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Your WiFi is about to get a whole lot faster [UPDATE]

This week the FCC opened up 6GHz band to Wi-fi for the everyday average user, and for other unlicensed uses. This was the next big step – the biggest step, from a regulatory standpoint – toward the biggest upgrade in Wi-fi since 1989. The FCC vote opens up more space on which data can transmit over the internet, to cut down on congestion for everyday citizens. There’ll be more space on which data can move, and with 6Ghz, that data can be transmitted a whole lot faster, too.

Earlier this year, we took a look at what Wi-fi 6E meant for you. You’ve more than likely got a Wi-fi router that works with up to 5Ghz wi-fi spectrum. This means you’re likely already transmitting data to your devices in your home to the maximum speed any Wi-fi can transmit, at the moment. But now that 6Ghz is opening up for the general public, the transmission of data via the internet is going to go faster – for some people, not all.

— The FCC (@FCC) April 23, 2023

It’s important to note that you will not automatically get the added speed of 6Ghz Wi-fi on your devices as soon as it’s open for the public. You’ll need a router capable of transmitting data at that speed, first. You’ll likely start to see Wi-fi 6 and/or Wi-fi 6E on new routers soon – if you’ve not already started to see said products already. That’ll be the new must-have new feature for home internet.

The date at which the vote by the FCC was called was April 23, 2023. At that time, the FCC announced, “The Federal Communications Commission today adopted rules that make 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band (5.925–7.125 GHz) available for unlicensed use.”

“Wi-Fi 6 will be over two-and-a-half times faster than the current standard and will offer better performance for American consumers,” wrote an FCC representative. “Opening the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use will also increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi by nearly a factor of five and help improve rural connectivity.”

Here at SlashGear our tests with Wi-fi 6 and 6Ghz Wi-fi connectivity will commence in each of our various areas of residence once hardware (and connectivity) is available. Stick around for our first real-world tests, coming up as soon as possible!

UPDATE: The Wi-Fi Alliance sent word that they enthusiastically support the FCC’s decision to expand availability of 6Ghz spectrum. “By making 1200 megahertz of spectrum in 6 GHz available for unlicensed innovation, the Commission opened the flood gates of Wi-Fi benefits for American consumers, enterprises and the economy. Most importantly, the FCC decision ensures that Wi-Fi users can stay connected to colleagues and family, and to healthcare, business, education, and other critical services. Wi-Fi Alliance enthusiastically supports this action and is grateful to the Commission’s leadership and FCC staff for their dedicated effort and commitment over the course of the 6 GHz proceeding.”UPDATE 2: Today the Wi-Fi Alliance also announced that they’d be expanding their Wi-Fi Certified 6 program into 6GHz. “Certification for Wi-Fi 6E – the brand name for Wi-Fi 6 devices operating in 6 GHz – will be available in early 2023,” said a Wi-Fi Alliance representative.

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Storing The Pfizer Vaccine Could Get A Lot Simpler In Coming Weeks

In an announcement this morning, Pfizer and BioNTech described new findings showing that their COVID vaccine could be stored for at standard freezing temperatures, setting the stage for a dramatically simplified vaccine distribution effort.

That’s a big step for Pfizer’s vaccine, the first approved for use in the US, because it currently needs to be shipped and stored at ultra-cold temperatures of about -100 degrees Fahrenheit. The company has developed specialized “briefcases” filled with dry ice for cross-country shipping, but the ultra-cold requirements have created barriers at the end of the supply chain.

Only large hospitals and university research centers typically have freezers that meet those standards, limiting the number of sites that can receive Pfizer doses. And even if smaller, rural hospitals wanted to purchase ultra-cold freezers, skyrocketing demand for the units priced them out.

Moderna’s vaccine, approved a month later, had less frosty requirements. It can be shipped at about -5 degrees Fahrenheit, within the range of standard pharmaceutical freezers, and stored for a month in regular refrigerators. After its approval, it was hurried into rural areas and nursing homes, places where distributing the Pfizer vaccine had been prohibitively difficult.

