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Tech Q&A: Text read notifications, eBay alternatives, free office suites and more

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Confirm a text was read

Q: Is there a way to know if someone has actually read my text messages? I send them, and people don’t always reply. So maybe they are just not getting my texts.

A: If you use Facebook Messenger (and similar services), you have probably grown accustomed to knowing when your message has been read and when people are actively writing you back. But many people don’t like their friends and colleagues to know when their texts have been read because it feels like an invasion of privacy. There are workarounds. Click here to find out how to tell when someone sees your text messages.

eBay alternatives

Q: I like eBay, but it seems as if there has been a shortage of government surplus sales at the site. Are there better sites now to find the deals?

A: eBay was a giant of the early internet, earning billions of dollars for itself and its users. Today, eBay remains the go-to auction site for collectors, vendors of used goods and people with too much stuff in their garage. As the internet has become bigger and more diverse, so have its auctioning options. Most of these websites behave just like eBay; what makes them different is where they source their products. Click here for sites that auction government surplus items, as well as waterproof cameras, rare coins and even cars.

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Refine your ad’s geography

Q: How do I advertise my website only to people in a certain zip code or range of zip codes? I own a car detailing service.

A: This is a very shrewd question to ask because a lot of marketers new to online advertising don’t realize that physical geography still matters when trying to target their audience. If you are advertising a family farm in Oklahoma, you probably won’t benefit from clicks in Maine. Digital marketing is an art, but these days most novices can still figure out basic “geo-fencing.” Click here to find out how to geo-fence your target audience.

Quiet phone for sleep

Q: My phone keeps going off at all times in the night. Annoying! Can I silence it and let only the important calls and texts come through?

A: Sleep is precious. So is a little peace and quiet once in a while. It’s hard to enjoy those moments if your phone is sounding off with text messages, calendar notifications and other alerts. Your phone doesn’t have to be the boss of you. Whether you are using an iPhone or Android, take control. Click here to learn how to use Do Not Disturb on your phone.

Microsoft Office substitutes

Q: My daughter is back at college, and now she needs expensive Microsoft software. Are there any options, or do I need to bite the bullet for Word and such?

A: Setting up a new computer isn’t cheap. Once you have purchased a laptop, a printer and some decent antivirus software, the last thing you want to do is spend more money on a word processor. But your daughter will almost certainly need to type out documents, and she will likely require spreadsheets and other

Microsoft Office applications as well. You will be relieved to know that there are similar and compatible programs that you can download for free. Click here for five free downloads every student needs.

What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2017, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.


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