Are websites such as ZabaSearch.com, Pipl.com, Radaris.com, Intelius.com, etc., worth the money to help me locate a long-lost cousin?The answer depends on the results you obtain. If you pay and you find nothing, you will probably feel it’s a waste of time and money. If you do learn the whereabouts of Cousin Lenny, you will probably feel it is worth every penny. The problem is, there isn’t any way to know in advance.Before spending any money, try Facebook. In this day and age, that’s the starting point for most people searches. If you don’t have a Facebook account and don’t really want one, get a free Gmail address to use when registering so you won’t be pestered by follow-up Facebook emails in your primary email account. When creating your account, remember that you are not under oath.Before investing any of your hard-earned dollars in a fee-based search site, ask yourself how important it is to find the person you are attempting to locate, and then decide how aggre$$ive you want to be in your pursuit.To use these types of fee-based investigative sites, you provide your credit card number at the start, then start clicking buttons to see what each database can reveal. Each new database accessed is charged to your credit card, so establish in your mind the maximum amount you are willing to spend — $50, $100, $500, whatever is appropriate for you.You are always advised in advance what the cost of a search will be, but once your threshold has been reached, you have to walk away. That’s the tough part. What does 3G and 4G mean that I see in mobile phone advertising? Thanks for being there, Mr. M.3G and 4G refers to 3rd- and 4th-generation phones — actually, the phone’s underlying technology.First-generation, or 1G, phones were released during the 1980s. These phones were much larger than the phones we have today and were referred to as “bricks.” The Motorola DynaTAC was one of the more prominent models of first-generation phones.Unlike first-generation phones that used radio transmissions (AM and FM), 2G phones, introduced in 1991, used digital technology and eventually introduced text messaging and Internet access.In 2001, 3G networks provided much faster access to the Internet. When the iPhone 3G was released in July 2008, the browsing experience improved substantially. This paved the way for 4G networks, which made their debut in late 2010 and allowed Internet connectivity at speeds up to 6Mbps (megabits per second), which is faster than many broadband connections.
Mr. Modem publishes “Ask Mr. Modem!” each week, featuring PC tips, tricks and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit www.MrModem.com.