Device’s ultraviolet light can disinfect phones, other item…

A cellphone is 18 times dirtier than a public restroom, according to an article in the Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials. That’s a mouthful of a journal, but it seems to be saying something.

We got on this because Joy got an antibacterial box for her cellphone, the second one we’ve received in a few years. The first one was a royal pain to use, which made her turn to soap and water, which of course killed the phone. Yes, we know phones are water-resistant now, but they weren’t then.

(It reminds us of Bob’s first videotape player, a Japanese model that came with a manual advising the user to avoid turning it on underwater. Good thinking.)

Despite the soap and water hazard, the name of this gadget is “PhoneSoap Go.” It involves no soap or water but instead uses ultraviolet light to kill little bugs. The phone goes into the battery-powered box. Press the button on top and in 10 minutes, the light has killed the germs. Well, most of them anyway. Hospitals and labs also use ultraviolet light as part of their sterilization arsenal, so this is not exactly a new thing.

PhoneSoap Go costs $100 and weighs 1.25 pounds. (Yes, we weighed it.) It also charges your phone from its own battery, while you wait, or travel or whatever. It can disinfect the phone 45 times on a single charge. You could also put in your keys, credit cards and earbuds to sanitize those.

INTERNUTS has some tips on speeding up your computer. Click on “Tips” in the upper right part of the website screen. Tips on buying a new laptop look good too. Speeding up a computer is a particularly popular thing with video game players. A Google search reveals all.

For more ideas on speeding up your PC, take a look at’s article, “Do You Really Need to Reinstall Windows?”

“Plastic shopping bag.” We went to and typed in those three words to learn the history of the plastic bag. Between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide. We reuse paper bags.


Malwarebytes for Mobile is a free app for Android and iPhones that has really cut down on the number of spam calls we get. It also scans for malware, bad apps and “ransomware.” Ransomware locks down a phone and demands, well, ransom money to unlock it.

There’s a Premium version, which is $12 a year; it comes with a 30-day free trial. The only difference between the two is that the Premium protects you in advance. The free version cleans up the security breach after it’s happened. The same is true for the free and paid versions of Malwarebytes on your computer.

We really liked the call-blocking feature. Of course it means that we miss out on wonderful deals for cruises, time-share vacations and many other special deals. Every time a call looks suspicious, Malwarebytes prompts us to add it to the blocked list. Most spam calls are blocked automatically. Now, if only the app would explain it to your mother-in-law.


Our Oki Data laser printer, the C331dn, had a paper jam. We couldn’t find it, so we called the Oki Data toll-free line, (800) 654-3282. You have never seen tech support like their tech support. Even if you have a problem at 3 a.m. on a Sunday, they’re there for you.

Like NASA’s mission control, when you call for help, they look at the problem on a machine that is just like the one you’re calling about. This way they can duplicate what they’re asking you to do. That was pretty impressive, since our Oki Data printer is at least 10 years old and was discontinued years ago.

In our case, we had to lift out the toner and the drum, retrieve the trapped paper and put the parts back. The tech told us exactly how to line them up, because he was looking at the same thing we were. Tech support has always been free, even for old printers.


A reader wondered if Siri or Alexa or Google Home would organize her health data into a usable graph or chart. She’d like to say, “Siri, my blood sugar is 140, I did 20 minutes on the treadmill, I had three shots of tequila and half a bag of chips.”

If you have a Fitbit, the little step counter that goes on your wrist like a watch, and an Echo or Echo Dot, it can work with Alexa, the voice inside your Echo speaker. (Go to to browse the various applications, called “skills,” and turn on as many as you like.)

Once enabled, Alexa can give you a Fitbit report, saving you the trouble of cycling through the options on your wrist. Ask “Alexa, how am I doing today?” Or “Alexa, how many stairs did I climb on Wednesday?” and a host of other questions. You can get a list of possible questions by searching on the phrase “Alexa and Fitbit.”

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

Business on 01/05/2019

Print Headline: ON COMPUTERS: Device’s ultraviolet light can disinfect phones, other items

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