Wi-Fi mooches no more
Q: My neighbors are using my Wi-Fi, I just know it! How can I get proof that they are hopping online for free on my dime?
A: This is a pet peeve of mine, both for the mooches who want free internet, as well as for the owners of the router, who need to beef up their security. There are only a few reasons your neighbors can access your Wi-Fi: (1) you have no password protection, (2) you gave away your password, or (3) your neighbors have managed to hack into your network. Luckily, there is software you can use to detect unauthorized use of your signal — and it’s available for both iOS and Windows. Tap or click here to see who is stealing your internet.
Apple credit card gotchas
Q: I heard Apple is coming out with its credit card. What are the gotchas? I love Apple, but not so trusting of big tech now in my wallet.
A: You are wise to be skeptical, and you should never dive into a new credit card without due diligence. The Apple card will function very differently from a regular credit card; for example, the physical card will have no imprinted numbers. Not surprisingly, it will work best with Apple Pay, Apple Wallet and other Apple products. You will be able to use this card broadly, but you may have to adjust to its quirks. The APR isn’t terrible, especially if you have strong credit, and there are some benefits you might not expect. Just like the iPod, this kind of card may very well be the future of credit transactions, and Apple has been wise to team up with a financial leviathan, Goldman Sachs, to make the new technology possible. But there are still some caveats. Tap or click here to learn more about the new Apple credit card.
Best free email program
Q: I would like an email program (preferably free) that collects my mail from work, Google, and other places. Right now, I have to check mail at all these different sites, and it’s driving me bonkers.
A: From the moment the Firefox browser became available to the masses, Mozilla has been winning millions of fans. The “software community” takes pride in its open-source programs, and Firefox is versatile enough to work in almost any desktop environment. So it should come as a little surprise that Mozilla developers have invented an equally accessible email system: Mozilla Thunderbird. The software is free and easy to use, of course, but several innovations might strike your fancy, such as near-instantaneous saving of contact information. Linux fans will especially appreciate how it aggregates your mail from other services. Tap or click here for the best free email program for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Alternative operating system
Q: You mentioned that there is an operating system more secure than Windows. Where can I get it? What does it work on?
A: If you’re accustomed to Windows, you might consider Zorin OS. This new operating system has won a lot of attention for its security, ease-of-use and similarity to Windows. There are some drawbacks to Zorin: There is no “right-click” option, and the software may very well crash your computer if you’re not careful. But Zorin so closely mimics the Windows layout and workflow that someone might not immediately recognize that it’s something else. Your security concerns are valid, and Zorin is just one decent substitute to consider.Tap or click here for an OS alternative to Windows and Apple.
Listen to Kim Komando’s show from 1-4 p.m. Sundays on KRMG am740 or fm102.3. Read her columns or get her newsletters at komando.com.