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Subtitles/Close Captions

If you think that YouTube is just videos of cute cats riding Roomba Robot Vacuums, then you are missing out. (Although those videos are pretty cute.)

YouTube videos can teach you almost anything: how to mix a vodka martini, make a chocolate molten lava cake, apply eyeshadow and nail polish, change a bicycle chain, de-scale a Keurig machine, reboot your smart phone, etc. You get the idea.

Go to youtube.com (or open the mobile app), type a subject in the “search” box, and click or tap on one or more of the search results. Some videos are quite informative.

But what if those around you don’t share your interests or would rather not hear the audio? Or perhaps your computer volume — or your hearing — is not as clear as you’d like. Or maybe the person speaking in the video is difficult to understand. Don’t miss a good video; tap the “subtitles/closed captions” icon and read the audio.

Every YouTube video has this option; it might mean the difference between learning something important to you and never knowing it. Totally worth a try.

Guest Etiquette

In this age of personal mobile computing, I am amazed that a house guest would need to use his/her host’s computer. But it happens, and the host usually regrets it. When the guest leaves, the computer is always different.

If your house guest asks to use your computer, create a “Guest” user account.* A guest account has access to the internet and to the computer’s programs, but not to your files and folders.

If you need to use your host’s computer, ask to use (or create) a Guest account. If that is not possible,

  • make note of how your host’s computer looks when you first boot it up and then leave it the way you found it
  • do not download programs or apps without the owner’s permission
  • close any windows you opened
  • do not save your favorites to their favorites list
  • email your files to yourself or upload them to cloud-based storage and then delete them from your host’s computer

To avoid these issues, travel with your own devices and suggest that your guests do the same. The only thing that should be shared is the Wi-Fi password.

* How you create a guest user account varies from Apple to Windows computers and among different Windows operating systems. For step by step instructions, search for “create guest account” and specify your computer and operating system.

Group Text Issues

I am not a fan of group texts.

Although group texts are an ideal medium for communicating quickly with more than one person, the problem with group texts is that after you send or receive the first text, you remain a member of the group.

Issue #1

If anyone in the group replies at any time, everyone in the group will receive it — it’s an automatic “Reply All.” This is a good thing, if all the replies are timely, on point, and meaningful to everyone. Too often, they are not.

Issue #2

If, at a later date, you wish to text someone who once texted you as part of a group, you may inadvertently tap the group — instead of the individual — and send your personal text to the group. Oops.

My advice:

  • If you wish to respond just to the sender of a group text, open a new text and text your reply to that one person.
  • If you no longer wish to receive reply texts from members of the group, remove yourself from the group. (On the iPhone, tap the “i” in the upper right corner of the text screen, and then tap “leave this conversation.”)
  • Don’t send group texts to people you think might not know group text etiquette. Best to just to text them individually.

Receipt Management

If you shop online, you know that soon after you click “Place Order,” you receive an electronic receipt by email.

What do you do with these receipts?

My suggestion: create an email folder called “Receipts,” and drag your electronic receipts from your “Inbox” to your “Receipts” folder.

By storing receipts in their own folder, you can find them easily. When you leave them in your “Inbox,” they get buried under new email and you may have trouble finding them even a few days later.

  • When your package arrives, check your electronic receipt to be sure you got what you ordered.
  • If the order does not arrive as anticipated, call the store, and refer to the order number on the receipt.
  • Even after the package arrives and the order is complete, compare your receipt to your credit card bill.
  • Once the bill is paid, delete the email receipt or, perhaps, move it into a different folder labeled “Paid Receipts.”

Happy shopping!