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Westlake Legal Group > Kim Komando

You’re not paranoid. Your phone really is listening in.

The scene plays out like a thriller: you pull out your phone, and you see an ad for AirPods.

Wait a minute, you think. Didn’t I just have a conversation about AirPods with my friend? Like, a real conversation, spoken aloud? Is my phone… listening to me?

Why, yes, it probably is. When you use your default settings, everything you say may be recorded through your device’s onboard microphone. Our phones routinely collect our voice data, store it in a distant server, and use it for marketing purposes. This fact was kept quiet for some time, but this kind of targeted ad is gradually becoming common knowledge.

As a “prime” example, tap or click here to see what Amazon does with the voice data it harvests and how you can stop Alexa from listening.

Your phone isn’t the only device that’s watching and listening to you. The FBI warns hackers can take over your smart TV if you don’t secure it. Tap or click to learn how to take control of your privacy on your TV before it’s too late.

Before you ask, yes, it’s perfectly legal, and developers claim not to abuse this practice. But that doesn’t mean you have to like it; many people are startled to see ads for things they have only spoken about, not search for on their browsers. Luckily, there are ways to stop your devices from eavesdropping on you.

Whispering (marketing) campaigns

When you think about it, smartphones are equipped with an arsenal of monitoring equipment: multiple microphones and cameras are designed to absorb audio and video. While these tools may be useful for creating media, they are also a goldmine for advertisers.

In mid-2018, a reporter for Vice experimented to see just how closely smartphones listen to our conversations. To test his phone, the journalist spoke pre-selected phrases twice a day for five days in a row. Meanwhile, he monitored his Facebook feed to see if any changes occurred.

Sure enough, the changes seemed to arrive overnight. One of his test phrases involved going “back to university,” and by the next morning, the reporter saw ads for summer courses. He then changed up his test phrase to “cheap shirts,” and quickly saw advertisements for low-cost apparel on his Facebook feed.

This report triggered a wave of studies on the surveillance effects of social media platforms.

While not every study provided clear answers, a general sense of agreement on the matter was reached due to hints in the User Agreements of several apps and social media platforms. Tap or click for an easy way to spot what’s hiding in the User Agreement of your favorite platforms.

These user agreements explicitly state recorded audio may be used for targeted advertising purposes. Interestingly, such practices aren’t against the law. This action allows tech companies to push the privacy boundaries even further to encourage us to buy things we don’t need.

What can I do about being spied on?

If you’re not comfortable with targeted ads, there are ways to mitigate your smartphone’s spy power. That said, you may lose access to some handy features like wake words and voice assistants, so you’ll have to decide whether these features are worth sacrificing your privacy.

The biggest vulnerability comes from the “always-on” feature of most voice assistants. To pick up wake words like “Hey Siri,” the mic needs to remain on at all times – which means your phone is always listening.

The best place to start taking your privacy back is by turning off the “always-on” microphone features on your handset. Here’s how to do it.

Deactivate “Hey Siri”

Apple has come under fire for transcribing audio recordings of Siri users. The data is locally stored on your device and is uploaded once Siri is activated, so disabling this feature will at least make your Siri inputs shorter and more specific to your requests.

To turn off “Hey Siri,” navigate to your iOS device’s Settings, followed by Siri & Search. Then, toggle Listen for ‘Hey Siri to Off.

Disable “OK Google”

Every time you use “OK Google,” or use another voice-controlled function, your query is recorded, and the transcripts are saved to your Google account. Tap or click here to learn how to remove these recordings and other info you don’t want Google to store.

If you use Google Assistant on Android, open the Google Assistant Settings. Say, “OK Google” or hold down the phone’s home button, then tap the file drawer icon found on the upper right-hand corner, and tap the three-dot menu. Select More and choose Settings.

From this point, you’ll want to scroll down to the devices category and select your phone, then in the Google Assistant section near the top, tap the blue slider button to change it gray, which turns off Google Assistant.

Disable mic access for apps

Disabling the always-on microphone features from your phone isn’t enough for some apps like Facebook. The social site makes exceptions to the rule and will keep on listening unless you make the change.

This is just one of the many privacy settings you really should be using if you have a Facebook account. Tap or click for more ways to lock down your profile.

Here’s how you can turn audio recording off for Facebook, but the same steps apply for any app that uses the microphone:

iPhone

Go to Settings >> Facebook >> Settings in the sub-menu. Slide the Microphone switch to the left, so it turns from green to white. That turns it off. Alternatively, you can go to Settings >> Privacy >> Microphone then look for Facebook to do the same. Note that you can toggle the mic on and off for other apps, too.

Android

Open Settings, then choose Applications and Application Manager. Look for Facebook, and tap App Permissions, then toggle the microphone off.

Keep in mind, turning off Facebook’s microphone access will affect and disable certain features like Live Video. If you’re going to use these features, you will have to toggle the mic back on. Follow the same steps above, but make sure the toggle is set to On, and you’ll be good to go.

Bonus Tip for More Know-How:

Amazon has previously come under fire for violating the privacy of its users with Alexa. The famous voice assistant was revealed to be recording users’ inquiries and storing the recordings for human reviewers to analyze. The exposure caused Amazon to make several drastic changes to its products and privacy policy.

Tap or click here for 3 new Alexa privacy settings you need to know about.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2020, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-538683033 You’re not paranoid. Your phone really is listening in. The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/topics/privacy fox-news/tech/technologies/smartphones fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/tech/companies/amazon fnc/tech fnc article 3cb70cb1-8e09-5245-bd46-2010398029e5   Westlake Legal Group iStock-538683033 You’re not paranoid. Your phone really is listening in. The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/topics/privacy fox-news/tech/technologies/smartphones fox-news/tech/companies/google fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/tech/companies/amazon fnc/tech fnc article 3cb70cb1-8e09-5245-bd46-2010398029e5

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

What size TV should you buy? Here’s the formula to use

In the tech world, bigger is better — and TVs are no exception. Screens are larger than ever, and sizes that used to be out of reach for most households are astonishingly affordable.

In fact, Walmart offered a 50-inch TV for less than $200 on Cyber Monday. Finding a deal is great, but some things aren’t worth the cash at any price. Tap or click for 6 stupid ways you’re wasting money on tech.

New televisions come with all the high-tech bells and whistles, but they also come equipped with cameras and microphones that hackers can access to watch your every move. Tap or click for a dire warning from the FBI to secure your smart TV.

When you’re ready to update your television, don’t just go for the biggest model you can afford. Grab a tape measure and find out if the screen of your dreams really makes sense for your home.

Expectation versus reality

While fitting a massive discounted 90” TV into your living room sounds nice in theory, there are several factors, in addition to room size and budget, to consider:

  • Television size
  • Viewing distance
  • Viewing angles
  • Screen resolution

Let’s take a look at how each can affect what size television you should purchase.

RELATED: Smartphone are pricey. Treat yours right and you’ll get a lot of life out of it. Tap or click for 5 steps to get more life out of your phone.

