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 making cheap AirPods, ending robocalls, deleting car data, and more.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?
Q: I heard you say that it’s possible to make $200 AirPods at home for about $4. How can I do that?
A: A clever 15-year-old young man purchased a wireless bone conduction headset from eBay. This kind of headphone vibrates against your skull to translate sound to your middle ear, and it works.
Once he received his prize in the mail, he stripped down the parts and dismantled his basic headphones for assembly. If you know how to solder and have the desire, tap or click here for the steps he used to make his own AirPods for $4.
Secret shopper scam
Q: My wife was contacted to join Walgreen’s secret shopper’s club, and we found out later it was a scam. Have you ever heard of this scam? How does it work?
A: I hope you didn’t lose any money in the racket, and there was evidence to report to the authorities. Remember, you may feel foolish, but these people are criminals and should be found and prosecuted.
To answer your question, yes, I have heard of secret shopping scams. Be careful of any secret shopping operation that promises serious rewards. Meanwhile, there are many other scam-repellant precautions you can take online. Tap or click for a list of things you should never do online.
Delete car info
Q: I just bought a used car, and the previous owner’s personal info is on the display. I can see her contacts and even her phone number! How do I clear this?
A: If you follow my national radio show with any regularity, you already know to wipe the data from a cell phone, computer, tablet, or printer before you sell or trade it in. But cars have rapidly become computers on wheels, and they contain an enormous bank of personal information.
More than your playlists and telephone numbers, a vehicle may also contain navigational information, your phone number, and your contacts. So it’s noble of you to remove another person’s data as quickly as possible. Tap or click to delete data from a car before you sell it.
Cord-cutting real talk
Q: Are you anti or pro cutting the cord? How do you really feel about ditching cable?
A: The short answer is this: I want what’s best for you. That will probably be different for every individual and household. If you love streaming video and are willing to invest time and effort, cutting the cord isn’t that much of a big deal. If you like traditional cable and see no reason to change, then don’t.
This is an exciting time because there are more options than ever, but it’s also confusing because services are evolving so rapidly, and we sometimes get carried away. One blogger recently accused me of being anti-cord cutting. That isn’t the case by any means, but his comment deserved a response. Tap or click to see the latest in our cord-cutting debate.
Q: My dad keeps a written log of robocalls, and when he fills a page, he sends them to his carrier. I told him it’s a waste of time. What would you ask him to do?
A: In a way, you’re both right: If he is writing down the robocall phone numbers, he is probably able to block and report them. This is also a great time to fight back, as phone carriers are finally getting around to cracking down on the robocalls. At the same time, he may run into the usual trap because many robocallers use unlisted numbers and can’t easily be blocked.
This also makes a date and time irrelevant since they are difficult to trace back. Also remember that many calls come from other countries, so it’s hard to identify which authorities to contact. In short, your father has the right idea, but it may only get him so far. We’ll see what the major carriers do in the coming year. Tap or click to learn what carriers are finally doing about robocalls.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s 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.