Internet and Web

Your internet connection, web sites and services.

Can a home assistant device make phone calls?

Caller from California

Episode 1463

Caller wants to get a voice operated home device to make phone calls for his mother in law. Leo says that the Amazon Echo only works with other Echo devices. Google Home Assistant, however, can be linked to your phone and can make phone calls by voice. The Chatroom says that Echo Connect will work to make phone calls, especially emergency ones. Leo says that these in home voice assistants are a game changer. Especially for older folks. Good solution. And there cheap enough now that you can put them in every room.

Why don't I get as fast internet speed as I was promised?

Johnny from Atlanta, GA

Episode 1463

Johnny upgraded his Comcast internet bandwidth to gigabit service. But when he went to Fast.com to test it, it was only a 1/3 the promised speed. Is he getting ripped off? Leo says that wifi can slow down your bandwidth a bit due to congestion. Try connecting wired to your modem with Ethernet and see if it speeds up. The age of your computer network card can also slow it down if it's older. You'd need a gigabit network card to handle the thru-put. At the end of the day, there's always a weak link in the chain and you have to find it.

How can I get around work's locked down internet?

Episode 1462

Rick from Irvine, CA
Computers

Rick's wife is trying to get around her job's internet restrictions with a VPN. Is there any way to do that? Leo says probably not. They will likely have it locked down to the point where she can't get around it. Leo recommends using her mobile phone in hotspot mode. She should turn off Wi-Fi though because she'll still be under their policies even when she's on her phone using the Wi-Fi. The company has the right to not only prevent her from using her own devices on their network, but also to spy on her. So she should be careful.

Johnny Jet on Travel Tech

Episode 1461

Johnny Jet

Johnny Jet says you can sometimes save money buying your airline tickets at the last minute. Some tips - don't bring a bag. Get the right credit card to gain access to the clubs. Stick with one airline to get upgraded. TSA PreCheck is very helpful. Make a single connection, and you can save half the cost of a first class or business class ticket. Search, and price it out with Google Flights and then book directly with the airline. The trick is to use multiple sites. Check alternate airports.

What should I look for in a VoIP telephone service?

Episode 1460

Noel from Huntington beach, CA
Office telephone

Noel wants to use Voice Over IP for his office telephones. What does he need to look for? Leo says that Latency is the key. The longer the latency, the more annoying the delay in a conversation. Dropped packets is another issue in VoIP. Is that due to not having enough bandwidth? Leo says no. Voice doesn't take up a lot of bandwidth. But in an office, it all adds up. Leo uses RingCentral in his office.

Wi-Fi can also mess up VoIP because it gives preference to data over voice.

Johnny Jet on Travel Tech

Episode 1460

Johnny Jet

Johnny Jet says that there's a new airline in Canada called Swoop that's going with the Spirit Airlines business model of charging very low prices for airfare, then adding charges for luggage and carry ons. If it doesn't fit under your seat, you have to pay extra. They also pack you in with only 29" of leg room.

Site of the week - Google Flights. Johnny recommends going with Google Flights when trying to book a flight. Great bargains, plus they also let you know about flight delays and more.