Tag Archives: education

PTJ 268: Rock ‘Em, Shock ‘Em

El Kaiser and J.D. return from Spring Break and head right into the news of the week, which includes Spotify’s initial public offering, an iPad update from Apple, background information on the latest credit-card hack and this year’s collection of April Fools jokes by corporate America. J.D. also takes a look at the revamped version of Mozilla Firefox — and new changes on the way to make it a “mixed reality” browser. Come join us for Episode 268!

Links to Stories Discussed in This Week’s Episode

Firefox Rising

PTJ 178 News: Toy Story

The New York Toy Fair was in town and now we have new Star Wars action figures from Hasbro — including Rey and other female characters from the movie’s universe! At last, we know the answer to the #WheresRey question: She came to New York to make it big.

tmMattel used the Toy Fair to unveil the ThingMaker 3D printing system . The new system is an update to the old Thingmaker kit from the 1960s, and the 21st-century edition uses software co-created by Autodesk that wirelessly beams the designs from the mobile device to the child-safe 3D printer. The $300 ThingMaker 3D printer won’t be available until mid-October, but you can pre-order it on Amazon. The free ThingMaker app for Android and iOS is out already if you want to get a feel for it and work out your designs in advance.

vmThe ThingMaker printer wasn’t the only geekworthy news Mattel made at the Toy Fair. The company also announced an update to its View-Master Virtual Reality Viewer. The 2.0 model has been reworked to handle varying sizes of smartphones without the need for an adapter, and it also has improved access to the phone’s headphone jack.

Speaking of virtual reality, the technology is also starting to turn up as a tool for real-estate brokers to sell you an apartment. As a recent story in The New York Times explains, companies like Halstead are using virtual reality headsets to let prospective buyers look around apartments for sale or rent. Thanks to contractors like Virtual Xperience and ArX Solutions who create a VR rendering of the future space based on architectural plans, prospective tenants can get a feel for the place — even if it hasn’t been built yet.

AT&T, which used to be known as the American Telephone & Telegraph Corporation has been around in some form since 1875, is urging its massive workforce to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. The company started a corporate education program about two years ago that offers to help pay for its workers to take classes on their own time to update their skill-sets. One of the new technologies AT&T is working on is the next generation of mobile data networks, the so-called 5G networks. As you can imagine, AT&T is not alone in the speed race, and Verizon said it plans to start field-testing its own 5G airwaves next year. Remember when 3G was all the rage?

Google released its Android 6.0 Marshmallow system last fall, and Samsung announced this week that it was finally pushing out the software to owners of its Galaxy S6 andS6 Edge phones. Part of the multi-month Marshmallow delay was likely due to Samsung tweaking Google’s software to add new features like the new Quick Tools panel to the S6 Edge model.

galaxySamsung is also said to be gearing up to announce its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones next week and at least one blog thinks there’s going to be a Batman vs. Superman version out there for fanboys of both Android and DC Comics. The S7 is also said to be water-resistant.

Other in blog rumors about new phones: 9to5Mac claims Apple will put the new smaller 4-inch iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 on sale March 18th after a possible March 15th unveiling. Apple is not commenting on that, but did announce its Apple Music service is now up to 11 million subscribers and online service iCloud has 782 million users. But in not so happy news for the Apple, Immersion, a company specializing in haptic feedback technology, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the fruit-themed toymaker for incorporating elements of its technology. (We haven’t even mentioned Apple’s standoff with the Department of Justice the other day…)

The notion of turning smartphones and their sensitive motion detector chips into earthquake sensors isn’t original, but there’s a new Android app called MyShake out from UC Berkeley Seismologicial Laboratory that has some research cred. The app sits quietly in the background until it senses the earth rumbling, and then it uploads a small amount of data to the centralized database created by the seismologists as an earthquake early-warning system. According to the companion paper its creators published on the Science Advances site, the app analyzes motion to see if the “newly incoming data are similar to previously defined human activities.” If it’s not a toddler birthday party or loud music, the data is sent along for further possible-earthquake analysis.

