Tom Braun

Co-Host, "Deemable Tech"

Tom Braun is a writer living in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to writing about tech and co-hosting WJCT’s Deemable Tech, he writes content for websites and blogs, ghostwrites ebooks, writes short fiction and has written a woefully unpublished dystopian young adult novel that is no doubt his ticket to fame and fortune. Before realizing his true calling as a writer, Tom worked for over a decade as a software developer. He enjoys board games and traveling and once spent a year living in The Netherlands.

Steve writes, “When I’m on the internet, I constantly see things pop up on the screen that say ‘Check for malware now’ or ‘You’re missing drivers, click to update.’ Should I click on it? The way things are nowadays, I’m afraid to try!” 

Don’t click on it, Steve! What you’re seeing is a pop-up ad designed to trick you into visiting a spam website or downloading harmful malware. 

Tap Call

Norma writes, "How do you stop receiving an automated text message? When I got my new phone I started receiving messages from a store telling me about their specials. I've tried visiting the website and 'unsubscribing' but that didn't work. "

We feel you, Norma. Like junk mail and spam email, unsolicited text messages are the bane of our existence. Luckily there are ways to stop them.


  Joan writes, “I’m running Windows 7 on my laptop, and for the past five months I’ve had a request pending to get the upgrade to Windows 10. Am I supposed to just keep waiting patiently, or is there something else I’m supposed to do?”

Today we have not one but two related questions from different listeners.

Lenny writes, “Last week I received a call from a guy who said he was from Microsoft. He said they had detected that my computer was having problems. To prove it, he told me how to open my Windows log file, and when I did it was full of errors. So I paid him to fix all the problems and scan for viruses. Now I’m wondering if that was really a good idea.”

Sandra sends us a similar story. She says: “I was checking my email and all of a sudden windows started giving me an error message which said it had a virus. It included a phone number. I called the number and a man connected to my computer and fixed it. But now my computer runs slowly and this guy charged me a lot of money. Have I been hacked?” 

Misbehave / Flickr

Thurman writes, "I have a hard drive that was removed from my old computer before I got rid of it. It has some pictures on it that I don't have stored anywhere else and some of my old tax returns. Is there anything I can do with it, or is it just a hunk of junk? And, should I be concerned about other people getting into it if I throw it out?" 

You can definitely make use of that old hard drive, and you can get those pictures and tax returns off of it too! 

Sean MacEntee / Flickr

Andrew writes, "It seems like every week there's another scary news story about a big bank or a major company getting hacked. Is there any way to safely shop online, or should I just stay off the internet altogether?"


Isabel writes, "I have an iPhone and an iPad. Is it possible to message or text someone who does not have an Apple product? And, if that’s too easy for you guys, how about this: is there any way to do it for free without a texting plan?"



Jimmy writes, "I might be going crazy. I just bought a brand new flat-screen HDTV. Here’s the problem - when I watch TV shows and movies on it, everything just looks off The only way I can really describe it is that everything looks like a bad daytime soap opera. It looks too fake, too bright, too smooth. It’s awful. Other people don’t see the problem. Any idea why my TV is making things look so weird?"

Adobe Systems


Felicia writes, "I read a news article that said hackers could infect my computer through Flash. How do I know if I have Flash? And how can I get rid of it?"

JESHOOTS / Pixabay

Donna writes, "I share a data plan with my family. I'm the biggest user of data, but I'm also the least tech savvy. I do very little downloading! I mostly just check emails. If someone sends me a link and I open it, am I downloading? Sometimes I use my iPhone as a hotspot for my laptop. Is that downloading? Why am I using so much data?"


  Karen writes, "I met someone for the first time in a meeting the other day. A few hours later, she showed up on my Facebook page as 'someone I might know.' I've also noticed that people sometimes pop up in this feed shortly after sending me emails. How does Facebook know about these interactions? Or am I just being paranoid?"

You're not being paranoid, Karen. From what we can tell, Facebook has someone spying on you at all times. That secret spy is [insert dramatic music here]: your smartphone!

Google's "search by image" page.

Lori asks, "I have found a beautiful picture of an old barn that I would like to use for my website but the picture is too small. Is there such a thing as a website that will help you find a larger size of image?"

