Tag Archives: 3D printing

PTJ 280: Purge Surge

Several companies have now stepped up the fight against fake news — most noticeably, Twitter, as the service finally began to delete fake accounts and return follower totals back to the realm of real people. El Kaiser and J.D. discuss the efforts, as well as the state of streaming television, Apple’s latest updates and the things one can find for sale on the Dark Net. In a (Hopefully) Helpful Hint, J.D. has some tips for how to stay charged up when traveling. All aboard Episode 280!

Links to Stories Discussed on This Week’s Show

(Hopefully) Helpful Hint: Power to Go

PTJ 110: Just Keep it Out of Your Pants

We’re pretty confident Steve Jobs would have advised us not to stuff the bendable iPhone 6 Plus into our pants pockets, much in the same way he helpfully suggested that we should hold our iPhone 4 differently to help alleviate antenna issues.

Also pretty confident  his pants pocket recommendation would go over just as well as his “antennagate” tip did.

This week on the show J.D. shows us where we can go for music lessons online and El Kaiser reviews DUBS “acoustic filters” from Doppler Labs.

In the news, Home Depot’s lax network security; Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba sets IPO record; UPS Stores set to offer 3D printing service; Amazon workers strike in Germany; despite reports of bendy new iPhones, Apple sells millions of them; and NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft enters the orbit of the planet Mars.

PTJ 110 News: MOM Says Bring a Sweater

depotThe full effects of the Great Home Depot Hack have yet to be known, but  some of the company’s workers didn’t sound too surprised that it  happened. The New York Times reports that Home Depot employees said their IT managers relied on “outdated antivirus software from 2007 and did not continuously monitor the network for unusual behavior, such as a strange server talking to its checkout registers.” Both the Times and the Ars Technica site have details about one of Home Depot’s former security engineers currently serving time in prison for sabotaging the network of the company that fired him before he got the Home Depot gig. (Here’s hoping Lowe’s has better employee screening and security practices.)

Facebook’s initial public stock offering may have gotten more press, but the massive Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba set records last week with its own IPO valued at $25 billion. Shares of the company popped up 38 percent on the first day of trading. While this is all good for people who bought Alibaba stock, it’s not been good for Yahoo, which owns 22 percent of the company.

3dprintThe UPS Store is expanding its offerings to more than just packing, mailing, photocopies and computer-rental. The chain is now adding custom 3D printing services to more than 100 of its stores around the country.

About 2,000 workers in four of Amazon’s German distribution centers refused to show up for their shifts early this week to protest management’s refusal to hold wage talks. Amazon’s war with the Bonnier publishing group still rages on over ebook pricing, but the company did find the time to release nthe  Kindle Voyage e-ink reader, two Kids editions of the Kindle Fire tablet, a new 6-inch Kindle Fire HD  and an revamped 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX. The models will also sport the upgraded Fire OS 4 operating system that’s based on Android KitKat.

AT&T just launched a new broadband package that includes its U-verse basic TV channels, Amazon Prime Instant Video and HBO for a monthly price of $39. And for those looking for even more streaming options, Sony is finally delivering its PlayStation TV service here in the States on October 14th. The basic PlayStation TV box starts at $100 and you can get a bundled version with a DualShock controller and the Lego Movie videogame for $140. I

gumbyApple continues to bust its buttons over the demand for its new iPhone 6 models (while hopefully looking into reports that some iPhone 6 models are bending in their owners’ pocket and trying to fix the disastrous iOS 8.0.1 update that broke a bunch of stuff before it got yanked out of circulation). A week after the company put out a press release announcing that it’d gotten four million pre-orders for the new models in the first 24 hours, Apple announced this week that it’d sold 10 million new iPhones worldwide over the launch weekend. An Apple spokesperson also took the rare turn in the media this week to flatly deny a TechCrunch post that claimed the company was shutting down the Beats Music service.

As one may expect, however, Samsung is not just sitting around waiting for Apple to suck the reaming three oxygen molecules out of the press room. The Korean electronics giant is heavily promoting its new Samsung Galaxy Alpha model, which arrives here in the States this Friday on AT&T. And there are more Android tablets on the way from HTC. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Taiwanese company is teaming up with Google to be the official hardware partner for a planned 9-inch Nexus tablet.

