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Confuse Alexa, ID emails, freeze credit 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 the best streaming service, email digital trails, smarter smart speakers and more. 

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

Tap or click here to email me directly.

Best streaming service available

Q: There’s Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Prime Video and more! Is one streaming service better than another?

A: “Better” is a tough word. The “best” streaming service depends on what you want. If you can’t live without live professional sports, you can rule out most of these services.

If you want the latest blockbuster, you’ll have to wait longer on one service than another. I know many people who bounce from one service to the other, absorb every episode of their favorite Netflix series, then cancel the subscription and absorb every episode of their favorite Amazon series, and so on.

There’s no reason you can’t dabble in one and decide whether you like it; most of these services cost far less than a tank of gas.

But if you want to commit to one (and only one) service, you should probably see their benefits and drawbacks side-by-side.

Tap or click here to see the streaming service with the best value.

Confirm who sends email

Q: My ex is stalking me, and it’s frightening. Is there a way to see where an email comes from? I think it’s him, but I want to know for sure.

A: First off, your safety is most important. If you feel that is not the case, call the police. One of the advantages of smartphones is that we have more control over the calls we accept; instead of receiving a threatening phone call, we can block a number, let a call go to voicemail, or use calling data to issue a restraining order.

Email can be trickier because accounts can easily be set up and abandoned. They are much more anonymous than phone numbers, which – in most cases – can be traced.

Email leaves a digital trail, so don’t delete anything, scary as those messages may seem.

Meanwhile, you can often find out who sent an email. It may not be long before your ex regrets hitting “send.”

Tap or click here to find out who sent you an email.

Personal question for Kim

Q: So, you’re successful, and I want to know one thing. How do you start your day? Please tell me it’s not standing in line at Starbucks.

A: Thanks for asking! In the media business, no two days are the same, and I like to stay active.

You asked how I start my day, which suggests you already know one thing many successful people have in common: They start their day with a morning routine.

I get up at the same time every day, and I have a routine that I do that sets me up for a productive and enjoyable day.

Everyone’s routines are different, which you’ll learn from my podcast interview titled “Morning routines of the super successful.”

Tap or click here to listen to my podcast.

Make smart speakers “smarter”

Q: Every time someone on TV or radio says “Alexa,” my smart speaker starts going crazy. Help me! Make it stop!

A: Welcome to the 21st century, when one smart device may accidentally respond to another. This was always the danger of having a voice-activated machine like the Amazon Echo.

Developers tried to prevent this problem by picking an unusual name; most people don’t have the name Alexa, so most of the time we’re in the clear.

But what happens when a commercial for the Echo comes on? What happens when a movie character coincidentally shares that name?

What happens when someone on TV is discussing the Echo at length?

These can all lead to a lot of confusion, and it doesn’t matter how smart your device is; it may still respond to the wrong voice.

If you’re expecting to hear “the A-word” in the near future, don’t panic; there’s an easy solution.

Tap or click here to stop commercials and other voices from triggering your smart speaker.

Freeze credit to stop hackers and scammers

Q: I give up. You’re my last hope. How the heck do you freeze your credit? No wonder the hackers are taking over!

A: I’m so glad you asked, because freezing credit is a resourceful choice for a lot of people, whether cybercriminals directly threaten them or not. (To be honest, cybercrime is something we should all be concerned about).

This is one of the most straightforward tactics you can use to fight against hackers and, if necessary, get through a bad banking situation.

In case you’re wondering, the act of freezing your credit won’t damage your credit later on, but it also won’t fix your credit once you decide to un-freeze it.

The process is pretty simple. And you’re right: If people aren’t aware of the financial tools at their disposal, hackers have a much easier time preying on them.

Tap or click here to learn how to freeze your credit.

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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