Q. All my friends on Facebook did that “What words do you use most?” quiz, but when I went to do it, it seemed sketchy. Am I just paranoid?
A. To take the quiz, you need to give the quiz “app” full access to your Facebook account. That includes your name, your birth date, hometown, education and work details. It picks up everything you’ve liked and browsed, and even grabs your photos. Plus, the app can store your information on third-party servers and use your information even after you’ve closed your Facebook account. So, avoiding it is definitely the better option. If you already took the quiz, here’s what you need to do right away to sever the connection.
Q. My mother-in-law is terrified of computers, but wants to video chat with her grandkids. What would you suggest?
A. A tablet is a great choice for people who need a computer but don’t like them. Tablets are basically budget computers, but are generally easier to use and a lot less threatening. And a tablet will easily handle video chat duties. Click here for four more types of people who really need a tablet. And read the bonus Q&A below to find out what kind of tablet is right for you.
Q. I’m buying a new smartphone soon. Should I get an extended warranty?
A. Most people find that an extended warranty isn’t worth the money. Manufacturing defects typically show up during the manufacturer warranty period, and wear and tear problems tend to happen after the extended warranty expires. Also, if you buy something with certain credit cards, you’ll get a warranty extension free, so look into that. Learn what situations do call for you to buy an extended warranty, and third parties that offer them for less.
Q. We’re driving a long way to see family this Christmas. How can I keep our fuel bill on budget?
A. Before you set off, scope out your route with an app like GasBuddy (Android, Apple, Windows Phone; Free). You can plan stops at the places with the cheapest gas. You can also check it on the go to make sure prices haven’t changed since you last looked. Get ideas for other essential gadgets and gear you need for a safer and more entertaining road trip.
Q. I travel a lot for business, and use Wi-Fi to stay connected whenever possible. Is there an easy way to find nearby hotspots?
A. Grab an app like WifiMapper (Android, Apple; Free). This will show you paid and free Wi-Fi hotspots that are near you no matter where you go. Click here for four more essential apps for business travel. And remember that using public Wi-Fi opens you up to hackers. Learn how to stay safe while using public Wi-Fi.
Q. I’m going to be buying a tablet, and I’m curious as to whether Windows tablets are any good?
A. Thanks to the shrinking size and cost of hardware, Windows tablets are finally competitive with iPad and Android tablets in speed, size and battery life. While Windows tablets still don’t have nearly the range of apps, you can run your Windows programs, making it more like a very portable touch-screen laptop. Find out exactly how the latest Windows tablets stack up to the iPad and Android tablets.
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. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.