Apps

Why Am I Not Getting Notifications From My Alarm Motion Security App?

Zigbee Monitor Sensor

Episode 1787

Brian from Mission Viejo, CA

Brian has had an issue with an alarm system for two years that drives him nuts. They are supposed to get push notifications in the app, but often they don't. Or one person gets them, and one doesn't. Leo says that iOS can be very aggressive at shutting down background apps. Notifications can also be dialed up and down with sensitivity to not get a notification every 10 seconds when the wind blows. So it could be dialed down too far. If you haven't visited the app in a while, it may just be shut off. Or the company's servers may be down. There's a lot of points of failure there. 

How Can I Get Tornado Warnings on My Phone?

Tornado Spy

Episode 1787

Stacey from Michigan

Stacey got tired of missing tornado warnings. She had a tornado rip through her front yard! So she got an emergency radio that she can tune into the NOAA weather channel. She also uses an app called Tornado Spy, which uses crowdsourcing to advise of tornado activity in your area.  

Stacey also started a podcast on Origami. It's called The Origami Show. And she wants a recommendation on a good mic. Leo says that Stacey's best bet is the Audio Technica AT2020 USB+. It's $150. 

Is Accessibility Really Part of Technology Design or an Afterthought?

iPhone iPad Accessibility

Episode 1784

Julian from Los Angeles, CA

Julian Vargas of TechJV is our resident accessibility expert, and he's calling in to comment on the caller in hour one who doesn't like touchscreen monitors because they don't really help the blind. Julian says that's doesn't mean they shouldn't exist or any other technology. The more technology advances, the more accessibility can be built into it. But it must be part of the design so those who are blind can still take advantage of technology advancements. The iPhone is a perfect example. Julian says that Google Lens is a great app for making your Android devices more accessible.

How Can I Keep Track of My Bank Activity in Quicken?

Quicken

Episode 1783

Stan from Whitter, CA

Stan wants to know if Quicken can download his bank data to keep track of his accounts. Leo says that Quicken bought MINT for that purpose, and it uses the same backend for the data as the banks do. So it works seamlessly and is very good for keeping track of your expenses and finances without tedious manual data entry. Quicken also has an app called Simplify: it's $3 a month when bought annually. The Wirecutter seems to like it. 

Why can't I install iOS apps from third party stores?

iOS 14

Episode 1775

Frank from San Francisco, CA

Frank has an iPhone, and he doesn't like the restrictions that come with it, which prevents him from getting apps from somewhere other than Apple's app store. Leo says you can jailbreak it and then do it, but then you lose all the protection. Android, by contrast, lets you choose to bypass the Google Play store in the settings and sideload apps downloaded directly from the developer. 

How Can I Block Ads on YouTube?

YouTube

Episode 1771

Yuri from San Diego, CA

Yuri is getting tired of ads on YouTube. They are now running ads all the time. It's very annoying. Leo says Google wants to push viewers towards their YouTube Premium service in order to get a monthly subscription rate. So that may be why all of a sudden, everyone is getting more and more ads during a stream. Leo says an ad blocker can help. But you can also block ads on the DNS level with NextDNS.

On Android, Firefox Focus is a good blocker for ads that can filter out things on your apps. 

SEC Investigating GameStop Stock Event

GameStop

Episode 1767

In what looks like a revolt of the average joe against the billionaires, the stock market this week was rocked by an event organized by people on REDDIT and other social media networks to buy stock in GameStop and AMC. The stunt turned some into millionaires as the mob action made the stock rise while causing hedge funds who "shorted" the stocks to lose billions. Average people used stock apps like RobinHood to buy up shares and drive up the stock.

Why Can't I Add a Virtual Background to my Zoom Calls?

Zoom

Episode 1756

Fred from Pasadena, CA

Fred is suffering from Zoom Fatigue and would like to boost his morale by creating a virtual background. But he can't because his computer seems too old, even though it's not. Leo says that Zoom requires a certain power processor, and Fred's computer probably doesn't support it. That's why he can't do the virtual background. But there may be a background thanks to an app called Mmhmm Mmhmm