Security

Tech Q&A: Hide online shopping purchases during the holidays, best tablet apps for Mom

Illustration photo.

Illustration photo.  (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Hide online shopping purchases during the holidays

Q: It’s hard to have secrets. How do I stop Amazon from showing what I purchased? No Christmas surprises here!

A: Amazon will not completely delete your order history, but you can archive individual orders. Casual snoops will have a harder time seeing what you have purchased. From your account settings, go to Your Orders. Select the item you wish to hide and select Archive order. But you need to do more to keep your gifts a surprise. Click here to learn how to make Google and Facebook keep quiet.

Keep safe walking alone

Q: My daughter has to walk to her college classes at night. What were the names of the safety apps you recommended to a caller on your national radio show?

A: When walking alone, use the Companion app (Apple, Android; Free). You start by entering your destination. Next, add friends or family members as your companions. Companions receive a text with a link to an online map showing your destination. The map refreshes as you move. When you arrive safely, your companions receive a message. If you go off course, fall, start running or suddenly remove your headphones, the app asks if you're all right. If you don't push the “I’m Okay” button, the app sounds an alarm and gives you the option to contact the police. Click here for two additional ways your phone can help you get home safely.

Find out if your router has been hacked

Q: You were talking about the importance of changing your router’s password during an interview on my local station. Is there a way to see if my router has been hacked?

A: Absolutely. As you heard, routers are your Achilles’ heel. You can protect your laptop and individual accounts, but few people think to protect their routers. Most Internet users have never heard of a “DNS hijack,” so they don’t know how to protect themselves from it. This is one method hackers use to steal your passwords, your identity, and even the money from your bank account. Click here to find out how to check whether your router’s been compromised.

Best tablet apps for Mom

Q: I purchased my mother a tablet for Christmas. Taking your advice, I would like to set it up for her before I give it to her. Are there any specific apps that I should load on the tablet?

A: What a coincidence! I recently bought a tablet for my mother, too. Most tablets are simple and easy to use, which makes them appealing to people of all ages. But if your mother is new to tablets, the sheer number of apps can be daunting. Most of them are cheap or even free, and a rookie may struggle to wade through all the options. The right app will depend on your mother’s taste, but most people are drawn to organizational tools, simple games, and apps for your camera. Click here for five apps I put on my mother’s tablet.

Broadcast using Facebook Live

Q: I am seeing Facebook Live posts all the time. I am a pastor at a small church. Can I do this too?

A: I’ve worked in radio and television for a long time, and I’m accustomed to top-notch engineers and equipment. But I’m always impressed what kinds of video people can produce with a smartphone and a $10 Lavalier mic. I live-stream parts of my own radio show, and my audience loves it. If you’re a pastor, you probably already have the most important elements: an audience, a good message, and a Facebook account. Still, to make your live video feed as effective as possible, you should know some studio basics. Click here to find out how to broadcast like a pro on Facebook Live.

For more answers about living the best digital life, click here to find your local radio station that broadcasts my show. You can also listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology 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