It’s a weird assortment of topics this week. Panic via mob-mentality ensues at JFK International airport, a dowsing schemes scams Iraq out of – get this – sixty MILLION dollars!
Google is teasing a new OS – codenamed Fuchsia – possibly to bring the Internet of Things even more into our everyday lives?
Jeff can finally revel in his Duck Hunt record-holding-glory – that is if he ever takes the time to go and find his old records. That’s right – the entire history of Nintendo Power ended up in an online archive that you (yes, YOU) can go search. Find Jeff’s claim or just relive your childhood… whatev’es. http://nparchive.net
Yik Yak – the anonymous, location-based chatting service that was crazy popular with high school & college kids a year ago is pivoting to a non-anonymous platform. Yeah, we don’t see how that could possibly fail to draw in all of the kids who want their “handle” permanently tied to their Yik Yak account.
Sure it’s a running gag at this point, with all of the Pokemon GO talk, but this week the guys actually have a really interesting and insightful look into (and conversation about) the history of Nintendo – where they started and when all the way through their rise to dominance in the game console arena and subsequent fall from the mountain top. Can they revive themselves again with the current fascination with Pokemon GO and reap the rewards? Come, hear the guy’s take on the topic – they promise it’s actually interesting stuff!
A few of the other topics this week include:
Google Maps might soon show parking availability and calculate it’s impact on your arrival times. Google is doing what they do best and that’s crunching large amounts of data to take average parking availability into account when you use Google Maps to plan your route. They’ll soon be able to advise you when parking might be harder to find than normal & add extra time to your trip to ensure you arrive with enough time to find a spot. How cool!
Facebook announced new, un-blockable ads on their platform and Adblock Plus had them blocked within 48-hours of the announcement. Facebook has launched a new crusade to ensure that it’s users see ads, but that they’ll be wanted and targeted ads that are actually beneficial to users. Ad blocking company Adblock Plus quickly sprung into action and – of course – had an update out almost immediately that defeated Facebook’s new scheme; thus sparking a new wave of cat-and-mouse maneuvers between Facebook and ad-blocking products to see who can out-think who.
Put your keys in your microwave to prevent auto theft! Police in departments around the country are advising citizens to put their all-electronic key fobs in the fridge, microwave, or other metal box to completely block the RF signal. High-tech thieves are now using signal amplifiers to make your car think the key is right next to it, when in actuality it’s inside on your counter. The car is happy to unlock itself and let the thieves make off with any valuables within. Right now there’s not a great solution other than parking inside a garage or making it impossible for thieves to amplify the signal from the fob. So – you know – get yo’self a Faraday cage… or a microwave.
The ring-themed sporting event is in full swing and the guys are back to talk a little sports, a little tech, and more!
Using iOS? Love new apps? Check out EasilyDo’s Email for iOS. It’s a blazing-fast email app that handles Gmail, AOL, Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo, and IMAP. Exchange support is supposed to be coming out this summer, too. It’s a pretty slick app, and it’s currently free! http://www.easilydomail.com/
Remember that “Alien Megastructure” from last year? Scientists speculated that it could be anything from a fluke to a Dyson Sphere. Well it’s back in the news and acting more wonky than ever (yes, that’s a technical term). New research shows the star’s luminosity and power is dipping, and scientists are scratching their heads trying to figure out why!
Amazon launches Amazon Prime Air and unveils it’s first cargo plane; Amazon One. They plan to lease more than 40 planes in total to build their own cargo transportation system to backup their over 4,000 trailers and Amazon Flex which allows vetted individuals to deliver Amazon packages in their own private vehicles. At what point does Amazon just buy UPS or FedEx and get it over with?
Augmented Reality might be the killer app of the next decade, and we have (largely) Pokemon GO! to thank for that. AR is a burgeoning technology that is being looked at to not only “catch ’em all” but to help identify counterfeit and fake products and help ensure institutions and individuals are actually getting what they’re paying for. Researchers including Amazon’s A9 Innovations and the US military are working on AR solutions to identifying legitimate and illegitimate products to help ensure authenticity, but forgers are always one step ahead – so combining extremely advanced techniques including DNA data storage with AR tools is one way these companies are working to stay ahead.
This week the guys have on a special guest; Chris Spangle.
Chris is the Digital Director for the nationally syndicated, top rated morning comedy radio show The Bob & Tom Show as well as the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of We Are Libertarians (a podcast that “brings all of the irreverence modern politics deserves”).
The guys have Chris on to discuss creating and running a successful podcast, how new media and technology is integrating with “dying” mediums like terrestrial radio, of course some political chit-chat and more.
To follow Chris, check out his site – We Are Libertarians – at http://wearelibertarians.com/. He has a ton of great shows & content online through his network.
Chris’s bio: Chris was raised in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Plainfield High School in 2002. He attended IUPUI where he was the College Republicans President during the 2004 elections. While working on Andy Horning’s Congressional campaign in 2004, Horning inspired Spangle to research the libertarian philosophy. Spangle went on to work at Newstalk 1430 AM, WXNT for 5 years as a producer and reporter. During his last year there he was the producer of “Abdul in the Morning,” the premier political talk show in Indianapolis. It was during this time that he witnessed first-hand how broken the two-party system is, although he had been a life-long Republican, he decided to work to grow the Libertarian Party of Indiana and to affect social and political change in a libertarian direction.
He began running the day-to-day operations of the LPIN in October of 2008 and left in December of 2012. During his time as the Executive Director he oversaw the complete overhaul of the LPIN website, expanded their marketing to include social media, implemented the Libertarian training center and the LP 101 website and classes as well as recruited and trained hundreds of Libertarian candidates. He is still heavily involved in the LPIN.
Spangle went on to work in marketing for the Englehart Group, a political consulting and marketing firm in Indianapolis. One of his main clients is the Advocates for Self-Government, the premier libertarian organization giving libertarians the tools to effectively share the message with the general public.
He now works as the web director of a nationally syndicated morning show.
He is the publisher and editor of We Are Libertarians, a news site and podcast that covers national and Indiana politics from the libertarian perspective. He is the founder of WAL Radio Network, which brings you podcasts about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He also served as the Chairman of the Board of Free Enterprise Schools, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding school choice. His favorite charity is Rupert’s Kids. Check them out.
Spangle’s view of libertarianism is as follows: “Almost every problem in society can be solved by more freedom and liberty, not less. More specifically, we value Individualism, Individual Rights, Spontaneous Order, The Rule of Law, Limited Government, Free Markets, The Virtue of Production, Natural Harmony of Interests, Peace. http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/key-concepts-libertarianism.”
Spangle resides in Indianapolis, IN with his two cats, Mittens and Cornelius.
This week the guys can’t seem to stop talking about Jeff’s newest obsession; Pokemon Go! He even has to take a break before the show starts to catch a “rare” Pikachu.
We’ve got a winner!
Jimmy Gandy is the winner of our Android T-Shirt giveaway. Stay tuned for future contests, ’cause everyone likes free stuff, right?
Jacob & Jeff share an iOS 10 beta update. Both have been rocking it for a while now and find it to be, overall, pretty darn stable. Jeff gives the new notification center setup high marks.
‘Friendly’ GMO mosquitoes have been successfully tested against dengue fever – there are hopes that they might be able to leverage this breakthrough to help combat Zika (which is carried in the same species; the aedes aegypti).
Jacob has a conundrum with his Comcast service – the outside line is kerplunkt. How to get Comcast to recognize that he doesn’t need to reboot his modem, and a tech needs to come out and replace the coax cable? Listeners – your thoughts and ideas?
The meat of the show: Mmmmmm…. meat!
Researchers hit record storage density by writing bits with single atoms. A new system has a density of 500 terabits per square inch, but requires being cooled to -333 degrees Fahrenheit and access to a S-T electron microscope. You know, stuff you probably have handy right on your desk? The cool thing is that using this storage technique could yield fantastic amounts of data storage in incredibly small amounts of space. How small? A 2D circuit with this technology, the size of a postage stamp could hold data equivalent to all of the books ever written by mankind so far.
Edward Snowden is designing an iPhone case. From the what-the-heck?! Department; this is an on-going collaboration with Andrew “Bunnie” Huang that was detailed during an event at MIT Media Lab. The case is designed to monitor signals sent to the smartphone’s internal antennas to determine whether the device is transmitting data that can put users at risk of detection – particularly people in precarious positions like journalists in embattled areas. It’s still a prototype design – for now. Interesting though, since even when your phone is “off” it can still be pinging towers & beaming out information without your knowledge.
