Tech

Tech Q&A: Low airfares, online banking, Amazon shopping tricks, and more

Two freshly delivered Amazon boxes are seen on a counter in Golden, Colorado August 27, 2014. With people increasingly accessing the Internet from smartphones and tablets, online companies ranging from social networks such as Facebook Inc to e-commerce companies like Amazon.com Inc have been investing heavily to develop their mobile platforms.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TELECOMS) - RTR44130

Two freshly delivered Amazon boxes are seen on a counter in Golden, Colorado August 27, 2014. With people increasingly accessing the Internet from smartphones and tablets, online companies ranging from social networks such as Facebook Inc to e-commerce companies like Amazon.com Inc have been investing heavily to develop their mobile platforms. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TELECOMS) - RTR44130  (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Get the lowest airfare

Q. I want to use up some vacation time soon, but I don't want to spend a bundle on plane tickets. Do you have any advice?

A. Buy on the right day. You'll often see the best deals late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. You can also save big if you fly in the middle of the week, early in the morning or later at night. Of course, it helps to find tickets and buy only through the right sites. Click here for the sites I recommend along with more money-saving advice.

Safe online banking

Q. After hearing about the JPMorgan Chase hack, I'm kind of paranoid about banking online. Am I just being silly?

A. No, a healthy dose of caution about doing anything online is a good thing. You just need to channel it into productive security measures. When you bank online, do it at home on a computer, network and gadget you know are secure. In situations where you have to bank on the go, use your bank's app on a smartphone or tablet over a cellular – not a Wi-fi– connection. Here are four more steps you need to take for secure online banking.

Amazon shopping tricks

Q. I went on Amazon to buy a gift, but it was out of stock. I don't want to keep checking back every day. Is there an easier way to know when it's available again?

A. Go back to the item page, and next to the product's title click the "Email me" button. When it is back in stock, you'll get an email. Simple! On the topic of Amazon, click here to learn how to know when prices drop, where your shipments are, how to make extra money while shopping and more.

Speed up an old PC

Q. My PC is beyond major league slow. Is there a trick to speeding it up or should I get a new one?

A. If your computer is more than 4 years old, consider getting a new one. But first, you can try speeding up the one you have. Use a program like Autoruns to weed out unneeded startup programs. This will help your system boot faster and run a bit smoother. See if your hard drive is full and what is filling it up with a program like WinDirStat. You can move large files to an external drive or delete them. Click here for more tips to speed up a slow computer.

Lock down Facebook

Q. I'm getting back on Facebook after being away for a year. I'm getting used to the new look, but I'm not sure what to make of the changes to the privacy settings. I don't want to change the wrong thing. What do I need to do?  

A. Start with the most important setting. Log in to Facebook and in the upper-right corner click the padlock icon. Click "Who can see my stuff?" and then set "Who can see my future posts?" to "Friends." That will cover everything you post in the future. You can also use the "View As" link two items down to see what your profile looks like to the public. That way you can see what isn't private and change it. Of course, Facebook has plenty more privacy settings you'll want to tweak as well. Click here for a walkthrough of every setting and what each one does.

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On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.