Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products and all things digital.
Sometimes choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job.
This week, I received questions about the 5G revolution, saving on flights, closing down apps, and more. Do you have a question you'd like to ask me?
Pick a Streaming Service
Q: I want to get FoxNews, LifeTime, ShowTime, and a few other channels streaming. What service do I need? I am so confused!
A: Well, it sounds like you know what you like! Such precise tastes are actually helpful because many people are the opposite: they sign up for a streaming service, poke around, watch a few movies and shows, even binge a little.
Then, gradually, they realize how much they’re missing. They don’t want to shell out the money for an HBO package, but they realize, too late, that Netflix doesn’t stream “Game of Thrones.”
So in a way, you’re in a great position to choose exactly the service (or combination of services) you want. I put together a simple guide that compares different streaming offerings side-by-side.
Converting to Android
Q: I am an astrophysicist who just switched from Apple to Android. Any tips to help me make the transition? I’m obviously very bright, but this change has not been as easy as the reps in the store told me it would be.
A: You’re not alone. Apple products are sleek and user-friendly, and once you invest, it’s hard not to get swept up in its riptide. But it’s no secret that Apple products are expensive, and Android is a very worthy competitor.
On the third hand, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by Android’s customizable interface as you adjust to many unfamiliar options. There are a few tips and tricks that will expedite its ease of use, and even cut some corners.
The Skinny on 5G
Q: I love new technologies. Is 5G coming? Is it true that there are health issues and risks with it?
A: Ah, the mythical 5G. Most of the world is perfectly content with 4G, the network that made unlimited data possible and runs our devices at unprecedented speeds. And yet, developers are already neck-deep in 5G technology, and many of us wait with bated breath to learn its uncharted capabilities.
When 5G becomes available, a minority of tech geeks will immediately buy into it; for the rest of us, conversion will be inevitable, the same way we gave up the analog radio signals in favor of digital transmissions.
So when will 5G hit the market, and what will it offer us? Will we really be able to download up to 20GB per second? Will we be able to keep our current devices, or will we be required to upgrade?
Save on Flights
Q: I am about to book our summer vacation. How can I make sure that I am getting the lowest fare and then not get socked with a bunch of crazy fees at the airport?
A: This is a dark day for travel agents who are not specialized, but it’s a wonderful time for independent travelers. You could theoretically book your flight on a smartphone while riding in a taxi to the airport and arrive in Paris the same afternoon.
Yet travel agents had something that most of us do not: expertise. With all their years of experience, agents spent their days finding the lowest fare, while the rest of us now rely on algorithms. Airfare fluctuations are as unpredictable as the stock market, and every search you make is a gamble.
But when you log on to an omniscient service like Google Flights, there are some simple tricks to help you play the odds. If you know what you’re doing, you can save hundreds on a single ticket, and thousands in the long run.
Q: Please solve a bet I have with my best friend. I have $25 riding on your answer. Do you need to close apps anymore?
A: What a perceptive question. How many of us keep Facebook messenger open all the time? How many of us have no idea how to log out of our apps? Some people use the force quit option to stop an app from working because they are under the impression that this will save RAM and battery life.
Others are concerned about apps that are always listening, waiting for a wake phrase to activate them. These are understandable concerns, and you would be forgiven for following this simple logic.
But the answer to your question is a little more nuanced than a simple yes or no, and it depends largely on the type of smartphone, and operating system, you’re using.
What questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.