Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss Apple and Samsung struggling to sell super pricy phones, Tokyo 2020 Olympic robots, tech helping people, FedEx terminating a contract with Amazon, and more.
Laura in Windsor, Ontario listens on AM800 CKLW and asked: “I’m wondering if Windows Defender is sufficient for antivirus on a PC. I used to have McAfee but it expired and it’s my daughter’s PC so I want it to be secure. Also, I work on a Mac, I’m a designer. I’m curious what you think of the program Malwarebytes. I’ve heard some people say it’s good. Some others have said you don’t need it and it will slow your computer down.”
Laura, Windows Defender is surprisingly solid.
A German company that does antivirus benchmarking ran a test recently that concluded that Windows Defender stopped 97% of the threats they threw at it.
There are other antivirus programs that rank higher, perform better, and have fewer false positives, but Defender is getting into the realm of good enough.
We get almost no antivirus calls these days, and that is in part because Windows itself has gotten more defensive too. Viruses can do less harm when permissions are much more restricted than they used to be, in that context, Defender may be all you need.
As for Malware bytes on Mac, it’s probably both good and largely unnecessary at the same time. Malwarebytes performs well and adds another layer of protection, but the risks are still low.
We don’t have any direct experience with MalwareBytes for Mac, but anecdotally other antivirus software like Sophos doesn’t really seem to have any measurable performance impact. You probably don’t need something like Malware Bytes Premium, but you might as well keep the free version around.
Kathie in Clarkston, Michigan listens on AM800 CKLW and asked: “I was wondering about the 5G network that is coming. I’ve been hearing so many horror stories about how it’s going to microwave our brains and be very bad for our health. I wondered what your thoughts on this were.”
Kathie, do you remember how cell phone, just the talk on it kind were going to fry your brain? People sold the most ridiculous little plastic rings to stick to your phone because apparently that was supposed to help somehow…
Then 3G and LTE were going to fry your brain too, and smart meters, and your microwave will give you cancer.
Don’t worry about 5G frequencies, they’ve already been flying around for a while, if you’re going to worry about technology that can harm your health, your car’s exhaust pipe should be a much bigger concern than your phone.
Steven asked: “Why does the speed test on different items change. I conducted a speed test on my 2 phones, different result . On two iPads different result from each other and the phones. Why?”
Steven, your devices have to consume and process the data.
Different devices have not just different processors and RAM, but also different network hardware that can process different amounts of data.
The load on the network itself will change too, but that’s probably negligible if you’re seeing different order of magnitude in speeds. If that’s the case, you’re just looking at different generation software with different limits.
In other words, you’re driving on the same stretch of highway, but sometimes you’re driving a sports car and sometimes you’re driving a lawn mower. The network isn’t the problem, the hardware in your devices is.
Laurie in Brunswick, Georgia listens on 93.7 WBQO and asked: “On an iPhone, can you record and talk at the same time?”
Laurie, not out of the box. The most likely cause is that Apple deals with enough lawsuits as it is and they probably don’t want to be responsible for knowing where and who the phone can record.
Having said that, there are ways to do it, most of them paid. The only free option that works that we’re aware of if Google Voice. If you use Google Voice with your iPhone, pressing the number 4 will record the call for you. Both side will be alerted, you will both here something like “this call is being recorded” and some dings every now and then, but the call will be saved and you should be able to retrieve it from Google at a later time.
There are also several apps that do this, most have a pretty obvious names like Call Recorder Pro and TapeACall, but they are usually paid and not necessarily very cheap. For example, CallRecorder charges 10 cents per minute, and TapeACall charges $30 a year.
Rev Call Recorder is an exception, the app will charge you if you want your calls transcribed, but it will let you record for free.
Good luck and make sure you stay legal.
Dan in Ontario listens on AM800 CKLW and asked: “I have a Samsung S8 and I find many apps that I have eat up my Internet. Is there an app that will block all of these from my mobile and my Wi-Fi at the same time without having to turn off my Wi-Fi or my mobile?”
Dan, there’s an app called Mobiwol that basically creates a firewall within your phone that allows you to select which apps can access the internet and which can’t.
You can turn access off and on from the Mobiwol app itself if you change your mind.
Having said that, the amount of internet traffic most background apps generate is negligible. Unless you’re backing up your phone to some cloud service or maybe streaming something in the background, you won’t see a very big drop in your internet usage if you ban apps from accessing the internet.
If you’re doing this as a way to not reach your limits on some capped plan, you will probably have to look elsewhere to find the reason you’re running out of data.
Michael in Center Line, Michigan listens on AM800 CKLW and asked: “I downloaded an app when I was out of state and I didn’t realize I didn’t turn off the applications that it has. Anyway, it deleted 16,000 pictures off my SD card and 6,000 pictures from my phone. Everybody says they’re out there you just gotta find a way to get them back. I need some help on that.”
Michael, that’s a tough situation.
You almost certainly won’t get back everything you lost, you may or may not be able to get something back, but it’s mostly down to luck and how much you’ve used your phone since this happened.
Most computers and phones don’t bother to delete data, just mark it as deleted which makes those memory blocks available to use for future storage. Because of that, if not too much of your data has been overwritten, you may be able to get a big chunk back using recovery software like EaseUS, DiskDrill, UndeleteMyFiles.
Most of these software companies make their money by showing you what they could recover for you, then charging you to actually do it beyond a small sample, so you will most likely have to pay some money to get anything back, how much you get back is mostly down to how much you’ve used your device since this happened (and it’s an always-on device, so what apps do in the background does count if they save anything).
Be ready to find out that some of your files are gone for good, but you may be able to rescue at least some.
Steve in Venice, Florida listens online and asked: “If you should place your wallet on one of these wireless charging pads, will it damage your credit cards?”
Steve, it might.
The official line is “yes, it will”, but we haven’t heard anyone complain about it actually happening, so it could be manufacturers just playing it safe.
That being said, have a look at when each phone maker switched from wallet cases with credit card slots on the back and an open front to exclusively cases with a flap covering your screen and you’ll see that it pretty much matches when their phones got wireless charging capabilities.
Since the companies making the phones and wallet cases are playing it safe, there’s probably a reason to play it safe, and replacing your cards is kind of a pain, so we’d say keep them away from wireless chargers.
Robin in Jacksonville, Florida listens to the podcast and called in with a tip for listeners wanting to use Chromecasts with older TVs
Robin said: “I have a tip. I am a big fan of the Google Chromecast. But my TV’s HDMI port stopped working. But instead of buying a whole new TV, I found an HDMI to AV converter online for about $10. I plugged the Chromecast into that, and plugged the other end with the red, white and yellow jacks into the AV port on my television. It works just fine. It’s a useful and very inexpensive way to enjoy Chromecast videos on an older type TV set.”
Thank you, Robin!
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