Practical Help Library

  • MS OneDrive Tip

    MS OneDrive Tip

    MS OneDrive Tip: a reader asks… I have a Windows 10 PC and just got a MS 365 subscription. I activated Microsoft Word and it appears that everything is working ok. I noticed that OneDrive seems to be installed (there’s a grey cloud icon in the notification area), and it seems to be tied to my Microsoft account. When I go to save a Word document, the default save location is in my Documents folder. Is that being backed up […]

  • Email Not Getting Sent

    Email Not Getting Sent

    Email Not Getting Sent: a reader asked… I’m trying to email a group of people. Trying to send 50 at a time with a 2-page 4.5mb flyer attachment. I’m using Windows 10 & Outlook for emails. I keep getting this message “could not deliver msg, check your addresses & file size”. Do I need to buy Microsoft 365 or a newer version of Outlook, both of which allow larger files to be sent & up to 500 email addresses? First […]

  • Macbook Compare 2022

    Macbook Compare 2022

    Macbook Compare 2022: a reader asks… I’m looking at getting a new Macbook in the next month or so. Can you please give me a rundown comparison of the different types and options to help me make a decision on which one to get? Sure! I’m assuming you don’t want to wait for all the Macbooks to be refreshed to the latest M2 chip variants, as it could be spring (or later) before we see that. Here’s a half-dozen comparison […]

  • New Windows Computer Protection

    New Windows Computer Protection

    New Windows Computer Protection: a reader asks… I just got my new Dell laptop computer (Windows 10) set up and it came with a McAfee protection program. Should I keep that? Likely Dell gave you either a trial version, or a 1-year subscription to the McAfee protection app. I should note that my recommendations include removing any unneeded software that comes pre-installed on new computers. The built-in Windows Defender that comes with Windows 10 is quite capable of providing basic […]

  • Update Your Tech

    Update Your Tech

    Update Your Tech: a reader asks… I have an iPhone, an iPad and a Windows PC. I use Microsoft Office 2010. All my devices prompt me constantly for updates, and my computer keeps trying to get me to upgrade to Windows 11 (plus keeps showing me updates available for my Windows 10). My question is, how important is it to update all this, and is it ok to put off some updates? First of all, you should consider it vital […]

  • Screenshots of my PC

    Screenshots of my PC

    Screenshots of my PC: a reader asks.. I have a Windows 10 PC and would like to take screenshots from time to time. Is there a good utility to do that? My favorite utility for screen captures is SnagIt from Techsmith. I’ve found it to be exceedingly smart and intuitive, and offers a lot of flexibility in image editing. I can add graphics, text, or layer images. While it’s no Photoshop, it does offer all the basic tools needed to […]

  • Use Good Passwords!

    Use Good Passwords!

    Use Good Passwords! a reader asks… I have a bunch of websites that I log into on my computer, and I also log into online accounts using apps on my smartphone. I know that everybody recommends using unique passwords for each login, but I’m kind of lazy and just use the same password all over, sometimes with slight variations. That way I don’t have to try to remember dozens of passwords. Is there an easier way? Absolutely there’s an easier […]

  • More screens!

    More screens!

    More Screens! a reader asks… I know that I can connect multiple devices to my TV (handycam, DVD, etc.), but can I connect multiple screens to my computer? I have a Windows PC and would love to have more screen real estate. The short answer is yes, but there are factors that you’ll need to consider before you go out and buy monitors and cables. If your computer has multiple video OUT ports, you may only need compatible cables and […]

  • SMB: What’s a Dedicated IP?

    SMB: What’s a Dedicated IP?

    SMB: What’s a Dedicated IP? A reader asks… I’m a small business owner and have a website with email services. My hosting provider sent me a discount offer for a “dedicated IP”. What is that, and would I want that? An IP is an numerical internet protocol address, which is used to identify specific computers, servers and other devices on the internet, as well as on private networks. You are probably most familiar with the older IPv4 protocol – this […]

  • How to Protect your Small Business from Hackers

    How to Protect your Small Business from Hackers

    If you want to make your business more secure, here is how to protect your small business from hackers.

