Recent Comments

Comment by fbgcai on Have You Backed Up THIS Important Thing? (November 30, 2022 03:25 AM)
Re gas powered generators - bought one for potential Y2K disruptions (didn't happen) - sat around for a number of years so sold it the day BEFORE the ...
Comment by Hugh Gautier on Have You Backed Up THIS Important Thing? (November 30, 2022 01:11 AM)
Well, I put a voltage regulator that has a battery backup for surge protection, and here's the kicker it will also voltage regulate that 220 V part yo...
Comment by Noel on Have You Backed Up THIS Important Thing? (November 29, 2022 10:33 PM)
"For outages longer than a half-hour or so, a gas-powered generator will be necessary." That's not totally true. Another option is a battery bank th...
Comment by PL on Have You Backed Up THIS Important Thing? (November 29, 2022 09:18 PM)
I love, love, love my APC 1500. It has gotten me out of more power messes than you can imagine, so it's long since paid for itself. I've tried other b...
Comment by Louise on Have You Backed Up THIS Important Thing? (November 29, 2022 08:39 PM)
I have had UPS for computer and modem/router for many years but recently bought one for TV. I live in an apartment now and recently had a situation...
Comment by Alan on Have You Backed Up THIS Important Thing? (November 29, 2022 08:11 PM)
DO NOT plug your laser printer's power cord into one of these backup power supplies. It pulls too much power when it first comes on, and it will trip ...
Comment by Karen on Try a Free Online Photography Class (November 22, 2022 06:37 PM)
Another great place to find online courses, such as photography is your local library. Their online site probably has access to one or more online lea...
Comment by Norman Rosen on Time to Break Up With Your Phone Company? (November 22, 2022 04:04 PM)
After 20+ years with Verizon, I switched to Ting, the other company Consumer Reports recommends; and I only wish I had switched sooner. I have no comp...
Comment by Nadine on NINE Tips For Online Holiday Shoppers (November 21, 2022 07:48 PM)
What about the coupons that pop up when using Edge browser, I get those all the time when shopping and I've saved money using those. But since you di...
Comment by Lucy on NINE Tips For Online Holiday Shoppers (November 21, 2022 06:39 PM)
Great to have all these options in one spot ... Thank you Bob. We have been successfully using CamelCamelCamel for a while after you recommended it p...

Have You Backed Up THIS Important Thing?

I’ve written frequently here on ways to backup your hard drive, email, mobile devices and social media content. But what about when the power goes out? How can you keep your computer and internet online when you lose power? Read on for my tips on backup power, and how it relates to keeping your data safe...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on November 29, 2022 | Category: Backup

NINE Tips For Online Holiday Shoppers

In last year's holiday shopping season, spending totaled $887 billion, up over 14 percent from the previous year. Post-pandemic shoppers are back in stores, but ecommerce sales are expected to rise again. Fortunately, some tools have emerged to help consumers find the best deals. Check out these clever tips to help you save money when you shop online for the holidays...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on November 21, 2022 | Category: Shopping

Want Safer Internet? Just Add Onions

I don't spend much time in dark corners of the Web, but every once in a while I fire up the privacy-focused Tor browser. I just installed the latest version and spent some time exploring the Tor network. It was an interesting and surprisingly non-geeky sojourn! Here's what you need to know about the Tor browser, and how it can improve your online safety and privacy...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on November 18, 2022 | Category: Privacy

[TIPS] Trouble Seeing Your Computer Screen?

Ben Franklin opined that nothing is certain except death and taxes. I would add "aging eyesight" because it affects everyone eventually, diminishing the pleasure and productivity of computing. Various adaptive technologies are available to compensate for loss of visual acuity. Some are built into Windows. But these options all have limitations, and using them in certain combinations can actually make it more difficult to make sense of what’s before your eyes. Read on for a look at Windows display settings and how to use them to best advantage...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on November 17, 2022 | Category: Windows

Time to Break Up With Your Phone Company?

A few years back, I published an article that started with these words: “Everyone hates the phone company.” But since then, every time I write on the topic of mobile phone providers, the feedback from AskBob readers is loud and clear: “We Love Consumer Cellular!” I've been a Verizon customer for 20+ years, so I decided to take a closer look at Consumer Cellular and find out why folks think it's so great. Read on for my review of Consumer Cellular and see what this mobile phone company does that others do not...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on November 16, 2022 | Category: Telephony

Convert Your Old VHS Tapes to DVD or Digital

Unfortunately, those old VHS video tapes with treasured family memories won't last forever. Even if the VCR doesn't eventually jam and eat the tape, a VHS recording uses fragile magnetic tape that degrades over time, whether you watch it or not. Don't count on those VHS tapes (or your VCR player) lasting forever -- convert your VHS tapes to DVD or digital format today, and save those memories for posterity. Here are some tips on how to get it done…

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Posted by Bob Rankin on November 07, 2022 | Category: Video

Will a VPN Boost Your Online Privacy?

