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 cheap background checks, antivirus software for Macs, heart-rate tracking and more.
Do you have a question you'd like to ask me?
Budget background checks
Q: I want to run a background check on someone. The people search sites are annoying and expensive. What’s the best way to do a background check on someone?
A: You can barely visit a people search site without an advertisement popping up that reads something like, "You’ll be shocked at what you find!"
These services are a major moneymaker. Digital archives and public records make a basic background check possible, but there’s usually a paywall if you want to find some real dirt on someone. (Presuming there is dirt in the first place).
You can use less expensive services, but how effective are they? The best way to test it, of course, is to examine the paper trail of the person you know best: you.
Streaming data hogs
Q: I started streaming movies, and my data usage is soaring. I recently got hit by a surcharge from the cable company. How can I make sure this extra automatic charge doesn’t happen again?
A: Ah, the infamous surcharge. Cable companies are notorious for hidden fees, and streaming movies have opened a whole new can of worms. Cellphones are much easier, because you can usually expand your plan or buy additional data à la carte.
The easiest solution is to keep your data in check, so you don't get hit with another fee. How do you do this? By budgeting and monitoring your data usage, the same way you would with money or time.
Find my show
Q: I’d like to listen to your radio show. How can I find the station in my hometown?
A: The great news is that my radio show has a 97% footprint across the United States. There’s bound to be a station near you where you can tune in. I have to tell you that as a national radio personality for many years, and even though I also have a cable TV show, I still love the traditional radio format as much as ever.
My favorite part is talking on-air with you, my listeners. On my site, you just enter a ZIP code to get the station and time near you broadcasting my show.
And if you miss the show, you can always grab the podcast.
Best Mac antivirus software
Q: I have a Mac. Do I need antivirus software for it?
A: I tell people all the time: The worst thing a Mac user can do is assume that all Apple devices are invulnerable to all malware.
Now, Apple products are certainly less susceptible than rival products to certain viruses and ransomware. But that does not mean your devices can't contract a virus, and this false sense of security has gotten a lot of Mac users in trouble.
Then again, while Windows users are quite accustomed to investing in antivirus software, a Mac user might not have any idea where to start shopping for one. I have a handy roundup of the best options on the market.
Heart tracking tech options
Q: I’d like to track my heart rate, but I don’t want to wear a smartwatch. What are my other options?
A: Smartwatches can be very effective tools, and most of them are flashy and flattering. But not everybody wants to have a computer fastened to their wrist. As more and more people are trying to unplug from the technology that permeates every aspect of their existence, a smartwatch can feel a little claustrophobic.
As an alternative, you can select from several apps for your phone, which can gather much of the same cardiological data as a watch. Since most people have smartphones these days and carry them everywhere, this is a much less awkward alternative.
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. 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.