Size does matter

If you plan to mount your new TV on the wall, it’s time to measure the space’s height, width and even depth if you have a surrounding entertainment center or something similar.

Tip in a Tip: The screen size of a TV is measured diagonally, either from the bottom left corner of the screen to the top right screen corner or bottom right up to the top left.

The size of the screen itself matters, but don’t forget about the bezel surrounding it. While screen size is constant, the actual measurement of your TV can vary a bit depending on the frame.

If you plan to put your new TV on a cabinet or console, measure that too. The stand or feet of the television must rest entirely on the furniture, as any part that extends over the edge could lead to disaster if bumped.

RELATED: Once your new TV is in place, it’s time to figure out what to watch. Having trouble keeping all the streaming options straight? Tap or click for our comparison of Disney+, Netflix, Hulu and more.

Come a little closer

The ultra-high definition (UHD) of today’s TVs translates to double the resolution of traditional HD sets. What does this mean for you as a viewer? You can sit closer than you would with an older model television and not discern individual pixels.

Yes, the higher pixel density allows you to watch a larger screen seated a little closer.

If you’re not sure where to start, use this tried and true formula to determine the ideal screen size for your viewing distance:

Viewing distance (in inches)/2 = recommended TV size.

For example, if you sit 10 feet from the TV, that’s 120 inches (10 feet x 12 inches) divide that by 2 and you should get a 60” TV. Remember, select a television that meets your space measurements, regardless of suggested TV size determined with viewing distance calculators.

There’s not a bad seat in the house

If you plan on buying a standard HDTV, you need to consider viewing angles. This is especially true if you have multiple seating areas for viewing the television. To ensure the image quality doesn’t degrade for those sitting off to the side, look for a TV that offers wide-angle viewing.

While the viewing angle is an issue associated with LCD TVs, it should not be a problem with UHD/4K sets.

Want to outfit your living space with even more tech? Tap or click for smart gadgets to add to your holiday wish list.

Bigger is not always better

Of course you want the most sizable screen for your available space and budget. The problem is if you opt for a cheaper big screen from a lesser-known brand, you may be forced to sacrifice picture quality.

The better choice would be to go with a big-name model that offers a smaller high-quality screen for a comparable price. You will find the better picture quality makes up for any loss in size.

With a small amount of homework, you’ll be ready to watch your perfect-fit TV, free of buyer’s remorse.

BONUS TIP FOR EXTRA KNOW-HOW: Avoid these counterfeit products when Christmas shopping.

Holiday shopping may be fun, but it comes with its share of risks. In this time of giving, hackers, scammers and swindlers are lying in wait to take advantage of people’s kindness and make a quick buck at your expense.

Another way scammers are ripping folks off this year? Counterfeit goods. Research has shown that a specific category of goods is rife with fakes and low-quality knockoffs — and people continue to fall for it. Here’s what we know about this season’s counterfeit goods epidemic.

Tap or click here to learn how to spot fakes.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2020, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group c844e487-Gadget-Show-Roku-TV_Garc1 What size TV should you buy? Here’s the formula to use The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/tvs fnc/tech fnc bad2f23b-0728-51cc-a34d-e0b331828909 article   Westlake Legal Group c844e487-Gadget-Show-Roku-TV_Garc1 What size TV should you buy? Here’s the formula to use The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/tvs fnc/tech fnc bad2f23b-0728-51cc-a34d-e0b331828909 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Unsend email, TV fire hazards, scouring Apple TV+ and more: Tech Q&A

Unsend Email

Q: I emailed my husband that I wanted his very annoying mother to stay in a hotel and not with us over the holidays. But, I sent that email to my mother-in-law on accident! What a nightmare! Is there a way to unsend email using Gmail?

A: You may be able to prevent this kind of blunder in the future. Gmail offers “Undo Send,” a feature that lets you stop an email after you hit “send.” In theory, this is a convenient tool, except that “Undo Send” only gives you five seconds to reconsider before your time is up and the email is fully transmitted. So what happens if you’re prone to sending provocative emails before you’ve thought them through? Change the settings so that “Undo Send” gives you more time to amend your mistake. You can give yourself up to 30 seconds to waffle and then terminate the message. Tap or click here to learn exactly how to unsend email using Gmail.

How to Enjoy AppleTV+

Q: I signed up for AppleTV+. I don’t see anything worth watching other than ‘The Morning Show’ with Jennifer Aniston. What am I missing? It’s nothing compared to Disney+.

A: What a season for streaming TV! First, Disney+ sent shockwaves through the entertainment world, releasing hundreds of movies and TV series, much of it hard-to-find classics and original material. Then there was Apple TV+, which – well, didn’t quite make the same impression. But Apple TV+ has some real merits, starting with its price point. It’s the cheapest major streaming service on the market right now, at $4.99 per month. The Apple library is nothing to sneeze at, and they hit the ground running with several original series featuring big names, including documentaries by Oprah Winfrey. Apple TV+ may not have the same immediate, earth-shattering impact as Disney+, but remember how many people were skeptical about the iPad when it first came out. Tap or click here for AppleTV+ tips and tricks.

Read My Newsletter

Q: I love your straightforward answers and advice! Rather than checking Komando.com for new tips and I’m not a big social media news junkie, do you send out links in free newsletters?

A: So glad you’re enjoying the website, and I’m even more glad that you’re interested in my newsletters. What’s great about my newsletters is that they are divided into specific topics, so you can pick and choose what you want to read about, and the newsletters will guide you to precisely the desired content. Depending on which newsletter you sign up for, you will receive them at different intervals, either once a week or daily. Here you can find out the latest in Tech Tips, Online Finds, Small-Biz Tips, and numerous other topics. One of the most critical newsletters is Fraud & Security Alerts, which you will only receive when a significant danger is afoot, such as a widespread virus, data breach or phishing scheme. I’ll send out the most up-to-date information about how to protect yourself and assess for damage. You can cancel at any time, but I doubt you will; after all, 3.6 million subscribers can’t be wrong. Tap or click here to subscribe to my newsletters.

TVs and Hearths

Q: My wife and I are arguing about a topic that we trust you have the right answer. Is it OK to mount a new TV over a fireplace? A month’s worth of back rubs is riding on your answer.

A: I’m so glad you asked this question because NO, DO NOT MOUNT YOUR TV OVER A FIREPLACE. I don’t mean to shout, but this is a perilous mistake, and people make it all the time. First off, heat rises, which means that the heat from your hearth may melt the hardware inside your TV. Worse, there’s a remote possibility that the TV can catch fire, and once there’s a flame shooting up the wall, you could very well burn down your entire house. I understand the temptation, of course; the fireplace is a timeless center of attention, and the TV serves much the same purpose. Why not put these things together? As it happens, there are many other considerations – perhaps not as destructive – that TV owners often overlook, such as the height of the TV’s placement and the effects of ambient light. Tap or click here to find out where to mount your TV.

