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Technology

Which is the best PC for someone who has Parkinson’s?

Richard wants a laptop for its flatter keys, but desktop PCs can have any keyboard type

I plan to get a new computer for home use, no games. I would rather have a desktop/tower, if it was possible to get a more sensitive keyboard, but I have Parkinson’s and find that the keys are way too hard to use because they require a deeper push than laptop keyboards. Your earlier suggestion of getting an external monitor for a laptop sounds like a winner. How is the connection made?Richard

The short answer is that you should buy a desktop PC. With a laptop, you are more or less stuck with the keyboard fitted by the manufacturer, and the quality varies from average to mediocre. With a desktop PC, you can take your pick from dozens of USB and Bluetooth keyboards. These range from keyboards with flat, island-style isolated keys to full mechanical keyboards aimed at professionals and gamers.

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I’m still on Windows 7 – what should I do?

Support for Windows 7 has ended, leaving Marcy wondering how they can protect themselves

I do a lot of work on a Windows 7 desktop PC that is about five years old. I’m a widow and can’t afford to run out and get a new PC at this time, or pay for Windows 10. If I do stay with Windows 7, what should I worry about, and how can I protect myself? I have been running Kaspersky Total Security for several years, which has worked well so far. Marcy

Microsoft Windows 7 – launched in 2009 – came to the end of its supported life on Tuesday. Despite Microsoft’s repeated warnings to Windows 7 users, there may still be a couple of hundred million users, many of them in businesses. What should people do next?

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How do I find a smartphone with the specifications I really want?

Product search tools help you find a phone, PC or camera if you know the specs you want

My Samsung S8 has given up the ghost, and the prohibitive cost of repair means I’m in the market for a new mobile phone. I’ve come up with a wishlist of specifications. Are there any phones due in the coming months that offer all of these? I don’t believe anything currently on the market does.Declan

There are four obvious problems with having a list of specifications for the device you want to buy, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop, digital camera or whatever. The first and biggest problem is that it can easily eliminate most of the products on the market or, in your case, all of them. In fact, it’s a problem I share: nobody offers a laptop that meets my most-desired specification, though a few come close.

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How can I get better at using Google search?

Michael struggles to find the search results he’s looking for, and would like some tips for better Googling

Last week’s column mentioned search skills. I’m sometimes on the third page of results before I get to what I was really looking for. I’m sure a few simple tips would find these results on page 1. All advice welcome. Michael

Google achieved its amazing popularity by de-skilling search. Suddenly, people who were not very good at searching – which is almost everyone – could get good results without entering long, complex searches. Partly this was because Google knew which pages were most important, based on its PageRank algorithm, and it knew which pages were most effective, because users quickly bounced back from websites that didn’t deliver what they wanted.

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Can DuckDuckGo replace Google search while offering better privacy?

The alternative search engine markets itself on protecting users’ privacy, but is it worth using?

So is DuckDuckGo no good? Surprised you did not mention it. Murray

Following last week’s article about privacy and surveillance capitalism, several readers wrote in about the absence of DuckDuckGo, and it was mentioned a dozen times in the comments. I have suggested this privacy-oriented search engine a few times since 2012, and I think it’s worth a go. However, I’m answering Murray’s earlier query along the same lines because I can use his email verbatim rather than cobbling together a joint question from multiple sources.

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