Tag Archives: Twitter

Episode 35 News: Who Watches the Watch Men?

watchIs Apple working on a wearable computer? The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and several blogs reported rumors this week that the company is developing a curved glass smart watch and possibly a smart TV. Skeptics, (including the former Fake Steve Jobs blogger, Dan Lyons) suggest the sudden flood of rumors might be an attempt to boost that sagging stock price. Will this latest round of smartwatch attempts (including the Pebble Kickstarter project) gain traction this time around?

Here in New York City this week, Inkling showed off its new Habitat software for making digital books, as well as a tool called the Inkling Content Delivery Platform for searching through books. Inkling’s new software and services makes e-book collaboration quick and relatively easy and could challenge Amazon and Apple in the e-textbook space.

Some children are quick studies as it is — a spokesman for the AVG antivirus company told the BBC that it’s found kids are writing their own malicious software to hack accounts on gaining sites and social networks to do things like steal virtual currency. But learning code and mastering technology is part of a well-rounded education these days and a study at the University of California-Irvine has shown that medical students in an innovative, iPad-based educational program scored an average of 23-percent higher on their national exams than students using traditional study materials.

On the mobile front, Apple released a new update designed to fix 3G issues and other problems on the iPhone 4S. Android 4.2.2. is also now available for phones and tablets that can run it. Google’s update fixes Bluetooth audio-streaming issues. The BlackBerry Z10 and new system software are getting good early buzz in Europe and Canada, but Home Depot has said that it’s dropping the platform.

Microsoft is keeping busy and is said to be working on interactive TV content for the Xbox Live platform. There also seems to be something of a demand for the new 128-gigabyte Microsoft Surface Pro, the thousand-dollar tablet that can actually run Windows programs. While Windows 8 has taken its knocks, primarily from non-touchscreen laptop users, the system still has one big fan — former chairman Bill Gates who called the system a “huge advance.” Gates made the remarks in an Ask Me Anything interview over on the Reddit site.

And finally, American Express is rolling out a new program that lets cardholders link up their plastic with their Twitter accounts and buy things with tweets. To use it, an American Express cardholder needs to register their cards to sync with their Twitter accounts on a page on the Amex Web site. A $25 Amex Gift Card can also be had for the low, low discount price of $15 by tweeting #BuyAmexGiftCard25 with a synced account. The deals and products for purchase-by-tweet are still limited, but as The Consumerist dubbed it, Twitter is turning Hashtags into Cashtags. This sort of thing could be a dangerous thing for impulse buyers who are constantly on Twitter, especially if the technology somehow finds its way into a wearable computer…like a smartwatch.

Episode 34 News: Now Is the Winter of Our Facebook Discontent

The Super Bowl is over and according to the Marketing Land site, Twitter was the winner of the Social Media Bowl, getting mentioned in 50% of the commercials shown during the game. #HashtagsRule! But about 250,000 Twitter accounts were hacked last week, perhaps prompting Twitter  to step up its security measures, as someone at the Guardian noticed a Twitter job posting for a security gig.

Facebook, which turned nine this week, will soon be letting its users know when ads from its FBX ad exchange are targeting them. In addition to serving up ads that track you, Facebook is also said to be working on mobile software that tracks the location of its users, even if they don’t have the Facebook app open at the time. As Bloomberg News points out, such a tracking app “could help Facebook sell ads based on users’ whereabouts and daily habits. It may also raise the hackles of consumers and privacy advocates concerned about the company’s handling of personal information.”

In a perhaps related development, a new Pew Research Internet study out this week found some people are suffering from Facebook Fatigue. The Pew study found that one in four people surveyed plan to cut back on their Facebook usage in 2013.

