Tag Archives: California

PTJ 274: Golden State

Even without the NBA finals in the mix, it’s been a busy time out in California with a fierce net-neutrality bill passing a hurdle in the state senate and Mary Meeker’s mega-slideshow on Internet trends. El Kaiser and J.D. surf through the week’s tech news before stopping to ponder life without Twitter — if only just for a little while. Punch up Episode 274 and have a listen!

Downshifting Twitter

PTJ 271: Hand of F8

Fresh off the latest Facebook user-abuse apology media tour and visit with the U.S. Congress, Mark Zuckerberg made a slew of announcements at this week’s F8 Developers Conference in California, which El Kaiser and J.D. discuss on this week’s episode — along with other news from the tech realm. Episode 271 also sports a quick look at the big geek movies headed into theaters this summer and an explanation of “malvertising.” Spin up this latest installment of Pop Tech Jam to hear it all!

Links to Stories Discussed on This Week’s Show

Tech Term

PTJ 270: On the Hook

California fires a shot across the bow of the FCC’s net neutrality repeal, Amazon’s Alexa has a new do-it-yourself project for users and even aquariums aren’t safe on the Internet of Things. El Kaiser and J.D. sort through the technology news of the past 10 days before discussing a great vacation destination for aviation and NASA nerds: The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virgina, home to the National Air & Space Museum’s big collection of airplanes and spacecraft. Jump into it all here in Episode 270 of Pop Tech Jam!

Links to Stories Mentioned On This Week’s Show

Geek Vacation Destination

A Sopwith Camel
A Hawker Hurricane
A Mercury-era capsule
The space shuttle “Discovery”
The space shuttle “Discovery”

PTJ 207: Show Time

“Hey, where’s all those Batmans going on 11th Avenue?” Mass Invasion maestro Janifer Cheng stops by on her way to the New York Comic Con extravaganza to share her thoughts on cosplay and other convention fun with El Kaiser and J.D. (who is moderating three panels at the expo this weekend herself). In the news segment, we discuss Google’s fancy new Pixel phones, Facebook’s Marketplace’s problems, and the fact that some nice people from the government want to talk to Yahoo about its “security” issues. Oh, and two other words: Luke Cage.

Want to know where we got these stories? Check out the links below:

PTJ 180 News: Down to Earth

From coast to coast, Apple is having quite a time with the legal system. The company may still be at a standoff with the Justice Department about unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone out in California, but here in New York’s Eastern District court, a federal judge has ruled that the government can’t use the 227-year-old All Writs Act to force the company to unlock the phone belonging to a drug dealer. The New York case is separate from the ongoing fight in California and the two situations involve different aspects of iOS encryption, however. In California, Apple filed a motion in court last week to vacate the order that it cooperate with the FBI. One of Apple’s lawyers spent his Tuesday in Washington, testifying in front of the House Committee on the Judiciary.

9to5Mac and other sources are now reporting that rumored Apple’s upcoming spring event has moved back a week from around March 15th and will now be in the week of March 21st. No invitations yet, though! It’s not real until you see the invitation!

In app news, Google has also given iPhone users a bit of parity with its Android peeps by adding the “pit stops” feature to the iOS version of Google Maps. And, in a reverse for the Reuters TV app we talked about a few months ago — the one that was that was only available for iOS — the company has now released an Android version.

One of Google’s self-driving cars smacked into a city bus in California last month, which has the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority investigating things. Google admitted its Lexus RX450h auto-piloted vehicle bears “some responsibility” for the incident.

Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset looks like it’s actually becoming a reality for developers. The dev kit edition is now available for pre-order from the company, with a chunky $3,000 price tag and delivery on March 30th.  Also new, but slightly cheaper: The Raspberry Pi 3 barebones computer is now on sale for a mere $35.

drone4

In drone developments, a new model from DJI has the ability to sense and avoid obstacles in its way, and also, to track people and animals. The DJI Phantom 4 costs about $1400 and follows its subjects automatically using cameras, sensors and ActiveTrack technology. Also tracking: Sleep cycles. Over on the Medium site, a Danish developer posted the results of a little project he did that used the Last Active timestamp data gleaned from the web-based version of Facebook’s Messenger service to figure out the sleeping patterns of his Facebook pals. Facebook was not too happy about his work and someone else using the same data they collect about you themselves, and was fussing because he posted the code for the project online.

