Ep. 117 – Apps live IN the watch now?



The listeners have responded – enthusiastically – and AirPods have been given a big ‘ol thumbs-up.  They’re now, officially, on Jacob’s to-buy list.

Also, rumors abound on the next iPhone using some fancy tech called “substrate-like PCB (SLP)” will allow Apple to cram a bigger battery into the non-plus-iPhone, potentially giving it a similar capacity as today’s plus models. There’s definitely nothing wrong with that, but this SLP tech comes at a high cost – potentially 80% more than the traditional PCB tech Apple’s using today – which also helps cement the rumors that the next iPhone may cost as much as $1,000!

Need to surf the net anonymously or bypass pesky filtering software?  Check out the proxy unisurf.net and see if it does the trick for you.  It’s your helpful-site-of-the-week recommendation!

Todd has a rundown on the top Android Wear 2.0 announcements.

Snapchat’s Spectacles are now available to everyone to order online! $129 and no desire for privacy and they can be yours! Fun fact, Snap Inc. has filed for an IPO – to make money – but has also admitted that the Spectacles will likely cost more than they sell for, but they’re going to make up for it in volume!

In just two years Samsung slips from 3rd to 49th in Harris Poll’s US Reputation Quotient poll.  Thanks to the Galaxy Note 7 battery debacle, and the recent arrest of CEO Lee Jae-yong, consumers are a little prickly on Samsung.  Will the Galaxy S8 be able to win back consumers’ hearts and minds? Topping the list is Amazon and at the bottom – no surprise – Comcast, Volkswagen, and in dead-last Takata.

What we love:

Jeff loves his Galaxy S7 – it’s new & shiny, what’s not to like?

Todd loves the TV show The Good Place, starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. https://www.hulu.com/the-good-place

Jacob loves the SSH/VNC/RDP management tool MobaXTerm.  If you need to remotely manage machines, it’s definitely worth a look! http://mobaxterm.mobatek.net/


Ep. 116 – Pow-pow-Powerwall



The music trivia challenge: Without cheating, name Aerosmith’s first no. 1 single?  Jeff pulled the answer right out, but can you?

AT&T has announced they’re trialing their new 5G network – named “Indigo” in Austin, TX and Indianapolis, IN – right in the guys’ backyard!  Yay! The new generation wireless spec uses 28GHz, 39GHz, and sub-6GHz frequency bands to hit speeds up to 400Mb/s and AT&T hopes that by using some technology coupling 5G with their LTE they can even hit 1Gb/s of network speeds – to a mobile device – by late 2017.  There’s no definitive word on whether or not this new 5G network will require a new mobile device, but considering it’s using some frequencies that aren’t currently being used in LTE the odds are good that the shiny new phone in your pocket won’t work on an Indigo network.  Still, it might be worth it to upgrade for 400Mb/s (or faster) right in your pocket!

Game maker & publisher 2K Games has won the right to store your biometric facial data.  A New York federal judge has ruled that the company’s technology that includes scanning your face to build a more lifelike avatar with your console is okay, and doesn’t infringe on your rights.  The real question is, do you trust 2K Games to safely store your biometric markers and to not sell them to 3rd parties or use them in otherwise nefarious ways?

Walmart kills its Amazon Prime-style shipping service and rolls out a free two-day option (on orders over $35) meant to compete.  Amazon still has 20 times the items available for Prime shipping that Walmart has, but Walmart is trying to strike at Amazon’s base and build their own, loyal, customers.

What we love:

Jacob loves his RetroPie video game emulator running on a Raspberry Pi 3+ (https://retropie.org.uk).  You’ll need to find ROMs to play on the emulator, but when you do they work a treat! To control the games, Jacob also recommends the Buffalo Classic USB Gamepad: http://amzn.to/2kiCiOh

Jeff loves his OneTouch Connect blood glucose meter. It sports a Bluetooth connection and loads data right into your phone (and in the iPhone’s case, right into HealthKit).

Todd loves his Klipsch R-10B Soundbar with wireless subwoofer & surround speakers: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M0SQM2U


Ep. 115 – I’ll fax that right over!



