Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
Brandon wants to know what the minimum bandwidth is that he can get away with to stream Hulu Plus. Leo says for a good quality stream, he'll want at least 5 Mbps down. But that doesn't meant that's what he would get all the time. Beware of the term "up to." Run SpeedTest.net to get an idea what the sustained throughput is. That will give him an idea. But if he's sharing bandwidth with the neighborhood, then it could be less.
Karen is having an issue with an online stalker who has hacked into her computer and has been deleting her files and other things. Leo suspects that Karen isn't really being hacked unless she has incurred the wrath of someone who can do that. More likely, what may be happening is that she's got malware and she probably should format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.
Glennis took her iPad to New Zealand, but she couldn't send email. Leo suspects that outbound email may have been blocked by ISPs like Cox cable. They probably looked at where she was and notice that she wasn't on the network, and blocked her. To get around it, she can use an outbound SMTP server that isn't her ISP's. She can do that through Gmail using their outbound servers.
Johnny Jet is back from his Hawaii holiday, but only for a brief time. News came out that a kid created a service called Skip Lagged, which used the "hidden city" technique to get the best deal. But now he's being sued by airlines. The "hidden city" trick is to book a flight that has a stop, but your stop is actually where you want to go. So you simply don't show up for the connecting flight. But this means you'd have to fly with no checked bags.
Joey doesn't understand why we can't use the electrical grid for internet access if it's possible to have power line networking in the home. It would seem to be a good idea for remote locations. Leo says that it would be a good idea in theory, but it has the side effect of jamming radios because it creates a giant transmitter in the power lines.
Jonathan has Verizon FIOS with 75 Mbps up and down. Leo says that's nice! He has great signal on one side of the house, but it's terrible on the other side. How can he extend the Wi-Fi? Leo says he has to use Verizon's FIOS modem and router, but he doesn't have to use it for Wi-Fi. He can get a better Wi-Fi access point like an Apple Airport Extreme. Then put that in bridge mode so it'll pass the signal along to the rest of the house. If he needs more, then he can add a few $99 Airport Express's to act as a repeater. Leo has three of them.
Emilio is looking for a good file management utility that has good accessibility features, chiefly via speech. He wants to be able to sort and make documents that are easily searchable. Evernote doesn't do it. Leo says they should.
Johnny Jet run in the New Year by slumming it in the Hawaiian islands. Leo wants to know what Johnny thinks about hotels blocking WiFi and Cellphone signals to force them to use paid WiFi.Marriott says it's because of "security reasons," but it's apparent because they want to protect the $15 a day or more charge for crappy WiFi. Johnny says it's BS. He's a fan of Marriott, but he's totally against that. Leo says he thinks they'll eventually back down. If people are legally tethering they shouldn't be blocked.
Paul would like to scan documents, organize them, and save them online. Leo says he can pick up a scanner and scan his documents. To organize them, Leo recommends using Evernote. He can scan directly to it, and then Evernote will categorize them automatically. Another option is Neat Receipts, a software utility that will work with his scanner to scan and organize receipts.
In spite of smartphones and the Sony Hack, Leo says that the biggest tech story of the year is still the battle over Net Neutrality. With the FCC trying to put rules in place that would give ISPs the ability to give certain paid traffic preferential treatment, instead of treating all bits the same, Net Neutrality has never been more important. But those who control the "last mile" of the Internet, are determined to make the Internet more like cable, rather than have it be open and free.