Phone sensors, why Android, and Super Bowl

Tech Talk #197–February 4, 2023 Phone sensors Smartphones have replaced desktop and laptop computers for many people. Checking and responding to emails, taking photos, shooting videos, playing games, watching movies, shopping, texting, and making phone calls. All from a device that fits in your hand. But, when you're looking at a photo or watching a movie, how does your phone "know" to rotate the screen when you turn the phone sideways? Sensors. Smartphones have many

Clearing caches

Tech Talk #196–January 21, 2023 In its widespread non-technical use, a cache (pronounced cash) is a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place. In the technical world, a cache can be hardware or a specific software location that stores recently used data. As a result, programs can quickly access data from a cache. Clearing your caches can help troubleshoot problems with specific websites, free up disk space, remove

What is Web3?

Tech Talk #195–January 11, 2023 Have you heard of this new thing, Web 3.0, also known as Web3? It’s the future of the internet, they tell us. But what is Web3, and whatever happened to Web1 and Web 2-if there were such things? We refer to the first publicly available version of the internet as Web 1.0. In this version of the internet, web pages were collections of read-only pages, and there was almost no

Getting spam from yourself

Tech Talk #194–December 31, 2022 Have you ever received an email that looked like it came from you, but you didn’t send it? Self-spam is happening a lot now, and it’s usually tied to a blackmail or shaming scheme. Forging or faking an email address is called spoofing. And it’s easy. Most email systems don’t have security checks to ensure the person in the email’s “From” line is who they say they are—with billions of

Guest-friendly Wi-Fi, Google search tips

Tech Talk #193–December 17, 2022 Guest-friendly Wi-Fi You’re all set: you’ve updated your Wi-Fi router’s firmware, changed your router’s default password, and added all your computers, printers, phones, and tablets to your new, secure Wi-Fi. Here’s how to make it easy for your friends and family to connect to and use your home Wi-Fi network: Wi-Fi If you haven’t already, make your Wi-Fi network name easy to pick out from your neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks and

Unlocking locked-out devices

Tech Talk #192–December 3, 2022 We all use devices (smartphones, tablets, or computers) that contain information we don’t want strangers or thieves to access. Therefore, we lock them with a username/password combination to protect our privacy. However, since we will unlock our device 5, 10, 15, 20 times a day, we use fingerprints, faces, passcodes, PINs, or lock screen patterns to unlock our device instead of our username/password. But what if you’ve got bandages on

Blocking and reporting spam calls

Tech Talk #191–November 12, 2022 Are you tired of getting spam and scam calls on your cell phone? You know, those calls about elections, solar panels, IRS problems, dubious charity donations, energy retrofits, health insurance, and all the rest. Current cell phone technology offers ways to block these calls. But, of course, the spammers know this and have adapted. Almost all scammers and robocallers use “number spoofing” to make it hard to block them. Just

Browser password checkup, very short extension cords

Tech Talk #190–October 29, 2022 Browser password checkup Every time we hear about a data breach, we know that a new bunch of usernames and passwords were just stolen and are about to be used against us. Somehow, and by somebody. But how do you tell if they stole YOUR email address and or password? You can always check by going to and entering your info, but wouldn't it be handy to have something

Windows Media Player

Tech Talk #189–October 1, 2022 The first versions of Windows didn’t support playing music or watching videos. Of course, we’re talking Windows 1.0x and 2.0x here. Those early versions of Windows were Microsoft’s early attempts at implementing a computer graphical interface, first shown off at a COMDEX show in 1982 and even earlier at Xerox PARC. The early versions of Windows were not commercial successes, and it wasn’t until the 1990 release of Windows 3.0

Files and folders

Tech Talk #188–September 17, 2022 We know that computers, phones, and tablets store files and folders on your device, but what ARE files and folders? Is it like in the movie Zoolander where Owen Wilson's character learns that the files he needs are IN the computer, so he drops it off a balcony and sorts through the debris, looking for the files he needs? Well, no. In an office, a paper file stores related documents