  • iOS 16 or 15.7?

    iOS 16 or 15.7?

    iOS 16 or 15.7?: a reader asks… I have an iPhone 12 Pro and see that there’s an update available for iOS – either 15.7 or 16. Which should I take? I have automatic updates selected, so if I do nothing, does it install 15.7 or 16? Last question first, automatic updates will only install the latest “minor” update, e.g., taking you from 15.6.1 to 15.7. Major updates always require you to initiate the update. If you do not upgrade […]

  • Windows 10/11 Power Options

    Windows 10/11 Power Options

    Windows 10/11 Power Options: a reader asks… I just bought myself a new Windows computer and have finished the initial setup. Should I mess with the power plan or power options? Microsoft still wants to save you those few cents a year in electricity, and sets the power plan to conserve electricity way more than most people want. My recommendations are still (in advanced power options): turn off sleep mode and avoid using it at all. be sure that your […]

  • Zoom Invite not Working

    Zoom Invite not Working

    Zoom Invite not Working: A reader asks… Sometimes when I’m trying to connect to a Zoom invitation, I am denied entry. The invitation looks normal with a URL to click which is supposed to get me directly in from my AOL/Verizon email, but I can’t click the link. When I get invitations to my Gmail account the links are usually clickable, but sometimes when I click on them I get an access denied entry. I do have a Zoom account […]

  • Spot a Fake Email

    Spot a Fake Email

    Spot a Fake Email: a reader asks… Is this email legit? I received an email from Amazon describing an order I supposedly made. I didn’t make that order! Should I call them or is this a fake email? If fake, what should I do? It is most certainly a fake. Do not call the number, simply delete the email or mark it as Junk Mail/Spam. The proliferation of fake emails and scam attempts is so high, it’s overwhelming everyone, including […]

  • Losing Mail on iOS

    Losing Mail on iOS

    Losing Mail on iOS: a reader asks… I have an iPhone 12 pro-max. I have had iPhones since they were first introduced, however, within the past year, the saved emails in folder/labels in my Gmail account, have disappeared. when I open the folder, the saved email will disappear. Please advise. I’m assuming that you’re using the Apple Mail app, along with Apple apps for Contacts and Calendar. The problem you’re describing isn’t uncommon, and the fix is quite easy. Here’s […]

  • A Cautionary Tale about Scams

    A Cautionary Tale about Scams

    A Cautionary Tale about Scams: a reader relates: My question is what can I do about this to help: My daughter is a college-educated professional woman living in NYC. She’s savvy about using technology and uses an iPhone. Unfortunately, she fell victim to a scam while at an airport waiting to board a plane. She received a phone call from “Bank of America” saying that someone was trying to access her account and steal money. They advised her to transfer […]

  • Phishing – what do I do?

    Phishing – what do I do?

    Phishing – what do I do? A reader asks… I got an email from “ekaterina @ positek . ai”, asking me to fill my personal info on some Google form to participate in some ‘bitcoin giveaway’. As I found it a little fishy, I googled “positek” and found your site, which seems legit to me. This is the second time that I have received such an email in the last few days so i couldn’t hold myself but ask it […]

  • CleanMyMac and/or Malwarebytes

    CleanMyMac and/or Malwarebytes

    CleanMyMac – not an advert: a reader asks… We have Malwarebytes on our computers.  Do I need Clean my Mac? if you’re using the paid version of Malwarebytes, you have an active scanner to prevent malware from getting on your Mac. That’s its primary purpose. By contrast, CleanMyMac (current version X) is more a general-purpose optimization tool for the Mac that includes malware-prevention tools (in the paid version). Both of these are subscription-fee apps, the paid versions provide full-time service. The […]

  • How to Download iPhone Photos to PC

    How to Download iPhone Photos to PC

    How to Download iPhone Photos to PC: a reader asks… I use an iPhone and a PC. In the past, I’ve connected my iPhone to the PC to transfer photos, backup my iPhone and such. I’ve been told that this is passé and that I should be using iCloud to do this. I have expanded my iCloud storage per your previous recommendations and have turned on iCloud Photos and Backup my iPhone. My question is, how do I get my […]

  • Stop Clicking Indiscriminately

    Stop Clicking Indiscriminately

    Stop Clicking Indiscriminately: a reader asks… I keep getting emails and popups from various senders. Every time I click on them to either unsubscribe or try to log in, I end up not getting where I think I need to go. Please stop clicking indiscriminately! Currently about 80% of all email flying around the internet is either junk email, fake email, or hacking attempts. You need to be extremely suspicious of any email you receive. And even more so for […]

