Q: I’d like to be able to watch my friends’ videos from YouTube or Facebook when I’m not connected to the Internet. Is there a way to copy the videos to my PC or a flash drive?

Also, where can I find your articles about ransomware?

Young Hinh, St. Paul


A: You can watch YouTube or Facebook videos offline by first copying them to your PC with a video transfer program.

One easy-to-use transfer program is the free ClipGrab (download it at tinyurl.com/mn78j6v).

To transfer a video to your PC, copy its Web address and paste it into the ClipGrab program directly below the words “please enter the link to the video.” Then click the “grab this clip” button and the video will download to your computer.

On YouTube, the Web address of a video can be found in the window at the top of your browser. To find the address on Facebook, right click the video and select “show video URL.”

You can read about other video transfer programs at tinyurl.com/odbqvae. There are also free video transfer websites, such as tubeninja.net, that can copy videos to your PC without the need to first download a transfer program.

To transfer a video from your PC’s hard drive to a USB flash drive, use Windows Explorer (called File Explorer beginning with Windows 8) to copy and paste the video from the C drive to whatever letter your PC gives the flash drive, usually E or F.

My earlier columns about ransomware, which can encrypt your computer files until you pay to have them released, are at tinyurl.com/zh3ezym and tinyurl.com/nvweveg.


Q: I question why you think protective covers aren’t needed to prevent information theft from chip-based credit cards (see tinyurl.com/h48ckq6). Because so few retailers have chip-card readers, the credit card information is also stored in a magnetic stripe on the back of the card. Because information can be stolen from that stripe, shouldn’t we continue to use protective covers for the cards? And why is the conversion to chip-only credit card readers taking so long?

Susan Hillman, Lakeland, Fla.


A: There are two reasons why you don’t need a protective cover for your credit card. The chip portion of the card is safe from being electronically tapped because it wirelessly transmits information only a few inches. The magnetic stripe on the back of the card is safe from being tapped because it doesn’t transmit wirelessly at all; it’s vulnerable to theft only when in physical contact with a magnetic stripe card reader.

Replacing millions of magnetic stripe card readers with chip card readers is a huge task. It began last October, and is expected to take five years.


Q: Other than portability, what are the main differences between laptop and desktop computers?

Linda Germany, Baton Rouge, La.


A: Size of the screen and size and tactile feel of the keyboard. Laptop screens can be up to 18 inches, while desktops are up to 34 inches. Proficient typists will prefer the feel of desktop keyboards, but some midpriced laptops have keyboards that are nearly as good.


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.