Tag Archives: ESPN

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 140 News: Cable Ties and Record Highs

After we recorded last week’s episode (of course), news broke that the Comcast deal to acquire Time Warner Cable was kaput. While those worried about cable monopolies were happy the Comcast deal was scuttled, not everyone was thrilled about it — namely Time Warner Cable customers who say their quality of service is so miserable, that a Comcast takeover surely would have been an improvement. The New York Times had a story this week that talked to a few of those desperate souls trying to watch Game of Thrones from the Tenth Circle.

Also in cable news, ESPN is suing Verizon for breach of contract over those slimmed-down channel bundles. Fox and NBC seem poised to board the USS Lawsuit as well.

Apple announced its quarterly earnings reports this week and announced a $13.6 billion dollar profit thanks to record-breaking sales of iPhones, Macs and apps from the App Store. But while iPhone sales were up 40 percent from later, iPad sales were down 23 percent. Trouble in Tablet Town? (That iPhone 6 Plus does have a pretty big screen, come to think of it…)

The iPhone 6 line and the Apple Watch are boosting the use of Apple Pay, and Discover is the latest credit-card company to join up with Apple for mobile payments. Best Buy has also added Apple Pay to its mobile app and said its retail stores will be accepting those phone-tap payments at the cash register later this year. And speaking of those Apple Watches that started shipping last week, the Slice Intelligence research firm estimates that only 22 percent of the 1.7 million pre-ordered Apple Watched actually shipped to customers last week.

LGurbaneBut as we all know, the Apple Watch is just one of many smartwatch platforms out there an the rest of them aren’t exactly sitting still. Last week, before Apple’s pricey timepiece began rolling out on FedEx trucks, Google announced an update to its Android Wear software that’s used by several hardware makers. The company outlined the new features, like support for WiFi-enabled watches, scrolling through news and notifications with the flick of a wrist, and the ability to launch apps with a tap on the watch face. Google said the new version of Android Wear would be arriving in the next few weeks to all seven watches that support it, and the fancy LG Watch Urbane (shown here) was first in line for the update. Stylish smartwatches aren’t the only devices LG Electronics is releasing this spring, as the company just revealed its new authentic leather-backed Android smartphone, the LG G4.

Google just added 70 cards to Google Now from its partner apps, so you can get more creepy helpfulness than ever before. Even more!

T-Mobile had some good earnings news of its own this week. Thanks to its inventive campaign of promotional offers and price cuts, the company added 1.1 million new monthly subscribers, which was more than analysts had predicted. Not everyone had good earninsg to report, though. Twitter’s stock price took a hit after a research company leaked the bird-themed microblogging service’s less-than-desirable quarterly earnings report.

SwiftKey, the popular alternative mobile keyboard app, is experimenting with a new variation that can correct multiple words or even whole sentences you’ve tapped out. The new edition is called the Clarity Keyboard and you can download the beta from the Google Play store now.

Microsoft got just smacked down by a judge at the US International Trade Commission who found that Microsoft was guilty of infringements on two wireless cellular patents held by another company called InterDigital Inc.  As a result of the ruling, Microsoft could see an import ban that would stop its devices from coming into the country and hinder Windows Phone sales even more.  The judgement needs to be reviewed, however,  and Microsoft is vowing to press onward.

tugsIn robot news, those clever folks at Stanford University have developed tiny robots that can pull objects up to 2,000 times their own body weight. The little wonders are called “MicroTugs” and in addition to physics and engineering, the Stanford scientists took some cues from the natural world and incorporated techniques used by hardy ants — as well as geckos with their conveniently sticky feet for traction and climbing. You can see videos of the wee robots dragging cups of coffee and climbing with a payload are on the department’s YouTube channel.

Facebook announced this week that Messenger makes the video calls from one mobile phone number to another phone number regardless of smartphone platform. And Facebook-owned Instagram has added three new filters and the ability to use emoji characters in hashtags. (Also, we have heard reports of Instagram having some crashing issues even when updating to the new app, so it’s probably them, not you. Or a bug.)

And finally, the death toll is in the now thousands from the horrific earthquake that rocked the country of Nepal this weekend. Countless people have been displaced and the country is reeling, but tech companies are pitching in to help:

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Other new organizations have posted links to relief agencies and other organizations that are taking donations to help the people of Nepal. If you can, send help because we’re all in this world together.

PTJ 138: Axing the Coax

The new $15 standalone streaming service HBO Now arrived just in time for last weekend’s season premiere of Game of Thrones. Early reports showed the app held up well under the onslaught of Starks, Lannisters and new subscribers, which may convince some weary cable subscribers that it’s finally safe to cut the cord and go online to watch all the hot shows.

On this week’s episode, journalist Laura M. Holson — who got rid of her own TV seven years ago — offers her own tips for keeping up with popular programs. Yes, you can do it using nothing but a mobile screen, a sturdy broadband connection and some well-known inexpensive or free services like HuluNetflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, YouTube, Crackle and Google Play, just to name a few. (Oh, and don’t forget free TV network apps and websites from PBS, ESPN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.) To paraphrase the great Dinah Washington, streaming TV is really the thing this year.

PTJ 124 News: The Long View

The Consumer Electronics Show has lumbered into Las Vegas for its annual Unveiling O’ the Gadgets. As suspected, lots of smarthome systems, fancy TVs and wearables are in the spotlight. We’ll have a full rundown of the show next week, but some bullet points include:

Netflix has long had its suggested videos area to help you find things to watch based on your viewing preferences, and now the streaming service is going to start anointing new television sets as worthy. (It was just four years ago at CES 2011 when Netflix announced some manufacturers were adding a Netflix button to their remote controls.) Roku is also one of the companies that will offer Netflix recommended models in its Roku TV line of sets, the latest of which will also support 4K Ultra HD streaming content.

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ESPN is following HBO out into the world of untethered-to-a-cable subscription apps. The sports network will be among the channels available on the new Sling TV service from the DISH network.

Facebook has just acquired Wit.AI, a company that turns spoken words into instructions that robots can understand. Perhaps in the near future,  the Roomba will be able to handle your status updates as well…

Gogo, which provides inflight Internet services to many airlines, does not want its users to stream video and hog bandwidth enroute and has gone so far as to issue a fraudulent HTTPS certificate to anyone onboard who dares to visit YouTube during their flight. The company was busted by Adrienne Porter Felt, an engineer on the security squad for Google’s Chrome browser, and she even posted a screenshot to her Twitter feed of the fake certificate. Gogo’s chief technology officer Anand Chari then posted a statement on his company’s blog explaining Gogo’s actions. And so it goes.

Another week, another lawsuit against Apple. This time, two plaintiffs are suing the company because they say their 16-gigabyte iOS devices do not really come with 16 gigabytes of storage, and that the iOS 8 system takes up even more precious space. Apple had no comment.

For those who like to complain, the Federal Communications Commission has launched a new site called the Consumer Help Center. You can use it to file complaints about various FCC-regulated industries.

FCC

Yahoo Mail has updated its app for iOS and now it can track your packages for you. Here’s hoping the hackers don’t get ahold of this.

Behind every flop, there’ a story, and Fast Company has a very detailed long read about the development and fallout of Amazon’s failed Fire Phone. The site has an additional post about post-Fire Phone changes at Lab126, the quasi-secret R&D arm of Amazon that develops the company’s hardware.

The Internet Archive has now added more than 2,300 old MS-DOS games to its Software section. Duke Nukem 3D, Cannon Fodder 2 and Prince of Persia are among the early 1990s titles you can play with emulation software right in your browser.

DOS

And finally, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. To celebrate, NASA has released a new high-def version of the classic “Pillars of Creation” image from the Eagle Nebula that was originally photographed in 1995. Although the Hubble won’t last forever and eventually degrade, NASA has its successor: the James Webb Space Telescope is in the works and the agency hopes to launch it this decade — and there’s an eye in the sky that we don’t actually mind one bit.

