electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? Email them to:
Or mail to:
Q&A with Marc Saltzman
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
“Marc Saltzman Q&A”
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
a leading high-tech
to more than three
on radio and TV, and is
the author of 15 books.
He’s on Twitter at
Q: I recently got a new tablet and am learn-
ing about all the things it can do. Have any
A: It’s estimated we use only about 10 percent of
what tablets can do. Here are a few features that can
help you get the most of this handy device.
Control your home theater. Many tablets have
an integrated infrared, or IR, sensor, so you’re able
to use your device to control your television, cable/
satellite box, DVD or Blu-ray player and more. Look
for a preinstalled “TV Remote” app to tap, or download one of the many free third-party apps that can
do the same thing. Most require a one-time setup
process that walks you through each component, to ensure it can communicate with them.
Scan documents and receipts. You probably don’t
carry around a flatbed scanner to digitize documents,
receipts, business cards or
handwritten notes and
sketches. But many apps can
turn your device into a powerful, portable scanner to
accomplish these tasks, via the
device’s camera. The Handy
Scanner Free app for Android has
optical character recognition, so it makes
the text editable and searchable, too.
Access your home computer. Your Internet-connected tablet is capable of logging into your
home computer. Whether you left an important
document on your desktop before you left on a business trip or want to stream a movie from your hard
drive, you can use free apps such as Splashtop
Remote Desktop to log in securely and move the
mouse via your fingertips.
Use it as a second monitor. Avatron’s Air
Display is a $9.99 app that turns your tablet into a
wireless display for your Windows PC or Mac,
allowing you to extend or mirror your computer
screen. Simply prop up your tablet to the right or left
Costco carries a variety of
tablets and accessories in the
warehouses and online at Costco.
com. Many electronic purchases
at Costco come with free tech
support through Costco
of a computer monitor and
your mouse smoothly scrolls
between the two screens as if it
were a dual-monitor setup.
Use it as a phone. While
you probably carry around a
smartphone, it might be smarter
to use a free VoIP service on
your tablet to make long-dis-
tance calls. You can use your tab-
let to make phone calls with free
apps such as ePhone, magicJack,
Net TALK, Viber and others. Make
free calls to any North American land-
line or mobile number; some apps
require you to register (also
free) to get an incoming num-
ber, voice mail and more.
Access Microsoft Office files.
While only a Windows tablet
will give you the true Microsoft
Office experience, other tablet
owners can still create, view
and edit documents imported
from Word, Excel and Power-Point. PDF files are also supported. All of your work can be
stored locally on the tablet or
accessed from cloud services such as
Dropbox, Google Drive and others. It’s also
possible to collaborate and share files with others.
Q: I’m donating my old TV to a charity. Is
there personal information on it?
A: It’s a good question. For smart TVs, any personal
information you might have entered to access an app
such as Netflix, Facebook or Skype—such as a password, username or credit card info—is stored in the
cloud within the app and not on the TV itself.
However, it’s not a bad idea to be extra vigilant.
So, make sure you’ve logged out of all your apps,
and, if possible, uninstall them before donating the
TV. If your TV has a browser, make sure no pass-word-protected websites are set to log you in automatically—and clear the history and cache in the
Also, it doesn’t hurt to go through your television’s Options/Settings to ensure you’re not signed
into any account tied to the TV manufacturer (such
as a Samsung user account). C
Tricking out your
On Costco.com, enter “Connection”;
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