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Articles written by Bob Delaurentis

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 By Bob Delaurentis    Columns    May 1, 2022 

Safeguard family stories; Exiting group chats

Q. I love making printed photo books on my computer. Is there a way to make something like a photo book, only with text instead? A. There are dozens of different tools for creating printed books on computers, but most of them are complex and hard to...

 

How and why to preserve your digital legacy

Imagine losing access to your phone and all the data you ever created. If that thought scares you, read on. The terms “Digital Legacy” and “Digital Inheritance” describe what happens to digital information created by someone who is deceased....

 

Slowdowns, iPhone mute switch, and Google Fi

Q. My computer is seven years old. Everything seems normal when it first starts up, but the longer I use it, the slower it runs. After an hour, the wait is awful. Restarting returns it to normal, but the slowdown repeats. Help! A. This is a...

 

Embrace the brave new world of tap-to-pay

There are newer, more secure, and more convenient choices available to make payments at most cash registers. Secret PIN codes and signatures are making way for methods like tap-to-pay plastic cards...

 

Put technology to work for your fitness

I am 25 pounds lighter than I was just a few months ago, and my blood pressure is far lower. A better diet and generous amounts of exercise were key ingredients, but the tool that helped me most was...

 

Turning off auto-play; PhotoStick; home inventory

Q. When I visit certain web pages, a video starts playing automatically. Is there a way to disable this annoying behavior? A. The simple answer is yes, there is probably a setting you can adjust to stop most videos from automatically playing. Where...

 

Installing Windows 11; Last minute gifts; Keeping devices connected

Q. I was able to install Windows 11 on my PC. What should I do now? A. Move that Start button back where it belongs! The Start button has been at the bottom left of my screen for decades, and that is where I think it belongs. To move it, right-click...

 

Windows 11, personalize a device, account passwords

Q. What is the latest information on the Windows 11 upgrade? A. Since I wrote about it last month, the picture is much clearer. Windows 11 will be available on October 5. Moreover, thanks to Microsoft’s refreshed PC Health Check app, you should be...

 

Emoji dictionary, device chargers, Windows 11 update

Q. Is there a dictionary for Emoji? A. What a delightful question. There is not just a dictionary, but an entire encyclopedia! Point any web browser to emojipedia.org, your one-stop shop for all things emoji. While many people know about emoji, fewer...

 

Home automation do's and don'ts

In the decades since George Jetson previewed his push-button lifestyle, some of us have dreamed of a smart home of our very own. Yet this branch of technology has resisted the kind of progress that has put supercomputers in our pockets. Most home...

 

Accessibility: See better with your smartphone

Q. How do I make the text on my phone larger? A. The good news is that both iPhone and Android have system settings to make text larger, and many apps support adjustable-size text based on these settings. The less good news is that these settings...

 

Windows 11, teaching online, Apple Watch battery life

Q. I am excited about Windows 11, but I do not want to wait until December to try it. Is there a way to get an advance copy? A. It has been six long years since Microsoft launched Windows 10, and from what I have seen so far of Windows 11, it was...

 

App removal, Tracker tags, Google Photos fees

Q. There is an app on my phone that I do not use. Can I save space by removing it? A. Not only will you save space, removing unneeded apps will make the phone much less cumbersome to use. When I set up my mom’s new iPhone, I removed all but the...

 
 By Bob DeLaurentis    Columns    May 1, 2021

Cords, video stills and internet data removal

Q. My grandson accidentally sent my laptop crashing to the floor when his leg hooked around its power cord. Other than unplugging my new laptop when he visits, how do I tame the mess of cables that is lurking around my computer table? A. I am sorry t...

 

Best Android apps, iCloud and Apple Keychain

Q. I got my first Android smartphone over the holidays. Which apps do you consider must-haves? A. Best in class apps for Android are not hard to find. Depending on your phone model, many of them may already be installed. Here is a quick roundup of...

 

Slowing computer, AppleTV explained, family memories online

Q. My computer slows down the longer I use it. A restart will make it better for an hour, but I fear this problem will get worse. A. Computers slow down for many reasons. When a computer slows down, it generally means a resource is constrained. The m...

 

New life into old computers, unwanted alerts, iPhone security

Q. I have several old computers in my garage that are just taking up space. Before I send them to the recycler, I wonder if there is anything useful I could do with them. A. Working from home and remote learning has increased the demand for...

 

Printer woes, backup settings, Facebook 'news'

Q. I can’t print from my laptop computer. When I checked if my HP5255 was connected, I found a printer email address that ended with @hpprint.com. I also do not understand why that address is different than my regular email address. A. I feel your...

 

TV slideshows, printer fix, beta software

Q. Is there a way to view personal photos on my television? A. A living room TV is a perfect venue to share your family photo collection, and there are choices to fit every budget. Many televisions built in the last decade can already display...

 

Disinfecting phones; HBO; how to avoid data caps

Q. How do I disinfect a smartphone or tablet? A. Manufacturers usually publish guidelines for their products, and you should follow them. The most common advice is to avoid using too much liquid by applying it first to a clean, lint-free cloth. Use...

 

Selecting the best smartphone, Zoom privacy, and getting help

Q. Which mobile phone is the best value? A. Although many options exist in the smartphone market, one choice stands above all the others: The 2020 iPhone SE. I am so impressed by the new iPhone SE that I believe it should be the first phone anyone...

 
 By Bob DeLaurentis    Columns    May 1, 2020

Computer tune-ups, anti-virus, voice assistants

Q. What is an effective way to keep my laptop running like new? A. There is a powerful technique that can work miracles, but it also requires great care — reinstall the operating system. This is not the best option for everyone, but done properly i...

 

App Store permissions, internet self-care, new drive storage

Q. I was tempted by an app on the Microsoft App Store but stopped when I saw the permission list: “Access all your files, peripheral devices, apps, programs, and registry.” Do I have to let them breach my security? A. Any sort of restriction on...

 

Windows 7, smart home gear, iPad anniversary

Q. I see that Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft. Do I have to upgrade right away? A. If you found a 10-year old can of beans in your pantry, would you eat it? How about an ancient jar of mayonnaise? Just like old food hidden away in the...

 

Smartphone medical info, battery hogs, and cookies

Q. How do I show my medical information on my smartphone’s lock screen? A. Both Android and iPhone support storage of personal medical information and emergency contacts, accessible even when phones are locked. In an emergency, your phone can...

 

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