Sunday is Father’s Day, and for millions of families that means setting up new gadgets. With help from my colleagues in the newsroom, here are answers to some of the more common questions we get from our fathers, mothers and grandparents on setting up new toys.
Connect your camera to your computer: Every digital camera has slightly different set-up procedures, but most will have software to walk you through installing the software to let your camera and computer talk to each other. After popping in the battery, memory card and snapping a few pictures, plug your powered-on camera into the computer using a cord that’s normally included in the box.
The easiest ways to manage your pictures on a Mac is through iPhoto. iPhoto will likely pop up and ask you if you’d like to import the pictures from your camera. Click “Import” to put them in your library. On a PC, a box pops up asking what you want to do when you plug your camera in. Probably the easiest thing to do is decide to view your camera as a folder and put the files wherever you want.
If you want a physical print of your pictures, several drug stores and retailers such as Walmart or CVS will turn your digital pictures into prints if you bring them the memory card or stick from your camera . You can also try online services such as Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly once you’ve put the pics in your computer.
Wireless networks: In most cases, whatever device you need to add to your network — a tablet, a new laptop, etc. — should be able to find your existing network automatically.
If you’re running into problems, you may need to delve a little deeper. One easy way to check if you have the right password is by going to a computer hooked up to the network you want to access and check its saved information. To do that on a PC, right-click on the network name and choose “Properties,” and your answer should appear in the password field. On a Mac, head to the Keychain Access application and search for the network name.
If you can’t connect and you know you have the right password, try resetting your router. Unplug the router, wait about 30 seconds and then plug it back in.
Moving files: There are few ways to move files between devices if you’ve received a new laptop or computer as a gift. The easiest is to use a thumb drive — just plug it into your old computer, drag and drop what you want to move and plug the drive into the new computer.
If you’re switching data from one device to another within your home, you can set up a Public folder. On a PC, you can set up public sharing through the Network and Sharing Center control panel. On a Mac, you can use the Public folder in the Finder to share files over your wireless network.
You can also use online services such as Dropbox to upload files to the Internet and download them onto your new computer.
Still having trouble?: If you’re still having trouble, there are plenty of ways to reach out to those you know can help — the people who gave you the gadgets in the first place.
For visual problem solvers, video-chat is a good way to get an explanation. I’d recommend Skype as a good way to address troubleshooting questions, since it lets you see each other’s faces. You can download Skype for free from its Web site and add your relatives to your contacts to chat. Not a Skype fan? Check out our list of alternatives.
You can also use video chat through Gmail, which many people already have. Google has a voice and video chat plug-in that you can install on your computer to talk straight from Gmail.
If a member of your family doesn’t have a web camera, Google also offers group chat, so you can talk to multiple people at the same time. When you’re in a chat with someone, just click on the “Options" menu at the bottom left-hand corner of your screen and choose “Add a person to this chat.” From there, type the name of the person you want to add, and let the discussions fly.