Technically Speaking (July 28, 2014)

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And we’re back…Drew here,

Mike was out this week, but Jason and I hit the ground running with promises that we’ll take a look at all of the Chromecast apps that have been released over the past year. That’s right, Google’s streaming stick, the Chromecast, turned one last week. I have to admit, I use mine mainly for Netflix, and Jason for Netflix and Google Play music, but we’ll be bringing you some of the latest and greatest Chromecast apps over the next couple of weeks. The discussion, though, was of Google’s offering of 90 days of Google Play All Access, their music streaming service, to any and all Chromecast owners. All you have to do is connect to the same network as your Chromecast, and head on over to http://chromecast.com/offers.

MeshedSites is a Firefox plugin that lets you load websites over Bittorrent Sync. Rather than pulling files from a central server, the plugin adds a known “sync key” to your computer and you become a peer for the site, helping to distribute it to all who try to access. This lessens the load put on any one central server, and ensures that content will remain available if the originating device is turned off or goes down.

We talked a bit about the latest iOS decryption scandal, whereby anyone with access to a device your iOS device has synced to can access the data on the device. While you need physical access to both the phone (or iPad) and the computer, it’s still a major security flaw. There’s also no way to know what devices are “trusted” or to untrust them.

Want to support open access to the internet? Check out OpenWireless.org. They’re in phase one of their open wireless internet initiative, but they’ve got big things in the works. And, if you’re getting rid of an old computer, Jason explains how to make sure your data is irretrievably destroyed first. Here’s how one guy did it, but you don’t have to go to these extremes.

Other than a short segment on the recent Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, we rounded out the show with a narration of this YouTube clip (warning: language). Let us know what you think, at ask@wespeaktech.org.

Technically Speaking is produced at the studios of WHUS Radio, the college and community radio station at the University of Connecticut. The show is produced by Jason McMullan, Mike Fagan, and myself, Drew Gates.

Jason and I tweet @JasonMcMullan and @Aranaur, respectively. Mike doesn’t tweet @DocTeef.

Listen below or click here to download!

Until next time,

Drew Gates

Technically Speaking (July 21, 2014)

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I’m back, with this week’s dose of tech.

Comcast has a new customer retention solution. The plan? Refuse to let you cancel. The tech world is full of lousy customer support, with ISPs being no exception. Sure, there are some gems out there, but what we need, according to Mike, is one ISP to have stellar customer support with representatives who really know what they’re talking about and are willing to go all out to help. They exist, but there are too many scripts out there. Check out this recording of former Engadget editor-in-chief Ryan Block.

Amazon announced a new service last week called Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99/month users can download and read/listen to a subset of the Kindle and Audible eBook and eAudioBook libraries. Jason and I both said we’d demo the service, but Jason doesn’t think he’d subscribe, and I’m fairly confident I won’t either.

Bittorrent will be piloting a new paywall-based torrent system for the TV show “Children of the Machine” this fall. The pilot episode is coming shortly, and after that the show will only continue if users help crowd-fund the season at $9.95 each.

Check out all that and more, as well as a couple of calls, in the recording below, or download it here.

Technically Speaking is produced by Jason McMullan, Mike Fagan, and me, Drew Gates. The show airs live on Mondays at 11am EST at 91.7fm (in the Storrs, CT area) and at whus.org (everywhere else). Get in touch with us at ask@wespeaktech.org or by leaving us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119. If we talk about your question, we’ll read/play it on air.

Download the show here or listen below.

See you next week,

Drew Gates

Want to get every episode as soon as it’s posted? Click here to subscribe.

Technically Speaking (July 14, 2014)

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Drew here, with this week’s episode. Sorry it’s late, it’s been a hectic week.

Phil Johnson will no longer be appointed to lead the US Patent Office, according to the Obama administration. There was major backlash nationwide after Johnson, who’d lead the opposition against legislation that would make it easier to challenge patent trolls. This led to a discussion on problems with design patents; or how patents are being granted for features that any competent UI designer might suggest, including “Swipe to Unlock.”

We moved on to a discussion on the Raspberry Pi Model B+, the latest offering from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK foundation aiming to provide low-cost computers to teach children computer science and programming from a young age. The $35 credit-card-sized computer has found a huge market among hobbyists worldwide.

A couple of LastPass vulnerabilities were revealed last week, but both involved features that are inherently insecure, and that doesn’t change our recommendation of the service. Both vulnerabilities have been fixed at this time, but you should check and make sure you don’t have any One-Time-Passwords authorized on your account.

Should you have to give up your passwords? If you don’t, what should the penalty be? We don’t have a good answer, but if you have thoughts let us know at 860-880-0119 or email ask@wespeaktech.org. This stems from Christopher Wilson’s being jailed for refusing to give up his encryption keys (though he gave the fuzz 50 false passwords first).

Technically Speaking is produced by Jason McMullan, Mike Fagan, and me, Drew Gates. The show airs live on Mondays at 11am EST at 91.7fm (in the Storrs, CT area) and at whus.org (everywhere else). Get in touch with us at ask@wespeaktech.org or by leaving us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119. If we talk about your question, we’ll read/play it on air.

