Update on Ring and they’re problematic app and website, Daniel Semro demonstrates how a blind person subscribes to a podcast. It’s surprising what things you can’t do without data (as I learned in the national parks last week). In response to Tim Jahr’s question, I’ll explain why I said during Chit Chat Across the Pond with Bruce Wilson that IT is waste. Claus Wolf asks for a change to the Amazon Affiliate Links and I grant that wish. Bart Busschots is back with another fabulous Security Bits segment.
As you probably know by now, this past week Steve and I went on a big adventure to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. It was a glorious trip that we’d been planning to do for literally decades with our friends Diane and Bill.
There was one thing for which I was unprepared, and that’s that we would have nearly zero Internet on the trip. We traveled 750 miles in 7 days, and for about 80% of that we had no cell service at all on AT&T. Diane and Bill have Verizon and it was much better, but still around 50% of the time they had nothing. Oddly sometimes we’d see four or five dots of cell service, but they’d be hollow instead of filled, and the signal would say 4G. What do empty dots mean anyway? I can tell you they don’t mean you can post to Facebook, that’s for sure.
posted the photos of our Galápagos Islands and Machu Picchu hike in Peru on Google Photos with links to both here Photos from South America – Galápagos Islands and Machu Picchu. There’s no Chit Chat Across the Pond this week but Bart’s back next week to teach us Test Driven Development in Programming By Stealth. I was on Clockwise this week: relay.fm/clockwise episode #183 and on Let’s Talk Apple: lets-talk.ie Episode #43. I’ll regale you with tech stories from our travels in South America, Rally Barnard will give you a quick and very slick tip on how to get turn-by-turn directions without using any data while on international travel, in Dumb Question Corner I’ll answer Kurt’s question about how to automatically archive iTunes Podcasts. Bart was out ill this week so I did my first ever solo Security Bits.
Rally Barnard is a friend of Steve and mine, in fact he’s the guy who talked us into going on the India trip with him and his awesome wife Carolyn, and our friends Wally and Wendy Cherwinski, and Don and Barbara McAllister. Rally and Carolyn travel more than any people I’ve ever met; they go on around four big trips a year. They are our spiritual guides on all things travel. We even called them to find out what shoes to wear in the Galápagos Islands.
In that conversation, he said that an essential tool of how he gets along is by using Google’s Project Fi. You may have heard of Project Fi before but I’m betting that unless you have used it yourself, you don’t quite get what it is.
Project Fi is a cellular service from Google where you pay $20/month for a service fee, plus $10/GB for data. You get unlimited domestic talk and text, and unlimited international texting. Unlike any of the cellular plans from any of the big US carriers, your data usage is prorated so you only pay for what you use. If you come in under what you thought you’d use for a month, Google refunds the difference. Need more than what you thought you’d need? You pay by the MB. Seriously. This would be cool on its own, but the data plan works in more than 135 countries. Continue reading “International Data with Google Project Fi on an iPhone”
Back in April I told you about the new router I bought, the Nighthawk X8 from Netgear. I bought this router for two reasons. I already had an Airport Extreme 802.11ac router with beam forming antennas, but after talking to Bart about how insecure the Internet of Things devices are, I wanted to run two parallel networks. The second reason is because it sounded really cool.
One thing neither of us did was any kind of network speed tests to see whether a) we needed this router and b) whether the new router improved speeds or reduced dead spots in our homes. We had both been influenced by Dave Hamilton of the Mac Geek Gab where he talks a lot about routers. I reached out to Dave and asked him what he uses to check network speeds. I knew that while running speedtest.net was a relatively good way to test your Internet speeds, it wasn’t a good way to test the speed of your internal network. Since the speed test was going through Internet and back, it had far too many variables involved.
Before we dig into the tests, let’s review the devices. The Airport Extreme is the current model, which has internal beam-forming antennas. It’s only a dual-band router, with one radio for 2.4 GHz and another for 5 GHz. The Nighthawk X8 is a tri-band router with two 5 GHz radios and one for 2.4 GHz. By having two 5 GHz radios the Nighthawk can send and receive at the same time. It also sports four internal antennas and four active external antennas. That all sounds swell, but at 1.7x as much money for the Nighthawk X8 over the Airport Extreme, let’s see how they perform relative to each other in real world testing. Continue reading “Real World Bandwidth Test: Netgear Nighthawk X8 vs Airport Extreme”
George from Tulsa is back with another guest post:
In her July 31 review of the Netgear Nighthawk X8 Router, Denise mentioned a couple of problems to be solved, and I’m here to offer some suggestions and experience that might help.
Denise has a problem with “power bricks that block other outlets,” and I say Amen to that.
The solution that usually works for me is a pigtail. As an electronics “consumer” you’re more likely to see it advertised as a “Power Strip Liberator.”
I’ve been using the Coleman Cable’s 8-Inch Power Strip Liberator. They’re colorful, there’s a tiny light in one end that until it burns out tells at a glance if your device is plugged and powered, and they’re only ten bucks for three at the Amazon link in the Shownotes. There’s many similar products in real and virtual stores; I first saw the Colemans at Wallyworld.
Denise also mentioned “runaway bandwidth” that happens unpredictably, several times a year.
Allison interviews Frankie Smith from SureCall about their new EZ-4G cell signal booster. The EZ-4G system boosts 3G and 4G cell phone signals including voice and data so you can stay better connected in more locations within your home or office. The EZ-4G will be available at the end of January, 2016. The setting is the CES Pepcom Digital Experience show floor in the Mirage hotel.