Scott is getting ready to go to the annual CIDIA show for home theater, and this year, it's going to have a huge presence for the so-called "Internet of things," where just about every device you have is smart and connected to the internet. Scott says that voice command is really starting to get popular in home theater equipment and accessories. We'll probably see major home theater devices with voice command built in. Apple is going to be announcing a new Apple TV in the next few weeks, plus updates to the upcoming Apple HomePod.
internet of things
In what Leo calls a simple application of machine learning and data translation, Google Home can now make phone calls to any number in your phone's contacts. Leo adds this is the benefit to offering free services like Google Voice and Google Photos. It's able to take all that data that Google has access too and apply it to applications that make our lives easier.
Ken has an Eero mesh router, but he's concerned because he has several "internet of things" devices and he hears that mesh routers don't like them. Leo says that is the current problem, and it may be that the devices aren't smart enough to handle the mesh way of handling the network. They're working on it and Leo says that a fix will some sooner or later. But in the meantime, hardwiring to the router may be the best solution.
Steven used to own a Logitech Harmony universal remote. He had his living room and bedroom linked so he could use the same players, but that was too much for the remote to handle. Is there an alternative? He's been using a program called RTI, but it requires a programmer. Leo advises the Harmony Hub. For $100, he can link rooms. It controls infrared everywhere. He can also link his Amazon Echo to it.
Keith isn't thrilled that Amazon has lowered the manufacturer's warranty on the Amazon Echo to 90 days. Leo says it doesn't bother him. He's had several of them and none have failed. But Keith has had two Dots fail so far. He's frustrated because it tends to be very promiscuous in connecting to his wireless speakers, knocking his other devices off. Leo says that's likely more a problem of Bluetooth, and not the Dot itself. He's also having issues with Drop In. Leo says he hasn't heard of any problems with Drop In and it could just be a bad model or software glitch on his Dot.
Paul is wondering if the Eero router would give him greater security with his network based security cameras. Leo says that the most vulnerable items are those that are part of the so-called "internet of things" category because they are rarely updated for security. So if they get hacked, not only will the hackers have access to the cameras, but also the entire network. The Eero router has far greater security, because it's designed with internet of things devices in mind. But Leo says that we can also help by not buying devices that aren't updatable.
David wants to be able to control his lights with his mobile phone. Leo says he can with so called "smart lightbulbs" that are part of the Internet of Things. But because they connect to his network, they have a huge vulnerability that allows hackers to get into his network through the light bulb.
The Federal Trade Commission is taking router manufacturer D-Link to court over product security and privacy issues. This all relates to the lack of security for Internet of Things devices. The FTC alleged that the company “failed to take reasonable steps to protect their routers and cameras from widely known and reasonably foreseeable risks of unauthorized access.”
Read more at theverge.com.
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.