NOW CALLING FROM FLORIDA

The glass on our cell phone cracked. (Should have left the case on.) Even worse, we turned in the phone to a local repair shop and when we got it back two days later, we think it had been hacked.

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FAKE TECH SUPPORT

A reader told us she got a call from a guy saying that her Windows computer was about to crash. She took it seriously because he claimed to be from Microsoft. This is a scam and not a rare one.

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CELL PHONE BATTERY WOES

The battery in the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone is supposed to last for 18 hours on standby, 10 hours if you’re talking, 8 hours if you’re playing a video. We’ve been lucky if ours lasted half that. A free app called “Greenify,” along with some basic adjustments, has made a big difference. Greenify for Android phones hibernates any apps you don’t need to have running. Our phone stays on for at least 18 hours now, with light use. Some apps, such as the Amazon Kindle app, take a little longer to load with Greenify running in the background, but that’s better than a phone that dies when you don’t expect it. Before Greenify, we tried several other battery life extenders: […]

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TROUBLE WITH SO-CALLED SUPPORT

Joy was helping a disabled friend once because McAfee was going to charge a couple hundred dollars to fix something that took Joy about two seconds. Now we’ve heard from a reader who claims he was scammed by McAfee.

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SHARING SCREENS

TeamViewer for Android is a mobile version of this popular screen-sharing program. Use it to get tech support from a remote friend, or to offer it. When you sign in, you get a code to share and so it’s just the two of you seeing the same screen. Joy used it recently and was able to see a friend’s distant computer screen so she could show her how to add a profile picture to Facebook. The program is free for personal use.

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ANOTHER WARNING

A reader asked us if he should have his computer registry cleaned. A pop-up on a website wanted to charge him $129 for this service. Back away, we said.

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HIGH ADVENTURE WITH MCAFEE

Our friend Nancy just had a tour of McAfee Anti-Virus hell. She thought she had a virus but she didn’t. Yet the company told her it would cost $180 for the “Concierge Gold” service to fix her computer over the Internet.

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MICROSOFT WINS, WE LOSE

So Joy decided to upgrade her Windows 7 computer to Windows 8 — figuring how can we serve the readers if we don’t have the latest Microsoft operating system? Just so. Well, let no good deed go unpunished. From the beginning, there were warnings that should have told us we were on dangerous ground. The built-in Windows 8 “Upgrade Assistant” said we’d have to buy extra software if we wanted to continue to play DVDs. (Wait a minute: we had no trouble playing DVDs before.) Then it informed us the Windows Media Center also would no longer be available. But we could buy extra software that would perform those functions, which we had before. Furthermore, one of the Bluetooth utilities […]

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SHORTCUTS IN GOOGLE CHROME

Our favorite web browser is still Google Chrome, though Firefox is a close second and coming up fast on the outside. Here are some handy keyboard shortcuts:

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COMPUTER TUNE UP PROGRAM REALLY WORKS

The best new fix-it program we’ve seen in a bunch of harvest moons has brought a 13-year-old Toshiba laptop back from the dead. (Or at the very least, a coma.)

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