Technology Q&A

by July

Let’s talk tech.

33 Mostly Free Ways to Fix Your Family’s Tech Problems – WSJ

Do these tips make sense to you?  What other advice do you have for tech problems?

I can relate to this:

Spam calls have stopped people from answering their phones

Plus mostly good stuff on the horizon:

From Wi-Fi to Bluetooth to 5G, All Your Wireless Is About to Change – WSJ

Does you have any questions about technology issues?  Post them in the comments and we may be able to help each other out.


41 thoughts on “Technology Q&A

  1. My current tech issue is that my phone’s voice mail box keeps telling callers that it’s full even though I deleted all but a few voice mails. This actually works in my favor in preventing some callers from leaving VMs, but sometimes I do need a message, like the delivery guy that was trying to get hold of me. A few minutes of troubleshooting didn’t fix the problem, so now I have to take a deep breath and set aside 30 minutes or more to investigate. This may be a Verizon issue so I may need an hour or more.

  2. @ July – this is a common issue. Go to your voice mail page, and you will see “deleted messages.” Click on that, an in the upper right it will say “clear all.” Click on that, and then your voice mails will actually be deleted. I am assuming you have an iPhone. This is a stupid, stupid feature that deleted messages are not actually gone, and therefore use up space, until you clear them.

  3. Lark, I tried that and the recording still says the mail box is full and cannot accept any messages at this time. Darn! I think it’s a Verizon problem.

  4. July, I have the same voice mail box at random times, even after the extra deletion step. The weird thing is that sometimes the full mail box goes away without action on my part.

  5. “If it’s still the default password, something like HGN*&$!A198OFU,
    you should log into the router and change it to something humans can remember and use.”

    Oy,oy,oy, our cybersecurity faculty would be having fits if they saw this. Also, not a good idea to have an easy to break wifi password if you have young teens around and are blocking stuff with OpenDNS or some such.

  6. Our landline got so staticy that we couldn’t hear the calls. So DH went out yesterday and found the source of the problem – a paticular wire on the outside. He tried to deal with it himself, and now we have no phone at all, and a Verizon tech coming on Thursday. Sigh.

  7. I rarely will pick up a ringing phone. My kids just assume that phones are not for answering. Even my desk phone at work is all spam. I only pick it up if I recognize caller ID.

  8. We got a Ring doorbell but no one in our house wants to answer the door. So, yes a few of us who are paranoid about security (I am not one of them) can see who is at the door but everyone waits for some else to get the door. The Louise household is waiting for remote control microwave, dishwasher and a door with face recognition.

  9. My kids just assume that phones are not for answering.
    Wow, I can relate to that! We had one phone for our family’s personal calls and my dad’s medical calls, which could include post-op patients or a patient who had just injured their eye and hadn’t gone to the hospital yet. These people were worried, and didn’t necessarily realize they had called the doc’s home and gotten an 8-year-old kid. So we picked up by 3 rings, and had professional-sounding “hello” and “let me get him for you; just a minute please” down at an early age. We also knew to take good notes, filtering out just the parts he’d want to hear. My kid does none of that. It kills me–too many rings, rude (to my ears) voice, doesn’t know what the person said….argh! Good thing phone calls are rare these days, or I’d’ve killed him long ago, lol.

  10. Forgive me if this turns out to be a double post.
    I can really relate to “My kids just assume that phones are not for answering.”
    In my case, the irritation is multiplied, because my dad got after-hours patient calls on our home phone, so we sounded professional very early. My kid is lucky phone calls are rare these days, or I would have killed him over egregiously letting it ring more than 3 times, saying “hello” rudely, or not at all, and/or taking no notes.

  11. On our landline we have a system that announces the caller. It’s really old so the announcer has this very robotic voice and weird pronunciation. We can barely understand it. We rarely answer it since that’s the number we give out only when forced to, the only exception is that its the number our building uses to contact us. Anyone who really knows us calls our mobiles.

    Do your kids only talk on the phone on speaker phone? For some reason mine do. They refuse to put the phone to their ear.

  12. Random question – if you’re talking to your kids and referring to your significant other, do you call your SO by his/her name or by mom/dad? When our kids were little, I’d say “dad will be home soon” meaning DH. Now that my kids are teens, that feels a little odd – but so does saying “David will be home soon.”

  13. Seattle — When I’m talking to my kids about DH, I always call him “Dad,” and I probably always will. When I’m talking directly to DH, I always call him “Honey,” and again I probably always will. DH follows the same pattern (though a different nickname when he talks directly to me).

  14. ssm, our kids are 19 and 15 and we still call each other mom and dad when speaking to them. I expect that to continue I think forever.

    My brothers and I also referred to our mother primarily as Mom, but sometimes would refer to her by her first name when she wasn’t physically present. If we were speaking in her presence, it was always mom.

  15. On topic, 14-year-old DS has become our at-home tech guy, and it’s great. He regularly counsels us on ways to improve our tech set-up. Actually, right now as I write this he is working on #1 in that WSJ article — moving the router. He is convinced that the current location is not optimal for his being able to play Fortnite uninterrupted by wifi glitches.

