Q: Regarding your piece on March 16th about pop-up ads on Chrome, they don’t especially bother me. What DOES bother me about Chrome is continuing “notifications” that pop up almost every time I power up my computers. Chrome doesn’t even appear in the notifications list on my iPhone. I did a search on the internet, but can’t seem to find instructions anywhere to stop Chrome from “blasting” me 6-8 times daily. Any suggestions?

— Chuck Garrity

A: By default, Chrome alerts you whenever a website, app, or extension wants to send you notifications. So if you’re getting notifications it’s because you’ve allowed a site to send you notifications, though it’s easy to miss being asked if it’s OK.

Fortunately, you can configure Chrome to block notifications, though we’re going to have to go deep into Chrome’s configuration settings.

In the upper-right corner of Chrome, click on the menu icon (three dots vertically aligned), then select Settings. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings section and click on “Advanced.” Next scroll down to the “Privacy and Security” section. In that section, click on “Site Settings” and then select “Notifications.” Now you can block all sites, including Google’s, from sending notifications by turning off the button next to “Ask before sending,” which is by default on.

You can also manually select which sites to block and which to allow in the fields below this configuration setting.

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Q: Google just introduced a call-screening app and I love it! I normally let unknown numbers go to message but do worry that they could be legit. Call Screen lets me select whether a call is accepted, rejected or screened. I’ll see what the caller is saying to Google’s screening message. I’ve been able to answer several legitimate calls while many have simply disconnected immediately (robocall responses).

— Hal Howard

A: Yes, the Call Screen feature introduced to Google’s line of Pixel phones last year is pretty cool. And you can even have callers receive a custom message saying something to the effect that “this call is being screened so leave a message and if I choose I’ll get back to you.”

For my part, I don’t like even checking to see who’s calling. So I put on a call-blocking app and only calls from those in my contact list are allowed through. Legitimate callers not on my list generally leave a message, and spammers rarely do.


Q: I have an HP laptop running Windows 10. After many months of problem-free wireless connectivity, I find I can only connect when I am in the same room as the router. My Mac laptop and other Mac devices connect just fine anywhere in the house. I have followed online fixes and even restored the system to its original settings, to no avail. Do I have a corrupted driver?

—  Rudy La Valle

A: When encountering a problem like this it’s generally a good idea to cover all the bases. So yes, first, update or reinstall your client Wi-Fi driver. I’m guessing, however, that you’ll still have the problem since corrupt drivers generally don’t just impact the range you can get signal from. Also, make sure the HP laptop is using the same Wi-Fi channel as the other devices are using.

But I’m betting that you’ve got a hardware problem with the client adapter on the HP laptop. If so, and if it’s out of warranty, you might consider using a Wi-Fi client that plugs into a USB port.

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