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Articles written by Bob Delaurentis

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 By Bob DeLaurentis    Columns    August 1, 2017 

Disposals, repairs and quiet evenings

Q. How do I dispose of a smartphone? A. These guidelines apply to most electronic devices, everything from smartphones to PCs. There are two concerns, protecting your privacy and proper recycling. If the device is only a few years old and still...

 

Fake Facebook requests; backing up your inbox

Q. My 80-year-old mother received some messages from her Facebook friends that they had gotten a friend request from her, despite the fact they were already friends. What is going on? A. According to published estimates, there may be as many as 80...

 

Roku advice, internet filters and USB-C

Q. Is Roku the easiest streaming device to use? I can’t seem to get a handle on it so I can watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. A. I love my Roku. My son gave me one a couple birthdays ago, and since then I’ve found many ways to enjoy it. Of...

 
 By Bob DeLaurentis    Columns    May 1, 2017

Grandkids' video games are an opportunity

Q. A couple of times when I answered my phone the first voice I heard asked if I could hear them. It seemed harmless, but I wonder. Is it harmless? A. No, it is likely a scam. There is a similar technique that has been making the rounds recently. It...

 

Fake news, fake phone numbers, battery dangers

Q. My daughter is upset with me because I get news from Facebook. I don’t understand why that is such a big problem. A. Social networks like Facebook and Pinterest get most of the information they present from users. Conventions vary, but generally...

 

Voice-controlled devices, home automation, phone battery life

Q. Is it possible to talk with Siri on non-Apple devices? A. The short answer is no, Siri is a feature only available from Apple. For readers who may not be familiar with that name, Siri is the voice-controlled Intelligent Personal Assistant...

 

Health and fitness in your pocket and on your wrist

Q. My daughter keeps encouraging me to get a smartphone, but I fail to see any need. I don’t need the Internet on my phone. Are there other reasons? A. Information can save your life. And the smartphone can be an essential tool for recording...

 

Printers, programming and DIY computing

Q. I have used the same HP1200 laser printer in my home office for a very long time. Last week it stopped working, and now I need to replace it. What would you suggest? A. The printer world has changed considerably in recent years. I started using...

 

Music on smartphones, song IDs and a podcast primer

Q. I have used an iPod for years, but now that I carry a smartphone, I’d like to use it for music. What is the best way to do that? A. Any smartphone can replace an iPod. To get started, try installing the music you already own onto your phone...

 

Desktop replacements, clouds and Snapchat

Q. My Windows 7 PC is showing its age and will need to be replaced soon. But I’m not sure which direction to go. Should I stick with Windows? Switch to a Mac? I think I might like a laptop. Any recommendations? A. Upgrading your PC will require...

 

Organizing your photo collection; Wi-Fi everywhere; Facebook backups

Q. I have collected photos on my computer for years, but they are not organized. Now I have a mess on my hands. I would like to sort them out and keep them safe. Where do I start? A. We are spoiled by too much choice when it comes to photo...

 

What you need to know about cutting cable TV

Q. My cable bill went up last month. I only watch a few shows regularly – can I ditch my cable box and watch shows online? A. I cut the cable years ago. My wife and I knew we were ready after noticing how often we watched Netflix. At the time, our...

 

CallerIDs, summer reading, USB flash drives

Q. When callerID displays a strange number on my phone, I ignore it unless the number is local. Yet lately when I do answer, often local numbers turn out to be a big company with something to sell. Has someone opened a call center in my...

 

Smartphone banking and dictation have advanced

Q. My bank regularly sends email messages encouraging me to download their app. How safe is banking on my phone? A. Banking on your mobile phone is no more vulnerable than any other sort of bank transaction, and in some ways it is more secure....

 

Are you backing up? You should be

Q. A manuscript I’ve been working on is gone. It simply disappeared from my computer. How can that happen? A. There are two kinds of people who experience data loss: those who have, and those who will. The risk of data loss is always present....

 
 By Bob DeLaurentis    Columns    May 1, 2016

Some tech tips to ease your travels

Q. I have not flown in quite some time. When I flew last month, missing was the usual preflight announcement asking everyone to turn off all electronic devices. Now that we can use smartphones and tablets on airplanes from gate to gate, why do they...

 

Annoying card readers and spam callers

Q. All of a sudden many stores near me have installed new credit card readers. The replacements are more confusing and seem slower. What’s happening? A. It is not your imagination – the new card readers are less friendly. They tend to operate...

 

Armchair aviators, Facebook and #hashtags

Q. I want to fly radio-controlled airplanes but do not have the space. Might drones be a good option? A. I loved flying model planes when I was a kid. Unable to afford radio-controlled models, I made do with the small gas-powered models that flew on...

 

Our new tech columnist says hitting 'restart' is often the best move

Q. One of the apps on my smartphone does not work. I tap on it, and after a brief animation nothing else happens. What is going on and how can I fix it? A. Every device eventually does something unexpected. One of the enduring trouble spots in tech...

 

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