The guys are back in full force, talking technology!  Topics on this episode of the NBTA podcast:

  • It’s 2017 – why are we still using fax?  Jacob has a teeny-tiny rant to get off his chest.
  • NAMCO founder Masaya Nakamura passes away at the age of 91 – an end of an era for a company that brought out such amazing arcade games as Galaga, Pole-position, and Pac-Man.
  • Huawei sets its sights on being the world’s largest smartphone maker by 2021 with a plan to begin aggressively marketing in the west as well as to continue to grow in China and expand into India.  Can they pull it off without partnerships with the major American carriers?
  • Todd reviews and gives his MPOW on-ear Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones a pass.  At $38 they’re affordable, but he says it’s a case of you-get-what-you-pay-for!
  • Fitbit announces they’re cutting110 jobs as wearable sales slow.  Citing possible market saturation as one culprit, Fitbit has announced the cost-saving cuts to bring expenses in line with less-than-expected fourth quarter results.  The cuts represent nearly 6% of Fitbit’s worldwide employee base.
  • Xiaomi has announced it’s skipping Mobile World Congress this year.  The Chinese smartphone maker isn’t planning on attending MWC217 in Barcelona in February leaving the industry wondering why.  There were rumors that Xiaomi would be showing off their Mi6 phone, but that doesn’t appear to be the case (Samsung is also not planning on announcing the Galaxy S8 line at MWC, either).  A smart move for the once-third-largest smartphone maker?  If they want to crack into the west, it seems like a curious move to make.
  • Todd brings up an interesting article about the rise of the mini-app – specifically China’s WeChat’s “app app revolution”. It could spell trouble for both Apple and Google down the road as users begin to care less about the operating system on their mobile devices and more about the app in which they spend the majority of their time and usage.  Social apps like Facebook and WeChat keep gaining more and more screentime and look to make mini in-app-apps accessible to encourage users to stay within the apps and reduce the friction of using new services.

What we love

Jeff loves his Orange Leather G-Case apple watch band: http://amzn.to/2jRG418

Todd loves the site footballoutsiders.com for its play-by-play statistical analysis of NFL plays going back to 1989!  From Todd, “Spend a couple of hours there this week so you can “wow” all of the fans at the Sports Ball party with your intimate knowledge of DVOA and DYAR.”

Jacob loves his USB digital meter.  Monitor the capabilities of your USB cables, battery packs, and the amount of charge you’re putting into your mobile device batteries all for about $10. http://amzn.to/2knHCD0


Ep. 114 – Half a Million Calories!



It’s Girl Scout cookie time and once again Jeff’s daughter’s stash is cause for Jacob’s amazement! This week the guys talk about:

  • Listener Kye writes in with a link to the Periodic Table of Beer: https://www.sunglasswarehouse.com/blog/periodic-table-of-beer/ and a way to send snail-mail all secure and tamper-proof like the CIA does!
  • Jacob finds an interesting ad blocking tool for iOS called AdBlock by FutureMind: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adblock/id691121579?mt=8
  •  ASUS unveils their Raspberry Pi competitor that’s capable of playing back 4K video and 24-bit audio!
  • Cassette sales rose by 74% in 2016! People still use cassettes?  Yep!  Check out this video for how good they can be!
  • Google’s Pixel phones made up 12.3% of all Verizon smartphone activations in the fourth quarter of 2016
  • Todd has cut his cord cutting and returned to the sweet, sweet embrace of overpriced pay-TV.  The cable companies win back another lost soul!
  • Samsung releases their full report on the Note 7 battery failures and announce that they’re going to stick with the Note branding for the foreseeable future.  Really? Is that a good idea, Samsung? The market will decide.

Ep. 113 – Ten Acres of Nerd



Is your smart TV spying on you?  It might be!  Jacob recounts his tale of his Vizio TV informing him that it was auto opting-in to basically monitor everything happening, being watched, etc. and sending it off to Vizio to be “shared” with third-party content companies.  The scary thing? The tiny fine print in the privacy agreement lets Vizio tie all devices it can to your IP address and include them in it’s reporting.  So if they can link your PC, tablet, smartphone, or other devices to your TV – that data is all fair game, too!  Arrgh, it’s enough to make a technologist pull their hair out.  If you haven’t checked out the DNS blackholing project Pi.Hole (http://pi-hole.net) yet, you really should go and do that right away!  Protect yourself, people!

Everyone hates open concept offices, that’s a given.  But who has the BIGGEST open concept office?  Like so many things, Facebook seems to be striving to be the biggest; they’re building a 10-acre office that’s going to be one room. It’ll also house 2,800 engineers – all under one roof.  Wowza!

There’s a bunch of quickies the guys run down in this episode:

  • Microsoft is bringing Cortana to the Android lock screen
  • Apple to offer a Kaby Lake Macbook pro with 32GB of RAM later this year.
  • Trump says, “Cooks eyes open to it” – to possible manufacturing iPhones in U.S.!
  • CBS is working with Andy Weir – author of The Martian – to create a TV show about NASA
  • AT&T has finally shut down its 2G network. No more original iPhone support anymore.
  • Twitter sells its developer platform to Google.  But will they find a buyer for the actual Twitter platform?