Download the show here or listen below.

See you next week,

Drew Gates

Want to get every episode as soon as it’s posted? Click here to subscribe.

Technically Speaking (July 7th, 2014)

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Drew here, story below:

The new low-end iMac ($1099 from Apple) isn’t really worth your time, we decided. The 21.5 inch box is the internals of a Macbook Air in an iMac. For basic work it’d be fine, but we’d recommend checking out ChromeOS if most of what you’re doing is in the web.

Next off, Android Wear released today, will it take off? Jason doesn’t think it will, and doesn’t want it to. I like the idea of smartwatches with the sizes of current phones, but I’d much rather have a smaller phone.

We addressed a question from a user about the aspect ratio of your computer screen being out-of-sync. Start the recording about 30 minutes in for that discussion.

Ouya, who brought you the $99 Android-powered gaming console (and the second-most-funded Kickstarter project ever), just announced an all-access pass for games for the console. For $60, you’ll get a coupon code that will make all games for the device free for the next year. There’s been no announcement regarding the long-term existence of this service, as it’s been announced as only being available “for a limited time.”

Quite a bit of digital rights news this week, but we chose to focus on the UK’s Child Safety filter, the nationwide opt-out internet filter now blocking 20% of the world’s 100,000 most popular websites. Jason and I were in agreement that it’s definitely a problem, check out the recording for the full discussion.

We rounded off the show with a couple of minutes on games. Jason talked about season two of the Walking Dead game, and I spent a quick thirty seconds on Goat Simulator before we were out of time.

Technically Speaking is produced by Jason McMullan, Mike Fagan, and me, Drew Gates. The show airs live on Mondays at 11am EST at 91.7fm (in the Storrs, CT area) and at whus.org (everywhere else). Get in touch with us at ask@wespeaktech.org or by leaving us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119. If we talk about your question, we’ll read/play it on air.

Download the show here or listen below.

See you next week,

Drew Gates

Want to get every episode as soon as it’s posted? Click here to subscribe.

Technically Speaking (June 30, 2014)

Drew here, with this week’s episode of Technically Speaking.

After a fair amount of teasing, we had a quick discussion on Web 2.0 and car purchases. We started off discussing the flaws in the the Kelley Blue Book website (how painful we found it to navigate) and we moved from there into a discussion on how to write a decent Craigslist ad (include pictures and all of the information you can). One line of text in ALL CAPS doesn’t cut it. That may be fine of the classifieds, but you need something more for Craigslist if you want to make a good impression.

Our first formal conversation was on the recent Supreme Court ruling on Aereo, which decided that their business constituted copyright infringement. What does this mean, though? If I have a friend in Manhattan who lives at the top of the building and gets great TV reception, am I no longer allowed to pay them to set up my computer and antenna there to stream the data back to my house for my personal use? The Court’s ruling was narrow, so we’ll have to wait and see how far this goes. We were split over whether broadcast TV will or should go away in the next few years. It could be great for radio, right?

60-year old Jason Humphreys was upset about other drivers talking on the phone around him, so he started driving around with a cell phone jammer in the back of his SUV. The FCC found out, and he’s now on the hook for $48,000 for illegal operation of a signal-jamming device. Here’s a tip: While this was clever, don’t do this. You could actually cause people to lose their lives by blocking the signals of emergency responders, or by causing people to be more distracted as they check to see why their GPS isn’t working.

We talked once again about wearables, now that Android Wear has been anounced. Mike promised a full review of his Pebble for next week. I’m not sold on any of the new entries from Samsung, LG, and Motorola because there’s no way I’m going to charge my watch every day (the Pebble gets at least a few days).

After a short discussion on set-top boxes (Roku seems like the winner, at least for now, but the Chromecast is great), we rounded off the show with a discussion on the Supreme Court descision on cell phone searches. Namely, that authorities will now need a warrant in order to search your cell phone.

Technically Speaking is produced by Jason McMullan, Mike Fagan, and myself, Drew Gates. The show airs live on Mondays at 11am EST at 91.7fm (in the Storrs, CT area) and at whus.org (everywhere else). Get in touch with us at ask@wespeaktech.org or by leaving us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119. If we talk about your question, we’ll read/play it on air.

Download the show here or listen below.

See you next week,

Drew Gates

Want to get every episode as soon as it’s posted? Click here to subscribe.

Technically Speaking (June 23rd, 2014)

After starting the show with a quick discussion on AvoidHumans.com and social location services (pointless to a small group, great in aggregate), we dove into an analysis of Amazon’s announcement of the Fire Phone. Amazon’s first entry into the flagship smartphone market is geared very much towards those already ingrained into Amazon’s ecosystem, and the phone is built to compete with the likes of the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line. While the hardware isn’t the best we’ve seen, it’s reasonable competitve. Our take: the phone will probably see marginal market share, but will likely outsell the Windows Phone line within the USA. Mike and Jason weren’t sold, but I said I’d consider it depending on the price and it’s eventual availability on Verizon.

Robert Morris University in Illinois is now offering eSports scholarships, specifically relating to League of Legends performance. Potential students could see up to $19,000/year (50% of tuition, room, and board). The team was conflicted on our stance on the topic, agreeing to disagree.

