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Q&A with Kim: Fixing common Wi-Fi problems, secret Amazon Echo commands 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 fixing Wi-Fi problems, Amazon Echo commands, selling things on Craigslist and more. Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? Click here to email me directly.

Fix Wi-Fi problems

Q: I have horrible Wi-Fi in rooms of my house. Would a repeater help?

A: A wireless network repeater is a great way to extend coverage, but it has to be placed in the right spot. Most routers spread signals in a circle. The closer you are to the router, the stronger the signal. As the circle spreads out, there is a sweet spot to put the repeater. Too many people just place the repeater anywhere. A better idea is to use software that shows you precisely where the circle ends and signal strength drops. Click here for a free tool that maps your home and shows you where the repeater should be located.

Find out if your email’s been hacked

Q: All the data breaches make me nervous. Is there a way to see if the hackers and scammers have my email address?

A: Understandable. There’s a lot of nasty hacking going on these days. But instead of being “nervous,” be “vigilant.” Find out whether your personal information has been compromised. Take steps to bolster your security, including less-known weak points like your router. And yes, keep tabs on your email, because your inbox is loaded with data that criminals would love to obtain. Click here to check whether your email account has already been compromised.

List of Echo commands

Q: I have an Amazon Echo. What else can it do aside from play music?

A: For such a popular device, Echo has mystified many owners. How should they use it? Is it just a speaker that happens to respond to voice commands, or is it the full-fledged virtual assistant that the media have been touting for the past year? It’s safe to say that Alexa is somewhere in the middle: She can do a lot of amazing things, but she’s not perfect, and you need to know what to ask for. Click here for a list of Alexa commands that you’re probably not using.

Troubleshooting your Windows operating system

Q: My Windows computer is acting up. Is there a tool to help me pinpoint what’s wrong?

A: Rest assured, we’ve all been there. Computers get slow. Programs crash. Weird error messages pop up. What are you doing wrong? Is it a virus, bad software, hardware problems or what? If you’re not used to troubleshooting on your own, there’s a tool built into Windows that you may not even know you have. Click here to learn about Windows Reliability Monitor.

How to sell better on Craigslist

Q: I must be doing something wrong. I don’t get nearly the number of hits my friends do when they sell things on Craigslist.

A: Don’t beat yourself up; selling on Craigslist is an art. Some folks are natural salespeople, and they have a knack for hawking their wares online. But just like the local flea market, there are ways to make your stuff look more appealing and actually reach the shoppers who might buy it. The main difference is that shoppers in a flea market are physically in front you, while the ads on Craigslist can’t make eye contact and small talk. But there are some simple ways to make your ad vastly more effective. Click here for expert tips for selling on Craigslist.

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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