Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss drone use by public agencies, McDonald’s passport hotline, Ford partnering with Agility Robotics to create autonomous delivery vehicles, facial recognition for pandas, Alexa’s future mind reading, and more.
Bob in El Paso, Texas listens to the podcast and asked: “I want to buy a new notebook computer and they’re telling me the drive is an eMMC drive. And I want to know if that’s upgradable. I want to get a good size solid state drive and I’m not familiar with the eMMC drive. Can you give me some help on that?”
Bob, don’t count on it being upgradable. Sometimes they are, but for the most part, they’re not.
eMMC memory is basically chips integrated into the motherboard and generally speaking, they’re not expected to ever be touched.
You may be able to use an SD card or a USB flash drive or hard drive to add some external memory, and if that fits your needs then the eMMC not being expandable may not be terrible problem, but if you absolutely need more memory, don’t count on being able to expand the eMMC like you could a hard drive or an SSD by simply replacing it with a bigger drive of some kind.
eMMC doesn’t share connectors with SSDs and they’re not interchangeable, it’s a probably one of the reasons they’re popular in low-cost computers, they pretty much ensure a quick upgrade cycle by the owner…
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 systems like Eero, Google WiFi, or Netgear’s Orbi will give you a much better and more seamless experience.
Those systems 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 a 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.
Lisa in Carey, North Carolina listens on Newsradio 680 WPTF and asked: “I have a friend who is getting married and we want to have everyone with their cellphones – we’d like to upload pictures and videos that they take to a central site so we can put them all together but I don’t know if anything like that is available.”
Lisa, your best bet is probably Dropbox.
There are other companies that will provide that service, it was actually one of the first thing Apple used it iCloud for, for example, but Dropbox is popular and works with lots and lots of phones.
They offer camera syncing out of the box and they also have expensive plans that can probably work well within the budget of a wedding knowing that immediately after those pictures can be downloaded and stored in other ways.
Whichever app you choose, keep in mind that many, many people won’t want to go through the trouble of installing anything on their phones, so plan to either ask them for their photos later, or pay a photographer to ask as a backup, in case guests don’t play along.
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