Q. Facebook is driving me nuts. I really want to see what my daughter posts, but it’s always buried way down the page. Is there some way to fix this?
A. There are lots of ways to control exactly who you see in your News Feed, but Facebook just added a simple new option. Click on your daughter’s name to go to her profile. Look for the button that says “Following.” Click it and select “See First.” Now your daughter’s new posts will appear at the top of your News Feed. You can do this for other friends as well, but just don’t go overboard or you’ll run into the same problem again. Here are four more Facebook tricks you need to know, from improving your security and privacy to helping people get your name right. And is Amazon a social network too? Read to the end to learn about your public profile on Amazon and how you can control what it shows to the world.
Clean a smartphone screen
Q. I took a good look at my smartphone screen the other day and it’s beyond gross. I tried wiping it down, but it doesn’t seem to be getting clean and I don’t want to scratch or damage it. What should I do?
A. To clean any kind of gadget screen, you should be using a microfiber cloth to avoid scratches. These usually do a good job of cleaning on their own, but for tougher jobs lightly dampen the cloth with distilled water. In extreme cases, you can make a 1:1 mixture of distilled water and isopropyl rubbing alcohol or white vinegar and use that. Learn more about cleaning your gadgets from screens to cases to computer interiors, including a few things not to do.
A small, cheap PC
Q. I heard you helping a caller on your national radio show with exactly what I am looking for. I want a small cheap computer to handle email and Facebook. What did you recommend?
A. You can find plenty of cheap refurbished computers for less than $100, but those typically have large tower cases. If you don’t care about having Windows, a Chromebook is a laptop that costs less than $200 and runs Google’s ChromeOS. It’s great for basic Internet tasks. For a small and cheap Windows PC, look at Intel’s Compute Stick. It costs $130, runs the latest Windows 10, and is only a bit larger than a USB flash drive. To use it, you will need a TV or monitor with HDMI, a Wi-Fi network and a wireless keyboard and mouse, or a USB hub. Get more details on Intel’s Compute Stick, along with other small cheap PCs. And by the way, next time you want to hear a part of my show again, download the podcast.
Do I have a smartphone addiction?
Q. I’ve had four people tell me in the last week I’m addicted to my smartphone. How do I know if they’re right?
A. The word “addicted” gets misused quite a bit when it comes to technology and is usually just a way to say, “uses it a lot.” However, actual smartphone addiction is a real and growing problem. A simple test is to lock your smartphone in a drawer and go do something else. If you find yourself getting anxious, distracted with thinking about the phone, or can’t force yourself to part with it in the first place, then you’ll want to seek professional help. Of course, there are many levels of addiction. Learn more signs and symptoms of a smartphone addiction, and how you can start on the road to recovery, or stop it before it starts.
Sell old tech to pay for new tech
Q. I really want the new iPhone 6S, but my bank account is a little thin. Do you think I could sell my old iPhone to help cover the cost?
A. There are tons of people who sell their old gadgets to help them buy new gadgets. You can scope out how much your old gadget is worth using a site like Sage BlueBook. Then you can try selling it yourself online or trading it in for store credit with Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Amazon. Trading it in is fast and guaranteed, but you’ll usually get less than you would by selling it yourself. Either way, it’s a good idea to wait until after you have your new gadget and it’s working the way you want before giving up your old one. Get details on trade-in programs, where to sell and one thing you absolutely must do before selling any tech gadget.
Bonus: Control your privacy on Amazon
Q. I just discovered that if you have an Amazon account, it makes a public profile for you, including your real name! I thought it was a retail company, not a social network. How can I make this stop?
A. Amazon does create a public profile for you when you sign up, but it only displays public information, such as your public wish list, reviews and ratings, not browsing or purchase history. Plus, you can control what information it displays, including what name it shows. To edit your profile, open Amazon, click on the “Your Account” button in the top right area and select “Your Account.” Scroll down to the “Personalization” section. Click the “Your Public Profile” link, which is the first one under “Community” to see and edit your profile. Get the full scoop on what settings you can adjust and how to make sure Amazon isn’t sharing information about you on Facebook and Twitter.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.
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