Tag Archives: HTC

PTJ 241: Glass Houses

After a two-week hiatus, El Kaiser and J.D. are back with the tech news of the week — including Amazon’s latest experiments for making money and Google Glass finally finding a home of sorts. And how about that Doctor Who announcement last weekend, eh? Oh, and if you have to ride the New York City subway system, do we have a tip for you!

(Hopefully) Helpful Hint

 

PTJ 126 News: Dawn of a New Day

draftbillThe Federal Communications Commission’s new rules for Net Neutrality are scheduled for a vote on February 26th, but that has not stopped Congress from doing something in the meantime. Republican leaders put out draft legislation this week that prohibits the FCC from reclassifying broadband service as regulated public utility like radio, television and telephone, as President Obama proposed last year. The proposed bill does ban throttling or blocking, but has a “network management” loophole for the telecom companies. Several Internet activists like Free Press have already taken up the call to protest, so this issue certainly isn’t going to fade into the background anytime soon.

Remember when the United States government blamed North Korea for the massive hack on Sony Pictures last year and some security experts questioned how officials could be so sure North Korea did the deed? As reported in The New York Times, it turns out that the National Security Agency itself had totally pwned, er, infiltrated North Korea’s networks back in 2010 so they were familiar with some of that territory.

zombiesCloser to home, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a list of apps and services that do and do not protect you from Verizon Wireless’s user-tracking perma-cookie that was discovered by researchers last fall. The ProPublica site published a story last week about how the online ad company Turn was using Verizon’s tracking numbers to regenerate deleted cookies and keep tabs on the users who thought they deleted them. Once busted by ProPublica, Turn said it would suspend its use of these back-from-the-dead Zombie Cookie IDs — pending further evaluation.

Bloomberg News reports that like everybody else, Taiwanese electronics maker HTC is working on its own smartwatch, as well as a new flagship smartphone with a 20-megapixel rear camera and Dolby 5.1 audio. Both products are expected to be announced at the Mobile World Congress expo in Barcelona the first week of March.

Google Glass, which made a couple year-end lists of Biggest Flops of 2014, is getting discontinued (the original version, anyway). Microsoft, however, has Project HoloLens in the works, so people who want to compute while wearing strips of see-through plastic on their faces have a fresh new option. The company’s holographic goggles will arrive around the same time as its new Windows 10 system; both got some event love this week.

win10

One little wearables flop isn’t slowing down Google, though. The company, which took out a lease from NASA last year for the historic Hangar One in California, is doing business with other space firms as well. The Big G (and Fidelity) are making a billion-dollar investment in SpaceX for a project that would use about 700 small satellites to provide Internet access to parts of the world that don’t have it.

We have yet another NASA mission to follow this year. This March, the space agency’s Dawn spacecraft will arrive for its assignment at Ceres, a 600-mile wide asteroid in the belt of flying space rocks between between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn, which launched in 2007, has previously orbited Vesta. The Dawn spacecraft combines state-of-the-art technologies tested by other recent space experiments with off-the-shelf components and spare parts and instrumentation left over from previous missions. The spacecraft will make a study of Ceres, which NASA considers to be a dwarf planet, and has already beamed back some images from about 238,000 miles away.

And one more NASA item of note: the agency says the Earth is due to get buzzed by an asteroid later this month.  The big rock should be visible to those in the Americas, Africa and Europe the night of January 26th  and the Virtual Telescope site also plans to track the asteroid starting at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time that day for those who pref to stargaze from inside the house.

Facebook wants to help you further cut down on the amount of floating garbage on your News Feed. In a company blog post this week, two Facebook staffers described an update to the News Feed mix that reduces the distribution of posted stories that have been reported as hoaxes or deleted by other users. (While this could help declutter News Feeds around Facebook, the tool does have the potential for abuse from organized campaigns to discredit, say, an environmental issue. Let’s hope Facebook has thought of this, too.)

Amazon announced this week that it has plans to develop its own original theatrical films that will also be available quite early on its Amazon Prime Instant Video service. This move comes a few months after Netflix announced it was producing a sequel to the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for both IMAX theaters and its own streaming customers that will premiere this August 28th.

