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 Facebook tracking, Windows hacks, DNA home kits and more.
Do you have a question you'd like to ask me?
Stop Facebook’s ad tracking
Q: Facebook’s tracking me; I get that. But I hate that they are selling my data and ads are following me all around the web. How do I turn off Facebook’s ad tracking?
A: I have been vocal in my criticism of Facebook, both as company and platform, and its policy of gathering data on users has irked me since the beginning.
At the same time, Facebook states its intentions in black and white, even if that caveat is buried in the legalese of its terms and conditions. As you suggest, you have every right to avoid those targeted ads as much as possible.
Since tech companies like Facebook rely on targeted advertising to earn massive revenues, they are quiet about how to turn it off. But with a little manipulation of your settings, you basically can.
Microsoft Windows hacks
Q: I’m a DIY type of guy. Any tips on fixing Windows performance issues?
A: Ah, Windows. Most people stick to Microsoft products because they’re familiar. Many of us tech-savvy users appreciate Windows because the operating system can be so thoroughly customized.
A DIYer like you has a nearly limitless menu of options, changing every aspect of your experience and using hidden tools. Meanwhile, each new version of Windows has its champions and critics, because the changes are usually pretty significant, and most users need some time to adapt (versus Apple, which is mostly same product with every update).
Windows also has its share of well-documented bugs, so if you're wondering how you can fix them, you'll need my handy guide.
Vetting at-home DNA tests
Q: I see all the ads for at-home DNA tests. Are they accurate?
A: This is a natural question, and DNA tests have become routine birthday gifts for the genealogically curious; even respected organizations like National Geographic have become heavily involved in these services.
This does raise questions: Does this mysterious kit actually provide accurate results? Or are is it just a gimmicky fad?
Not surprisingly, some kits are better than others, and because none of them are cheap, you want to make sure you’re spending your hard-earned cash in something that works well. I spoke to the experts to get this answer.
Cheap Apple products
Q: Is there a way to buy Apple products cheaper? My daughter wants a MacBook, but I cannot afford it.
A: This is the main complaint about Apple products. They're just not economical, or even affordable for most households. Millions of people can invest in a discount or refurbished iPhone, but once you start looking at iMacs and MacBooks, the prices can give you vertigo.
One thing for your daughter to consider is whether she needs a Mac; she probably has her reasons, but she may get by with a cheaper Windows brand.
Then again, she may also be able to find a deal; if you know where to look, you may be astonished by the discounts you can find.
Q: Are the phone companies ever go to anything to stop robocalls? It seems like our representatives in Washington should be forcing that hand.
A: Like bullying, robocalls are a miserable thing, and it’s hard to believe that such behavior is legal. The FTC just shut down four major illegal robocall operations. It’s high time somebody recognized robocalls as the epidemic that they are!
Well, providers are getting just as fed up as we are, and they're taking measures to deal with this problem. This may be a slow and convoluted process, since it's hard to tell where some robocalls come from, and legitimate companies place many of them. But the fight is just starting in earnest.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call her national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station.