Tag Archives: NSA

PTJ 131: The Great Sim Card Heist

On this very special super-sized crossover episode About Men Radio posse member Christopher Mele drops by to discuss mobile apps that will manage your passwords.

Also on the show David Perry, a threat strategist for F-Secure, joins us this week to discuss claims that claims spies for the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom “hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe.”

We didn’t forget the news! Lots going with Apple and other mobile device mmanufacturers as they prep for their spring product announcements.

PTJ 68: Geeking Out With Comedian Mike Robles

Television personality and producer Mike Robles visits with El Kaiser to discuss life, work, and how the Emmy Award winning comedian uses social media to both expand his audience and interact with his existing fanbase. Are you ready to work on your first novel but only have 30 days to do it? No worries! National Novel Writing Month is “write” around the corner and J.D. fills us in on the yearly Internet-based project and introduces us to some tools that can help you get started on that potential bestseller. In the news, remembering a computing pioneer with a Wikipedia Editathon; Twitter updates its direct messaging system; Google causes a stir with an update to its privacy policy; Apple confirms a second fall announcement; Netflix is heading to a cable set-top box near you; and a new consortium hopes to eliminate linkrot for links and documents cited in legal documents.

PTJ 63: Never Mind the Applesauce

Apple makes a product announcement and the response is a collective “d’uh, we already knew that.” Turns out the rumors were true. The fruit-themed phone makers roll out a plastic iPhone and a refresh of their flagship smartphone. In the news, Microsoft prepares to launch new Surface tablets; Sony announces an updated version of their PS Vita mobile gaming device; Samsung unveils their smartwatch; Facebook aims to be your source for news; The NSA can crack even the most advanced encryption methods; and a lone voice makes the case for saving AM radio.

Episode 56 News: The Dogged Days of Summer

Forget the Avengers and the Justice League: this season’s rootin’-tootin’ action team-ups include several major companies — including AOL, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo — are banding together with a new plan to fight digital piracy, that ongoing problem for media-makers in this modern age. There is also a coalition of groups coming together to sue the National Security Agency for all that recently uncovered “unconstitutional dragnet electronic surveillance.”  Meanwhile, staffers at Facebook and Buzzfeed are having a public squabble over a Buzzfeed story last week that was based on a Stanford University study and called “The Number Facebook Doesn’t Want You To See.” This prompted a Facebook engineer to fire back and say the story was “just plain wrong.” And so it goes.

Other academic studies are also popular this week. A recent one from researchers at Northwestern and MIT’s Sloan School of Management takes a look at just who writes negative product reviews online. The study, called Deceptive Reviews: The Influential Tail, presents evidence that many product reviews on a private-label retail site were written by people who did not actually purchase the product in question. As for croaking and squawking of another kind, researchers from the University of Puerto Rico are using iPods to automatically record endangered species. All this automated data acquisition is part of the ARBIMON system— which stands for automated remote biodiversity monitoring network and you can hear samples of some of the audio it’s analyzed here, including the musings of the cute little coquí frog.

The Verge site is reporting that Microsoft is still working on its prototype smartwatch and has moved the project over to the team behind its Surface touchscreen tablet computers. Speaking of small computers, there’s another tiny model that’s joining the ranks of the Raspberry Pi and other barebones PCs. CompuLab’s Utilite computer is about the size of a pack of index cards and starts at $100. Also getting smaller: the price tag on a BlackBerry Z10. BlackBerry CEO said it was the right time to adjust the price on the Z10, now that the newer Q10 model has arrived. Things are not so booming for Intel’s Thunderbolt technology either, as Acer is the latest laptop maker to ditch the high-speed communications port for the slower but less-expensive USB 3.0 jacks.

Need entertainment? If you find yourself looking up actors, movie trailers and other cinematic tidbits on the IMDb site, you can now follow through and buy tickets right in the mobile app for Android and iOS. Apple, perpetually rumored to be working on a TV-type product to enhance or build on its Apple TV box, may be working on a feature that lets viewers skip commercials for those who prefer to stay in front of their screens at home at chill without the shill. (Not to be outdone, Google is also said to be talking to media companies about getting content for its own online TV service.)

