Tag Archives: Twitch

PTJ 225: Shazam!!

The hills are alive with the sound of buzzing drones, leaking data and the thwack of fake news getting smacked down. El Kaiser and J.D. discuss it all, as well as Shazam’s jump into augmented reality, smaller Windows 10 updates and Consumer Reports stepping it up to evaluate the security of new smart-home devices. Just press Play to get a fresh helping of the week’s news, a Tech Term and a (Hopefully) Helpful Hint — all in one episode!

PTJ 106: Guardians of the Geekery

Summer fun is over and El Kaiser has something to get off his chest in his Tech Term this week and JD has tips on how to stream local newscasts from most of the U.S. directly to your television.

In the news, Facebook tinkers with user newsfeeds once again; Instagram releases a new app for creating time-lapse videos;  Fashion designer Ralph Lauren tests out iOS-connected nylon shirts that track the wearer’s fitness stats at the U.S. Tennis Open Championships; Hackers take down the Sony PlayStation Network; Amazon buys the game-video streaming company Twitch; the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) sounds a warning about a new Backoff malware version; Apple begins a huge push for its Beats Music app; and Hewlett-Packardrecalls its LS-15 model AC power cords due to fire and burn hazards.

PTJ 106 News: Bait and Switch

Facebook is tinkering with user newsfeeds once again, but this time, there may not be quite the outrage from the villagers that previous fiddlings have generated. In a company blog post this week, Facebook staffers announced they were making two changes. The first is to stifle spammy, click-baiting headlines that pop up in feeds all too often. The second change is to quote “help people see links shared on Facebook in the best format” by displaying more posted items to its  “link style” format with the little picture, a headline and other information about the item .

If you’re an Instagrammer who’s also into time-lapse videos, your dreams have come true. Instagram has released a new Hyperlapse app for iOS. Hopefully, Android users won’t have to wait around too long for a compatible version.

poloThe US Open Tennis Championships are here in New York, and in addition to more people  on the 7 train to Queens for the next two weeks, there’s more news: Fashion designer Ralph Lauren is testing out iOS-connected nylon shirts that track the wearer’s fitness stats. These “Polo Tech” shirts have sensors woven into the fabric to monitor heart rate, breathing, heart-rate, steps taken and other factors. (How long before the shirts become sentient and zap you if you pick up a bag of Doritos?)

Hackers went after Sony this week, taking down the Sony PlayStation Network in a denial-of-service attack that temporarily took down the network. The group also had it in for John Smedley, the president of Sony Online Entertainment, and claimed to have tweeted a bomb threat from a Lizard Squad account that reportedly forced his American Airlines flight from Dallas to San Diego to make an unplanned stop in Phoenix.

Amazon went and grabbed the game-video streaming company Twitch out from Google and YouTube, which had been in acquisition talks with Twitch earlier this year, but is said to have pulled out due to antitrust fears. Amazon reportedly paid $970 million dollars for Twitch. The übermegastore is getting all up in Google’s online-advertisements business as well. Amazon is said to be developing its own ad software system called Amazon Sponsored Links that could grab coin from Google’s $50 billion-a-year haul with its Google Ad Words empire. And let’s not forget, Amazon also just launched its own credit-card reader and checkout software and it working to get brick-and-mortar stores to adopt its point-of-sale payment system over others. Money (that’s what Amazon wants).

DHSThose point-of-sale systems were in the headlines last fall with the epic Target hack, but that same Backoff malware that infiltrated Target’s systems is still out there and could be infecting more than a thousand businesses. This information comes from the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), who has joined forces with the U.S. Secret Service and others to sound a warning about a new Backoff malware version that’s been evading antivirus software. UPS, which announced a security breach in a bunch of its UPS Stores last week, is said to be one of the victims.

As we get closer to Labor Day, the fall season for iOS gear looms large and Apple seems to be busting a move with its newly acquired Beats Music streaming service. Many iTunes customers got email from Apple promoting the Beats Music app and Apple pushing Beats Music app via email to iTunes customers and has moved the program into the special Apps by Apple section of its online store. Guess we’ll be hearing about it soon enough.

