This week J.D. shares tips on how to use the web to get the perfect digital camera then she and Pedro discuss the recent announcement that veteran British actor Peter Capaldi will take a turn as the time travelling Time Lord, Doctor Who. In the news Comcast is working on a new system urging users to download copyrighted material legally; CBS and Time Warner Cable continue their Battle of the Gargantuans; Samsung maybe inching closer to unveiling a smartwatch; the FBI may be targeting Firefox users on the TOR network; and not even your toilet is immune from the hacking scourge.
Would you like fries with that illegal download — or at least, a Buy button? According to a report in Variety, Comcast is said to be working on a new system where ISPs that sense users downloading copyrighted material from sharing sites and then sends out a pop-up message to the user with links to legally purchase the same content. Meanwhile, the squabble between Time Warner cable and CBS continues and viewers are not amused.
In the Department of New Stuff, the National Football League has released its new mobile app for Android, BlackBerry and iOS. LinkedIn has also updated its mobile app to allow job-hunters to apply for listed positions right within the app. The Smartwatch Watch continues. PC World and other sources have reported that Samsung has filed a US trademark on the name “Samsung Galaxy Gear.”
No one one’s surprise, Google announced the new Moto X smartphone last week. In a move that surprised pretty much everyone in media, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, bought the Washington Post newspaper this week for $250 million dollars, or the change in the cushions of his couch.
New malware found in sites hosted by Freedom Hosting is targeting Firefox users on the Tor network. Because the malware sends the user’s information to someplace in Reston, Virginia, some security researchers are thinking the FBI may be involved in the hack.
Last week, we worried about cars getting hacked. This week, high-tech toilets could fall victim to foul play. Trustwave, a security company, recently put out a warning about the Android app used with luxury Satis smart toilets made by Lixil. Because the Bluetooth PIN for the app is hardcoded to 0000, a hacker could grab a copy of the app, pair up a device with your toilet and then assume control of the bidet function or abuse the high-tech commode’s Direct Vortex Flush. (With ABC television executives talking to folks in Disney’s new Lucasfilm division about possibly producing a live-action Star Wars TV show, maybe they could use some new characters — like Direct Vortex Flush, Sith apprentice.)
Need a tablet computer? Microsoft has dropped the price on its pricier Surface Pro tablet computers. Apple’s iPad saw a sales decline of its own during this past quarter. According to IDC, the iPad went from having 60.3 percent of the tablet market last year at this time to 32.4 percent here in 2013. The new hardware rumors are starting to heat up for fall, though, with “a Retina display iPad Mini with different color options that arrives next month” as one of this week’s whispers.
In other quick Apple bites, the company is offering to replace third-party chargers. Apple is also set to restore the rest of the services on its developer site this week, as it finishes overhauling the system in wake of last month’s security issues (and just in time to push out a fifth beta for its iOS 7 software due out this fall). Oh, and Electronic Arts has announced that Mac gamers can play Sim City starting August 29th. Mark your calendars.
And finally, we have two notable milestones to acknowledge this month. August 5th marked the the first anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars — NASA has a video. August also marks the 50th anniversary of the humble cassette, which made its official debut at a radio show in Berlin in 1963. Still have a recorder and a few old blank tapes out in the garage? Here are some song ideas for a Mars-worthy mix.
J.D. takes a look at some inspirations and tools that will help you make fun new music playlists and Pedro tells us what full-sized headphones he uses with his mobile devices. In the news this week, note taking and digital clipping service Evernote is the latest cloud service to be hacked; Apple’s rumored iWatch could be a huge success; and Twitter pulls the plug on Tweetdeck.
J.D. on what to expect when you install the latest version of Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux distro and Pedro on the Academy Awards ceremony. In the news, rumors heat up about casting for the new Star Wars movies; ISPs are watch your P2P downloading habits; the world’s smallest wireless charger; Mozilla’s new Firefox OS is nigh; and Samsung unveils the Galaxy 8.0 “phablet”.
After months, nay YEARS, of speculation by Apple Watchers, a smaller version of the iPad finally arrived last month. The iPad Mini is just like the regular iPad, except it’s smaller — a 7.9-inch screen compared to the 9.7-inch on the iPad Maxi.
While the higher-than-expected price point ($329 for the 16GB WiFi-only version and northward from there) and delay of the WiFi + Cellular models — not to mention a big nasty hurricane on the East Coast a few days before — made for mini-lines at the Apple Store on Release Day, the new product was mostly well-reviewed.
Here are a few takes from around the Web:
And Gizmodo gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars with a number of specific gripes, including the less-than-Retina display, the slower processor and the aforementioned price point.
Let’s take a ride in the History Helicopter for an overview and speculation on why the wee tablet may be a bit underpowered: The the iPad Mini seems to be following the path Apple took with the original iPod Touch back in 2007. Start with lower-quality components (no camera or a really lousy camera, slower processor, etc.) on the first couple generations of the device just to get it out there. Then march along a clear upgrade path with a handy supply of parts that have already been in the iPhone for a few years until you get to a more useful version of the device that inspires people to either buy it at last — or upgrade from their early-adopter models with the wussy specs.
J.D. gives us her thoughts on the new iPad Mini and Pedro mourns the loss of his beloved Star Wars now that is a Disney product. In the news, new tech products designed specifically for women; Microsoft set to debut a gaming tablet, Amazon Lockers to be available at an office supply giant; and Instagram heads to the web.
Another shot has been fired in the Tablet Wars of 2012 this week, as Microsoft’s Surface went on sale for pre-orders. Apple finally sent out invitations for its second fall event, to be held on October 23 — will we soon be able to stop speculating about the iPad Mini? Archos is doing the opposite of mini with its Archos Arnova FamilyPad. which reportedly sports a 13.3-inch screen.
Facebook, which is usually in the middle of some sort of privacy squall itself (but not this week), expanded its Anti-Virus Marketplace and added mobile offerings this week. This is all part of the site’s efforts to shore up security, which also includes the mailbox for reporting phishing attempts that was set up earlier this year. And LinkedIn, hoping to be more social itself, redesigned its profile pages this week.
If you bought a lot of ebooks from certain publishers, you may even get some cash back for a Boxee purchase or other goodie, thanks to the settlement from that big ebook pricing lawsuit. If you bought a lot of digital titles between April 2010 and May 2012, check your mailbox because you may have gotten an email message from your book dealer about potential refunds. Amazon already has a FAQ page set up for its customers on the topic.
And finally, is your smartphone cool enough to be seen in public? A story in The New York Times this week takes a look at BlackBerry users who are ashamed of their devices in a world of hipster touchscreen smartphones. Seriously, folks, if you mainly just use the phone as a phone and don’t need the apps, forget the peer pressure to get a cooler phone, embrace it — and go full honkin’ retro.