As The Summer of 2019 winds down, El Kaiser and J.D. discuss (among other things) the buzz around Apple’s annual fall iPhone event, Twitter’s account security issue with one of its major users, Facebook’s latest attempts at transparency in political advertising and Amazon’s growing video-surveillance network. And, as nerds, we used to always run after the shiny new gadget to have the latest and greatest gear — but have we gotten over that particular fear of missing out? Spin up PTJ 316 to hear it all!
Geek hearts around the globe were broken this past week with the passing of Adam West, the actor who created the iconic interpretation of Batman on the eponymous mid-1960’s television show. Dan Greenfield, editor of the 13th Dimension website devoted to comics, joins El Kaiser and J.D. for a discussion about West’s impact as a performer, role model and pop-culture stalwart.
One the tech side of the news this week: Big changes at Uber, big announcements from the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles and big bucks for the Drone Racing League. Join on in — and let’s all pour out a Bat-40 for Mr. Adam West.
The streaming-music service Spotify held a press event last week to announce it was expanding into podcasts and video clips. Some detractors have pointed out that Spotify’s audience uses the service as a background medium and a soundtrack to doing something else, which is harder to do with video because it requires direct attention.
Instagram wants your attention and has been sending out a regular Highlights message that shows off recent pictures from the people you follow on Instagram. It really hopes you’ll be intrigued enough to start using your account again.
Netflix has given itself a redesign for the first time in four years. The changes include showing more information about shows you might want to watch, better presentation for the tons of Netflix options available and an enhanced recommendation engine.
Microsoft wants everyone to love its upcoming Windows 10 system! For those of you who do not have Windows Phones, the company has announced a companion app for Android and iOS phones that will let you connect your device to your PC. Once installed, the Phone Companion app will make sure photos you take with your phone get saved back to the computer by way of OneDrive and notes, music and Office documents can be used between the two. Microsoft also announced a standalone Cortana app for Android and iOS. Watch your back in the App Store and Google Play store, Cortana.
NASA’s Dawn probe has been taking a close view of Ceres and discovered some curious lights on the surface of the dwarf planet last month. So now NASA has put up an online poll asking members of the public what they think those bright spots may be.
Another Comic-Con International is in the books but despite it being held in the City of Motion it was Tinseltown that grabbed the headlines at the convention. In the news, Netflix added 630,000 subscribers but Wall Street is still disappointed; the United Kingdom moves to block online pornography; a German security expert is warning of a flaw in SIM card technology; the Leap Motion controller finally begins shipping; Apple confirm that people are indeed still listening to podcasts; researchers get one step closer to building Replicants and a Holodeck; and you can donate the spare processing power from your Android device for a worthy cause.
The Comic-Con International: San Diego event wrapped up this past weekend after about five days of nonstop hype and news blasts. The event — which throws Hollywood marketing people in with comics fans, animation lovers, cosplay kids, science-fiction and fantasy enthusiasts and all genre aficionados in between — saw a number of announcements.
Gillian Anderson turned up for an X-Files panel and joked that there’s a lost Mulder-Scully sex scene out there from the old show, which sent some fans into a frenzy — although she actually said later she’d been kidding. But she wouldn’t mind doing another X-Files movie some day.
And Batman and Superman are going to team up for movie in 2015. Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill are set to return as director and hero, Batman needs to be cast since Christian Bale hung up the cowl. The film is expected to pave the way for a Justice League movie that teams up even more DC superheroes for 2017. No sign of casting calls for Zatanna, Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter or the Hawkcouple, but please, someone needs to get crackin’ on a Wonder Woman flick. Like, now.
If you need more Comic-Con 2013 news, click here or here or here for roundups — and start clearing your schedule for 2015.
Google has had about enough of anonymous trolling on app reviews in its Google Play Store. Reviews must now be accompanied by the user’s Google+ name and profile photo. The move should cut down on the number of astroturfed reviews for an app, and trolls will just have to drive up Google+ membership stats with fake accounts if they want to continue fragging apps in public forums.
Hoping to get its buzz back, Research in Motion is showing off a new BlackBerry in advance of its new BlackBerry OS 10 system due out early next year. And while not exactly fresh news, AT&T is still hanging out in the basement of the Consumer Reports customer satisfaction survey for US wireless carriers; the company’s 4G LTE network got better marks. Verizon Wireless was tops among the major national carriers.