A reader writes: "I switched from Norton AntiVirus to Kaspersky. Now, I've received a notice that I've exceeded the secure connection limits. I don't even know what this means. Did I make a mistake switching? I paid $20 for it. Norton was $50."
We found out that the $20 is like a trial subscription for Kaspersky's anti-virus service, because it's almost impossible to keep within the introductory "connection limits," which allow only 200 megabytes worth of data per day. An upgrade costs $30 a year and covers five devices, with unlimited data. That's still cheaper than Norton. After an introductory period, Norton costs $80 a year for one computer.
Kaspersky gets excellent reviews but is based in Russia. Because of that connection, the U.S. government has banned its use in federal offices.
You could skip buying an anti-virus program. Experts say it's enough to use the free Windows Defender, which is part of Windows, and the free version of Malwarebytes. Just be careful about opening email attachments and try never to click on suspicious links.
Windows Defender gets good reviews. According to safetydetectives.com, it only slows your Web browsing by 4%. The industry average is 10%. In addition, Defender yields fewer false positives than competitors and will warn you if you're about to encounter a malicious website or program. If free programs worry you, the paid version of Malwarebytes, for $40, protects against both viruses and malware.
MOVING TO 4G
Another reader wrote to say: "My mother, who has dementia, has a flip phone that she has used for years. She remembers how to dial my number. What will I do when Verizon shuts off service?"
He's referring to the planned cutoff of support for 3G phones at the end of the year. Other companies are shutting it off sometime next year or later.
We told him not to do anything at first. There are flip phones that work with the 4G network. If you search on the phrase "4G flip phone," you'll find a half-dozen or more. Examples include the Jitterbug Flip for $75, the Kyocera Cadence S2720 for $77 and the Alcatel "TracFone MyFlip 4G Prepaid Phone for Seniors," for $15. Reviews average three out of five stars, but for someone who doesn't want complications, that's good enough.
Search the link "merriam-webster.com/time-traveler" to travel back in time, discovering when certain words were added to the dictionary. For example, in 1844, we got the word "telephone." In 1974, we got "Internet" and "junk bond." The year 1917 added a ton of new words, including "columnist," "egg foo yong," "mobster," "piggy bank" and "activist."
SweetPotatoSoul.com is Chef Jenne Claiborne's plant-based recipe site. Joy is going to try some of her Thanksgiving recipes.
We have a Google mesh network to boost the Internet signal in the bedroom, otherwise we can't connect. But after AT&T sent us a new router, it stopped working. Even the wise heads at Google couldn't figure out what was wrong.
When we get a bad tech support person, our usual response is to say "we have to empty our wastebaskets now." They go out with the trash. Then, when we call back, we get a new person. But this time the second person was no better than the first.
So we said "Forget it; who needs a Wi-Fi signal in the bedroom anyway?"
But that's when we noticed that Bob's Pixel 3a phone picks up home Wi-Fi perfectly, no problem. That's not the case for Joy's Pixel 2, her Kindle Fire, the Amazon Echo or the Google Home smart speaker. So sometimes it pays to invest in new technology. Also it lets Bob lord it over Joy.
According to Common Sense Media, if a child reaches the age of 11 without getting his first smartphone, he's in the minority. Around 53% of U.S. children have one, and 84% of teenagers do. Teenagers spend seven hours a day on their phones; children ages 8 to 12 spend five.
However, as National Public Radio reports, the survey double-counts. If you spend an hour playing a game on your phone while also texting, the survey counts that as two hours. (Mass demonstration from game players to follow.)
The biggest use is watching videos: nearly three hours for teens and 2½ hours for the 8 to 12 age group.
Bob and Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business on 11/09/2019
Print Headline: Savvy computer users can skip pricey anti-virus programs