Previewing email, flooring your computer, sharing Netflix

Tech Talk #205–May 27, 2023 Previewing your email If you’ve been using email for a while, you probably remember hearing about how dangerous it was to preview your email. Maybe even being told to turn off the preview pane entirely. Today though, previewing your email before you open it is completely safe and encouraged. So, what changed? A couple of things. All the major email client developers, Microsoft, Pegasus (remember them?), Eudora (remember them, too?),

Locked out?

Tech Talk #204–May 13, 2023We all use devices (smartphones, tablets, or computers) that contain information we don’t want strangers or thieves to access. We lock our devices with a username/password combination to protect our privacy. Since we’ll be unlocking our device 5, 10, 15, and 20 times a day, we use our fingerprints, faces, passcode or PIN, or a lock screen pattern to unlock our device instead of our username/password. This security is excellent, but

Wi-Fi Calling, internet speeds

Tech Talk #203–April 29, 2023 Wi-Fi Calling Maybe you’ve seen a setting on your phone for Wi-Fi Calling and wondered what it is. How does it work? Do you need it? And what does it cost? Wi-Fi Calling uses a Wi-Fi network instead of a cellular network for voice calls and texts. So if your home or office doesn’t have good solid cell reception, your calls and texts can go out over the Wi-Fi signal.

Virtual Private Networks

Tech Talk #202–April 15, 2023 I’m sure you’ve heard about or seen ads for Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). But what are they, how do they work, and why would you need one? If you don’t subscribe to a VPN service, when you use the internet, your computer connects to your service provider (AT&T, Race, Spectrum, or somebody else) and then to the site you want to visit. With a VPN, your computer connects to your

Old phones and chrome.exe

Tech Talk #201–April 1, 2023Most people have a few old smartphones or even flip phones lying around. So even if you're too smart to fall for the 'you need a new phone every year' ads, phones die, the camera stops working, or something else happened, and now you've got a few old phones in a drawer somewhere. How can you do it safely and responsibly if you decide to get rid of your old phones?

Browser notifications and about: blank

Tech Talk #200–March 18, 2023 I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, letting websites show notifications about new messages and emails, even when the browser is closed. But somehow, websites started abusing the notifications feature somewhere along the way. For example, if you visit a web page just once to read an article or check on a sale, that site can send you notification messages. Honestly, it can be, best case,

Recovering accounts, random sites

Tech Talk #199–March 4, 2023 Recovering accounts In most cases, when suddenly your password won’t work with a website or email address, there is a “Forgot password” link, and this is where it can get scary. The site may want to send you a code to your phone or your recovery email address, or you’ll get asked for answers to your security questions. What if the site has an old phone number for you? Or

Not a robot, slow phones

Tech Talk #198–February 18, 2023 Not a robot There you are, entering your information into a form on a website when suddenly you have to check a box that reads "I am not a robot," and then there's a visual thing you need to do to continue. So, what's that all about? Computer programs are great at doing repetitive tasks quickly, even robotically. Indeed, we have specialized computer programs called bots, which is short for

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