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Articles written by Bob Delaurentis

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Big TVs, voice assistants, preserving online accounts

Q. TVs in my price range are twice the size they were a few years ago. What should I keep in mind when buying one of these big sets? A. There are two measurements to focus on, screen size and resolution. The ideal screen size mostly depends on the...

 

New iPhones, streaming TV, and the Apple Watch

Q. What are your favorite new features on this year’s new iPhone? A. Every September Apple releases new iPhone hardware and a major system software update. Both deliver plenty of new features. This year the big hardware update is longer battery...

 

Password managers to the rescue

Q. What is a password manager and how does it work? A. Password managers are apps that use a master password to protect confidential information. They enable users to securely store more information than can be memorized. The two common...

 

Internet speed, surfing incognito, USB-C flaws

Q. The Internet in my house seems slower than at my local coffee shop. How do I measure the speed and compare the two? A. My favorite test site is located at www.speedof.me. Each connection has three numbers: Ping, Download, and Upload. Ping...

 

Disk recovery, lost keys, TV tracking

Q. My computer was crushed in an accident. I was able to rescue the drive from the wreckage, but how do I copy my files onto a new computer? A. This can be a surprisingly complex task. Simply installing the old drive into a new computer will not...

 

Killing iTunes, dying PCs, and missing email

Q. A few weeks ago I read that Apple was killing iTunes. How will I load music onto my iPod? A. In early June there was a flood of dire sounding news about the end of iTunes. Let me put some of the more alarmist implications to rest. Apple is...

 

Travel tips, new PC skills, Linux for old hardware

Q. What advice can you share for traveling with personal tech devices this summer? A. Plan ahead for Internet connectivity, storage space and power. Our phones and tablets thrive in environments with speedy internet. When the internet is slow, interm...

 
 By Bob DeLaurentis    Columns    May 1, 2019

Refunds, photo backups, laptop DVD players

Q. Most retail stores accept merchandise returns, but what about software? Is it possible to get a refund from the App Store? A. Although the details are often buried in the fine print, both the Google and Apple stores provide a return policy for...

 

Stolen passwords, iPad security, 5G networks

Q. Is two-factor authentication worth the effort every time I log on to an account? A. I agree that two-factor authentication is more work, but that is its most valuable feature. The extra work keeps accounts more secure. Password theft is rampant....

 

Home automation, personal dashboards, Live Listen

Q. What is a simple way to get started with home automation? A. When it comes to home automation, simple is a relative term. Compared to a few years ago, setup is easier and prices are less expensive. But after installing a few devices in my house,...

 

'Neighbor spoofing,' better phone audio, and touchscreen gloves

Q. My incoming callerID information seems less accurate lately. It works fine for numbers I already recognize, but most everything else is inaccurate. A. As someone who still receives far too many unwanted telephone calls, I feel your pain. A...

 

Making the most of your Apple iPhone

Q. When I open Safari on my iPhone, I am always forwarded to Apple’s website. Is there a way to choose a different home page? A. Apple removed the custom home page setting on iPhone for some mysterious reason, but there is a work-around. I set up...

 

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...

 

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