Techie Stuff for Members September 2020

3 minute read

Summer is over, but the Covid virus goes on!

As you are all aware, we have not had a Computer Group meeting for quite some time now. The Collingwood Library formally closed its meeting facilities until the new year … then we shall see.

Meantime, the value of our personal computers has never been higher. If you are having any issues, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I may be able to help. I have updated some of the topics we covered over the past year. Again, let me know where your interest lie.

5G Cell Service

Rather than rewrite the information on 5G, here is a link to an excellent and comprehensive article from WhislteOut. My opinion remains that these are still early days.

The metropolitan cities are ramping up, but Collingwood may be several years before 5G service is available. As to hardware, the next month or so will see Apple entering the 5G iPhone model, which promises to be very good. Samsung and Motorola have smartphones already. Rogers. Bell, and Telus already have plans at $75 per month.

Scams going around

Phone rings early in the morning. Recorded voice suggests your Visa card has a suspicious charge for $400. Just hang up. The bad guys are looking for any information they can trick you into sharing. Remember, your bank will never ask for your password on such a call.

Phone call suggests that Microsoft has detected a virus in your system! No it has not. MSFT can not just peek into your PC whenever. Just hang up.

In many cases, the caller ID number has been spoofed, that is, it looks like a local call. As an individual, there is really no way to get back at the bad guys, so let it go. They are counting on making thousands of calls and striking pay-dirt once or twice. It’s not personal.

Software Updates

According to software engineers - Updates could save 77 pc of security threats. This is a strong recommendation to keep your software and Operating System up-to-date. Once in a while, an update will break something, but you are generally safe. As always, back up before making changes, and avoid changes when you have a critical project in the works.

Wow Factor AI

In 2011, we all watched with awe when IBM’s Watson supercomputer beat the world champions on the television game show Jeopardy! Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing, Watson digested over 200 million pages of structured and unstructured data, which it processed at a rate of eighty teraflops that’s eighty trillion operations per second. In doing so, it handily defeated Ken Jennings, a human Jeopardy! contestant who had won seventy-four games in a row. Jennings was gracious in his defeat, noting, “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.” He might want to rethink that.

Just three years after Watson beat Jennings, the supercomputer achieved 2,400 percent improvement in performance and shrank by 90 percent, “from the size of a master bedroom to three stacked pizza boxes.” Watson has also now shifted careers, using its vast cognitive powers not for quiz shows but for medicine. The M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is using Watson to help doctors match patients with clinical trials, and at the Sloan Kettering Institute, Watson is voraciously reading 1.5 million patient records and hundreds of thousands of oncology journal articles in an effort to help clinicians come up with the best diagnoses and treatments. IBM has even launched the Watson Business Group with a $1 billion investment earmarked to get companies, non profits, and governments to take advantage of Watson’s capabilities.

Maybe they will find a COVID cure.

That’s all for now

Please contact me with any questions, observations, and requests. Stay Safe.