The new movie Blackhat opened in theaters this past weekend, and although the hacking action thrilled starring Chris Hemsworth got blown away at the box office by American Sniper, it did get a little cred from the Ars Technica site for not having completely illogical, implausible and just plain stupid technology scenes. The film’s creators hired not one, but two hacking consultants. Judging by the movie’s poor reception from critics, perhaps the producers should have sprung for a script consultant or two as well.

mariogoombaAnd finally,  over at the University of Tübingen in Germany, a group of researchers in the area of cognitive modeling have developed an artificial intelligence system that allows the videogame character Mario the plumber to  experience emotions and respond to voice commands. Mario AI is also aware of his environment, makes decisions in the game on gathered data or “learning.” Yes, there’s a video demonstrating the experiment. Maybe for the next experiment, the researchers can get the Angry Birds to talk through their feelings so they’re not quite so outraged all the time.

PTJ 68: Geeking Out With Comedian Mike Robles

Television personality and producer Mike Robles visits with El Kaiser to discuss life, work, and how the Emmy Award winning comedian uses social media to both expand his audience and interact with his existing fanbase. Are you ready to work on your first novel but only have 30 days to do it? No worries! National Novel Writing Month is “write” around the corner and J.D. fills us in on the yearly Internet-based project and introduces us to some tools that can help you get started on that potential bestseller. In the news, remembering a computing pioneer with a Wikipedia Editathon; Twitter updates its direct messaging system; Google causes a stir with an update to its privacy policy; Apple confirms a second fall announcement; Netflix is heading to a cable set-top box near you; and a new consortium hopes to eliminate linkrot for links and documents cited in legal documents.

Google’s Nexus Keyboard is Now Available as a Standalone App

If you’ve listened to this week’s COLLECTOR’S EDITION 50th EPISODE OF POP TECH JAM (shame on you if you haven’t) you know all about my travails attempting to root a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. I don’t want to spoil things for anyone so let’s just say it did not go well.

One of the main reasons for my attempted rooting was to allow installation of awesome new applications from small, nimble developers that are passionate about what they do. I looked forward to loading bar-raising apps that would extend the functionality of Samsung’s well regarded new flagship phone far beyond what its bloatware ladened factory image would allow. Ironically, the app that has most dramatically improved the phone’s functionality and usability is as far from revolutionary as you can get and was developed by a huge corporate behemoth. Oh, and it doesn’t need superuser permissions.

Screenshot_2013-06-07-16-43-13

Google Keyboard, free from Google’s app market Play, is the same stock Android keyboard found on the Nexus series of tablets and phones and on plain vanilla installs of Android made available as a standalone application. While the Galaxy S4 is an exceptional smartphone, its most glaring weakness, beyond the many useless apps it crams onto the phone, is the keyboard. The Samsung keyboard is inaccurate, offers up terrible predictions and is pretty much useless for anyone who has large fingers.

In contrast, the free Google keyboard app is accurate, has a voice dictation option and a gesture typing feature that lets you slide your finger across the keyboard without lifting it from the screen to enter a word.  The Swype app from Nuance does a much better job at this sort of modified “keying” but Google’s version is very effective. I would rate it above Swiftkey’s Flow for accuracy but below Swype.

If you find the Samsung Touchwiz or the HTC Sense keyboards difficult to use or just too inaccurate to trust try Google Keyboard before shelling out cash for a replacement app. While the other apps may offer more fancy features the Google app does yeoman’s work. And did I mention it’s free? We LOVE free around here…

Episode 42: False Starts and Tiny Antennas

They were created pre-Internet but are more popular than ever. J.D. gives us the lowdown on the ubiquitous animated GIF. In the news, NYC-based tech startup Aereo continues to ruffle the feathers of major television broadcasters; Sony announces cheaper and smaller Ultra HD TVs; Google removes thousands of apps from the Play Store; the U.S. Nave deploys the first laser weapon; and Facebook releases Home, their new front-end app for next generation Android devices.

Episode 20: Find Your Inner Code Monkey

In a Hopefully Helpful Hint segment J.D. takes a look at some inexpensive websites that will show you how to become a programmer. In the news Google pushes for quality Android tablet apps; a new rumor making the rounds claims the aforementioned Google and Apple nemesis Samsung are teaming up to develop a Nexus branded 10″ tablet; and tech giants band together to create the Web Platform Docs project, a new community-driven site for web developer documentation.

