Tag Archives: Internet Archive

PTJ 107 News: I’ve Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now

The Summer of 2014 unofficially ended in a state of panic and outrage over cloud security with this past weekend’s iCloud Stolen Naked Celebrity Photos scandal.  Apple has now released a statement saying its iCloud security was not cracked and that the targeted accounts were compromised due to weak user passwords and easy-to-guess security questions. Apple did release a patch for its Find My iPhone tracking app Monday, as The Next Web and others had speculated about a lack of a password-lockout feature.

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With personal security on its mind anyway, Apple is said to be including restrictions in the developer’s agreement for the HealthKit tools in the new iOS 8. According to The Register, the terms of the agreement ban developers from selling any user health data collected by their apps to third parties who might want to buy it. (Apple does review the apps it sells, and posted a document on its site this week that explains why it rejects certain apps.)

The HealthKit software, baked into iOS 8, is also expected to be a part of any iWatch or other wearable device Apple announces, and although such a device hasn’t even been confirmed, the Re/Code site is already reporting that Apple executives have already been talking about how much to charge for a wearable. Around $400 has been mentioned as a possible price point. And one last bite:  the whole phone-as-eWallet thing may be getting a boost from the iPhone, as Bloomberg reports that Apple is hooking up with the major payment companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express to let people buy things using their phones instead of plastic.

Net Applications, the analytics that keeps track of what people use to get to the Web, has released its report for August and found that Windows 8 and 8.1 have now managed to get to 13.4% of laptop and desktop systems out there. More than 20-percent of users, however, are still clinging to Walking Dead Windows XP.  As for other systems, Mac OS X 10.9 claimed 4.29% of the market share, while Linux had 1.67%. Go alternate operating systems!

wingThe air up there could be getting crowded soon. The Atlantic has a big story out now about Google’s newly announced in-house drone program called Project Wing. It’s been in operation for two years at Google X, the company’s top-secret research lab for big-think, long-range projects. There’s also video that shows a Google drone test flight performing – you guessed it — package delivery. Out the way, Amazon Prime Air!

While the Federal Aviation Administration has not agreed to let commercial drones fly at will, The New York Times also had a story last week looking at the future problems of drone traffic up in the sky and how all these low-flying unmanned aircraft will navigate obstacles and each other. (Domino’s Pizza went on the record and said that despite a pizza-delivery drone PR stunt last year, it was not seriously considering drones in its workforce. So no flying pepperoni for you.)

But on the topic of remote-controlled gadgets, the Opportunity rover up on Mars has been behaving a bit erratically and now NASA’s rover team has plans to reformat the Opportunity’s flash memory. This is Opportunity’s first reformat in the 10 years it’s been on Mars.

archiveAnd finally, the Internet Archive has uploaded more than 2.4 million images scanned from old books to its bulging Flickr account. The new material is called The Commons, and features old engravings, technical drawings, illustrations, sheet music and other material. The images in the collection largely predate the copyright era and range in original  publication date from about 1500 to 1922.  They can be downloaded right from Flickr, so Meme Hunters and Clip Art Collectors, you may now go to town.

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.

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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 80: We Heart Latvia

If you’ve listened to the show for any length of time you’ll know that the software development company BROS is directly responsible for Pop Tech Jam making its way through the Intertubes and into our preferred listening devices.  Founder and lead bro Christian Serron joins Pedro to discuss the burgeoning tech sector in Uruguay and to finally reveal why he helped unleash J.D. and El Kaiser on the podcast world… again.  If the Polar Vortex is keeping you indoors (or if you just enjoy playing classic video games) J.D. tells us where we can find some venerable titles for our mobile devices. In the news South Korea still has the need for speed when it comes to connection speed; Android continues to dominate in Europe; Blackberry rolls out a new version of their Blackberry 10 OS; Google buys artificial intelligence research company Deep Mind; and Facebook turns 10.

Any Port in a Storm

January 2014 brought several winter blasts to the Midwest, South and Northeast — and a lot more indoor time for many people. But winter’s not over yet and if you’re running out of new games to play while you’re stuck inside during the next blizzard, consider taking a stroll through your app store for some old favorites in new formats.

mystFor example, remember Myst, the ground-breaking interactive adventure puzzle game with the lovely graphics that first appeared on the Mac in 1993 and went on to conquer just about every other platform in the years to come? There is now an official version of Myst for the iPhone and it costs a mere $5. You can also get the game’s sequel, Riven, for $4 in the App Store. And while there’s no official version of Myst for Android, developers for that platform have created similar puzzle games for the touchscreen. And fans of Myst, be sure to check out The Room, a tactile 3D puzzler from Fireproof Games for iOS, Kindle Fire and Android that costs just a few bucks. (A sequel, The Room 2, is also out for iOS now and headed to Android soon.)

