PROTECTION is a great way to protect your computer or phone and it’s free.

The download used to be the premium version which only worked for 14 days. To continue your freebie, you had to go into the settings of your account and turn off the premium version. This wasn’t obvious, so many people continued paying for years. We did.

The difference between Malwarebytes Free and Malwarebytes Premium is this: the free version cleans up problems after they’ve occurred. The premium version gives you protection in advance. For safety’s sake, we decided on a lifetime subscription to the premium version. This is no longer available. Now the premium version costs $40 per year.

Even with the best protection though, it’s a good idea to watch yourself, especially on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving. suggests going to a store’s website instead of searching for it. This is a good idea whenever you know the name of the company you want. We’ll never forget the time we searched on “Sony support” and ended up on a bogus site. The smooth-voiced gent that came on the line advised us that we had a bad virus situation and took control of our computer with one of those remote control programs. The screen began to fill with hundreds of error messages we’d never heard of, and he said: “Well you can see the problem. But we can fix that. It will cost $299.” Joy was on the phone by that time. “Hang up,” Bob said. “What,” Joy said. “Hang up,” Bob said again. And so it went, until Joy had an “Aha! moment” and hung up.

Other safety tips: Ignore pop-up ads, avoid scams on Facebook, and never use a debit card or a public WiFi connection to shop. There are more tips at

Let There Be Music

Lately we’ve been using the free “Google Play Music” to play the music we like.

Google Play Music lets you store up to 50,000 songs on their site for free. Even a long classical piece is considered a song. An easy way to upload them is to use the free “Music Manager,” which you can find by searching on the phrase “Google Music Manager.”

Whenever you put new music on your computer, the Music Manager will automatically upload it to your private account in Google Play Music, which is a free app for Android, iPhone or on the web at Alternatively, there’s a free extension for Chrome users, but it doesn’t work well.

Speaking of frustrations, sometimes we land on a page asking us to pay for Google Play Music. We fell for that last year but later decided we didn’t need the $15-a-month premium version. The premium version takes out the ads and gives you 40 million choices, plus commercial-free radio. But if you just plan to hear your own music list, there are no ads anyway. Or you could turn the volume down when ads are playing. Spotify, which is similar, is $10 a month. Playing our computer’s music files on the Spotify desktop app worked fine, but we couldn’t figure out out to play them on Spotify’s mobile app.

To get music from CDs into digital form so they’re ready to upload to Google Play, use Windows Media Player, iTunes, or a free program like Media Monkey to convert them into digital files. A savvy reader points out that the version of Windows Media Player for Windows 7 and 8.1 may be discontinued soon. His clue: There is no longer a website to connect to for information about each piece.


  • How old is that dog? Search on the phrase “Calculate Your Dog’s Age with this New, Improved Formula.” to find out The calculation is exponential: A two year-old dog is equal to a 42 year-old human, a five-year old dog is 57, and a 10 year-old dog is 68. The American Kennel Club, however, disagrees. They say a two year-old is 24, and after that each year of a dog’s life is equal to five human years. By that formula, Joy’s dog lived to be 99. He was still going strong until he accidentally ingested something poisonous.
  • The Strangest Questions Ever Asked of New York City Librarians.” Search on that phrase to find examples, such as: “What kind of apple did Eve eat?” Or: “Do you have any inspirational materials on grass and lawns?” Check with your local librarian for their favorite questions.
  • Wireless Passwords From Airports and Lounges Around the World.” Search on that phrase to find all the passwords you need to connect to WiFi at major airports. We saw passwords for the Admiral’s Club, for the Delta Sky Club and many more.
  • Check off the items you have in your fridge from their list, and you’ll get recipes. When you see a good one, click “Bookmark it” and it’s saved on the site. You can filter results to make recipes for vegetarians, diabetics etc. Or restrict it to a category like sandwiches, appetizers or salads.

A Pox on Subscriptions

A reader writes that he’s getting a new computer but doesn’t want to get the new version of Quicken accounting software, with a yearly cost of $35 for the starter edition. We say, why not use your old software on your new machine?

It’s always great to stick with what you’re used to. According to the Quicken community support pages, anything from Quicken 14 on up will work fine with Windows 10. We’re big fans of old versions. Joy used Microsoft Word 2007 until it finally stop playing nice on her computer. Bob is still using it. (Don’t tell anybody.)

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