Find Coupons Online

Q: Is there a trick to finding coupons and promo codes online? Sometimes I find them. Other times, it’s a waste of time. Help me save money!

A: Coupons are so much easier than the used to be, back in the days of paper circulars and pairs of scissors. At the same time, though, digital coupons can be hard to track down; unlike picking up a newspaper and scanning the page for a dotted line, you may spend hours browsing websites for a relevant deal. Luckily, there’s Honey, a browser extension that helps you quickly search for discounts and BOGOS that might interest you, and it works for multiple browsers. More interesting still, Honey is designed to keep track of fluctuating prices, much the way that, say, Google Flights will alert you to changing fares. This way, you don’t have to continually refresh a given website in the hopes that the price will drop; you can wait for Honey to let you know. The service has become even more powerful since Paypal acquired it. Tap or click here to learn more about the Honey browser extension.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2020, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group twitter_istock Unsend email, TV fire hazards, scouring Apple TV+ and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 54178369-7af1-5cda-b9d1-197b62ebd263   Westlake Legal Group twitter_istock Unsend email, TV fire hazards, scouring Apple TV+ and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 54178369-7af1-5cda-b9d1-197b62ebd263

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

4 ways to get cash back on Amazon

For many of us, “holiday shopping” has become “searching Amazon.” Wish lists and automated suggestions make gift-giving a carefree experience. You can conceivably find presents for all your loved ones without stepping outside.

An Amazon Prime membership makes an easy stocking stuffer. Tap or click for 15 perks that come with an Amazon Prime membership.

Combing through the endless product listings can be exhausting. That’s why I’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Tap or click for my trusted product reviews and buying guides on all kinds of tech from smartwatches, phones, laptops, to headphones.

Since you’re shopping on Amazon, you might as well get money back for doing it. Let’s get started.

1. Use the credit card Amazon wants you to use

Amazon often advertises its credit cards, promising cash back. There are a lot of benefits that come with an Amazon card, but they vary by type.

First, there is the Amazon Reward Visa Signature card. With it, you’ll receive 3% back when you shop at Amazon and Whole Foods Markets. You’ll also get 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. Plus, you get 1% back on all other purchases.

The second option is for those who are Prime members: the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card. With this card, you’ll get 5% back when you shop at Amazon and Whole Food markets, which is 2% more than non-Prime members receive. Just like the card for non-Prime members, this one will also give you 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. All other purchases will earn you 1% back.

Amazon also lets you use your cashback balance on future Amazon purchases. Just link your card to your account, and when you buy stuff on Amazon, it’ll give you an option to apply your cashback balance to the new purchase.

As you shop, Amazon ads may pop up more often than usual. Tap or click here to turn off those nosy advertisements.

2. Other credits cards that offer rewards

There are plenty of other cards out there to choose from that offer rewards on Amazon.

For example, Discover has a cashback offer that will help you save money. You can earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year, along with 1% back on general purchases.

During the holiday shopping season this year, Amazon is one of those qualifying categories. From October through December, you’ll get 5% back on all purchases made through Amazon.

Another is Bank of America’s Cash Rewards Credit Card. You can earn 3% back in the category of your choice. Choose from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, and more. If you want to get the 3% back from Amazon, you’ll need to select online shopping as your category. You’ll also get 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, plus 1% back on all other purchases.

RELATED: Don’t be fooled by clever shopping scams like fake Amazon delivery notifications and phony websites that exist only to steal your money. Tap or click for 5 more scams watch out for.

3. Use a cash back website

Cash back websites are relatively simple. Just sign up for a free account, and when you complete a purchase with any of the site’s participating merchants, you get cash back. It’s just like using a coupon, except you earn money back after the purchase has been successfully completed and tracked.

A key example is TopCashback. You can earn cash back on your purchases. You can browse the TopCashBack site and choose from thousands of retailers, including Amazon, and exclusive cashback offers. Click through to your favorite retailers and shop like normal. The retailer pays TopCashBack a commission for your purchase, and it adds this as cash back to your earnings.

You can earn more by using the TopCashBack app where you’ll find coupons, in-store coupons, and instant account access. The app is available free for both Apple and Android gadgets.

RELATED: There are lots of ways to get free Amazon gift cards and ease the burden to your wallet. Tap or click for 10 ways to shop smarter.

4. Find rebates on Rakuten

If you’re not familiar with the name Rakuten, you may recognize “Ebates.” When Ebates re-branded, it took on the name Rakuten.

You can sign up free with a Gmail account or link to Facebook. There are typically signup bonuses, such as a free $10 Amazon gift card or similar promotions. Once you’re in, you can shop at over 2,500 stores and earn up to 40% back on your purchases.

Stores pay Rakuten a commission to get eyes on certain items, and Rakuten shares the commission with you in the form of cash. You can also get cash back through Rakuten when you shop Amazon. Tap or click to learn more about Rakuten and other apps that pay you to shop.

There are some special terms to adhere to, including cash back is only available for select departments, and it’s not available on gift cards, Prime memberships, wine, or more.

Bonus Tip: Shop Amazon’s Warehouse Deals

For second-hand goods, Amazon Warehouse stocks lightly used products that are still functional, but don’t qualify as “new.” Conditions range from “Refurbished,” “Like New” and “Very Good,” down to “Acceptable,” and the product information includes notes on what defects or blemishes to expect on a particular item.

As you might expect, you’ll find a treasure trove of electronics from video games and widescreen TVs to smartwatches and Bluetooth speakers.

This marketplace does have its risks. The items aren’t in perfect condition, and most electronics do not come with warranties. Amazon does honor a generous return policy, and you can sometimes procure a warranty or protection plan from SquareTrade, depending on the item.

Tap or click here to see deals on the Amazon warehouse storefront page.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2020, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group rtsk3fr 4 ways to get cash back on Amazon The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/companies/amazon fnc/tech fnc article 45e98850-4801-5140-9df0-ffba5c032ac3   Westlake Legal Group rtsk3fr 4 ways to get cash back on Amazon The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/companies/amazon fnc/tech fnc article 45e98850-4801-5140-9df0-ffba5c032ac3

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

7 Windows 10 fixes you’ll wish you knew sooner

Nearly a billion computers around the world run Windows 10. Critics have praised it. Some users love it while others hate it. Some experts estimate that Windows 10 dominates nearly 40 percent of the desktop OS market, handily surpassing the popularity of Windows 7.

Speaking of, are you still using Windows 7? Microsoft is ending support for the 10-year-old operating system in January. Tap or click to learn how to bring your PC up to date before it’s too late.

Using the slogan “upgrade your world,” Microsoft has described Windows 10 as the “final” version. Instead of replacing the operating system every few years, Windows 10 users have been able to download free updates. With the return of the Start menu and advent of Microsoft Edge, Windows 10 is arguably the best version ever produced.

