facebookIf you use Facebook, but worry about it sharing your personal information with strangers, we have a fix. It’s Facebook’s “Privacy Checkup.” From your computer, go to and click the tiny picture of a padlock next to the tiny picture of a globe in the upper right. Follow the steps to increase your privacy.

— You might not want anyone to see how often you play “Candy Crush,” or any other application, for example. In that case, change the “public” setting to “only me.”

— Remove any apps you’re not using.

— Change the information on your profile page and remove the year of your birth if it’s listed. (It’s easier to do identity theft if the bad guys know the year you were born.)

— You can use Facebook as a personal diary and share your posts with no one else. This is a perfect solution for the anti-Facebook folks who would otherwise miss out on its ability to find long lost relatives and friends. Remember: They’re out there somewhere. An estimated one-third of the world’s population past the toddler age is on Facebook. Toddlers next.

Free Calls

skype video messageA reader wrote to say he used Vonage to make cheap calls over Wi-Fi.  Their cheapest service is $15 a month. What are the alternatives?

One is phoning from Google’s Gmail. If you don’t have an account, get one free from In the computer version of Gmail, on the left side of your Gmail window there is a chat area. Click the tiny picture of a phone. When you click it, type in a phone number, which can be a landline or cell phone number. Or, if there is a list of your favorite contacts already there, just click on the name of the person you want to call. Google will dial the number and you can talk using the computer’s microphone and speakers. Most calls in the U.S. and Canada are free. International rates are dirt cheap, starting at one cent a minute to India.

Or, you can switch to Skype, which is free for calling other Skype users. To hook up, go to  If the person you’re calling is not a Skype user, their global calling rate is two cents a minute. Skype makes it real easy to leave messages if someone doesn’t answer. You can also make free calls using Apple’s “Facetime;” once again, only if the other person is connected to Facetime.

joy cardApp Happy

“PhotoDirector,” free for Android and iPhone, has been downloaded more than 10 million times by Android users alone. It lets you change the color tone of your photos, fix flaws, add special effects, and use frames.

You can do a lot of these things in other apps, such as Instagram, which has been downloaded over 100 million times. But you can only send your creation to other Instagram users unless you copy the web address for the image and paste it into an email. PhotoDirector lets you email it directly and share it on other websites, such as Twitter or Facebook. Joy used a “Happy Birthday” frame to frame a picture of herself for Bob.

Who You Gonna Call?

A new study at Stanford University found that the results of most studies are false and in those where the findings were true, they were usually of little significance. Our question for today: Does that include the study by Stanford University?

Too Slow

slow computer
Computer running hot and slow? Dust your chips. A fuzzy jungle collects inside and it’s a job for Tarzan of the Vacuum Cleaner.

For the keyboard, you can try the vacuum cleaner, but if it’s a pretty good one it might suck the caps right off the keys and you’ll never figure out what’s what. For keyboard cleaning, use a can of compressed air, which can be purchased from any office supply store. They’re also useful for other dust jobs.

Restarting your computer also speeds things up. So does clicking the bottom of your screen with your right mouse button and clicking to end any of the tasks you don’t need down there. But some programs linger even after you close them, and it’s hard to find their traces. One of the worst is Microsoft Outlook, which like some kind of maniac cow pie machine always leaves droppings behind.

For more tips, click here: “13 reasons your computer is too slow.”

Numbers Report: Parents

About 68 percent of parents say they worry that their kids are turning into tech zombies,  according to Influence Central, a market research firm. Here are some other findings.

  • 26 percent say their children seem to not hear them when they’re engaged in electronic pursuits. (Our observation has been this was true long before computers came around.)
  • 43 percent of 2016 respondents charge four to six powered devices at night, while 11 percent charge between seven and nine. (NOTE: This is one of the most boring findings we’ve ever received.)
  • 19 percent of homes in 2012 didn’t have a desktop computer. This year it’s up to 31 percent as people increasingly shift to laptops, phones and tablets.

Exercise Videos From YouTube

With the right search terms, you can find great exercises on Here are some that impressed Joy.

  • two doctorsBest exercises for osteoporosis on YouTube.” Search on that term to find some great exercise recommendations. We liked the one where two ordinary doctors demonstrate three ways to do push-ups, as well as lunges and other exercises.
  • jillian michaelsJillian Michaels YouTube.” Michaels is best known for her appearances on the TV show “Biggest Loser.” Her exercise sessions are like Marine boot camp, but if you’re up for a challenge, this is it.
  • briohny smyth yoga on YouTube-Briohny Smyth yoga on YouTube.” Joy took her yoga practice to the next level with a subscription to, which features Smyth as one of the trainers. But you can watch her for free on YouTube.


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