Practical Help Library

  • Travel Voltage

    Travel Voltage

    Travel Voltage: a reader asks… Hi there! I live in the USA and am traveling to the UK soon, staying in hotels mostly. I want to use my iPhone, iPad and Mac, along with their various chargers, et.al. Is there anything special I need to do or buy? When traveling internationally, you will encounter different types of plug styles, and more importantly, different voltages and cycles (that’s the rate at which alternating current switches, expressed in cycles per second). In […]

  • Blocking Junk Calls

    Blocking Junk Calls

    Blocking Junk Calls: a reader asks… I’m starting to get a bunch of junk phone calls on my mobile (iPhone) these days. Sometimes there’s a foreign voice on the other end, sometimes it’s a recording, and sometimes they just hang up. I’ve learned that anytime there’s a delay of more than a second before hearing a caller’s voice, it’s always a junk call, so I hang up after a second of silence. But they keep calling and I know it’s […]

  • Windows 10 Helpers

    Windows 10 Helpers

    Windows 10 Helpers: a reader asks… I have a 1-year-old Windows 10 computer that’s starting to work slower and slower. I’ve been considering using a utility like CCleaner to clean it up and wonder if there are other utilities you think are better? Let me just stop you right there. Pretty much all the 3rd party utilities that purport to make your computer work better, faster, and clean up junk are a waste of time and money. Back in the […]

  • Facebook 2 Strikes

    Facebook 2 Strikes

    Facebook 2 Strikes: a reader asks… Is it time to give up on Facebook? It is helpful to be able to see info about relatives and friends, but fewer and fewer are posting these days. I noticed you’re no longer posting your articles on Facebook either (not since July 2018). And I keep reading about issues with Facebook, including the latest security breach. What do you think? It’s always been the case that if you’re not paying directly for something, […]

  • Apple TV HDMI

    Apple TV HDMI

    Apple TV HDMI: a reader asks… Which converter will I need to be able to use the following systems together? I have a Samsung TV UHD (Ultra High Definition) 4K model # UN40JU640DF; I have a Yamaha AV Receiver RX-V995. And I have an Apple TV 4K. Short answer, you don’t need a converter box, just an optical audio cable. Your Samsung TV has HDMI IN ports, so you can plug the Apple TV directly into one of those, and both […]

  • Mac Word 2-sided Printing

    Mac Word 2-sided Printing

    Mac Word 2-sided Printing: a reader asks… My printer prints 2-sided (auto-duplex), and most of the things I print give me the option to do so. When I print a Word document I’ve created on my Macbook Pro, it does not and it always comes out 1-sided. Some pre-print windows in other programs on my Mac have a button that says “printer” which you can use to get 2-sided. The Word documents do not. Can you help? Microsoft Word for […]

  • Windows Apps to new PC

    Windows Apps to new PC

    Windows Apps to new PC: a reader asks… I finally bought a new computer. Got my old laptop cleaned & transferred all my documents. But how do I transfer my programs without using a CD? The new laptop doesn’t have one and I don’t have a disk for every program. I’ve seen a couple programs and i did buy a cable. Mac users have had the Migration Assistant for years, which makes it easy to transfer all your personal files and installed apps, […]

  • Where did Windows Desktop Go?

    Where did Windows Desktop Go?

    Where did Windows Desktop Go? a reader asks… I have a new (to me) computer with Windows on it. I have two problems. First, I was last using it about a month ago and was using this “Windows Edge” program to check my Gmail. All the sudden the font size went down really small and I can no longer read the screen. Everything’s too little. Second, I don’t have a start button, nor any way I can see to change […]

  • Malwarebytes New Version 3.6.1

    Malwarebytes New Version 3.6.1

    Malwarebytes New Version 3.6.1: PSA Malwarebytes.com released the latest version 3.6.1.2711 for Windows on Saturday 9/22/18. Most folks should be on version 3.5.1 and should take the earliest opportunity to upgrade. The easiest way to upgrade is simply to visit https://malwarebytes.com and download the free version. Malwarebytes offers the same version for free, trial and premium, the only difference is what features are activated. If you already have a current subscription, installing the latest version won’t change your subscription status. […]

  • Mac Time Machine

    Mac Time Machine

    Mac Time Machine: a reader asks… I understand that Apple is discontinuing the Time Capsule. I have a Mac at home and want to use the Time Machine app to backup my computer. Since there’s no more Time Capsule, what should I do? Any external hard drive can work as a Time Capsule. You can choose a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive that connects to your home or office network (using Ethernet cabling), or you can choose an external hard […]

  • Should I iOS 12?

