When to Repair and When to Replace

When deciding between repairing a broken computer and buying a new one, you should consider the age of your computer, the repair cost, the cost of the replacement, and the cost of the new software that you might have to buy. Generally, if the computer is more than five years old, the repair costs may not be worth it, especially if you are spending more than 20% to 30% of the cost of a new or refurbished replacement. For a new Mac running the latest operating system (Catalina), you might have to purchase new versions of software. For both Windows and Mac, if you don’t have the installation discs for additional software like Office or QuickBooks, you will have to buy them again. In the end, repairs are great for keeping hardware out of the landfills, but sometimes a cheap repair may not be the best choice.

Google’s Arts and Culture division makes it possible to translate ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Started in 2017 with a project at the British Museum, the group has been working with academics to explain the translation process and provide feedback on the tools and models created for three phases of translation: extraction, classification and translation. You can have fun by translating English into hieroglyphs that you can email. Your results are limited to the available translatable hieroglyphs. For instance, there is no equivalent for “machine learning.” I know because I tried. You can explore more at experiments.withgoogle.com/fabricius.

Gmail users have been able to schedule an email to send at a specific time, and now users of Outlook can do the same thing. After composing an email through outlook.com but before sending it, click on the drop-down arrow to the right of “Send” to get to “Send later.” You can set the date and time for your email to go out. It will be in your drafts folder until sent, so you can edit or delete it.

In the latest iPhone operating system, iOS 14, Apple has added a small green or orange dot to indicate when your camera or microphone is being used (green for the camera, orange for the mic). This dot is in the upper right-hand corner of the screen near the battery indicator. To check what apps will use your camera and microphone, go to Settings, Privacy, and then Camera or Microphone.

You can change the search engine used by the Windows 10 start menu. Of course, there is not a Microsoft setting, but there is an app called Search Deflector. The app’s creator says it’s “a small system utility that redirects searches made from the start menu or Cortana to whatever browser and search engine you prefer, removing ties with Microsoft Edge and Bing.” It’s available at github.com/spikespaz/search-deflector. If you’re looking to switch to a browser that doesn’t track you or collect your information, you could make DuckDuckGo (duckduckgo.com) your default search engine.

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