Q: Within two days of joining Weathercloud.net (a “weather social network” for consumers), I began getting a large number of e-mails containing advertising and pornography from an organization called “Beautiful Email.” Where can I report these two organizations? I know there is a group that controls Web addresses; would a complaint to them get results?

John Ferman, Minneapolis


A: Junk e-mailers, or spammers, are an unpleasant fact of life that underscores the need to be extremely careful about sharing personal information, such as your e-mail address, online.

The group you thought might be in charge, called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers; see tinyurl.com/gtxqfw5), is a nonprofit organization that manages a World Wide Web address list. But ICANN has no control over how websites are used.

As a result, your best protection is your own vigilance and some anti-spam software (none of it 100 percent effective) that’s available through your Gmail account (it’s already working for you) or from security software companies (see tinyurl.com/ja8lxv2).

What can you do to avoid getting more spam? Don’t give out your e-mail address to any person or website that you don’t know well enough to trust. Before giving your e-mail to any company, read its privacy policy to see whether it will share your address with its marketing partners. Don’t forward group e-mails, which send your address to people you may not know. Don’t open e-mails with suspicious headings. Never click on a link in an e-mail.

Let’s apply this suspicious attitude to Weathercloud.net, which may or may not have been responsible for your recent flood of spam. What should you know about how they do business?

Weathercloud’s privacy policy says it takes “reasonable measures” to protect your personal information, but “cannot guarantee” it will be secure. If you click links to other websites while on the Weathercloud page, Weathercloud says it’s not responsible for what those sites do with personal information you give them. In addition, Weathercloud warns that some parts of its site allow users to post personal information that anyone can view. It pays to know these things.


Q: My iPhone 6 Plus will no longer sync with my PC’s Microsoft Outlook calendar. This seems to have happened after Apple increased the number of digits in the phone’s pass code from four to six.

Jan Davis, Metairie, La.


A: There have been many complaints about Outlook-to-iPhone calendar syncing problems, although it’s not clear that the change in the iPhone’s pass code had anything to do with it. The easiest solution is to choose a different syncing method.

The three syncing options for consumers are: physically connecting the iPhone and PC via a cable and using iTunes; connecting wirelessly through Apple’s iCloud online service; or connecting wirelessly via Microsoft’s Outlook.com online service. (For setup directions for each method, see tinyurl.com/y9mkqkex). The wireless connections appear to have the fewest problems. To solve problems with the cable-and-iTunes method, see tinyurl.com/haz24q6.

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