Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
Senator Patrick Leahy has said that patent reform, which is in dire need, is albeit dead for this year. The sad part is that it was passed overwhelmingly in the house, but Leahy says he doesn't have the votes in the Senate, and he's taking the bill off the agenda.
Leo says this is unfortunate as patent trolls are destroying the tech industry with nuisance lawsuits designed to build war chests of settlements from smaller companies in order to go after the 'big fish'. The sad fact is that it costs less to settle than to defend it in court.
Ron has a home studio, and his ISDN line costs have skyrocketed lately. Leo says that's because the phone company is trying to get ISDN users to give their lines up. The phone company has to operate a non-standard switch in order to maintain the ISDN line. They don't want to have a separate switch anymore and they want to stop providing it.
Henry uses Yahoo Mail, and he got a message from Yahoo forcing him to change his password. Leo says that Yahoo gets hacked a lot and they may have noted some activity on Henry's email and prompted him to change it. But now he can't access his account. Leo says that's a good signal that his account had been hacked. He probably won't have much luck contacting Yahoo to fix it, either.
Johnny is home for Memorial Day. Leo's going to Hawaii and wants to know if there's a good Luau to look into. Johnny says he's only been to the touristy ones and he's not impressed. A few deals - Priceline had a mistake this year and offering $130 trips to Asia via Europe through New York. Tickets to Turkey, Beijing, and since they're only one way, you'd have to pay full fare to come home. But a great deal. And Johnny says it's not required to honor the mistake, but they almost always do because it's a PR nightmare. Johnny will Tweet it after the show, so stay tuned.
Chip wants to know about the possibility of getting internet access via light. Leo says it's in the labs, but it's far from being in prime time. There are some microwave ISPs, which provide service via WISP (wireless internet service provider). There is a long distance Wi-Fi: Clearwire was one that used WiMax, but it died out.
The best way to find out is to go to BroadbandReports.com. They can give him up to date information on what's the best services in his area.
Larry has Yahoo mail and he gets a ton of spam. He can't really delete all of it at once, because sometimes email from friends gets in there. Leo says that if it's any consolation, everyone gets spam. Yahoo is just doing a poor job of filtering it. Leo says that we've lost the battle against spam, and some webmail providers filter it better than others. Google uses a technique called collaborative filtering, where users let them know if an email has slipped pass their filters and it adds to the list.
eBay announced a massive data breach and Leo advises users reset their passwords. What's interesting is that the news broke on Wednesday, and eBay has known about it for three weeks. It makes Leo wonder just how bad the breach was. eBay says it was a leak of encrypted passwords. Regardless of how bad, Leo says it's best to change your password. And if you use that password elsewhere, time to stop doing that and use a password manager like LastPass.
In a case of biting the hand that feeds it, Amazon is going to war with small publishers like Hachette and Bonyer in what Leo says is anti-competitive behavior. Amazon appears to have decided to lower the amount of money a publisher gets from every sale. Hashette has refused the new arrangement and now Amazon is causing all their books to be "unavailable" or "out of stock" for long periods of time until Hachette accepts the new scheme. Authors have said it's killing their sales and their are suffering as a result. JK Rowling's new book as well since it's being published by Hachette.
Justin streams music in real time to radio stations, but it gets problematic. Leo says that the Internet was never designed for streaming music because packets are designed to arrive out of order and be reassembled. Leo uses an ISDN, which isn't super fast, but they are point to point so it's a direct connection. This means he has consistent bandwidth that delivers packets almost instantaneously. Anything in real time can't really be used over the internet. It's too difficult. Telos makes boxes designed to do internet protocol, but Leo isn't convinced it's ready for prime time.
Deal on Travel Zoo - $499 for a 10 day cruise to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Check Johnny Jet's Twitter feed for links. Johnny says that while on his recent cruise in Europe with his dad, the internet was terribly slow and he ended up using his phone and when he forgot to turn it off, he got $100 in roaming charges. So it pays to be aware of your phone when you're traveling.