Tech Q&A: Wi-Fi works in the wilderness, without internet service

Question: In an effort to spend time “off the grid,” I bought a cabin eight miles from the Canadian border. There is no internet service there, but I’m hoping I can set up a front-door security camera that can be monitored by my Android phone.

I thought I could connect the camera and phone via Bluetooth radio signals, but wireless security cameras all seem to need a Wi-Fi connection. What can I do? — R.M., Minneapolis

Answer: You can stream video from a security camera to your Android phone, but not directly. Instead, you will need to connect both the security camera and phone to a Wi-Fi network. Fortunately, you can set up a Wi-Fi network in your cabin, even without internet access.

Buy a Wi-Fi router and the type of Wi-Fi security camera that can be linked to an Android phone via an app (use your home internet service to download and set up the phone app.) Such cameras are available from several companies, including Wyze Labs (tinyurl.com/y3q74m5y), Blink (tinyurl.com/y5m5cvaf) and Blue (tinyurl.com/yydr7w4g).

Set up the router in your cabin. It will create a local-area network to which a phone and camera can connect. Then set up the camera-to-phone connection within the phone app. For this arrangement to work, the phone must be inside or very near the cabin.

Question: Previously, when I deleted an email on my Mac (using Apple Mail 14.0, and the Big Sur operating system), it went to the trash. That meant I could recover the email if I needed to.

But now when I delete an email, it disappears. I’ve changed the trash setting to “On My Mac,” which means deleted emails should remain stored in Mac trash until removed. But the setting always reverts to “None,” meaning deleted mail isn’t stored in the trash. How can I fix this? — A.P., Mendota Heights, Minn.

Answer: Your Mac has suffered what’s called a “trash file permission error,” which prevents files from being sent to the trash folder. As a result, the deleted files bypass the trash folder and are permanently erased.

The solution is to reset the Mac operating system’s “permissions,” which regulate how files are treated. (For step-by-step directions, see tinyurl.com/y4c678cj).

Question: My PC has a 128-gigabyte SSD (solid-state drive, a computer-chip-based memory unit) that stores Windows and the software that came preinstalled on the computer. I added a 500-gigabyte hard-disk drive on which to put newly installed programs.

Unfortunately, the new programs were added to the SSD instead, and now it’s almost full. Can I shift these programs to the hard drive without having to reinstall them there? — M.F., Eagan, Minn.

Answer: You could, but you shouldn’t. To make sure your programs work properly, reinstall them on the hard disk, one at a time. Later, you can uninstall those same programs from the SSD.

The other alternative is to “clone” the SSD. That will copy all programs, data and the Windows operating system from the SSD to the hard drive (see tinyurl.com/y4vxf3mp). While the cloning method is faster, it can create errors in the copied programs. And you will waste additional time weeding out the duplication on the two drives.

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