  • Transcribe Speech to Text

    Transcribe Speech to Text

    Transcribe Speech to Text: a reader asks… I have a number of audio files (interviews, speeches, etc.) that I need transcribed into text. Are there services that do this, or software products? I’m concerned about the accuracy of transcription. Transcribing audio speech (either live dictation or an audio file) is a lot harder work than one might casually think. There are so many factors at play here: the quality of the audio, the clarity and diction of the speaker, accents […]

  • Another Firestick Issue

    Another Firestick Issue

    Another Firestick Issue: a reader asks… Hello I am unable to listen to audio from my Firestick through my stereo receiver. EQUIPMENT: Onkyo TX-8140 2 Channel Network Stereo Receiver (purchased 2018) with Klipsch speakers (the Onkyo has no HDMI ports); Samsung QN4360RAFXZA 43” QLED 4K Q Series Ultra HD Smart TV with HDR (2019 model); Amazon Firestick 4K (2022). DISH Hopper. CONNECTIONS: Dish -> Samsung TV via HDMI 1; Samsung TV -> Onkyo for audio via optical cable (Optical port […]

  • Ethernet Wiring at Home

    Ethernet Wiring at Home

    Ethernet Wiring: a reader asked: I am getting an electrician to come and install ethernet wiring at my house. We’ve tried several different wifi solutions and none seem to give me a fast enough connection for video conferencing. Three questions: Should I install Cat7 cable or is Cat6 good enough? Also, should I buy the cable and wall plates/Keystone jacks myself? Is there anything else I’ll need? Cat7 costs 50% more than Cat6e, so for residential use it’s probably not […]

  • Unwanted Letterbox in Youtube

    Unwanted Letterbox in Youtube

    Unwanted Letterbox in Youtube: a reader asks… I use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit my videos and post them on Youtube. I upload videos either as 1080p or 720p. Usually this works fine, but sometimes I see letterboxing on the left and right side, even though my videos are 1920×1080 or 1280×720. Is there a quick and easy fix for this? Adobe Premiere Pro is a very powerful video editing tool, certainly overpowered for most casual videographers. But it is […]

  • Maintaining your iPhone in Good Condition: 6 Tips

    Maintaining your iPhone in Good Condition: 6 Tips

    This is a guest article posted by Lisa Smith. There is no denying that iPhones are popular. According to Statista, in the United States alone, there should be more than 110 million iPhone users.  Unfortunately, not everyone is keen enough to put effort into ensuring the device stays in good condition. Perhaps because they are okay with buying a new iPhone model as soon as one becomes available? Regardless, if you are concerned about the well-being of your iPhone, you […]

  • Stop Spam Texts

    Stop Spam Texts

    Stop Spam Texts: a reader asks… I’ve started getting a lot of spam text messages. I know that I can block text messages, but I’m getting a ton of these all from different sources. So I either have to do a dozen blocks a day, and still put up with all these text messages cluttering up my messages app (I use an iPhone by the way). Is there a better way I can stop these? There is but it’s drastic. […]

  • USB Ports at Airbnb

    USB Ports at Airbnb

    USB Ports at Airbnb: a reader asks… I’m going on vacation and will be staying at an Airbnb. The owner says that there are USB ports built into some of the electrical outlets. Is it safe to use these? Hmm, I’m going to defer to safety in my recommendation and suggest you bring your own USB chargers that plug into standard electrical plugs. You didn’t say where you are vacationing, so electrical voltage and plug type may be different – […]

  • QR Code for WiFi

    QR Code for WiFi

    QR Code for WiFi: a reader asks… Hi Chris, I’m a small business owner who provides a public WiFi network to my customers, separate from my private business WiFi. My staff gives out the password to customers on request, but this takes time. Is it ok to post a sign with the WiFi password or is this a security risk? Following your advice, my public WiFi password is long and not easily guessable, and I use WPA2. Congrats on keeping […]

  • Gmail Security Lockout

    Gmail Security Lockout

    Gmail Security Lockout: a reader asks… I received an email from Google the other day declaring: “On May 30, you may lose access to apps that are using less secure sign-in technology. Google will no longer support the use of third-party apps or devices…” I have been accessing both my AOL and Gmail accounts on my 2015 MacBook Pro and iPhone 6 using the Apple Mail apps (in a combined inbox). I also have a dormant Google Chrome app that […]

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