Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss Miso Robotics and White Castle, McDonald’s broken soft-serve machine map, Samsung’s chargers and earbuds going away, GM’s electric Hummer, and more.
James in Murfreesboro, Tennessee listens online and is calling via the App and asked: “I’m in the market for a new laptop and I keep seeing something about a new type of SSD. Can you explain to me the difference between the old standard SSD and the new ones that are coming?”
James, youre probably seeing NVMe SSD.Its not really all that new at this point but its slowly becoming the norm.
If you think of an older SSD looking like an HDD, a rectangular box meant to fit in the same spot the HDD took up, NVMe SSDs look like a stick of RAM memory.
SSD drives that used SATA connectors had to implement some standards that werent really optimal for SSDs, NVMe drives are better suited to the technology, and may be result in better performance (though any SSD will be good, really), and can make better use of multicore processors. They will also take up a lot less room, which may or may not matter to you. If youre just buying a new laptop our guess is that it probably doesnt matter.
You cant really go wrong with any type of SSD though, they will all be performant and energy efficient, so dont obsess too much about the type unless youre a real power user.
Ed in Wilmington, Delaware listens on Delawares Newsradio WDEL and asked: “I’m a 74 year-old retiree and I’m not a “tech person.” I’d like to know the difference between a smart TV and the “normal” TV I have, before I buy one.”
Ed, a smart TV is a TV that has built in access to some internet services.
The most prominent are Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, but the list varies a lot with many TVs including services like Pandora or Spotify, and others including a full Roku stick which allows users to download new services as needed.
The reality of smart TVs is that 99% of the time you wont use the smart features and, instead, youll get a 3rd party much better streaming stick or set top device instead.
Smart TVs with proprietary software are usually clunky and rarely updated, so dont pay too much attention at the smart features, odds are that youll want to upgrade to something more usable anyway.
John in Fairbanks, Alaska and asked: “What would you recommend for a smartphone for someone who has low-vision problems and trouble focusing? Takes a while to focus and sometimes the things on the screen go too fast.”
John, the options are really Android or iPhone. There are no truly good smartphones that are marketed a users with low vision.
The good news is that both iOS and Android come with built-in accessibility features that are likely to help you. Some wont be of any help to you (for example, the ability to detect fire alarms of crying children and alert you), but if you need a screen reader, higher contrast, a larger font, different colors, or the ability to hear specific text read to you, those are all part of the operating system.
Normally we would tell you you to stop by a store and ask an employee to show you, since the best way to judge this is to see how they help you in particular, since its 2020 that may not be a very appealing option. You can still get a preview on Apples and Androids. sites to see what they offer.
Sue in Kingsville, Ontario listens on AM800 CKLW and asked: “In the market to purchase a new computer. Other than memory, are there any other things I need to consider when purchasing?”
Sue, modern computers are largely capable of what most basic users put them through, but you can have a look at the type of storage.
Solid state drives will be a lot faster than hard drives, you may need less storage than you think these days since more and more things just live online. Have a look at the size of the battery if you want to mostly stay unplugged.
If it matters to you, screen resolution can vary quite a bit as can battery life, and you may want to decide whether having a touch screen is important to you, since not all computers offer that.
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