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Podcast gear, homemade ringtones, phone plans 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 podcast gear, homemade ringtones, phone plans for seniors, and more.

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

Tap or click here to email me directly.

Frugal phone carriers

Q: I am retired and need to cut back on expenses. What’s the best cell phone plan for folks over 55?

A: People in different age groups tend to use a phone differently. When we retire, we may not need a pricey plan, and a fixed income may encourage us to cut down on expenses anyway.

You can find a plan with unlimited calls, texts, and data, and you won’t have to shell out vast sums of money to do so. T-Mobile caters to the budget-conscious. Before you sign up, though, check out the other big carriers as well; they all offer exclusive perks for customers of a certain age. Tap or click here for the best phone plan for seniors.

Podcast gear

Q: I’d like to start my own podcast. What kind of gear do I need?

A: Exciting! These days, starting a podcast is almost as easy starting a blog – you can record something on your phone and immediately post it online without a hassle. But before you start throwing mp3s into the ether, think about sound quality. Unlike that blog, which only requires you to type out your text and maybe add a couple of pictures, podcasts are quite a bit more technical.

You will benefit enormously from a quality microphone and editing software. You will almost certainly want to invest in some supplemental gear, such as a “pop filter,” which guards the microphone against “P” sounds. If you’re curious what other gear I recommend for the rookie podcaster, I have a whole list of top picks on Amazon. Tap or click here for my list of recommended gear on Amazon.

Out of space

Q: The storage on my smartphone is full. What can I do to fix this? Can I put some stuff on an external card or something like that?

A: Photos, videos, and audio usually take up the most space on your phone. But you don’t have to delete them. Instead, store them in cloud programs.

DropBox is great for your videos and music. For photos, Google Photos is the way to go. Once you download the app, you get 15GB of free cloud space. Additional space is moderately priced. For more options, as well as ways to store things on external cards, I’ve got just what you need. Tap or click here to watch my quick DIY video for ways to get more space on your smartphone.

Login security

Q: I gave my now ex-boyfriend my Netflix password. Can I see if he is using my Netflix account that I am paying for?

A: If you share a Netflix account, the service may start recommending movies and TV shows that sound very far-out. You may love comedies, and all of sudden bleak, dramatic television series start pouring into your queue. You can also see what other people – such as your boyfriend – have watched because Netflix keeps an archive.

But this question stems from a much bigger concern: How do you know whether someone has logged into one of your services, period? Friends and family can often guess your passwords, as can hackers and cyber-criminals. If someone starts mooching off your Hulu or Spotify account, there’s a way to figure out who they are. Tap or click here to see who has logged into your services.

Create ringtones

Q: I’d like to make ringtones. This way, when my phone rings, I know it’s mine, and not someone else’s in the office.

A: At this point, a ringtone is just an audio file that’s been archived on your phone, just like your music and voicemail messages. Smartphones no longer require the complicated manual programming that their predecessors did, which is why a ringtone can be virtually anything, from pop songs to sound clips from YouTube.

Ringtones have also started to disappear from public life, as most people have come to prefer the “vibrate” setting. Still, customizing a ringtone can be a fun process, and once you hear it for the first time, you’ll smile at this personal touch. What you will need is special software, like AVCWare Ringtone Maker, which will help you make it. Tap or click here to create custom ringtones.

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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