All posts by Pedro Rafael Rosado

PTJ 192: Geeky Summer Movies

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of Summer here in the U.S. but the unofficial Summer Movie season kicks off around Valentine’s Day nowadays. The blockbusters have been unspooling at local multiplexes for months now but June, July and August are when the blockiest of blockbusters are unleashed upon us.

This week on the podcast J.D. and El Kaiser geek out over some highly anticipated films and of course they run down all the latest tech news with their unique brand of silliness and attitude.

Slather on the suntan lotion, pop in those earbuds and have a little Summer fun with PTJ this holiday weekend.

REVIEW: Triby, the Alexa-Enabled Portable Speaker, Radio and Speakerphone from Invoxia

I didn’t know I desperately needed something like Triby in my life until I had it hanging amidst the cheesy magnets and grammar school art masterpieces on my refrigerator door.

The design is reminiscent of an old school transistor radio but the portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker has a splash-proof and dirt-proof aluminum body and 2.9” e-ink display that makes it undeniably a 21st century product.

Additionally, it can serve as a digital assistant, play your favorite tunes from various Internet radio services, stream local radio stations, and act as a hands-free speakerphone and connected message board. I’m pretty sure your great-grandad’s Broksonic couldn’t do THAT.

Triby is the first non-Amazon product to be Alexa-enabled. What’s Alexa you ask? Well, my droogs, the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is an intelligent and scalable cloud service that adds voice-enabled experiences to any connected product with a microphone and speaker.

In short, you give the device verbal commands using “Alexa” as the wake word and the Internet connected speaker does your bidding.

triby

Four digital microphones along with noise and echo cancellation algorithms accurately captured my voice from more than 10 feet away and Invoxia, the company that designed and manufactures Triby, claims the mics will work from up to 15 feet away.

Every request for weather, traffic and sports information was accurate and delivered with minimal delay. I found myself sorely tempted to ask Alexa to order me a Domino’s Pizza but after taking a look at my waistline, decided against it. One note, the Alexa service did have trouble with instructions offered up by my kids.

Using Triby as a hands-free speakerphone for VoIP calls was easy when using its companion smartphone app (available for both Android and iOS) or when paired with a mobile device.

A feature that I particularly enjoy are the large buttons flanking the left and right sides of the display. The phone shaped keys can be programmed with contact numbers for VoIP calls and the buttons on the right can accommodate Spotify playlists or radio station streams. Not a revolutionary idea but a nice touch when you are preparing a meal and just want to make a quick call or change the music options.

And those options are plentiful on Triby. Alexa accessed my Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn accounts without a hitch.

The gadget is small but it sounds big. Two 1.4” transducers and a 2.5” x 2” passive radiator for bass amplification, along with the sound-shaping algorithms programmed into Triby, provide a surprisingly satisfying audio experience.

You can send doodles, short messages and emoji characters to the the display, also from the companion app, and a yellow plastic flag will pop out from the side of Triby alerting you to the arrival of a message. Pushing the plastic flag back in acknowledges receipt of the message.

If you want Triby to better match your décor you can trick it out with multicolored rubber protective bumpers that can be removed for washing and cleaning. Again, not a crucial detail but a nice one.

I honestly didn’t want to like Triby. I already have multiple bluetooth speakers and I was not thrilled with the idea of using another device powered by a rechargeable battery. Alexa on the Triby does not offer full Spotify support or access to Pandora and at $199, it is not an insignificant purchase. But the device is easy to setup and even without Alexa, the sheer convenience and fun factor would make Triby enticing enough for me to whip out the plastic at Amazon or the Invoxia web store.

Fun, convenient, good sound quality and a sturdy build. What’s not to like?

PTJ 191: Voice Typing and Chatty Radios

Along with our usual rundown of the latest technology news, this week El Kaiser reviews a family friendly portable speaker, connected message board and speakerphone from Invoxia. The Triby is the first non-Amazon product to feature the Alexa Voice Service. Also on the show, J.D. clues us in on why we don’t need to buy third party text-to-speech apps for our  Android or iOS devices. And if you think we skimped on the hijinks and tomfoolery, you’d be dead-wrong…

PTJ 190: Eyes in the Sky and Rockets on the Ground

The photos you post on the Internet are telling the world more than you may want them to. El Kaiser breaks down all EXIF data in a new Tech Term segment. And if you use a point-and-shoot or even a DSLR but are looking to take more creative photos, J.D. guides us through switching out of automatic mode and exploring the manual settings of your digital camera. We also have a jam-packed news segment the usual  assortment of shenanigans and surprises. Slap on the headphones or plug us into your auxiliary jack but be careful! This episode is FIRE.

PTJ 186: Bots and Boosters

Kicking old-school this week with a heaping helping of tech news goodness, including nuggets from Facebook’s F8 conference in San Fran and Elon Musk’s reusable rocket finally sticking the landing and a (Hopefully) Helpful Hint from J.D. explaining how one might skip logging into their computer with a password if they were so inclined.

Just kick back, relax, and let the snark roll over you.

You know you want to…

PTJ 185: Bugs, Shrugs and Hugs

Ever wonder what’s being installed in those regular security patches for your devices and computers?

No? Well this is awkward.

Okay, then.  For those of you that are curious, J.D. tells us where we can find details of what gets installed in all those mysterious updates.

Not to worry, El Kaiser joins J.D. for his weekly dose of terror! (AKA the week’s tech news round-up).

Popping, teching and jamming for your listening pleasure!

PTJ 184: The Force Just Won’t Stay Down

The are only two type of people on this big blue marble we call Earth: those who love Star Wars and those who don’t. I think you all know which camp J.D. and El Kaiser spend their time in. This week J.D. fills us in on the goodies you’ll get in the various and sundry versions of the digital and DVD/Blu-Ray releases of the latest chapter in the space opera, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. In tech headlines, the FBI doesn’t need Apple’s help hacking into an iPhone, Instagram gives users more time, and now you can build your own Amazon Echo with help from another fruit-themed toymaker.

PTJ 182: Decrypted For Your Listening Pleasure

It seems the FBI and the Department of Justice have set their sights on Facebook’s hugely popular WhatsApp communication platform in their ongoing battle with tech giants.

Also on the episode, J.D. fills us in on phone applications that handle the job of communicating life-saving medical information when you can’t while El Kaiser breaks down the tech term “cryptography”.

Don’t fret! We have tons more tech news, shenanigans and general silliness…exactly what you’ve expect from us here at POP | TECH | JAM.

PTJ 180: Fighting Those Robocall Blues

You know them, you hate them: political robocalls, telemarketers and phone scams.

This week J.D. introduces us to services that help stop that flood of annoying calls and fills us in on what steps the FTC and the FCC are taking to help end the scourge.

In the news, Apple wins a big one in court;  Microsoft finally puts a price on its Hololens augmented headset (and it ain’t cheap); Google’s self-driving car gets into an accident; and a long trip into space comes to an end.

Of course there’s more news and lots of shenanigans, so click play and enjoy the ride!