Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
Michael has noticed that he gets a warning that some websites are suspect and it won't let him in unless he agrees to take the risk. Leo says that is a function of Google and Microsoft which searches websites and flags them as being at risk for malware. Leo says it's a good service, and helps prevent malware from poorly designed websites from infecting users, especially on the Windows platform. Forums are frequently bit because they are written in open source and rarely updated. They should fix it, because if Michael is having issues, then everyone is.
The latest version of Gmail's iOS app will not only support background app refresh, but also will provide for sign in across all Google apps. This means that once a user signs into gmail, he or she is automatically signed into all Google apps. This also works for signing out. This is leaving users up in arms over the fact that Google is even more intrusive in their daily mobile lives. Users are also complaining that the app refresh will eat up more battery power. In Europe, countries are investigating Google over privacy issues as a result.
Steve signed up for a VPN in order to bypass the bottlenecks brought about by his ISP and Netflix. Leo says that's an interesting solution as the data would be encrypted and the ISP wouldn't know what the data is. Leo says ISPs are slowing down the traffic by 33%, and it's terrible that they do it. VPNs could be a solution to that. However, it also delays his signal because of the overhead of encryption and decryption that would be required. Since Netflix is paying Comcast now for preferred traffic access, a VPN would actually slow the signal down.
Johnny Jet has a great travel tip - always target business hotels on weekends. They tend to be empty and offer great deals. Johnny also says that Uber is a great app and car service for renting cars in San Francisco. Leo says he likes Uber's car service a lot because it's a comfortable ride. But there's controversy because it's not bonded and many cities have banned them. Johnny also says that LAX won't allow Uber drivers because it gets a piece of all taxi fees.
Rob has AT&T UVerse and looks really compressed. Leo says he hears that complaint all the time. It's likely that U-Verse does use a lot of compression, even though it's fiber, so they have no loss of bandwidth. On top of that, channels also are compressed. So there's compression all along the line. This is why broadcast HD is always the best, because there's no compression over-the-air.
Amazon announced Fire TV this week, a device that is positioned to compete with AppleTV and Roku. Leo says it pretty much does the same things, but for an extra $40, you can get a wireless game controller to play games on it. Leo says it's essentially a computer running an Android OS; a smartphone minus the screen. It runs a quad core Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM, and will play Android games. Apple and Roku plan to implement this as well, but Amazon beat them to the punch.
Monny has a bunch of XP machines that he has to upgrade. Leo says that he doesn't necessarily have to. It is possible to operate XP safely online. Here's what you can do -
Bob has a very old version of Microsoft Office and he wants to know if it's safe to continue using. Leo says that this week, a "zero day flaw" was found in Microsoft Office through the RTF rendering engine, and hackers have been taking advantage of that. So if there's an update, update it. Leo also says not to use Internet Explorer. Use Google Chrome instead. He should turn off the feature that automatically launches an app when he goes to a website as well. If he's careful, he should be able to keep using his version of Office, though.
Leo says that Firefox has bookmark syncing, so he should check in his settings to enable that. He can also save them to a USB key and Firefox will import them. Leo also says he should be careful not to copy all of his settings from his old computer. There is a transfer wizard that he could use to copy everything from his old machine, but Leo doesn't generally recommend that. If he plans to keep the old system for awhile, he should just copy over what he needs as he needs it. It's a good idea to start over.