The Top Twenty
Every night a friendly robot looks through the Ask Bob logs to see which articles were the most popular over the past week. Here are the current Top Twenty, ranked by readership volume. If you missed any of these, take a few minutes to read and comment!
- 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...
- 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...
- 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.
- Review: PC Matic Gets a Zero!
After years of hearing from AskBob readers about PC Matic, I finally decided it was time to give the popular antivirus and PC optimizer software a test drive. So 18 months ago, I did just that, and published my PC Matic review. At the time, I was impressed enough to ditch my current security software, and entrust my home and office computers to PC Matic. A year and a half later, I'm giving PC Matic a ZERO. But wait... that's actually a GOOD thing! Read on for my updated review and recommendation...
- My Near-Perfect Spam Filter
Researchers estimate that about 45 percent of all email traffic is spam. But I rarely see any spam in my inbox. That's because Gmail blocks 99.9 percent of all spam, phishing and malware emails. Read on to learn how you can get near-perfect spam filtering, even if you don't use Gmail for your inbox...
- Why Is My Internet Connection SLOW Sometimes?
A frustrated AskBob reader says: 'My Internet connection is usually pretty fast, but sometimes it slows to a crawl, for no apparent reason. Is it likely that I have a virus, or are there other possible explanations for the slowdowns?' Yes, several! Read on for my advice on diagnosing (and fixing) a slow Internet connection...
- [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...
- My Tech Support House Call
I received a call from a friend, who was seeing random freeze-ups, the dreaded 'Blue Screen' and some other problems on her computer. So I popped in to see what I could do to cure this pestiferous PC. Come along for this tech support house call, and learn the tools and techniques I use to diagnose problems like these...
- A Virus Destroyed Your Hard Drive?
Occasionally I hear from readers who say a virus “destroyed” their hard drive and they had to buy a new one. But are there actually viruses that can physically damage a hard drive? Is it even possible for a virus to damage hardware, or is this an urban legend? Read on to find out the truth...
- Power User Search Tips and Tricks
The Web is a window to a world of wonder and wisdom. But as the amount of online information grows, finding what you want in search engines is getting harder. A casual search for a keyword or phrase can produce millions of hits, but they are not always ordered by relevance. On the other hand, search engines can quickly tell you things that you wouldn’t expect a search engine to know. Here are some tips to get more out of search engines, or less if that’s what you need…
- Geekly Update - 21 September 2022
Are those repetitive radio signals from deep space actually coming from Nigerian scammers? Was your investment portfolio auctioned off due to an astonishing data protection failure? And will new tech from T-Mobile put Smokey the Bear on the unemployment line? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!
- Faster and Safer Internet? Here's How...
Today’s topic might sound geeky, but I promise I'll explain it all in plain English and show you how to make your Internet usage both faster and safer, for adults and curious kids. In the past, I have recommended using alternative DNS as a means to a faster and more reliable Web browsing experience. But faster Web surfing isn't the only benefit of switching your DNS servers. Read on...
- 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…
- 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...
- 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…
- 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...
- 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...
- Geekly Update - 15 September 2022
How soon will a super-intelligent AI wipe out humanity? Will astronauts on space horses survive the apocalypse? And what's the best way to prevent hackers from stealing your PIN code at an ATM machine? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!
- 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...
- [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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 4 Mar 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- The Top Twenty (Posted: 4 Mar 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved