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Bob Rankin: 10 Identity Theft Protection Tips

bobr

“A friend of mine lost thousands of dollars because of an identity theft scammer. That person was arrested, but undoing the damage has been difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Can you give me some practical tips to help defend against identity theft?”

Bob Rankin: Time To Upgrade Your Browser?

bobr

If I had to guess the most-often used piece of software on most computers, I would have to go with the Web browser. The Internet is an integral part of most people’s computing experience these days, and the browser is the primary app for interacting with the online world. So it’s surprising to me how lax some people are about keeping their Web browsers up to date. Here’s why that’s so important, and how to get it done…

Bob Rankin: Bob’s Favorite Free Software

bobr

I’m happy to talk about freeware. There are thousands of free programs available online. But there are only a handful that I consider essential, and I download them to every new computer. From security to web browsing, to graphics, productivity, and troubleshooting, here are seven of the most popular and useful free downloads.

Bob Rankin: How To Track or Locate a Cell Phone

bobr

There are many reasons you might want to locate a cell phone and track its movements. Perhaps you lost your phone and would like it back. You might be an anxious parent, a government agent, or you could be part of a group of friends who want to keep tabs during a night on the town. Whatever your reason for tracking a cell phone, there are several ways to go about doing it. Here’s the scoop on cell phone tracking…

Bob Rankin: Is Chrome the Best Browser?

bobr

“I’m thinking of switching to the Google Chrome browser. I like Firefox, but lately it has been unstable on my computer, and seems to get bogged down. Yesterday I had to shut it down because it was consuming 825MB of memory! My friend says Chrome is the best – what is your opinion?”

Bob Rankin: Can VoIP Replace Your Landline?

bobr

“I have a landline and a cell phone, so I’m thinking of dropping the landline phone in favor of VoIP phone service, to save some money. What is your opinion of VoIP, and what are the pros and cons of using it to replace a traditional landline?”

Bob Rankin: All-In-One Printer Buying Guide

bobr

An all-in-one printer performs four classic office functions: printing, scanning, copying, and faxing. There are pros and cons to all-in-one printers, and some factors to look at when shopping for one. Here’s what you should know before buying, and a few of my top picks for your home or office…

Bob Rankin: Can Roku Replace Cable TV?

bobr

If you’re thinking about dropping your cable TV in favor of online TV and movie streaming, you should know about the Roku box, which makes it simple to bring online video to your big screen TV. Here’s a review of the latest Roku 2 models, and my take on whether it can replace your cable TV subscription…

Bob Rankin: Should You Upgrade Your CPU?

bobr

“Should I upgrade my CPU? I work with photos and videos a lot, and often wish my computer was faster. Will a CPU upgrade really help me, or are there other more important factors I should consider?

Bob Rankin: Is Magic Jack phone service for real?

bobr

“Is Magic Jack phone service for real? I’ve seen commercials for Magic Jack, a device you can plug into your computer for really cheap phone service. It sounds too good to be true… is MagicJack a scam, or does it really work?”

Bob Rankin: Have You Made These Five Computing Mistakes?

bobr

I hate to sound unsympathetic, but most computer problems are caused by careless users. There are a few basic steps you can take to avoid malware infections, data loss, and performance issues. But too many people try to save time or money by cutting corners, and they end up paying the price…

Bob Rankin: How Fast is Your PC?

bobr

“I’m shopping for a new PC, and it’s difficult to get an overall rating for how fast a computer is, under real world conditions. Some benchmarks show raw CPU speed, but I’m looking for more than that. Can you recommend any free software to measure system performance?”

Bob Rankin: Time to Buy a Webcam?

bobr

The 90’s are over, and you still don’t have a webcam? Lots of laptops come with built-in webcams, but if you have a desktop computer, it’s pretty simple to install and use one. If you’re not convinced, read on for some fun and practical uses for a webcam…

Bob Rankin: Digital Scanners To The Rescue

bobr

We’re buried in paper, despite all the things we have digitized. Letters, bills, receipts, and other paper documents keep piling up. Some must be kept for years as tax records. What can we do with this growing mountain of paper, besides buy another filing cabinet?

Bob Rankin: 5 Good Reasons to Trash Your Fax Machine

bobr

“I can’t believe how many professional offices still insist on sending and receiving documents by fax. It’s like they’ve never heard of email or the Internet. I’d love it if you could give me a list of reasons why people should stop using old fashioned fax machines. I’ll e-fax it to my accountant!”

Bob Rankin: How to Clean Up Your Hard Drive

bobr

Are you running out of space on your hard drive? Maybe you’re getting that annoying “low disk space” message. Don’t ignore it, or your computer could soon begin to malfunction. Here’s how to clean your hard drive and make sure your computer is running smoothly…

Bob Rankin: All External Hard Drives are Not Created Equal

bobr

“I’m buying an external hard drive for my backups, as you have often recommended. But I’ve bogged down in the details – capacity, transfer speed, USB vs. Firewire, etc. Can you give me some tips on choosing an external drive for backups?”

Bob Rankin: How I Got Hacked… & Why You MUST Have a Backup!

bobr

Last week I heard from a friend who thought she might have been infected by a virus. When she visited her own website, it was redirecting her to another web address. It sounded like a simple Javascript redirect, so I assumed it would be safe to visit her site and see where the problem was. Turns out that was a BIG mistake! Find out what happened to my computer, and how I finally managed to recover from the damage…