The Pfizer announcement says that its vaccine will still be shipped on dry ice, but that it can now be stored at the end destination for two weeks at temperatures between -13 and 5 degrees (in range of standard pharmaceutical freezers).

Susan Hassig, an epidemiologist at Tulane University who served on a state task force that developed Louisiana’s distribution plan, says that even that change could help vaccines reach underserved populations. “It means that a Pfizer vaccine could be distributed in CVS and Walgreens, as opposed to just healthcare settings,” she says. “You can maintain freezers at a drive-up site. That’s doable.”

[Related: What the Dippin’ Dots ‘cold chain’ can teach us about COVID-19 vaccines]

That would untether distribution of the Pfizer vaccine from major healthcare institutions, which she says are “moving a lot of vaccines, but not getting into populations of color. They’re accessing people who are already in their healthcare system.”

Pfizer has been gathering the data on its vaccine’s temperature stability for the past nine months, since it first began manufacturing doses for early trials. The mRNA at the heart of the Pfizer vaccines is much more fragile than previous vaccine technologies, which typically used whole, inactivated viruses. That’s part of what makes these vaccines work: the mRNA enters your cells, teaches them to make a fragment of SARS-CoV-2 protein, creates an immune response, and then falls apart.

But it means that the shelf life for the drug is short. “Our top priority was to quickly develop a safe and effective vaccine,” says Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s CEO, in the announcement.

Margaret Liu, a board member of the International Society for Vaccines, told NPR in November that the process of temperature-testing a new vaccine is time-consuming and expensive, because it involves storing actual vaccines for long periods of time at different temperatures. Establishing that a vaccine can be shelf stable in a freezer for two weeks means repeatedly leaving it there for two weeks.

The announcement doesn’t mean that the changes will take place immediately. Pfizer has submitted its data to the FDA, but the agency will still need to update the terms of Pfizer’s emergency use authorization before the drug can officially be stored at warmer temperatures.

That means that, although it might be theoretically effective to use a vaccine that had been stored in a freezer, a doctor injecting that vaccine would still technically be administering an expired drug, thus violating the terms of the Emergency Use Authorization.

So far, the FDA has not announced a hearing on the new findings. Previous amendments to Pfizer’s authorization, including one correcting an error related to temperature requirements in shipping, have taken roughly a week.

But Hassig says that the announcement continues a frustrating trend in COVID vaccine development, where hard data isn’t released until well after a press release. She says she wants evidence on both whether the vaccine appears stable in a vial, and if a dose stored in a regular freezer provokes the same immune-system response once injected.

“You built the case that your product had to be ultracold,” she says of Pfizer. “So whatever case they have [about its efficacy] needs to be demonstrated for a product that’s stored at freezing. I need data.”

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12 Ways To Make Your Google Chrome Faster

Despite its popularity among users, Chrome can sometimes ruin your browsing experience. Since Google Chrome is infamous for consuming a lot of RAM memory, it is normal for it to run slowly, stop responding or crash abruptly.

While there are many reasons why Google Chrome runs slowly, it is generally due to insufficient memory. Meanwhile, if you are working with multiple tabs or using an outdated version, it can also cause Chrome to act slower.

Luckily, there are a few ways to speed up Chrome on your device that we will be discussing in this article.

When you encounter a slower Google Chrome, you should ensure no resource-hungry applications are running in the background. If there are any, first terminate them and only start using Chrome. You can take the help of Task Manager to terminate the background apps. Likewise, running an antivirus scan can be helpful since viruses are also responsible for slowing down Chrome.

Meanwhile, you should also confirm that your system meets the minimum requirements for Chrome to operate. Please consider updating your device if it does not even meet the minimum requirements.

Here, we have discussed 12 ways that help make Google Chrome faster.

A slower Internet connection hinders you from surfing the web faster. You may misinterpret Chrome as slower when actually, a slower Internet is causing an issue. Please check if you have enough Internet speed to surf the web, and if not, consider switching to a faster Wi-Fi network. We recommend you use ethernet cables instead of Wi-Fi to surf the Internet on your device.

Moreover, if you are using a VPN or proxy server on your device, consider turning them off. Premium proxies and VPNs may not significantly affect Internet speed. But if you use them for free, they throttle the speed, and you may run into a problem.

