Ep. 107 – Flamethrowers!

Despite being under the weather the guys are back at it again this week, talking tech.  Amazon’s new Lightsail VPS service is the neato service de-jour and Jacob geeks out just a little about it.  If you’re in need of a virtual server on the cheap, it’s definitely worth a look.

Todd geeks out on his new LG V20 phone and gives a rundown on it after owning it and using it for a bit.

Scientists finally get their act together and name some new elements; 113, 115, 117, & 118 to be exact.

DJ Earworm released his annual pop mash-up; United State of Pop 2016.  If you’re a fan or just like pop music you should go give it a listen!

Ep. 106 – Tobler-wrong!

This week the guys catch up after the Thanksgiving holiday – back in the saddle and talking tech.

Jacob is outraged (*outraged* he says) that Toblerone is shrinking the size of their candy – producing wrong looking Toblerone bars. They’re making them smaller as pricing pressures creep up.

Drone maker DJI introduces two new drones; the Phantom 4 PRO and the Inspire 2 and they look amazing.  If you’re interested in aerial photography these are definitely the current gotta-get drones. DJI seems to be moving away from focusing on the flying part of the hobby and investing very heavily on the photography and videography aspect of the hobby.  At any rate – they’re amazing marvels of technology.

Jacob also recounts a story of getting his drone caught in a tree; as the guys give support and encouragement by laughing their butts off!

Ep. 105 – A Good Filibuster

The political season is finally over and the guys are back with tech talk! Listen for all the nitty-gritty.

A few quick links for ya!

Check out this amazing video of the new world-record-breaking-Rubick’s-Cube-solving-robot – how fast you ask? How about 0.637 seconds fast!

Jacob also can recommend his Hakko soldering iron cleaner.  If you’re an electronics wonk who needs to keep his tip cleaned and tinned – you really need this nifty little gadget!  Only $10 too, cheap! http://amzn.to/2fQhsDE

Ep. 104 – The Terrible Twos

What’s this?  It’s been TWO YEARS since the No Better Than Average podcast launched.  From such humble beginnings back in November of 2014 – here we are, 24-months and 104 episodes later and we couldn’t have gotten here without such awesome listeners, and YOUR support!  So thank you, listeners, for being there and for listening.  We hope we’re still going strong in two more years when we’re on episode 208!

This week the guys hear from a listener who’s just as irritated as Jeff about the just-announced MacBook lineup.  He’s got some great points, too.

The New York Times goes on a buying spree, snapping up The Wirecutter and The Sweethome, while also posting that profits declined by over 95% year-over-year from the third quarter 2015 to 2016.  Ouch, that’s going to sting.

Market research group IDC announces; “No one is buying smartwatches anymore!” Sales of smartwatches have been declining.  Is this the normal ebb and flow of the markets – especially with apparent supply constraints (as Jeff has found) or is this pointing to a larger problem with smartwatches in general?

Sweden’s highest court bans drones with cameras. They’re now off limits to “normal folks” with exceptions for law enforcement and those obtaining a very expensive filming permit.  Right when technology gets interesting, the gub’ment comes alongs and takes it away!  Thanks, Sweden!

Todd tries to buy a phone from LeEco’s LeMall with ensuing hilarity over checking out with the wrong of two other-than-the-instant-rebate-identical products. The really frustrating part is that the company apparently has no way currently to just issue the rebate; forcing him to instead receive the phone, return it, and re-purchase the correct identical-other-than-the-rebate model when it’s available on one of their infrequent “flash sales”.

What we love:

Jeff loves Marvel’s Doctor Strange (‘natch, it’s a superhero movie!)