On the hardware scene, Dell Computer is going from a public to a private company and transitioning from maker of inexpensive PCs to an enterprise-solutions company. Cheap computers are one thing, but it may be hard to beat the Raspberry Pi, which just released its $25 model; the Pi was also recently featured in The New York Times. And IBM plans to bring some of the same technology used by Watson, the super-smart Jeopardy-playing supercomputer, to its new Power Express servers for the small business market.

monarchsResearchers at the University of Leicester revealed that the remains of the English king Richard III have been buried under a parking lot for the past 500-odd years. DNA testing and other scientific tools helped confirm the identity of the skeleton, which did have a spinal deformity as historians and even Shakespeare have noted. No contemporary paintings of the not-very-popular-at-the-time king when he was alive have ever been found, but scientists used computer simulations to reconstruct a life-like model of what Richard actually looked like. (Those members of the British monarchy sure get around, don’t they?)

Meanwhile, up on Mars, the Curiosity rover is still running tests in preparation for the big drilling adventure.

And finally, we’re headed into awards season good and proper now. The Grammys are this weekend, the Oscars are at the end of the month and the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers has announced its nominations for its 12th Annual Awards. Let’s see what fancy commercials all these awards can attract.

 

Episode 34: Movie Talk with J.D. and El Kaiser

The Academy Awards ceremony is a few weeks away and if you haven’t watched all of the nominated films no need to fret because Pop Tech Jam has you covered! J.D. tells us where to catch the winners and losers…legally. In the news, this year’s Super Bowl is the most interactive in history; Twitter gets hacked; Facebook continues pushing the  envelope; and Microsoft helps Dell go private.

Episode 33: Back in Black…um…Berry

J.D. shows us how to navigate the Notifications Center on Apple’s Mountain Lion OS and Pedro has some stuff he needs to get off his chest. Let the ranting begin! In the news, Research in Motion becomes BlackBerry; Apple releases an updated iPad and a new version of its iOS; plus Twitter and Google release new transparency reports.

Episode 33 News: “Siri, Get Me Tickets for ‘Star Wars VII,’ NOW!”

Data Privacy Day is January 28th each year, so start planning your 2014 parties now! Twitter and Google celebrated the event this week by releasing stats for requests from government and rights holders concerning material on the sites. To check out the stats in detail, visit Twitter’s transparency page and Google’s Transparency Report.

While Google was talking about privacy this week, it also unveiled a more detailed map of North Korea, a country known for its intensely reclusive approach to privacy. The map, created by the help of citizen cartographers including some from South Korea, shows subway stops, schools and hospitals in the capital, Pyongyang.

haretvA digital edition of Anne Frank’s diary is now available as an app for the iPad and the Barnes & Noble Nook in the United Kingdom, with a US release expected to follow. If you find your 64-gigabyte iPad is stuffed to the max, Apple just announced a bigger capacity version of its fourth-generation iPad and the company also released iOS 6.1 this week. The update contains the usual security and bug fixes as well as the ability to tell the Siri assistant to buy you movie tickets with Fandango. The little black Apple TV also got a software update, which now lets the set-top box work with Apple’s Bluetooth wireless keyboard (and other Bluetooth keyboards), and manage music better.

Facebook had an update for its iOS app as well, a week after it updated the Android version of its mobile software with voicemail, video recording and other perks. Twitter’s video-sharing service, Vine, arrived week the iPhone and iPod Touch and is already a favorite for people who like to share those really special pornographic moments.

Research in Motion held is BlackBerry OS 10 launch this week. In addition to announcing new phones and software and changing its corporate name to “BlackBerry,” the company confirmed that the BB10 OS is will eventually make its way to the BlackBerry Playbook tablet.

Yahoo is also trying to climb back from mediocrity and beat its fourth-quarter earnings estimates by 14 percent and YouTube is set to launch channels that require paid subscriptions. Microsoft has finally officially launched Office 2013 desktop productivity software and its Office 365 premium Web service this week.

Up on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover continues its testing in preparation for drilling into a rock to collect a sample. And while the rover going through drilling drills is exciting, it was the news about J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars VII that really sent a tremor through the Force. (The announcement even inspired an online musical number with a tap-dancing Darth Vader.) A new hope for the galaxy, indeed.

