Q&A: How can I block strangers from messaging me on Facebook?

facebook-logoQuestion from Hanna C:  I used to have my Facebook settings configured to block people who aren’t my friends from sending me messages, but somehow that has got changed and I’ve started getting messages from people I don’t know.

I can’t figure out how to find that setting anymore. Can you tell me where it is?

Rick’s answer:  [Continue Reading]

Q&A: Can I transfer files between two computers using a USB cable?

usb-bridge-cableQuestion from Pauline N.:  I’m planning to buy a new laptop and let my daughter have my old one to take with her to college next month. I need a simple way to move my files over to the new laptop.

Can I connect the two laptops together with a USB cable and use it to transfer my files from the old laptop to the new one? It seems like that should be a lot easier than using blank DVDs.

Rick’s answer:  [Continue Reading]

How to enable Two Factor Authentication on your Twitter account

twitter-logoIt seems like there’s a cell phone in virtually every pocket these days, and having one in yours makes it easy to lock down access to many of your online accounts using a method known as Two Factor Authentication.

The concept behind two factor authentication is simple. After successfully entering your username and password as usual, you must also enter an authentication code that is sent directly to your cell phone either by SMS text message or a voice message (depending on the service).

This additional layer of security makes it extremely difficult for a hacker to break into your account without having physical access to your mobile phone. [Continue Reading]

5 reasons why I prefer LED light bulbs over Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs

led-bulb-geAs you probably know by now, incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in the U.S., and when they are gone, they’ll be gone for good.

That leaves us all facing a decision going forward: Do we replace our bad incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs or Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs?

Both of these new types of bulbs are vastly more energy efficient than the incandescent bulbs they were designed to replace, but deciding which type to buy can be confusing. Hopefully, this post will help clear up the confusion a bit.

Although I can’t tell you which type of bulb you would like best, I can tell you that I personally prefer LED bulbs over CFLs for the following reasons: [Continue Reading]

Q&A: Which version of Linux should I replace Windows with?

ubuntu-logoQuestion from Ed G.:  I have a Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 laptop that came with Windows 7 pre-installed. The hard drive died and I had to replace it, but now I can’t find the restore discs that I created when I first set up the PC.

I went to the Lenovo website to order a set of restore discs, but they want an arm and a leg for them and I simply refuse to pay that much for something that should have come with the computer to start with.

Everyone I talk to says that Linux is the best operating system to install in lieu of Windows, but there are so many versions to choose from that trying to pick one is about to make my head explode! Which Linux version do you recommend for a system that was running Windows previously? Thanks for your help.

Rick’s answer:  [Continue Reading]

Caution: 95% of Android phones can be hacked simply by sending them a text message!

android-malwareMobile security firm Zimperium zLabs has discovered a flaw in Android that potentially leaves up to 1 billion Android phones susceptible to being hacked simply by receiving a malicious text message.

And guess what? You don’t even have to open the message in order for a hacker to gain access to your phone!

Dubbed “Stagefright”, this super-bug is being referred to in the security industry as the largest potential security threat in history. [Continue Reading]

Q&A: Can you recommend a cheap motherboard for my HP Pavilion Slimline s5680d PC?

syba-usb-stereo-audio-adadpterQuestion from Trevor H.:  The integrated sound has gone out on my HP Pavilion Slimline s5680d desktop computer’s motherboard (model # MSI MS-7613).

Can you recommend a cheap replacement motherboard that’ll fit inside this computer’s case and work with its power supply?

I know you’re probably thinking I’d be better off just buying a new computer, and I know you’re probably right. But I really like this one. I just can’t use it without sound. I’d buy a sound card for it but all the slots are full.

Rick’s answer:  [Continue Reading]

How to disable automatic app updates on your Android device

google-play-logoIf you have an Android phone or tablet, you can choose to have updates for your apps installed automatically as they become available. This is the default setting on most devices.

Auto-Updates are fine if you are comfortable with accepting every app’s “permissions” and you are almost always in a place where there’s a strong cellular or Wi-Fi signal available.

But if you prefer to review the permissions before allowing your apps to update or if you are often in places with weak signal coverage, you’d probably be better off setting Auto-Updates to “Off”. Here’s how: [Continue Reading]