Turning to robot news, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University are giving robots and their little gripper hands new dexterity with tactile sensors. (Once the robots conquer plugging in USB cables, opening tight jam jars should be the next test of their new powers.)

robots

And finally, up in space, NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft entered the orbit of the planet Mars this past weekend and has begun its research into the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere. MAVEN arrived after blasting off from Cape Canaveral last November.  The Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft  also dropped into the Martian orbit this week, after launching from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center last year. The craft is on a weather-watching expedition, just like all those other MOMs who regularly keep an eye on the weather.

PTJ 77: Desert Daze and the Cold Life

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.

PTJ 77 News: The Internet of Endless CES Announcements

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?)

toothOther 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?

Episode 39 News: You Want Curly Fries With That?

“Is this a game or is it real?” WarGames, may have been a 1983 Cold War-era teen movie, but computer-assisted attacks 30 years later are certainly very real. James R. Clapper Jr., the US director of national intelligence, made his annual presentation to the Senate Intelligence Committee this week and listed “cyberattacks” at the top of his threat list for the first time. Recent hack attacks attributed to the Chinese are a sore point in the relations between China and the US, and the White House demanded earlier this week that the Chinese government stop its local hackers from breaking into American networks and stealing data. The Chinese government has denied involvement is such activity but said it is open to discussions about international cybersecurity.

Down in Austin at the interactive part of the South By Southwest festival, 3D printing and intelligent devices got good exposure, as did Leap Motion’s $80 3D motion sensor device for controlling the computer through hand and finger gestures. At least one reporter attending the show noted that the live appearance of the famous Internet meme, Grumpy Cat, overshadowed many of the actual technology announcements. Still, this year’s show had speeches by Bill Gates and others and there were a few items of note. Marvel Comics announced new and expanded mobile and online offerings and Google also had some revelations about its Project Glass augmented reality spectacles, which are expected to arrive later this year for about $1500 a pair. (The Google glasses can take pictures and record video, which has caused some people to have privacy concerns already, and a bar in Seattle has already banned the high-tech headsets from the establishment.)

In Mars news, NASA held a press conference this week to discuss findings from the Curiosity rover’s recent rock-drilling adventure. According to scientists, ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. Life! On Mars! (But not Life on Mars, alas.)

TiVo has released the TiVo Mini, launched a $100 miniature version of its set-top box, designed to let users watch content stored on the home’s main TiVo DVR. You also need to have one of the four-tuner TiVo DVR models in the house and pay a subscription fee.

The launch of SimCity 5 last week was highly anticipated – but ultimately frustrating for many world builders who rushed online to play but couldn’t do anything thanks to crashing games and overloaded servers. SimCity 5, which has no offline mode, has seen disgruntled fans posting message of unhappiness on the game’s Amazon page, online forums and other places, lamenting the lost of their time, fun and $60. But in happier gaming news, Mike Mika, a game-developer dad, made his three-year-old daughter a very happy girl by hacking the old Donkey Kong ROM and changing it so she could play as Pauline and save Mario. The mod took just a few days and Mr. Mika tells his story on Wired.com, which is definitely worth a read for anybody who admires insanely cool dads.

The past week saw several new developments around the techsphere. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology say they’ve created self-healing processors that can repair themselves, even after being blasted by lasers. (Did they name the processor the “T-1000?”) International Data Corp analysts predict shipments of Apple’s iPad this year will fall behind those running Google’s Android system for the first time. And Facebook showed off a revamped look for its News Feed last week, featuring bigger photos and a cleaner design that reminded some of Google+.

bigbro

And finally, also in Facebook news, researchers at Cambridge University have created algorithms that use a person’s Facebook “Likes” to predict that person’s religion, politics, race and sexual orientation. The results of the study were published on the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) journal. According to a story on the BBC’s Web site, the researchers found some strange results as well: “Curly fries correlated with high intelligence and people who liked the Dark Knight tended to have fewer Facebook friends,” said research author David Stillwell. And yes, privacy advocates have something to say on the topic, too!