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Articles written by Bob Delaurentis

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iPhone choices, fitness with Apple Watch, modern power strips

Q. As a longtime iPhone user, when I needed a new phone I would just get the latest model. Now the lineup has so many choices I’m confused. How do I pick one? A. The 2018 iPhone models create an array of choices, yet choosing among them can still...

 

Best Android phone, aging iPhones, ZIP disk data

Q. What is your favorite Android phone? A. I am a huge fan of the Google Pixel. I think that it offers the very best experience on the Android platform, and it’s my go-to recommendation for anyone who prefers Google’s services to those offered by...

 

Password managers, digital libraries, Google location privacy

Q. I have too many passwords to remember. I write most of them down and put them in a card in my wallet. How do you keep track of your passwords? A. Keeping your passwords in a wallet or purse is not safe. If stolen, not only does the thief have your...

 

Adobe Flash, smartphone spies, tech tutorials

Q. I like to look at weather radar online but when I click on the radar site I get a message saying that Adobe Flash Player is blocked. What do I do? A. There are several possibilities behind why an application is blocked. Adobe is a reputable...

 

iPhone radio, wireless speakers, yard sale apps

Q. I’m thinking I can rid my life of big, bulky speakers and use my iPhone to replace a skipping CD player. What would you recommend for listening to the radio in my house? A. Chances are excellent that you can find the stations you prefer streamin...

 

Advice on Windows, email addresses and smartphone backups

Q. What is the single most important piece of advice every smartphone owner should know? A. Back up your phone, especially photos. Your smartphone will eventually become the most important tech device in your life. All the gear that a generation ago...

 

Playing around online and Apple AirPods

Q. I just bought my first smartphone and I want to play some games. What advice can you share to help first-time phone gamers? A. Many phone and tablet games are labeled “Free” or “Free-to-Play.” “Free” is a loaded phrase in the gaming...

 
 By Bob DeLaurentis    Columns    May 1, 2018

Facebook, Google, Instagram: Privacy doesn't exist

Q. Is there a way for me to figure out what Facebook knows about me? A. Facebook knows more about you than you know about yourself. That might sound like a joke, but I am dead serious. Facebook not only knows everything you have ever told it, it...

 

Smart speakers, home automation, privacy

Q. I want an Amazon Echo, but my wife thinks it’s creepy to have a microphone listen to everything we say. What do you think? A. I think your spouse is very wise. New tech is always flawed, and smart speakers are very, very new. The privacy...

 

Kindle advice; how to leave Facebook

Q. My wife and I spend the winter months in our RV. We are both voracious readers, and I am considering a Kindle to help declutter our coach. Which one do you recommend? A. The simple answer is that any Kindle is better than no Kindle at all. Each...

 

iPhone battery woes; smartphone battery apps; retire a smartphone

Q. Are recent reports of iPhone battery problems serious or much ado about nothing? A. The truth lies somewhere in between. When it comes to the battery strength, your smartphone “lies” to you all the time. At first glance the battery-level icon...

 

Three uncommon uses for your smartphone

Q. How can I use my phone to take a family photo and include everyone in the picture? A. Smartphone cameras have gotten so good that there has never been a better time to put one on a tripod. Phone cameras perform magic to keep images sharp in all...

 

Clean screens, facial ID, and moving iTunes

Q. What is the best way to clean the screen on a smartphone or tablet? A. My favorite method is a microfiber towel sold under the trademark Dash Gear (www.cleantools.net/products/dash-gear). I discovered these in a local auto parts store a few years...

 

Using technology to improve travel experiences

Q. What do you think of using a service like Airbnb or HomeAway instead of a hotel? A. My family has used various websites to find daily rental lodging for over 10 years. When everything goes according to plan, they are fantastic. But a bad...

 

Email aliases, search fraud and new computers

Q. A few months ago I used my email address to gain access to a website. It turned out I was not interested in the site, but I am still flooded with junk email from the site despite using the “Unsubscribe” link. Is there anything else I can do?...

 

Family photos, iCloud scam, Google tricks

Q. My family is spread all over the country, but we keep in touch on Facebook. Do you have any suggestions for things we could do online together? A. My mother, who will turn 80 next year, used Facebook to help her create the ultimate family photo...

 

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...

 

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