This week on the podcast we’re talking about AT&T’s crappy new smartphone upgrade plans, the awesome secret stuff you can get on Monoprice, and how to survive an Airbnb disaster. We’re also answering your questions about Mac Wi-Fi issues, MP3 tagging, and transforming go bags.
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News and Top Stories
Google Maps Desktop Leaves Beta, Updates iOS App: When Google introduced its revamped, more interactive Google Maps back in May, it was in preview, invite-only stage. Now everyone can use the new Google Maps.
AT&T Next Offers Yearly Upgrades to Compete with T-Mobiles’s Jump. Is Either Worth It? With all the new changes to T-Mobile and AT&T’s plans, it’s hard to tell how much the plans really cost and whether it’s worth switching. We break down the math for you.
The Lifehacker Pack 2013 Every year, we round up the most essential apps for every platform, perfect for new installs or just keeping up with the best apps around. Check out the Lifehacker Pack for Windows, OS X, Android, and iPhone.
Five Cheap Things You Didn’t Know Were Worth Buying from Monoprice We’ve talked up the online discount retailer, Monoprice plenty of times for their cheap HDMI cables and insanely cheap headphones, but the store sells all kinds of gadgets and accessories. If you’ve never dug in, here are a few things we’d recommend searching Monoprice for before you pay full price elsewhere.
How Can I Avoid Getting Screwed on Airbnb? With Airbnb becoming illegal in New York, other cities considering the same, and horror stories of bad hosts, you might feel too scared to rent. These circumstances come along pretty infrequently, and handling them takes very little effort if you know what to do.
Questions and Answers
- Marianna asks, “There are over 25 Wi-Fi networks in my apartment building. EVERY single time I want to get on the internet, which with Lifehacker, is very often and for long periods of time, I must go to the WiFi icon on my MacBook and select my own network instead of whatever other one it selected. I’ve scoured LH (and Google) and cannot find a satisfactory answer to making my network the default. I’d eliminate the entire list if I thought I could. I have selected it in Network Preferences and moved it to the top of the list, but it doesn’t last long. Got any bright ideas?”
Yes! You probably need to reset your network settings. Alternatively, it could be an interference issue. Make sure your Wi-Fi network doesn’t have the same name/SSID and you’ve chosen the best wireless channel. You may also solve the problem by creating a new location in your Network settings (it’s up at the top).
- Leo asks, “What’s a Mac alternative to MP3Tag for the Mac?”
Nothing! But you can run MP3Tag natively on the Mac using WineBottler. See our guide to whipping your music’s metadata into shape and our post on Winebottler for more info.
- Juan writes, “I’ve been looking everywhere for a decent bag that functions as both a messenger and a backpack, preferably a bag that would hide the backpack straps when not needed, and a bag that is big enough to haul a Chromebook, tablet, a book, and other office items. I work in an office close to home so it allows me to drive, or walk (an hour walk), or ride my bike (about 20 minutes). Are there any bags out there that would do the job?”
We found a few: The BBP Hamptons Hybrid, the Tom Bihn Western Flyer, the Gregory Dub, and the Chrome Falcon Messenger Backpack. There are more out there, you might just have to do a little digging. Thorin likes the PAC Designs bags that have an optional backpack strap for their messenger bags. Also, check out the Wirecutter’s list of bags, then see our list of the gadgets you should have in every bag and how to create a modular go bag for any situation.
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Please keep your questions as brief as possible. This means about 3-5 sentences for emails and 30-60 seconds for calls and videos. Your questions can be specific, but broader questions are generally better because they’ll apply to more people. For example, “how can I breathe new life into my old PDA?” is much better than “what can I do with an old HP iPAQ 210?” Either way, we look forward to hearing from you!