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

Passwords, security questions, email addresses, and phone numbers

Tech Talk #187–September 3, 2022 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 is your

Taking selfies

Tech Talk #186–August 20, 2022 Okay, I get it. I had hoped the whole selfie thing would be over by now. But it's turned out to be an excellent way to get yourself into your pictures. Now that your smartphone has a zillion megapixels, night modes, light and depth sensors, and even solar panels, for all we know, you can take some excellent selfies. Here's how. Background Since you're taking a picture of yourself, or

Multiple web browsers and Why it’s called that

Tech Talk #185–August 6, 2022 Multiple web browsers Modern computers have built-in web browsers, Microsoft Edge for PCs and Safari for Macs. And it’s just fine to use the Edge or Safari browser to spend time on the internet. But here are some reasons for you to have another browser on your computer, too. The people that develop websites have a pretty tough job these days. A website needs to work on any browser, any

No internet at home? Here’s what to check  

Tech Talk #184–July 23, 2022 After the day you just had, once you finally get home, all you want to do is check your email, play some Wordle, and maybe watch a movie on Netflix. Except, you've got no internet. Not on your phone, your tablet, or your computer. Now what? Getting the internet to your house is a complex undertaking involving global telecommunications corporations, federal, state, and local governments, fiber optic cables, satellites, communications

Email inbox hygiene

Tech Talk #183–July 9, 2022 It’s always been a best practice to keep your friends and family emails separate from the flood of emails from the places you’ve shopped online, the newsletters you’ve signed up for, your social media notifications, and all the political emails. For a long time, the best way to keep those essential emails separate from the rest was to use different email addresses for each type of email. It worked, but

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