 

Episode 30 News: Gonna Build a LEGO Mindstorm Dalek

The holidays are over and we’re back to business. While Apple just announced it hit the 40 billion downloads mark for its App Store since it opened for business in mid-2008, it may not be enough to beat Google to the Million App Mark this year, as growth-rate calculations favor the Google Play Store to get there first. Google Play is currently estimated to have 800,000 apps available. Android-based devices are also taking a bite out of Apple’s iPhone sales. ComScore’s November 2012 Mobile Subscriber Market Share Report shows Samsung on top with 26.9 percent of US sales compared to Apple’s 18.5 percent of users. The iPhone also has a Consumer Reports ranking behind Samsung and LG handsets.

Way back in 2010, the Library on Congress signed an agreement with Twitter to gain access to all public tweets sent since the microblogging service went live in 2006. As of last week, the archive now holds 170 billion Twitter messages and continues to grow. If you have an unprotected Twitter account, odds are, you’ve been archived. So remember, tweet for posterity!

carebears

Walmart has enhanced its Vudu To Go app for the PC and Mac and will soon let customers do their disc-to-digital copies at home without having the schlep a bunch of previously purchased DVD and Blu-Ray discs to the nearest Wal-Mart for conversion. AT&T is also dabbling in the streaming business with its new $5-a-month U-Verse Screen Pack, although it doesn’t quite have the massive inventory of Netflix. Still, if you have AT&T U-Verse and want to stream flicks like St. Elmo’s Fire, Hudson Hawk and The Care Bears Movie all month, it’ll cost you less than a movie ticket, even with matinee pricing.

Get ready Lego Mindstorms EV3! The new kit, due out in the late summer/early fall features all kinds of fun stuff for your do-it-yourself robot. The $350 EV3 system includes an infrared sensor, the ability to be controlled by a smartphone or tablet and a Linux-based system for programming the robot. Remember kids, practice your robotics and someday maybe you can build rovers for NASA missions. (Speaking of NASA. The agency has scheduled a press conference at the Johnson Space Center next Thursday, January 17, to preview the next two missions to the International Space Station.)

And finally, Walt Disney theme parks are going high-tech with the new MyMagic+ vacation management system, which comebines a new integrated Web site, mobile app and electronic wrist bracelet called the MagicBand to handle all your scheduling, housing and monetary needs during your stay in the Mouse House. The potential for data gathering and tracking has not gone unnoticed by privacy advocates, but the MyMagic+ system won’t be mandatory. It may be a small world (after all) — but big data is growing.

Episode 18 News: X Marks the Spot. Or Not.

Another iPhone hitting stores isn’t big news, but an Apple FAIL does tend to generate some buzz. As many users complained, the new iOS 6 Maps app still seems to be a work in progress with entire towns and cities missing, duplicate islands, misplaced location pins, incorrect names and stores that have long been out of business.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak even commented on the situation at an Apple event in Australia. If you’re an Apple Maps user and find a mistake, you can report the problem to Apple in hopes of getting it corrected. And/Or you can post a funny picture to the Amazing iOS6 Maps Tumblr. While Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Apple would have to approve a new standalone Google Maps app in the App Store, the company is said to be working on it. While the iOS Maps app may take a few months to arrive, Google did find some time in its schedule to update its own Google Play Books app for Android this week.

Samsung continues to pester Apple with TV and print ads touting its Galaxy S3 smartphone over the iPhone 5, but according the The Next Web, a security researcher has found a bug in certain Android smartphones. If exploited, the flaw may allow an attacker to perform a factory reset on vulnerable devices, just by embedding a link on a website or sending a text message. A video shows a phone running the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android displaying the flaw. (Malware has also popped up in Twitter direct messages, so be on guard from friends who send a link about you being in a Facebook video.)

