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Q&A with Kim: Finding the best airfare, Netflix secret codes and more

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 most difficult part of my job.

This week, I received questions about muting the microphone on all of your gadgets, decrypting kids’ text messages, and more. Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? Click here to email me directly.

Muting your mic

Q: I have tape over my webcam to keep snoops at bay. Should I be concerned about someone listening in on my gadget’s microphone?

A: Putting tape over your webcam is a good policy. Word has spread about the possibility of getting filmed in your office or bedroom, and this helpful habit no longer sounds as paranoid as it used to. But you’re absolutely right. Your microphone might still be compromised. It’s hard to switch off your audio input through regular settings. Luckily, there’s a clever hardware hack that can keep those snoops at bay. It’s so simple. Click here to learn how to mute your gadget’s built-in mic.

Find the best airfare

Q: I am shopping for summer vacation airfares. How can I make sure that I am getting the lowest prices?

A: Entire books have been written about how to globetrot on the cheap, and one of the priciest parts of travel is your flight. But how do budget travelers do it? You probably know how much airfares can fluctuate, and it’s frustrating to book a $750 flight only to discover a $380 ticket down the line. If you don’t have a lot of experience with booking your flights online and you also don’t collect frequent flyer miles, there are still some simple ways to scour the internet for the best deal. Click here to learn how “incognito mode” can improve your deal-finding odds.

Netflix’s secret codes

Q: My roommate told me he finds great things to watch on Netflix by using secret codes. Can you explain what this is and how it works?

A: It sounds so cloak-and-dagger, doesn’t it? Netflix has secret codes! If you enter the right numbers, you’ll find a clandestine cache of movies. Who knows about it? Only savvy insiders! As it turns out, these “secret codes” are pretty simple to use, as long as you have a regular computer and a Netflix account. Click here to learn about Netflix’s secret codes.

Improving TV picture quality

Q: My TV’s picture looks weird. No matter what I watch it looks like a soap opera. Help!

A: To start off, you’re right. Your TV’s picture does look weird. You’re not delusional, and there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight. Certain high-end TVs have a sophisticated technology that keeps motion-heavy images from blurring. It’s exciting and new, and most people have never heard of it. But it does tend to give your TV a “soap opera effect,” which is both tacky-looking and distracting. Luckily, it’s not too hard to fix, but you do need to follow some specific steps. Click here to restore your picture quality to the way it was meant to look.

Decrypting your kids’ text messages

Q: My teenage daughter texts all the time. I looked at her messages, but with all the lingo, I don’t know what she’s saying.

A: You’re not alone. Many parents take a gander at their kids’ phones and have no idea what they’re seeing. Is it a code? A foreign language? What does “53X” mean? Basically, “text-speak” is both a code and a foreign language. Kids acquire all these acronyms and slang terms very quickly, and they can communicate complex ideas with only a few letters. This can be challenging for concerned parents, especially if your teen is interested in “sexting,” and it can be downright dangerous when kids interact with someone they don’t really know. Click here to learn about texting’s secret lingo.

What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

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