The year’s not even three weeks old and plenty of change is in the air. Earlier this week, the US Court of Appeals bounced the net neutrality’s rules put forth by the Federal Communications Commission. This gave Verizon Communications a legal victory over potential restrictions that would have made the company treat all traffic over its broadband lines equally. Continue reading PTJ 78 News: Whacks and Hacks
Sherlock Holmes has been in the news more than usual the past few weeks — partly for the upcoming American broadcast of the popular BBC reboot starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman; if you haven’t seen it already, the first of the three new episodes airs here in the States on January 19th. Continue reading Searching for Sherlock
This week we present our tech term of the year for 2013. I know most news sites and blogs like to do these, oh I don’t know, right around Halloween, but in all fairness we here at the greatest geek-culture and technology podcast the galaxy has ever SEEN…. um, I’m sorry, HEARD (Trademark Pending) made the decision to wait until the year was actually over before bestowing this most prestigious honor. What if there was a late surge in some previously obscure tech term that suddenly became as ubiquitous as Miley Cyrus or the Harlem Shake? We’d be left with a carton of egg on our face now wouldn’t we.
This wasn’t an easy decision to make as there were some great contenders out there but in the end we realized there was only one tech term that dwarfed all of the others. Hey, if it’s good enough for The Oxford Dictionaries Online to choose as their word of the year, then it’s good enough for us! Although, I must point out that there is a difference between the O.D.O. and the the Oxford English Dictionary. The O.D.O. focuses on current English and includes modern meanings and uses of words. The O.E.D. is a historical dictionary and it forms a record of all the core words and meanings in English over more than 1,000 years, from Old English to the present day. I’m not just throwing words at you, that comes straight from the word nerds at Oxford.
“Selfie” is the 2013 Pop Tech Jam Tech Term of the Year!
They define the newly minted informal noun as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”
According to The New Zealand Herald the first confirmed recorded use of the word selfie is from 2002, in a photo and report of a drunken party posted to an Online forum but self-portraits have been around since well — forever.
Not surprisingly, Hollywood celebrities and pop-singers are some the most devoted selfie artists out there but one look at Instagram clearly shows that many of us in the hoi polloi can shamelessly self promote with the best of them.
In an opinion piece for The New York Times actor, poet, artist, director, screenwriter, producer, teacher, author and, apparently, selfie-expert, James Franco gets to the heart of what the selfie phenomenon is all about. Beyond the vanity, the narcissism and the self-involvement Mr. Franco states, “attention is power. And if you are someone people are interested in, then the selfie provides something very powerful, from the most privileged perspective possible.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, El Kaiser is not getting enough attention, and is not nearly powerful enough, so he must get in a few minutes of duck-face practice before the Polar Vortex freezes his lips off.
We’re refreshed, rested and ready for more shenanigans in 2014! J.D. gives us some helpful hints for what to do with all those holiday snapshots cluttering up your smartphone. We may be a week into the new year but that doesn’t stop El Kaiser from revealing what he considers the top Tech Term of 2013. Lots of news from Las Vegas as the annual international Consumer Electronics Show opened this week. Samsung announces a new line of PRO models of its popular Galaxy Tab tablets; Panasonic announces a 7-inch addition to its Toughpad family of ruggedized tablets; Google partners with several automobile manufacturers to provide infotainment systems for their new car models; Intel has a new mini-computer called Edison; plus Bluetooth toothbrushes smart TVs and appliances and some fun wearable tech from ThinkGeek.com.
The annual international Consumer Electronics Show opened in Las Vegas this week — at least for those who could get to it without weather freeze-outs or flight delays. Every company at the show seemed to have a press release about their upcoming gear the year; check out the in-depth coverage at CNet, the BBC, the Verge and The New York Times for roundups. Noticeable trends for 2014 include curved screens on phones and large television sets, more wearable computing ventures, an expansion of the Internet of Things and more big TVs with nice screens and helpful software.
Along with these general trends, there was plenty of specific product news, like Samsung’s new PRO models of its Galaxy Tab tablets. The new line runs Android 4.4 but with a revamped skin that NBC News has described as “like Android’s widgets crossed with Windows Phone’s gridlike layout.” No word on prices yet, but Samsung says the new models will be available in the first quarter of this year.
Panasonic announced a 7-inch addition to its Toughpad family of ruggedized tablets that can withstand more incidental physical abuse than more delicate hardware. The new FZ-M1 runs Windows 8.1 Pro on an Intel Core i5 vPro processor and will be available this spring for a list price of about $2100.
Google announced a partnership with several automakers to run the infotainment system in some new models on Android, possibly even later this year. General Motors, Audi, Honda and Hyundai are in the mix and all this is part of the new Open Automotive Alliance for accelerating innovation. Android appeared last spring in at least one Kia car model and joins Apple’s previously announced-but-not-yet-out iOS in the Car system and earlier ventures like Ford Sync for integrating personal technology into the dashboard.
Intel, always a presence at computer trade shows, has a new mini-computer called Edison that it hopes will give the wearable-computing market a boost. Edison, which is the size of a Secure Digital card uses a low-power Quark processor, has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and can run Linux and probably other operating systems as well as apps written in the Wolfram Language.
LG Electronics and the messaging service LINE have a new virtual venture that lets users send text messages to their wireless home appliances. (As Wired pointed out earlier this week, The Internet of Things isn’t really all that secure, so could the Rise of the Machines really mean the oven and refrigerator will soon be coming for you?)
Other machines rising this year with their own CES announcements: Kolibree previewed a Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush that beams your brushing techniques and frequencies to your smartphone, and the French sporting-goods company Babolat has a $400 Bluetooth-connected tennis racket that records your swing and transmits the data to a mobile app for further analysis.
The LG G Flex, that Android smartphone with a curved screen, will be available from AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint in the first quarter of 2014. (In addition to all its other CES announcements, LG Electronics also showed off its new line of smart TVs using the not- gone-but-almost-forgotten webOS operating system.
Small things got some press, too. Netgear announced its NeoMediacast HDMI dongle, which is basically a TV set-top box on an Android-powered stick. The MakerBot Replicator Mini 3-D printer will be available for about $1400 later this year and can create objects up to 5 inches high.
Sharp Electronics is trying to hit the price-point sweet spot between HDTV and 4K TV with its new line of AQUOS sets that use its Quattron+ subpixel technology to make screens noticeably more detailed than the standard 1080p. Prices for a 60-inch model are expected to start at $2300.
Panasonic brought forth its new line of “beyond smart” 1080p and 4K televisions using its “Life + Screen” platform. But if you have one of Samsung’s new Smart TVs coming out in the next few months, you can not only watch the movie’s trailer with the integrated Fandango app, you can buy tickets right on the TV. In case, you know, you want to leave the house for a bit.
And finally, here’s some wearable technology that’s a lot more fun than an overpriced exercise monitor. ThinkGeek now has an Electronic FPS Laser Battle Jacket. It may not be all the rage on the Paris runways this season, but who wants to play a ripping game of Frag Tag in all that fussy couture?
Have you ever looked at your phone’s usage settings and realized you don’t have that much room left on it? Unless you’ve got expansion-card options, you’re probably going to want to dump unused apps and other old files to free up space. So what takes up a lot of space on many smartphones today? Photos and videos — especially on newer models with better cameras that take higher-resolution photos and HD video.
Now, some people like to keep a lot of pictures on their phones – it’s the digital equivalent of the plastic wallet sleeve full of kid, family and vacation photos. Still, there are others who don’t need to have a ton of pictures on hand at all times and some people are just too lazy to clear things off, especially if they don’t want to go through deleting images one-by-one to keep the really good stuff.
Need a quick way to deal with gigabytes of photos? Just copy them all to your computer and then whack them from the phone. Once they’re imported to the desktop or laptop, you can lean back and look at a bigger screen as you weed through the images you want to keep and delete the duds. You can keep an archive of the saved photos on the computer, as well as that computer’s backup disc or drive.
Just plug the phone into the computer with the cable it came with and let the computer offer to import them all at once. Most operating systems recognize a smartphone as a camera and then treat it like any other camera with a variation of the same question — “Hey, do you want me to import all these photos and them delete them for you?” Windows does this (even Windows 8), as do photo programs that run on Windows like Picasa and Adobe Photoshop Elements. Mac versions of those programs, as well as iPhoto, Image Capture or Aperture do the same thing.
Once you copy all the photos off the phone, you can delete them from the handset and have gigabytes more space to fill up with new photos. From the computer, it’s also pretty easy to upload all your favorites to Flickr or another photo-sharing site — where you can still get to them from your phone, without having to give up local storage space.
If you simply want to keep the photos on the phone but do want keep them backed up, you’ve got plenty of online backup options. For example, Google+ has an auto-backup feature for photos and Apple has iCloud Photo Stream for people with iOS devices. Dropbox has a Camera Upload feature and you can also fine photographer-friendly backup apps like MyShoebox out there.
So remember, if you want to free up space on your phone, check to see how many pictures you’re got squirreled away on there. If your mobile photos number in the hundreds, consider moving them off the phone and to the safety of the computer or online archive. And even if you have plenty of room on your phone, back up your photos anyway. A picture is worth a thousand words, but if you lose your phone and the only copies of your favorite mobile snaps, your own vocabulary may suddenly be reduced to a couple of really bad words.