Tech Q&A: Online airline tickets, Facebook threats, and more

Best day to buy cheap airline tickets online

Q. I am planning our next visit to see my parents. Is there a specific day when airline fares are the lowest online?

A. Airlines often announce deals on Monday evenings, and by Tuesday at noon other airlines are scrambling to match those deals. So many people think Tuesday afternoons are the best time to hunt for reduced airfare. But Texas A&M University crunched the numbers and found that weekends are actually the best time to book airline tickets, because airlines are more likely to lower their fares on Saturday and Sunday to attract leisure travelers. The study found that tickets purchased on the weekend were historically an average of 5 percent cheaper than similar tickets purchased during the week.

Of course, that was only to places with mixed business and leisure settings. Leisure-only destinations, like Las Vegas, don't change much through the week. So, what should you do? If you see one airline offering a deal on Monday, make plans to buy your tickets on Tuesday. If there are no deals going on, buy on the weekend.

But there’s much more to buying tickets online. To learn the best days to fly, how early to book and which sites to use to truly get the lowest airfare online, click here for the details.

Personal threats on Facebook

Q. If someone I know personally makes repeated direct threats of violence at me using Facebook emails, is that a crime? What can be done about it?

A. Government and law enforcement are still grappling with how to handle threats made on social media. With online bullying and other threats becoming common, even the Supreme Court is in the middle of this. The Court will hear Elonis v. United States this fall to determine if threats made on Facebook should result in criminal punishment.

Right now, it largely depends on how your local law enforcement chooses to handle the situation. No matter what, though, if you truly feel threatened, report it to the police. Speak with someone who covers cybersecurity. A police report can be a first step to getting a restraining order, which can cover online activity.

Ask the police what they think is best for you based on the threats you can show them. It may or may not be a good idea to block or unfriend the person on Facebook. You can also file a complaint with the FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Online fundraising for medical bills

Q. I have heard you talk about crowdfunding on your national radio show. My question is a little different. My wife and I are looking for ways to help us cover our costs for fertility treatments, specifically embryo donation. Our insurance will not cover these costs due to a pre-condition. Is there a way to help raise the funds online to help with the expenses of embryo transfer?

A. Crowdfunding is a major way people raise money for all sorts of different causes. For medical fundraising, try sites like GoFundMe, YouCaring, Indiegogo and GiveForward.

When crowdfunding, remember to share your story in a personable and hopeful way. People want to give to campaigns they feel emotionally involved in, so give them something they can connect with. Be sure to post photos and/or videos to the site to make you feel more real to online donors.

You also want to explain your goals. Donors like to give to campaigns they think will succeed, so let them know you've done your homework. You don't have to be specific about every single procedure, but you should provide a cost breakdown so they know where their money is going.

Explaining the Cloud

Q. Everyone says it, but I don’t know what it really means. I have settings for it on my iPhone and Kindle. Can you PLEASE explain The Cloud to this 42-year-old teacher?

A. Basically, "the cloud" is another name for the Internet. When you're talking about storing your files or other information "in the cloud," you're really storing them on a company's servers and accessing them over the Internet. The benefit of the cloud is that you can access your files with any gadget, and you aren't filling up your computer, smartphone or tablet's storage space.

Big names like Apple, Google, Amazon, Dropbox and Microsoft all have cloud storage services you can use to hold your files. Apple and Amazon, for example, give you 5 gigabytes of storage for free. 5GB is a decent amount of space. You can store an average of 325,000 Word docs, 5,000 music files or 6,000 images. If you want more space, you can buy it for a fee.

Which smart watch should you buy?

Q. I currently have an Android phone and would like to buy a smart watch that is compatible. I'm thinking about the Gear 2. Which is the best one to buy, or should I wait for a newer, bigger and better model coming out in the fall?

A. Samsung's Gear Live ($199.99) is a better choice than the Gear 2 because it runs on Google's new Android Wear operating system, which syncs with Android phones (Android 4.3 or later). The Samsung Gear 2 runs Samsung's own OS, so it doesn't have the same phone or app support.

Another option is the LG G Watch, which also runs Android Wear and has gotten good reviews across the board. Motorola will also be releasing the Moto 360 later this summer (no exact date), which is another option.

You might consider waiting for the Apple "iWatch." It is rumored to be coming out in October and could be a game changer, like other Apple products.

Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast, watch the show or find the station nearest you, visit: To subscribe to Kim's free email newsletters, sign-up at: