(Pre)Holiday Haste

A few quick tech updates for you in the brief lull between the election and the holidays.

Lunch with -- Huh????
An obnoxious new type of spam has been hitting iCloud Calendar users. Apple is working on a solution, but meanwhile there are workarounds.

Google Home vs Amazon Echo, Take 1 (as promised)
After a brief flirtation with Google Home, I'm back: Amazon Echo has resumed its reign in my kitchen. The Home, while quite clever in some ways and much smaller and cuter than the Echo,  felt not quite ready for prime time.  Mine was irritatingly buggy; even their customer support phone number was nonfunctional!  

The Home is brand new and will give the Echo a run for its money in "skills," but for support, Amazon's consumer service expertise may be harder to match. Each device has its pros and cons (in-depth reviews herehere and here), and there will be lots of fun development to come with both devices: plus competitors, for sure, given the runaway success of the Echo.

uh-oh, eero!
As we reported back in March, a startup called eero had finally launched a product that allowed you, even in NYC, to have good, reliable wireless signal all over your apartment or house. eero made setting up a "mesh network" to cover your whole home fairly easy, even for non-techies.  Other companies followed. (Meanwhile, Apple is ditching the router business--no more AirPorts).

Now Google has launched a competing product that is quite a bit cheaper, gets good reviews,  and can even be managed remotely. This may be the time to ditch your old router and invest in a mesh network, or give one as a gift.

Cash Flow
Calculating holiday tips can be daunting. The venerable tip calculator spreadsheet is still available for download on our website, but now there's a new Google Sheets version here.  You can make your own copy in Google Sheets or download it as an Excel file if you prefer.  May you never find a mysterious extra $20 bill after all the envelopes are sealed!

Giving Back: A Reminder
Shopping at Amazon.com? Nearly one million non-profits are registered with their  smile.Amazon.com program, so your favorite one could probably benefit from a portion of your spending. Details here.