Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss Lukin coffee’s IPO, GM’s buckle-to-drive feature, PS5 news, Google Shopping, STEM students building cars for kids with disabilities, and more.
Don in Mountain View, California listens Online and asked: “Is there any way to use an unsecured wi-fi system, like at the library, and be able to be secure with some software or some other way of protecting yourself from getting junk mail or people tapping into your phone. They have a wonderful WiFi system at the library but they have a big sign saying it’s unsecure, so I’m reluctant to use it.”
Don, you can secure your browser by using a VPN service, but there are a few catches.
The first catch is that it may not be free, many VPN services charge a small monthly fee, or limit your speed or the amount of data you can download while using the service. There are ways around that, for example, hosting your own VPN server, but if you didn’t know those even existed you may not be the best candidate to work on a project like that.
The second catch is that some places block VPN access, famously Starbucks used to. Your library is not likely to do that on purpose, but it may happen as a side effect of locking down ports for extra security.
We should mention that securing your WiFi browsing will do nothing to keep you from getting junk mail though, if you don’t want junk mail keep an eye on who you give your email address to, that will be more likely to help that any kind of WiFi security.
Karola in Westmoreland, Tennessee listens on 99.7 WTN and asked: “Want to know if there’s anything I can get to boost my Internet. My router is at one end of the house, but when you’re at the other end of the house (it’s only about 1,500 square feet) the signal is sketchy. You may or may not get signal or keep it. And I was wondering if there’s something I can get to boost that. And also, my daughter’s cell phone will pick up pretty good in the living room but the rest of the house is pretty sketchy. Wondering if there’s anything to boost that as well.”
Karola, the easiest way to improve your WiFi around the house would be a multipoint system of some kind.
You can try a standalone repeater, but they’re not always easy to set up and sometimes force you to connect to different networks depending on where you are.
If you can spend a little more money, a mesh or pseudo-mesh system like Eero, Google WiFi, or Netgear’s Orbi will give you a much better and more seamless experience.
Those system use multiple access points, but they’re better at talking to each other, and as far as your devices are concerned there’s just one network and you don’t have to worry about jumping to the better access point and see your signal deteriorate until you do.
As for your daughter’s phone, you can buy a cellular repeater compatible with the network she uses, weBoost sells quite a few at varying price points from less than $100 to several hundred, but there are two things to keep in mind there: 1) You need to install it somewhere with a signal so it can pick up something it can boost, that part should be doable since she has signal in part of the house, and 2) if your WiFi gets lost inside your house, the repeated cellular signal may too.
If your daughter’s carrier supports it, WiFi calling through your soon to be improved WiFi may be the way to go for her.
Christopher in Texas listens on 97.5 KTBB and asked: “I would like to know what is a good SD card reader to use because I hunt and the one I have will not work with my phone. When I plug it in, it just will not work. I would like to get my SD cards out of my game cameras and put it into an adapter and look at it on my phone.”
Christopher, you can find devices from fairly unknown companies like UGREEN, Coasd and may others that will sell you Android-compatible SD card readers for less than $10.
However, we found a particularly interesting option for your use case, a company called LovinFive sells an SD card reader under the heading “LovinFive Trail Scouting Game Camera Viewer 3 in 1 Hunter Reader”.
Now, frankly, our guess is that there is absolutely nothing special about that particular Android-compatible reader, but it may still be worth considering because it cost $8 and given that the target audience is hunters wanting to check cameras, it’s likely that they’ve checked that it works well with field cameras and phones whereas most readers would’ve been mainly checked against computers.
Dwight in Brookhaven, Mississippi listens on SuperTalk Mississippi and asked: “I am a GM automotive master technician, and deal primarily with infotainment. We have more problems with Apple phones. Don’t mean to say it. Edit what you want to. But that’s the problem we have with the majority of our vehicles. Also have a question – How to free up space on an Android phone to get more space on the phone.”
Dwight, focus on deleting media if possible, movies, photos and music take up a lot of room and over time tend to build up.
Once you’re done with that, the next big memory hog is apps but not all of the are equal. You’ll find that some games and complex applications will take up gigs or even tens of gigs while simple apps may just take 10 or 15mb.
As a general rule, if you haven’t used it in a long while, you probably don’t need it and can get rid of it to get that extra room you need.
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