On the mobile front, two unfortunate smartphone incidents have recently occurred. Apple is investigating reports of an electrocution that happened when a woman in China answered a call on her iPhone 5 when it was plugged into the charger. This follows reports last week of a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone that spontaneously exploded in the pocket of a Swiss teenager and causing third-degree burns.

As for security news, the annoying fake FBI Ransomware that locks up Windows computers and demands payment has oozed over to the Mac. The Malwarebytes blog has full documentation on the nasty little JavaScript code and advice on how to ditch it; there’s a Q&A page as well.

And finally, out in space, NASA’s Hubble telescope has discovered a new moon orbiting the planet Neptune, and a small moon at that. Goodnight, moon!


Episode 51: Mavericky Mavericks

The NSA is watching, Apple decides to go flat and Microsoft and Sony officially unveil their new gaming consoles at the E3 in Los Angeles. It has been a very busy news week in tech so J.D. and El Kaiser roll up their sleeves and tell you exactly when who did what to whom…. and where. Also, J.D. explains how you can save a little money by taking your own passport photos. 

Episode 51 News: Oh, What a Tangled Web

Just a month after Facebook was rumored to be the buyer, Google announced this week that it closed the billion-dollar deal on the Waze traffic and social-mapping service. The addition of Waze to the Google portfolio is expected to make the traffic-tracking in Google Maps more powerful and also boost the company’s social-networking services.

Amazon, which has been testing its AmazonFresh delivery service around its hometown of Seattle, is now dropping off produce, meat and other supermarket staples to certain areas of Los Angeles. As a page on the site explains after a free 90-day trial, your $79 Amazon Prime membership gets automatically upgraded to an Amazon Prime Fresh membership, which costs $299 a year  AmazonFresh is expected to expand into San Francisco later this year and into at least 20 more cities in 2014.

Comcast is doing some expanding as well, adding 3,800 hotspots for its Xfinity Wi-Fi network around Washington, DC. The company is also using its Xfinity Internet subscribers to increase the reach of the Xfinity Wi-Fi network by having home users broadcast two network signals from their Comcast Xfinity Wireless Gateway router/modem combos — one for the private family network and one for the public wireless network. (Comcast is part of the Cable WiFi Alliance, a group of other cable companies that offer 150,000 WiFi hotspots for their customers to use outside the home.)

Another cable company, Time Warner, is probably not too thrilled with this, but the season finale of Game of Thrones set a new BitTorrent record, with 171,000 people sharing the episode and a million people downloading it in one day.

allseeingeyeThe uproar over that National Security Agency surveillance program that collects phone records and user data from social sites shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The Guardian promises more to come, but it’s not the only one revved up by the revelations.

Members of Congress are calling for investigations, the American Civil Liberties Union is filing a lawsuit, Google, Microsoft and Facebook have asked the government to let them share details of their involvement and Edward Snowden, (aka The Leaker) has been fired from his $122,000-a-year job based in Hawaii and is now fighting extradition from Hong Kong. This story has more legs than a centipede and it’s gonna be a long summer. (Need some summer reading? George Orwell’s 1984 and Franz Kafka’s The Trial are getting new attention.)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web back in the 20th century, is not happy with the way his creation has been handled by corporations and world governments. As reported by the Daily Telegraph in London, Sir Tim also said in a recent speech that “companies and governments in different places all over the world trying to take control of the Internet in different ways” and that net neutrality should be protected.

While the Web opened to the general population on April 30, 1993, Mr, Berners-Lee had been working on it since 1990 at CERN, using one of the NeXT computers (the black boxes Steve Jobs was involved with between his two separate stints at Apple). Now, researchers are trying to locate an original version of his very first Web page. Professor Paul Jones at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, heard the team was looking for it and produced a copy of the page from 1991 that he’d had all along. Professor Jones, who also had a NeXT computer, worked with Berners-Lee when he was town. Although Jones copied the first Web page off the NeXT computer at one point, he thinks the old machine may hold other ancient Web artifacts — but he can’t remember the password. Raiders of the Lost NeXT, anyone?