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Kim's column

Apple prices, mounting TVs, mobile pay apps 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 prices, mounting TVs, mobile pay apps and more.

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

Tap or click here to email me directly.

The cost of Apple

Q. I would like to switch from Windows to Apple. Why are Apple products so much more expensive?

A: Windows and Apple are two very distinct products and neither is “better” than the other. Windows excels in certain areas, such as customization and third-party access, while Apple excels in other areas, such as graphics and consistency.

So why should Apple products cost so much more? You can buy a basic Dell Inspiron laptop for under $300, while the cheapest MacBook costs about $1,000. Other price comparisons – for tablets, phones and desktops – are almost comically divergent.

Apple has always appealed to a higher income bracket, but when you consider some of its advantages, the cost may feel justified. Tap or click here to learn why Apple products are so expensive.

Facebook and phone numbers

Q: Facebook needs my phone number for two-factor authentication. How can I make sure that they don’t sell it, too?

A: Very perceptive question. I talk a lot about two-factor identification because it helps keep your passwords – and, by extension, your accounts – safe from cybercriminals hoping to break in.

The most common form of two-factor ID requires a cellphone number. But Facebook has become a dubious form of social media, and it has received a lot of criticism for manipulating members and using their data for little-understood purposes.

So what do you do when Facebook innocently asks for your number, claiming to want this information solely for your protection? In short, you are wise to be suspicious. Tap or click here to restrict Facebook’s access to your phone number.

Find my show podcasts

Q: I would like to get your radio show podcasts. How can I do that? I did not see these on iTunes.

A: I’m flattered you ask, and the short answer is that you can find my podcasts on either iTunes or Google Play along with other popular podcasts. Komando On Demand provides stories, advice and up-to-the-minute news on consumer technology. Better yet, it’s all free.

But if you’re looking for the podcasts of my national three hour radio show, those are reserved for members of Kim’s Club, which provides exclusive content, priority call-in, live chat sessions and access to the brand-new Komando Technology Academy.

It’s about $4/month and discounts are available for seniors, military and service personnel. Tap or click here to join Kim’s Club.

TV mounting tips

Q: Is it bad to mount your TV over the fireplace? Does this damage it?

A: There used to be one option for positioning your TV: right in the middle of the den. You can put a flat screen almost anywhere, as long as there’s wall space and a decent stud.

You bring up an excellent point, though; just because you can put a TV almost anywhere doesn’t mean that your precious new unit is safe. Extreme heat can damage your television.

Some people like to mount their televisions on outdoor porches, thinking that an awning will protect it from a bad rainstorm. There are also children to think about; a poorly thrown football can knock some flat screens right off their brackets.

So before you start drilling, consider the feng shui of your particular set. Tap or click here to find out where to mount your TV and where not to.

Venmo safety

Q: My kids want me to use Venmo to send them money. Is this safe?

A: Many traditionalists were once nervous about the concept of PayPal. The company isn’t exactly a bank, and it isn’t a traditional wire service. Such automatic payments, transmitted through the internet, seemed like magic.

In only a few short years, customers have discovered Apple Pay icons at their local Starbucks, and all they have to do is tap the device with their phones to pay for a latte. The ease of digital payment grows exponentially each year, and Venmo is the latest in this evolution. If you haven’t delved into that world, though, mobile pay apps can seem a little too streamlined – or even dangerous.

The truth is, you should always be vigilant about your funds, no matter how you maintain them. Certain money apps can be very effective, if you use them wisely. Tap or click here to learn what mobile pay apps are and whether they’re safe.

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 or watch to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts. App background

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