This week the guys are back, talking tech & tech news (what else is new?). Listeners Kye & John write in with some helpful tips on using two-factor authentication via SMS & why you should be wary of that and if you’re running Symantic AV there’s a critical bug that could allow your machine(s) to get infected without you even doing anything. Keep your apps updated & patch, people!
Samsung’s new memory format
Samsung has created a new flash storage scheme; Universal Flash Storage (UFS) to try to take on the microSD memory market. UFS is expected to introduce significant performance enhancements when compared against its predecessor, microSD.
Set to be available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 32GB all the way up to 256GB, UFS cards are capable of offering more than five times faster sequential read performance. The UFS cards will be able to handle 530MB/s, which is similar to that of a PC SSD. The new cards will also offer a random read rate of 40,000 IOPS, more than 20 times that of microSD. So – yay – another standard to adopt for certain hardware. *cough*Memory Stick*cough*
iOS 10 Public Beta
Jacob bit the bullet and upgraded his iPhone – his daily driver – to the iOS 10 Beta that dropped a few weeks ago. Generally stable, there is some app whackiness that you’ll get when a new version of iOS drops. Developers will need to tweak their apps in anticipation of the fall release.
There are some really nice changes coming – the new way Apple is handling notifications and the lock screen is pretty awesome. It’ll take a little getting used to, but once you have adjusted to the new way of interacting with the lock screen widgets and notifications in general, it’s really much nicer.
The photos app updates are a welcome addition; the new Memories feature is downright amazing (if not original, but it definitely has that Apple polish). The iMessages updates are… updated? We’re sure they’ll appeal to a very specific demographic (teens) more than others.
As far as betas go – this one seems pretty stable. If you’re willing to put up with some fairly (so far) minor inconveniences it’s worth giving it a go to try the cutting edge of iOS builds!
Watch out for that truck!
Tesla’s Autopilot has had its first deadly crash. A Model S driver using the car’s semi-autonomous Autopilot feature died when the car hit an 18-wheeler, the first known fatality involving technology that remains in beta testing. Apparently the car’s sensors couldn’t detect the all-white semi trailer against a bright blue sky & the brakes were not automatically applied.
Tesla doesn’t bill this technology as a true autonomous driving system – they advise that drivers stay behind the wheel and alert at all times. They system has already taken heat from drivers posting videos online of them riding in the back seat, playing games, and more. We can barely trust drivers who are actively driving a vehicle; give them an illusion of autonomous features & they’re gonna’ zone right out.
Life in two dimensions?
Some physicists believe that the universe we live in might be a hologram. The idea is that even though we appear to live in a three-dimensional universe, it might only have two dimensions. It’s called the holographic principle.
The thinking goes like this: Some distant two-dimensional surface contains all the data needed to fully describe our world — and like in a hologram, this data is projected to appear in three dimensions. And, the laws of physics seem to make more sense when written in two dimensions!
Breakthroughs in aging
Michael West, known as the father of regenerative medicine, gave a talk last week that historians will remember as the world’s first look at the biotechnology that changed everything forever. At the annual meeting of Mensa, he reported on the progress of regenerative medicine—from the stem cell breakthroughs that he pioneered to his current research.
West’s presentation—despite his calm understated manner—is frankly staggering. It is a roadmap to the development of a biotechnology that can cure the worst diseases and traumas. It can even reverse human aging.
This week the guys bring on fan of the show, fellow geek, and supporter Dennis Heinle to discuss home automation options, how to get started, pitfalls to avoid, and how the home automation space has changed even in the past few years.
Home automation made easy?
If you’ve been curious how to wire up your home, control your lights, manage your door locks, open and close your garage, and get notifications when windows are opened – you’ll want to check this episode out! The guys were surprised that the prices have fallen a bit even in the last 12 months and getting in is easier now than ever.
With that being said, it’s still going to require a bit of DIY initiative and elbow grease to make everything work well together and place nice. And there’s still not really a single go-to company that’s making a fully ready-to-go-no-tech-experience-required system that’s fully integrated and family friendly. Still, it’s a fun hobby to tinker with, and it’s finally getting to the point where you can roll it out in your home without upsetting your family too much!
What we love
Jacob loves his Xikar Xi2 cigar cutter. Cheap, sharp, and comes with a lifetime warranty: http://amzn.to/29qogJf
This week the guys are wielding dual-mobile stories; Android and iPhone! Two will enter, who will win? Plenty of iPhone and Android guff to keep you all entertained.