McDonald’s has noticed the low-budget virtual-reality craze brought on by the Google Cardboard viewer and is busting a move of its own — in Sweden. The fast-food giant is launching a promotion there over the next couple weekends, and it lets kids fold their Happy meal boxes onto VR viewers to see a smartphone-based VR game especially created for the occasion. These special meal containers are called Happy Goggles and yes, you get fries with that.

The Brita filter people have joined up Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service to create the $45 Wi-Fi Brita Infinity Smart Water Pitcher that automatically orders more Brita filters when it needs them. No word on if the pitcher has any tiny cameras embedded in its lid so it can scope out what else in in your fridge and report back to Amazon.

Sony has a new beta out for its PlayStation 4 software. Although the version 3.5 beta doesn’t contain the feature that allows you to remotely play PS4 games on a Mac or PC, the feature is coming along sooner than many anticipated.

And finally, Commander Scott Kelly is back on Earth this week after 340 days aboard the International Space Station.  Welcome home, sir!

scottkelly

PTJ 106: Guardians of the Geekery

Summer fun is over and El Kaiser has something to get off his chest in his Tech Term this week and JD has tips on how to stream local newscasts from most of the U.S. directly to your television.

In the news, Facebook tinkers with user newsfeeds once again; Instagram releases a new app for creating time-lapse videos;  Fashion designer Ralph Lauren tests out iOS-connected nylon shirts that track the wearer’s fitness stats at the U.S. Tennis Open Championships; Hackers take down the Sony PlayStation Network; Amazon buys the game-video streaming company Twitch; the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) sounds a warning about a new Backoff malware version; Apple begins a huge push for its Beats Music app; and Hewlett-Packardrecalls its LS-15 model AC power cords due to fire and burn hazards.

(Hopefully) Helpful Hint: Worldwide Local News

If a major disaster or event happens across the country from you, wouldn’t it be useful to just flip on your TV and watch an on-the-scenes newscast from a local station near the scene instead of waiting for the national networks to get there? With a TV streamer like a Google Chromecast or an Apple TV, plus the Web and your home network, you can do just that.

The basic recipe: Find a local TV station streaming the breaking news video online, pop it up to your television set from your computer or mobile device — and shazam, you and your family members can gather around the big screen to watch the story unfold, even if the national news outlets like CNN or the broadcast networks aren’t on it yet.

Take, for example, last Sunday morning when Napa Valley and the northern California Bay Area were rattled with a 6.0 earthquake. If you had friends or family there, your first thought was probably for their safety and you wanted to know what was going on. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can report early eyewitness accounts, but you’d probably like a semi-comprehensive news narrative as well, right?

appletvIn the case of the Napa quake, I jumped online and quickly found KGO, San Francisco’s ABC affiliate, which happened to be streaming its live broadcast to the Web. It took me about 30 second to find the stream, start playing it in the web browser on my late-model Macbook Pro and then send it on up to the Apple TV connected to my Sony flatscreen using Apple’s AirPlay technology.

googlecastYou can do similar things with one of Google’s $35 Chromecast  sticks and the Google Cast extension for the Chrome browser. Other devices and ways to get the picture on big screen — like AV cables between laptop and television — are also out there.

quakebotThe San Francisco station was actually cutting to a reporter who was minding the social media feeds so they could use the crowd-sourced photos, videos and personal accounts to help tell the story. Having all these news sources in one place really helps fill in the details. Dedicated Twitter feeds for weather or natural incidents, like the SF Quake Bot with updated from the US Geological Survey or the National Weather Service, are also quite informative.

Live streaming radio is another great source of news — WBUR in Boston and stations like it were a vital source of information for people around the world during the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

Local stations pop up quickly with a quick Web search. Try something like “San Francisco live new video” or something similar. If there’s a breaking news event in that area, odds are the local stations will be streaming their feeds.

