The phone’s hotspot brings other devices online


Most cars today come equipped with a portable hotspot that allows all devices to stay connected to the internet for a cost of between $20 and $40 per month. But what if you have an older car?

A reader wanted to read the newspaper on his iPad in the car because he likes the larger screen. Since there is no WiFi in his older vehicle, he needed a way to connect his iPad to the internet.

I told him to go to “Settings” on his iPhone, then “Cellular” and tap “Personal Hotspot” to turn it on. After that, his iPad could share the iPhone’s cellular network. “Works great,” he said.

To try it out on my Android phone, I went to “Settings” then “Network & Internet” then “Hotspot & Tethering” and tapped on “Wi-Fi Hotspot”. Then I set the switch to “on”. I wrote down the hotspot name “Pixel_1644”, tapped “Password” and wrote it down. Then from my other devices I just had to select the Pixel_1644 as my network, enter the password and voila, I shared the cellular connection with my phone. I used it to surf the Internet from two computers, two tablets and an iPhone. I could have been alone in a forest instead of at home with my router turned off.

Unfortunately, the hotspot function is not available in every mobile phone plan. For example, when a friend tried it, he received a message that Tracfone does not cover data sharing in their plan. My Tracfone plan is the same price as him, $130 per year, but it worked fine. Alternatively, you can buy a dedicated mobile hotspot and get a service plan for it, starting at around $10 a month.


One reader said a car accident damaged or destroyed a large transformer, causing power to go out. “Any idea how big a backup unit would be to power our dish receiver and TV?” he asked.

Most televisions are 117 watts and the top rated satellite dish is 28 watts. Add them together and you get 145 watts. The Allwei Portable Power Station, $186 on Amazon, has 280 watt hours and gets good reviews. This could power the reader’s television and dish receiver for nearly two hours, long enough to watch their favorite show. For more information on wattage, see “Electricity Consumption of Household Appliances” on It lists everything from air fryers to Xboxes.

Gasoline-powered generators run for six to 12 hours, but you can’t run them indoors unless you want to choke. They are for camping.

WHO is following you

The latest version of the Vivaldi web browser is simply brilliant when it comes to blocking trackers and ads. Blocking them breaks through a website’s clutter to make it load quickly.

When a friend tested it for a month, it automatically blocked over 8,000 trackers and over 5,000 ads, mostly news sites. In my test, Car and Driver temporarily tops the tracking list. Google is not shown because its tracking relies on hidden settings that Vivaldi automatically blocks. No add-ins required.

Vivaldi also has amazing customization options. For example, when I save recipes to my reading list, I can sort them by title and other criteria. The sidebar is full of such gems, in addition to links to your downloads, search history, calendar, and more. But the more the better. In addition to Vivaldi, I use six other browsers, including Chrome.


I always email, “Thank you for your kind message.” Now I can type “tykn” and my iPhone will write it out for me.

This is an example of the iPhone’s “Text Replacement” feature. Even if you don’t add your own shortcuts, iPhone starts with one. Type “omw” in some text or anywhere and it will change to “on my way”.

To add your own shortcuts, go to Settings. Under “General,” look for “Keyboard,” then “Text Replacement.” Tap the plus sign and enter the expression you want. Then enter your shortcut and “save”. I added “See you later,” so if I type “syl,” the iPhone fills in the entire sentence.


A reader told me how he thwarted the local repair shop. They wanted to sell him a new computer. He insisted his old gateway could be repaired.

It started with an error message saying the fan stopped working.

“The mechanic told me he couldn’t fix it due to age and parts shortages,” the reader wrote. “But he could sell me another computer. So I went home and got the make, model and serial number and looked it up on eBay.”

He found it for $18.

“I’m not able to do the repair myself,” he said, “and I don’t have the proper tools for the job. So, if an old guy needs an old computer fixed by this repair shop — the only one I can get in the area — he’s a ‘bloated jerk’ who can easily be sold a computer if the repair shop has the does not want to carry out repairs. Even if the part you need is identified and available at a reasonable price,” he added.

What happened next?

“If they get you in trouble, they know it. I? I placed a six inch fan near the cooling vents on the tower and turned it on. Cool the tower and they may burst into flames!”

Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at [email protected]


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