By Kim Komando, Special for USA TODAY
Question: I'm going to sell my old iPhone in anticipation of buying a new one. How can I wipe my data from it for good?
Answer: Wiping your data from a smartphone is important for security, and it couldn't be easier. To wipe an iOS gadget, go to Settings>>General>>Reset. Tap Erase All Content and Settings and then push the ominous red Erase button. If you have a newer iOS gadget, this process should take only a few minutes to complete. If you have an earlier model, it might take an hour or more. Make sure the gadget is plugged in or has a full battery before you begin. Otherwise, you might have to start all over.
Stop resource-hogging programs
Q: My computer keeps giving me this "high CPU usage" warning. How I can stop this? Is it a virus?
A: I doubt you're seeing that because of a virus. You probably just have a malfunctioning program. To find out what it is, hit CTRL + ALT + DEL on your keyboard and select Start Task Manager. Head to the Processes tab and look for the column labeled CPU. Double click it to sort the processes in descending order. This will give you a look at what programs are using the CPU the most. The next time you see that warning, go back to your list of processes to find the culprit. Uninstall and reinstall that program if you think it's not performing properly. In cases where it's a general Windows process, you will need a program like Process Explorer to indentify the exact culprit.
Laptops for teachers
Q: I'm a teacher in the market for a brand new laptop. I'm on a restricted budget - what would you recommend?
A. Thanks to advancing technology, you can snag a good laptop for $400 or less. At that price, expect to see a computer with about 4 GB of RAM, 320 to 500 GB hard drives and an Intel Core i3 processor. That's a respectable machine - just make sure that processor is in the 3000 range, as this is the most recent Intel release. Just as important as those specs for a teacher may be what ports the laptop has. If you plan on using it with a projector, check what type of video connection it has. That will save you from having to buy a costly adapter. Finally, make sure you buy a computer with a good battery, or else you'll be tripping over cords in the classroom!
Buying a new TV
Q: If I plan on sitting about 10 feet away from my TV, what size HDTV should I buy? How much should I expect to spend?
A: A good rule for the minimum size of an HDTV is the viewing distance (in inches) divided by three. So, at 10 feet, or 120 inches, you'll want a 40-inch screen minimum. To find the maximum size, you can double that figure. For a TV 40-50 inches, you could pay as little as $250 or as much $1,000. If you want a TV to watch fast-moving sports, stick to the $500-$700 range.
The right gadget to take on a trip
Q: I'm taking a trip and need one device to keep in touch with my family back home. Would you suggest a tablet, laptop or smartphone?
A: A laptop would be a good choice if you're taking the trip for work reasons. However, if you don't need it, it could be a major pain to carry around all the time just to stay in touch. If you want to be able to contact your family at any time, I'd recommend the smartphone. It will be the easiest to carry with you, and it gives you a ton of options for chatting with family. If you're heading overseas, make sure you have a GSM-compatible phone that will work in multiple countries.