Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
Sean is getting into reviews and wants Leo's recommendations on how he can do it. Leo says first and foremost, he should make sure he returns everything a company sends him for review. Leo prefers to buy everything so that way he can give a frank and honest review without being beholden. But that can be rather pricey. So borrow and request anything he can. Leo recommends starting the YouTube channel or blog first and building his quiver of reviews.
In their effort to replace their failed UVerse Internet and Entertainment packaging, AT&T wants to buy DirecTV. AT&T has also promised everyone that if the deal goes through, prices will drop. Leo says that would be a first. All too often, when there's less choice, prices go up. And with Comcast going after Time Warner and now AT&T going after DirecTV, he doesn't expect prices to drop any time soon. Quite the opposite, actually.
If you're a Netflix customer using Verizon FiOS or DSL, you may have noticed a message being displayed when video streaming slows down. The message blames Verizon's network congestion for the video buffering. Netflix has been confirming that the issue is with Verizon by checking with other Verizon customers. Verizon sent Netflix a cease and desist letter saying that if they don't stop doing this, they will sue.
ESPN is streaming the FIFA World Cup Live, but you have to have an approved cable or satellite subscription in order to use the ESPN Live app to watch it. By contrast, Univision is offering it for free on their app, and Leo says it's far more interesting that way. In fact, all around the world, it's being streamed for free, except in the US.
John answered an ad for car wrap advertising, but he thinks he's been scammed. Leo says that yes, it's a scam. They look professional, but they want to get his personal information and bombard him with spam. Check out ScamDetector. Never, ever give out personal information, especially a social security number.
Suzanne is looking for an expense app for her iPhone and desktop. Leo says he suggests using a cloud based option to minimize the hassle of syncing. Mint is a great option, and they use the same clearing house that the banks use -- Yodely -- so security isn't a worry.
Francine's daughter is moving to a remote area in Washington State and wants to know how to get wireless internet where she's going. She streams a lot. Leo says that without access to DSL or Cable, she could use WISP providers. She could also consider a 4G wireless connection with a MiFi card. But they'll come with bandwidth caps that she'll run through pretty quickly. Satellite is an option, but it's got high latency and also has bandwidth caps. If she can't get satellite TV, then she can't get internet service.
Google has wired Portland, OR for gigabit internet and Wi-Fi as part of their Google Fiber high speed broadband initiative. Leo says that this is a good trend as Google is working to not only make faster internet more affordable, but also give customers better access to streaming. It's the exact opposite of ISPs, which are acting as gate keepers buffering streaming traffic unless content providers pay more.
Frank is ready to finally get rid of AOL and wants to know what's a better alternative; especially for email. Leo likes Gmail because he can sync all of his devices thanks to the IMAP email protocol which keeps all email at the server level. Frank can just use the webmail version or he can use an email client like Outlook. Mozilla has one called Thunderbird.
Audi is into podcasting and he says it's very frustrating to get podcasts on all the available sites. He found a cool plugin called "PowerPress." He says it lets him control cover art and print tags in iTunes. It gives full control over a podcast feed. Leo says it's a great plugin, but it doesn't really work inside WordPress.com. He'll have to run his own, hosted version of Wordpress. But it works great. Another alternative is LibSyn.