As a matter of fact there is, Lori. It’s called Google!

Lance Fisher / Flickr

Neila asks, "How do defrag a computer running Windows 8.1? I can't figure out how to do it on my new laptop."

For those of us who have been using personal computers for the past 20 or so years, defragmenting your hard drive used to just be part of life. When you defrag a hard drive, you're basically re-organizing the data on it so that it will run faster and more efficiently. 

Wayan Vota / Flickr

Janet asks, "I was preparing to install McAffee’s antivirus program, but the user agreement gave me pause. It states that McAffee will 'take any personal and sensitive information they wish that is personally identifiable and share it with their providers.' Does all antivirus software collect such information?"

AutoPlay Screen / Microsoft Windows 7

Ellen writes, "How do I download videos from my iPhone to my PC? When I try to email them to myself it shrinks the video. I’ve been told to just connect my phone to my computer and download them that way, but how?"

For a walk-through on how to download pictures and videos from your iPhone with pictures that show you what to click, see the original article on

Jitter Buffer / Flickr

Matthew writes, "I have a fantastic sound system that I love, but it's from the '90s and isn’t wireless. I've been looking at the wireless sound systems, but they are really expensive and all sound terrible. Is there any way to make my current system wireless?"


Charles asks, "My smartphone (a Casio G'zOne) displayed a warning yesterday saying that it had a virus. I didn't do anything as I've been told the warning is the actual virus. How can I tell if the phone has virus protection installed? If not, can I download it for the phone?"

Sarah asks, "I have a scanner and a Windows computer. Can I fax documents through my computer without a telephone land line?"


Madelyn writes, "I want to make a photo slideshow with music for my friend’s upcoming 60th birthday party. Is there an easy way to make one in Windows?"

Sprogs / Flickr

Brady asks, "What's the best way to protect my electronics from lightning? Should I always unplug them? How can I tell if lightning has ruined my stuff?"

Wikimedia Commons

Osler writes, "I often get a message from my laptop saying that the virtual memory is too low and that the computer will adjust it. Why is this happening almost four to five times a week?"

OpenClips / Pixabay

Shelly writes, "I have an email conundrum. I have had Comcast internet for years but have decided to switch to another provider because I don’t get online that much or watch cable. The problem is that I don’t want to lose my Comcast email address. Is there a way to keep my same address even if I don’t have Comcast?"

Eva writes, "Recently I called what I thought was an HP support number with a printer problem. In fact, the number connected me to a scammer! He ran a program to scan my computer and then claimed I had been hacked. I realized something was off when he asked me for $350 to fix it, so I hung up. I am worried that my computer is now at risk. Help!"

Ricky Romero / Flickr

Nancy asked, "I’m fairly new to Apple computers, and one of the reasons I made the switch from PC was to avoid viruses, hackers and other bad stuff. Should I install an antivirus program on my Apple laptop?"


Miraya writes, "I just got an iPhone 6. I heard about the new keyboards in iOS 8, but I can’t figure out how to use them. How do I get them installed and what do they do?"

Annie Black / WJCT

Angela writes, "How can I keep up with my monthly usage on my iPhone? I want to be able to find out how much data and how many texts I have left."


Anna writes, "I’ve heard in the news that hackers were able to download private pictures from the iCloud accounts of celebrities. I use an iPhone, and I think it has iCloud. Are my photos safe?"

Mara writes, "Help me Deemable Tech, you’re my only hope! I keep getting calls on my smartphone from a strange number. When I pick up, no one is there. Is there any way I can block this annoyance?"

Sean Birch / WJCT

Eileen writes, "I got my cell phone number about seven years ago. The problem is that the previous owner’s name and my phone number figure prominently on a charitable organization’s website, and I have been getting calls for that organization for years. I just called all of the numbers on the site, and all are either not working, or not associated with that organization. Is there any way I can find out where the website is hosted and who to contact about getting my phone number removed?"


Norman asked, "I'm looking at opening a food truck. I've seen other food trucks and hot dogs stands taking credit cards on their phones. How can I do that? What kind of phone do I have to have, and does it cost a lot of money?"