A confused AskBob reader says, “Do I really need a VPN to be safe online? A friend advised me to subscribe to a free VPN service to protect my privacy, but I don’t really understand why. What is a VPN, anyway?” Read on to learn about virtual private networks, what they can (and cannot) do, and find out if you need one...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on November 04, 2022 | Category: Privacy

Get Your Credit Score (without getting ripped off)

Your credit score is just a three-digit number, but it's not a matter of luck or chance. It's actually one of the most important numbers in your financial life. That's because it summarizes your creditworthiness, and it's the first (and often the last) thing lenders look at when you apply for a loan. Learn how a credit SCORE is different from a credit REPORT, find out how to get your credit score for free, and get some tips for boosting your credit score, without getting lucky...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on October 31, 2022 | Category: Finance

Eggs and Router Security (my advice...)

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” some wise person opined. Yet most of us do exactly that with all of our expensive “smart” home electronics, and the consequences can be as calamitous as the old proverb implies. In addition to attacking your computer, cyber-crooks are targeting home internet routers. Here's my advice on what you need to know to defend yourself against router attacks...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on October 26, 2022 | Category: Wireless

Hacker Defense: Your SEVEN Point Tuneup

If it seems the online world gets more dangerous every day, you’re not wrong. The AV-TEST Institute reports over 450,000 new malware samples are discovered DAILY. (That's up from 350K two years ago.) Thousands of social media accounts are hacked every day; and untold millions of consumer records compromised in data breaches are used by hackers in increasingly clever attacks. Your defense systems must be kept in tip-top shape. Here are seven ways to harden your system against hackers…

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Posted by Bob Rankin on October 25, 2022 | Category: Security

Malware and Spam: Why Do They Exist?

Philosophers have pondered the nature of evil for ages. Perhaps you also have wondered how a medium meant for information sharing has become a minefield of privacy and security risks. Spam, viruses, ransomware, identity theft, data breaches, phishing, malicious links and other cybercrimes have become commonplace. Who does this stuff, and what the heck is wrong with them? Let's take a look at what motivates the miscreants who menace millions on the Internet...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on October 21, 2022 | Category: Viruses

[TIPS] Start Taking Better Smartphone Pictures

The ubiquitous smartphone seems to have replaced dedicated cameras among all but professionals and photography hobbyists. Here are some tips for taking great photos with your iPhone or Android smartphone. (Actually most of them apply to old-school digital cameras as well.) Read on...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on October 20, 2022 | Category: Photography

How to Spot Scams, Hoaxes, Urban Legends

Did you know? Mister Rogers always wore a long-sleeved sweater to hide the tattoos he got as a Marine Corps sniper. AI-powered robots killed 29 Japanese scientists. And yikes... 40 Mexican hackers have infiltrated your Amazon account! Read on to find out how (and why) nonsense like this spreads like wildfire online...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on October 17, 2022 | Category: Reference

Stop Using Microsoft Office - Here's Why...

Since the Dark Ages, Microsoft Office has been the standard for home, school, and office productivity suites. But it's always been a rather expensive software package. Today's prices range from $249 for Office Home & Business, up to $439 for Microsoft Office Professional. The subscription-based Microsoft 365 Family product costs $100/year. Fortunately, there are plenty of good, compatible alternatives to Microsoft's word processor, spreadsheet tools and related office tools. Many are free, and even those that are not cost much less than Microsoft Office. Here are some of the best free and low-cost office suites to replace Microsoft Office.

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Posted by Bob Rankin on October 14, 2022 | Category: Software

Is Your DNA (and your privacy) For Sale Online?

At-home DNA test kits sold online are popular holiday gifts, promising to reveal facts about your family history and susceptibility to various diseases. But could sending in your DNA sample have a negative impact on the privacy of yourself, your family, and your close relatives? Here's what you need to know, especially if you've submitted a DNA sample to Ancestry or 23andMe...

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Posted by Bob Rankin on October 11, 2022 | Category: Privacy

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