And speaking of The Social Network, Facebook is working with the data-mining firm Datalogix in the hopes of showing to marketers that consumers who see ads on the social network actually buy the products advertised. Facebook users are automatically included in these Datalogix advertising studies, and cannot directly opt out through their Facebook settings. Instead, they must go to the Datalogix privacy page and opt out there. And in other Facebook Paranoia news, reports from France earlier this week claim the site is posting private messages from 2009 and earlier on users’ public timelines; Facebook denies these claims. (Still if Facebook annoys you and Google+ doesn’t thrill you, hey, there’s always Myspace —which is getting ready to bust out a redesign.)

Also hoping for a comeback: Research in Motion. The BlackBerry 10 system is going into another beta. BB10’s new features include the ability to have separate personal and work profiles—with the ability to run apps from both simultaneously while keeping the data from each profile separate.

Barnes & Noble isn’t letting Amazon and Apple have all the Big Tablet Fun, and introduced its own new Nook HD tablets this week, along with a streaming video service. Like video, videogames may be bypassing the console streaming directly to your television sometime in the near future, too.

And finally, the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that NASA officials would like to construct a “gateway spacecraft” that would hover in orbit on the far side of the moon. The project is still a long way off from becoming a reality, but when it does, Google will probably map it first — and more accurately.

Episode 17: Faster Than Light, Baby!

The Fall TV season is here and J.D. helps us use our mobile devices to look for what to watch plus Pedro has a new Tech Term. In the news, a new security vulnerability affects almost all IE browsers; blinged out cameras; the world’s most powerful camera; and warp drives may make the leap from science-fiction to science-fact.

Episode 10 News: Summer Games

The 2012 Olympics are underway in London and although social media and streaming apps are bigger than they’ve ever been during the Games, not everything is going swimmingly. The US television network NBC has been getting some criticism as viewers complained about the Opening Ceremony commentary and for editing out a sensitive section of the show that dealt with terrorism

The tweetstorm also raged against Twitter when company suspended the account of journalist Guy Adams after he posted an NBC exec’s corporate e-mail address as part of a rant about the TV coverage. (The Adams account was soon reinstated, but the whole episode should have won Twitter a gold medal in the Synchronized Kneejerk event. But at least the company has apologized.)

Facebook, another pillar of online activity, has its own issue this week with allegations of click-fraud. Limited Run, a small startup company, said it could not verify 80 percent of the clicks on its advertisements and wonders “Who let the bots out?” Limited Run (which has deleted its Facebook page) was also involved in another spat with Facebook over changing the name of its company page. Facebook has said it’s looking into these matters.

Hulu Plus has landed on the Apple TV, but what the tech blogs are more concerned with is that Apple may be making new product announcements on September 12. While we wait to find out, we can always try out Google’s revamp of video chat for Gmail.

Not everyone is down with Valve Software’s efforts to bring Steam games to the Linux paltform. Richard Stallman, the founder of The GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation, has some concerns. Whatever your feelings on the matter, we hear Left 4 Dead 2 (4 Linux) is coming along nicely. Also on a gaming note, Ubisoft has patched a major security vulnerability in its Uplay browser plug-in. Players, please update your software.

We’re into August (and our 10th episode!) and there’s still time to enjoy the idle pleasures of just parking it for summer with visits to state parks, car trips to National Parks and all-day passes to theme parks. Just wait until they fix the Superman Ultimate Flight roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California before you hop aboard, okay?

If you’re like The Kaiser, though, you may be spending your lazy days of summer upgrading your computers. (Ubuntu Linux frequently releases updates and that little company in Cupertino just popped out a new cat called OS X 10.8, you know.) As he reports this week, make sure your Mac has the hardware chops to wrestle the Cougar and prepare it properly before you jump into the App Store and slap down an electronic Jackson. The loss of the RSS Feeds feature in Safari and Mail is a bummer, but as with most things, there’s a hack to recover your lost Mail feeds for use elsewhere and a handful of other options for RSS fans who might be a tad peeved about the situation. Now that the brave and fearless early adopters have taken the Mountain Lion plunge, it won’t be long for the rest of us to catch up. Probably best to get it done before September 12th, just in case there are new things to occupy one’s attention.