As much of the United States drifts into its second month of lockdown to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, El Kaiser and J.D. discuss the joy of playing old predictable games in decidedly unpredictable times. This week’s episode also includes a roundup of the past week’s technology news and a sharing of feelings about the Titans show on DC Universe. Spin up PTJ 333 to hear it all!
Links to News Stories
Discussed on This Week’s Show
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 air up there isn’t completely full of drones yet, but the skies have gotten way more crowded in the past few years. This week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced that a task force had been created to develop ideas and recommendations on a registration process for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Recommendations are due November 20th — will drone license plates be coming soon?
Speaking of government agencies, John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency reportedly had his email hacked by a high school student. The young hacker in question told Wired.com how he did it. The account is question has been disabled and it was an . . . AOL account.
Facebook is here for you. In a blog post on the company site, Alex Stamos of The Social Network said: “Starting today, we will notify you if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an attacker suspected of working on behalf of a nation-state.”
If you need a daily reminder of what planet you live on, check out NASA’s new website devoted to photography from the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera aboard its Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite. While the Deep Space Climate Observatory’s main mission is to track solar wind and storms that could disrupt the world’s electrical grid, air travel and communications systems, it’s handy Earth-facing camera promises a picture every day.
The free trial period of Apple Music has run out for the first wave of people who signed up and Tim Cook, the company CEO said at a technology conference this week that the service retained 6.5 million subscribers who switched over to paying monthly. Cook also reported another 8.5 million people are currently participating in the 90-day free trial, and that orders for the fourth-generation Apple TV will start on October 26th.
Table-top PC’s make a run for glory every few years and now it’s Lenovo’s turn with its 27-inch Lenovo Yoga Home tablet with its own tabletop operation system overlay called Aura that runs atop Windows 10. The current price is about $1500 and you can apparently play air hockey on it.
This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s released here in the United States. All those who played a few rounds of Super Mario Brothers, raise a glass Nintendo’s way.
And finally, many nerds sat through the first half of Monday Night Football game to see the brand new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Early tickets for the film’s December shows also went on sale last Monday night and the anxiety was made worse when the websites for Fandango, AMC Theaters and other ticket outlets went grinding and crashing down.
As expected, the trailer did produce a lot of reaction, including the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII for a social-media campaign purporting to complain that the new film wasn’t dominated by white people and all good racists should avoid the film. Trolls are now claiming the whole thing was a joke designed to stir up controversy. Remember people, never feed the trolls. Now, let’s watch the trailer again. And again.
We’re refreshed, rested and ready for more shenanigans in 2014! J.D. gives us some helpful hints for what to do with all those holiday snapshots cluttering up your smartphone. We may be a week into the new year but that doesn’t stop El Kaiser from revealing what he considers the top Tech Term of 2013. Lots of news from Las Vegas as the annual international Consumer Electronics Show opened this week. Samsung announces a new line of PRO models of its popular Galaxy Tab tablets; Panasonic announces a 7-inch addition to its Toughpad family of ruggedized tablets; Google partners with several automobile manufacturers to provide infotainment systems for their new car models; Intel has a new mini-computer called Edison; plus Bluetooth toothbrushes smart TVs and appliances and some fun wearable tech from ThinkGeek.com.
The annual international Consumer Electronics Show opened in Las Vegas this week — at least for those who could get to it without weather freeze-outs or flight delays. Every company at the show seemed to have a press release about their upcoming gear the year; check out the in-depth coverage at CNet, the BBC, the Verge and The New York Times for roundups. Noticeable trends for 2014 include curved screens on phones and large television sets, more wearable computing ventures, an expansion of the Internet of Things and more big TVs with nice screens and helpful software.
Panasonic announced a 7-inch addition to its Toughpad family of ruggedized tablets that can withstand more incidental physical abuse than more delicate hardware. The new FZ-M1 runs Windows 8.1 Pro on an Intel Core i5 vPro processor and will be available this spring for a list price of about $2100.
Intel, always a presence at computer trade shows, has a new mini-computer called Edison that it hopes will give the wearable-computing market a boost. Edison, which is the size of a Secure Digital card uses a low-power Quark processor, has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and can run Linux and probably other operating systems as well as apps written in the Wolfram Language.
Other machines rising this year with their own CES announcements: Kolibree previewed a Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush that beams your brushing techniques and frequencies to your smartphone, and the French sporting-goods company Babolat has a $400 Bluetooth-connected tennis racket that records your swing and transmits the data to a mobile app for further analysis.
Small things got some press, too. Netgear announced its NeoMediacast HDMI dongle, which is basically a TV set-top box on an Android-powered stick. The MakerBot Replicator Mini 3-D printer will be available for about $1400 later this year and can create objects up to 5 inches high.
This week we go Hollywood! J.D. tells us about 2 classic movie apps that have been revamped and updated. In the news: higher than high-res 4K televisions are here; new product announcements from Nokia and Motorola Mobility; and hackers release 1 million Apple UDID numbers into the wild.
Ready for the fall movie season? Plenty of apps aimed at movie lovers are out there, but two stand out for their versatility and ability to work on most major mobile platforms. Yes, we speak of Flixster and Fandango.
But even if you aren’t using UltraViolet movies, the Flixster mobile app still has a ton of features for cinephiles. You get a list of films opening each week, where they’re playing in your area, movie news and quizzes, actor bios, DVD release schedules, film trailers and ratings from the from the Rotten Tomatoes site that aggregates reviews from major news outlets. Since movies are a social event, you also get links to theaters, Yelp reviews of nearby restaurants and nearby 7-11 convenience stores if you’re really on a budget. In some cases you can even buy your movie tickets through the app, but that is not available at all theaters.
The Fandango site, that of singing paper bag fame, had a mobile app out early on smartphone screens. The site later added a beefier tablet version that offers perks like what movies are selling the best on Fandango. But on either version, you can search for movies and theaters — and buy your tickets on the run, without having to be in front of the regular Web site.
In theaters than have the right scanners, you can get a QR code for your Mobile Ticket sent to your phone that gets you in fast – and able to skip the line of people fumbling with their credit cards at the ticket-printing machines. In addition to ticket buying, you can watch film trailers and read cast and production information through the app. Fandango does have some social-media elements as well, including a measure of positive tweets about a chosen flick and a place for you to tap if you’re going to go see it. You can log in through Facebook or set up a Fandango account with a saved credit card for speedy purchases — which comes in handy when you absolutely, positively have to be there at the first midnight showing.
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!