Tag Archives: Hulu

PTJ 325: Fan Dance

On this week’s show, El Kaiser holds forth on the current state of three of his favorite things: DC Comics, Doctor Who and Star Wars. J.D. has a quick roundup of recent tech news, including the return both of a beloved flip phone and a popular short-form video platform. All this and more on Pop Tech Jam 325!

PTJ 299: Tumblin’ Down

The winter temperatures in the American Midwest may have plummeted, but in the technology world, it’s Apple and Facebook bouncing off the floor — and into each other over user privacy. El Kaiser and J.D. chew through the events of the past week, and also pause to ponder another question: How many streaming services can one actually have until it feels like paying the same old big bucks for a cable subscription? Click up Episode 299 to hear it all!

Links to News Stories Discussed on This Week’s Show

Swimming in Streams

PTJ 294: Location, Location, Location

Of course, your apps are tracking you! El Kaiser told you that years ago, but The New York Times now fills in the details. J.D. rounds up the headlines from the past two weeks for discussion and also offers a (Hopefully) helpful Hint about recording your family’s history in audio and video this holiday season. Pull up a chair and join us for PTJ 294!

Links to News Stories on This Week’s Show

(Hopefully) Helpful Hint

PTJ 271: Hand of F8

Fresh off the latest Facebook user-abuse apology media tour and visit with the U.S. Congress, Mark Zuckerberg made a slew of announcements at this week’s F8 Developers Conference in California, which El Kaiser and J.D. discuss on this week’s episode — along with other news from the tech realm. Episode 271 also sports a quick look at the big geek movies headed into theaters this summer and an explanation of “malvertising.” Spin up this latest installment of Pop Tech Jam to hear it all!

Links to Stories Discussed on This Week’s Show

Tech Term

PTJ 143 News: Red-Letter Days

Who says the epistolary arts are dead in this age of text and email? As user-privacy rights and national-security concerns continue to clash, stern words are still the weapons of choice.  This week, a coalition of 140 technology companies, security experts and other industry players sent a letter to President Obama asking him to “reject any proposal that U.S. companies deliberately weaken the security of their products.” The letter comes in response to recent remarks by Administration officials that suggested American companies not use (or create) products secured by encryption —unless a backdoor key was provided to the government. No word on a White House reply yet, not even from the President’s new official Twitter account. (Perhaps Mr. Obama was busy joshing with Mr. Clinton.)

The White House was not the only place that got a note of concern this week. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, received a group letter of opposition signed by 67 digital rights groups who don’t like the idea of the company’s Internet.org project because it stifles the concept of net neutrality, freedom of expression and all that stuff.

fb

Also in letter writing news, the Federal Trade Commission has asked the bankruptcy court handling the RadioShack case to protect the personal information of former RadioShack customers. As more companies eventually go bust and their data assets are up for grabs, the FTC will likely be writing a lot more letters.

Worried that the telcos will backslide on those new Net Neutrality rules from the Federal Communications Commission? Internet activists have launched an Internet Health Test site  that checks the quality of your broadband connection and looks for any sign of speed degradation, perhaps by an ISP throttling. Your results are then shared as compiled data in the public domain. Meanwhile, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who once threatened to pause developments of fiber networks if the FCC’s new rules were passed, said AT&T would keep investing in its infrastructure because he is now confident the new rules will be overturned.

IHT

Federal investigators are looking into the claims of one Chris Roberts, a security researcher who said he was able to hack into the computer systems on an United Airlines flight. He said he could gain enough control to do things like drop the oxygen masks, mess with the cockpit’s alert system or even cause the plane to move sideways. Um, yeah, Federal officials, please look into this.

According to an investigative piece out this week from Advertising Age, Google has a crack squad of Antifraud Specialists fighting the ad-bot hucksters. And speaking of  exploits, there’s a new one out that shows a proof-of-concept address-spoofing attack using a bug in Apple’s Safari web browser.

In other Apple News, the fancy new 15-inch MacBook Pro with the ForceTouch trackpad is available now, as is a cheaper version of the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display. Prices start at about $2,000 for either. If the Internet can be believed,  Apple is getting ready to roll out some fresh code for both the Apple Watch and the Apple TV; the new version of that set-top box is expected  next month at the World Wide Developers Conference. Oh, and The Wall Street Journal has a story this week that explains why Apple hasn’t jumped into the full-on television market yet.

The Internet has come to the rescue again! After it was canceled by Fox, Mindy Kaling’s sitcom, The Mindy Project, was picked up by TV-streaming service Hulu for a fourth season of 26 new episodes.

mindy

Google and the University of Washington have teamed up for an inventive project that uses 86 million pictures from photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Picasa to create amazing time-lapse videos. The researchers wrote up their findings in a paper whimsically titled “Time-Lapse Mining from Internet Photos.”

And finally, Microsoft is celebrating 25 years of Solitaire on Windows. Woo hoo! Microsoft’s solitaire collection, which includes the standard Klondike version, plus the FreeCell, Spider, TriPeaks, and Pyramid variations, is available free in the online app store for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1. Here’s to a quarter century of lost productivity in offices across the globe!

Tech Term: Over-the-Top Applications

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been described as over-the-top. Yes, I’m bold and have been known to take things beyond reasonable limits but I am rarely excessive or outrageous. If you’ve ever met my family you’ll know that if anything I’m…um…under-the-bottom.

