Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
This week's travel website ... Dream Cheaper. You send them your existing hotel reservation and they will continually shop around and if they find a cheaper rate, they will rebook you automatically and save you money. You'll sleep in the very same hotel room you initially booked but pay up to 60% less! And they'll keep doing it until 24 hours before you check in.
Tamara is frustrated because iHeartRadio has stopped working on one laptop while it works fine on another. It works on 10.5.8, but not on 10.9.5. What gives? She talked to AppleCare and they've said that something is broken in the most recent version of Apple Safari. Leo advises using Chrome because iHeartRadio uses Flash.
Gary lives out in the remote areas of Florida and he uses cellphone access for his internet. But are there other options? Leo says that WISP, which uses Microwaves is an option. There's also satellite. It can be expensive, and the bandwidth caps, speed issues and latency is tedious. It wouldn't be good for Skype or Gaming. But if that's not important, Leo suggests checking out Wild Blue by Excede.
Johnny is calling in from Lake Louise in Banff, Canada today. Johnny has been Periscoping and Meerkating and he likes it, especially because they don't record it. It's like Snapchat for video. This week's travel tips:
Apps - GasGuru. It shows gas prices all around the country, and is easy to use. You can get the best price, and it's great for road trips. Available in iOS and Android.
Robert is vision impaired and he's missed the mobile revolution. He knows that there are a lot of books available on Amazon in eBooks. How can he have them read back to him? Leo says that the Kindle will read back to him, and it's a decent robotic voice. But some publishers disable the feature, which is a shame.
ToyTalk, a company that creates conversational characters for kids, is working on a Wi-Fi Barbie Doll that can analyze a child's speech and produce relevant responses. This will actually be able to talk to kids. This means that increasingly, children will be expecting their devices to talk back to them. This all started with Apple's Siri and Google Now, along with Microsoft's Cortana, which all respond to you.
ToyTalk says that 'Hello Barbie,' coming out this Fall, will have thousands of things to say and kids will be able to talk to her for hours.
Hank always gets unsolicited emails and he suspects that when those emails are opened, they send a confirmation of it being read. So he disconnects before reading to prevent that from happening. Leo says he never opens spam because he wants to discourage the practice. Spammers often put beacons in messages, which are actually links to invisible image files that are 1 pixel in size. Those images are actually on their servers, so when a message is opened and the image is loaded, it hits their servers.
Anthony wants to know if someone can track his email address to where he lives. Leo says no. It can list the servers it's been through, but not the physical location. If the server was in his house, then maybe. But if he's not running his own mail server, then he's OK. Unless he's broken the law and the authorities can find him through his internet address.
Martin has a book on Amazon Kindle and wants to know how he can generate more traffic to it. Is there software that does that? Leo says that Google would let him buy search terms, or "adwords." He also should have an affiliate link for his book on his website. But he should beware as a self publisher of being lured in by SEO firms. Leo doesn't like SEO firms because they make snake oil claims about putting you number one in the search results. He should ask himself if he's never used what they are offering, would anyone else?
Susie was at Burger King, using their Wi-Fi and she started to get pop up ads. Leo says that Burger King is offering free Wi-Fi and they're paying for it by intercepting customer traffic and inserting ads. And that's troubling. Lenovo did something similar on their consumer computers with Superfish. The good news is, they aren't modifying the computer, they're just modifying the traffic. The good news is, there's probably a McDonalds or a Starbucks just down the street that aren't doing this. Choice solves problems like this.