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Kim Komando answers about black hat hackers, VHS archives, smart homes for seniors 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 black hat hackers, VHS archives, smart tech for seniors and more.

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

Tap or click here to email me directly.

Hacker tales

Q: I’ve heard of white hat hackers and black hat hackers. What do they do? Have you ever been hacked?

A: Most of us will never encounter a white hat hacker. In general, they are busy testing major security networks. But you have almost certainly benefited from their work, even if you will never know who they are: white hat hackers help companies protect consumers against black hat hackers.

If you want to learn more about the difference, as well as my own experiences with internet security, I strongly recommend watching my interview with a white hat hacker. It’s pretty enlightening. Tap or click here for a video about my hacking experience.

Archive your analog

Q: My photos and videotapes are sitting in shoe boxes. It’s a mess. What can I do to get them into the cloud or something like that?

A: Not long ago, I knew several people who were re-photographing their old slides. They would project the old carousel images on the wall and then, using a tripod, snap a picture with a digital camera. Just remember: the digital versions are all you’ll have, so you don’t necessarily want to scrimp on quality.

Luckily, an entire industry has grown around digital transfers, and you no longer require bulky or expensive equipment to turn old Polaroids and VHS tapes into sharp digital files. Such services are likely as close as your nearest Costco. They aren’t exactly free, but you may be surprised how affordable these upgraded copies are. Tap or click here for easy ways to preserve your old photos and videotapes.

Better than tech support

Q: I have questions that are the tech support type. Can you help me fix my digital issues?

A: That’s what I’m here for. But there’s only one of me, and there are so many people with questions to answer. While my radio shows, podcasts and newsletters are a great place to find the latest tips and breaking news, I wanted to create a positive space for tech enthusiasts to help each other out. Komando Community is like a social media network, minus all the junk and fake accounts.

You can meet like-minded individuals with a wealth of knowledge, many of whom work in the tech industry and have ready answers to all your questions. I can’t guarantee you will find exactly the answer you’re looking for, but I can definitely guarantee that the Komando Community is more fun than filing a ticket and waiting for a technician to call you back. Tap or click here to join the official Komando Community

Wi-Fi fix

Q: The Wi-Fi stinks. It works great in one part of the house, and on the other side it’s practically dead. What’s the fix? Is there one?

A: Houses are notoriously bad environments for a strong Wi-Fi signal, and users frequently hit dead spots in their dens and living rooms. But, assuming you have tried a little troubleshooting already, you may find that your modem and router simply don’t work very well in the space you occupy.

Your more technical option is to buy a Wi-Fi extender, which, true to its name, extends your Wi-Fi signal to the weaker corners of your house. Wi-Fi extenders are not all created equal, and you definitely don’t want to waste your money on a substandard product. Luckily, I’ve already cataloged the best on the market. Tap or click here for the best Wi-Fi extenders.

Senior smart tech

Q: I’d like to get my older parents smart tech to turn off the lights and lock the door. They’re not tech-savvy. Can you recommend any tech they might be able to use?

A: This is an important question because it may be the best use of smart technology. I sometimes encounter critics of smart homes who insist intelligent devices make us “lazy.” But one thing we can all agree on: the older we get, the more we could use a little help to get through our daily tasks.

A medical alert smartwatch can automatically contact emergency services, and a smart vacuum can help folks with ambulatory issues to tidy up the house. A walk can happen without a set of keys, which is helpful if you have a habit of misplacing things. You could argue that smart homes were designed for senior living, providing a whole world of freedom and independence. Tap or click here for a list of smart home gadgets that won’t break the bank.

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 you can tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Ask me your digital question!

Navigating the digital world can be intimidating and sometimes downright daunting. Let me help! Reach out today to ask your digital question. You might even be on my show!

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