You can also find sites that aggregate big lists of TV stations with streams from all over the world. If you want to browse for future reference, check out sites like the Live TV Center, Streema, WWITV or Live TV Café. Some aggregator sites may ask you to create an account or sign it with your Facebook credentials – that’s up to you. Sites like UStream and Livestream often carry news channels too.

ustream

So if something happens, check out a local source for the details. Newsgatherers there can often get on the scene faster, are more apt to cover the event for a longer period of time and you can zoom in from your part of the globe to get the information you need. Knowledge is power — and it can also make you feel better when you find out your peeps are okay.

PTJ 82: Food, Cheer, and Song

Sincerest apologies to the great Federico Fellini but we here at Pop Tech Jam believe life is a combination of magic … and a White Castle Crave Case®. If you have a hankering for some regional food classics that you just can’t find in your town, J.D. harnesses the power of the Internet and shows you how to get those comfort food favorites delivered right to your door.  All the talk of food has Pedro’s stomach grumbling but he was able to fight off the hunger pangs long enough to explain what Social Engineering is and how we can all be affected by it.  In the news the F.C.C. plans on introducing a new net neutrality policy; Apple loses their appeal in an attempt to ditch a  government appointed e-book monitor; Anti-malware company Kaspersky Labs claims to have discovered a global cyber-espionage  organization; Google leases more space from NASA; and Lego considers  a new building set based the BBC’s Sherlock TV show.

Thought for Food

Just as hearing a particular song on the radio, tasting certain foods can automatically whisk us back in time — just think of Proust and his madeleine. Little French cookies aside, what if our memories hinge on something that’s harder to get, like a dish served at a specific restaurant or some sort of regional cuisine that’s far removed from your current location?

Now, if you live if a larger city, maybe you can find reasonable facsimiles of the foods you grew up with. But what if you don’t, or the local approximations don’t measure up? That’s where the Internet comes in. If you haven’t looked lately, more and more famed regional restaurants have gotten on board with online shops and apps. It may cost a bit more to get the home delivery from across the country, but you can get another helping of those childhood food memories.

For example:

  • Did you grow up in the Windy City and now find yourself missing the region’s distinctive pizza? Lou Malnati’s and Gino’s East both deliver deep dish by mail. You can also get Carson’s BBQ ribs, Maxwell Street Polish Sausage, Portillo’s Italian Beef at the Tastes of Chicago site.
  • The Decatur Dairy ships serious Wisconsin cheese all over the country.
  • If you hail from the City of Brotherly Love and miss your Tastykakes, Sweetzel’s Spiced Wafers and Philly Soft Pretzels, visit the Pennsylvania General Store.
  • Craving the fine produce and natural foods from California? Check out Market Hall, where they also import the famed French tea, Mariage Frères.
  • Hankering for some Texas Hill Country barbecue? The Salt Lick in Driftwood is just one of the many places you can go to order a rack for UPS delivery.
  • Need an authentic New Orleans king cake for your office Mardi Gras party on March 4th (which is just a few weeks away), Gambino’s is just one of the many local bakeries that will FedEx you a king cake, beads and doubloons so that your good times may roll.
  • Amazon even links up with specialty food importers so you can get overseas favorites like Jammie Dodgers sent your way.

Many fine old American roadside eateries are also getting into the online delivery business. Yes, you can get Stuckey’s pecan logs on the Internet these days. Like most chains, the Stuckey’s site has a store locator feature you can use to find the nearest franchise, just in case you’re feeling nostalgic enough for a roadtrip.

wafflebunnyAnd if you’re heading out on the highway, hit up your App Store to see if your favorite establishment has figured out the mobile game yet. Just for starters, Waffle House has its own app for iOS and Android, as do many beloved chains like In-and-Out Burger (also with iOS and Android offerings) and White Castle, which even has a Windows Phone app to go with its iOS and Android offerings. In addition to locating the nearest store to your current location, you can peruse the menu and even check in on social media.

And if you are hitting the road to relieve a childhood food memory, be sure to order up some classic candy from your era from sites like Old Time Candy or the Candy Warehouse. Proust had his madeleines and yo, you can have your Squirrel Nut Zippers.