Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss Xfinity’s higher speeds, nuclear fusion, TikTok’s horizontal mode, smartphone’s and health, Meta’s oversight board, Alexa’s stories for children, and more.
Deb in Darien, Georgia and asked: “I have my parent’s 2014 55-inch Samsung smart TV. It will not respond. Neither will the clicker. So I’m gonna need to get a new TV. I’m just wondering if Amazon Fire… what it is, because I don’t know what it is. I can get a new TV, no problem. But I wanna know about Amazon Fire TV because I have a friend that has it and it sounds really good, a lot cheaper than the other stuff. Thank you guys. I listen to you every week.”
Deb, an Amazon Fire TV is a streaming device. Whether its cheaper or not depends on what you use with it.
For example, if you use Amazons FreeVee to watch with ads, then you wont be paying any extra, if you pay for Hulu, HBO Max, Netflix, Paramount+, Disney+, YouTube TV, and Sling, it will probably cost way more than you think.
Having said that, most people will pay less by just subscribing to what they want. If youre not interested in Disney, Marvel, or Star Wars, then why would you give Disney+ money? If youre not watching the Game of Thrones spinoff, you may not be interested in paying for HBO.
Since your friend has it already, your best bet may be to just ask for a tour of the device.
If you can play around with it, youll be able to tell whether you find it easy or not, and your friends will be able to show you what they pay for and what youll be able to use for free.
Robert in Miami, Florida and asked: “My question today is about VPN. What does it stand for? How effective are they? How safe are they? and can they really guarantee our privacy? And is there a possibility that “an agency” is out there running the show and completely have all of our information?”
Robert, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network.
They are extremely effective for their intended use, which is just to provide remote access to a private network, in fact just about anyone in the corporate world will knowingly or otherwise interact with a VPN pretty much daily.
In terms of security, no they dont guarantee it. You can assume that any government entity will be able to access the raw data, and by tunneling through a virtual private network all youre assuring is that your data is only visible to those network owners.
That can limit exposure, for example, if youre trying to avoid snooping when using public WiFi, but it wont in any way ensure your privacy if all youre doing is paying a 5 person company in Panama to route your browsing through their server.
It just means they can see your data instead of your ISP, which may still be a win since ISPs openly admit to selling your data, but that doesnt mean that the VPN provider wont do the same.
Bob in Thornton, Colorado and asked: “I have WiFi 5 at my house and I’m wondering if upgrading to WiFi 6 will make a difference. Second question is, I have the satellite for my Orbi. I have two of them. I’m wondering if adding a third one will give me better range or if it will affect the other two.”
Bob, WiFi 6 is faster, think 30-40% better transfer rates, having said that you probably wont notice a difference.
The reason for that is that WiFi 5 is likely to already be faster than your internet connection, and thats what most users associate WiFi with. Unless you have a gigabit connection that you want to take full advantage of, or youre transferring lots of data within your own network, you probably wont notice enough difference to fully justify the switch right now. Especially considering you have multiple devices to replace.
As for adding a satellite device to your Orbi setup, yes it will give you better range and it will not affect the other two. The Orbi system will coordinate its devices on its own and you will see increased range without any obvious interference from the other devices and without having to set up a new network and manually switch to it.
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