Want a little something from the FPS Department? Going old school, you can find Castle Wolfenstein and Doom for iOS as well as the various Android versions and ports of the game, like AnDoom and DoomGLES. More recently, there’s also Call of Duty: Strike Team for iOS and Android.

Seeking adventure? There’s Baldur’s Gate for iPad as well as Balder’s Gate II or Final Fantasy V for Android and iOS. Ravensword: Shadowlands (which has been described as an equivalent to The Elder Scrolls) awaits on Android and iOS.

Now, if you have fond memories of a particular game but don’t see a version of it in your app store, check out the Games Finder site, which offers reviews and information on games that are sort of like other games. The Games Like Directory page can point you to an alphabetical list of games like RuneScape, Age of Empires, Harvest Moon, Diablo, World of Warcraft and more. Some games may be for mobile devices and some may be for the computer, console or a web browser, but it’s a great place to start your quest. (And for fans of Gears of War, Shadowgun for Android and iOS, has often been mentioned as a viable substitute.)

And remember, if you want to go way back, you can find many iconic arcade games available as mobile apps now, like Midway Arcade for iOS, NAMCO Arcade for iOS and Atari’s Greatest Hits for Android. If you’re browser bound, don’t forget the Console Living Room section of the Internet Archive (which also virtually houses the Classic PC Games collection), where you can really rock your Atari 2600 memories with dozens of old cartridge classics running in emulation. There’s nothing like warm memories of 8-bit glory to make you forget about Mother Nature pitching a hissy outside.

PTJ 71: Righteously Rowdy

This week J.D. takes us for a ride on the video game way-back machine with a look at the new Historical Software Collection at the Internet Archive. Also in this episode Kaiser Pedro has some hopefully helpful hints about improving your battery life and protecting your privacy on an Apple device running their iOS 7 mobile operating system. In the news Google unveils its long-rumored Nexus 5 smartphone;  Apple looks to expand its manufacturing presence in the United States; hackers target a limousine service; Twitter makes its stock market debut; gamers lineup for the release of “Call of Duty: Ghosts”; and British supermarket chain Tesco wants to scan the faces of customers for advertisers.

The Games People Played

Video-based games have been around since the middle of the 20th century. Consider Tennis for Two, created in 1958 and played on an oscilloscope at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Or Spacewar, thought by many to be the first shooter game, created in 1961 at MIT and played on a Digital PDP-1 mainframe computer. (And you thought the early Game Boys were bulky.)

But it was the next couple of decades when videogames really blasted off, with Computer Space and Pong fueling the arcade boom in the early 1970s. This lead into the microcomputer craze and the home videogame wave, Remember The Hobbit, Mystery House, Adventureland or Choplifter? If you played these in the early 1980s, you have some serious old-school gaming cred, emphasis on the old.

Now, thanks to the Historical Software Collection at the Internet Archive, you can actually re-play some of these cherished memories again. Dedicated souls have labored over the JavaScript port of the MESS computer software emulator, which gives users of any modern browser an almost instantaneous way to run these ancient programs. If you’re a fan of electronic games, it’s definitely worth checking out — especially if you want to see just how far we’ve come in a relatively short amount of time.

So what’s in the collection? You can revisit Lemonade Stand, an economics game popular on the Apple II in 1979, or the 1981 version of Castle Wolfenstein. From 1982, you can find the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man and KC Munchkin for the Odyssey2. How about 1983’s Chuckie Egg for the ZX Spectrum? There’s plenty more where those came from.

ETThe Internet Archive Software Collection itself is a vast trove of CD-ROM images, Linux distributions, shareware mirrors and more. You could spend an afternoon trawling the virtual exhibits in this online repository. A sub-collection called Classic PC Games lets you relive those old DOS and early Windows favorites as well. But it’s not just fun and games. The archive has other ancient artifacts like VisiCalc and even WordStar to download or try out in emulation.

