Tag Archives: Facebook

Episode 36 News: Space Rocks!

Interplanetary boulders and red-plant dust have been flying this month. The Mars Curiosity rover drilled into the target rock and collected its very first sample. SpaceRef.com has a detailed look at the drilling, the sample collection and what may come next.  Last week also saw the fly-by asteroid that came very close to Earth and the meteor that did hit, breaking up and pelting Russia last Friday. Reports of that meteor were all over the Web shortly after it hit, thanks to YouTube, Twitter and the apparent Russian love of dashboard cameras. Local people in the area are now said to be selling pieces of the space rock on eBay.

ebay

The meteor new has generated new interest in space and material science in the news, and a blog over on the British news site, the Telegraph, has an interesting essay about how heavy metals like gold and platinum may have come from meteorites hitting the Earth. And don’t forget: NASA is also hosting a live Google+ hangout with the crew on the International Space Station on February 22.

In non-space news, Canonical has officially unveiled a version of its Ubuntu Linux system for tablets. A developer preview arrived this week and will run on the Nexus 7 and 10 tablets (at least). Along with tablets, Ubuntu has also getting into smartphones lately.

The rumors are growing louder that Facebook will start embedding autoplay advertisements in user newsfeeds this spring – possibly in April. Some news sources have pointed out that Facebook costs money to operate and most things as useful as it is charge users and advertising is the life-blood that keeps the consumer Internet free.

Facebook itself was the target of hackers recently and these same hackers also managed to infect the computers of some Apple employees. Security breaches were just busting out all over. Burger King’s Twitter feed was hacked this week and was posting such announcements like the sale of the chain to archrival McDonald’s. The Twitter feed for Jeep was also compromised this week.

The New York Times and other news organizations have stories about a new 60-page report on Chinese hackers by the computer security company Mandiant. The report traces more than a hundred attacks on government departments, companies and journalists to a building about 40 minutes outside downtown Shanghai. The building is reportedly the headquarters of People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398. The Times contacted officials at the Chinese embassy in Washington, who again insisted that their government does not engage in computer hacking.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 will get announced March 14, and Google’s alleged Nexus 5 smartphone may be launching this spring as well, if the rumors are true. Both the Galaxy S4 and the new Google phone are thought to have a 13-megapixel camera.  (As for Google, some Web gossips are even postulating a Triple 5 theory.) And while Samsung and Google duke it out, Samsung continues its competition with Apple and may even be doing its own smartwatch. With news of Google possibly opening its own retail stores, can Samsung stores be that far behind? Also biting the Big G: Microsoft said its Outlook.com mail service has gained 60 million users in 6 months, some of them, Gmail users.

And finally, the theory has been around for a while, but according to research published by Hungarian physicist Albert-László Barabási in in The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, no two Web pages are separated by more than 19 clicks. Estimates put the total number of Web pages out there at more than 14 billion. So according to the theory all of these pages, through some link, text, image or other element, is less than 19 clicks from every other Web page out there. We are the world, yo.

Episode 34 News: Now Is the Winter of Our Facebook Discontent

The Super Bowl is over and according to the Marketing Land site, Twitter was the winner of the Social Media Bowl, getting mentioned in 50% of the commercials shown during the game. #HashtagsRule! But about 250,000 Twitter accounts were hacked last week, perhaps prompting Twitter  to step up its security measures, as someone at the Guardian noticed a Twitter job posting for a security gig.

Facebook, which turned nine this week, will soon be letting its users know when ads from its FBX ad exchange are targeting them. In addition to serving up ads that track you, Facebook is also said to be working on mobile software that tracks the location of its users, even if they don’t have the Facebook app open at the time. As Bloomberg News points out, such a tracking app “could help Facebook sell ads based on users’ whereabouts and daily habits. It may also raise the hackles of consumers and privacy advocates concerned about the company’s handling of personal information.”

In a perhaps related development, a new Pew Research Internet study out this week found some people are suffering from Facebook Fatigue. The Pew study found that one in four people surveyed plan to cut back on their Facebook usage in 2013.

On the hardware scene, Dell Computer is going from a public to a private company and transitioning from maker of inexpensive PCs to an enterprise-solutions company. Cheap computers are one thing, but it may be hard to beat the Raspberry Pi, which just released its $25 model; the Pi was also recently featured in The New York Times. And IBM plans to bring some of the same technology used by Watson, the super-smart Jeopardy-playing supercomputer, to its new Power Express servers for the small business market.

monarchsResearchers at the University of Leicester revealed that the remains of the English king Richard III have been buried under a parking lot for the past 500-odd years. DNA testing and other scientific tools helped confirm the identity of the skeleton, which did have a spinal deformity as historians and even Shakespeare have noted. No contemporary paintings of the not-very-popular-at-the-time king when he was alive have ever been found, but scientists used computer simulations to reconstruct a life-like model of what Richard actually looked like. (Those members of the British monarchy sure get around, don’t they?)

Meanwhile, up on Mars, the Curiosity rover is still running tests in preparation for the big drilling adventure.

And finally, we’re headed into awards season good and proper now. The Grammys are this weekend, the Oscars are at the end of the month and the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers has announced its nominations for its 12th Annual Awards. Let’s see what fancy commercials all these awards can attract.

 

Episode 34: Movie Talk with J.D. and El Kaiser

The Academy Awards ceremony is a few weeks away and if you haven’t watched all of the nominated films no need to fret because Pop Tech Jam has you covered! J.D. tells us where to catch the winners and losers…legally. In the news, this year’s Super Bowl is the most interactive in history; Twitter gets hacked; Facebook continues pushing the  envelope; and Microsoft helps Dell go private.

Episode 33: Back in Black…um…Berry

J.D. shows us how to navigate the Notifications Center on Apple’s Mountain Lion OS and Pedro has some stuff he needs to get off his chest. Let the ranting begin! In the news, Research in Motion becomes BlackBerry; Apple releases an updated iPad and a new version of its iOS; plus Twitter and Google release new transparency reports.

Episode 32: Yeah, But is it Magically Delicious?

J.D. helps us with Windows 8 this week by digging up some keyboard tricks that makes using Microsoft’s newest OS a little easier. Pedro goes to the movies and doesn’t like what he sees. Oh yeah, he also debuts his first new Tech Term of 2013. In the news, Google turns its attention to online security; Amazon aims to produce video content; and RIM gears up for Blackberry 10.

Episode 31: Doing That Crazy Java Jive

This week J.D. has some app suggestions that will help you maintain your automobile and Pedro fills us in on his weekend tablet modding exploits. In the news, lost in last week’s CES maelstrom was the announcement of a potential Java exploit that could affect almost 1 billion computers worldwide; Facebook gets into the search business and industry experts have suggestions for Apple on how to reverse their stock price slide.

Episode 29 News: Terms of Servitude

Diplomacy (or lack thereof) has been getting a real workout this month. After recent negotiations in Dubai, the US refused to sign the International Telecommunication Union global treaty over Internet-freedom issues. Apple, quickly releasing an update to November 29th’s iTunes 11 software, fixed a bunch of bugs and also restored the much beloved Display Duplicates menu item to iTunes 11.0.1.

Google continues to offer its own alternatives to built-in iOS apps, including the new YouTube Capture app for video recording and sharing. It also set forth the triumphant return of the Google Maps app for iOS — which was downloaded 10 million times in the first 48 hours as users fled the native Apple Maps app for more familiar territory.

instarageHulu Plus is up to three million subscribers, but Instagram may be down a few after a Terms of Service kerfuffle that stated the service could basically do what it wanted with its members’ photos, including shilling them out for use in ads. After the Internet became very angry about this and the How to Leave Instagram and Instagram Alternatives blog posts began popping up in droves, Instagram piped up again and said it had been misinterpreted.

Facebook, which owns Instagram now and was already having a banner week in annoying its user base, was also rumored to be readying 15-second autoplay video advertisements on its members’ news feeds next year. Perhaps the other whispers about Facebook doing a new “self-destructing” message app for people who are sending text and photos that maybe they don’t want hanging around after the initial thrill will be better received.

Celebrities sending naughty photos of themselves to their romantic partners may want to consider a self-destructing message app themselves, although the Florida man accused of hacking Scarlett Johansson’s phone to get her naked pictures just got sentenced to 10 years in Federal prison.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, wants to create an ultra-fast wireless network that can support speeds of 100 gigabits per second, just like fiber-optic networks can do on land. The agency is also taking submissions from folks who have their own ideas how to make such a boss network, so sign up now.

And finally, IBM is out with its annual list of The 5 in 5 — five technology predictions for the next five years. This time around, the company concentrates on cognitive computing and the five senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. Hopefully, the same machines won’t get all five senses at once and begin to learn the way humans do, because the next thing you know, they have a plan and they may not be so diplomatic about it.

Episode 29: Business as Usual

In this final episode of the year J.D. gives us a germ-free helpful hint and Pedro answers the age-old question: Android or iOS? In the news, Instagram’s new privacy policy riles up users; Facebook getting set to launch video advertising in your timeline; Hulu climbs past 3 million subscribers; and IBM lists its annual “5 for 5” predictions.

Episode 23 News: The Hurricane Ate My Homework

As the storms of the past few weeks — Hurricane Sandy, the US elections, a snow-spewing Nor’easter on the East Coast, it’s time to take a minute and regroup before hurling into the holiday season. Geeks everywhere were goggling over the news that Disney bought Lucasfilm and Star Wars 7 is headed for theaters in 2015; the screenwriter for the project has already been hired.

Princess Leia didn’t need no “Floral Kiss” pink blaster to pop those stormtroopers. She got the job done just fine with standard-color armaments, so sorry, product designers of little pink computers and little pink cars, you’re going to have to try harder with some of us out here. (At least a certain Hoosier songwriter already called dibs on little pink houses.)

Meanwhile, out in Redmond, Microsoft giveth and taketh away: A new Xbox Surface gaming tablet us said to be underway, but those who love Microsoft Messenger will be booted off the system next year when Microsoft retires Messenger to focus on Skype.

Amazon is said to be testing out a $7.99-a-month version of its Amazon Prime service for those who’d rather pay more in installments that cough up the $79 annual fee all at once. The Massive Superstore of Everything also signed up Staples to host its Amazon Lockers that hold your Amazon packages when you’re not home to get ‘em.

Instagram is getting some Facebook-like enhancements like profile pages and desktop access, which also seems to have generated some Facebook-like privacy concerns among advocates. Still, the mobile space is still where Instagram rules. Oh, and Mary Meeker popped up before her next annual report with some thoughts on the current state of Android, iOS, Windows and other systems people use to get in the Internet.

Mobile devices were often the only way some people on the East Coast had to communicate in the wake of Hurricane Sandy two weeks ago when the power went out in many towns and cities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a guide for what to do before, during and after a major storm and the folks at NBC’s Rock Center news show have compiled a list of Hurricane Sandy relief organizations and efforts for those wanting to help.

Hurricane season traditionally runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, so it’s not over yet, and then we move into winter storm season in the northern and western parts of the country. Having a cellphone car charger or hand-cranked turbine/solar unit (USB charger, flashlight, radio) on hand in times of emergency can really help, so if you’re compiling a holiday shopping list, perhaps one of those might make a more useful gift than another necktie or pair of fancy slippers. (Or those freaky singing robot fish that were way too popular a few years back…)

And if you see a storm headed your way on the TV, the Web, your weather app or your other source of weather news, be prepared. Stock up on emergency supplies of food, water, battery, candles, flashlights and all that. Fill up the car’s gas tank, batten down the hatches and bunker in until the storm passes. And if you’re going to be stuck inside while the weather rages outside, red-velvet cupcakes and a nice bourbon make excellent comfort food.