Kim’s tech tips for signatures, emails, phone calls

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By Kim Komando

Signal Contributing Writer

Make your electronic signature

Even in the digital age, a handwritten signature provides a personal touch. I like to add the signature of my first name only to my email, notes to fans of my show, and on my website. For security purposes, it’s not my authentic signature that I use on legal documents.

To create your electronic signature, use a black ink pen, sign a white piece of paper, and scan or photograph it. Using your favorite photo editor, save the file with a maximum width of 300 pixels. Keep it at a 1:3 ratio where height is visually one-third of the width.

Also, it’s good to be mindful of the file size. Ideally, any signature graphic should be small (under 50 KB) so that it loads quickly for recipients, doesn’t delay your emails being sent, and doesn’t take up space on mail servers.

Keep in mind that if you’re signing legal documents, these documents typically require a secured digital signature using a service such as DocuSign or Adobe Sign. Microsoft Word documents can now contain electronic signature lines, too.

Make an email that you send expire

Gmail has a great feature that lets you put controls on a sent email. Confidential Mode lets you set expiration dates on an email. After that date, when the person opens the email, only a “Message has expired” notice appears.

On your desktop, open Gmail and click Compose. On the bottom row of the Compose window, there is an icon showing a lock with a small clock face. Here, you can set when the email expires. Recipients won’t have the option to forward, copy, print, or download the email. You can also make the recipient get a text message with a passcode too. Go ahead, live out your James Bond dreams.

Make phone calls from your computer

It’s tough living far from people you love, but telephones make that distance much more manageable. Roaming and long-distance charges and using up tons of your allowed minutes can make phone calls expensive.

But if you make a phone call using your computer’s Wi-Fi, those extra costs vanish. You can even make international calls and save a ton! Learn how to make calls from your computer and keep your long-distance loved ones close.

With a desktop computer, microphones aren’t usually built-in at all, so you’ll need the headset or earbuds to be heard on calls. The headset and buds can also help you hear better on calls than using computer speakers.

With a unidirectional noise-canceling microphone, this mic only picks up sound from a specific side or direction of the microphone. 

Once you have this equipment, it’s time to decide on software. If you have a Mac computer, FaceTime will let you make calls over Wi-Fi, and it comes free with your device. You just need to have your computer and iPhone connected to each other.

If you have a Windows computer, Skype and Google Voice aregreat app/software choices, along with Keku. All are free to download, and likeFaceTime, allow free Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi calling. As in, if you call another computer, it’s free.

For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at Komando.com. 

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