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Kim’s tech Q&A: Emergency apps, self-destructing emails, tracking down old friends 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 best part of my job.

This week, I received questions about emergency apps, self-destructing emails, tracking down old friends and more.

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

Tap or click here to email me directly.

Retracing old friends

Q: I’d like to find my old college sweetheart just to say hello. I tried Google, but nothing came up. The people finder sites scammed me out of $65. How else can I find her?

A: Your search for an old acquaintance comes at an interesting time; yes, billions of people are connected through social media, and it’s easier than ever to find long-lost acquaintances. You can try Facebook, LinkedIn and FamilyTreeNow.

Hardly anyone can exist in a first-world nation without leaving a digital footprint. Aliases and married names can hinder easy searches, but there are several tricks you can use to track people down. Tap or click here for 6 ways to find anyone on the internet.

Burn after reading

Q: Is it possible to send emails that James Bond would send? I want my messages to self-destruct. That would be awesome!

A: Mail, including email, is a funny thing because once you dispatch it, you have no further control over its content. There are services designed to destroy messages the moment they’ve been opened. In theory, you shouldn’t have to worry about anyone reading sensitive content because the message will be deleted without a trace.

Granted, someone could take a screenshot of your transmission before it disappears, so keep this singular danger in mind. Otherwise, this works great for sending, say, secure passwords or notes you don’t want anyone snooping on. Tap or click here to send secure messages that self-destruct.

My Bloomberg TV show

Q: I saw your show on Bloomberg Television. It’s only an hour, but your radio show is three hours. How can I watch all three hours?

A: My television show is not the same as my radio show. While both programs are all about tech, each has different content. My radio show airs on hundreds of stations across the country, and you can watch or listen to the show as it’s recorded in real-time or on-demand on your schedule.

The easiest way to get the podcast or watch one, two or all three hours weekly is on my website. Consider joining the Komando Community, my social media network that gives you unprecedented access to new and archived media content and like-minded members. It’s just a few dollars a month for 12 hours of quality programming. Tap or click here to access the Komando Community.

Kick off Wi-Fi mooches

Q: I think my neighbors are using my wireless network. They are scum. How can I boot them off?

A: Wi-Fi mooching happens all the time, usually among people who live or work closely together, and they’re often too polite to address the issue out loud. Meanwhile, there are lots of security issues that come with sharing your Wi-Fi, and if your signal isn’t password-protected, I urge you to change your settings immediately.

But if you want to know what “scum” is currently pirating your Wi-Fi, you can use your router’s online interface to figure out exactly who has logged on. If you don’t recognize one of the devices, you can easily trace it back to your neighbor. As for booting them off, a new hard password should do the trick. Tap or click here to see all the devices connected to your Wi-Fi network.

Smartphones for emergencies

Q: My college student daughter has to walk in the dark from her evening classes. She carries pepper spray. Can her phone call 911 if she gets into trouble?

A: Pepper spray is a good start, and I’m glad she’s prepared for a physical altercation. But she should also be able to call for help at a moment’s notice if (God forbid) something happens. After all, assailants tend to move quickly, and you only have a split-second to contact authorities.

Several apps have been developed for a range of emergencies, including Noonlight, which will automatically call the police if you release your finger from the phone and don’t enter a unique PIN. Other apps can transmit location data and SOS signals. Tap or click here for a list of apps to use in emergencies.

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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