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Perfect Emojis and a Natural Smile

If you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro with Apple’s newer “butterfly switch”-type keyboard, and letters or characters repeat unexpectedly or do not appear or if keys feel sticky or do not respond in a consistent manner, you should check in with an Apple-authorized repair place to see if Apple will replace that keyboard, even if your laptop is out of warranty.

Small but important search tips for Google (and Bing) include: putting quotes around a phrase make it a literal search; using a minus sign in front of a word ensures the word is not included in search results; inserting a tilde (~) will include synonyms; and adding double dots or periods will indicate a range for pricing or dates.

There are times you just need to find the perfect emoji, but it can be hard to locate it on your device. Try emojicopy.com, where you can search and copy emojis into all sort of communications. And if you need to decode the string of emojis just sent to you, try pasting them into decodemoji.com.

Sometimes you want to ID a plant or bug with your phone. Try Google Lens, part of the Google Photos app on either Android or iOS, to pull information from a photo, like contact information or an event date from a flyer, in addition to seeing if you can ID plants and such.

Here’s an anti-identity theft tip: a natural smile in an ID photo may make it more difficult to fake being you. A somewhat neutral and natural smile seems to be hard for others to copy.

We’re all always looking for more security and privacy tools, and there’s a new one to clean caches and securely erase free space on your Windows computer. Called Privazer and coming from France, it will help you securely erase those traces of financial data you might not realize stick around on the hard drive. Try it at privazer.com.

Just as there is often hidden tracking data in digital documents, there are similar tracking items or dots in printed items. If you want to descend into the weeds of how printed documents can be traced back to their printer, see some recent work by researchers in Germany at dfd.inf.tu-dresden.de. If you feel comfortable with the command line in Windows 10, you can install a tool that “enables automatic extraction, decoding and anonymization of document color tracking dots.” This won’t guarantee that you can create tracking-free documents, but at least you will learn more about how not even printing can save you from being tracked.