Alexander: Finding a PC that can sing and dance

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 25, 2013 - 10:02 AM

Q: I want to buy a laptop for playing dance and listening music and for karaoke singing. What should I look for to make sure the laptop has quality sound, ample storage and the ability to connect to a TV? (I already have a sound system.)

Bill Lawrence, Minneapolis

 

A: Any laptop will have a fast enough processor for playing or mixing music. If you plan to extensively edit music tracks, you’ll find a list of computers designed for music production at tinyurl.com/kow79n5. If you also want to play or edit music videos, you’ll get better results if the computer has a dedicated video memory card.

If you intend to store a lot of music or video on the laptop, get one with a 500-gigabyte internal hard drive (typical on new laptops.) And make sure the computer has an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port for transferring video to a TV screen via an HDMI cable. (Most new PCs have at least one HDMI port.)

Beyond the computer itself, you’ll want some software to help you play or mix music. DJ software, which can do things such as synchronize the tempo of two songs to create a smooth the transition between them, is reviewed at tinyurl.com/7h6bfc6. Several types of karaoke software are described at tinyurl.com/m9y8e6s.

 

Q: I would like to find some “find me if lost” software for my laptop PC. I hope to find a program I would install on my laptop and activate from another computer or a smartphone if the laptop is stolen. Where can I find such software?

Cathy Gunderson, Minneapolis

 

A: Tracking software for laptops can, within limits, tell you where a stolen laptop is when it’s connected to the Internet. The tracking software reports the IP (Internet Protocol) address a stolen PC is using, and also might report details of any Wi-Fi hot spot to which the PC is connected. Some tracking software allows you to send signals to the missing laptop that will enable you to copy important files from it and perhaps even take control of the laptop and wipe out its data.

Obviously, tracking software isn’t a perfect way to recover a stolen PC. You’ll need law-enforcement help to find out who was using that IP address at the time, and where that person lives. For a review of several types of laptop-tracking software, see tinyurl.com/ceec9hj.

 

Q: How can I eliminate a person’s old e-mail address in Gmail and replace it with a new one?

Sheryl Hartley, Aventura, Fla.

 

A: Click the down arrow next to “Gmail” beneath the Google logo, and from the drop-down list click “Contacts.” Click on a name in the list and change the e-mail address. To return to e-mail, click the arrow beside “Contacts” and choose “Gmail.”

 

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.

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