Microsoft is also getting ready for fall. It’s whacked a hundred bucks off its Surface 2 RT tablet line until September 27th or until stocks last — which may be the point, to clear out those darn stocks.

If you don’t have cable TV but still want to record shows to watch for later, TiVo has a DVR for you — and it’s only $50, plus the standard $15 a month TiVo service fee. The new product is called the TiVo Roamio OTA and takes its input from your TV antenna instead of a cable card like other TiVo models. Cord cutters, sharpen your blades.

Also from the Department of Cords: Hewlett-Packard is recalling its LS-15 model AC power cords due to fire and burn hazards. HP said it has received 29 reports of power cords overheating and melting or charring. These incidents have resulted in two claims of minor burns and 13 claims of minor property damage. If you’ve got one of these babies, hit up the Recalls page, pronto.

hpcord

And finally, comScore has released its US Mobile App Report that looks at the growth and usage of mobile software. It also lists the current 25 most popular mobile apps in America as of June 2014. As one might except, Facebook was at the top of the heap, but no games made the list. Perhaps everyone was too busy wallowing in click-bait to get in some quality fragging time. People! Priorities!

PTJ 94: How Soon Is (Google) Now, Fellow Netizen?

El Kaiser looks at the Tech Term “netizen” and explains how the once innocuous mashup of “Internet” and “citizen” has come to represent a responsibility all of us should not take lightly.

In her (Hopefully) Helpful Hint segment J.D. takes a look at Google Now, the interactive virtual assistant from the “Big G” and tells us how it is slowly evolving and trying to stand out when compared to Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.

In the news  AT&T has sealed the deal to buy DirectTV;  YouTube rumored to be buying the videogame-streaming company Twitch;  FBI arrests over 90 suspected cyber-criminals;  Verizon continued rolling out its zippier XLTE service across the country;   and Facebook is testing an Ask button on user profiles allowing a user to inquire about  the relationship status of your online acquaintance.

PTJ 94 News: The Urge to Merge

Spring is in the air and plenty of companies seem to be in a spending mood. For starters, AT&T has sealed the deal to buy DirectTV for close to $49 billion dollars. (AT&T can walk away from the agreement the National Football League decides to take its NFL Sunday Ticket package elsewhere.) Yes, opponents of the pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal and telecom mergers in general are also speaking out about this one, too.

Although neither party is talking yet, Variety reports that YouTube, owned by Google, has crafted a deal to buy the videogame-streaming company Twitch for one billion dollars. While it had the checkbook out, Google also bought a company called Divide for an undisclosed purchase price. And while it’s not a done deal, the Re/Code site reports that Twitter may be considering an acquisition of SoundCloud.

On to fighting crime: Manhattan US Attorney and the FBI Assistant Director-in–Charge announced more than 90 arrests and law-enforcement actions in a massive global cyber-law enforcement operation. Meanwhile, the United States Department of Justice has unsealed an indictment of five members of Unit 61398 of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on hacking charges.  (In a probably unrelated incident, China has banned the use of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system on its own government computers.)

Although the Asian market may have just gotten a bit smaller with the news, Microsoft announced some new hardware this week. Going against the trend of smaller tablets, the company unveiled a bigger version of its Windows-based Surface Pro tablet. The Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch diagonal high-def screen and a bunch of other laptop-like features.

In happier news back home, Verizon is revving up the 4G LTE networks for some of its customers down south in Alabama. The new technology, called XLTE offers more wireless capacity and improved performance for wireless data customers; Verizon has been steadily adding XLTE service in many other markets around the country, including New York City. (If you’re burning your battery down uploading all those photos on the superfast network here in the Big Apple, be sure to visit one of AT&T’s mobile charging stations around town — all five boroughs get some love.)

streetcharge

In addition to thinking up new rules for Net Neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission does enforce other laws relating to telecommunications. The FCC Enforcement Bureau has come down on Sprint with a $7.5 million spanking for its failure to respect the Do Not Call List.

And finally, in case you were wondering if a certain friend is single or in a relationship, Facebook is testing an Ask button on user profiles that lets you send a gentle inquiry as to the relationship status of your acquaintance. So let’s see if Facebook’s statistics for blocks and unfriending go up in the next few weeks — or perhaps the arrival of the Step Off reply button.