4 computer upgrades that I strongly recommend (and 3 you should skip)

sandisk-256-gb-ssdThere was a time when most any upgrade you could make to a computer would pay great dividends in increased speed and/or enhanced capabilities.

But times have changed, and some once-popular upgrades that were no-brainers back in the day no longer provide enough “bang for the buck” to make them worthwhile.

With that in mind, here are three computer upgrades that I can no longer recommend: [Continue Reading]

Q&A: Should the lights on my cable modem blink all the time?

cable-modemQuestion from Tina P.: I’ve often noticed that the lights on my cable modem are blinking more or less constantly, even when I’m not using a web browser or checking my email. Is this normal or should I be worried?

Rick’s answer: Tina, there is always data being passed between your computer and the Internet any time you have a live connection established, so yes, it is normal to see the data lights on your modem flashing pretty much all the time.

Your ISP is responsible for much of the data being sent back and forth because they love to “check in” to see if your connection is healthy along with other mundane housekeeping tasks. [Continue Reading]

Scam alert: How to quickly identify fraudulent emails

As you probably know, scammers and hackers have been using fraudulent emails to practice their illicit trade ever since the invention of email itself.

Unfortunately, government regulations and cyber-security measures have done little to prevent malicious emails from making their way into our inboxes. And the problem always gets worse during the holiday season.

Even worse, many scammers and hackers are now very good at creating fake emails that are difficult to distinguish from the real emails we receive from banks, PayPal and other online services on a daily basis. And as a result, more people are falling victim to scammers every day.

But there’s also good news: It’s fairly easy to tell most fake emails from the real ones if you know what to look for. Here are a few tips: [Continue Reading]

Have Amazon text you when your order has shipped or been delivered

If you shop at Amazon you’re probably familiar with the emails they send letting their customers know when an order has shipped. But did you know you can have them text you as well?

Simply sign up for “Shipment Updates via Text” and Amazon will send you a standard SMS text message when your package has been shipped and you’ll receive another text when it has been delivered.

You will also receive a text message if a problem arises with your shipment (an unexpected delay for example). [Continue Reading]

Q&A: How can I switch my default search engine from Yahoo to Google in Chrome?

google-logoQuestion from Mona C.:  Hi Rick! My son came to visit me for the weekend and he borrowed my computer while he was here.

After he left I noticed that the default search engine in my Chrome browser had been changed from Google to Yahoo.

I really prefer Google so I’d appreciate it a bunch if you can tell me how to switch it back!

Rick’s answer:  I prefer Google over Yahoo as well Mona, so I can understand why you’d like to make it the default search engine once more. Here’s how:  [Continue Reading]

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