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"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 users will be able to 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 are expensive -- over $1,000. 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.

Whatever the speed 5G achieves for the average person, Wired magazine is calling it the fourth industrial revolution. The Hill predicts 5G will bring 22 million new jobs to the U.S., adding $3.5 trillion to the gross domestic product. Cellphone service companies are expected to spend $275 billion to build 5G networks.


Does your keyboard have crumbs? A PC Magazine article titled "How to Clean a Keyboard" suggests 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.


Sometimes we take the Amazon Echo Dot, with the voice of Alexa inside, to our history club, so she can answer obscure questions and give us some accurate dates. Sometimes we're set up to speak from a part of the room with no outlets to plugin to.

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.


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. When the music is off, 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.


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.

Bob and Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at and

Business on 05/11/2019

Print Headline: 5G promises greater speeds, but hardware also critical


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