    Should I iOS 12?

    Should I iOS 12? a reader asks… I have an iPhone 7 and my husband has an iPhone 6s. We also each have iPads (mine is a mini2, his is an air2). We also both have Apple Watches (series 2 & 3). So yes, we’re sort of all-in on Apple. My question is, should we update to iOS 12 (released on Monday the 17th)? Or should we wait? My general advice is for most consumers to update their technology at […]

  • iPhone Scanning Options

    iPhone Scanning Options

    iPhone Scanning Options: a reader asks… I have various things in paper form I’d like to scan, including documents and photos. What’s a good app for my iPhone that I can use instead of buying and using a flatbed scanner? The days of needing a flatbed scanner are quite over except for those who have lots of documents to scan – a multi-sheet-fed scanner would be helpful there. The first thing you should consider though, is how you’re going to […]

  • Nitty-Gritty PC Spec

    Nitty-Gritty PC Spec

    Nitty-Gritty PC Spec: a reader asks… Can you give me a brief rundown on what specs I should be going for when buying a new desktop PC? Nothing special, no gaming, video or other high-end work. I do have large music and photo libraries. Ok, here’s the nitty-gritty: Get Windows 10, get 16gb of RAM, get the largest solid-state drive (SSD) you are willing to pay for, and get the largest screen size that fits your situation – preferably 1080p […]

  • New iMac

    New iMac

    New iMac: a reader asks… I have an older 2011 iMac that’s been giving me a lot of trouble, and I’m giving up. I’m going to go buy a new one. What’s the easiest way to get everything transferred over from the old iMac to the new one? Apple’s utility program, Migration Assistant, is the easy way to get your personal files, settings and apps transferred over from the old iMac. For this process, you need to unpack the new […]

  • Word Won’t Work

    Word Won’t Work

    Word Won’t Work: a reader asks… My Word program has ceased functioning. Yesterday I attempted to add a second language in the settings. It seemed to progress, then got stuck. I could not close the program. I tried rebooting twice to no result. I tried to repair the Word program, which started but then would not end. I simply can not open or access any word documents, either on my computer or on my drive. I don’t know what else […]

  • Fitbit vs. Apple Watch3

    Fitbit vs. Apple Watch3

    Fitbit vs. Apple Watch3: a reader asks… I’m looking at getting a fitness tracker, and am considering either a Fitbit Charge or an Apple Watch. What are your thoughts? As a matter of fact, for the last few weeks I’ve been wearing both, and noting the differences, so let me spill the beans for you. First things first, the Fitbit Charge 2 is available now, and costs about $130. The Charge 3 is coming out in October, you can pre-order […]

  • Wi-fi Warnings

    Wi-fi Warnings

    Wi-fi Warnings: a reader asks… I have Verizon internet service at my house. I’m starting to see warnings on my iPhone and iPad that the network is unsafe. My Verizon router is probably 7-8 years old? Is it time to get a new one? My desktop PC is also connected wirelessly, but it isn’t warning me. I also notice that the wireless connection drops out a few times a day. I’ve started having to turn the router off and back […]

  • Warning to my Readers about Email

    Warning to my Readers about Email

    Warning to my Readers about Email: If you still use an AOL.com, Verizon.com/net or Yahoo.com email address, soon I will no longer be sending you emails, neither the weekly digest, nor regular emails. If you send email to me or use my Ask Your Tech Coach form, I will not be replying or responding to you other than by posting articles on this website. Effective, today. So why am I taking this action? Simple: in my opinion, those three email […]

  • Quirky Mouse

    Quirky Mouse

    Quirky Mouse: a reader asks… I have a weird problem, it seems my Lenovo Windows 10 computer freezes often, clicking doesn’t do anything, especially in Google Chrome. This is happening more and more lately. Can you help? After a bit of back and forth discussion and observing what was happening, I determined that the problem wasn’t with the computer or any of the programs – it was with the mouse. The key top solving the mystery was watching the user […]

  • Windows 10 Safe Mode

    Windows 10 Safe Mode

    Windows 10 Safe Mode: a reader asks… Hi Chris, I recently upgraded to Windows 10 – what a difference from Windows 7, and not all good! For instance, anytime I had problems with Windows 7, I could easily boot into Safe Mode by pressing the F8 key when I start up the computer. I don’t have this option in Windows 10 though. Can you tell me how to be able to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode please? Thanks in […]