In the what-were-they-thinking department: A U.S. Appeals Court ruled last week that App Store customers can move forward with a lawsuit claiming Apple created an illegal app monopoly because it did not allow users to purchase iPhone apps outside of the App Store.  Tell us again how that’s going to work? Oh yeah, it’s not! This is America, though; where anybody can sue anyone for anything. It doesn’t seem to matter the validity of the claim.

What we love

Jacob loves the book “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail” by David Miller.  It’s his story of thru-hiking the A.T. in 2003 and definitely worth checking out! http://amzn.to/2iJwajT

Todd loves his Shure 215 in-ear monitors; writing, “[They’re] comfortable, stay in my ears and provide a good seal”.  Audio bliss for a ‘hundo! http://amzn.to/2iNOXaN

Jeff loves his Seagate Expansion 1TB USB 3.0 external hard drive.  Tiny with a price-tag to match: http://amzn.to/2iNORj4


Ep. 112 – Wholesome Activities



This week the guys are talking about some of the cool things shown at CES 2017 – a fantasy-land for any gadget fetishist around!  But before they can get to the gadgets they have to talk about some of the bigger news items of the day:

The FBI has arrested and charged former regulatory compliance chief Oliver Schmidt with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Since that story broke, another handful of VW employees has been named as being criminally complicit in the diesel-emissions-coverup scandal.  Is the end in sight for VW? And – more late-breaking news – is that Fiat Chrysler may be facing down its own dieselgate-type scandal!

The week this episode was originally published marked the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone announcement.  Yes, ten years ago – on January 9th, 2007 – Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone and changed the world.  It’s hard to imagine a time before smartphones were ubiquitous, and now they’re de rigueur.

On the CES news front: Razer unveiled two stars-of-the-show this year. Their three-screen laptop prototype was rave reviews for its innovative and unique design.  It sports not one, not two, but three 17″ 4K screens that automatically slide out and form an ultra-wide 12K screen!  It’s 11,520 x 2,160 pixels for those of you playing along at home! Acer also unveiled a 21″ “laptop” that weighs in at a whopping 19 pounds and starts at $9,000.  Anyone want to order a few and have ’em sent our way?

An IndieGoGo project hits big and is also a darling of CES.  The Tiny1 is a smart astronomy camera that blew its funding goals way out of the water on Indiegogo. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tiny1-the-world-s-smallest-astronomy-camera-photography#/

T-Mobile has their usual CES announcements. This year they unveiled their One plan; unlimited data and they’ll even refund you if you don’t use a bunch of data.  Yep, if you use 2GB or less of monthly data T-Mobile will credit you back $10. They also announced something that Jacob can really get behind; all-in pricing. There is no more hiding taxes and fees – the price you’re shown is the price you pay each month.  Hopefully all of the other carriers pick up on this and start offering it as well; it’s long past due!

What we love:

Jeff loves his Pasonomi iPad Stand. It looks nice and it’s affordable! http://amzn.to/2ikVN74

Jacob loves his Leviton VRPD3-1LW Vizia RF Plug-In Lamp Module – it’s affordable and works with Wink and Alexa! http://amzn.to/2jlVLNr

Todd loves the YouTube channel by MKBHD. Lots of great tech and gear reviews: https://www.youtube.com/user/marquesbrownlee


Ep. 111 – Resolutions?



The holidays are over and the guys are – once again – back at the tech-talk-game. Some of the topics this week:

Cheap and Useful? A website promising links to “cheap and useful stuff under $25”.  It may or may not actually be useful, but it certainly is cheap!  Decide for yourself at http://www.cheapanduseful.com/

Inside Facebook’s Prineville, OR data center.  Some amazing stats and also where your old, unused Facebook data goes to die – in cold storage.

The wearables market didn’t do nearly as well in 2016 as analysts predicted, but Jeff’s still bullish on his Apple Watch and pines for the Apple Watch Series 2 edition.  What say you, listener?  Are wearables hot or overrated in 2017?

Jeff gives an enthusiastic review of his Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones.  TL;DR?  Loves them.  You’ll have to listen for his full review.

On the heels of Jeff’s Beats review; iFixit declares Apple’s AirPods are “impossible to repair” – saying that you’ll have to destroy the earbud to get into it’s tiny, complicated electronic guts.  It doesn’t seem to be stopping people from ordering them, though – there’s at least a 6-week wait on Apple’s online store.