But Windows 10 isn’t perfect. The last several updates introduced pretty serious bugs and flaws that broke essential features and left users with the dreaded “Blue Screen of Death.” Tap or click to get the scoop on one of the worst Windows updates and make sure you have the fix.

The operating system also has some quirks that may have sounded great at company meetings, but the vast majority of folks find these choices odd, annoying, and inconvenient. Luckily, you can change many settings to suit your taste.

How can you make your Windows 10 experience even better? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Take control of updates and reboots

Windows is good at installing updates. This process is straightforward and automatic. The bad news is, you usually have to reboot your computer, and you have no idea when a new update will suddenly start downloading.

Be careful. Did you get an email reminding you to update Windows? It’s a scam! Tap or click to learn how cybercriminals are tricking users into a dangerous ransomware trap.

To prevent these unscheduled interruptions, go to your settings menu, and set time parameters. This way, your computer will stop itself from updating during “active hours.”

You can also pause updates altogether, halting them for up to 35 days.

This might impact your security, so you don’t want to go too long. But if you want a short reprieve, go to your Settings menu, choose the Windows Updates field and find Advanced Options. From there, you can toggle the Pause Updates option and switch it to On.

RELATED: Is your PC just not performing the way it should? Tap or click for 7 DIY tools to fix pesky Windows problems.

2. Limit Cortana’s interactions

Like other virtual assistants, Cortana is always listening for the wake command. Unfortunately, a flaw in the programming may allow hackers to break into a Windows 10 computer using Cortana’s voice commands, even while it’s locked. Anyone can issue voice commands to Cortana and force it into downloading malicious malware.

You can stop Cortana from putting your data at risk by removing Cortana from your lock screen and teach it to respond only to your voice alone.

  • Go to the Talk to Cortana option found in your Settings menu.
  • Under Hey Cortana, turn the Let Cortana Respond to Hey Cortana Switch to On.
  • Next, click the link labeled Learn How I Say Hey Cortana. This will allow you to go through the voice recognition training.
  • From here, click on the Cortana start button and repeat the six provided phrases. This will get Cortana familiar with your voice.
  • After the training is complete, you can go back to Cortana in the Settings menu and enable the Try to Respond Only to Me option.

3. Change search from Bing to Google (or your preferred search engine)

Bing is set as the default search engine for Microsoft Edge, but that may not sit well with you. Tap or click here for search engines that don’t track you.

So, here’s how you can change things up a bit.

  • Start by searching Google.com.
  • Click on the three dots at the top right corner to go to Settings.
  • Scroll to the bottom and choose View Advanced Settings.
  • Go down the list until you find the search in the address bar option. Click it and select Add New.
  • Click on Google and chose Add as Default. Done.

4. Use a PIN as your login

You can lock your computer with a long, convoluted password, or you can reset it to a simple PIN. Your PIN is only four digits long and doesn’t require any complicated parameters such as special characters or mixed case letters. It’s less secure, of course, but a PIN makes unlocking easier.

Setting up your PIN is pretty simple. Go to Settings > Accounts > Sign In Options. From there, click the Add button under PIN. Enter in any PIN of your choice and restart to give it a try.

TECH HOW-TO: Windows time-saving keyboard shortcuts you need to know.

5. Resize your Start menu like a pro

The start menu acts as the central hub for everything you do on Windows 10. Because of that, its default appearance can seem a little bland. Users have often complained about the size of the start menu, never realizing that this can also be customized.

To fix it, do the Windows drag. Click on the Start menu and move your cursor to the top edge of the icon until it shows as a two-sided arrow. Click, hold, and drag to resize the menu to your preferred size and let go.

You can easily resize your desktop icons, too. Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide.

6. Play DVDs the easy and free way

By now, you’ve probably noticed that Windows 10 won’t play DVDs, and Windows Media Player has been removed. While Microsoft offers an official DVD playback option, this feature costs $15 and seems to have persistent problems.

Fortunately, there’s a better option available that can have you watching DVDs quickly and free of charge: VLC video player. Tap or click here to download it.

Be sure to download the desktop app instead of the Windows Store version, which won’t support DVDs or Blu-Ray discs.

7. Silence all the annoying announcements

Depending on your settings, Windows may start announcing everything you touch with an actual voice. Windows will also record and recite any text that you type into the Cortana Search Box, which may feel excessive.

You may have inadvertently turned on the Narrator feature, which is used by visually impaired users to better navigate the system without having to type.

To turn the Narrator off, you can either repeat the keyboard combination, CTRL + Windows Key + Enter or go to the Narrator settings app and tap Exit. To keep the Narrator from accidentally coming on again, go back to the Settings > General and uncheck the Enable shortcut to launch Narrator box. Problem solved.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2020, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group Windows10Launch1 7 Windows 10 fixes you’ll wish you knew sooner The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/topics/software fox-news/tech/technologies/windows-os fox-news/tech/companies/microsoft fnc/tech fnc de3215b1-115a-50b7-9c53-fbce76a064e9 article   Westlake Legal Group Windows10Launch1 7 Windows 10 fixes you’ll wish you knew sooner The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/topics/software fox-news/tech/technologies/windows-os fox-news/tech/companies/microsoft fnc/tech fnc de3215b1-115a-50b7-9c53-fbce76a064e9 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Emergency apps, self-destructing emails and more: Tech Q&A

Retracing Old Friends

Q: I’d like to find my old college sweetheart just to say hello. I tried Google, but nothing came up. The people finder sites scammed me out of $65. How else can I find her?

A: Your search for an old acquaintance comes at an interesting time; yes, billions of people are connected through social media, and it’s easier than ever to find long-lost acquaintances. You can try Facebook, LinkedIn, and FamilyTreeNow. Hardly anyone can exist in a first-world nation without leaving a digital footprint. Aliases and married names can hinder easy searches, but there are several tricks you can use to track people down. Tap or click here for 6 ways to find anyone on the internet.

Burn After Reading

Q: Is it possible to send emails that James Bond would send? I want my messages to self-destruct. That would be awesome!

A: Mail, including email, is a funny thing because once you dispatch it, you have no further control over its content. There are services designed to destroy messages the moment they’ve been opened. In theory, you shouldn’t have to worry about anyone reading sensitive content because the message will be deleted without a trace. Granted, someone could take a screenshot of your transmission before it disappears, so keep this singular danger in mind. Otherwise, this works great for sending, say, secure passwords or notes you don’t want anyone snooping on. Tap or click here to send secure messages that “self-destruct.”

My Bloomberg TV Show

Q: I saw your show on Bloomberg Television. It’s only an hour, but your radio show is three hours. How can I watch all three hours?

A: My television show is not the same as my radio show. While both programs are all about tech, each has different content. My radio show airs on hundreds of stations across the country, and you can watch or listen to the show as it’s recorded in real-time or on-demand on your schedule. The easiest way to get the podcast or watch one, two, or all three hours weekly is on my website. Consider joining the Komando Community, my social media network that gives you unprecedented access to new and archived media content and like-minded members. It’s just a few dollars a month for 12 hours of quality programming. Tap or click here to access the Komando Community.