There are different power plans available on a PC, like high-performance and power saver plans. These plans need to be activated appropriately. Else, it can directly affect the performance of your PC. When the power-saver or battery-saver mode is activated, the PC lowers the consumption of resources like RAM and CPU, which ultimately degrades the performance of the entire computer, including Chrome.

Hence, for the best performance, we recommend you avoid using power saver mode unless you are low on power. Here’s how to change the power settings.

Open Control Panel. For this, hit Windows + R.

Type control and press Enter key.

Unmanaged tabs are another reason why you encounter a slower Chrome. A higher number of tabs opened in Chrome is responsible for higher RAM consumption, ultimately making the entire computer slower. So, please make a habit of closing the tabs that are not in use.

There are many memory-intensive processes running in Chrome’s background. It would be helpful if you closed the operations consuming a considerable amount of memory. However, make sure you don’t end the task that you are currently working on.

Choose Settings.

Then select System.

Chrome can also preload pages that it thinks you will possibly load after launching it. It works on a prediction basis (AI) using cookies and site data on your computer. When this feature is turned on, the cookies and site data of websites that you visit pretty often will be loaded first so that it will speed up browsing those sites.

Open Chrome Settings.

Select Privacy and security.

Open Chrome Settings.

Cookies help store your surfing behavior and help websites load faster. However, the cache and cookies on Chrome go on piling up with time. So, the browser starts acting sluggishly and affects your surfing experience.

Therefore, deleting cache and cookies can be a good idea to speed up Chrome. You can delete cookies only for a specific site or delete them entirely. But keep in mind that it will wipe any personalized preferences after clearing the cache and site data.

Launch Chrome and hit shortcut Ctrl + H to load the History page.

Extensions are small browser modules for carrying out a particular function. It requires a specific time to load up in the browser. Meanwhile, it can have compatibility issues in the browser; thus making it slower. Therefore, ensure you only have the necessary extensions installed in your browser. Otherwise, consider removing the extensions.

Copy and paste chrome://extensions/ in the address bar of the browser. Then hit Enter key.

There are many experimental (beta) features that are under test in Chrome. Not all of them are compatible with Chrome due to their glitches. If enabled, it will eventually slow down the browser. You can either disable all the experimental features or reset them to default so that they won’t obstruct the smooth operation of Chrome.

Launch Chrome.

Type chrome://flags in the address bar and hit Enter key.

Outdated Chrome is another reason it acts sluggish. Chrome periodically releases its newer version fixing any glitches and bugs in the previous versions. A newer version incorporates the latest functionalities to support a wider range of websites and features. That’s why you need to update Chrome as soon as an update is available.

Open Chrome.

Proceed with installation if any updates are found.

Resetting Chrome can be the ultimate fix to solve any issues that persist within Chrome. Resetting it will help remove every customized setting, cookies, and site data that may be conflicting and causing Chrome to act slower. However, your saved passwords and history will remain as it is. You can also completely uninstall it, download a new installation file and reinstall it.

Choose Reset and clean up.

How To Get A Bat Out Of Your House

Greetings, panicking homeowner! If you’ve found this article through a frantic web search, there may be a fuzzy visitor flying around your head right now. Fear not: bats get a bad rap, but they’re nothing to freak out about. Most are totally harmless, and we guarantee they’re no more pleased with this situation than you are. It’s time to escort your spooky houseguest back outside where it belongs.

1. Don’t panic

When an unexpected creature is flying around your living space, you might be tempted to grab a rolled-up newspaper and start swatting. Resist that urge. While a flying bat may call to mind a giant insect or a furious bird, this nocturnal mammal isn’t out to hurt you. Bats won’t attack you unless provoked, they won’t fly toward you and get caught in your hair, and, no, they are not out to drink your blood. If it helps, think of your visitor as a hamster with wings: cute, furry, and ultimately powerless against a big, strong human. A bat is way more afraid of you than you are of it, so keep calm and get to work helping it find its way back outside.

