People are still talking a lot about the rollout of 5G technology around the world, and how it can affect us here in the U.S. Much debate is about the safety of using Chinese technology and how many watchdog agencies are reporting possible backdoor issues that would allow illegal spying through the technology if using Chinese-sources products.
The promise of what 5G technology can bring is fun to think about, including data speeds of up to 100 times faster than current connections that tech futurists say could support things like internet-connected sensors, vehicles, appliances, and devices that can perform functions yet unimagined. But the alarms being raised about invasion of privacy and backdoor spying are also concerning. It will be interesting to see how the technology grows for 5G over time, but for now it’s just something to watch and keep an eye on.
Kristy CooperThe 5G technology debate: Is it safe?
Everyone’s been stressing the importance of washing your hands and good hygiene for the last year, but one thing many might have missed is the importance of cleaning our smart phones and devices. Phones are on us all the time, but if we don’t clean them, we’re basically carrying around contaminated germ-factories in our pockets and purses.
Our mobile phones connect us to the world and are possibly the items we touch the most throughout the day. According to a survey conducted by the research platform Dscout, we touch our phones on average 2,617 times day – though the top 10% of users averaged 5,400. Studies have found that phones and other smart devices are covered in germs and greasy grime and are often just as dirty as the bottom of our shoes. When the coronavirus pandemic spread, people became hypersensitive about contaminated surfaces, but mobile devices have been widely overlooked. Here’s what you can do to clean them up.
Kristy CooperHow to Clean and Sanitize Smart Devices
Wearables are all the rage these days. What’s a wearable? It’s any type of electronic device worn near or touching the skin that can analyze and transmit data from body signals (pulse, temperature, movement, etc.), that then provide biofeedback for the wearer and/or their caregivers and healthcare professionals.
Smart watches, one of the most popular types of wearables, are a fun and functional way to manage a variety of health aspects – weight, activity, fitness, stress, etc. – while also allowing for practical functions such as answering the phone or paying for your Starbucks. There are so many choices on the market, however, it can seem overwhelming, so we created this quick guide to help you find the best smartwatch for you.
SIMPLE SMARTWATCH SHOPPING GUIDE
START HERE: Compatibility
All the major smartwatches today pair with a smartphone, so you have to start by choosing one that is compatible with your operating system. If you are shopping online, or you are working with someone in retail sales in a store, start with making sure you are only looking at watches that will pair with the smartphone you have.
Kristy CooperHow to Choose the Best Smart Watch for You
Cyberbullying is not just an adolescent problem. Adults can be victims too. If this surprises you, just look at the comments on any social media of celebrities, athletes, politicians or public figures and you’ll see a prime example of online harassment by adults and between adults.
Cyberbullying isn’t limited to public figures, either. Anyone can be the recipient of online harassment of some kind. According a recent study from the Pew Research Center, approximately four in 10 adults in America have personally experienced online harassment, with 25% of respondents finding their experience very or extremely upsetting.
Kristy CooperAdult cyberbullying: Why it’s happening and what to do about it
As the pandemic led to an increase in using online platforms for education purposes, and kids spent even more time online, studies are showing that unfortunately cyberbullying also increased for elementary through high school, too.
Misinformation, hate and harassment are often sited by social media users as increasing in general for all ages, according to a Pew Research Center study. According to that study, 64% of Americans said social media had a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the country today. When it comes to kids, however, it’s even worse. According to L1ght, an organization that tracks online harassment, there has been a 70% increase in cyberbullying in just a few months.
Kristy CooperWhy cyberbullying is up – and what parents can do
Public trust in the media, including social media, is at an all-time low. Considering the past year filled with fake news and misleading information from “alternative” news sources for everything from the pandemic to the Presidential election, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
According to research shared by the Pew Research Center last year, 72% of U.S. adults say social media companies have too much power and influence in politics today. In addition, about two-thirds of Americans (64%) say social media has a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the country today.
This one’s for all the new parents out there! From those first few precious moments to months later as you juggle working from home and caring for your baby, it’s nice to have some help. Luckily the tech world has your back, and new devices are popping up all the time that can give tired parents the break – and peace of mind – they are looking for. Check out these new innovations:
Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, oh my! When it comes to streaming music, there are more options available than ever. Wherever you can connect to the internet – phone, car, computer, etc. – you can stream music. With so many choices, we realize it can be hard to decide, so we’ve rounded up the latest to help you select just the right one.
Some services, such as iHeartRadio and Spotify, have free options that let you try before you subscribe, while others, such as Apple Music, are strictly premium experiences. Many services display lyrics, so you can sing along with your favorite song. While others offer family plans that let a set number of household members share a premium account.
Kristy CooperHow to choose the best streaming music for you
Unfortunately, the scammers keep finding new ways to try to illegally gain access to your personal information – and today’s warning we wanted to share with you has to do with COVID-19 vaccination scams. As vaccinations are rolling out across the United States, many people are signing up for appointments online. In some cases, people are receiving texts about their vaccinations, but are unsure if they are legitimate or not. If you hesitate before clicking on links in those types of texts – good job! But even though many of these are illegal phishing scams, there might be a few legitimate texts you can receive.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, people who sign up for a COVID vaccine online might receive a legitimate text message, but with so much fraud occurring, it’s important that you read the text message thoroughly.
Kristy CooperWarning about COVID-19 vaccination text scam
“To infinity and beyond!” Astronaut-themed cartoon characters aside, here at Softcom we love that one of the powers of the internet is its ability to connect us with the final frontier. There are a lot of exciting things happening in space exploration, and all you need to go along for the ride is a good internet connection and a love of space, science and discovery. They say that understanding the universe that surrounds us can help us to understand our planet and ourselves much better, so here is a quick guide to what’s going on in space exploration and how to learn more.
Historic Helicopter Flight on Mars
While the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover continues to explore Mars’ surface, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is preparing for its first flight. According to a recent NASA statement, the Ingenuity aims to be the first powered flight on another world and, if successful, could further broaden the scope of what is possible with Mars exploration.
We believe that everyone deserves fast, reliable internet service no matter where they live or work. Softcom brings the experience, infrastructure, and technology to stand behind our vision. And we’re laser-focused on giving our customers the fast connections, exceptional customer service, and simple, affordable pricing they deserve.