Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss Microsoft announcements, Amazon’s Prime Day, laundry in space, Amazon’s growth in different areas, a Snapchat filter removed, a web related NFT, and more.
James calling in via the AskDave button on our site”I want to know about aluminium battery technology. I heard that a university in California says that aluminium battery technology is better than anyu battery out there now.”
James, its just not around – and it may never be, so dont worry too much about it for the time being.
At the moment that – and graphene – are nothing but possible technologies that may be used in a few decades but for the moment are just the subject of academic papers.
The biggest advantages of aluminum-ion batteries over lithium-ion batteries are weight – theyre lighter, and aluminum is less likely to catch on fire violently and quickly the way lithium-ion batteries sometimes do.
That last part is not that big of a deal in applications like phones, but its a much bigger deal on modern planes, electric cars, and other uses that require much larger and much more dangerous batteries.
If youve heard about the Teslas that catch on fire every now and then and cant be put out for hours, this type of battery would be less prone to that problem (also, all other hybrids and electric cars seem less prone to that too so we wouldnt make Tesla our first option).
The downside of aluminum-ion batteries is that their shelf life would be much shorter, and in the real world thats a problem for virtually all of the major applications that would benefit from this type of battery.
Gary in Tupelo, Mississippi listens on SuperTalk Mississippi and asked: “I have an S8 plus Samsung phone. Bixby got turned on and I can’t turn it off. It keeps turning my phone on every eight seconds and running my battery down. How can I fix this?”
Gary, in modern versions of Samsungs OS you should be able to turn it off by going into your phones settings and then navigating to Advanced Features.
Once there you should be able to see an option to turn off Bixby features.
Alternatively, you should be able to just hold your finger on your home screen for a few seconds and then swipe to the left. That should reveal a toggle to turn off Bixby and given that you didnt turn it off intentionally, its a good bet that you accidentally turned it on that way.
Gene in Brunswick, Georgia listens on 93.7 FM WBQO and is calling via the AskDave button on our site and asked: “What type of device can I get that’s not expensive and will give me Wi-Fi in my camper?”
Gene, all of your choices will require some kind of phone service, so your first and least expensive option is your smartphone.
It probably has a hotspot already that you can use to get access in your camper right now.
If you want a separate device, there are standalone hotspots you can buy from the different phone companies. The cost is pretty variable and largely depends on the plan you want.
If youre willing to sign up for a plan with a monthly fee, you may be able to get the device for free or for very little, otherwise it may cost you a few hundred dollars.
The advantage of that approach is that you can have both your phone and the hotspot as options depending on which service provider has a better signal where you happen to be.
Deb in Darien, Georgia listens both online and on WBQO 93.7 FM and asked: “I’d like to know the history of how the designation letters for thumb drives, flash drives, those kind of things – and now it’s changed. I have a hard drive for backup. I take it to work, and do it at home, all my good files are on there. But it says “I” and then “E”. How does that work and can you give a history of how the assignments went through the years?”
Deb, theres not much of a history to speak of. Originally computers had floppy disk drives, so those were just identified with the first letters of the alphabet, A and when a second became more common, B.
By the time hard drives came around they just defaulted to the next letter, C, and after that optical drives got D.
The thing is, none of those are actually set in stone or even important. You can change them to other letters and everything will still continue to work. Its just a convention but not anything that is necessary for Windows or DOS to be able to function and most other operating systems dont use that convention at all.
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