Turn off your gadgets for quality time
Q. My wife and I are newlyweds and things are going great! However, we both are guilty of spending more time than we should on our smartphones. Is there some kind of app or program that might help couples to better monitor behavior so that quality time isn't trampled upon?
A. Well, first of all, try just turning the things off! I sense from your question, though, that's not an option. How about employing the tactics that parents use to keep track of their kids' screen time?
For this, I would use an app like Tasker for Android. This app will put your phone on a schedule. This way, you can set your phones to turn off a specific time each night. And for the times when the smartphones are on and you want to keep connected, there's also the Couple app. It lets you share love notes, photos, schedules and other chronicle all your "aw" moments. It even lets you send virtual kisses, a thumbkiss, via your thumb.
Getting around the most recent Apple security flaw
Q. I recently saw that there's a new security flaw in Apple gadgets that lets anyone turn off the Find My iPhone feature. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?
A. The notable thing about this otherwise scary hack is that you can prevent it from happening by using basic measures. If your iPhone has a passcode or Touch ID enabled, the hack is powerless.
For iPhone 5s, go to Settings >> General >> Touch ID & Passcode >> Touch ID and enable the feature. For other iPhone models, go to Settings >> General >> Passcode Lock and turn that option on.
Raising money online for charity
Q. I'm in charge of my church's annual fundraiser event this year. Are there any good ways I can raise money online?
A. There are lots of ways to legitimately raise money online. If you need money for a project, like a carnival or anything that needs startup money, try a site like Kickstarter. Here you can post your project on the site along with a funding goal. Backers can choose to donate to your project.
If you need help organizing the money donated, try a site like Buxfer. That tool will help you manage, keep track of and organize all donated money.
Apps for dad with Alzheimer's
Q. My father is in the mid stages of Alzheimer's. Are there apps I can use to help me make sure he is OK?
A. Alzheimer's disease is a very serious affliction that affects approximately 36 million people. There are plenty of apps that can exercise your dad's brain to help keep cognitive functions healthy and normal. These include Memory Trainer, BrainyApp and mTrainer Pro.
However, during the mid-to-later stages of Alzheimer's, sufferers will begin to forget basic things like their name, address or day of the week. This is a scary thought, but there is help. The Tweri Alzheimer Caregiver Tool alerts caregivers and emergency contacts if the patient leaves a designated "safe zone."
Meanwhile, Unus Tactus is a one-touch dialing system. It can hold an unlimited number of photo and emergency contacts. After every outgoing call, it sends an email to the person's emergency contact. The email will show the patient's location on a map. Notifications will also be sent if a phone has problems, like a dead battery.
Watching a puppy from work
Q. I recently adopted a puppy from the shelter. It's his first few days in a new house, and I want to make sure he is OK and not tearing the place up. Is there a way I can watch him while I'm at work?
A. If you've seen popular puppy cams, you know that not only can your watch your puppy, but can also broadcast your pooch live to YouTube if you want. The first step is choosing the right webcam, if you decide not to use the built-in one on your laptop. Standard webcams shoot at 30 frames per second and avoid any resolution less than 640 x480. Click here for more tips on picking out webcams.
Once you find the right webcam, you'll need the right software. My Webcam Broadcaster is a good choice. It allows you to access your webcam over the Internet. You can easily do that from another computer or you can view it through a smartphone. The program can also take photos on a set schedule and is compatible with built-in webcams and most USB webcams.
You can also try Yawcam. It lets you not only stream video, but take snapshots, overlay text and image, make time-lapse. You can even set the webcam to act as a motion-activated surveillance camera for your house or office.
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com.
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