Kick-Off Wi-Fi Mooches

Q: I think my neighbors are using my wireless network. They are scum. How can I boot them off?

A: Wi-Fi mooching happens all the time, usually among people who live or work closely together, and they’re often too polite to address the issue out loud. Meanwhile, there are lots of security issues that come with sharing your Wi-Fi, and if your signal isn’t password-protected, I urge you to change your settings immediately. But if you want to know what “scum” is currently pirating your Wi-Fi, you can use your router’s online interface to figure out exactly who has logged on. If you don’t recognize one of the devices, you can easily trace it back to your neighbor. As for booting them off, a new hard password should do the trick. Tap or click here to see all the devices connected to your Wi-Fi network.

Smartphones for Emergencies

Q: My college student daughter has to walk in the dark from her evening classes. She carries pepper spray. Can her phone call 911 if she gets into trouble?

A: Pepper spray is a good start, and I’m glad she’s prepared for a physical altercation. But she should also be able to call for help in a moment’s notice if (God forbid) something happens. After all, assailants tend to move quickly, and you only have a split-second to contact authorities. Several apps have been developed for a range of emergencies, including Noonlight, which will automatically call the police if you release your finger from the phone and don’t enter a unique PIN. Other apps can transmit location data and SOS signals. Tap or click here for a list of apps to use in emergencies.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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How to hide your Wi-Fi and keep strangers off your network

You’re settling in with a bowl of popcorn and a cozy blanket, ready to catch up on your favorite show. You open up Netflix, hit play, then … uh-oh, it’s buffering. A minute goes by and now you’ve got an image, but it’s so pixelated you can’t even tell what’s happening in the scene.

This is not the evening you envisioned. Your slow Wi-Fi could be an issue with your internet service provider, or maybe your modem and router need a reboot. Tap or click for 5 router settings that can speed up your Wi-Fi.

Maybe everyone in your neighborhood had the same idea and you’re all fighting for bandwidth in the same service group. Or just maybe, just maybe, it’s a neighbor piggybacking on your network.

Slow internet drives all of us crazy. So do those never-ending “storage full” notifications. There’s an easy trick to free up space, though. Tap or click to learn how to to get more space on your PC, Mac, iPhone or Android.

Aside from the obvious — that lagging connection  — there are a few other reasons you really don’t want other people stealing your Wi-Fi. I’ll tell you what they are and show you how to lock down your network and keep strangers out.

Why you don’t want your neighbors on your network

Routers these days can broadcast a signal well beyond your home’s walls. Now it’s time to find out if a neighbor is stealing your Wi-Fi, correct the issue and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s not just about the inconvenience of slow internet. That’s certainly aggravating, but what you really need to think about is how the theft of your internet service can actually get you in trouble.

For instance, your ISP most likely prohibits sharing Wi-Fi. If they’re tracking your usage and it’s much higher than usual or even double, you could be slapped with extra fines or other restrictions. But it gets worse.

RELATED: Harmful apps don’t just clog your memory and eat up storage space. They can also fill your phone with intrusive ads and malware. Tap or click to see a list of apps most likely to ruin your phone. Delete them now!

Although it’s illegal for your neighbor to piggyback off your wireless network and “steal” your service, there’s been no real uniform attempts at criminal enforcement aside from small fines depending on where you live.

But think about this: What if your neighbor is going beyond just stealing your internet service? It’s going to be a big problem if your he or she is using your wireless network for illegal activities. And it’s your name attached to the account when law enforcement gets involved. ISP fees will be the least of your worries when police show up at your door.

Take a close look at your wireless network

Now that you know the ramifications, you need to figure out what’s happening. If you’ve ruled out problems with your service and tried the usual corrective steps, it’s time to check out your router.

Depending on the make, model and age, there’s a good chance a companion app is available to access your router settings.

Otherwise, log in through a web browser with the provided IP address, which in most cases is 192.168.1.1. That isn’t the default IP address for every router, but it should work on many. Other common addresses are 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.2.1.

If you’re not sure where to start, check your router’s user manual. Tap or click here for a free resource that compiles thousands of user manuals if you can’t find your copy.

Access your router by logging in with your username and password. Hopefully, it’s not the default credentials that came with the router, because that could be a big indication of why it’s so easy for someone to access your network in the first place. But more on that later.

Look for the list of connected devices. Some you’ll be able to identify based on IP and MAC address, or the name(s) you’ve assigned, while others might not be so clear.

If you see something called Bob’s iPhone and you don’t know any Bobs, it looks like you have a problem.

You should regularly check your network for devices you don’t recognize. Tap or click here for 3 free ways to see everything using your connection.

Changing router settings and hide your network

Whether you know for sure there’s been an intrusion or not, it’s still time to check and potentially modify some settings on your router. First thing’s first: check the major security features. These tips aren’t just for setting up new routers. It’s also strongly encouraged you check the security settings on your existing device.

1. Improve your login and network credentials

When you take your brand new router out of the box, it comes with a default set of credentials for the control panel. For example, the username could be “admin” and the password might be the same thing. Pick a much less generic username and create a sophisticated password.

The visible name of your wireless network, or SSID, will also be generic right out of the box, usually the name of the manufacturer and maybe a few numbers.

Change that as well, because if you’ve got someone looking to get into your network, the manufacturer’s name alone can make it easy to find default login information, as well as any brand-specific exploits. Pick something else, but name it in a way that’s not going to identify you or your family. Be creative.

Then, there’s the network password. Definitely don’t use easy passwords for this, either. Although it can be a pain to remember, choose a long and complex password or passphrase made up of letters, numbers and symbols. Need some help? Tap or click here to check out our tips on creating strong passwords and passphrases.

With a strong password, yes, it’ll take some extra time to set up your own devices but it’ll make it hard for a hacker to crack. Not only that, but it’ll make it hard to share with others who don’t necessarily need the information. Change it often, too. Try changing it around the same time you’re checking the batteries in your smoke detectors.

If login credentials for your network and the router itself are nearly impossible to remember, that’s great. Consider a password manager to store the information for you.

2. Check your Wi-Fi encryption

Check out the wireless security settings on your router. As long as router encryption is enabled, no one will be able to log on and use your Wi-Fi without the password.

Look for the appropriate security menu for your model and make sure it’s set to the encryption level beginning with “WPA2.” If you see “WPA2-PSK AES,” it’s the most secure encryption for most modern routers.

You might even have a better option available. For instance, if you have a brand-new, high-end router, it could be equipped with the new standard, “WPA3.”

Whatever you do, stay away from WEP. If that, or WPA (without the 2 or 3), is all you have available to choose from, and there are no available firmware updates, it’s time to upgrade your router to something more secure.

While you’re at it, enable your router’s firewall and shut down any remote access options. Your router is that much more secure if you can only log into it from a device directly connected by an Ethernet cable.

