Answer: One of the best new features in Mountain Lion is Notification Center. It alerts you of updates in your Mail, Reminders, Calendar, Messages and social media feeds. If you’d like to put a stop to these so you can focus on something else, hold down the Option Key and click the notification menu bar icon. It will turn from black to gray, meaning it’s been properly disabled. You can turn it back on the same way, but it will turn itself back on the next day if you forget. If you’d like to manage more of Notification’s features, head to your dock and go to System Preferences>>Notifications.
Gadgets for bedridden people
Q: I’m having major surgery that will keep me confined to a bed for some time. What device would you recommend I buy to keep me in the loop?
A: Your best bet is going to be a tablet. These will be great for e-mail, Web surfing and watching movies online. They’re light enough to be used in bed without much moving around. If you can afford it, buy an iPad since these are the easiest devices for a beginner to use. Though they are a little on the expensive side, you can buy a refurbished one to save $100 or more. Plus, there are rumors of a new, more affordable iPad mini coming soon if you can wait a little while. If you want to save even more, try the Google Nexus 7. It’s only $200 and the new Google Play media store is a worthy opponent to Apple’s iTunes store.
Attachments turn to gibberish
Q: I just bought a brand new computer. The first email I opened had an attachment that turned into a bunch of gibberish sentences. What happened?
A: What happened here is that you tried to open a file with the wrong type of program. I’m guessing that you tried to open a media file with a text editor, so that gibberish you’re seeing is code. You probably had the program that opens it correctly installed on your last computer. The problem is that there are a countless number of file attachments it could have been, and they all need a certain type of program to open them. So, look for the file extension in the email and then do a quick Google search of the extension type. You should find what kind of file it is and what program would open it.
Shopping for apps for kids
Q: My grandkids are always playing with their phones and apps. How do I buy them more apps they can play?
A: Apps are usually purchased directly from the mobile gadgets. You can also purchase apps online from the gadget’s store — iTunes for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices. Unfortunately, you’ll need access to your grandchild’s — or their parent’s — store account to have it show up on their gadget. A better option would be to buy the kids a prepaid credit card or store specific gift card. This saves you from buying games or programs that they don’t like or their parents don’t approve of. It saves them from buying a ton of games and apps on your account without your permission.
Running Windows 8 on Macs
Q: I installed Windows 7 on my Mac to run some Windows-only programs. Will I need to upgrade to Windows 8 when it is released?
A: Don’t worry; any programs you’re running currently on your Mac will still work. So, you won’t have to upgrade to Windows 8, but you can if you want to. To install Windows on a Mac with Boot Camp you’ll need a full retail copy of Windows, 2 GB of RAM and 20 GB of storage on your hard drive. Type “Boot Camp Assistant” in the magnifying glass in the top-right corner of your Mac’s screen. You’ll need to set a size for the Windows partition — give it about 30-40 GB. Hit the partition button and then insert your Windows installation disk when it finishes. Click Start Installation, and your Mac takes care of the rest.