Keep your browsing secret
Q. I'm getting really tired of ad companies tracking what I do online so they can send me more annoying ads. What can I do to get rid of them?
A. Every major Web browser - Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera - has private, or incognito, browsing. Turning this on means your browser will ignore cookies, including ad-tracking cookies, and won't record your browsing history. It's almost like you weren't online.
To fire up private browsing, just hit CTRL+SHIFT+P (CTRL+OPTION+P on Macs). This works in every browser except Chrome. In Chrome, the shortcut is CTRL+SHIFT+N (OPTION+SHIFT+N on Macs). You can also enable private browsing mode from your browser's main menu.
When your browser is in private browsing mode, it will show a special icon. If you don't see a purple mask in Firefox, the spy in Chrome or the "InPrivate" in IE, then you aren't secure.
Tracking cookies aren't the only things your browser stores. Here's how to see all your saved passwords.
Is this email a scam?
Q. I recently received an email that might be too good to be true. How can I tell if an email is a scam? What are the telltale signs?
A. There are five major warning signs you will want to look for in a fake email. You will first want to look for misspellings, grammar mistakes and any phrases that don't make sense. These are the first clues. Also, take a look at the formatting. Is the spacing a mess?
How about in-body links? If the email is security-related, keep in mind that no company talking about a security problem would include a link or attachment in an email. Instead, you'll get written instructions on where to go.
You'll also want to take a look at the "from" line to make sure the address is a real address. For example, if the email is coming from Amazon, it should end in amazon.com, not Gmail or another email service.
Stop telemarketers and robocalls
Q. My phone won't stop ringing with robocalls and telemarketers. How do I get them to stop?
A. Sign up for the Do Not Call registry. Joining Do Not Call is actually very simple. You go to the site and enter the landline or cellphone number you want on the list. A quick email verification and you're done. You can also call 1-888-382-1222 from any phone you want on the list. That's all it takes.
The Do Not Call list keeps you off of for-profit business call lists, but it isn't immediate. Telemarketers update their lists periodically, so the FTC says it can take up to 31 days to take full effect. Also, political organizations, charities and survey takers are still permitted to call you. For those calls, try an app like PrivacyStar.
Increase storage space on your iPhone and iPad
Q. I recently tried to take a photo on my iPhone and got an alert that there isn't enough space on the phone to store the photo. What do I need to do to make room and free up space?
A. While there's no limit to what you can do with your Apple gadget, there IS a limit to the amount of stuff you can store on your gadget. Photos and videos will take up the most room. Go through and delete any duplicate files, or transfer them to your home computer or an external drive using iTunes, iPhoto and other programs like Dropbox or Picasa. Then, after you backed up your photos, you'll want to kill the Photo Stream completely. Go to Settings >> Photos & Camera >> My Photo Stream and hit delete.
Next, look at your phone and tell me how many of those apps you really use on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure there's one or two you can live without. If you can't decide what apps to clear out, I've got a trick that can help you decide. Go to Settings >> General >> Usage. Here you'll see a list of apps that take up the most storage. This helps you make an informed decision about where to go fat-trimming.
Still need more space? Use these tips to make even more room on your Apple gadget.
A new and better way to send email
Q. I do a lot of volunteer work between two different organizations. I manage the email lists and was using Outlook Express, which won't work for me anymore. What's the best email service to switch to?
A. You could manage all your lists in Gmail, but I have a better option to make things super simple and easy. Check out a mailing list manager like MailChimp. It lets you send up to 12,000 emails for free every month. It's chock-full of beautiful templates that will help make your messages pop. Even better, with a dedicated list manager you won't have to manually update your email lists. When someone unsubscribes, the service will take care of removing them from your lists. You also can see stats and open rates, too.
The other option is to set up a Facebook group for each organization. You can invite people to join the group, send out events, post meeting times, invite people to share photos, get added to the mailing lists and so on.
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.