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 most difficult part of my job.
This week, I received questions about harvesting Windows 10 data, detecting viruses in iPhones, whether or not Kodi boxes are legitimate, and more. Do you have a question you'd like to ask me? Click here to email me directly.
Are Kodi boxes legit?
Q: What do you think of the Kodi boxes? I’m thinking about getting one to watch the latest movies at home.
A: The technology is pretty impressive, and the software and box itself are perfectly legal. But beware of anything added to it that claims to offer unlimited and free movies, music and games. Those are likely pirated streams and illegal. Remember, anything you do online leaves a trace. It doesn’t take much for authorities and ISPs to figure out who is watching illegal streams. Click here to learn more about how the Kodi boxes work and the problems with using one.
Detecting iPhone viruses
Q: My iPhone has started doing crazy weird things. Do you think it could be a virus?
A: Apple products used to feel pretty impregnable, but they’ve become more vulnerable to tampering in recent years. If you notice something amiss about your phone’s regular operations, you should definitely check for viruses. Your biggest concern will probably be spyware, which can turn your phone into a surveillance system on steroids. Click here to get the facts about how to tell if your iPhone or iPad has a virus.
Block your phone number
Q: Is there a way to not give out my cellphone number when I make a call? I find it so very intrusive.
A: Remember when our phone numbers and street addresses were printed in a book and distributed for free to everyone in our community? Those days are long over. In fact, you’re wise not to hand out your phone number to anyone you don’t know well. These numbers are often used for online security, so your digits may help savvy hackers break into your accounts. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to temporarily block your number when you call someone you don’t fully trust. Click here to learn the "private number" trick.
Unusual culinary doodads
Q: My wife loves to cook. Any gift ideas? Her birthday is coming up soon!
A: Your question reminds me of one of my favorite internet memes: A few years ago, the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer became famous on Amazon.com. The fame didn’t come from the apparatus itself, which was basically just a slatted piece of plastic in the shape of a banana, but from the customer comments. To date, the Hutzler 571 has more than 5,600 reviews and more than 650 questions answered, and most of them are hilarious. (Example: "This banana slicer worked great as an earrings holder. It also can be used for pedicures and defeating muggers in NYC.") I bring this up because there are a lot of great, weird, and unexpectedly useful cooking implements out there, and seeking out the most unusual addition to your kitchen can have you Googling all night. Click here to see five of my favorite oddball kitchen tools.
Stop Windows 10 data harvesting
Q: The IT guy at work told me that Windows 10 sends all kinds of information back to Microsoft. Is that true?
A: You’re on to something, although Windows 10 is hardly the only culprit. Many of your apps and devices record a shocking amount of information, and some companies even send your information to third-party service providers. But yes, critics say that PCs have been mining an alarming amount of “telemetry data” from their latest operating system, and a lot of users are getting anxious about it. Don’t worry, though, there are some simple ways to keep your browsing history and voice data out of reach. Click here to learn more about Windows 10 privacy settings.
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.