Tech Updates for July

Windows 10 always wants to market new ideas, and a
new one is called News and Interests. As part of May’s Super Tuesday update, Microsoft put in a new widget to “surface news, sports scores, and stocks based upon your interests,” and it may show up on your taskbar. To get rid of it, right-click on an empty portion of your taskbar, select News and Interests, and then click Turn off.

Unsubscribe Junk

Junk mail is the bane of email, and legitimate senders (if there is such a thing) include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of their emails. This feature is often leveraged by scammers to “verify” that you actually read to the bottom of their email and thus might read more junk emails. And a newer type of email is making the rounds; one that looks like those email subscription confirmations that we have been getting used to but instead come from places we might not recognize. So, what to do? Emails that come from well-known companies “should” be safe to unsubscribe from, but skip the others.

Amazon’s Shared WiFi

Is it worth participating in Amazon’s Echo internet sharing? Amazon has enabled low-power, small, public WiFi networks on their Echo devices—almost any Echo sold in the past five years. The first reaction most people have is, “Abso- lutely not! How do I turn it off?” I’ll get to that, but first, here are the details.

Sidewalk might use up to 500 MB of data each month and 80 Kbps of band- width at any given moment. It is also a network for certain low-powered internet features over Bluetooth, like being able to use a Ring device that isn’t close enough to your WiFi network; instead, it could use your neighbor’s Sidewalk-enabled Amazon device. If you don’t want to allow this feature, open up your Alexa mobile phone app, go into Settings, then Account Settings, then Amazon Sidewalk (if you don’t see this choice, you might need to update your Alexa app) and turn off either or both Community Finding and Amazon Sidewalk.

Venmo Privacy

Venmo is an easy way to get or send money to friends and family, but it defaults to sharing all your transactions with the world. There are two settings you should change, if you want to keep your transac- tions private. Open the Venmo app and click into the three-line menu icon in the upper right. Tap Settings (you might have to scroll down) then Privacy, where you can change your default privacy setting to Private. This only affects transactions going forward. To protect your previous activity, tap on Past Transactions and tap Change all to Private. While you’re at it, take a look at the section labeled Friends List, where you can limit how you show up to other Venmo users.

Edge Coupons

If you like Microsoft Edge but wonder why it keeps offering coupons, you might want to turn off its shopping notifications. Start by clicking on the triple dot icon in the upper right of the Edge window, then click on Settings, then click Privacy, search, and services in the left-hand column, and then scroll to the bottom of the right-hand page for the Services section, where you can turn off the shopping feature. You might want to review your other privacy settings while you’re there.

Don’t Forget to Remember

Feeling trapped by those Apple iPhone/ iPad free trial apps that you forget to cancel when your free trial period ended? You can find the subscriptions by going into the App Store; tap on your “face” icon in the upper right corner and you should see the Subscriptions choice to tap. Wait for it to load and fill in all your subscriptions, and then use the Cancel button accordingly.

Norton Crypto

Norton Lifelock, through its early adopter program, is testing a feature to allow their subscribers to mine Etherium cryptocur- rency while the computer is idle (if you have an NVIDIA 1050 graphics card with 3+ GB of RAM). If that means nothing to you, don’t worry; Norton is testing how to let people make cryptocurrency without having their antivirus software complain about malicious software running in the background. Not surprisingly, Norton takes a sizable 15% administrative cut of what you have mined when you pay or cash out.

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