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 Google tracking practices, deleting old accounts, switching to the Fire tablet and more.
Do you have a question you'd like to ask me?
Throw Google off your scent
Q: I go places with the guys that I don’t want my wife to know. I heard that Google still tracks you even if you turn off location services – and this means my wife knows. Is there anything I can do?
A: If you're frequenting establishments that are embarrassing, you might want to think about the company you keep – just saying. Still, many people are rightfully concerned about the constant tracking of our devices and lives.
After all, why does the tech giant have a right to document our movements and keep that data forever, and how could this possibly benefit the average consumer? Google has lots of explanations, but if you’re concerned about the tracking that your device performs, you can switch this feature off whenever you want.
You’ll probably have to since most phones track your movements by default. Tap or click here to stop your phone from being tracked with these settings.
Scrub old accounts
Q: I used to have some risqué accounts online. I can’t remember all the sites, though. With tweens now, how can I erase my past?
A: When you're single, you can be as wild as you want. Then you get married, and you have to show restraint. Young children? Watch what you say. Tweens? All of a sudden, your past words and actions can have ugly repercussions, and those crazy things you did in college sound inadvisable.
Parents are always trying to sanitize their younger selves to set a good example for their children. But the internet makes this process much more difficult because search histories and old accounts can resurface.
Switching to Fire
Q: I switched from an iPad to a Fire. Any tips on using it? I find the iPad a lot easier.
A: This has become a classic problem: iPads are handy and easy to use, but they're expensive and closely tied to the "Apple ecosystem."
Fire tablets are inexpensive and linked to Amazon – and really, who doesn't have an Amazon account? They don't have the cachet of an iPad, and they're a little harder to figure out. Since you've already made the transition, the only way is forward, and you'll be happy to know that Fire can be a lot of fun to use, after a little practice.
Fire has a good number of tricks, shortcuts and special features that may make you grateful you tried something new.
Q: Do you have any podcasts? I’d love to listen while I am doing my steps.
A: I'm so glad you asked because I do have podcasts. Understand, I have loved being a national radio host for years now, but podcasts do afford a level of freedom that radio doesn't.
You'll get to hear segments and stories about the tech world that you won’t hear anywhere else, and they are expertly produced by myself and the rest of the Komando team. Like most successful podcasts these days, mine can be downloaded or streamed from a number of sources.
You can visit the iTunes or Google Play stores (just search for "Komando," and it should be the first thing that pops up). You can also stream my podcast on Spotify or Pandora.
Finally, if you own an Amazon Echo and have it connected to any of these services, say, "Alexa, play the Komando on Demand podcast,” and she will play the most recent episode. Tap or click to browse my library of podcasts.
Protect your printer
Q: I don’t know how a printer can be hacked. Is this a myth or can a hacker really take over your printer?
A: Yes, printers can be hacked. This may not seem like a big deal to many people because most of what they print seems harmless.
As tax season approaches, more and more households will be churning out extremely personal information, and cyber-criminals are incredibly talented at taking bits of data and stealing identities – or cleaning out bank accounts.
The moment you connect your printer to Wi-Fi, it became as vulnerable as any other device in your home. Meanwhile, the lifespan of a printer is pretty short, and it's possible for a savvy hacker to dig through thrown-away hardware and download your print queue.
But your printer doesn't have to be a sitting duck, as long as you take precautions. Tap or click here to secure your printer so it can’t be hijacked,
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my 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.