Jacob loves his Yeti-ripoff RTIC stainless steel tumbler.  Works with all of the Yeti accessories for about 1/3 the Yeti price.  Sure it’s made in China, but whattyagunnado? http://amzn.to/2eGR7du

Todd loves Newegg.  It’s “his” Amazon and default starting point for consumer goods: http://www.newegg.com/

Ep. 103 – Arrow in the Knee

This week the guys pile on Samsung a little more as profits fall to their lowest levels in two years!  Samsung’s mobile division just reported Q3 2016 profits of “only” $87.8 million – which sounds like quite a lot. It is – however – a 96% decline from last year’s Q3 profits. So… ouch?  Samsung is hoping to rebound next year with the rumored Galaxy S8.  Will it be enough to make up for Samsung’s recent woes?

And while Samsung’s been having a rough few months Alphabet has been rolling in the dough.  They reported revenues of $22.4 billion – a 20% increase year-over-year which is huge for a company their size.  Their core business (search) was up quite a bit more than their “other bets” which saw a segment operating loss of $865 million.  Interestingly, the Google Play Store increased revenue by 39% to $2.4 billion.  That’s a lot of app & media sales.  Overall, Alphabet has $83 billion in cash & equivalents on hand, and could write a check for Time Warner if they wanted.

There was a little announcement from Cupertino this past week; new MacBook Pros were announced which normally would be a great thing.  There wasn’t any love for the iMac, the Mac Mini, or the Mac Pro at this announcement.  The rub is – and Jeff has some great points – these new MacBook Pros are a bit of a mixed bag for consumers.  They’re very expensive and while they do pack in some nice, new technology and features, they also take away a lot of what makes them “Pro-level” machines; namely connections and ports to the device itself.

What we love:

Jacob loves his Light-O-Rama PixCon 16 light controller: http://www1.lightorama.com/pixcon16/ – if you’re interested in learning some more of the nitty-gritty of large Christmas light displays; check out Episode 11 with guest Richard Holdman.

Todd loves Joe Sheehan’s Baseball Newsletter: http://joesheehan.com/

Jeff loves his Special Edition XBOX One Skyrim: http://amzn.to/2fn6SbA

Ep. 102 – Regulatory Capture

This week the guys are all back & talking tech. Companies are being sneaky, trying to get around Amazon’s ban of paid-for-reviews (as Jacob experiences first hand). Samsung still hasn’t said why the Note 7 was bursting into flames.  It the brand too tarnished at this point to salvage?  Should they just rebrand the Note 8 next year; will they?  And if they do, what do they call it?

Not to keep kicking Samsung while they’re down; but this week they used the DMCA to try to demand that a mod for Grant Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5) be removed which featured Samsung’s Note 7 as a sticky bomb.  In the end the modder was victorious and it’s like a Streisand effect moment for Samsung (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect).

AT&T and Time Warner have agreed to a merger that will see AT&T paying a whopping $85.4 billion for Time Warner. It still has a lot of regulatory approval hoops to jump through before it’s a sure thing. Should regulators allow a deal of this magnitude to go through? And where will AT&T get the cash for the half-stock-half-cash deal?  They don’t have nearly that much cash-on-hand and will have to leverage a load of debt to make the deal work.

The Google Pixel XL gets the iFixit teardown treatment. If you’re a fan of electronic innards on display, head over to iFixit to check out the carnage! https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Google+Pixel+XL+Teardown/71237

What we love

Jacob loves the iOS app Really Bad Chess: http://reallybadchess.com/

Todd loves the free speech/First Amendement blog Popehat and highly recommend checking out “The Tale of Sigmund And The Skunk” https://popehat.com/2011/08/04/the-tale-of-sigmund-and-the-skunk/

Jeff loves the FOX network adaption of Lethal Weapon: http://www.fox.com/lethal-weapon

Ep. 101 – Who Knew What, When?

Todd is on vacation this week, but there’s still lots of Android & Samsung news to cover in this week’s episode.  Verizon is demanding a huge discount on their purchase of Yahoo because of the 500m user accounts stolen – which Yahoo’s executive team knew about & hid from everyone (including Verizon). Plus Jeff finds a really interesting story about ethanol from CO2 that has scientists excited about the possibility of making lemonade out of… well… carbon dioxide!

