Over 167 million robocalls are made to Americans each day, according to YouMail. That’s about 61 billion calls for 2019. 

Robocalls represent over 50 percent of all phone traffic. They have become the modern equivalent of mail addressed to “occupant.” Some of these calls appear to be coming from your own area code. That’s what really throws people. Because you think, maybe it’s Uncle Max. On the other hand, maybe you don’t want to talk to Uncle Max.

We use the “call screen” feature on our two Google Pixel phones to avoid robocalls. But the new Pixel 4 has something better. 

The Pixel 4 phone won’t ring at all if it senses a robocall. What happens if it’s not a robocall, but it’s not someone on your contact list either? In that case, the phone rings a few moments later with info on who’s calling and why. 

For non-Pixel phones, turn on “Do Not Disturb” in settings, blocking all calls except those from contacts. That choice is right there when you tap “Settings,” “Sound,” and “Do Not Disturb.” On an iPhone, go to “Settings,”  then “Do Not Disturb,” and tap “Allow Calls From.” From there, “All Contacts” is one of the choices. 

But that’s risky. Some calls that are not from your contacts may be legitimate. A young relative missed a crucial job interview that way. If you do decide to turn on “Do Not Disturb,” make sure you’ve added important people to your contact list.

Sharing YouTube Videos

A reader writes: “I used to enjoy sharing a special song now and then but I’ve been blocked since ’17.” He’d like to share his YouTube playlist of 2,107 videos.

Here’s what’s confusing on YouTube: There’s the word “share” when you’re sharing a single video, and an arrow meaning “share” when you want to share a whole playlist. 

To share a video using the YouTube app on your phone, click the word “share” beneath it. Then tap your email account, Facebook, or other social network, and YouTube will put the link in for you. To create a playlist on your phone, tap the three dots next to the title of a video you like and then “Save to playlist.” Keep doing that for other videos until you have your list. Then click the arrow beneath the list to share it. 

 It’s a little different on a computer. First go to To create a playlist, click the plus sign next to three stacked lines that appears below the video. Repeat this step for all the videos you want to include in your list. We created a playlist with songs from our favorite musicals, such as Oklahoma, West Side Story and Singing in the Rain.  Click the arrow under the playlist to share it, then the word “copy.” Now you can paste it into an email with the “Ctrl V” command in Windows or “Cmd V” command on the Mac. 

Facebook Nuisance

Recently, two of Joy’s Facebook friends sent unwanted messages to a group she doesn’t remember joining.  It turns out that Facebook allows people to send text messages to people who aren’t on their friends list, which opens it up to senders with special causes.

One recipient was a PhD scientist and consultant with no spare time. Yet Joy noticed her name popping up as one of the viewers. How embarrassing, she thought. Fortunately, Bob can’t be embarrassed.

So if someone is sending messages to your friends, you  may want to make your friends’ list private. Here’s how: Go to, click the down arrow in the top right. Then click  “Settings,” then “Privacy” and select one of the choices under “How People Find and Contact You.” Joy changed the “who can see your friends list” setting to “only me.” In the Facebook app on your phone, tap the hamburger icon (three stacked lines) and choose “Settings,” then “Privacy Settings.”

If you’re wondering who is in the group you joined,  click on the group’s name. On the group’s home page, look to the right to see how many members there are. Joy belongs to a nutrition group with 11,068 members. So far none of them have texted her on Messenger.


Search on the phrase: “Museums are keeping a ton of the world’s most famous art locked away in storage,” for a fascinating article from Quartz.

Bob was trained to be a curator at the Smithsonian. He learned that about 95 percent of a museum’s collection is never displayed. 

According to, even the five percent that museums do show off isn’t displayed all the time, because even that is too much. The “culturally important” works are rotated. Most works never see the light of day.

Windows Annoyance

Cartoon courtesy of The New Yorker

We find it very annoying that Windows makes us sign in again when we’ve only been away from our desks for a half hour. Here’s how to remove that.

Type “sign In options” in the Windows search box. Look for the sentence: “If you’ve been away, when should Windows require you to sign in again?” Choose “Never” if you don’t want to have to sign in. This reminds us of a New Yorker cartoon. A guy on the phone says: “No, Thursday’s out. How about never — is never good for you?”



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