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!
Don’t have time during the day to go deep with all the news flying around the Internet? Thanks to a number of news orgs, you can get a quick crib sheet of current events so you’re at least in the loop with what everyone else is talking about.
The New York Times has a witty New York Today daily briefing you can get by email or read on the web, and it includes stories of local interest, traffic and transit updates — even the weather forecast. In its wide selection of email newsletters for which you can sign up, The Times has morning and evening briefings with top stories around the country and world. There’s also an afternoon update, and early headlines from Europe and Asia. The NYT Now app for iOS grabs the top stories out there for a quick look.
Want spoken words instead of written ones so you can multitask? National Public Radio’s NPR Hourly News Summary gives you a quick five-minute recap of the current state of the world and it’s updated about every 60 minutes. You can listen to it on the NPR website or stream it through NPR News apps for Android or iOS.
If you don’t have five minutes, the BBC World News website has a One Minute World News video update, though the short commercial at the beginning is an extra 15 seconds.
And if you need a little more on the video, check out Reuters TV, which you can watch in a web browser, as shown below. Go to the site and it gives you an instant newscast with whatever if going on in the world at the moment. If you have an Apple TV or iOS device, you can also use the Reuters TV app, which asks how much news you want to watch — 10, 15 or 30 minutes — and then instantly whips together a newscast of the day’s top stories based on that amount of time.
Now, if only we could get the news to be actually good…
Back in the day, Microsoft was the elephant in the room. Apple was a cult favorite and Google was just a search engine. These days, Bill Gates’ pride and joy is the scrappy underdog and is doing all it can to stay relevant. To that end, the boys from Redmond unveiled a slew of products this week and that took aim squarely at behemoths Apple and Google. In a Hopefully Helpful Hint segment, J.D. explains how we can tweak privacy setting on Windows 10.
This week on the galaxy’s best independent tech-themed podcast, El Kaiser breaks down the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and J.D. digs up some news apps that may may actually help you forget the long lamented Google Reader. And, of course, we have a whole mess of pumpkin-spiced tech news for your listening pleasure.
The official arrival of Apple News last week brought a reminder that there are tons of customizable news-gathering apps out there. Some even serve like RSS readers to collect the top stories on topics you actually care about. Yes, Flipboard and its ilk are still around, but here are a few news apps to consider if you don’t use one already.
Apple News for iOS 9. Fresh out into the open, Apple’s elegant news reader invites you to tap through a series of tiles representing your favorite newspapers, magazines, blogs and other information sources — plus your favorite general topics — and set up your own personalized current-events feed. Once you create your news preferences, you can tap the For You button to see the headlines and the stories behind them. The Favorites area lets you select a specific news source, or topic like The Atlantic or Gadgets. Tap the Explore button to see suggested topics and channels. You can also search and save stories. Some news outlets have even said they’ll release exclusive content for Apple News.
Google News & Weather for Android and iOS. If you love Google News on the web, this standalone app takes you right to your personalized feed without having to dig through menus in the Google Mobile app or web site. The app pulls in news from 65,000 sources around the world. Once you select a story, you can tap it to drill down into other sources, opinion pieces, videos and more about that topic. You can easily swipe through your favorite news subjects and add them. Oh, get your local weather, too, if you let Google News pick up your location settings.
Nuzzel for Android and iOS. Unlike an app that gathers news using its own algorithms to crawl across the World Wide Web, the Nuzzel app grabs its headlines from what your friends are posting about on Facebook and Twitter. You do have to give the app permission to see your followers and friends lists, but it does help you keep up with what everybody else is talking about. So that could be helpful, especially when people are all up about momentary distractions like Pizza Rat.
Others. If you want a straight up news service app, there’s the Associated Press’s AP Mobile app for Android, iOS and even Windows Phone. Likewise the Reuters news app works on all three of those platforms and has a version for the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, too. The BBC News mobile app (shown above) got redesigned earlier this summer. In addition to online stories created by BBC journalists, you also get a live stream of BBC World News Radio. The app is available for Android and iOS and you can set up your own list of personal topics of interest. And one of those topics can be Star Wars, but if you want all Star Wars news, just get the Star Wars app. Seriously.
You date someone and suddenly they cut off all contact. Texts are ignored, calls are unanswered. No explanation for the disappearing act. That poor confused, and propably angry soul, has just been “ghosted” and in this world, there are two types of people: ghosters and ghostees. El Kaiser explains how it is actually harder than ever to completely shut someone out of your life these days.
The iOS and Android have more in common than most people think. On this weeks episode, J.D. looks at the similarities between the two dominant mobile operating systems.
We also offer up a late summer hunk of tech news and shenanigans.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear the oral arguments in the lawsuits that sprang up from telecom providers over the new Net Neutrality rules later this year. Mark your calendar for December 4.
Sony has just announced two new Xperia smartphones, the C5 Ultra and the M5, and these are aimed at connoisseurs of the digital self portrait. The phones are part of Sony’s PROselfie line of handsets. The Xperia C5 Ultra has a 6-inch display with twin 13-megapixel cameras front and back, while the Xperia M5 has a 5-inch display, a 13-megapixel camera in the front, a 21-megapixel camera on the back, and is said to be waterproof. Both phones run the Android operating system and are expected to arrive in stores this month.
And finally, the fall Hammacher Schlemmer catalog is out now and the company’s exclusive $70 Selfie Toaster is still available — in case you want to start your holiday shopping before Labor Day. After all, a toaster that “uses custom heating inserts crafted from a submitted headshot photograph” to burn someone’s likeness into a piece of bread just may be the perfect gift for the person who has everything.
Laura Holson is back! This week The New York Times reporter joins us to discuss how Hollywood is running scared from Silicon Valley, the Interwebz…and the San Diego Comic-Con?
In the news, the Ashley Madison “dating” site is hacked; the Pebble smartwatch is about to get retail presence; Apple releases a new iPod touch; Samsung decides that if they can’t beat the Apple iPad, they’ll make their own; and Twinkies for EVERYONE!