAWAY: Especially if you look like she does.

O'BRIEN: Let's hear from some geeks in the audience, shall we? Kyle Rosenbaum, Atlanta, Georgia has this for you, Kim. "What is the difference in significance among the different processors -- AMD, Celeron, Pentium? And which one do you recommend for a Web designer with a 40GB hard drive and 512MB of RAM?" Oh, showing off, Kyle, huh?

KOMANDO: I know, right?

Any time you go to buy a computer, of course the processor is very important. You have AMD, Celerons, Durons and Intel. But here is the bottom line is that you always want to buy the most computer that you can afford. And when you start talking about the chips, you want to buy the fastest chip. And so if it's going 1.5 ghz, you know that you can go bump up to 2 ghz on the Celeron. Memory is so important. And you want to make sure you always have at least 512 megs.

And don't forget a backup. I mean, even if you have all this great stuff, you never want to lose it, and backup is like an insurance policy. And so here you want to get an external hard drive or maybe a zip drive so you always have a backup.

O'BRIEN: All right. Good to know. Good to know. And size counts, right?

CALLAWAY: All right, let's go now to another e-mail. This one from Robert Williams: "My computer freezes, or it gives me an error message that is not -- that it is not responding. Can you tell me what's wrong?"

KOMANDO: Oh, gosh, I hate when that happens. And then you get that blue screen of death. And you are like, oh, man.

O'BRIEN: The blue bomb.

KOMANDO: Any time the computer just freezes in action, that's where you have got to look at the offending program. And maybe you have to reinstall that program. Maybe you have too much going on. Maybe you have to clear out whatever starts when you start your computer. You know, you see all those icons pop up on the screen.

And you have to kind of do your own trouble-shooting. And that's where, again you have to go back to the offending program. And if it is like Internet Explorer, for example, you can get inside the add/remove programs icon, and hit repair Internet Explorer. And sometimes that will fix you right up.

O'BRIEN: Now, when you said "offending program," you are not talking about us, right?

KOMANDO: No, not at all.

O'BRIEN: Just wanted to be sure.

KOMANDO: You guys are cool.

CALLAWAY: In the Callaway house, we tend to reboot a lot when the error message comes up, which I know is not good for the computer.

KOMANDO: Well, you know, rebooting is always the best thing.

O'BRIEN: I think it cleanses the soul.


O'BRIEN: I think it's a wonderful thing.

CALLAWAY: We're pretty good at it at the Callaway house.

O'BRIEN: I'm a big rebooter.

CALLAWAY: We have a phone call from Mike in Tennessee. Good morning, Mike.

MIKE: Hello.

CALLAWAY: You have a question for the digital goddess? MIKE: Yes, I do. I've got a used Windows 98 and trying to do some video downloading.

O'BRIEN: Good luck.

MIKE: And I'm having a problem with it, and it was recommended to go to Windows XP. What do you recommend?

KOMANDO: Well, first of all, if you are having trouble downloading, you have to look at everything around it. Are you using the right media player? Can you update the media player? Are you on a dial-up connection? Maybe you can try a different phone line. Maybe you can upgrade to a cable or D.S.L., which, by the way, once you go broadband, you are never going back.

Now, Windows XP, there is two versions. You have the home edition and you have the professional edition. And the home edition is just that. It's for people at home. Professional has some kind of cool things built in. But one of the really great things about Windows XP is that it does seem to handle the video as well as the images a whole lot better. They have all these great tools built in. So you might want to give it a shot.

O'BRIEN: Yeah. Yeah. I would go along with that. I bit the bullet and upgraded from Windows ME, which I thought was terrible, awful, awful, just talk about blue bombs, that's all I ever got. XP, it was a big move. It was worth doing it.

All right: "When my computer boots up, I have several programs running in the background that rob me of memory. I do control-alt- delete and open and close the program window and remove those unwanted programs, but I'm unable to permanently stop them from running at start-up. Even when I go to the start settings task bar, start menu program remove start-up. I have Windows 98."

Poor Vicmike1.

