Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
This week's NY Times Magazine cover story talks about how the Internet didn't only not turn out as we had hoped, but it may have even made our lives worse. Leo says that part of the anxiety comes from not being able to do anything about how much power internet companies like Google and Facebook wield in our lives. But we're also getting a lot of benefit from it. So don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Website of the week - TryAirPair.com ... get an AuPair to travel with you to help care for your kids.
App of the week - Dark Sky. You can go back into time and see what the weather and sky were like any time from the present to the past. iOS and Android.
Scott joins Leo to talk about content creator intent vs. consumer choice. Netflix is doing a trial run on playing back movies at up twice the normal speed. Leo says that Lisa listens to books at that speed. She gets more read that way.
But Scott says that directors are really up in arms over it, saying it alters the creative intent of the movie. It works in audio, because of pitch shifting. But for Video, well Leo says it makes the actors look like the Keystone cops.
Harriet's husband passed away recently, and Skype keeps charging their credit card and won't stop. What can she do? Rich says to dump the credit card company. If they refuse to chargeback the fees, then it's not worth having. Another thing to do is to contact Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft. He'll direct it to an assistant to address the issue.
Joe was thinking of getting a NEST thermostat, but he doesn't want to pay a fee. Rich says the only fee you pay is for buying the device. NEST uses WiFi to connect to the internet, where you can control it using your mobile device. But you don't have to pay a subscription fee to use it. Can you control it using your computer? Rich says you should. But the NEST doesn't have to be programmed since it uses machine learning to learn how you want it to operate. Also check with your energy company. NEST also offers a $50 rebate.
Jeff's company missed the domain renewal date and then lost the domain. It keeps getting bought up automatically by holding companies. Rich says that cybersquatting is a real thing, and sadly, there's not much that can be done if the domain expires. The only thing one can do is keep an eye on it and hope they forget.
Bill has lost control of his business website and wants to know how to get it back. He paid a guy to build the websites, and now he's disappeared. Rich says that trusting a web guy to register your website is problematic because of situations like this. Most often, the guy you pay will register them in his name because he controls them. It's better to make sure your domain is owned BY YOU first and foremost. The best way to find out contact information is to do a WHOIS search on whois.net. Just type in WHOIS and the website domain and it should give information.
App of the week ... Waze has new audio voice features including the Cookie Monster. If you're on a road trip with kids, they'll get a kick out of it.
Travel Tip of the Week.... take a trip with your fiance before you get married. You don't want to ruin your honeymoon without an understanding how your potential spouse reacts while traveling.
Website of the week - ResortFeeChecker. Find out what your hotel's resort fees are, and what they cover.
José would like to be anonymous online. How can he minimize his online footprint with Mac addresses? Rich says that most systems are encrypted now, and Google is pushing all websites to update to https. So your traffic gets more encrypted. If that's not enough for you, then randomizing your Mac address is a good way to do it. In iOS 13, for instance, Apple devices generate randomized Mac addresses while online. That's a good way to keep yourself protected. You may try using a VPN, or you can browse privately.
Joe has switched his parents over to Comcast for internet access and TV, and he's having a hard time opening ports through the router for their alarm system. What can he do? Rich says to try what Xfinity recommends here - https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/port-forwarding-xfinity-wireless-gateway. If that doesn't work, then it may be that the port forwarding capability of Xfinity is limited. Rich also says to make sure the firmware is updated.