- YoYo Gamesmaker, AppMakr and more can help you program an app To publish an ebook, get an editor, cover design and ebook format program Old-fashioned search through family, friends is best when finding a contractor
You’ve got tech questions, here are the answers. Kim Komando helps you make the most of your technology by answering your thorniest tech questions. So if you’re wondering what to buy, how to plug it in, or how to fix it, Kim can help.
Make your very own app
Q. I’ve got a great idea for a smartphone app, but I don’t know how to code stuff. Are there any tools that can help me design this app?
A. There are more tools than you can imagine. For gaming apps, start with YoYo Gamesmaker or Gamesalad Creator. These have drag-and-drop interfaces and can help you get your games on the Google Play and iTunes app stores. You can also do some serious programming on Codea, but you’ll need an iPad to get started. If the app you want to make isn’t a game, you can use Android’s App Inventor, AppsMakerStore and AppMakr to help you program it. Keep in mind that making a commercial app takes plenty of time and money. It can be a seriously fun experience, though!
Publish your own ebook for cash
Q. I’m working on a novel I’ve been writing for fun. I’d like to try to sell it as an ebook. How do I get started?
A. Well, you’ll need an editor first. Some places offer free consultations so you can see if they match your style. If you can’t find anyone in person, try sites like Elance, Guru or Freelance Switch. You can use sites like those to find someone to help you design a cover, or go it alone with a tool like Inkscape. From there, you can convert it to various ebook formats using Calibre. Apple, Amazon and other stores have their own publishing formats, so make sure it’s compatible with each. If you don’t want to sell on the big markets, you can sell it on your own with a site like YooOffer.
Best apps to manage your groceries
Q. I’m switching from a paper grocery list to one I can access on my smartphone and tablet. What are some good grocery list apps?
A. Grocery IQ is a personal favorite. It can create multiple lists that you can edit from any smartphone, tablet or computer. It even has some coupons and other ways to save built in. If saving money and couponing are big perks for you, you might like Grocery Gadget as well. It pays for itself after a few trips thanks to coupons and it lets you scan barcodes and share your list with anyone. Aisle411 has most of those features and gives you recipes and even maps of popular retailers all over the country.
Find and install high-quality fonts
Q. I’m taking on the role of designing flyers for my son’s theater group. I’d like some new fonts to make the flyers look good, but they’re expensive. Are there any freebies available?
A. There are plenty! Check out Google Fonts, FontPro and FontStruct. You should be able to find thousands of fonts for free or cheap. Once you download them, you might need a zipping tool like 7-zip to open them. After that, double click on the file and then click Install. That works for Macs and Windows computers with Vista or higher. If you’re still using XP, you’ll need to go to Start>>Control Panel and find the Fonts icon. Choose File>>Install New Font and pick the font you want to install.
Use the Internet to hire a reliable contractor
Q. I need some work done on my house and I’m looking for a reliable contractor. Are there any sites that can make my search easier?
A. There are, but I can’t stress how important old-fashioned search tools can be. Suggestions from friends and family, and word-of-mouth, are still great ways to find someone reliable! If you’ve tried that and you’re still having trouble, Angie’s List is a good place to go. It lets people post reviews and experiences with contractors and other types of workers. There is a membership fee, but that helps the site verify reviews and attract serious businesses. If you don’t want to pay, try a site like Thumbtack. It lets you name your price for the job and then sends contractors who are willing to do it your way. Both sites will help you resolve problems if they come up.
Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast, watch the show or find the station nearest you, visit www.komando.com. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .