It’s been a week of heavy legal news, deals and global affairs — almost enough to make you want to escape to a fantasy realm to take a break over a pint of butterbeer. El Kaiser and J.D. sort through the stories of the week before moving on to a discussion of how the Harry Potter franchise is keeping active far beyond the original seven books. PTJ 277 awaits behind that Play button — Alohomora!
The Consumer Electronics Show is over for another year, leaving a pile of press releases, product releases and demo videos in its wake. El Kaiser and J.D. discuss the highlights of the 2017 mega-gadgetfest, and sample a few other stories in the tech headlines this week. Also on the show, J.D. points NASA fans in the direction of the new movie Hidden Figures — and the apps and sites celebrating these inspiring women. Through hardships to the stars, indeed.
Not everyone likes new stuff. Still, Microsoft took to one of its own blogs recently to make a push for its spiffy new Windows 10 browser Edge, trying to show that the software provided better battery life when surfing compared to those other companies’ browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera). However, in the latest survey of desktop browser market share from Net Applications, Google Chrome version 50 was in first place with 22.65 percent of users, with two versions of IE and an older edition of Chrome right behind. Edge appears in fifth place with about 4.46 percent of users, so perhaps this battery tip hasn’t gotten around.
Also from the Department of Microsoft News, the company announced a new version of its signature game console called the Xbox One S that starts at $400 for the two-terabyte model. The S-model is smaller than the earlier Xbox One and supports 4K video; the older Xbox One now sells for $280, so up yours, Sony PlayStation.
Google has added a new feature of its own to its app: Symptom Search. Yes, now when you type in specific health woes you’re feeling like headache or foot pain, Google returns a list of medical conditions that may include your symptoms. Doctor Google advises you not to use use this in place of actual medical care.
China is still winning at supercomputers. The new top performer, the Sunway TaihuLight, is capable of performing some 93 quadrillion calculations per second (petaflops, dudes). The TaihuLight is roughly five times more powerful than the fastest supercomputer in the United States.
And finally, the summer box office is heating up and Pixar’s latest production, Finding Dory, just broke the box office record for the highest-grossing animated film debut. The sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo — made with the voice of Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, melded to Pixar’s cutting-edge, state-of-the-art animation technology — made more than $136 million dollars at the box office. Finding Dory passed the DreamWorks film, Shrek the Third,as top-earner. Pixar’s former top debut Toy Story 3 debuted with about $110 million back in 2010, but it looks like Dory will give a lot of people the urge to go fishing in the next few weeks.
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of Summer here in the U.S. but the unofficial Summer Movie season kicks off around Valentine’s Day nowadays. The blockbusters have been unspooling at local multiplexes for months now but June, July and August are when the blockiest of blockbusters are unleashed upon us.
This week on the podcast J.D. and El Kaiser geek out over some highly anticipated films and of course they run down all the latest tech news with their unique brand of silliness and attitude.
Slather on the suntan lotion, pop in those earbuds and have a little Summer fun with PTJ this holiday weekend.
Like tarting up images and then sharing them online? Adobe, maker of Photoshop, has a new free iOS app called Adobe Post. It’s described in detail on an Adobe blog, and yes, the company says an Android version is in the works. As Macworld points out, though, you have to share the app with a friend to get rid of an watermark Post puts on your pictures. Also in picture news, Facebook is adding support for the Live Photos created by Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models. While the new feature is slowly rolling out, only users with the iOS version of Facebook’s app will be able to see the mini moving pictures. Oh, well.
The Consumer Electronics Show is still about three weeks away, but the advance press releases are already starting to trickle out. Cleaning fans take note, LG plans to reveal what it calls “the world’s first augmented reality vacuum cleaner” at CES next month. The company’s HOM-BOT Turbo+ uses three camera sensors to record its surroundings to keep track of where it has already cleaned — and to transmit a real-time feed to its owner’s smartphone. The human just needs to tap an area of the room displayed on the screen to have the HOM-BOT go over there and clean it. Because the vacuum has motion sensors along with its cameras, it can also be used to keep an eye on the place, but the HOM-BOT doesn’t quite sound like its up to a Terminator level of protection . . . yet.
It’s that time of the year when the big, ‘splody summer tentpole flicks are making their way to Blu-Ray and DVD for holiday stocking stuffing, making room for the Oscar bait to unspool at your local movie megaplex. J.D. has a Hopefully Helpful Hint about how to catch up on what’s coming up on the silver screen. Also on the show, Pedro is not a happy Kaiser as his beloved media center suffers a serious blow. And of course we have a heaping helping of the latest tech news.
