Deleting your phone’s recordings of you, shutting down Windows

Tech Talk #182–June 25, 2022 If you use Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, or Google Assistant, your phone usually keeps and shares your voice recordings. As a result, there can be some pretty personal stuff in your requests to your assistant. Unfortunately, big tech companies have a checkered past about protecting and using our data responsibly. Here's how to delete the recordings on your phone and turn off your assistant if you don't want to use

Upgrade to Windows 11? and RadioShack’s version of Windows

Tech Talk #181–June 11, 2022 Upgrade to Windows 11? You don’t have to upgrade to Windows 11 if your computer asks you if you want to. Microsoft has committed to supporting Windows 10 until 2025. Ten years of support is standard for Windows versions. I did the math for you, Windows 10 came out in 2015, so support ends in 2025. Somewhere in the box that pops up asking you if you want to upgrade

Happy Birthday to the floppy disk

Tech Talk #180–May 28, 2022 Seven months too late, but better late than never, right? Fifty (plus!) years ago, IBM birthed the floppy disk, and, eventually, that’s how publishers distributed new software and how we saved files on our computers. But why and how did the floppy disk come to be? Early mainframe computers used core memory that kept information even when the power was off. Next, the mainframe computer industry moved to solid-state transistor

Basic software and extensions

Tech Talk #179–May 14, 2022 Thankfully, today most computers don’t come pre-loaded with software you don’t need. Okay, there are likely a few programs you don’t want or need, but they’ll stay out of the way and don’t take much space. But there are some programs that aren’t on your new computer but that you need. Adobe Reader–All computers used to come with the free version of Adobe Reader. Then someone at Adobe decided that

On vacation? Check for hidden cameras

Tech Talk #178–Apr 30, 2022 Yay! You’ve got some vacation time, and you’ve found the perfect place for you and your family to stay. Whether it’s for security reasons, industrial espionage, or just because people are weird, you can find another article about people finding hidden cameras in their accommodations every few months. People find surveillance cameras in fake smoke detectors, bedside alarm clocks, behind A/C vents, USB hubs, and even embedded walls. There are

Hiding people and pets, Google Doodle games

Tech Talk #177–Apr 16, 2022 Hiding people and pets Google Photos can automatically make "Memories" from the photos you store with them. But maybe the memories they make for you aren't necessarily good memories for you. What can you do? Thankfully, there's a straightforward way to make Google forget certain people and even animals. Open the Google Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or tablet. (The Memories feature doesn't show up when you

DuckDuckGo vs. StartPage

Tech Talk #176–Apr 2, 2022 Have you switched to DuckDuckGo to escape the relentless data gathering Google does? But do the search results from DuckDuckGo seem to not reach into the deepest darkest corners of the internet to find what you want? There’s a solution, sort of. StartPage.com is a Dutch company with privacy policies like DuckDuckGo. That means StartPage doesn’t store your IP address storage or your search data. But, in 2009, StartPage agreed

What’s a G between friends?

Tech Talk #175–Mar 19, 2022 If we’re talking about Wi-Fi, then the G stands for gigahertz. Wi-Fi networks are like radio stations in that they broadcast signals to be picked up by other Wi-Fi devices. Like radio stations, Wi-Fi radios broadcast on radio frequencies, either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. That whole GHz thing stands for gigahertz, which is one billion hertz. A hertz is one cycle (of something) per second. Heinrich Rudolf Hertz proved

Is it time to ditch free email?

Tech Talk #174–Mar 5, 2022 Billions of people have email addresses ending in Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, or many others. These email addresses are easy to get and easy to remember. Moreover, those email providers do a reasonably respectable job securing your email, offering industry-standard security like two-factor authentication and encrypting the connection between your computer and their server. So, why would you want to switch to something else? Privacy. You know those big

Something (s) old and something new

Tech Talk #173–Feb 19, 2022 Something old #1–Fake tech support scams I know we’ve talked about this before, but the fake tech support scammers are still out there. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, the FBI, or anyone else will not call you about your computer. So you know that when-not if-someone calls you, it’s a fake tech support scammer trying to take your money. You also know that while you’re on the internet, any screen or web