A reader writes: “I switched from Norton AntiVirus to Kaspersky. Now, I’ve received a notice that I’ve exceeded the secure connection limits. I don’t even know what this means. Did I make a mistake switching? I paid $20 for it. Norton was $50.”

We found out that the $20 is like a trial subscription for Kaspersky’s anti-virus, because it’s almost impossible to keep within the introductory “connection limits,” which only allow 200 megabytes worth of data per day. An upgrade costs $30 a year and covers five devices, with unlimited data. That’s still cheaper than Norton. After an introductory period, Norton costs $80 a year for one computer. Kaspersky gets excellent reviews but is based in Russia. Because of that connection, the U.S. government has banned its use in federal offices.

You could skip buying an anti-virus program. Experts say it’s enough to use the free Windows Defender, which is part of Windows, and the free version of Just be careful about opening email attachments and try never to click on suspicious links.

Windows Defender gets good reviews. According to, it only slows your web browsing by four percent. The industry average is 10 percent. In addition, Defender yields fewer false positives than competitors and will warn you if you’re about to encounter a malicious website or program. If free programs worry you, the paid version of, for $40, protects against both viruses and malware.

Moving to 4G, the Faster Connection

Another reader wrote to say: “My mother, who has dementia, has a flip phone that she has used for years. She remembers how to dial my number. What will I do when Verizon shuts off service?” He’s referring to the planned cut off of support for 3G phones at the end of the year. Other companies are shutting it off sometime next year or later.

 We told him not to do anything at first. Though the phone won’t get updates and you could lose your connection occasionally, you can always call back, or hit star 69, which tells you the number of the last caller. He agreed: “You can’t change anything they know, even the remote control.”

 What if you have a lot of connection problems? Last week, we thought the new smart feature phone (there are many makers) was worth considering. But there’s another way out. Get a flip phone that works with the 4G network. If you search on the phrase “4G flip phone,” you’ll find half a dozen or more. Examples include the Jitterbug Flip for $75, the Kyocera Cadence S2720 for $77 and the Alcatel “TracFone MyFlip 4G Prepaid Phone for Seniors,” for $15. Reviews average three out of five stars, but for someone who doesn’t want complications, that’s good enough.



Vegan Thanksgiving Dish

Merriam Webster time traveler.” Search on those words to travel back in time, discovering when certain words were added to the dictionary. For example, in 1844, we got the word “telephone.” In 1974, we got “Internet,” and “junk bond.” The year 1917 added a ton of new words, including “columnist,” “egg foo yong,” “mobster,” “piggy bank,” and “activist.” is Chef Jenne Claiborne’s plant-based recipe site. Joy is going to try some of her Thanksgiving recipes.

Bad Connection

We have a Google mesh network to boost the Internet signal in the bedroom, otherwise we can’t connect. But after AT&T sent us a new router, it stopped working. Even the wise heads at Google couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

When we get a bad tech support person, our usual response is to say “we have empty our wastebaskets now.” They go out with the trash. Then, when we call back, we get a new person. But this time the second person was no better than the first.

So we said forget it, who needs a WiFi signal in the bedroom anyway. That’s when we noticed. Bob’s Pixel 3a phone picks up WiFi perfectly, no problem. That’s not the case for Joy’s Pixel 2, her Kindle Fire, the Amazon Echo or the Google Home smart speaker. So sometimes it pays to invest in new technology. Also it lets Bob lord it over Joy.

Google Shortcuts

Here’s a quick way to access Google’s calendar. Just type “” or “cal.meeting” without the quotes into the address bar when you’re using Google Chrome. A calendar page opens up, ready for you to put in the name of the event, a description, a location and best of all, notifications to alert you when it’s time to go to the event.

Our favorite type of notification is an email sent to us 10 hours in advance. We never fail to look at email, though we often forget to look at our calendar. If you prefer an alert by text message just minutes before the event, choose that instead. Just click “add notification.” You can choose any time period you want for email or text alerts.

Numbers Report

According to Common Sense Media, if a child reaches the age of 11 without getting their first smartphone, they’re in the minority. Around 53 percent of U.S. children have one, and 84 percent of teenagers do. Teenagers spend seven hours a day on their phones, children ages eight to 12 spend five. However, as National Public Radio reports, the survey double counts. If you spend an hour playing a game on your phone while also texting, the survey counts that as two hours. (Mass demonstration from game players to follow.) The biggest use is watching videos: nearly three hours for teens and two and a half hours for the eight to 12 age group.


Comments are closed.