Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss Charger issues, TouchID and FaceID for iCloud, Uber train and bus ticket, ridesharing effect on accidents, Amazon and food delivery, Dr. Alexa, and more.
Son in Houston, Texas and asked: “I received a call from comcast saying that I exceeded my 1 terabyte and I have 7 echo devices, do they drain my data?”
Son, no your Echo devices are transmitting fairly little data. They’ll use a little more if you use them to stream music, but not enough to go over a 1TB plan on their own.
Your most likely culprit here is video streaming, particularly 4K video, but anything will add up.
Streaming media in general is what does it for most people, but high def video uses much more than just about anything else.
Do you have multiple people in your household that stream video at the same time? That can do it.
Did you ditch cable for a streaming live TV service for example?
All that can add up quick, but your Echo devices are likely not solely to blame unless you’re using them for lots of audio and video streaming.
Chris shared his experience: I am a cord-cutter. I ditched my cable over a year ago and stream all of my content, including live TV, using Hulu. I logged into my Comcast account recently to check my data usage. Unfortunately in my neighborhood, my only choice for Internet is Comcast or satellite. And with my usage, satellite isn’t an option. But I noticed that I typically use just under half of my Terabyte limit each month. And I live alone, except for when my son is with me, usually streaming on one device at a time. So you can see how it would add up quickly if you have more than one device streaming HD content at a time.
I did see a notice on my account that said “You have 2 courtesy months to exceed a terabyte of usage without a charge.” It goes on to say that after those courtesy months, I will be charged $10 for each 50GB of data and that the charges will not exceed $200 no matter how much I use. Gee, thanks for doing me the favor, Comcast.
Laurie in Brunswick, Georgia listens on 93.7 FM WBQO and asked: “I have two iPhones, 1 is an iPhone 6 and the other is a 6 plus. I don’t know how to back up, one is registered to me and one is not registered . I don’t know how to back up, how to get the information off the iPhone 6.”
Laurie, you have two options to back up your iPhones. The easiest ones is to just flip a switch and let the phone do it in the background.
That’s what you get when you turn on iCloud backups, your phone just backs up your apps, photos, wallpaper, app layout, settings, contacts, text messages, bookmarks, etc. and it all happens without you having to do anything.
The catch is that Apple gives you 5GB for free, anything over that costs you some money (not that much, the first add on package costs $1/month). You can probably back up both of your phones with the free allowance though.
Your other option is to back up using a computer and iTunes. You’ll either plug your phone in or back up over WiFi and the backup will be stored on your computer. It requires more work on your side, but it’s free regardless of how big the backup is.
Your easiest option will be to turn on iCloud backups on your iPhone’s settings, though, with two phones you probably have enough free data to back them both up.
Ken in Bullard, Texas listens on KTBB and asked: “I have two Samsung telephones, an S10e and an S10, and I want to set up one of them so I can do a wifi connection to my laptop computer, want to know if that is possible and what are the specifications? I’m currently with verizon and i have unlimited data, but I don’t know how much they would allow me to use on a wifi connection or through my smartphone.”
Ken, both the S10 and the S10e are capable of sharing their LTE connection via WiFi to other devices including your laptop.
In terms of speed, well, speed is barely worth mentioning. The phones themselves can access very fast networks and share them. They’re actually rated for 2Gbps down and 150mpbs up, but you won’t get anywhere near those speeds.
The reason for that is that Verizon won’t be able to deliver those speeds and neither will any other carrier.
Verizon is actually the bottleneck here in every way. We can’t tell you how fast your connection will be or how much data you’ll be able to exchange because both of those are ultimately dependent on your contract with Verizon, so you’ll have to talk to them about your particular situation.
What we can tell you is this: the news is never good. All carriers nickel and dime their customers to death and it’s very likely that your limits won’t be exactly great.
Having said that, we wish you the best of luck, you may find out that they’ll give you more data than you need, at least on the go.
Don in Labelle, Florida listens to the podcast and asked: “I was wondering if Google fi is an inexpensive service, considering that they give discounted prices on their phones as well.”
Don, the final price of Google Fi depends on how much data you need to use, but generally speaking it is a fairly cheap service.
You will probably pay more than if you use something like Cricket or Boost, but you will probably pay less than if you use any major carrier.
Google Fi tries to always force you to use WiFi for everything, their phone will connect to several public networks and try to always route calls and data over WiFi, but they do have mobile data.
If you barely use mobile data and stick to WiFi, the plans are not expensive, but they do go up in price with each data package you use up.
The most you will pay is $80 for unlimited calls, texts, and data, the least you will pay is $20, the $60 difference is your mobile data cost.
If you don’t use that much mobile data, it may be a good move, if you use a lot it’s not terrible, but there are cheaper plans out there.
Justin in Iuka Mississippi listens on SuperTalk 94.3 FM and asked: “Hey Dave going on a trip to Rome next spring, would like to know about any travel tech or gear to would be interesting to take with me, thank you.”
Justin, there are a few gadgets and apps that can make your travel life a little easier.
The main thing is to take your phone, apps like Google Maps can help you get to where you’re going by car, public transit or by foot. Apps like Yelp can find you places to eat in neighborhoods you’re not familiar with, and there are plenty of translator apps to help you communicate with people and even translate signs via AR.
That means that you’ll also want some kind of data plan. It can come from your own carrier, but you can also use a device like the Skyroam we travel with. It will let you connect several devices at once and enjoy fast speeds all over the world, and if you decide you don’t need to use it on any given day, you don’t need to pay for the pass for that day.
The main and most useful tech you can bring along with you is your phone. It’s a camera, a GPS, a tour guide, and sometimes it can even unlock your hotel room door. There’s not much else you really need.
Sue in Belle River Ontario listens on AM800 CKLW and asked: “What is the best product that I can buy to show on my television, security outside, I want to see what activity is going outside through my television.”
Sue, there are two relatively easy ways to go about this. The least satisfying one to use will be sharing your phone’s screen via screen mirroring and playing your security camera video there.
Phones are more popular as camera screens these days, since they can access the cameras from anywhere. Unfortunately, the steps required to get the cameras to show up on TV will probably make it so that you only ever watch them on your phone and never on TV.
Your other option is to buy any camera system that comes with a DVR with an HDMI output. Any of those can be hooked up to a TV just as easily as they can be connected to any other type of monitor, and using one of those means that the image will be available as soon as you change the channel.
Denise in Starkville, Mississippi listens on SuperTalk 97.3 and asked: “How safe is the Venmo app? And what are your recommendations on Venmo and any other money apps.”
Denise, the Venmo app is generally safe to use. It’s owned by PayPal so at least you know there is a big, publicly traded company behind it that stands to lose a lot if there is a security breach.
You just search for their names on the app, select how much money you want to send or request, and do it. There’s really not much to it, it’s a very fast, free way of transferring money to others.
Now, the app has a social media aspect to it. You get sort of a news feed, listing transactions that your friends have made. It doesn’t list personal info, but you’d be able to see who paid who, assuming their privacy settings are set to “public”, which is unfortunately, the default. But you can go into the settings and change the default to “participants only” and then only you and the person on the other end of your transaction will see that in your feeds.
As for recommendations, they’re all the same. Venmo, Cash app, Zelle, Apple and Google Pay, they’re all basically the interchangeable. Just use whichever the people you want to exchange funds with are on.
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