Internet and Web

Your internet connection, web sites and services.

FCC Decides to Reclassify Broadband Providers as Telecommunications Companies

Episode 1166

The FCC this week voted 3-2 to reclassify broadband providers as telecommunications companies. This gives the FCC the ability to regulate the internet. The FCC has tried to regulate internet service providers, but was thwarted by lawsuits. The courts agreed that the FCC had no right to regulate them unless they were telecommunications companies, not information companies. After considerable debate and 4 million comments to the FCC website, the FCC voted on Thursday to reclassify internet service providers as telecommunications companies.

What does the FCC's decision on Net Neutrality mean for broadband competition?

Mark from Santa Ana, CA

Episode 1165

Mark says if the government wants to make broadband internet a utility, the FCC should regulate it like a utility. He makes the point that the reason it's a utility is because there's only one place to get it, like the gas or electric companies. Leo says we can blame the FCC for giving the cable companies a monopoly years ago. But he says they had been more or less blackmailed into that decision because the cable companies told the FCC they wouldn't build out the infrastructure otherwise.

Is "Google Redirects" malware?

David from Herndon, VA

Episode 1166

David has been having issues with Google Redirects, which takes him nowhere. Is that malware? Leo says yes. It's a common practice of evoking the names of trusted companies. It's most definitely a virus or malware designed to redirect him to either more malware laden pages or advertisers that they want. But he'd have to install it. This is why it's important to run as a limited or standard user, and not an administrator. David tried to uninstall, but it won't. Leo says that's because malware doesn't want to be uninstalled, so they make it very hard to remove.

How can I stream video with my DSLR?

Episode 1166

Ron from Tustin, CA
HDMI to USB converter

Ron's son has an account on The Cube, a high school sports streaming site. Ron would like to use his DSLR to stream live to it, but it won't work via USB. Leo says that USB isn't designed for a live video feed. Live video could be used via HDMI. So if that works, then he'll need an HDMI converter or video capture device to then be able to convert it for the stream. If his computer has HDMI in, then he's golden.

Can I run my computer and credit card terminal on the same ethernet connection?

Sandy from Santa Monica, CA

Episode 1166

Sandy wanted to run a computer and credit card swipe terminal on the same ethernet connection. Leo says that may not work since the credit card terminal needs it's own connection to the net. It requires a unique address. A router could help because it would route the traffic and it would be a different device address internally. Will it slow down her computer? Leo says a minuscule amount. Nothing that Sandy would notice, though. Any cheap router will work for this, but Leo likes D-Link.

Why can't I print a PDF?

Charlie from Missoula, MT

Episode 1166

Charlie can't print an attachment, but he can print other things. The attachment is zipped and when he unzips it, it's a PDF file. Leo says that in order to print PDF files, he'll need a PDF reader. Windows didn't come with a PDF reader until Windows 8, so most people wound up getting Adobe Reader. Leo says to open it in Google Drive, and he'll be able to print from there.

How can I extend the Wi-Fi range between two houses?

Episode 1166

Matthew from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Apple Airport Extreme

Matthew wants to know if he can bridge two Airport Extremes, put them 300 feet apart and still get a signal. Leo says it's no problem, except for the distance. 300 feet is a long way for 802.11,b,a,c, which max at about 150. 802.11AC, though, can go about 300 feet. One thing he can do is use a directional antenna from one to another. A new Airport Extreme, though, will work. Leo advises sticking with the same company's products to make the extension.

Is the SSL certificate "Comodo" safe?

Steve from Long Island, NY

Episode 1166

Steve is worried about Comodo for security. Leo says that Comodo is not Kommodia, so it's not a security issue like Kommodia is. Superfish uses Kommodia to get beyond web browser security, but it was even worse. Comodo, though, is a completely different software. SSL certificates can be circumvented by those who visit Steve's site and there really isn't anything he can do about it. It doesn't really affect you -- it affects them. So Steve should get the encryption he can and understand that it's possible the end user will get something that breaks it on their end, not his.

Is a Wi-Fi hotspot safe for surfing the net?

Rick from Salisbury, NC

Episode 1165

Rick's wife got unlimited cell service for him, and he wants to know how to keep his tablet secure while at a hotspot. Leo says that by using his own cell service, his data is encrypted and safe. But if he's relying on Wi-Fi hotspot, then he'll have to be sure his passwords aren't given out in the clear. Especially if it's bank information. But even then, he's dealing with an encrypted portal, so it's pretty safe. He'll want to turn on encryption for his email, though.