2. Close off the room

Children and pets will not help you get a bat out of your home, and may even hurt it if they try to interact with it. Get everyone out of the animal’s vicinity and face it alone—you can have one other adult help if necessary. Close all the doors to the bat-occupied room and keep an eye on it at all times. It’s best to trap the bat in a space with windows so you can provide it with an easy escape route once it’s isolated. If you lose sight of the bat, look for it in high places such as your curtain rod, the top of a bookshelf, or a hanging light fixture. 

3. Clear a path to the outside

Next, open any available windows or doors that lead outside from the room the bat is in. Pull away any curtains, screens, or furniture blocking these exits so the bat can escape easily. It’s likely that the bat will leave on its own after a few minutes. Don’t turn off your indoor lights, as you probably won’t be able to see the bat if you do—keeping tabs on its whereabouts is key. If the bat doesn’t fly outside on its own, or if the room you isolate it in doesn’t have any routes to the outdoors, it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

4. How to catch a bat and release it outdoors

If the bat can’t (or won’t) leave on its own, you’ll have to capture and release it yourself. Have someone keep an eye on the bat’s location as you gather the necessary supplies: a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gardening gloves or other thick hand coverings, a broom, a plastic bin, and a piece of cardboard. Put on the clothing and gloves, covering as much skin as possible. This is to protect you from any bites or scratches that may occur during the rescue.

[Related: Bats’ echolocation has one major blind spot]

After donning your bat-catchin’ suit, wait for your bat to land somewhere. It will likely hang high on your curtains or in another secluded location off the ground. Always wait until a bat is stationary before trying to catch it: grabbing one mid-flight is likely to injure it, and may lead to a retaliatory bite. First, try offering it a perch to hang from by resting the handle of a broom against wherever it’s hanging. The bat may climb aboard and be ready for a ride outdoors. In this case, slowly carry the broom outside or simply stick the bat-laden handle out an open window.

If this trick doesn’t work, you’ll have to consider trapping the bat in a more hands-on fashion. Move closer and quickly—but gently—put your plastic container over the animal. Carefully slide the piece of cardboard over the container’s opening to trap the bat inside, then bring it outdoors. If you don’t have a plastic container, a cloth can also work: grab a bedsheet or a large scarf and cover the sedentary bat with it, then gently bundle it up and transport it outside. Try not to use a towel for this, as bats’ tiny claws can get caught in the fabric’s loops. 

Once outdoors, release the bat onto a tree or another vertical surface where it can hang out upside down until it decides to fly away. Unlike birds, bats cannot take flight from a standing position on the ground. Offer them a high perch instead and watch until they fly away into the night.

5. Call in the experts as a last resort

If your flying guest appears injured or can’t otherwise be captured safely, the time for DIY is over and it’s time to call in the experts. Your local animal control department and wildlife rehabilitators are good places to start, but depending on the time and your location, they may not be able to arrive quickly and assist you. For rapid response, a 24-hour pest control service may be your best bet—but do a little research first to make sure they’re qualified to handle bats. 

If you or anyone else in your home has suffered a bat bite during the rescue operation, it’s a good idea to secure the bat and have it tested for rabies before releasing it back into the wild. You can do this by contacting your local health department or a veterinarian in your area. While you wait, keep the bat inside a large container. But don’t panic—fewer than 1 percent of bats actually carry rabies.

6. Make sure other bats can’t get in 7. Set up a bat house

Just because you don’t want them in your living space doesn’t mean you can’t play host to wild bats in other ways. These bug-eating creatures are hugely beneficial to our environment, and declines in their populations mean they need all the support they can get. Consider setting up a bat house on your property to give these fuzzy friends a safe place to shelter from the elements and raise their young.

This story has been updated. It was originally published on August 11, 2023.

How Much Faster Is The Ryzen 7 7800X3D?

How much faster is the Ryzen 7 7800X3D?

How much faster is the Ryzen 7 7800X3D? Let’s find out

The Ryzen 7 7800X3D’s release has been long-awaited. The processor will be hitting the markets on April 6th, and it will feature AMD’s powerful 3D V-cache technology. Today, we’re finding out: How much faster is the Ryzen 7 7800X3D?

