Q. I’m buying airline tickets for the holiday and heard there was a certain time it was best to buy. Do you know what that is?
A. For a long time, everyone said Tuesday afternoon was the sweet spot. That’s when the airlines adjust their prices to match whatever deal another airline ran on Monday. And it’s still good advice. However, researchers recently found that weekends are overall the best time to buy.
Also, the day you fly makes a big difference, with Tuesday being the least expensive. Sites like Matrix, Bing Travel and AirfareWatchdog can help you find cheap flights or predict when prices are going to be the cheapest.
Q. I travel a lot and do my banking on the go. Is it safe to bank on public Wi-Fi?
A. The answer is a firm “no.” You could be on the same Wi-Fi network as hackers. Even with security measures in place, they can still nab your usernames and passwords. So, reserve using sensitive sites for home or use your cellular connection.
Also, on a smartphone or tablet, using a bank’s app, if it has one, is safer than using its website.
Q. I’m buying a used smartphone, but I’m worried it might be stolen. How can I check?
A. Well, one giveaway is a price that’s way too low. Check out Movaluate or WorthMonkey to see how much the seller should be charging. You should also check the phone’s ESN or IMEI number. This is usually found under the battery. A site like Swappa can tell you if the phone has been reported stolen or has some other activation problem. You can also call the phone’s carrier and ask. Instead of buying used, find out how you can save money buying refurbished electronics.
Q. I saw something on Facebook that said updating to iOS 7 will make my iPhone waterproof. That’s a joke, right?
A. Definitely. A software update can’t change hardware like that. But iOS 7 does come with some cool new features you’ll like. For example, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center. This holds a bunch of settings that used to be hidden away. You can easily turn Wi-Fi on or off, fire up the new flashlight feature or tap the half-moon icon to put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode.
Q. I was told not to put antivirus software on my Mac, but I thought I’d double-check. Is that right?
A. I’m glad you did. Whoever told you that isn’t giving out good advice. There are more threats appearing that target Macs. One like the recent “Kumar in the Mac” could bypass your Mac’s built-in security. Without third-party security software, you’re a sitting duck for something like that. Both Sophos and Avira have free security software for Mac. You can start there, or look up other major security company’s products.
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.