If you get a lot of spam calls on your smartphone but rarely makes calls yourself, you may have thought about changing your number. In theory, it’s easy: once all your important contacts have your new number, they will be able to contact you. And if you message people through social platforms, nothing needs to change: all that is over the Internet. If you do change your number, avoid giving out the new one, unless it is really necessary, to avoid getting back on the spam callers’ lists. There are two downsides to changing your number: you will have to change your number on record for all medical and financial institutions (some who may sell your phone number); and you don’t know whose old number you might be getting as your new one. You might end up with even more spam calls. As an alternative, you could sign up for a Google Voice number (if you have a Google account) and only give out that number, setting it up to forward texts or emails of voice messages.
Switching music streaming services, re-creating playlists and adding music into your library, among other tasks, can be simplified with FreeYourMusic (freeyourmusic.com). A $15 app, it’s available for most operating systems, phone or computer, and works with most major streaming services. Be aware that not all services carry the same music, so some songs may not be available on a new service.
You have likely heard of facial recognition, and now you can experience some of the assumptions and training that goes into the artificial intelligence (AI) that powers these systems. Go to hownormalami.eu, which will ask you to turn on your camera, and then go through what it calculates about you.
If you use Google Hangouts, back up important conversations. The service will change to Hangouts in November. Google says most chats should migrate into Chat, but think about using their Takeout service (takeout.google.com) for backup, just in case. If you use this service, you’ll select only Hangouts (not photos or email). Follow the prompts—the default settings are fine—and you will be able to download one or more large Zip files.
To make you jealous of zoos on the other side of the world, visit Zoos Victoria (www.zoo.org.au). I now have another place on my growing bucket list.