Now Read: Best CPU for gaming 2023.

We’ll be putting it up against comparable processors, namely its predecessor, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, and its non-3D counterpart, the Ryzen 7 7700X. 

The Ryzen 7 7800X3D

But first, a little more about the future Ryzen 7 processor. The 7800X3D has the following specs:

Core count: 8 (Multithreading enabled)

Thread count: 16

Boost clock: 5GHz

L2 cache: 8MB – 1MB per core

L3 cache: 96 MB – shared

TDP: 120 watts

iGPU: Radeon Graphics

Socket: AM5

Of course, what really stands out here is the 96MB of L3 cache. To bring everyone up to speed, cache is high-speed memory located right next to the cores on the CPU die. 

More cache equals more information stored locally, meaning the slowly-responding DRAM has to be accessed less frequently. 

96MB of L3 cache is way above average. By comparison, the Core i9-13900K has a 32MB L3 cache, whereas the Ryzen 9 7950X has a 64MB L3 cache. The Intel Core i7-13700K has a 30MB L3 cache. 

Such a large cache size on the 7800X3D is made possible by AMD’s 3D V-cache technology, which allows the vertical stacking of an additional L3 cache unit on top of an existing one. 

How much faster is the Ryzen 7 7800X3D?

We’ll be comparing the Ryzen 7 7800X3D to two processors: the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and the Ryzen 7 7700X. 

Compared to the Ryzen 7 5800X3D

The 5800X3D is the predecessor to the 7800X3D. Both processors have the same 8-core, 16-thread CPU setup, and a similar 96MB L3 cache size. 

The major difference is the 7800X3D’s higher clock speed – A 5GHz max compared to the 5800X3D’s 4.5GHz max. 

The 7800X3D is also built on the newer Zen 4 architecture, which allows it a 14% average IPC (Instructions per clock) increase over the Zen 3 5800X3D. The two of these factors combined afford the 7800X3D a considerable improvement in both single-threaded and multi-threaded performance. 

The 7800X3D isn’t out yet, so we don’t have the most comprehensive benchmark stats available for it. Based on the ones AMD revealed to us at CES 2023, the 7800X3D outperforms the already very competent 5800X3D by a margin of 10 to 22% in gaming. 

We expect this margin to be even higher in workstation productivity due to the previously mentioned differences in clock speeds and IPC. 

You can learn more with our dedicated Ryzen 7 7800X3D vs. Ryzen 7 5800X3D comparison article. 

Compared to the Ryzen 7 7700X

The Ryzen 7 7700X is considered the “non-3D” variant of the 7800X3D. You would think that it would be Ryzen 7 7800X. However, such a processor doesn’t exist. The 7700X is the closest we have. 

Both the 7700X and 7800X3D are 8-core, 16-thread CPUs. The 7700X has a 5.4GHz maximum clock speed compared to the 7800X3D’s limited 5GHz, but it also only has a 32MB cache size vs. the 7800X3D’s 96MB. 

The 7800X3D is the better processor overall. 

Final word

Compared to the lesser generations of both X and X3D variants, you can see that the 7800X3D is quite a powerful CPU.

The 7800X3D should be a serious contender for your next CPU upgrade. It’ll pair well with the latest GPUs and memory technology.

He Rode For Charity. He Got A Lot More.

He Rode for Charity. He Got a Lot More. Questrom’s Mark Williams pedals across America for Bikes Not Bombs

Mark Williams (Questrom’93), a master lecturer of finance at Questrom, at the Great Continental Divide, Monarch Pass, Colorado, on June 24. Photo by Mike Hill

There’s a saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mark Williams has been pedaling his way to that goal all summer.

If all goes as planned, the Questrom School of Business executive-in-residence and master lecturer in finance will ride his Specialized Diverge bicycle into Yorktown, Va., sometime tomorrow, Friday, July 21, finishing a 3,700-plus-mile cross-country charity ride that began in San Francisco on June 4. Williams (Questrom’93) took on the ride to raise money for the Jamaica Plain-based group Bikes Not Bombs, which recycles bicycles and trains underemployed youths in bicycle repair. Williams wound up raising a total of $20,535.

