“What is 5G?” The question reminds us of one of Joy’s favorite novels, “Atlas Shrugged.” The characters go around saying “Who is John Galt?” but never get a good answer until the end.

Some say that 5G is ten times faster than the previous generation, others say it’s 100 times faster. An article in the New Yorker claims you’ll download a two-hour movie in four seconds. There will be no lag times for online games. But is this hype or reality?

Several factors come into play, such as the hardware you’re using, where you’re located, what your network can handle, how many users are sharing it, what kind of interference you’re getting, and whether you’re at home or zipping around town. Verizon says users at home can get 300 Megabits to one gigabit per second. T-Mobile says the average user will get 450 megabits per second, going up to 4 gigabits per second five years from now.

All but one of the latest 5G phones we’ve looked at is expensive — over $1000. The exception is Motorola’s “moto z3.” It’s $680 if you buy the attachment, called the “moto mod,” that turns it into a 5G phone. But it’s exclusive to Verizon. Verizon will offer the Samsung S10 5G starting Saturday, May 16.

Whatever the speed 5G achieves for the average person, Wired Magazine is calling it the fourth industrial revolution. The Hill reports that 5G will bring 22 million new jobs to the U.S., adding $3.5 trillion to the gross domestic product. That’s like adding nearly the whole economy of Germany to our GDP, or adding India’s economy plus Turkey’s. Cell phone service companies are expected to spend $275 billion to build 5G networks. 

Crumbs in the Keyboard

Does your keyboard have crumbs? In a PC Magazine article called “How to Clean a Keyboard,” they suggest using a blob-like gel called CyberClean to get the crumbs out. It’s around $11 and also cleans phones to get rid of nearly all germs.

This is a new one on us. The more common approach is a can of compressed air to blow out the particles. It’s best to do it outside or in a bathtub, or you’ll get a cloud of dirt landing everywhere. It can also be used on the computer’s fan. Or you can use a keyboard brush, which costs about $9. You might want to start by turning a desktop’s keyboard upside down and tapping it.

Taking Alexa on the Road

Sometimes we take the Amazon Echo Dot, with the voice of Alexa inside, to our history club, so she can answer obscure and give us some accurate dates. Sometime we’re speaking from a part of the room with no outlets to plug in into.

That’s when a battery comes in handy. We tried out the $40 “VAUX Portable Battery Base.” The Echo Dot fits in the top and plugs in. The first time we asked a question, it blasted us out of the room. This thing really adds volume to the Dot. Sound quality is good.

How to Master the iPhone

A reader reminded us that some of the best “how to” books are in the “Teach Yourself Visually” series.

Wish we’d thought of that before we gave a friend advice. We told her to browse the bookstore or library and get whatever looks best to her. She chose “iPhone 7 for Dummies: Senior Edition,” by Brad Miser.  “I guess seniors are the dumbest of the dumb, so I bought it!” she said. Despite the name of the book, it covers earlier iPhones too, going back to the iPhone 5. It’s $16 on Amazon.

The first thing she learned: The volume buttons depend on the context. When you’re listening to music, pressing the volume button turns the music up. Otherwise, it controls the volume of the ringer. You can also use Siri to turn the volume up or down. You can get more info on this by Googling “iPhone volume.” (Or whatever kind of phone you have.) In fact, this is often better than any book. Just search on whatever specific question you have. The more specific, the better.

Erasing Stored Passwords in Google Chrome

If you’re not careful, Google may save passwords to your machine that are too secret to save.

To erase them, open Chrome and click the three dots at the upper right of your computer screen. Click “settings.” Scroll to the bottom of the settings page and click “Advanced.” Now click “Passwords.” You can click the trash can next to any password you don’t want saved. For other browsers, do a search on “manage passwords in Firefox,” or whatever browser you use.


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