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 smartwatches, senders snooping on your emails, iPhone battery issues, free images and more.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?
The right smartwatch
Q: My wife wants a smartwatch for Christmas. Should I get her an Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, or Fossil? Help me make the right decision, Kim!
A: Aside from asking her which brand she favors – which might temper the surprise – the Apple Series 5 is excellent, as long as you’re already plugged into the Apple ecosystem. Fitbit is a solid choice for athletes and weekend warriors because it has always been designed with these demographics in mind.
The Samsung Galaxy watch is a great gift for anyone who uses an Android phone. While you’re researching, though, take a glance at Mobvoi Ticwatch E2, the intriguing indie option with a number of unique perks. Tap or click here for my smartwatch buying and comparison guide.
Q: I have my own website. I need some high-quality images for the site that won’t break the bank. Any ideas?
A: If you have a legitimate project in mind, and you want to cross all your legal t’s, you’re living in a great era for inexpensive (or free!) media content. You can subscribe to a paid service like Shutterstock, or you can pore over archival materials at the New York Public Library.
You can also explore the dodgy world of Creative Content, but there’s now a consistent alternative: Unsplash. Tap or click here to access a million free, high-quality images for any project.
Hear my podcast
Q: I’d like to get your show podcast because I know it will be great. But, is there a way I can listen to an hour before I subscribe?
A: Absolutely – just click the link below. Let me also tell you how to get the most out of your listening experience: Komando Community is an advertising-free social media network that is designed for people like you. If you love consumer technology and all the latest news, and you can meet like-minded people in curated forums, Komando Community grants you access to all of my best content, including 12 hours a month of my national radio show’s podcast. You get to build a profile, and you can start a blog. If you have any tech questions, you can often get an answer in less than an hour in my Community Forums. So yes, listen to an hour because I have a feeling you’re going to love the full membership that’s a few dollars a month. Tap or click here to listen to my show’s podcast.
Apple battery drain
Q: My iPhone battery doesn’t last hardly at all. What’s going on? Is the latest iOS causing the meltdown?
A: Some reasons are mundane: your battery is worn down or your screen is too bright, which requires extra juice. Other reasons are more concerning: you could have a virus or spyware, which will also ruin your reserves.
Before you start investigating the latest operating system, I suggest you look at the apps you’re using. Take Google Maps. The app needs to send signals all day long to pinpoint your exact location. That does a number on your power supply.
Social media apps also update all the time, so if you have Facebook, Snapchat or Whatsapp open – or all three running simultaneously – they can eat up your battery. I can’t guarantee this is your problem, but rationing app usage might very well extend your battery life. Tap or click here to see five apps that drain your iPhone battery.
Q: If someone sends me an email, will that person know when and if I opened it? Asking for a friend.
A: In the past, it was doubtful someone could know whether you opened their email. Many people would consider this ability a violation of privacy; after all, you should have a right to read your mail and respond – or not respond – without the sender watching over your shoulder.
But the technology to track emails, as well as pertinent information about their recipients, actually goes back a few years. “Pixel-tracking” is a sophisticated way to learn someone’s IP address, operating system and how many times that email has been opened.
Not surprisingly, this kind of snooping is especially popular among con artists and hackers, who can use pertinent data to help execute their crimes. So how do you protect yourself against a single, microscopic pixel? You have a couple of tactics at your disposal. Tap or click here to see whether your emails are being tracked and what you can do about it.
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.