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Tech Q&A: Dealing with Facebook blowhards

Illustration photo.

Illustration photo.  (REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

Facebook blowhards

Q: My brother-in-law is a blowhard. How can I stop seeing his rants on Facebook without him knowing?

A: Most of us are “friends” with someone on social media, even though we don’t particularly like each other. This relationship gets even stickier when we’re talking about extended family members. You’re weary of the ugly tirades and memes, and you don’t necessarily want those people knowing all your personal business. Maybe you don’t trust them with your photo albums and work information. The simplest solution is to unfriend this person, but doing so may lead to even more problems down the line. So how can you keep these people at arm’s length without them knowing? There’s an easy way. Click here to learn about your “restricted list.”

Keep your browsing private

Q: My wife picks up my iPad all the time. I don’t want her to see all the sites I visit, if you get my drift. What can I do about this?

A: For many of us, browsing the internet is a sacred act. Our research leads to strange places, and only when someone else gets ahold of our computer do we think, “How am I going to explain my search history?” Some people just want to buy a gift for a loved one and want to keep it secret. Other times, folks are just interested in unusual pastimes, and the rest of the family isn’t ready to accept that. Either way, you’ll want to know how to keep your privacy. Click here to learn about a special setting for different browsers.

Home surveillance with a regular computer

Q: I’d like to watch my house when I am not there. My laptop has a webcam. Can I use it?

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A: The short answer is yes. But before we get into that, a word of caution. If you’re really worried about a break-in, you don’t want to cheap out on home security. There are economical ways to protect your home, including video surveillance systems you can check while you’re away. But if there’s been a rash of burglaries in your neighborhood, consider a professional installation. That said, if you’re just curious about what goes on while you’re away, you can absolutely use your laptop to monitor the homefront. Click here to learn how to turn your webcam into a surveillance camera.

New tech toys for your dog

Q: I love my dog. I love tech. What can I give my dog that brings him into the digital age?

A: Companies have been selling hardware for pets for many years. Whether it’s a traceable microchip for locating Fido’s position or an “invisible fence” that prevents your pet from leaving the yard, lots of devices help keep your beloved animal safe and happy. But smart gadgets are gaining popularity as well, and now there are lots of ways to integrate technology into your pup’s daily life. Unlike those chips and fences, this tech is much more fun, helping to train, educate and entertain your dog. Since dogs love to get outside, a couple of these tools can be taken with you wherever you go. Click here for the three best gadgets for your dog.

Shooting better Instagram pics

Q: Everyone on Instagram takes great photos. Mine stink! Any pointers?

A: The nice thing about digital photos is that you can take thousands of them and see the results instantly, which makes trial-and-error a lot more efficient. If your smartphone serves as your primary camera, you actually have a lot of sophisticated tools at your fingertips. What’s more, many professional photographers insist that the point-and-shoot camera on your phone is good enough for 90 percent of landscapes and portraits. So how do you up your game? Click here for special iPhone photo tricks. Or click here for special Android tricks. 

What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can 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.

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

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