CALLAWAY: Poor Vic. Vic needs some help.

O'BRIEN: I've been there, by the way.

KOMANDO: For this answer, we all have to put on our geek cap, OK?

O'BRIEN: OK, briefly.

KOMANDO: Because you can always right-click on those icons and then go to preferences and say, don't start, but sometimes it doesn't always happen that way. And so that's when you go to start/run, OK, you are going to type in "msconfig." And once you get there, you go all the way to the right. You are going to have something called the startup tab, hello? And that's where all the magic happens. And there, you uncheck the boxes that you don't want to start, and bingo, they're gone.

O'BRIEN: Boy, you make it sound so easy. KOMANDO: It is easy. It's really not that difficult.

CALLAWAY: Go ahead and take another e-mail. They're still working on...

O'BRIEN: All right. Dave in Ohio has this for you, Kim: "What is the best way to protect your system from outside hackers if you are using the wireless network?" And you were the one that introduced me to these little markings that you see in neighborhoods.

KOMANDO: Oh, the war chalking.

O'BRIEN: Yeah.

KOMANDO: And you know, what's interesting, this past week Nokia, they came out and said, if you are using our wireless network, you're stealing from us. And that's those little symbols that we talked about last time.

But anyway, if you are on a wireless network, certain things you need to do. Number one is that if you don't need to turn on the file and printer sharing, you turn that off. And all the wireless networks have built in encryption tools, and so there you want to always ensure that you sign up for those and then you secure the system, you lock the system down. And if you are on a wireless network, the big rule of thumb is that if you are not using the computer, hello, turn it off.

O'BRIEN: Turn it off.

CALLAWAY: Ever since you were on last time, everywhere I go I look for the little indications on the sidewalk. Haven't seen one yet.

KOMANDO: You know what they have now?


KOMANDO: Something called war flying, where people will fly over buildings at like 1,500 feet above the ground, and they'll actually try to get into the wireless networks that way too.

O'BRIEN: I've got to tell you, they're going to get an F-16 on their wingtip in this day and age if they don't watch it.


CALLAWAY: Tommy from Florida, are you on the line there?

TOMMY: Yes, I am.

CALLAWAY: Good morning. Do you have a question for Kim?

TOMMY: Yes, I do. I was calling to see if -- if it's possible for someone to read deleted e-mails from another country?

KOMANDO: And for what purpose? Why do you ask this?

TOMMY: Because basically my e-mails are being read by my fiancee in Germany as I delete them from the computer. She can pick them up and read them anyway.

KOMANDO: OK, so is she reading them in Germany?

TOMMY: She's reading them in Germany.

KOMANDO: OK. I bet you you have one setting that's not really checked inside your e-mail program. And depending upon your e-mail program, you might have to use the help function to go find this. But there is a function called "leave mail on the server." And what that means is that if you check your e-mail in Florida and she's in Germany, she can still retrieve the e-mail because it's still sitting on the server.

And it's kind of a tool that people use when they travel around a lot. Like they may leave the mail on the server, and every mail that travels through the Internet sits on one particular mail server at the Internet service provider or maybe at the company. But a lot of people use this when they travel so that this way on their laptop they have one copy of their e-mail, and then when they get back to the office, they can go ahead and get the e-mail.

So I bet you that it's still checked. So even if you are deleting it, it is still sitting there and then she can go look at it. But now you know that you always better talk nice about her.

O'BRIEN: All right, so if he's planning a little surprise for her, you know, e-mailing the jeweler...

CALLAWAY: But did he say current fiancee or former fiancee?

O'BRIEN: Oh, I don't know.

KOMANDO: Or was it current or future wife.

O'BRIEN: The plot might be thicker than that. Who knows.

Kim Komando, a woman who is a geek and ever so chic, and I don't know it but I'm a poet. Thank you very much.

KOMANDO: Oh, my pleasure.

O'BRIEN: Come back again, will you?

KOMANDO: Absolutely.

O'BRIEN: All right, great.

CALLAWAY: Take care.


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