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Answers to Your Internet Questions

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To assist him in answering your question as specifically as possible, be sure to include the following: the name of the browser you are using (i.e. Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0, Firefox 2.0, etc.), the name of the email software you are using (i.e. Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0, OS 10.4 Mail, etc.), and the version of your system software (i.e. Windows 98, Windows XP, etc.)

QUESTION: How do I stop the sound of those annoying auto-play videos in my Facebook News Feed?

For some time now, auto-play videos have been popping up in Facebook News Feeds. This is done to catch your attention and get you to watch the videos. Facebook puts a positive spin on this feature, saying it makes the video experience "richer, more engaging, and more flexible." If you disagree with this assessment and consider auto-play videos an unwanted interruption, you can take action to stop them. Since sound-on is the default mode in the Facebook app, you'll need to adjust your setting to stop videos from playing automatically on your computer:

  1. From the top right of Facebook, click the downward arrow and select Settings from the dropdown menu.
  2. Click Videos in the left menu.
  3. Click the dropdown menu next to Auto-Play Videos and select Off.

You can make the same Facebook adjustment on your phone. For iPhone, go to your Account Settings, tap on Videos and Photos, and open the Autoplay options. Select Never Autoplay Videos. For Android, you'll find this same option under your App Settings.

QUESTION: I'm outside a lot in the summer. How can I protect my devices from heat and moisture?

Outdoor adventures can wreak havoc on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. To protect your devices from the elements while you're enjoying the great outdoors, follow these three tips:

1. Keep it cool.
Leaving a device in the sun too long leads to overheating, which can kill the battery. The best strategy is to turn off all idle apps and only use your device in the shade. When not in use, store it in a bag or under some towels to help keep it cool. It's also a good idea to use a cooling pad under your laptop when you're working outdoors even if you don't use one at home. Increased temperatures mean even new laptops could easily overheat in the summer sun.

2. Keep it dry.
Water is the biggest enemy of your devices, so it pays to get a waterproof (as opposed to water resistant) case if you spend a lot of time on or near the water. There are case options on the market for different types of devices including ones that let you use your smartphone to take pictures underwater.

3. Keep it close.
You don't want to accidentally drop your smartphone over the side of a boat or down a mountainside while you're busy taking a dramatic vacation photo. So consider getting a lanyard strap to keep it securely tethered to you while you move about. If you're camping, double check to make sure all devices are inside the tent or camper — and not on the picnic table — before turning in for the night.

With a little extra effort, you can safely take your favorite devices with you as you enjoy your favorite outdoor places.