What we love:

Jacob loves the mobile game Make 7! – available for iOS https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/make7!-hexa-puzzle/id1095539172?mt=8 and Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bitmango.go.make7hexapuzzle&hl=en. He also is really enjoying the new NBC show, “This is Us” (http://www.nbc.com/this-is-us?CID=Search%7CThis-is-us&nbc=1)

Jeff loves the new FOX TV series, The Exorcist (http://www.fox.com/the-exorcist)

Ep. 100 – Strong Pucker Factor

This week the guys are celebrating their one hundredth episode!  It’s hard to believe that well over 100 hours of No Better content exists in the world.  If you’re feeling nostalgic, why don’t you head back down memory lane and check out some of the early episodes?  Like this one, or this one, or maybe even this one!

Oh Samsung – even your “safe” Galaxy Note 7’s aren’t so safe after all it turns out.  More reports have come in that repaired Note 7 phones are catching fire, and since this episode was recorded Samsung has announced it’s suspending all sales of the Note 7 line while it regroups and reviews what the heck is going on. If you have a Galaxy Note 7 – safe or otherwise – all of the major US carriers are offering refunds and Samsung is recommending you return the device.  Yikes! Is this a blow that Samsung Mobile can recover from?  At the very least, is the Galaxy brand too tarnished to continue?

What happens when you take a bandsaw to your brand-new iPhone 7? Surprisingly you get something that doesn’t look to darn awful.  Maybe some design cues for next year’s anniversary phone??

shaved iphone bandsaw

Finally, not directly related to technology, but cool none the less, Todd encourages everyone to go and watch the following music video.  And we concur, it’s well worth a few minutes of your time!

What we love

Jacob loves the web app/mobile app Drone Deploy.  An amazing 3D model creation and aerial mapping tool – seriously go check it out: http://DroneDeploy.com

Todd loves his Anker PowerCore 10,000mAh portable battery: http://amzn.to/2dQcMOr

Jeff loves his Apple iPhone charging dock.  One of the more expensive ways to charge AND listen to music at the same time: http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MNN62AM/A/iphone-lightning-dock-black

Ep. 99 – Blinded by Thomas Dolby Vision

This week the big news is Google’s October 4th announcement; the Pixel phone, Google Assistant, Google WiFi, Daydream View, Chromecast Ultra, and Google Home. Head over to http://madeby.google.com for all of the tech specs and pre-order pages.

A plethora of new products and services to keep any devoted Google or Android fan happy for a while.  Some of the highlights:

  • Google announced their new phone, the Pixel
  • A new virtual reality headset that fits the Pixel and includes a gyro-controller, the Daydream View
  • A new WiFi access point/router that will automatically expand and mesh as you add new nodes, Google WiFi
  • A new Chromecast sporting better picture quality, 4K playback support, and HDR support; the Chromecast Ultra
  • The new Echo-killer that runs Assistant and ties into your own personal Google to give you a personalized experience, Google Home

Lots to unpack in this episode – so why are you spending time reading show notes?  Jump in and listen to the show already!

What we love

Jeff loves his new Nomad leather iPhone 7 Plus phone case: https://www.hellonomad.com/products/leather-case

Todd loves Tin Man Strawberry Sour Ale: http://www.tinmanbrewing.com/

Jacob loves his Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite 40″ propane smoker: http://amzn.to/2dqbRZb

Ep. 98 – Nightmare at 1700 feet

This week the guys cover a veritable plethora of tech topics. You’ll just have to tune in to hear them all.

And Jeff is so afraid of heights he wouldn’t even let Jacob & Todd talk about this video.  Seriously, even Jacob (who’s not afraid of heights at all) gets a little queasy watching it.  So if you’re game, buckle up and give it a watch – but don’t say you weren’t warned!

What we love:

Jacob loves his Lock Laces – only $7, cheap! http://amzn.to/2dqPyR9

Todd loves his Specialized Sirrus bicycle: https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/utility/sirrus/106252

Jeff loves his Caseology iPhone 7+ case: http://amzn.to/2cAeXmI