There’s even more you can do to protect your router. Tap or click for 5 essential security settings you should be using.

3. Make your wireless network disappear

Here’s the grand finale: Now that your router is as protected as it can be, it’s time to make it disappear from neighbors and any other would-be freeloader. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Your router broadcasts its SSID automatically, simply because it makes it easy for your devices to discover and connect to the network. That’s what makes it easy for everyone else, too.

You’ll also make this change while logged into your router’s control panel. Find the menu for wireless settings and you should come across the broadcasting option for your SSID, which is most often enabled by default. Toggle that option off, and you’re all set.

BETTER THAN CALLING TECH SUPPORT: Don’t navigate the digital world alone. I can help you get the most out of your everyday devices with useful tips only the pros know. Tap or click here to try my Tech Tips & How-Tos newsletter.

Adapting to your now hidden wireless network

Now your wireless network is invisible – kind of. Keep in mind you’re hiding its name, not the fact that it’s there. Think of it as a cloaked ship on Star Trek. You won’t be able to see it, but it’s not too hard to find if you’re looking for it.

On the plus side, you shouldn’t have to worry about your neighbors “borrowing” your internet service any longer, or committing any other crimes – unless they’re skilled in the digital arts. That’s because the router will still broadcast a signal from time to time, regardless of the hidden SSID setting and if someone’s up to no good and motivated, they’ll be able to spot a masked network without any trouble.

Something else to consider: It’s going to be a little more complicated for you, your family and any trusted visitors to connect to your wireless network. Since it’s no longer visible when your smartphone searches for a network, those credentials will need to be configured manually.

It could involve more than just SSID name and password, requiring additional info like the security mode your router is set to. The good news is, once you’re signed-on, your device will store info the same way it does any other network.

So it comes down to, is it a good idea to hide your wireless network? The answer is yes. Although there are a couple of extra steps to connect new devices, combining this with your router’s extra security measures will kick any unwanted neighbors off your network and keep them off.

After you finish changing your router settings and hiding your SSID, you can get back to watching your show. This time, without the slowdown. And without worrying about police officers knocking on your door.

BONUS TIP FOR EXTRA KNOW-HOW: 8 essential apps you don’t want to be without in an emergency

It doesn’t take much to spot a story on wildfires, hurricanes, health scares or missing people. Unfortunately, these incidents occur quite often.

Although no one wants to think they’ll face an emergency, chances are you or someone you know will find themselves in an urgent situation and will need help. Whether it be a weather-related disaster, a lost loved one or someone in need of first aid, being prepared is critical.

Tap or click to see how these 8 apps can provide peace of mind and help in the event of an emergency.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group b18197fa-computer-iStock How to hide your Wi-Fi and keep strangers off your network The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/wifi fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 4313a2e9-2ccd-5b9a-8745-e3a25c8cfad3   Westlake Legal Group b18197fa-computer-iStock How to hide your Wi-Fi and keep strangers off your network The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/wifi fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc article 4313a2e9-2ccd-5b9a-8745-e3a25c8cfad3

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

10 things you don’t need around the house anymore because of tech

If you compare the inside of a modern home to one from about 25 years ago, you’re going to notice some stark differences — not just the phone book on the kitchen counter. Rapid advancements in tech over the past two decades have had an impact on everything from the way we communicate to the conveniences of home life.

While you expect some household staples to change from generation to generation, things that were part of an average home for decades are now unnecessary. That’s because just about any common household gadget can be replaced with a smarter device.

The digital world doesn’t come with a user manual. But I’ve got pro tips to help you live a better life with all these new everyday devices. Tap or click to learn how to make a call on the sly, the trick to better battery life and the secret to better Wi-Fi.

Just like outdated tech that has disappeared from homes over the years, tech myths persist — sometimes way too long. Think Macs are immune to viruses? Still rebooting your PC every single day? Tap or click here for 10 digital myths you need to stop believing.

Some changes to the modern home are small, while other new gadgets might make you wonder how you ever lived without them. Here are some of the surprising staples that have all but disappeared from homes in the 21st century.

1. Dial-up, anyone?

What do rotary-dial and cordless phones have in common? It’s that you won’t find either in most houses these days. Unless you live in a rural area, wireless and cellular technology, like 3G, 4G LTE and the latest 5G network, has eliminated the need for landline phones.

And since you don’t need a home phone any longer, then you probably don’t need those landline jacks around your house, either. Unless you depend on a dial-up modem that requires an RJ11 connection, remove the jack, spackle the hole in the wall and call it a day.

Robocalls are never-ending, whether you’re on a landline or cell phone. Tap or click to see free solutions to stop the spam from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

2. Lights on, lights off

It wasn’t long ago when the Clapper, which (as the name suggests) allowed you to turn lights on and off by clapping your hands, was seemingly cutting-edge technology. It also wasn’t widely adopted.

Now when you want to avoid walking all the way over to the light switch, you’ve got options from smart bulbs to smart speakers with voice assistants like Alexa. With smart tech controlling your lamps, ceiling fans and outside fixtures, this menial task is no longer necessary. Just use your voice or an app on your phone.

The convenience can even be taken a step further. You can also set up routines to make turning on lights in a certain area or in your whole house way easier.

But beware, like anything smart, smart bulbs can be hacked. Tap or click to find out how to secure your smart home tech.

3. Grandma’s pantry

Gone is grandma’s big, packed pantry. Today, all you need is your smartphone. With a variety of ways to order a feast, from a nearby restaurant or the grocery store, you can have food delivered in less time than it would take to dig through that vintage food storage room for ingredients. Even robots are making their way into food delivery — tap or click here to see how.

Whether you order through a restaurant’s site or a food delivery service app such as Grubhub, DoorDash or Postmates, mealtime has never been easier. The same goes grocery delivery from retailers like Amazon and Walmart, where you can often get whatever you want in as little as one hour.

What to do with that extra space? Think extra closet or wine room.

4. Refrigerator clutter

Say goodbye to jotting down items you need the next time you go shopping. Take the grocery list off your fridge and ask Alexa to handle it for you.

You can create a list through the Alexa app, a third-party app or with an Alexa device using the voice command, “Alexa create a list.” Tell her what to add to the list to reduce the odds you’ll forget your items, and you can view the list on your smartphone.

You also have the option to skip the store experience altogether with the Alexa Voice Shopping service, which allows Alexa to purchase items from Amazon. Want to get even more out of your Echo? Tap or click for 9 Alexa skills you need to try.

5. Kitchen niche

Speaking of the kitchen, did you once have a comfy alcove in the from which you would ring family and friends? Now you’re not limited to a sitting area in the kitchen for your phone calls.

This move to wireless devices allows you to step out of the kitchen and talk whenever and wherever you want. Consider turning that alcove into your new favorite spot to read a book on your Kindle.

The one big downside of our reliance on cell phones? Hackers are always finding new ways to steal our info. Tap or click for 5 things you must do to protect your phone from criminals.

