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Kim's column

Record calls, iPhone pro secrets, better TV remote, 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 using Microsoft Office for free, iPhone pro tricks, better TV remotes, and more.

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

Tap or click here to email me directly.

Free Microsoft Office

Q: I have a new laptop and cannot afford Microsoft Word. Is there any way I can get it for free?

A: One of the simplest ways to get a bargain on Microsoft Office is to be a student at an accredited school. You can also open a Microsoft account and use their tools online, as long as you connect to Wi-Fi. Using this technique, you have the same access to Office that Gmail users have to Google Docs and other programs.

The downside is that you won’t be able to export a Word or Excel file, and you will run into several other roadblocks as well; in a way, your experience will be very similar to using a Chromebook. But you can’t beat the price. Tap or click here for all the ways you can get Microsoft Office for free.

Record calls

Q: I would like to save individual phone calls. I looked in my Settings, but there is no option. How can I record calls on my smartphone?

A: You have hit upon a common problem: recording calls on your cell phone is pretty tricky, and it has nothing to do with technology. The issue is legal; tech companies don’t want to get involved in everyday users recording each other.

Luckily, several third-party apps enable this very basic function, which is useful for interviews or other professional needs. Just remember, depending on your state’s laws, you may need to alert the person at the other end that you’re recording. Tap or click here for my quick DIY video about recording calls for free.

iPhone insider pro tricks

Q: Do you have any insider secrets that only the pros know for an iPhone? I like to use your tips to impress the kids! It works every time!

A: There are so many useful tips and tricks that a typical user may have no idea what life-changing abilities are at their fingertips, whether for work or play. There are too many little-known facets for me to list here, and I have dedicated dozens of blog posts on my website to the minutiae of iPhone operations.

But if you’re looking for some neat party tricks for the family, I have put together a handy video with some favorites. Tap or click here for my how-to video with insider tips for iPhone.

Indoor antennas 101

Q: My indoor antenna needs the magical Komando touch. It doesn’t get many channels. Help!

A: The TV antenna is as functional as it ever was – really, since the dawn of television broadcasting in the late 1940s. Keep in mind, though, that some regions have fewer stations, and if you live in a remote location, the signal may not be great. You may also struggle with an inferior antenna, which could require an upgrade to reach your TV’s full potential.

Much of the time, your most significant setback is the placement of your hardware. Houses are notoriously obstructive, and with a little manipulation, you may be able to find your living room’s sweet spot. Tap or click here for five tricks to get the best possible reception with an indoor antenna.

Smartphone remote control

Q: I heard you say that you can use your phone as a remote for your TV. How can I do that? I would love it!

A: This is a pretty nifty arrangement, using your smartphone as a universal remote, but it does require some stars to align. For example, it’s easy to use an Android phone to control an Android-powered TV. You can use an Amazon device, such as a Kindle Fire, to control certain TV sets. One app is designed to operate with 300 different models of television, and all you need is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal.

At the same time, you have to make sure that your smartphone and TV are compatible. Make sure that you find the apps and devices that can communicate with each other, but I have done the homework for you. Tap or click here to get the steps and best apps to turn your phone into a TV remote.

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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