The Tidal music service got a big boost in the App Store because it had exclusive rights to distribute Kanye West’s new album, “The Life of Pablo,” but a glitch in the system left a reported 4,000 fans with credit-card charges and no new album. And then there are the pirates splashing the Tidal wave.

Tax scams are in the air, because people are filing and hackers are hacking. The Internal Revenue Service says it’s stopped an automated attack from identity thieves on its Electronic Filing PIN application on the IRS.gov site.

NASAAnd finally, if you’ve got the qualifications to be an astronaut, well, NASA is hiring this month. It’s the first time in four years the agency put out the word for new talent, and the folks they’re looking for might just end up on a mission to Mars. Other open positions in the NASA job board include IT specialist at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and Research Geophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. And the agency offers benefits, and hopefully an employee discount on the cool stuff.

PTJ 70: When Smurfs Attack

El Kaiser has a very blue Tech Term and J.D. shows us how to make iOS 7 easier to read. In the news, some love for Google Glass early adopters; Amazon launches a new program allowing customers the option to buy Kindle versions of their previous book purchases; SoundCloud adds Instagram integration;  Netflix ponders its next move; a new report confirms that U.S. citizens pay more for less when it comes to their Internet service; Apple plans to continue its OS X freebie; and “The Zuckerberg Files”.

PTJ 70 News: Through the Looking-Glass

Those eager early adopters who joined the first-look Google Glass Explorers program are getting a little love from the Big G for sharing their opinions on the product — free upgrades! For people who already wear prescription eyeglasses, this next version of Google Glass said to be compatible with “future lines of shades and prescription frames.”

Amazon officially launched its new Kindle MatchBook program this week, which allows customers the option to buy discounted Kindle versions of books they’d previously purchased in print. To use it, log into your account on Amazon’s site to see what books are eligible. If you decide to grab the e-edition, you’ll typically pay $3 or less and the Kindle versions work with the Kindle apps for tablets, phones and computers as well as on actual Kindles.

In multimedia news, SoundCloud, the audio-sharing site, has hit 250 million listeners and now includes Instagram integration for users who want to ad cover art for the playlists and audio files they upload. After some very good quarterly earnings, Netflix is pondering its next move. One option the company is said to be considering? Releasing a “big” feature film on the streaming service the same day the movie appears in theaters. And as previously discussed, the Nielsen ratings people are going to start counting people who watch television programs on mobile devices instead of just on traditional television sets. Mobile ratings won’t start getting included until the fall 2014 television season, but Nielsen will be sending out software kits to its participants.

Thinking about hacking major government sites? If you do, maybe you shouldn’t brag about it on Twitter.

broadbandAccording to a report called The Cost of Connectivity 2013 from the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, broadband customers in the United States pay higher prices for slower Internet service than people living in Europe and Asia.  But T-Mobile, which did do fairly well in the survey, has nice plans for people who buy iPads to work on the company’s network.

In an earnings call earlier this week, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said that future versions of OS X for the Mac will be free.  CEO Tim Cook also announced that the company had its best quarter in the education market ever. The iPhone’s hold on the market continues to slip, though, as many more smartphone users opted for the Samsung Experience last quarter. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is rolling out to owners of many Samsung devices and on the Smartwatch Watch, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s rumored Android-based wrist accessory is supposedly integrated with its Google Now service.

Scientists may predict how your romantic entanglements on Facebook will turn out. The paper, titled Romantic Partnerships and the Dispersion of Social Ties: A Network Analysis of Relationship Status on Facebook was written by Lars Blackstrom of Facebook and Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University and it looks at patterns of engagement and disengagement on with your social network activity.

And finally, the recent Facebook notice that the company was changing its “Who can look at your timeline by name” setting so anybody can find you with a search has some folks annoyed and ticked off and now Michael Zimmer, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is building a scholarly archive of every one-the-record statement about privacy uttered by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The motive behind the project is is to keep Zuckerberg honest when it comes to his stance and evolution on privacy issues. The archive, which can be viewed online, is called The Zuckerberg Files. (Curiously enough, Google+ has seen a hefty jump in users recently.) But anyway, time for that weekly check of the Facebook privacy settings!

And your Google+ settings!

Ack!