Hereâ€™s the big reason we get so much junk email. Marketers can see which email we open and respond with an avalanche of new solicitations. If we open email on our phone, as 70% of us do, we might even trigger a call.
In the jargon itâ€™s called a â€œread receipt.â€ Without your knowing, marketers use these to tell which email you open. To combat this, weâ€™ve started using â€œEdison Mailâ€ whenever weâ€™re on our phones. It works with Yahoo, Gmail, Apple Mail or whatever email service you use, by bringing your mail inside its app.
Besides blocking marketers, Edison neatly categorizes any info about package arrivals, bills and flight changes, while also letting you unsubscribe from any email newsletters bombarding you. The app also stops you from being targeted with Facebook and other ads. Its security tool lets you see if your email address has been compromised.
So how does a free app like this make money? Unlike other apps, Edison doesnâ€™t sell specific info about you. Rather, their â€œbotsâ€ scan emails to gather anonymous research on consumer trends, and that info is sold. Developers also pay Edison to extract anonymous info from email to make their products easier to use. Look up â€œEdison mail privacy statementâ€ for more info.
Since launching in 2016, Edison Mail has blocked over 1 billion read receipts, sent 10 million flight notifications, tracked over 90 million packages and organized 500 million receipts. We like it.
A reader sent a copy of his driverâ€™s license and Social Security card to someone at ProsperityBank.com, instead of ProsperityBankUSA.com, the correct address. â€œWife and I froze our credit bureaus, all three, last year. What else should we do besides PRAY?â€
Whoever asked for our readerâ€™s info was â€œphishingâ€ for it, since the bankâ€™s website states it will never ask for private info in an email. Phishing attempts are just what they sound like: attempts to fish your info out of you. But the reader had already done the safest thing: He froze his credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion last year. This makes it tougher for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.
If youâ€™ve already given out information, you can check for fraud by looking at your credit report. The Federal Trade Commission website, ftc.gov, suggests getting three free reports from AnnualCreditReport.com.
For extra protection, ask one of the credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert on your account. That way, any time a new account is opened, the bank or store opening it has to check with you first.
Hereâ€™s the happy ending: The readerâ€™s email did not go through. Several days later he found out that it had bounced back, so no one got his info.
Windows 10 blues
Last time, we mentioned a readerâ€™s angst over Windows 10, suggesting he could still get a Windows 7 machine if he wanted one. We forgot to mention a much simpler solution: â€œStart 10.â€
Start10 is a $5 program from Stardock.com that makes Windows 10 look like Windows 7. You get the familiar programs list, with links to â€œMy Documents,â€ â€œControl Panelâ€ and other familiar categories. The reader responded: â€œStarDock Start10 plus several of their other bits and pieces seems to be the perfect answer. A helluva lot easier than burning down the house and doing a clean WIN 7 install. Outstanding!â€ Thereâ€™s a 30-day free trial.
â— The free â€œGoogle Translateâ€ app lets you use your camera to translate signs. We tried it on a sign in Catalan (local to Barcelona), but we had to tell it to translate from Catalan to English because the automatic language detection did not work. The sign said: â€œPriority for People,â€ and was translated correctly. Another part of the sign was in a fancy font. It said: â€œPedra Tosca Park.â€ But it was translated: â€œPedra Toscaâ€™s pancake.â€
â— â€œLuminary,â€ a free app for iPhone and Android, brings you the best podcasts, which are Internet radio shows. Tap the topics youâ€™re interested in after signing up, like â€œaudio drama,â€ “finance,â€ â€œlanguage lessons,â€ â€œhistory,â€ â€œtrue crime,â€ â€œscience,â€ â€œmysteries,â€ â€œnews,â€ â€œinvestigative journalism,â€ etc. They show you the top shows, such as â€œPortalâ€ which hasnâ€™t even started yet, so weâ€™re not sure how it could already be a top show. â€œPortalâ€ is a Luminary original, as is â€œSincerely, X,â€ which gives you TED talks (Technology, Entertainment and Design) from people who canâ€™t go on stage, either because itâ€™s too risky, controversial or painful. You have to be a premium subscriber for the original shows, which costs $8 a month, but thereâ€™s a free trial. We put â€œThe Indicator,â€ â€œUp Firstâ€ and â€œWall Street Breakfastâ€ on our favorites list.
â— â€œPocket Mode,â€ free for Android phones, prevents apps from accidentally going on when your phone is in your pocket. With it, you wonâ€™t mistakenly call someone – known as â€œbutt dialing.â€ Since itâ€™s Android only, go to iPhone â€œsettingsâ€ to do the same thing. Then go to â€œDisplay and Brightness,â€ and set the screen to turn off after 30 seconds. Turn off â€œLift to Wake,â€ and â€œTap to Wake,” under â€œaccessibility.â€