Yes, you can even grab a bag of Reese’s Pieces and run a version of that horrible E.T. game from 1983, just to see how bad it was. You are, after all, a student of history and history is not always pretty.

Library In My Pocket

Reading books on portable devices is nothing new — people figured out how to load text copies of public-domain works onto now-antiquated devices like Palm Pilots and early monochrome iPods years ago. But smartphones have turned out to be excellent e-readers and benefit from the fact that people tend to take their phones with them wherever they go these days.

Depending on what you want to read, you may not even need any money because the books are free. All you need is an app and some time. But which apps, and which apps work on which phone platforms?

If you’re looking for a reader that comes connected to its own online bookstore full of premium books – best-sellers, new titles, stuff written after 1923 — Amazon’s Kindle app works on just about every mobile platform: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, plus you can read the same books through your PC, Mac or Kindle hardware e-reader. And being Amazon, you have thousands of books to browse and buy there, as well as free titles to peruse.

Sony has a Reader app for Android, iOS, PC and Mac reading and Barnes & Noble has a mobile Nook app for Android and iOS to buy and download books from its online bookstore. While there’s no Nook App for the Windows phone platform, there’s one for Windows 8 and Windows RT. Nook also has freebies.

Google Play Books has an Android app and one for iOS, and books from the Google shelves can also be read on devices with Web browsers and certain e-readers, including the Windows Phone. Google Play Books has its share of free titles as well.

Apple’s iBooks app — with its connection to Apple’s iBookstore —works on iOS. The iBookstore has its own free books — just tap the Top Charts button or any of the categories to see a list of the popular freebies.

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If you like a social network with your reading, Goodreads has apps for Android and iOS, and Kobo has apps for Android, iOS, Windows and Mac as well (and BlackBerry). You can find Kobo free books here and Goodreads free books here.

Want to borrow an e-book from a participating library? Check out the OverDrive Media Console app (available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry).

Third-party apps for reading ePub, text and PDF books from independent sources (like Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive and indie stores) abound. Most apps stores have a ton of these and popular programs include:

With the right software and space on your phone, you can fit a whole shelf full of books in less physical space that a cheesy airport paperback takes up in your bag. And when you read on your smartphone, no one can really tell what you’re reading, so you can read the e-version of that cheesy airport paperback in peace.

Episode 17 News: Reach for the Stars

Microsoft is having a busy fall with new Windows Phones, the Surface tablet, a colorful overhaul of the flagship operating system. But wait, there’s more: a new security hole in Internet Explorer, versions 6 through 9. If you don’t feel like trying the suggested workarounds, there’s another option a few people have pointed out: Ditch IE.

Meanwhile, over in Applestan, the iPhone 5 broke a pre-order sales record and Twitter redesigned its iPad app ahead of the iOS 6 release on Wednesday. Open Internet and public-interest groups are complaining to the FCC about AT&T’s plan to make users switch its mobile-sharing plan to use Apple’s FaceTime videochat service over a cellular connection. Also complaining: Samsung, which continues to keep up the defense in its legal war with Apple over patents, pointing out on its company blog that the iPhone 4 sure looks like some of their old MP3 players.

The iPhone 5 wasn’t the only geek goodie flush with preorders this week — the first batch of Nintendo Wii U consoles is reportedly sold out in many places long before the system’s November 18th release. (No word on when preorders might be available for the bling-laden Hasselblad Lunar camera announced this week, but since it’s not due out until February, frugal photographers pining for a 24-megapixel camera with a sculpted wood handgrip have a few months to pinch together 650,000 pennies for it.)

While the Lunar camera is quite a luxury, if you want to talk big pixels in space, the Dark Energy Camera wins — with 570 megapixels and a mission to photograph 8 billion-year-old rays of light finally reaching Earth from distant galaxies. (Hopefully, all this intergalactic travel will get a speed bump if the physicists can get warp drive figured out.)

So we’re waiting around for that, an Android version of the Snapseed photo-editing app now that Google has bought Nik Software, and a Firefly reunion (besides the panel at the Comic-Con panel last summer). While we’re cooling it, we can always kill some time poking around the Internet Archive, which just announced its new collection of 350,000 broadcast news programs that cover the past three years of events. If you like TV news, check it out. Even if a massive video record of world events since 2009 isn’t your cup of tea, the Archive holds millions of other bits of history and has been dubbed “Alexandria 2.0” by Wired magazine. And you don’t have to be quiet in this library.