Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products and all things digital.
Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job. This week, I received questions about coronavirus news on Twitter, making money on Spotify, finding free copies of Microsoft Office and more.
Do you have a question you'd like to ask me? I’m here for you.
Coronavirus Twitter facts
Q: What Twitter accounts should I follow for solid news about the coronavirus? I am seeing conspiracy theories and fake news that I’d like to avoid.
A: I’m glad you asked this question because there are more conspiracy theories and fake news stories floating around Twitter than anyone could count or catalog, and false information could be extremely dangerous — or even fatal. Most of us know memes can’t be trusted, but how do you wade through the real-sounding headlines from equally real-sounding sources?
The most dependable Twitter accounts to follow include media outlets like FoxNews and government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost every reporter covering the coronavirus is turning to entities like the World Health Organization for information. And if you want your advice and updates undiluted, those are the best places to start. Tap or click here for reliable coronavirus news on Twitter.
Get free tech support
Q: I need help getting things working from home. I’d call a company to come help me but we’re in shutdown. How else can I get the help I need?
A: Many of you are handling issues that you never had to deal with before. You can Google anything; it’s just that you never know if the search results are legit. That’s why I am giving anyone who needs tech help a free 90-day trial to my Komando Community.
Whether it’s an issue you’re having trouble with working remotely or trying to figure something out, you can leave questions on our Community forum for myself and a team of experts to answer. You’ll also be able to listen to my most recent national radio show and have access to the past three months of shows. Once your free trial expires, the service costs $4.99 per month. Tap or click here to get your free 90-day trial. Use discount code Kim when setting up your profile.
Get Office free
Q: I am now working from home and need Microsoft Office. Is there a way to get it for free? It’s so expensive.
A: Yes, a lot of us will be working from home for the time being and we’re accustomed to using an office computer. But we may lack certain necessities, like Microsoft Office. The vast majority of people will buy Office for the regular price, which can be an unpleasant sudden out-of-pocket expense.
Others may turn to free services like Google Suite, which offer rough approximations to Office and are extremely compatible. If you absolutely must have Office and can’t afford it, there are ways around the expense. Being a student can radically reduce the cost and using the Microsoft Office website can provide a lot of tools for free. Tap or click here for all the ways you can get Microsoft Office for free.
Sell used tech
Q: Since I am home because of the pandemic, I started cleaning up the garage. I found a bunch of old computers and games. Are they worth money?
A: You may be in luck. Devices go through stages: First, they sell well, then they become outmoded and irrelevant, and eventually they become collector’s items. The value of these old gadgets can seem pretty arbitrary. Few are clamoring for the Blackberries that were such a status symbol in the early 2000s and old laser disc players may remain forever unwanted, except by the most eccentric collectors.
But certain video game consoles, iPods and even Commodore 64s can command a great deal of money, depending on their condition. Naturally, you’re going to get a lot more money if the device is mint or in its original packaging, and a broken device may not be worth much at all. If you have the right gear and find the right buyer, you might hit the jackpot. Tap or click here for eight old tech items worth lots of money.
Q: We’re streaming a lot of music at home now. Who makes the most money in music streaming? My wife says it’s Taylor Swift. I say it’s Justin Bieber. Help me settle a bet, Kim Komando!
A: The short answer is you probably won the bet. The last I checked, Justin Bieber was the best-selling artist on Spotify. That changes, of course, as all music charts do. But this also raises an interesting point. The streaming industry is more profitable than ever for successful music professionals, and they can stand to make a lot of money on this kind of subscription-based listening.
In the past, artists relied on the purchase of mp3s, the service that iTunes made particularly famous, but this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Once an album or single starts attracting attention on a service like Spotify or Pandora, a few hundred thousand listens add up. Wondering how much it all adds up to? Tap or click here to see how much artists make on Spotify.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim's national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim's 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.