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Tech Q&A: Caller ID said she called, but she didn't

Steve Alexander, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Science & Technology News

Q: I'm getting calls on my iPhone 5 from people asking why I called them, even though I didn't. Apparently, my number shows up on their caller ID. What's wrong?

-- Nancy Green, Vernon, Conn.

A: Normally, I would suspect that someone -- perhaps a scam perpetrator -- was faking, or "spoofing," your caller ID information to get call recipients in your area to answer. (People are more likely to answer local calls.) But in your case, a Google search shows that your Verizon Wireless phone number appears to be assigned to two customers -- you and a man who lives in Windsor, Conn., about 9 miles from your home.

That could mean a couple of things: Verizon Wireless may have given two people the same phone number. (Because wireless phone companies reuse disconnected phone numbers, your active number might have been reused by mistake.) Alternatively, there could be an error in one of the many independently operated caller ID databases used by wireless phone companies.

Report this to Verizon Wireless immediately. Show the company your list of recent calls, which should contain the phone numbers of people who mistakenly believed that you had called them. That should help Verizon Wireless track down the source of the problem.

Q: When my Windows 10 PC comes out of sleep mode, I get an error message that says "insert disk into removable disk ( -- :)". I've updated my printer's driver software, tried to assign different drive letters to my USB devices and plugged my Canon printer and Logitech wireless mouse receiver into different USB ports -- but nothing worked. After alternately disconnecting the mouse and printer, I decided the problem must be in the printer's USB connection. Is there anything I can do besides leave the printer unplugged between uses?

 

-- Dennis Simon, New Prague, Minn.

A: The "removable disk" error is often caused by a faulty USB device or port. You ruled out a bad port by switching devices to different ports. A bad printer cable is probably the culprit.

When you buy a new PC-to-printer cable, be sure it has a "type A" USB connector on one end (fits a PC) and a "type B" connector on the other (fits a printer.) If a new cable doesn't solve the problem, run some printer diagnostic software (you can download Canon's troubleshooting program "My Printer" at tinyurl.com/s4py3r6).

Q: I have several Apple 3.5-inch floppy disks, and I'd like to put their data on flash drives that could be read by Microsoft Word. Is that possible?

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