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.
internet of things
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.
Dave is looking to get his daughter a Polaroid type camera for Christmas. Leo says the Polaroid Pic is very popular and prints small business sized photos. The trick may be finding film, but instant cameras are coming back, so that may not be an issue. The film isn't cheap, however. Kids think they're fun. Leo says they're a great idea for teenagers.
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.
Pete is trying to decide between Amazon Echo or Google Home. Leo says he'd definitely pick the Echo. The Echo Dot, a smaller and less expensive version of the Echo, is designed to connect into a speaker system. It's also only $50. It's way ahead of Google Home with hundreds of tasks and recipes that enable Echo to do a variety of things. Google Home is way too new, but chances are, it'll get smarter quicker. Pete could connect the Echo Dot to a speaker and he'll have a stereo. It's amazing.
Ellie likes the idea of Google Assistant and wonders if it will be coming to home automation like the Amazon Echo. Leo says that the Amazon Echo is a great device and it keeps getting smarter. As for Google Assistant, Google's goal is to have it everywhere, so it likely will be.
Ellie also wants to know if AT&T buying Time Warner will affect her internet access. Leo says no, Time Warner sold it off to Spectrum. The $80 Billion acquisition of Time Warner is all about content.