Amazon

Tech Companies Report Quarterly Earnings

Episode 1384

Earnings

Quarterly earnings came out this week and Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all posted record earnings in cloud services. Leo says that sadly, hardware earnings fell short for Microsoft whose tablets and laptops fell short. Leo says that's unfortunate because they make some nice hardware these days.

Leo also says that Google made a lot of money, up 49%, on their Pixel Android phone and their Google Home devices. Google's advertising revenue was also up 29% with nearly $2 billion a month in profit.

How can I use my Harmony remote to launch Netflix?

Episode 1366

Neil from Phoenix, AZ
Logitech Harmony Hub

Neil bought a Harmony Hub for his home theater. He streams with Apple TV and a FireTV stick and he's having trouble running Netflix through it. Leo says to make sure the Hub is set to input 4, the TV is set to input 1, and then pair the Harmony app with Apple TV. It could be a limitation of Apple TV that the Harmony can't hook into the audio interface. The only device that would allow him to launch channels through the Harmony Hub is Roku.

Is my Amazon Dot secure?

Episode 1356

Steven from Las Vegas, NV
Amazon Echo Dot

Steven is worried that his Amazon Dot could be hacked since it becomes a Wi-Fi access point during setup. Leo says it only becomes an access point during that setup process, and after that it turns off. This does bring up an interesting issue, however, about how the Dot communicates with the device used for setup. Is that communication encrypted? Leo thinks it probably is, but there's no password required to access the Dot during setup, so we don't really know.

TV News Segment Triggers Amazon Echos All Over San Diego to Order Products

Episode 1352

Amazon Echo

A local TV news segment told the story of a girl who talked to Amazon Echo and accidentally ordered hundreds of dollars in toys and cookies through the automatic ordering feature. In doing so, the radio station triggered homes all over San Diego that have Amazon Echo to do the same thing. Leo says it's important to make sure you have parental controls on to avoid this, and to train yourself to not use the "A" word when talking about things it may mistakenly use to order for you.

How can I read comics digitally?

Episode 1348

Mike from Santa Monica, CA
ComiXology

Mike wants to use his Kindle to read comic books. Leo says there's a far better option, and it's owned by Amazon as well. It's called ComiXology. It's designed exactly for reading comics, while the Kindle is really made for the written world.

ComiXology will enable him to zoom in and out, and it also works with all comics. He can use it on his laptop too. The Marvel Unlimited app has an all you can eat monthly subscription, so if he's a Marvel fan, it's the way to go.

How is the Amazon Tap?

Episode 1348

Curtis from Michigan
Amazon Tap

Curtis is a podcaster and uses a Heil PR40 for his microphone. Leo says that podcasting is fun when you're not trying to make a living at it. It's work if he wants to make it into a job, and a tough one at that.

What about the Amazon Tap? Leo says that the only difference between the Dot and the Tap is the battery. The Tap is portable, but it doesn't listen all the time. It only responds when you press a button. How should he set up the Echo? Leo says to just call it Echo, but he'll have to avoid using that word while podcasting.

Is the Amazon Echo a good Christmas gift?

Episode 1343

Cindy from California
Amazon Echo Dot

Cindy wants to know about the Amazon Echo. Leo says that the cool thing about the Echo is that Amazon opened it up to create more functions for it, called "Skills." To date, the Amazon Echo has over 3,000 skills it can handle. If she's an Amazon Prime member, she can tell it to buy stuff and ship it to her. She can tell it to stream music, too. If she has a stereo system, she can save money and get the Amazon Dot and plug it in.

Is high refresh rate important when buying a UHD TV?

Episode 1339

Felix from North Hollywood, CA
Samsung UN43KU7000 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Felix heard that TVs with higher refresh rates are actually just simulating the extra frames. Leo says since there's no content at these high frame rates, so anytime there's something faster than 60 frames per second, the TV is faking it. The reason is, LCD TVs are a little bit slower than the old CRT TVs and even Plasma and OLED. So fast moving action can look a little blurry. The way these manufacturers have solved it is through frame interpolation. This means that software will generate what should be between the frames, or it may just double the frame.