Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: I use PrivateInternetAccess as my VPN, and I’m sitting in a hospital waiting room with Wi-Fi access as a guest. My PIA can’t connect to anything, though I am clearly sending email using my tablet. I note that the app (Android) for PIA shows no public IP address. Does this mean that they are set up so my guest access is on a VPN already? Am I safe from predators?
— Frank Mitchell, Seattle
A: No, I would not assume you’re safe from predators. I don’t know of any virtual private network services that don’t require a specific user name and password. I suppose it’s possible that the hospital is automatically using a VPN, even for guests, but this would be very unusual and I wouldn’t assume it to be the case.
As for why you can’t use your PIA VPN on the hospital’s Wi-Fi, it’s most likely a conflict with their router or between a firewall you may be running and their router.
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Unless you can get specific information from the hospital IT staff, I’d assume that your communications over that network are not encrypted.
Q: Suddenly I can’t get my Contacts in Gmail. I click on Contacts and I get a pop-up that says “Your Contacts are here” and when I click “Get it” I get nothing … what’s going on?
— Bob Lalande, Tacoma
A: Ha! That one fooled me, too.
I don’t usually use my Gmail account, but I called it up to check on your experience. And when I clicked on the Gmail menu and selected Contacts I got the same pop-up you did — a window that says “Your Google Contacts are here” and offers a “Got it” button. Click on the button and nothing happens.
After doing this a few times, I finally noticed the little arrow on the upper-right corner of that box that was pointing at the Google Apps icon. Click on that and you’ll find Google Contacts, among other apps. Click on Google Contacts and you should see all your contacts.
I can’t for the life of me figure why Google hasn’t integrated Google Contacts and Gmail so that you can access the former directly from the latter.
Q: For some reason, all of a sudden any video I try to watch is shown as extra enlarged, so I can only see a portion of the actual video. The sound still works, but the videos are out of whack. I’m not sure when this started happening. I do get automatic updates from Microsoft, so it is possible it started after one of those updates. My laptop is an HP, and I am on Windows 10. Can you help?
— DJ Roberts
A: The issue is with your graphics adapter. Try holding down the Ctrl key and then clicking the + (plus) key. If that doesn’t do anything hold down the Ctrl key and click the — (minus) key.
If that doesn’t allow you to zoom in and out, I’d contact HP support.