The show was rounded out with discussions on iFixIt’s tear-down of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 (nothing’s really fixable or replaceable without causing serious damage) and the arrest of 8 bloggers in Iran who were accused of having ties to enemy media and for purportedly having “plotted a soft overthrow of the Iranian regime.”

Check out the entire show by hitting play on the player at the bottom of this post.

Technically Speaking is your weekly source for technology news and discussion. The show airs live on Mondays at 11am, at whus.org and 91.7fm in the Storrs, CT area.

If you have technology problems or questions, leave us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119 at any time during the week. You can also email technicallyspeaking@whus.org or tweet @whustech.

Technically Speaking is produced by Drew Gates, Jason McMullan, and Mike Fagan in the studios of <http://www.whus.org>WHUS Radio at the University of Connecticut.

–Drew Gates

Technically Speaking (June 16, 2014)

Today, we discussed Amazon’s announcement of Prime Music, and compared the various music streaming services. Drew and Carl (WHUS Production Director) sided with those who prefer to purchase physical CDs, guaranteeing their permanent ownership of their music, rather than using a subscription service. Jason uses Google Play All-Access, which he loves, but adds that he enjoys that he utilizes the ability to upload his own music to supplement their collection.

We also discussed a flaw that was discovered in the Bitcoin software allowing the group or person providing the majority of computing power to make illegal transactions, which could mean dire things for the crypto-currency if not remedied.

Apple is introducing Handshake in the upcoming update to OS X, a system that provides for forwarding calls and texts from your phone to your computer via iMessage. While third-party services have been able to do this for years, this is Apple’s next step into the all-in-one ecosystem they’ve been developing for years.

We rounded out the show with a discussion ending in a desire for Disney to acquire Nintendo, and a quick mention of Microsoft’s recently-announced Halo collection for the Xbox One.

Technically Speaking is your weekly source for technology news and discussion. The show airs live on Mondays at 11am, at whus.org and 91.7fm in the Storrs, CT area.

If you have technology problems or questions, leave us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119 at any time during the week. You can also email technicallyspeaking@whus.org or tweet @whustech.

Technically Speaking is produced by Drew Gates, Jason McMullan, and Mike Fagan in the studios of <http://www.whus.org>WHUS Radio at the University of Connecticut. Mike was out this week, and is anticipated to return for next week’s edition.

–Drew Gates

Check out the recording below:

Technically Speaking (June 2, 2014)

Today, Mike and I discussed self-driving cars, and we decided that unless everyone started using them at the same time, it would be a total mess. We also discussed the chaos and confusion resulting from Truecrypt’s mysterious annoucement that they’d be shutting down development last week, and we rounded it out with a segment on games, talking about Frank Albert’s Kickstarter project “Pixel Glory,” among others. For more info, check out the show below.

Tecnically Speaking is your weekly source for technology news and discussion. The show airs live on Mondays at 11am, at whus.org and 91.7fm in the Storrs, CT area.

If you have technology problems or questions, leave us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119 at any time during the week. You can also email technicallyspeaking@whus.org or tweet @whustech.

Technically Speaking is produced by Drew Gates, Jason McMullan, and Mike Fagan in the studios of <http://www.whus.org>WHUS Radio at the University of Connecticut. Jason was out this week on a jaunt through Europe, and is anticipated to return for next week’s edition.

–Drew Gates

Check out the recording below:

 

Technically Speaking (May 5, 2014)

On today’s show, we spoke about Google Glass and its high entry cost for developers. Mike argued that something needed to be done about financially boxing-out new developers. Microsoft released a Windows XP patch for last week’s Internet Explorer exploit. There was also a discussion on hard-drive specs in response to a question from a caller.

Technically Speaking is your weekly source for technology news and discussion. The show airs Mondays at 11am on 91.7fm in the Storrs, CT area, and online at whus.org.

If you have technology problems or questions, leave us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119 at any time during the week. You can also email technicallyspeaking@whus.org or tweet @whustech.

Technically Speaking is produced by Drew Gates, Jason McMullan, and Mike Fagan in the studios of WHUS Radio at the University of Connecticut.

Listen to the full show here:

Technically Speaking (April 28, 2014)

On today’s show, we went off topic on a discussion that led from Drew’s new computer build to Mike’s future computer build, to a long discussion on content, DRM, and digital rights. We talked about HBO’s licensing agreement with Amazon that starts towards the end of May, DRM in HTML5, and the future of content distribution platforms (along with the fall of Silverlight we’re all hoping for). Mike (now know as Doc Teef) even sang us the jingle he wrote in which he spells out his name (D-O-C-T-Double E-F).

Technically Speaking is your weekly source for technology news and discussion. The show airs Mondays at 11am on 91.7fm in the Storrs, CT area, and online at whus.org.

If you have technology problems or questions, leave us a voicemail at (860) 880-0119 at any time during the week. You can also email technicallyspeaking@whus.org or tweet @whustech.

Technically Speaking is produced by Drew Gates, Jason McMullan, and Mike Fagan in the studios of WHUS Radio at the University of Connecticut.

Listen to the full show here: