Hackers watch through cameras
Q. My son gave me a wireless indoor security camera so I can keep an eye on my dogs while at work. I heard you talking on your national radio show about hackers who spy using these cameras. How can I make sure no one sees my cameras?
A. It’s not very difficult to spy on people through Internet-connected wireless cameras because people don’t do one simple thing. That is, they don’t change the camera’s default or built-in password. An online search yields the default password for most camera makes and models. In case you’re wondering about your webcam, the same issue exists. Click here for the steps you need to take to make sure your wireless camera and webcam are locked down.
Block harassing calls and texts
Q. My ex is calling and texting me nonstop begging for my forgiveness. I don’t want to change my number. Help!
A. Fortunately, most smartphones have a fix for this annoyance. In iOS, just tap a person's name in the Phone app, Contact app or Messages app and then tap the Block Contact button. In Android, open your Phone app and go to Settings>>Call>>Call Rejection>>Auto Reject List>>Create. Put in the person's name and their calls and texts won't go through. For Windows Phone, go to Settings and tap call+SMS filter. Tap "Accept" and then switch blocking to "On." Next, go to your call history and tap and hold the number you want to block, and tap "block number." If your phone doesn't have blocking,click here for details on how to block your ex through your carrier or using the right app.
Erase data for good
Q. I'm selling my old iPhone online. When I got rid of my old computer a while back, I followed your advice and wiped all my personal information off of it. Do I have to do the same thing for an iPhone?
A. Any gadget you sell or get rid of needs to be wiped so the next owner doesn't stumble on any sensitive personal information. Fortunately, wiping an iPhone is simple. Just go to Settings>>General>>Reset and select "Erase All Content and Settings." Tap the red button and wait for it to finish. I suggest doing this after you've set up your new phone and made sure everything is working the way you want. Click here for complete directions to wipe Android or Windows Phone gadgets, or a PC or Mac computer.
A second computer monitor without the monitor
Q. For my new business, I like to keep open and visible my calendar, email, browser, and Photoshop on my screen. My desk is really too small for a second monitor. Any ideas?
A. I'm a big fan of dual monitors for working; it truly can make you more productive. Before you spend the money, though, try using your iPad or Android tablet as a second monitor. It just might fit the bill for your small work area. Load up the iDisplay program and app, put your tablet on a stand and – bingo! – you have a second monitor. Click here for four more innovative tablet uses, including a remote mouse, reader and making your car smarter.
Avoid a fire with your phone
Q. My girlfriend keeps claiming that leaving my phone plugged in overnight means it can catch fire and burn down the house. Can you tell her she's wrong so she'll stop nagging me about it?
A. Tell her you love her and then tell her I said that leaving your phone plugged in overnight won't start a fire. Modern gadgets know when the battery is full and stop it from overheating. As long as you're using a manufacturer-approved charger and battery and aren't putting the phone under your pillow or sheets where it can't get air to cool down, you'll be fine. Of course, charging overnight does have another drawback. Click here to find out what it is and the real scoop on four other battery myths you probably believe.
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.