Ugh, that sounds so wrong. Let’s move on.

This week’s tech term is over-the-top application and Techopedia defines it as:

…any app or service that provides a product over the Internet and bypasses traditional distribution. Services that come over the top are most typically related to media and communication and are generally, if not always, lower in cost than the traditional method of delivery.

WhatsApp, Viber, FaceTime, and YouTube are all examples of OTT apps but two new TV related applications might push over-the-top usage further into the mainstream.

HBO Now allows you to stream content from the pay TV giant without needing a cable account, a requirement of the app’s sibling HBO Go.

Sling TV from satellite TV provider DISH bundles popular cable channels that viewers can watch on Internet Connected TVs, media streamers from Roku, Apple and others plus iOS and Android devices and your Mac or PC.

The release of these two apps plus OTT game changers Netflix and Hulu makes it very appealing for less tech savvy folk looking for a deal to cut the cable cord.

The number of OTT only households is expected to rise from 8 million to 14 million by 2020 but technical concerns over loading time, buffering and crashing could keep many from giving up their cable packages.

The plain truth is that Internet infrastructure here in the US is just not ready to handle millions more OTT and live-streamers without a major overhaul. Also cable companies will not go down without a fight. Net Neutrality regulation and security concerns could stifle the nascent over the top TV boom.

See, nothing outrageous or excessive. Nice and under-the-bottom, just the way I like it!


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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 105: A Cat, a Dog, And a Groot

El Kaiser takes a listen to the INEARPEACE earbuds from Om Audio and likes what he hears while J.D. tells us where and how to find quality documentaries online.

In the news, Amazon continues its war with book publisher Hachette and now finds itself battling Disney; Microsoft has Xbox announcements; Apple appears to have ramped up production of the new iPad; the U.S. government creates new agencies to handle its tech woes; Akamai releases its latest State of the Internet report; we have robot news and yes, it does rattle the Kaiser; and a security researcher weaponizes his pets.

The Learning Channels

It’s easy to waste a lot of time looking at silly videos on the Web, but if you want to sharpen your brain cells, there are also some hidden gems – especially educational programming. If you’ve got time  to kill at the gym or winding down before bed, while not learn something with a nice documentary? You don’t even have to have to flip around the TV or spend valuable time rooting around online trying to fine them, because several sites and apps that do the work for you.

pbsFor example, the PBS app lets you stream hundreds of public-television programs including NOVA, American Masters, Time Scanners, American Experience and plenty of standalone documentaries produced by PBS member stations. (You may have to register with the PBS site to use the app, but it’s free.) You can get the app for iPhone, iPad, Amazon Kindle and a number of set-top boxes like Roku and Apple TV. While a bonafide straight-up Android app isn’t available at the moment, you can stream videos from the PBS website on Android devices or on the desktop. (PBS has acknowledged ground to make up in Android app development, but it’s working on it — for the younger set, the PBS Kids app is now out for Android, iOS and Kindle.)

smithsonianFor short clips about a particular aspect of American history or culture, visit the website of Smithsonian magazine to see videos detailing things like the history of the electric guitar or the origin of Wonder Woman. You can find more clips and full-length episodes of programs on the Smithsonian Channel’s site. The Smithsonian Channel also has its own mobile apps for Android and iOS and has begun to show up on some streamers — again Roku, Apple TV, that sort of thing.

nasaFor space nerds who want to keep up with events, the NASA Television channel and other multimedia content can be streamed from the NASA  website or its various mobile  apps.

Documentaries can also be found where you might expect them. The Internet Archive has a video section with an area devoted to cultural and academic films, as well as collections devoted to movies and classic TV. The free version of Hulu has some ad-supported documentaries as well.

patheFor modern history buffs, the British Pathé film archive has 90,000 historic clips and a YouTube channel. Keep in mind, not everything is available at full-length to watch for free, but there’s some amazing bits of 20th century history to peek at, including news footage from World War I.

Serious fans of cultural, historical and nature documentaries can indulge themselves and one of the many sites out there devoted to categorizing YouTube video by topic. TopDocumentaryFilms.com is one great place to start and here, you can find things like Simon Schama’s 15-part A History of Britain miniseries, the Planet Ocean nature film or a biography of Aaron Swartz.

schama

Similar sites like 1001 Documentaries or DocumentaryAddict.com can also help sat your craving for both streaming video and learning something in the process. And when your brain is all stuffed with new things and you need a break from the mental exercise, you can always cool down with a few cat videos.

PTJ 79: Welcome to Kaiser Town

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these podcasters from sharing their hi-jinks and shenanigans! Well, actually gloom of night might give us pause… This week J.D. gives us some helpful hints on how to prevent our children from making unapproved in-app purchases and Pedro tells us what apps to use to navigate and experience NYC like a native. In the news, Verizon buys Intel Media’s OnCue Internet-based television service; the Internet of Things gets hacked; the video game console war rages on; Hewlett-Packard brings back Windows 7; Samsung Galaxy S5 rumor mill picks up the pace; a comet chasing spacecraft wakes from a long nap; and The New Yorker magazine reminds us that there is still nothing quite like the power and reach of live over-the-air radio.