How about a GIANT nerf gun? Rocket Scientist and all-around froody dude, Mark Rober, built a giant Nerf gun that actually fires “darts” over 100 yards! Check out this video… WANT!
Didja know that FEMA informally uses the status of Waffle House restaurants in disaster-sticken areas as a yardstick for how bad things are? Yep, they call it the Waffle House Index. It’s a totally legit measure, too. If Waffle House is closed, you know things have gone sideways in your town! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waffle_House_Index
Todd is excited to announce that the Sony Xperia X is now available! And you absolutely shouldn’t buy one. It’s underpowered and too expensive, but it has that Sony name. So… you know… good?
Finally, Jacob is delighted to report that 40 people were injured in a firewalking session at a Tony Robbins seminar in Texas. Well, he’s not excited that people were hurt, but WHY they were hurt. Apparently more than a few people were burned when they stopped to TAKE SELFIES WHILE STANDING ON THE FIRE! D’oh!
iPhone 7 design appears to be ‘confirmed’ in a double leak. A few weeks ago, two case makers sent cases with identical sizing and features to the media, possibly confirming what the iP7 will look like. Hint – the rumors appear to be true – it’ll look like the 6.
Goodbye Headphone Jack: both the physical cases show no dedicated cutout for the headphone jack on either the top or bottom of the iPhone 7. Instead they confirm a dual speaker arrangement with a more symmetrical design keeping the Lightning port in the middle but allowing for a pair of speakers on either side.
Single Lens, Boosted Rear Camera: The second aspect both leaked case designs separately confirmed is the iPhone 7 will not be getting the dual camera setup of the iPhone 7+. But it will be getting a much larger single rear sensor than has been seen on either the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S.
Todd’s tip of the week: 2-finger drag to the left on notifications to expand them in Android. Neat!
Todd is excited about a trio of phones from ASUS: the Zenphone 3, the Zenphone 3 Deluxe, and theZenphone 3 Ultra.
The Zenphone 3 is going to slide in at a very budget-friendly $249 with not un-impressive specs.
The Zenphone 3 Deluxe has a flag-ship processor – the same one that’s in the Galaxy S7 – and a whole host of other flagship specs at a pretty reasonable $479 price tag. Jacob is excited by the prospect of a 23 megapixel f/2.0 camera – assuming it can bring the performance in lower and low light settings.
Finally, the Zenphone 3 Ultra is a 6.8″ phablet at only $499. It also comes with a giant battery that will not only run the device, but can run in reverse so you can charge OTHER things with it. Very handy when your bluetooth headphones die on you while cutting grass, for example…
What we love…
Jeff loves his Maverick ET-733 Long range Dual probe thermometer. Plug it in, put it in your grill, and monitor the temp from the comfort of your AC cooled home. Neat! http://amzn.to/292krbJ
This week Jacob brings on special guest co-host Todd Singer to talk some Android tech!
Todd’s an accountant for a bakery – and hopefully gets all the donuts he can handle as part of the perk package. He’s married with 2 kids, and his hobbies include PC video gaming (currently Diablo 3), playing tennis, and reading about personal finance / investing. WARNING: he’s a political junkie; a hardcore Libertarian. In the past, he has even served as the State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Indiana; but now holds the more prestigious position of Treasurer of the Cedar Elementary PTO. The ups and downs of politics, man…
Topics on-deck for this episode
Lenovo Moto Z announces the removal of the headphone jack. The new Moto Z will eschew the headphone jack in favor of an adapter for the USB Type-C connector on the phone. It’ll be a svelte 5.19mm thin and feature snap-on accessories like an extended battery/speaker that will attach magnetically to the back. So.. yeah… that’s kind of cool.
Huawei’s South African General Manager is claiming that the company will definitely be making one of the next Nexus devices for Google this year despite rumors that they’ll both be provided by HTC. What could possibly go wrong by an exec from a distant business unit talking to reporters about a potentially breaking story? Nothing, we tells ya!
Google Photos can add location info to photos even if it’s turned off or photos come from a non-GPS enabled device. A lively discussion about generational privacy expectations & sharing ensues. Still, kinda creepy of Google to do it without clearly communicating to end-users what they’re doing.
The big story
As a dyed-in-the-wool Android fan, Todd gives a run down of the best cheap Android phones out there right now. So when your neighbor’s, cousin’s sister’s, brother’s, roommate’s uncle wants a phone and doesn’t want to spend more than a couple of Benji’s – you’ll be armed with a suggestion!