Computers

Tech Q&A: Avoiding charges, finding free alternatives to Word

Illustration picture. (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Illustration picture. (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Watch out for these charges on your bank statement

Q. My latest bank statement has a charge from "Google *PlayStore GOOGLE.COM - CH/CA." What is that?

A. That's the format of payments made through Google Payment (formerly Google Checkout). If you don't use Google Payments, it's possible someone got hold of your credit card information and added it to their Google Payments account. You'll need to contact your bank to dispute the charges and get a new credit card. Learn more about this type of fraud, and why it's important to carefully check your bank statement.

Easy access to hidden Windows settings

Q. I heard you mention a "GodMode" folder for Windows on your national radio show. What does it do and how can I get it?

A. The GodMode folder puts tons of common and hard-to-find Windows settings in one place. To get it, create a folder on your desktop and give it the name GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} Find out four more hidden secrets of Windows folders.

How to clean your screen

Q. My smartphone screen is seriously gross. What's the right way to clean it?

A. Get a microfiber cloth and wipe it down. Most dirt and debris will just wipe away, but for more stubborn smudges and fingerprints, lightly dampen the cloth with distilled water. Some people mix the water in a 1-to-1 ratio with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol for a deeper clean. Learn more about cleaning your smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs and more both inside and out.

Get your business off the ground

Q. I'm getting started in interior design, and I'm not sure how to get business. Any suggestions?

A. The first step is to create a website that shows off your skills and market it through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also try a site called Homepolish. It gives you the freedom of being an independent contractor, but you get access to Homepolish's network of clients, support and advice. Learn more about Homepolish, plus other sites that can help massage therapists, dog sitters, aspiring butlers and more.

A free alternative to Microsoft Office

Q. I need a writing program, but I don't have enough money to buy Word. What else is there?

A. There's a free alternative to Microsoft Office called LibreOffice. It has Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint) and more. It has most of the features of Office and can open and save files in Office formats. Google Docs is another good option. Download LibreOffice now and see how it works for you.

Bonus: Look before you leap

Q. I'm thinking of taking a job in tech support, but I hear a lot of horror stories. Should I reconsider?

A. A tech support job is just like any other customer service position. It can be rewarding or frustrating, depending on the customer and how you approach it. On the other hand, you can be guaranteed to get some good stories out of it. Laugh along with these funny tech support stories that actually happened.

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.