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Everything we have in our home seems to have a computer built into it these days, and they're networked and connected to the internet. This is called the "Internet of Things." Some devices are more secure than others, and even then, many just don't get updated with security features. Security expert Brian Krebs has an article on the best way to secure your digital "stuff" online. Check it out at krebsonsecurity.com here.
Eddie wants to know if Roku will look for a hotspot. Leo says it doesn't really matter, the Roku will look for Wi-Fi no matter where it is. But Eddie should remember that hotspots tend to have more restrictive bandwidth caps, and 1GB an hour is not surprising on Netflix.
Dan wants to get his mother a home assistant and can't decide between Google Home or Amazon Echo. Leo says that both are very similar. If Dan's mom has Amazon Prime, then she'll get a free limited music service with it. Google, however, is better at facts, while Echo is good at skills. So it comes down to what she's going to use it for. Echo is also better with smart home devices (IoT stuff). Leo gave his mother the Echo, but it's important to train his mother how to talk to Echo. For most people, Echo is easier to use.
Brad wants to know how to recover his brother's Facebook account without using his email. Leo says that there's an extreme account recovery system that involves sending a picture, and then Facebook will reset it. Here's how to recover his account on Facebook.
The big story today is news that back when Twitter was launched, Facebook decided to change it's feed to include more news stories, thereby addicting its users and keeping them online longer. Leo says that Facebook discovered that they could sell more advertising and make more money if they could hook users to spend more time. Leo says that Facebook prefers to call it more "engaging." But he also says that strategy may have backfired, as engagement has been declining over the last two years.
Dan has AT&T and a new TP-Link router. Can he use his own with the AT&T DSL modem that has a router built-in? Leo says yes. He can turn off the AT&T's router radios and network address translation. He could try putting it into bridge mode. He'll have to open up the browser IP address and look for a place that will enable him to turn off the router altogether. He'll also have to disable DHCP. If he can't do that, then he can put the TP-Link into bridge mode and it will just pass the signal along. He should also look for a passthrough mode.
Leo wants to know how young a minor can be to travel unaccompanied. Johnny says that it varies from airline to airline, but it's around 16 years old. And here's a great hack — airlines will not cancel a flight if there's an unaccompanied minor traveling. They don't want to run the risk of losing the child. But they may also charge you extra for a minor to travel. That's great insurance to make sure your child's flight doesn't get canceled, though. Also, always book a nonstop flight. That way the child doesn't have to get off and board another plane.
Bryan wants to know if Leo is for or against repealing the Net Neutrality rules. Leo says he's definitely against repealing it, as he believes it will benefit the big ISP companies and not the end user. Sure, it's government regulation, but if you trust the water coming out of your tap, why not trust regulating the internet to keep it open and neutral? By throwing out rules that keep ISPs common carriers under Title 2, it now gives ISPs the power to do whatever they want and charge whatever they want. Leo understands the mistrust of government. Many technology types are libertarians.
George keeps hearing about BitCoin and how much the price keeps going up. What gives it that value? Leo says nothing but sheer belief. BitCoin is crypto currency, which are essentially digital dollars that don't exist outside of a computer. You can't really take it and spend it at the local store unless the store takes it. But even a dollar bill isn't really anything but a fiat currency that the government says it's worth. The value of a dollar, or any other currency, changes all the time. It's fluid. So BitCoin is just an extreme version of that.