6. Losing control

Fighting over who gets the remote is so yesterday. What’s worse is always managing to lose it somewhere in the couch cushions or under the recliner.

With today’s technology, everyone has a personal remote: their smartphone. With the right app for your TV, you can control everything from the volume to recording your favorite shows.

Tap or click for the best apps to turn your phone into a remote control.

7. What day is it?

Remember all those big red X’s that indicated important dates on your paper calendar? Good times. Now they’ve been replaced with apps like Google Calendar. In addition to setting events like meetings and birthdays, you can add other notes and reminders, like personal goals and to-do lists.

The best part is your calendar is always with you. No more having to walk over to the fridge to see you missed Johnny’s game again. Tap or click here to learn 12 essential Google Calendar tricks, including easier ways to create events and simple settings to make your calendar even more useful.

8. Hello?

If you were fortunate enough to have a large house back in the day, you most likely had an intercom system. This upgraded dinner bell, although useful, wasn’t much better than people yelling at whoever was up or downstairs.

Want the kids to rise from their video games in the basement? Message them via group text. SMS has made connecting easy, whether it be from a world away or simply down a flight of stairs. Better yet, turn your smart speakers into your new home intercom system.

One downside of texting? Text messages are much easier to screen than calls were back in the day. Tap or click here to learn how to tell if someone read your text.

9. Easy listening

Now think about your “advanced” stereo system from years ago, complete with a turntable, cassette tape deck, thunderous subwoofer and those slick wooden cases. While this setup was at one time pretty cool, these days, they’re relegated to thrift store shelves.

Whatever your jam is now, all you have to do is grab your mobile device and download your favorite playlists. Play music from Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and other services, all from your wirelessly-connected smart speakers or AV receiver.

Or listen to podcasts like my national radio show. Tap or click here to check it out.

10. Cable boxes

Though cable boxes have reduced in size over the years, the need to fuss with them remained. There were a host of challenges like ensuring your remote was pointed at the box at the right angle, or pressing the reset button when service was on the fritz.

But with smart TVs and streaming devices, cable boxes are a thing of the past. Now you can find all of your favorite shows and movies through options like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, along with newcomers Disney+ and Apple TV+.

You can mix and match content however you desire and can use number of apps that are compatible with your mobile device. If your TV isn’t so smart, It’s time to upgrade to a streaming box or stick. Tap or click for a comparison of all the popular options from Roku, Apple, Amazon and Google.

No one is going to admit they miss any of these old-fashioned methods and gizmos, and for good reason! Apps and new tech alleviate many of the headaches of accidentally throwing out lists, seeing static on the screen and losing remote controls. Enjoy the changes coming to tech because today’s gadgets and gizmos are only going to get better.

BONUS TIP FOR EXTRA KNOW-HOW: Tech how-to: Change desktop icon size on your Windows computer

One of the best things about Windows is the endless amount of customization options. While there are some who are satisfied with sticking to the default settings, there are others who enjoy changing the user interface so much that Windows looks completely different once they’re through with it.

Changing the icon size in Windows 10 is one way you can make your Windows interface look better or just easier to work with.  The “P” in PC stands for “personal,” meaning it should be suited to your taste and preference.

While increasing or decreasing icon sizes may sound easy, not everyone knows all the steps to do so correctly.

Tap or click for a step-by-step guide to customize your PC.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group 747c54fd3743a2d506002eb2b9412223w-c0xd-w640_h480_q80 10 things you don’t need around the house anymore because of tech The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/forefront-of-innovation fnc/tech fnc bb3f0562-c0b9-5e92-836b-bd33af533856 article   Westlake Legal Group 747c54fd3743a2d506002eb2b9412223w-c0xd-w640_h480_q80 10 things you don’t need around the house anymore because of tech The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/forefront-of-innovation fnc/tech fnc bb3f0562-c0b9-5e92-836b-bd33af533856 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Best smartwatches, free images, iPhone drain and more: Tech Q&A

The Right Smartwatch

Q: My wife wants a smartwatch for Christmas. Should I get her an Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, or Fossil? Help me make the right decision, Kim!

A: Aside from asking her which brand she favors – which might temper the surprise – the Apple Series 5 is excellent, as long as you’re already plugged into the Apple ecosystem. Fitbit is a solid choice for athletes and weekend warriors because it has always been designed with these demographics in mind. The Samsung Galaxy watch is a great gift for anyone who uses an Android phone. While you’re researching, though, take a glance at Mobvoi Ticwatch E2, the intriguing indie option with a number of unique perks. Tap or click here for my smartwatch buying and comparison guide.

Free Images

Q: I have my own website. I need some high-quality images for the site that won’t break the bank. Any ideas?

A: If you have a legitimate project in mind, and you want to cross all your legal T’s, you’re living in a great era for inexpensive (or free!) media content. You can subscribe to a paid service like Shutterstock, or you can pore over archival materials at the New York Public Library. You can also explore the dodgy world of Creative Content, but there’s now a consistent alternative: Unsplash. Tap or click here to access a million free, high-quality images for any project.

Hear my Podcast

Q: I’d like to get your show podcast because I know it will be great. But, is there a way I can listen to an hour before I subscribe?

A: Absolutely – just click the link below. Let me also tell you how to get the most out of your listening experience: Komando Community is an advertising-free social media network that is designed for people like you. If you love consumer technology and all the latest news, and you can meet like-minded people in curated forums, Komando Community grants you access to all of my best content, including 12 hours a month of my national radio show’s podcast. You get to build a profile, and you can start a blog. If you have any tech questions, you can often get an answer in less than an hour in my Community Forums. So yes, listen to an hour because I have a feeling you’re going to love the full membership that’s a few dollars a month. Tap or click here to listen to my show’s podcast.

Apple Battery Drain

Q: My iPhone battery doesn’t last hardly at all. What’s going on? Is the latest iOS causing the meltdown?

A: Some reasons are mundane: your battery is worn down, or your screen is too bright, requiring extra juice. Other reasons are more concerning: you could have a virus or spyware, which will also ruin your reserves. Before you start investigating the latest operating system, I suggest you look at the apps you’re using. Take Google Maps. The app needs to send signals all day long, to pinpoint your exact location. That does a number on your power supply. Social media apps also update all the time, so if you have the Facebook app, or the Snapchat app, or the Whatsapp app – or all three running simultaneously –those background tasks can eat up your electricity. I can’t guarantee that this is your problem, but rationing your app usage might very well extend your battery life. Tap or click here to see five apps that drain your iPhone battery.

Email Check-Ins

Q: If someone sends me an email, will that person know when and if I opened it? Asking for a friend.

