Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
Chip wants to know about the possibility of getting internet access via light. Leo says it's in the labs, but it's far from being in prime time. There are some microwave ISPs, which provide service via WISP (wireless internet service provider). There is a long distance Wi-Fi: Clearwire was one that used WiMax, but it died out.
The best way to find out is to go to BroadbandReports.com. They can give him up to date information on what's the best services in his area.
Larry has Yahoo mail and he gets a ton of spam. He can't really delete all of it at once, because sometimes email from friends gets in there. Leo says that if it's any consolation, everyone gets spam. Yahoo is just doing a poor job of filtering it. Leo says that we've lost the battle against spam, and some webmail providers filter it better than others. Google uses a technique called collaborative filtering, where users let them know if an email has slipped pass their filters and it adds to the list.
eBay announced a massive data breach and Leo advises users reset their passwords. What's interesting is that the news broke on Wednesday, and eBay has known about it for three weeks. It makes Leo wonder just how bad the breach was. eBay says it was a leak of encrypted passwords. Regardless of how bad, Leo says it's best to change your password. And if you use that password elsewhere, time to stop doing that and use a password manager like LastPass.
In a case of biting the hand that feeds it, Amazon is going to war with small publishers like Hachette and Bonyer in what Leo says is anti-competitive behavior. Amazon appears to have decided to lower the amount of money a publisher gets from every sale. Hashette has refused the new arrangement and now Amazon is causing all their books to be "unavailable" or "out of stock" for long periods of time until Hachette accepts the new scheme. Authors have said it's killing their sales and their are suffering as a result. JK Rowling's new book as well since it's being published by Hachette.
Justin streams music in real time to radio stations, but it gets problematic. Leo says that the Internet was never designed for streaming music because packets are designed to arrive out of order and be reassembled. Leo uses an ISDN, which isn't super fast, but they are point to point so it's a direct connection. This means he has consistent bandwidth that delivers packets almost instantaneously. Anything in real time can't really be used over the internet. It's too difficult. Telos makes boxes designed to do internet protocol, but Leo isn't convinced it's ready for prime time.
Deal on Travel Zoo - $499 for a 10 day cruise to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Check Johnny Jet's Twitter feed for links. Johnny says that while on his recent cruise in Europe with his dad, the internet was terribly slow and he ended up using his phone and when he forgot to turn it off, he got $100 in roaming charges. So it pays to be aware of your phone when you're traveling.
Gary wants to know more about cutting cable television, and wants to know what his options would be to avoid mobile phone contracts too. Gary spends about $150 a month for two smartphones, and spends $150 on cable TV.
Dillon wants to start a podcast, but doesn't know how to build his audience. Leo says that's the wrong way to think about it. An "audience" expects to be amused and entertained. For podcasting, that's just not enough. He'll want to build a community who will stay engaged with him and his show. He'll want to have discussions, chats, etc. The realm of media has really changed.
Joe got a VOiP box from Obihai which lets him have phone service. But now it won't let him use third party apps like Google Chat. Leo says that was always a hack that Obihai used in order to use Google Chat. Google has taken the XMPP servers down, which means Obihai can't use it. And as such, they've created alternatives. But they won't necessarily be free when they do.
Steve is considering the Ooma VOIP phone service, but he's concerned about net neutrality and how it will affect him. Leo says that's what's happening in Canada right now as the ISPs who also offer phone service, are buffering or flat out dropping Skype calls to frustrate that. It's very anti-competitive. What Leo suggests is that before Steve buy Ooma, that he should spend time using Skype so he can gauge how voice over IP works. There are some drawbacks.