Monthly Archives: January 2017

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).