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Apple credit card gotchas, best free email, private OS and more: Tech Q&A

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 Apple credit card gotchas, alternative operating systems, the best free email, and more.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?

Tap or click here to email me directly.

Wi-Fi mooches no more

Q: My neighbors are using my Wi-Fi, I just know it! How can I get proof that they are hopping online for free on my dime?

A: This is a pet peeve of mine, both for the mooches who want free internet, as well as for the owners of the router, who need to beef up their security. There are only a few reasons your neighbors can access your Wi-Fi: (1) you have no password protection, (2) you gave away your password, or (3) your neighbors have managed to hack into your network.

Luckily, there is software you can use to detect unauthorized use of your signal – and it’s available for both iOS and Windows. Tap or click here to see who is stealing your internet.

Apple credit card gotchas

Q: I heard Apple is coming out with its credit card. What are the gotchas? I love Apple, but not so trusting of big tech now in my wallet.

A: You are wise to be skeptical, and you should never dive into a new credit card without due diligence. The Apple card will function very differently from a regular credit card; for example, the physical card will have no imprinted numbers. Not surprisingly, it will work best with Apple Pay, Apple Wallet, and other Apple products. You will be able to use this card broadly, but you may have to adjust to its quirks.

The APR isn’t terrible, especially if you have strong credit, and there are some benefits you might not expect. Just like the iPod, this kind of card may very well be the future of credit transactions, and Apple has been wise to team up with a financial leviathan, Goldman Sachs, to make the new technology possible. But there are still some caveats. Tap or click here to learn more about the new Apple credit card.

Drop me a line

Q: My sister is big on social media. I see that you interview tech movers and shakers on your TV show. How can I submit her as a possible guest?

A: As I have learned throughout my long and varied career, there is no harm in asking. And luckily, you can ask me anything! I keep a contact page on my website just for this reason, and I promise you, every single submission gets read.

We are always on the lookout for prescient new stories to cover on my site and shows, and it’s very possible that your sister could pique our interest. No promises, of course. There are a lot of fascinating people out there, and we can only produce so many shows. But I would urge you (or her) to drop me a line anytime you like. Tap or click here to contact me.

Best free email program

Q: I would like an email program (preferably free) that collects my mail from work, Google, and other places. Right now, I have to check mail at all these different sites, and it’s driving me bonkers.

A: From the moment the Firefox browser became available to the masses, Mozilla has been winning millions of fans. The “software community” takes pride in its open-source programs, and Firefox is versatile enough to work in almost any desktop environment. So it should come as a little surprise that Mozilla developers have invented an equally accessible email system: Mozilla Thunderbird.

The software is free and easy to use, of course, but several innovations might strike your fancy, such as near-instantaneous saving of contact information. Linux fans will especially appreciate how universal Thunderbird can be – including aggregating your mail from other services. Tap or click here for the best free email program for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Alternative operating system

Q: You mentioned that there is an operating system more secure than Windows. Where can I get it? What does it work on? Help me, oh great, Kim Komando!

A: If you’re accustomed to Windows, you might consider Zorin OS. This new operating system has won a lot of positive attention for its security, ease-of-use, and similarity to Windows – which makes the transition smooth. There are some drawbacks to Zorin: there is no “right-click” option, and the software may very well crash your computer if you’re not careful.

But Zorin so closely mimics the Windows layout and workflow that someone might not immediately recognize that it’s something else. Your concern about security issues is a valid one, and Zorin is just one decent substitute that you might consider. Tap or click here for an OS alternative to Windows and Apple.

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.

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