  16. I use Dad Granpa Bubbe to my children, and your Dad to Stepson. I refer to my grandchildren’s parents when speaking to them usually as Dad/Daddy or Mom/Mommy. When they feel like acting wise they say, they’re not your Dad/Mom, but Jimmmm/Marrrrry. The other grandparents are Grammy and Pop, no argument.

  17. My kids have graduated from calling us Mommy and Daddy to Mom and Dad. I don’t anticipate that changing, although my sister called our father “pop” a lot, and DD has sometimes used similar synonyms for me.

  18. 4:20 was me.

    When I speak to my kids about DW, I’ll interchangeably refer to her as Mom, or your Mom.

    When she’s not happy with me, DW will refer to me to our kids as “your father.”

  19. “July, I have the same voice mail box at random times, even after the extra deletion step. The weird thing is that sometimes the full mail box goes away without action on my part.”

    That seems consistent with the issue being with your provider, not your phone. It seems like your voicemail is stored by your provider, and your provider doesn’t automatically delete messages right away when you delete them.

  20. “If it’s still the default password, something like HGN*&$!A198OFU,
    you should log into the router and change it to something humans can remember and use.”

    I agree with half of this, you should change your password from the default. As for the other part, IMO it’s more important to be something difficult to crack than one that’s easy to remember, although I think it’s possible to do both.

  21. My youngest will call me / refer to me when we’re home by my first name sometimes. DW hates that, but between us it’s part of our relationship. Otherwise it’s Dad when the three of them call/refer to me. DW refers to me most of the time as Dad or your Dad, but sometimes as your Father. The dividing line is not as clear as Finn’s example.

    The guys call DW Mom, except for DS1, who sometimes calls her Ma, which she hates, if he thinks she’s being irritating. I refer to her as Mom.

    She calls me by my first name almost always, unless she wants to call me on the carpet for some minor thing then it’s “yo (shortened last name)”

  22. On-topic: I am very happy to have DH as my tech guru. And DS seems to be happily learning at the feet of the master.

    Totally off-topic, schools are closed again today for the second day in a row due to ice. I predicted yesterday, as it was supposed to be sleet/gropple/freezing rain through 3-4, and was happy to have a lazy day around the house. And today was supposed to be a 2-hr delay — slightly weenie, as it was supposed to be 33 and warming overnight, but I figured they were giving the ice plenty of time to melt, so I was surprised and pissed to get the call at 7:15 that they canceled again. Then I came downstairs: it never got above 31, and we still have at least an inch of ice on everything. So I begrudgingly have to admit they made the right call — once again, it is supposed to warm up over the course of the day, but the buses would need to be out and about now if they had done the 2-hr delay, and it’s pretty clear that the sidewalks and such are not safe. Ugh. I just want to be back to a normal week, you know?

    On the plus side, when we bought DH’s car, it was equipped with summer tires, which struck both of us as massively stupid, so we negotiated for all-seasons. Looking like a smart decision right about now (we don’t pick up the car until tomorrow, but it’s still a good affirmation of the decision).

  23. What the heck? Last comment was me — speaking of tech, don’t know why the site logged me out, wonder if DH did something to the computer.

  24. I’m getting logged out too each time.

    Does anyone have, or has anyone test driven, the VW Atlas? We are beginning to research cars seriously now, with the intention of buying summer or early fall. Making a list of the ones we’ll test drive. Criteria are must be super safe, and I have to like it enough to drive it myself, as we are emphasizing this is a family car, not a gift for a new driver.

  25. Have decided not to pass my car down. Too big and bulky for a new driver, and the rollover rating in an over-correction situation is terrible.

  26. Have decided not to pass my car down. Too big and bulky for a new driver, and the rollover rating in an over-correction situation is terrible.

  27. Lark –
    We have an Audi Q7, essentially the same car as the Atlas. We like the Audi a lot. Obv. tricked out more as standard than the VW. But the folks at Motor Trend would say “Most MT editors have few if any children, and our trailering needs are modest to nonexistent. Hence it’s easy for us to gravitate toward the sybaritic pleasures of the richly appointed, slightly better-handling Audi. Throw a few teens or tweens into the brood with attendant carpooling duties, and the car-decision Ouija board indicator swooshes quickly toward the roomier, more wash-n-wear VW.”

    Note: the Q7 has been redesigned (for 2019 I think), so not the same car as in the review.

    PS – my handle keeps getting deleted too.

  28. Lark, worth checking the Volvos — I loved the XC60 and 90 (I preferred the XC60 since we don’t need the 3rd-row seats anymore), as lux as you want it (or not) and with every safety feature known to man. And of course the S90 that DH just bought if you are looking for a larger sedan.

  29. Yes, XC60 and XC90 are both on our list. I previously had the XC90 and loved it, but it was too small for carpooling and traded it for the minivan. BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, and 3 different Subarus are also on the list.

  30. @ Finn – no Tesla dealership in our town and for something like a Tesla I wouldn’t buy without easy access to a dealership. Also no Audi dealership, otherwise a Q5 or Q7 would probably be on the list.

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