The heart of the Geek Movie season traditionally runs from late spring through the summer, with the superhero films and action flicks rolling into theaters for the warm-weather months. There are exceptions, however: The adaptation of the final installment in the The Hunger Games series arrives later this month and there’s a little flick called Star Wars: The Force Awakensthat opens in mid-December. Still, the last two months of the year traditionally see the serious films, aiming for Oscars and more viewer attention span with people taking time off around the holidays. If you’ve lost track of what else is on the way to your local cineplex, here are a few sites to keep you in the loop.
ComingSoon.netnot only features trailers for a huge selection of upcoming theatrical films headed your way, you can get sneak peeks for upcoming TV episodes, home video releases on DVD and Blu-ray and even videogames. ComingSoon.net also has the latest Hollywood box-office figures as well as industry news and is really a one-stop shopping trip for entertainment information. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and RSS feeds keep you up to date.
Apple’s iTunes Movie Trailerscollection focuses mainly on theatrical films, but also sports exclusive clips and early previews. The site also has a Twitter feed and RSS to alert you to new material, plus a Top 25 list. You can view the trailers on the Web, but if you have an iOS-based gadget, you can use the official iTunes Movie Trailers app. You can also watch through the Apple TV’s app. Both feature a calendar view that places each trailer on a grid, which can be helpful for planning your weekends.
YouTube, repository of almost all online video, has a trailers sectionwith links to a lot of clips – and YouTube channels from other trailers sites.
If your tastes run toward more independent efforts, check out the IndieWire site. It does cover the mainstream movie and TV culture, but gives the smaller productions a bigger share of the spotlight.
And with the trailer buzz for Star Wars: The Force Awakens still echoing, how about a nostalgic trip over to the trailer for the original Star Warsfrom the mid-1970s? It certainly had a more low-key unveiling back in its day, and it and perfectly illustrates the power of the John Williams soundtrack — by not actually having the iconic score rumbling around in the in the background.
This summer is shaping up to be a Geek movie lover’s dream with Disney’s Marvel and Disney studios dominating multiplexes but do not despair! Their are many other geektastic offerings unspooling over the next few hot and sticky months and we’ll list a few of them for you.
Go ahead and grab a bucket of popcorn and a barrel of your favorite soft drink and join J.D. and El Kaiser at the picture show!
Thanks to inexpensive tools, new distribution systems and crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, filmmaking and technology are grooving together better than ever these days. Journalist Laura M. Holson drops by PTJ HQ this week with some insights on how the traditional methods of making and watching movies are changing — while giving more young filmmakers a chance to show their stuff, whether it be on YouTube, Vimeo, Amazon, Netflix or any of the other emerging sites dedicated to producing and streaming original content.
It’s been a rough few weeks for geek fandom and its iconic actors. Harrison Ford continues to recover from this private plane crash last Thursday, which came less than a week after the death of Leonard Nimoy on February 27th. We here at Pop Tech Jam wish Mr. Ford a hyperdrive-quick recovery and send our condolences to Mr. Nimoy’s family.
Now, in hardware news, Samsung’s newly announced Galaxy S6 family of phones has retailers excited. A report in The Korea Times notes that Samsung received 20 million pre-orders for the new phones from wireless carriers and retail stores around the world.
Hillary Clinton held a press conference this week to deal with the controversy surrounding the revelation last week that she was using a private email account to conduct government business during her tenure as Secretary of State. The reason? She said she just wanted to stick with one email account and one device. (Yeah, this flap isn’t closing any time soon.)
In NASA news, the Dawn spacecraft became the first piece of human-made hardware to achieve orbit around a dwarf planet last Friday when the sprightly little probe began to circle Ceres. Go, Dawn, go!
Meanwhile, over on Mars, scientists hope the arm on the Curiosity Rover can get back to work after its built-in drill began to suffer from an intermittent short-circuit problem a few weeks ago. Engineers have been running diagnostic tests while the rover has been parked. Even though Curiosity hasn’t been rolling around the red planet wince late February, it’s still been taking scientific observations from its position and monitoring the Martian weather.
NASA’s other active Mars rover, the 11-year-oldOpportunity, is working its mission to study the Martian terrain and has rolled more than 26 miles on its most recent quest to study unfamiliar rocks. Despite its advanced age, Opportunity is still knocking around and recently got a new version of its software installed remotely from the rover team back on Earth. It’s also scheduled for a little memory reformat in the near future as a maintenance procedure. May all our space explorers — factual and fictional — live on in our hearts and minds.
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!