The cyclists tried to hit the road by 6 or 6:30 in the morning. One day late last week they were riding from one hollow to another in Kentucky when a thunderstorm erupted and drenched them.

“I had sponges for feet and a sponge for a seat the rest of the days; it was just one of those miserable days,” Williams messaged that night. “We could have thrown in [the towel] at mile 40 today, but we said, ‘you know what, I just want to take a hot shower.’ But we kept going.”

On the plus side, he noted in an email earlier this week: “Zero flats from California to Virginia. Knock on wood.”

Elijah Evans, executive director of Bikes Not Bombs, says the organization gets only about one rider a year willing to undertake such a marathon trek to spread the word about the Bikes Not Bombs’ mission of using the bicycle as a vehicle for social change.

The nonprofit “reclaims” thousands of donated bikes each year, using them to teach underemployed young people here to service bikes, giving them employment opportunities, repairs bikes in its own shops to provide jobs to local youth and raise funds, and sends thousands of unrepaired bikes overseas to seed bike repair businesses and provide reliable transportation to people in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. In the last two weeks alone, the group shipped a container containing 500 “raw” bicycles to a partner group in Ghana.

Williams says he first imagined a cross-country bike ride when, growing up in Delaware, he was captivated by a National Geographic article about a group cycling cross-country to celebrate the Bicentennial. It was a neat idea, but he never thought he’d actually do it.

For the last decade, he has been riding the 18-mile round trip from his home in Newton to his office at BU. In 2009, he donated five new bicycles to a program in Uganda that gives them to rural schoolteachers. He has also donated several old bikes to Bikes Not Bombs, where he recently took a class on bike maintenance, and was impressed by the earn-a-bike portion of the nonprofit’s program.

“I just love the fact that these kids can have a little more direction, be given something they earned, and feel a sense of responsibility and all of a sudden they feel empowered,” he says. “I’m sure you can remember when you were a kid and you jumped on your first bike, the sense of empowerment that gave you. And these are kids who tend not to have that opportunity otherwise.”

The ride has changed the way Williams, known for his expertise in financial risk management, thinks about class and poverty in America. The route the two men chose took them through parts of the country that the railroad has abandoned and the highways have bypassed, small towns where Trump signs are common and poverty can be epidemic. There were places where the internet didn’t exist, the water was barely drinkable, and the food sold in grocery stores was poor quality, even in the breadbasket of America. “We saw broken-down cars and houses that look like no one lives there,” Williams says. “Then you see a light on—oh my gosh! It’s a broken system. These people have not been taken care of.”

And yet, he adds, “the level of kindness exhibited by perfect strangers has been overwhelming.” People along the way got out the hose when the two needed to cool off or took a lasagna out of the freezer when they stopped for the night, led them around a road closure or kept a restaurant open late so they could eat dinner. They had no problem staying in a hotel when one was available, but they also spent nights in homes, churches, and hostels.

“A lot of people really showed an interest in us and our health,” Williams says. “One of the first things they’d say was, ‘Be safe, it’s dangerous out there.’ Part of America is [dangerous], but we have this fabric where we just really care about each other, and then we have political campaigns that try to divide us. We found nice people throughout, very respectful, very helpful. And we have a better understanding of their challenges.”

Williams has lost more than 10 pounds since embarking on the ride, even while consuming 5,000 calories and drinking a gallon and a half of water per day. He’s gained leg strength and arm strength, and he learned that he can push himself physically and mentally.

“Sitting on a bike for nine hours a day, you gain this mental awareness of everything around you,” he says. “And every once in a while, you have this stray dog that’s going to chase you and try to bite you, so you’ve got to stay on your toes.

“My hands are on the handlebars. My cell phone is not in my hands. That’s quite a luxury these days,” he says.

He admits that, with a day to go, he’s ready for the trip to end. After the two friends reach Yorktown, Williams says he plans to ride on alone through Maryland, arriving at Rehoboth Beach, Del., by July 23. There he will meet his wife, Kym, and young daughter, Sarah. “The first thing I will do after hugging them,” he says, “is jump into the Atlantic Ocean.”

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