For more than 20 years, Kim Komando has been one of America’s most popular voices in personal technology.
The 58-year-old can be heard giving advice on more than 500 U.S. radio stations, as well as on SiriusXM satellite radio. She is also a columnist for USA Today and has written dozens of consumer tech guides. We asked Komando to discuss her take on modern digital life and what tools are most useful.
What technology can you not live without?
The Find My feature on my iPhone is fabulous. I can see where my son is at college, and he doesn’t mind me looking. I think back to when I was 20 years old — would I really have wanted my parents to do that? But children today grew up with it; it’s just, like — OK, yes.
Also, we have a golden retriever. Her name’s Abby, and she’s 3. If anything were to happen to Abby, I think my husband would become discombobulated. She wears an Apple AirTag tracker and a Fi brand collar with a GPS. So at any given moment, we know exactly where she is.
What other current technology excites you?
Wearables. That’s phenomenal technology, especially for people to monitor any type of health issue. Wearables allow you to really know what’s going on with your body. A lot of people don’t realize this, but they keep track of not only your steps but your walking asymmetry, too.
That can tell you about your likelihood to fall. You can learn your step length and everything like that, plus monitor your heart, your blood pressure.
Also, my iRobot vacuum is the coolest thing. Oh my God, I love it. I say, “Alexa, tell the Roomba to vacuum the kitchen.” And she says, “Would you like the Roomba to wash the floor afterward?” And I go, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I would.”
Oh, and Google Voice [which assigns you a virtual phone number] is great too. This way you don’t have to give out your real phone number if you don’t want to.
I had a woman who lost her cat call the show. She had put on Facebook, “Here’s my phone number. Call me if you find my cat.” Then she’s wondering why all these people are calling her [for other things]. I try to not give out my phone number if I don’t have to.
Want to listen?
On air. You can hear the three-hour, call-in Kim Komando Show every week on more than 500 stations across the country. Or listen to her one-minute Daily Tech Update on many of the same stations. Search for your local station and times.
Online. Or tune in anytime to listen to podcasts of her shows.
What’s the tech like in your home?
My setup is kind of ridiculous. In my new house, I was given the opportunity to start from scratch. I wasn’t limited by what was already there as far as infrastructure.
So I have 30,000 feet of Cat 6 ethernet cable [the current top speed and quality] in the walls, in the ceilings — everywhere you can't see it. I know that everybody says wireless is great. Yeah, it’s great until it doesn’t work. But I do also use Wi-Fi mesh networks.
The home theater in the new house has a 180-inch screen. And it has a Barco projector and Focal speakers. If I’m going to sit down and watch something, I want to be totally immersed in it.
Do you have other smart home devices that you love?
Well, of course, you can’t beat a smart video doorbell to see who’s there. I mean, that is just a necessity.
I also have smart sprinklers — so when it rains, they don’t water the lawn. I have all kinds of smart lights, including some that set themes for the house.