Q: I recently purchased a new PC laptop that came with McAfee LiveSave installed. Looking at the firewall report on the McAfee app it shows it has blocked 93 “bad connections” in the last seven days. What does that number actually mean?

The same question could apply to other programs as well. I use an ad blocker to filter out annoying ads and it sometimes reports blocking dozens of ads on a page that was displaying four or five.

I know they all want us to believe that we’d be inundated with all manner of evils without their services, but is there real information in there somewhere? Do the numbers mean anything?

— Dan O’Connell

A: I understand your frustration. The firewall report of “bad connections” is simply referring to attempts to access ports on your computer that the firewall has blocked. Those connection attempts are not necessarily nefarious. In fact, to use some legitimate applications you may learn that you’ll have to open one or another of those ports.

As for ad blockers, the proof is, as they say, in the pudding. Turn yours off and see if you’re bugged by the ads. If not, leave it off.

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here >>

Q: I use Gmail and Google Chrome. I get pop-up ads. I’ve scanned and used various anti-adware programs which killed most but there is one that is persistent, sending pop-up after pop-up.


I think I need to trash Chrome and then reload. My concern is that I will lose bookmarks and the bookmark bar. Will I?

— Ron Kessler, Seattle

A: This is a tough one. If you’re using an ad blocker and still keep getting pop-ups it is more likely that you have malware on your computer. Try scanning with an anti-malware program. Malwarebytes offers a free version that you can use to scan with.

You may also want to try a different browser. These days I mostly use Opera. I find it faster than any other browser. And yes, you can move your bookmarks from Chrome to other browsers when you install.

Q: The other day when I used my iPad to check the price of a Kindle book on Amazon it was $9.99. A few minutes later on my desktop using Chrome browser it was $14.99. While leaving that account open on Chrome, I logged in with Safari and found the book again listed for $9.99. What is going on?

— Kent Smith

A: There are only two reasons I can think of that might explain that. First, are you sure those aren’t two different editions? An updated edition might be priced higher.

The other possibility? Is it possible that you’re logging into different Amazon sites? I’ve been fooled before by accidentally logging into Amazon’s Canadian website and finding the pricing different.


Q: My son recently purchased an iPhone 11. With many of the telephone companies soon turning on 5G networks, will his iPhone automatically work on a 5G network? How about my iPhone 7?

— Christopher Taylor

A: Apple has yet to provide 5G capabilities in any iPhone. The company indicated that 5G technology isn’t yet fully developed, and it would wait for 5G to be fully implemented before installing compatible chipsets in iPhones.

And I have to agree that it would be kind of frustrating to spend $1,000 on a phone and have it provide only partial 5G compatibility. As soon as the kinks are ironed out of 5G, right away I’d be torn about keeping the phone or upgrading yet again.