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Tech Q&A: Advertiser tracking, saving printer ink, gadget space and more

File photo. Canon's logos are pictured on printer ink packages displayed at an electronics retail store in Tokyo.

File photo. Canon's logos are pictured on printer ink packages displayed at an electronics retail store in Tokyo.  (REUTERS/Yuya Shino )

How to stop advertisers from tracking your phone

Q. When I'm using the Internet on my phone, the same ads follow me from site to site. How can I make it stop?

A. Smartphones work a little differently than computers when it comes to tracking. Fortunately, this makes it easier to stop. On iPhone, go to Settings>>Privacy and scroll down to Advertising. Turn "Limit ad tracking" to On (you want to see green). In Android, go to your Google Settings app (not your usual Android settings) and tap the Ads link. Then tap, "Opt out of interest-based ads." Of course, there are other tricks you can use to throw off advertisers, and cell companies are using new tricks that aren't so easy to beat. Click here for everything you need to know about mobile advertising. Also, if you're worried about advertisers tracking your physical location, keep reading to question No. 5 below.

Surprising way to use less printer ink

Q. I'm fed up with how often I have to change my printer's ink cartridge; it's so expensive. My husband claims that printing with a different font will help, but I'm not sure how that would work. Is there any truth to that, or is he just pulling my leg? I never can tell.

A. The font type and font size can affect how much ink you're using; smaller, thinner fonts use less ink, but they might be harder to read. There are special ink-saving fonts like EcoFont, which is dotted with small holes so it uses up to 25 percent less ink to print, but is still legible. Of course, picking a different font isn't the only way to save ink. It won't help with ink-wasting images and ads when printing webpages, or that annoying extra page with almost nothing on it. Click here for ways to deal with those problems and more to save big bucks on printer ink.

Boost space on your gadget

Q. Help! I bought a 16 gigabyte iPhone thinking it would be enough space, but with a few apps, photos and just part of my music collection it's completely full. I signed a two-year contract, so it's a while before I can upgrade. What can I do in the meantime?

A. There are ways to better manage the space. Find out how much space individual apps are using in Settings>>General>>Usage>>Manage Storage and delete the largest ones you don't use. Transfer your photos to your computer or an online photo site and then delete the ones you don't need on your phone. Sign up for the $25-a-year iTunes Match so you can stream your music to your gadget instead of filling up the drive. Click here for more options for freeing up space on an iPhone or iPad. And for all the Android users out there, here are similar tricks that work to free up space on Android smartphones and tablets.  

Fix an unstable computer

Q. My Windows computer keeps crashing and I'm ready to throw it off my balcony! Is there a way to fix it, or should I just toss it and get a new one? Help, Kim!

A. Assuming it isn't a hardware problem, you can track down the program or system that's causing the problem using a free program called Process Explorer. Look for a process that's hogging too much memory. You can disable it and see if your problems stop. If your computer becomes stable, uninstall or upgrade the problem program and you're done. Of course, there might be a bit more to tracking down the trouble. Click here for more detailed instructions on tracking down why a computer is unstable and fixing it for good.

Cell providers and hackers can track you anywhere

Q. I'm kind of paranoid about people tracking where I go. If I turn off my phone's GPS, is that good enough?

A. No. Cell providers and advertisers can still track you even without GPS. It's a simple matter of seeing which cell towers your phone connects to. With some fancy triangulation, they can pinpoint your location to within a block. You can get a demonstration using your own phone here. Of course, that's not the only way to track. Researchers have found that even if you never post your location on Facebook or Twitter, it's likely your friends do and can give away the city or neighborhood where you live or work. Click here to learn more about this scary research.

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.