Episode 15 News: Paging Dr. Gordon Freeman. Your New Phone is Here.

It’s the first week of September and everyone is getting back to business and getting their new gear ready for the holiday season. The annual IFA Berlin consumer electronics fair, also known as the Berlin Radio Show, had a whole bunch of new stuff to ogle, including the ultra high definition (and ultra high price) 4K television sets. Mmmm, pixels….

The Web is also filling up with announcements of new smartphones this month.

Nokia? Check.

Motorola Mobility? Check.

HTC? Check.

Apple? (Oh, you finally confirmed that September 12th event?) Let’s say: Check.

If the iPhone 5 does land this month, the reign of Samsung’s Galaxy S3 as the best-selling smartphone will probably come to an end. (Preparing for a big event doesn’t seem to have slowed down Apple from filing more patent infringement complaints against Samsung and trying to get even more of the Galaxy products banned from stores.) And Team Cupertino can bask in the glory of Mac OS X beating at least one version of Windows in market share, even if it is the much-maligned Windows Vista.

Meanwhile, hacking group AntiSec says it’s grabbed 12 million Apple unique device identifier numbers from an FBI computer. (The FBI doesn’t think so.) At any rate, the news that 12 million UDID numbers (and whatever personal information associated with them) have been grabbed up is a tad disturbing.

Looks like that story from the U.K. about actor Bruce Willis suing Apple over the bequeathal rights to his iTunes library was wrong, but as several media organizations pointed out, just who owns your digital media after you’re gone? (Speaking of gone, it sounds like Nicolas Cage is not — from the Kick-Ass movie franchise, anyway — and will be back with Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl and Jim Carrey as The Colonel in a sequel next year.)

Remember webOS? Anybody? (Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?) Even if it doesn’t ring a bell, HP announced it was releasing a beta version of webOS for both a desktop edition and one that runs on mobile devices.

Mobile devices in the Nordic lands will soon be getting something unique: a standalone streaming HBO service that doesn’t require you to have an existing cable subscription to use. Let’s hope Nordic HBO À la carte  is a raging success so maybe they’ll do it here in the U.S.

And finally, if Half-Life changed your life back in the late 1990s, set an alarm in your calendar program for September 14th. A new version, dubbed Black Mesa and crafted by fans of the original game for the PC, is due out next late week. Who knows, maybe in a few years, they’ll do a console version that looks killer on a 4K television set.

 

Episode 15: Jar Jar Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

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.

Episode 12 News: May the Swag Be *Ever* in Your Budget

As it announced in a recent blog post, Google is changing up its search algorithms in what some are calling an attempt to impose a “pirate penalty” on those who illegally post copyrighted content online. The new Google math is designed to push sites with valid copyright removal notices farther down in the results rankings so that legitimate content sources will rise to the top. Skeptics to the new policy are concerned that Google’s own YouTube and other popular sites like Facebook will likely escape the dragnet anyway. (And on the topic of original content, Google is buying some: the company just bought travel-guide publisher Frommer’s from John Wiley & Sons.)

Moving to Android news, HTC stated on its Facebook page that the update, also known as Android 4.0, will be rolled out by the end of August for several popular handset models including the Thunderbolt and the Desire S. Okay, who’s up for Jelly Bean?

You don’t need an invitation to join Pinterest anymore, but the FBI says you should decline the invitation to give ransomware hackers a bunch of money to unlock your virus-snarled computer. The agency has been receiving complaints about malware known as Reveton, and it and can be installed with just a drive-by click on a poisoned Web site. Check out the FBI’s Reveton warning page and tips for dealing with the scumware if it latches onto your machine. The Internet Crime Complaint Center lists other current scams as well.

Even serious stuff, let’s talk entertainment. For starters, if you want a color e-reader with a little mini-tablet mojo, Barnes & Noble just whacked the price tag on several of its Nook devices. If this weekend’s opening films on the Forever Geek movie calendar don’t pique your interest, there’s always the Saturday release of The Hunger Games on home video. Target is totally jumping in to the whole Merchandising Games, with all sorts of pricy collectibles including a $349 Katniss Everdeen replica leather jacket a solid 14-karat gold Mockingjay pin for $999. Well, at least the official District 12 socks are only $9…