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 5G speeds, online prescriptions, creepy car cameras, and more.
Do you have a question you'd like to ask me?
Q: 5G, 5G, 5G — I keep hearing people talk about how great it is! What’s the real story? Is it faster?
A: I can say, without reservation, that 5G is going to change the world. In part, 5G is just the next wave of technology, so of course, it’s going to be faster and more powerful than any network that preceded it. But to really understand how groundbreaking this generation is going to be, think back to life before smartphones.
What was it like to hold one for the first time? To tap that magical screen with your finger? To turn the phone in your hands and have the screen adjust to its orientation? Well, watching 5G at work is kind of like that; you feel a mix of excitement and disbelief because it’s hard to believe that this level of data networking exists.
It won’t happen overnight, but it won’t be long before 5G is the norm. Tap or click to see the full power of 5G in action.
Cheap, safe pharma
Q: Thanks for the recent tip warning us about fake medications sold online! I wonder: Is there a safe place to go shopping for cheap prescriptions online?
A: You’re welcome - nothing makes me happier than saving people from bad encounters online. But prescriptions can be brutally expensive, and we’re all looking for a deal on the medications that keep us healthy and comfortable. The best way to find safe, affordable pharma online is by finding deals or using coupons.
You can also seek out generic versions of big-brand drugs. Most of these things would take forever to find on your own, and there are a lot of dubious websites designed to mislead you. But there are three websites and/or apps that can help you sift through the options. Tap or click here for some details about the cheaper, safer way to buy prescription meds.
Block your own number
Q: Is there a way to block my phone number, so when I call businesses, they don’t see and record my number?
A: I completely understand why you ask this question, given the number of robocall companies out there and how easily your contact information can be sold to solicitors. For landlines, you can block your ID for each call by dialing *69. This simple act is provisional, so you have to do it before each call.
On a smartphone, you can block your ID for individual calls through your settings; this works similarly for iPhones and Androids, although not every carrier allows it, and some services (like emergency numbers) will always see your number, no matter what. You can call your carrier directly and have your number permanently blocked, but this may have implications you can’t foresee, so be cautious about this one. Tap or click for precise blocking instructions.
Stick it to Google
Q: Suddenly, I’m worried about what Google knows about me. I know: You’ve been teaching us about this for years. Where should I start looking, and what should I do?
A: We can’t hate on Google too much. The company has been basically up-front about its intentions – it wants to collect all the knowledge that exists, and it's pretty much done it. But Google hasn’t been exactly forthcoming about how much personal data it collects, and it’s vague about what all this information is for.
As the public learns more about Big Data, stranger and stranger caches of personal info have been unearthed. For example, Google has been keeping track of our online purchases for years. These lists are usually incomplete, but they provide an intimate portrait of our consumer tastes, and many may consider this index a useless violation. Tap or click to what Google knows about your online purchasing history.
Explaining car cameras
Q: Why would car makers put cameras inside new cars? I mean, why would I need to record myself?
A: Interior cameras are probably the weirdest development in the automotive industry, and car companies are having a difficult time explaining their presence. I can’t think of any consistent purpose for these cameras, aside from a security measure, and although they may anticipate technological advances that aren’t yet in effect, they seem like a huge liability, especially if manufacturers are collecting footage.
If you have a car that contains internal cameras, I strongly urge you to find out where the cameras are and cover them. You can also opt-out of data collection at the time of purchase. Tap or click to find the cameras in your car and learn more about their purpose.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.
Make your Wi-Fi invisible, get free subtitles, fun with Google Home, and more: Tech Q&A
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 why you need a Chromebook, how to get free subtitles, hiding your Wi-Fi and more.