PTJ 96: FIFA and Apple Have The World In Motion

FIFA’s 2014 World Cup tournament is set to kickoff in Brazil  in just a few days and J.D. tracks down the apps you’ll need to stay connected to the action.

What’s that you say? You’re looking for tech news too?  And you want it chunky and packed with snark? Well look no more my friends, J.D. and El Kaiser have you covered.

Apple unveils new versions of (don’t call it Mac) OS X and iOS 8 at their annual developers convention; Samsung launches its first smartphone running the long awaited Tizen operating system; Instagram is out with a new version of its mobile app;  US authorities say they’ve caused a disruption in the GameOver Zeus botnet; Comedian John Oliver unleashes Internet trolls on the FCC; Researchers create bakable robots; and the cast of the new Star Wars sequel finally gets around to casting more women.

 

GOOOAAALLLL!

BeepsWCIt’s a major event every four years, and it gets people around the world watching intensely. No, not the Olympics, not the ever-contentious US presidential elections, and not your favorite action-franchise sequel. It’s the World Cup, the preeminent men’s soccer tournament where 32 international teams battle it out over a month of matches for a big gold trophy and bragging rights as truly the world’s best team. This year, the tournament officially gets started June 12th with a match pitting host country Brazil against Croatia, and runs to the championship match on July 13th.

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Serious fútbol fans have likely stocked up their mobile devices and browsers with everything they need to follow the trophy quest. If you’re new to the sport or just starting to follow it closely, you can find everything you need to know to keep up with the Cup on the Internet. Several third-party apps for following the sport are available in your local app store, but the people running the show (and the TV networks that will be broadcasting the event) have a bit of an edge when it comes to news, photos, and videos from the matches.

For example, FIFA, or Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is the sport’s governing body and offers its official mobile apps for Android and iOS on its site (shown below). The FIFA site also has a PDF of the match schedules you can download of you like hard copy.

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For those watching the international news, it should be noted that FIFA is having its share of controversy these days with allegations of match-fixing in the 2010 World Cup played in South Africa, and bribes made to FIFA officials to vote for Qatar as the host of the 2022 tournament. Social unrest over the cost of hosting the tournament and treatment of indigenous people are making headlines in Brazil as well, but the country’s leaders say the games will go on safely.

Here in the States, ESPN and its assorted sibling networks will be carrying the tournament in full. According to Sports Illustrated, “All 64 matches of the World Cup will be broadcast live and in high definition on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 in English, and on Univision broadcast and cable networks in Spanish.”

If you aren’t home or near a sports bar to watch, all 64 matches on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ABC will also be available on computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices through WatchESPN. If you’re not familiar with it, the WatchESPN app (shown below) is a TV streamer and you can get it for Android and Kindle Fire devices, Roku set-top boxes, iOS gadgets and the Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV box and Windows 8. (You do need a cable subscription and login from your service provider to make full use of the app.)

ESPNGO

ESPN has also spiffed up its website for the occasion, rolling out its ESPNFC.com to cover the 2014 World Cup and other international football matches. And where you’ve got desktop, you’ve got mobile apps, at least for the major platforms. You can get the ESPN FC app (shown below) for Android, iOS, Ovi, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.  The UK versions are here.

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The Univision Deportes app for Android (shown below) and iOS promises live streaming and 24/7 World Cup coverage, as well as other international league play after the big event. You can use the app in either Spanish or English.

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The World Cup tournament will be over all too soon for many fans, the beautiful game plays on. Thankfully, the Women’s World Cup is right around the corner in 2015.

Episode 39: ‘Scuse Us While We Kiss The Sky

J.D. fills us in on apps to get you through the madness of March basketball and Pedro calls Shenanigans on on ICANN. In the news, cyber-attacks top the threat list in Washington; updates from SxSW; Marvel Comics expand their online and mobile offerings; and Tivo gets into the miniaturization game.