Todd *highly* recommends checking out The IT Crowd.  Both he and Jacob are late to the party, watching the show, but if you haven’t seen it, check out this clip and then give it a look on Netflix (or YouTube if you’re a glutton for bad quality videos).


Ep. 110 – The Clipasode Cometh



It’s the holidays… the LAST episode of the year, and the guys are spending some time with their families.  So in the interim, you get to enjoy this 100% freshly recycled clip show for the low, low price of FREE!

Covering stuff they love all the way back to the very first episode! Hear where it all started and stick around for Jacob’s retelling of his most embarrassing story on the podcast to date.  The one that you – dear listener – seemed to enjoy waaaay too much.

All this – and more – is waiting *just* for you in this fabulous episode of: The No Better Than Average podcast!


Ep. 109 – The Second Christmaspisode!



It’s not a clip show this week, but it is Christmas time and the guys squeeze in one last show before the end of the year.

This week they’ve got listeners calling and emailing the show – which is always awesome and much appreciated!

The guys talk about the new iOS game that dropped last week: Super Mario Run from Nintendo.  What’s the verdict? For $9.99 is it worth picking up or is it a pass? You’ll have to listen to find out, but both Jeff and Jacob are in agreement on their decision!

Amazon has successfully delivered its first package by autonomous drone. On December 7th, in Cambridge, England – the e-tail giant successfully delivered the sub-5-pound package via one of their customized drones.  They’re testing in Cambridge, and seeking ways to improve the service as well as expand it as they work to make it bulletproof.  Will the FAA relent and let them do any trials in the US?  Only time will tell, but Amazon doesn’t appear to be slowing down in their ambitious plans.

In another case of the legal system not keeping pace with technology, a Florida appeals court has said you can be compelled to utter your phone’s passphrase – not just be required to unlock your device with a fingerprint!

The European Union has ruled that Ireland can’t give Apple it’s sweetheart tax deal (0.005% taxes, what?!) and Apple owes $14 billion in taxes to the EU.  Naturally, Ireland and Apple are more than a little upset with this decision (a final EU ruling is expected as early as the week of December 19th). Will this make tech companies located in Ireland start looking harder at potential US offers to repatriate monies back into the United States?  Will the government play ball to get back some money instead of leaving it outside the boundaries of the country?  Will Italy be the next major EU country to cause more financial stress as their banking system potentially needs to be bailed out?

 


Ep. 108 – Inspired by Nature



This week Jeff is MIA and Todd and Jacob do their best to take up the slack!  Don’t worry, Jeff should be back next week, though.

Listener John writes in with a well-timed rant about “planned” obsolescence of all of our amazing tech gadgetry.  It’s a real concern for business and home-gamers alike.  How to keep up with the tech, keep it secured, and keep it updated without spending a small (or large) fortune.  It’s a planned rat-race as the pace of change in tech is ever accelerating, our demands of what we want – now – is unrelenting, and our desire for new and shiny is every present and played upon by marketers. So what’s a tech-obsessed geek to do?

Apple finally announces a ship date for their much anticipated AirPods.  If you were lucky enough to get them pre-ordered they should deliver right in time for Christmas – December 21st.  If you missed the pre-order window, but still want a pair, you’re looking at a mid-January ship date now, sucker!

The guys discuss why open-concept office spaces aren’t all they’re cracked up to be (and how Jacob’s moving into one may influence his decision away from AirPods and towards some Bose noise-cancelling cans!).

Disgruntled diesel VW owners are stripping their cars before turning them back over to VW.  According to a court ruling in the “dieselgate” scandal owners have to return an “operable” vehicle to be eligible for their buyback and settlement money.  Unfortunately for VW the term “operable” is pretty narrowly defined by the courts. Basically, the car has to run under its own power and that’s about it. So the Internet – being the wonderful/horrible place that it is – is now full of stories of people stripping off everything they can before returning the vehicle.  And it’s apparently working (if Reddit is to be believed) with one user reporting full payment after stripping off exterior body panels, rear-end collision damage, and other systems removed!

According to a Microsoft blog post, Mac users switching to Surface more than ever before, after new MacBook Pro ‘disappointment’.  Sent in by listener Kye (thanks, Kye!) this story is an interesting one; with the relatively unimpressive MacBook Pro refresh earlier this fall, power users are torn; do they buy a less powerful MacBook Pro, or look elsewhere for their computing needs?  Microsoft is definitely trying to capitalize on what they perceive to be Apple’s misstep and have been promoting the Surface platform heavily the past few months.  Is the strategy paying off?  Microsoft seems to say yes, but Slice Intelligence and Apple itself point out that the refreshed MacBook Pros have been Apple’s fastest selling laptops in the company’s history.