Check Your Data and Dinosaurs

Were dinosaurs living near your house millions of years ago? You can find out at by clicking on the link to their interactive globe of ancient Earth. Be prepared for changes in water levels and locations.

Internet Explorer 11 is finally going out of support next year, but it’s dropping out of Microsoft Teams support next month. Some of you may still use IE 11 because you are used to it or you have sites that seem to work best in the browser. It is time to switch to Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Vivaldi or any browser based on Chromium from Google.

If you have a digital voice assistant, such as Alexa, you may want to tell it to delete conversations on a regular basis. Saying “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” should take care of it—but you have to find the buried setting: open Alexa on your phone and go to Settings, Alexa Account, Alexa Privacy, and Review Voice History. Toggle to “Enable deletion by voice” and start a daily habit. Other assistants have abilities like this, but they are buried or enabled with different methods.

Likewise, you should download and check the data (and settings) you have posted on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. I would include Google as another place to check. As each service has different ways to do this, the best advice is to access the site’s help section and search for some variation of “download archive” or “download settings.” It may seem intimidating, but it is good to know what details of your life each service is keeping.

Smartphone photos must be backed up if they have value to you. You can backup online (for $2–$3 a month) or to your computer. Check that your backups are actually being backed up. Many online services have a way for you to see what is stored on their sites. If you transfer photos to your own computer, make sure they are backed up to an external hard drive, for example.

An intriguing news comparison site, Ground News, helps check and adjust news sources to burst news bubbles and counter biases, or to see how reporting changes over time. For their full suite of features, you need to subscribe, but you can start to explore what they offer at

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