While the tussles between politicians and Big Tech heat up as August sizzles to a close, El Kaiser and J.D. sip fizzy water in the shade and explore the accusations and rebuttals coming from both sides of America’s political divide. Apple’s latest acquisition, Twitter’s recent experiment and a blockchain that few people realized was hiding in plain sight are also in the news mix this week, and J.D. has a (Hopefully) Helpful Hint about hopefully helping friends and family with their computer problems, even when you’re miles away. Crank up the air conditioner and PTJ 285!
Mark Zuckerberg lands in the Congressional hot seat this week over Facebook’s role in user privacy protection and the social network’s influence on life, culture and election interference. After a march through the current tech headlines with J.D., El Kaiser has a roundup review of earplugs for those times when you need to screen out all that infernal noise around you. Jump into Episode 269 to hear for yourself!
Going . . . going . . . gone. Twitter finally swooped into action and chopped off thousands of bot accounts and other automatons that were violating its rules. SpaceX fired off another rocket and the repeal of the Net Neutrality rules landed on the Federal Register —which means an open Internet could be gone by April 23. El Kaiser and J.D. hash out the news and also discuss using a Chromebook as a laptop, so hop aboard Episode 264!
On this week’s episode. El Kaiser shares his thoughts after a binge of Star Trek: Discovery and J.D. explores a new way to find things that interest you on Instagram. A roundup of the week’s tech news includes a discussion of Twitter’s fake-followers problem, Amazon looking for new ways to provide employee healthcare and Google’s attempts to root out — and boot out — bad apps from its online Android store. All this AND porgs on Episode 261 of PopTech Jam!
The backlash against the Federal Communication Commission’s rollback of net neutrality regulations continues — even a certain monarchy-themed hamburger establishment has weighed in with a video. El Kaiser and J.D. discuss the latest developments concerning the Open Internet, and also ponder Twitter’s photo-cropping skills, the Google gestalt and listening to Netflix in other languages. Click on into Episode 260 to hear it all, and don’t forget to celebrate Data Privacy Day afterwards — go offline and read a treeware book or something!
It’s nature gone wild: The Bad Rabbit ransomware is having a mad hop through corporate networks around the world and rubber fish are lip-syncing Amazon’s Alexa. Meanwhile, Google wants to secure your account with actual keys and Amazon wants to pop the lock on your front door for package delivery. Spin up Episode 252 to get the details from El Kaiser and J.D., plus some tips for jumping smartphone platforms if you’ve decided to leave Apple for Google — or vice versa.
It’s not just the abundance of pumpkin spice revving up the Big Apple air the first week of October — it’s the buzzy excitement of New York Comic Con returning once again to the Jacob K. Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan for four days of high-octane pop-culture fun. J.D. gets an insider’s view of the expo from Rich Bernatovech and Jamie Fay, two local comics creators who’ve been attending the event for years. This week’s episode also features a ramble through the recent tech headlines — including Amazon’s avalanche of Alexa gear — and a certain El Kaiser who’s more than a little leery of Apple’s new Face ID technology. Bang! Pow! Play!
The Pi Day Northeast Blizzard of 2017 may have blown through, but El Kaiser is still powering through a nasty winter cold to get to this week’s tech and science news with J.D. — which features quite a bit of hacker activity, as well as an update on our old friend Boaty McBoatface. Episode 226 here also takes a look at public beta programs you can join to see the latest software first. Interested? Just push play to find out more!
Facebook mess with the News Feed? Really!?! But seriously, according to Mashable and a few other sites, images of a new tabbed news feed screen for mobile devices have been spotted on Twitter. Facebook did confirm that it is indeed testing the new design, but did not say if or when it would actually launch.
Also in Google news, the company’s Android Security 2015 Annual Report was released this week. The company touts its monthly security updates, better screening for potentially harmful apps in the Google Play store and greater adoption of its app verification service as factors in making Android devices safer than before, but it notes that there are still a steady number of malware, ransomware and other nasty apps lurking out there.
Amazon is taking a shot at Netflix’s monthly streaming fees by making its own Amazon Prime service available as, you guessed it, a monthly subscription instead of an annual fee. And speaking of Netflix, that company is raising its monthly fees by 25 percent for longtime streaming customers next month.
And finally, if you love NASA and you live vintage graphic design and branding standards, you can now buy a copy of the space agency’s official graphics manual first published in 1976. The book is 220 pages with 129 image plates and comes individually packages in a static-shielding pouch. This is actually a reissue of the original book, of which only 40 copies were originally printed. The new version is a Kickstarter project that can now be ordered only for $79 a copy.
Microsoft seems to be makingWindows Blue Screen of Death errors easier to deal with, at least if a recent Windows Insider build of Windows 10 is any indication. Beta testers there have noticed the appearance of handy, scannable QR code on the Blue Screen of Death messages that when zapped by a smartphone QR app, takes you to a Microsoft help page to begin your troubleshooting journey.
If you like making graffiti or ever had fantasies of being a football TV analyst where you get to draw on the video playback, Periscope has something for you. A new beta version of the live-streaming app owned by Twitter includes a tool that lets you draw on your video feeds.
Ransomware — malware that encrypts all the data on your computer until you pay up —has been making a comeback this year thanks to social engineering and the usual tricks, but the white hats are fighting back with a a decryption tool that can unlock files held hostage by the Petya ransomware. The decryption tool is a bit technical and probably not for the novice, but it’s a good punch in the fight against crime.
And finally, while Google Glass may have bombed as a consumer product, the Internet-empowered eyeglasses have found fans with neuroatypical kids. Stanford University’s Autism Glass Project is using the Google specs as a learning aid for autistic teenagers trying to learn social interactions, emotions, recognize facial expressions or even make eye contact. Stanford researchers have created special software to use with the glasses and early results have shown improvement in social acuity for some participants. Perhaps Google Glass has found its mission at last.
The independent audio magazine devoted to mashing up pop culture, technology and more. J.D. Biersdorfer and Pedro Rafael Rosado are your hosts. It's an Internet Radio revolution!