A: In the past, it was doubtful that someone could know whether you had hoped their email. Many people would consider this ability a violation of privacy; after all, you should have a right to read your mail and respond – or not respond – without the sender watching over your shoulder. But the technology to track emails, as well as pertinent information about their recipients, actually goes back a few years. “Pixel-tracking” is a sophisticated way to learn someone’s IP address, operating system, and how many times that email has been opened. Not surprisingly, this kind of snooping is especially popular among con artists and hackers, who can use pertinent data to help execute their crimes. So how do you protect yourself against a single, microscopic pixel? You have a couple of tactics at your disposal. Tap or click here to see whether your emails are being tracked and what you can do about it.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group 574608-apple-watch-series-5 Best smartwatches, free images, iPhone drain and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/iphone fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc e32489d9-3b2d-5528-9f81-1987f1d1c9ce article   Westlake Legal Group 574608-apple-watch-series-5 Best smartwatches, free images, iPhone drain and more: Tech Q&A The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/technologies/iphone fox-news/tech fnc/tech fnc e32489d9-3b2d-5528-9f81-1987f1d1c9ce article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Smartphone security: What’s better to use a PIN, facial recognition, or your fingerprint?

Locking your phone keeps out snoops, but it’s also your first line of defense against hackers and cybercriminals out for your data and anything else they can steal.

One of their biggest targets? Your money and your credit cards. Tap or click for 3 safer ways to pay for things online other than credit cards.

So, what’s the best way to secure your phone? Is it biometrics like your fingerprint or a scan of your face? Or a traditional PIN or password?

Most people aren’t very good at creating hard-to-crack passwords, so yours might not even be effective at keeping your devices or your accounts safe. Tap or click for 5 new rules you need to use next time you’re creating a new password.

No matter which method you choose, I’ll show you the best way to make sure your phone, and everything in it, is secure. Let’s start with facial recognition.

Look at that face

Facial recognition made its way to smartphones in 2016 with the Galaxy Note 7. Apple introduced Face ID with the iPhone X, which came out the next year.

This feature is all about convenience. Software scans your features to identify and verify your identity. One glance and your device is unlocked — no need to fuss with PINs or passwords.

Apple’s Face ID can do more than just unlock your phone. Tap or click here for 5 tips and tricks to make using your phone safer and easier to use.

Now, odds are slim someone else can use Face ID to unlock your iPhone, at least according to Apple.

The company says there’s a 1-in-1-million chance a random person could unlock your phone or iPad using the facial recognition system. The odds get a lot better if you’ve got an identical twin or a sibling or other relative who looks like you.

RELATED: Your emails are being tracked. But you can stop it. Tap or click here to take back your privacy and shut out data-hungry senders.

Things haven’t been so smooth for Google and its Pixel 4. Last month, early adopters discovered a flaw that makes it easy for anyone with physical access to your phone to unlock it.

Here are a few other situations where using facial recognition to secure your phone gets tricky:

Someone forces you to log into your device by making you look at your phone.

Law enforcement legally compels you to unlock your mobile device. Can police make you unlock your phone? It depends. Tap or click here to find out.

A photo, mask and even a baseball cap are purportedly able to fool facial recognition software.

A lasting impression

Like Face ID, fingerprint authentication is a quick and convenient way to unlock your phone. Just pick it up and place your finger over the sensor. Here are a few reasons you may want to use your fingerprint to lock your device:

No two fingers have identical characteristics, so there’s little chance of false positives. It’s quick. Scanners take just a moment to identify or reject a fingerprint. Unlike a password, you can’t lose or share your fingerprint. Fingerprints are stored as encrypted mathematical representations, not as images. This step makes them difficult to hack.

RELATED: Have a sneaking suspicion someone is stealing your Wi-Fi? Tap or click for a simple way to see every device connected to your network.

Finger authentication has many advantages, but it’s not foolproof — especially for someone who has physical access to you and your phone. There are stories of kids using a sleeping parent’s fingerprint to unlock a device, like a 6-year-old who went on an expensive shopping spree in 2016. And depending on your fingerprint scanner, they can be finicky to use.

Some reports suggest a fingerprint left on an item such as a cup can be used to deceive fingerprint scanners. Mobile security experts even warn replicating a fingerprint may only require a camera and printer.

Name games

Despite advances in technology, tried-and-true methods like PINs, passcodes and passwords are still some of the most common for securing smartphones.

Many users find these forms of security handy as they can use a similar PIN or password across many sites, accounts and devices. Smartphone users also tend to create PINs or passwords that are easy to remember, such as a birthday, address, username or other special date.

What makes this type of authentication convenient is also what makes it most susceptible to hackers. Cybercriminals know people create passwords from basic words or phrases and that they use identical passwords across the internet. Plus, PINs and passwords can be forgotten or stolen or even decoded with devices like GrayKey.

Make it a combo

While each method of securing your phone has its own set of weaknesses, stats show about a quarter of mobile device users don’t use any security technique at all. So, if you utilize any of the above procedures, you’re already a step ahead of those who take no precaution.

For the best protection, though, don’t rely on just one method. Use a combination of biometrics and PINs, passcodes or passwords to provide an extra layer of security in case one fails or is compromised.

Setting up two-factor authentication for your accounts also goes a long way in protecting you. Tap or click to learn more about how 2FA works.

When creating a password or PIN for two-factor authentication or just to lock your phone, it’s crucial you follow a few guidelines:

Do not create a password or PIN with all the same letters or digits.

Use letters, numbers and special characters whenever you can.

Make your passcode longer than four digits if possible. The longer, the better.

Do not use easy-to-guess information like your birthday, name or address.

If you’re concerned about remembering longer and more complex passcodes and PINs, it may help to store them in a password manager.

Although using multiple forms of security requires a bit more effort than relying just a single technique, it does safeguard against their individual weaknesses. This ensures your device — and your data — are protected.

BONUS TIP FOR EVEN MORE KNOW-HOW: Secret way to dig up dirt on anyone online

We’ve probably all done this at some point. You meet someone in person or online, like on a dating site or at work, and you’re compelled to do a little “research” to dig up potential dirt on them.

You can find out a lot about someone online. But there’s only so much info you can glean if the person you’re looking for has locked down his or her social media profiles or erased all the info collected on shady online directories.

That’s why you need to stick with sites you can trust. Don’t get sucked in by those creepy people search sites that charge you for often outdated or incorrect information. Here are three methods to find reliable info on just about anyone.

Tap or click here for my insider trick to learn more about anyone.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group text-message-cell-phone-getty-images Smartphone security: What’s better to use a PIN, facial recognition, or your fingerprint? The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/technologies/smartphones fox-news/tech/companies/samsung fox-news/tech/companies/apple fnc/tech fnc article 60ce94ed-f5fd-5d6d-bb49-31b5cb779de3   Westlake Legal Group text-message-cell-phone-getty-images Smartphone security: What’s better to use a PIN, facial recognition, or your fingerprint? The Kim Komando Show Kim Komando fox-news/tech/topics/security fox-news/tech/technologies/smartphones fox-news/tech/companies/samsung fox-news/tech/companies/apple fnc/tech fnc article 60ce94ed-f5fd-5d6d-bb49-31b5cb779de3

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com