S3E25: Solar Flares and the Internet

Watch the video to see how it went down live. https://youtu.be/HxasY9DHxr0

From the What do you want me to do about it department…

So scientists revealed this week that if the Sun had really big solar flare activity it had the potential to knock out the Internet

A solar storm could knock out the Internet

So scientists warned recently in a Wired article that a large solar storm could knock out the Internet especially that goes over the many undersea cables that make a global Internet possible.

First you have to understand a little about Solar Flares

https://www.wired.com/story/solar-storm-internet-apocalypse-undersea-cables

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/08/a-bad-solar-storm-could-cause-an-internet-apocalypse/?comments=1

Google “the Carrington Event” that happened in the late 1800’s. Also an event in 1989 that took down the power grid in Quebec.

Apple Tries to Change

Apple tries to make amends with developers after it has profited off of them for so long.

https://9to5mac.com/2021/08/26/apple-small-business-app-store-changes/

Best Stream Services

https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/best-live-tv-streaming-service-for-cord-cutters/

S3E12: How to apply for Internet Assistance program | Amazon Sidewalk | and Google Privacy?

S3E12

Chapter 1

Internet Assistance Program aka Emergency Broadband Benefit, 

Did you experience financial difficulties last year during covid such as unemployment or furloughs? Or maybe your children qualify for free or reduced lunch? If you live in the United States, there is a government program to give you Internet fees assistance of up to $50 a month. So say you qualify and you have lower speed Internet, this is a chance to upgrade to a higher speed plan perhaps? Or maybe you are struggling and you just need help to maintain the Internet you have. I will have a link in the show notes. You should go and see if you qualify. This program won’t last forever so the biggest downside is if you upgrade your Internet you may have to downgrade to a more affordable plan when the program stops. In the meantime many states are trying their best to lobby and create plans to help rural areas who do not have what the FCC classifies as broadband which is 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Hopefully we will eventually treat the Internet as a necessity since so many of us use it for everything we do. 

https://getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/05/12/emergency-broadband-benefit-faq/

Chapter 2

How many times have you said to yourself? Hey Self, would you like to share your Internet with your neighbors? NO! You don’t want to do that. Your neighbor may be into stuff you aren’t into. Amazon announced several months back that “Sidewalk” their connectivity feature for helping their Alexa and other smart devices connect more quickly to the Internet would be turned on by default on all of their devices. They have also partnered with Tile, the Bluetooth device for helping find things that is shaking in their boots thanks to Apple’s AirTags (which feels like a blatant rip off of Tile’s technology). So Tile and Amazon have partnered to compete with AirTags. But what does this mean? Well basically Sidewalk will slice out a small portion of your Internet bandwidth to dedicate to traffic between Amazon smart devices, roughly 80k per second. So if you have 1.5 meg internet, that might hurt some but if you have 25 meg or more (the FCC’s definition of broadband) you may not even notice or miss it. And Amazon says the traffic will be encrypted and your privacy will be protected. Of course, this is from the same company whose Alexa devices seem to go off randomly and think a lot of what I say must be its key word. If you are paranoid and you have the Alexa app on a smart device, you can turn off Sidewalk. But the potential is eventually IoT (Internet of Things) devices may use this approach to talk rather than having to use Zigbee and other proprietary methods of communication or instead of using your Wifi in a not all that secure manner. So it could be a good thing or a bad thing. Time will tell. If you aren’t paranoid enough to NOT have Alexa devices but you are paranoid enough to be worried, you can opt out of Sidewalk inside the Alexa app by going to Settings, Account Settings, Sidewalk and toggle “Enabled” to Disabled.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/05/amazon-devices-will-soon-automatically-share-your-internet-with-neighbors/

Chapter 3

Google learns we may want privacy? Oh, and better protection.

So I mentioned features of Google’s Password Manager in Chrome browser as mentioned during Google I/O. Well, we didn’t talk about it but Google is making TSA aka Two Step Authentication the default going forward and will eventually convince you to turn it on. I highly recommend it. While it is not bulletproof, having to have both the password to your account and then having a code texted to you or using Google Authenticator means it will be extra challenging for hackers to get into your gmail and other Google products. And you will have greater control over your privacy. You can password protect your search history in your browser. That’s right. So you can prevent others from seeing your search history in Google accounts. You will also get more options to delete past history in Chrome. Say, you want your history deleted after three months. Bam, you can easily set it. What it to expire in 24 hours? Sure. Want to protect via a password where you surf on the Internet? You can. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2021/05/30/google-suddenly-flips-the-password-privacy-switch-for-billions-of-users/

https://myaccount.google.com/data-and-personalization?gar=1

How to tell Google to delete your history automatically

https://www.xda-developers.com/turn-on-auto-delete-google/

Watch the Live version of this on YouTube. Be sure to Like and Subscribe if you drop by. https://youtu.be/J0LRV3FdHUc