AskBob's Best of 2019 - Part Two

Category: Reference

Yesterday I published Part One of my Best of 2019. Today, I've got another batch of ten very popular AskBob articles for you. These have been selected using input from autonomous robots, high-profile data breaches, surveillance drones, and machine learning software that I 'borrowed' from a secret underground laboratory. I might have used the AskBob server stats as well. I hope you'll read each one, leave your own comments, and share them with your Email, Facebook and Twitter friends.

Your Favorite AskBob Stories of 2019

In AskBob's Best of 2019 - Part One, some of the topics were focused on dealing with Windows 10, Security, Cord Cutting and Streaming. Looking at today, some of the key concepts that jump out at me are Upgrades, Spam, Malware, Search Engines, and Data Privacy. I hope you'll enjoy today's final Top Ten of 2019...

1. HOWTO: Sell Your Phone (or Other Gadget)

Mobile phones and other electronic devices become obsolete almost as fast as the news these days. If you like to stay on the bleeding edge, you'll upgrade your tech gadgets at every opportunity. But what's the best way to get cash for your used phone or other electronics, without getting scammed? Here are several ways you can sell an unwanted mobile phone, tablet, computer or other gear...

2. The Best Upgrades for Old Computers?

So you have an older computer that's struggling to keep up with modern apps and operating systems. Maybe it's bogged down with the weight of cosmic crud that's built up over the years. Should you junk it and buy a new one, or upgrade its capabilities? If you can afford only one upgrade, which will give you the most improvement for your money? The answers are highly dependent upon your specific circumstances, but here are some general guidelines...

On a related note, you may be wondering Is It Time For a New Computer? Should you buy a new computer with more speed, more memory, and a bigger monitor? Technology is always changing... so how do you know when it is indeed time to buy a new computer, or when it is best to ignore the commercials that tout the latest "gotta-have"? Check out these pointers on how to determine if you really need to buy a new computer.

3. Wolfram Alpha: Search Engine or Answer Calculator?

Many people use Google as their go-to search engine, but there are others you should know about. Among all the “other” search engines, one of my favorites is Wolfram|Alpha. It’s not really a search engine in the traditional sense; it’s more like an “answer calculator.” Wolfram|Alpha surfaces online through licensing deals that make its technology available through Google Search, Bing, Siri, and other well-known brands. But it's best to experience it directly. Here’s a look at what Wolfram|Alpha is, and can do for you...

We’re used to thinking of the Big Three in search engines: Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! For further reading on alternative search engines, see Beyond Google: The Other Search Engines.

4. Penny Auctions: Legit or Scam?

You've probably seen those ads, offering popular electronic gadgets for insanely low prices. You know, the lady who brags about getting a 60-inch HDTV for thirty bucks? These so-called 'penny auction' websites offer products for pennies on the dollar. Are they a big scam, or a legitimate way to save money? Let's take a look at how penny auctions work...

5. Here's How to Monitor Your Data Usage

The days of unlimited Internet use are drawing to a close for many people. As metered bandwidth billing, data caps, and exorbitant overage fees become more common, it behooves everyone who has such an Internet service plan to continually keep track of how many megabytes they’re using. Here's how to keep tabs on your data usage...

6. Data Brokers: What's in YOUR Dossier?

The Internet has made it easy for ordinary people to collect enormous amounts of information about nearly any subject; that is indisputably a good thing. However, when it comes to the multi-billion-dollar business of collecting and selling data about other people, that use of the Internet can take a sinister turn. Read on for the scoop on “data brokers" and how they operate, and what they know about you. See also: Everything Google Knows About You (and How to Delete it)

7. Backup Battery Power - What You Need to Know

Do you need a backup power supply for your computers? A friend told me that during a recent storm, his PC crashed and he lost power for several hours. If he had a battery backup, he could have saved his document, and gotten online to check for email and weather updates. Read on for the scoop on Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units.

8. Is it Time to Start Encrypting Your Files?

Fear of government snoops and hackers drives some people to encrypt their data. Others want to be sure that personal or confidential data can travel safely over the Internet. There are lots of tools you can use to encrypt data, and many of them are free (for personal use, at least). Here are some of the most popular encryption tools...

9. Spammer Got Your Email Address? (here's how...)

Spammers and scammers appear to have supernatural powers that enable them to guess email addresses accurately and quickly. But in reality, the bad guys harvest email addresses by pretty mundane means. YOU may even be contributing to the problem without realizing it. Here's the scoop on how spammers get ahold of your email addresses, and steps you can take to protect your inbox...

Related: Why Do Spam and Malware Exist? Computer viruses are everywhere. Spam is abounding. Ransomware, identity theft, denial of service attacks and other cybercrimes are commonplace. Who does this stuff, and what’s wrong with them? Let's take a look at what motivates the miscreants who menace millions on the Internet...

10. Free Tools to Manage PDF Files

Adobe has taken a lot of flack for its eminently hackable Flash/Shockwave animation file format. But Adobe also gave us the PDF - Portable Document Format. This handy file format was developed in the early 1990s to enable team members to share documents, including inline formatting and images, even though the members did not have the same file-handling software. Read on to find some free tools for creating, editing, managing, redacting, and otherwise slicing and dicing your PDF files...

I hope you enjoy reading (or re-discovering) each of these, and of course, please leave your own comments! I'd also be grateful if you forward this to a friend who would enjoy it. If you're not a subscriber, you can sign up for AskBob Updates. Happy New Year, I'll see you in 2020!

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Most recent comments on "AskBob's Best of 2019 - Part Two"

Posted by:

31 Dec 2019

Bob -- I don't know how you manage the time to research and write the pieces, but THANKS! We need your common sense, no-hype approach to today's tech environment. Todays computers are a commodity and we ordinary consumers neither need nor want articles involving a complicated solution and regedit to solve a problem we don't have. Happy New Year!

Posted by:

Edvins Briedums
02 Jan 2020

Thank you Bob,
another year older, another year wiser - thanks to you.
Kind regards

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