  • Laser vs. Ink Jet Buying Decision

    Laser vs. Ink Jet Buying Decision

    Laser vs. Ink Jet Buying Decision: a reader asks… I have an old HP Deskjet 810c printer that’s finally giving up the ghost and I’m ready to replace it. I really don’t need color printing. As a matter of fact, I probably print maybe 3 pages a month, sometimes more, often less. I want a printer that’s dependable and will print when I need it to print. I’m looking at both laser printers and ink jet printers. Any advice? There […]

  • GPS Accuracy-Apple Watch vs. Garmin

    GPS Accuracy-Apple Watch vs. Garmin

    GPS Accuracy-Apple Watch vs. Garmin: a reader asks… I’m using a Garmin watch to measure distance on a golf course. A buddy of mine is doing the same but with his Apple watch (using The Grint app). While our two devices are reasonably close, they’re sometimes a good 10 yards off of each other. Using one measurement might make me change clubs versus the other. Should I trust either watch? GPS accuracy can be hit or miss with small devices, […]

  • MacOS Upgrade

    MacOS Upgrade

    MacOS Upgrade: a reader asks… Hi, I’m having trouble figuring out what to do with my macbook air. It’s about 4 years old and works fine, but I tried to install Numbers on it and got a warning that my version of MacOS was too old, I need 10.12 or higher. Not sure how to upgrade my MacOS. Can you point me in the right direction? Most likely, your Macbook Air is running version 10.11 (El Capitan). If you click […]

  • Get my iPhone Photos

    Get my iPhone Photos

    Get my iPhone Photos: a reader asks… I have an iPhone with a ton of pictures on it. How do I get all those pictures onto my computer (Windows 10 PC)? Years ago, you’d install iTunes, plug the cable from your iPhone to your PC, and go through the arcane iTunes menus to get to where you can get all your photos. Years before that (in the early days of iPhones), you could plug in your iPhone, connect it similar […]

  • Facebook Snafu on Pixel

    Facebook Snafu on Pixel

    Facebook Snafu on Pixel: a reader asks… Why can’t I connect to Facebook? App keeps thinking and then closes. I am using a pixel XL smart phone. Used Facebook this morning fine. I can open Facebook on my iPad and PC without a problem. I have powered down phone without any change. Since you already powered down the Pixel (and powered back up) and that didn’t help, I’d suggest your next step is to delete the Facebook app from your Pixel, […]

  • Cleaning out Malware

    Cleaning out Malware

    Cleaning out Malware: a reader asks… I’ve been looking at my older Windows 10 PC and I suspect it has a lot of malware on it, even though I’ve been using McAfee Total Protection. What should I do? Perhaps the first thing you should do is stop paying McAfee for inferior protection. Likely they’ve got you signed up for auto-renewal of your subscription, so you’ll need to log into your account at https://home.mcafee.com, click on My Account and sign in. […]

  • Slow Chrome

    Slow Chrome

    Slow Chrome: a reader asks… I use Google Chrome on my Windows 10 desktop PC, and lately things have been veeeerrrryyy slow. Switching from one tab to another takes maybe 5 seconds, and so does opening a new tab. Even shutting down Chrome (or just a tab) takes a lot longer than it used to. What should I do? Using a metaphor, Chrome and other web browsers ‘gain weight’ as you use them, storing images, cookies, saved passwords and form […]

  • Not getting your Digest

    Not getting your Digest

    Not getting your Digest: a reader asks.. I’ve been following you for years, and have been getting your weekly emails. But the last few weeks I haven’t been getting them. Have you stopped sending out your emails? First off, thanks for being a loyal reader! The short answer is no, I am still sending out my weekly digest of articles I’ve written. These go out every Friday morning, with links back to my website and the latest articles I’ve written. […]

  • Wi-Fi Greyed Out

    Wi-Fi Greyed Out

    Wi-Fi Greyed Out: a reader asks… I’m having a problem with my older Windows desktop PC. It originally had Windows 7 on it and when Windows 10 came out I took the free upgrade. Everything’s been working fine for years, but all the sudden yesterday the wifi stopped working. The option is greyed out in the notification controls. Can you help? I asked a few folllow-on questions and discovered that you’ve been using Kaspersky Antivirus for years, even after you […]

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