Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: I just got a new Android phone and now suddenly when I go someplace – Seattle Center, the grocery store, almost anywhere – I get a message on the phone asking if I want to share a photo about the place. Kind of rude, eh? How do I turn this off?
— John Humphrey
A: That’s one feature Google slipped into its Maps app. And yes, I find it pretty irritating, too.
To disable those messages, open Maps and then swipe in from the left side to open the app menu. Select “Settings,” then “Notification.” Finally, tap on “Your contributions,” and then switch off “Questions about places.”
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Q: I am unable to send or receive email from my Android cellphone while using Comcast network at home. It sends and receives everywhere else but on my home network. All of my laptops and notebooks send and receive no problem.
I have a wireless router, D-Link DIR-615 and it seems to be working properly with anything that I try to use except my cellphone. Comcast has had upper network managers give up on this. They can’t find any reason why it doesn’t work. Possibly might be my router?
— Dale Hubbard, Kent
A: I think you’ve probably hit that one on the button. If your cellphone is set up to use your Wi-Fi network when it is available, it’s entirely possible that your firewall is blocking those messages. I suggest contacting D-Link to get steps for ensuring that the ports for incoming and outgoing emails are not being blocked by the router’s firewall.
Q: My old computer recently died. So on May 23, I bought an HP laptop from Fred Meyer. It came with a Windows 10 operating system, included in the sales price. However, when I transferred copies of my old files onto the new computer, I received notice that Word — or at least all features of Word — was not available. I was pointed to a sales package for Windows Office. I am being asked to pay for another operating system on top of the first?
So, what would you advise? Should I acquire Windows Office, and hope that it runs smoothly alongside Windows 10? Is this a low scheme to squeeze more money out of computer tyros like me? Isn’t it likely that there will be compatibility issues?
— Robert Rudolph
A: Actually, what I believe you’re referring to is Microsoft Office, which is a suite that includes Word, Excel, Outlook and other applications. Office is not part of the Windows 10 operating system. And yes, any recent version of Microsoft Office will work just fine with Windows 10.
For my part, I chose to subscribe to Office 365 Home. For $99 per year, you get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access, as well as OneDrive and Skype. What’s more, you can install on up to five computers – either Windows devices or Macs – and each of five users can access 1 terabyte of cloud storage using OneDrive. Pretty good deal, if you ask me.
There are, however, many different versions of Office 365 available, with different applications, services and price tags. You can compare them here: https://st.news/microsoftcompare
Q: Over the years, I have formed two online neighborhood groups using Yahoo. Over time, both of these groups became popular. However, some “nasty people” hacked them, and I was forced to shut them down. Is there any online group resource that you would feel comfortable recommending?
— Donalee Murray Rutledge
A: I’ve heard good things about Google Groups. But if you otherwise like Yahoo’s groups, I urge you to contact Yahoo to see if there are steps you can take to deal with those nasty people who are afflicting your groups.