Tech Q&A: Boosting Wi-Fi, finding phone numbers, picking a streaming service and more

Speed Up Wi-Fi

Q: I am so frustrated by the crappy Wi-Fi in my house. I try this and that, and nothing really works. Help me Obi-Wan Komando!

A: First off, you may have picked my next Halloween costume as “Obi-Wan Komando” is brilliant. Domestic Wi-Fi is a very common problem, so you’re in good company when it comes to bad signals inside your home. There are lots of reasons your Wi-Fi might get watered down, and many of them may surprise you. Believe it not, the architecture of your home can affect signal strength, as can other machines competing for the same frequency. Then there is the router itself, which might use a little help reaching every corner of your abode, or even need replacement. Click here for 10 ways to boost your home Wi-Fi.

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Picking a Streaming Service

Q: I am looking for a way to figure out what streaming service app or gadget would be best for me.

A: Right now we’re all living in the Wild West of streaming media, and each provider, channel, and studio is competing for our attention. You want to keep the shows you love, but you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg. You may also miss live programming, which can be a hassle – and sometimes impossible – in a strictly streaming environment. You probably won’t get 100% of everything you want, but if you spend some time untangling the advances and disadvantages of each service, you’ll probably find a satisfying middle ground. Click here for a lineup of streaming service channels.

Online Phone Directories

Q: Is there a site online that lists people’s cell phone numbers? I am looking for my son’s number who I have not seen in over eleven years.

A: To start, I hope you find your son. No matter what has kept you apart all these years, I would love to know that you two had a chance to reconcile. You can’t just run an internet search for a specific phone number and expect to learn who owns it, and you can’t search someone’s name and expect to find a number. So what can you do? There are several methods, including two comprehensive online directories and a Facebook trick that might work for you. Click here for five ways to find a cell phone number online.

Kid-Friendly Tech

Q: My grandkids are coming to stay with me during their school break. They love technology. Do you have any suggestions for tech toys that they might love?

A: I’m glad you asked because there are so many parents and grandparents who will stick kids in front of a game console and leave them there until supper’s ready. There is always the kid-oriented tablet, but you can also invest in toy robots, a teddy bear speaker, and even a remote control helicopter. These gizmos don’t just light up and make sounds; they’re designed to be very interactive. Most have an educational component and encourage creativity in young users. My general rule is that it’s usually not a matter of the toy you buy but how you choose to use it. Click here for seven tech toys to keep kids occupied during school break.

SSN Pitfalls

Q: I keep hearing how I need to protect my social security number, but I don’t understand how a thief can use mine. Is it just to steal my identity?

A: Keep in mind that social security numbers may become irrelevant in a few years. The Equifax breach exposed 145 million of such numbers, and there are rumors that the government will replace those nine digits with something a little more secure. But at the moment, a stolen social security number is still vital, and an identity thief can cause a lot of damage. Opening bank accounts and credit cards in your name can be very confusing, and it can wreak havoc on your credit score. In the most nightmarish situation, criminals could commit crimes in your name, both implicating you and distancing themselves from the malfeasance. Click here for five ways a thief can use your social security number.

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.

Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

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.