Indie Nation Tech News
This is the Tech News portion of our news show here at indienation.fm. If you wish to listen to the full two hour show it posted earlier.
We would also like to remind the listeners that we encourage listener participation through chat, comments and you are welcome to actually join us on the air. We do the show live almost every Monday from 8-10 PM DST. To find out how to join us on the air, contact us via our chat room on the Listen Page.
2014.09.22 – Tech Net News and Opinion
We opened this week’s show with Titanic and Cape Cod Girls from the album Choice Cuts by Water Street Bridge. You can find out more about this band by listening to the interview at the end of the newscast or by checking out the individual posting of the interview on Indie Nation. Join Brian and Lumpy as they discuss some Walking Dead spoilers and rumors, Google news in general, drones vs Star Wars and more in tech and science news. We would also like to remind the listeners that we encourage listener participation through chat, comments and you are welcome to actually join us on the air. To find out how to join us on the air, contact us via our chat room on the Listen Page.
- First off, the season premier is 12 October
- Season 5 Episode 2 – Another character from the comic, Father Gabriel.
- Carol is supposedly back at the end of the premier
- FYI – Lumpy did check, Walking Dead Season Marathon begins on 6 October
- The Air Herald reports that there will be a spin off
- There is talk about Beth, it seem that a trailer gave that and a few other things away
- Washington D.C. is in the storyline
- Beth has been in some of the teasers, possibly in a safe place
- It doesn’t look like Glenn dies by episode two
- The best cities for Internet (based on speed and/or price)
- Be kewl by looking the fool, strap your iPhone to your face
- Audible security loophole exploited
- A fewregarding Apple:
- Comcast denies TOR statements from customer
- Star Wars set needs a drone shield
- An analysis of the 5 million leaked gMail passwords
- Native Netflix support for Linux
We closed with a few more tracks from Water Street Bridge:
- Pay Me/Iko
- Zombie Jamboree
- Lumpy’s Interview with them at Gen Con 2014
Four Stories About Google
Brian and I both like Google very much. Very often on Monday nights, we end up with many Google news stories. This week was one of those weeks and we decided we would wrap the four of them into a downloadable news podcast.
While our news director and I love Linux, we both have mentioned, several times, that likely the largest reason for it being “safer” regarding being hacked is because it is not too pretty of a target to the hacker. In short, it is not that popular an operating system. (This does not negate the fact that the OS is most likely more secure than Windows, just that not as many hackers are trying to hack it.)
However, largely due to the success of Android, the operating system which was referred to as a “hobbiest operating system” in the past, is now very common among mobile devices. That said, how soon before it becomes a target?
How about July 29? According to an article at Hacker News, a 17 year old man will demonstrate what they call an ELF virus at a black hat convention. The article states that the infection will allow access to private an confidential data.
It should be interesting to see how this impacts the users of these devices. It could turn people off to it or, due to the likely fact that an open source project will find quicker solutions to it than an project that is limited to a set number of programmers, the users will find comfort in the patches. One thing for sure, I do not plan on ditching my Ubuntu anytime soon.
- Linux Distros For The Paranoid: What Are The Most Secure Distros? (makeuseof.com)
- Cross-platform Trojan found (thedroidguy.com)
- Linux vulnerability found in Web exploit (networkworld.com)
2012.06.04 – Tech Net News and Opinion
Welcome to this week’s episode of Tech Net News and Opinion. This week we accidentally/intentionally did things a bit differently. For those of you who have been asking for more news and less music, you got it. Brian, Knowles, Meshelly, Knunez (iPhone at Geekshed), OmniDragon and Lumpy start and end this week’s show with music but the rest is all news talk.
Remember listeners and readers, if you wish to participate, the way to do so is to get on over to the Geekshed IRC Network and join us in #indienation. We do the news live almost every Monday from 8-10 PM EST. (As a general rule, if a Monday is a holiday in the USA, we do NOT do the news.) If you have items you think we should cover as news, shoot us an email at email@example.com or tweet us @indienationfm.
Just in case you just crawled out from under a rock, TechCrunch (and the rest of the world) reports that Google has dropped 12.5 billions dollars and bought Motorola. The entire Internet is buzzing about why, what and and whatever but ARS Technica likely has it right.. they needed the patents. It is rather sad that patent trolls have turned net survival into a matter of preemptive strikes but in my opinion that is what it is.
With all the hype of the iPhone 4, I thought I would mention a phone that actually performs better than the newest iPhone 4. Motorola has recently released the Droid 3 which is available on the Verizon network. The biggest difference between the two phones is the fact that the Droid 3 has a dual core 1GHz processor when the iPhone 4 has a single core 1GHz processor. In a side by side comparison the Droid 3 pulled up websites with its built in browser with a very noticeable speed advantage. It does not however scroll as smoothly as the iPhone does. Aesthetically the iPhone still has a leg up on the Android phones. The Droid 3 comes with 16GB of on-board memory with the capability of using up to an additional 32GB on an SD card. The iPhone 4 comes in a 16GB and 32GB version. One major difference that draws me to the Droid 3 is the 4” screen. It is noticeably different than the iPhone’s 3.5” display and they both feature a front facing camera for doing video calls. The other main reason I have stuck with Droid phones is the physical keyboard. I have spoken with a user of the Droid 3 and was told that the keyboard on the Droid 3 is much better than the previous Droid phones. The Droid phones run the Android operating system which is open source so a Droid 1, 2, or 3 phones are not your only option to take advantage of this software.
For more articles and podcasts check out my blog: www.BiteOfTech.com.
iPhone 4 vs Droid 3 Podcast.
When I tell people that I just got rid of my Android smartphone and replaced it with an old cell phone that doesn’t even have a camera (*GASP*) – willingly and gladly (*GASP*) – most of them look at me like I have tentacles growing out of my ears.
Making the switch
As I walked into the Verizon store, I was kindly greeted by an employee at the door who asked if I needed any assistance.
“I would like to set up this phone on your prepaid service and port my phone number over from my current provider.”
He looked at the phone and immediately realized how old it was.
“Sure,” he said. “Let me check first to see if it actually gets a GPS signal, because if it doesn’t we can’t use it”.
He flipped it open and saw the GPS crosshairs symbol on the plain, but functional monochrome, blue-backlit LCD display.
“Okay, it does. Let’s get you signed in.”
We walked over to a touchscreen terminal where I entered my name and answered a couple questions about why I was there and he said my name would be called shortly. I thanked him and took a quick look around the store.
Amid the vast selection of gadgets along the walls, my attention was immediately drawn to the iPad 2 section. There were two display models – one black and one white. A teenage boy was playing an interesting looking game on the black iPad that appeared to feature a pirate ship, where he’d tilt the device one way or the other to move the ship and tap on another ship to attack it.
A teenage girl was playing a game on the white iPad that looked like some kind of 3D maze that she had to navigate a ball through by tilting the device in the direction she wanted it to move.
Next to the iPad display was an Android tablet display – I think it was the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Nobody was using it.
They never called my name – I was helped by another representative only a minute or two later.
I again explained what I wanted and was invited over to a register to complete the transaction.
“Man, I remember these phones,” the rep said. “I used to have one of these back in the day. They were nice with metal case and everything.”
I told him my first cell phone was a similar model and I haven’t had a flip-phone I liked as much since. I just bought this one for $18 on eBay and it came with 3 chargers, a car adapter, extra faceplates and antennas.
He told me he needed my account number with my current provider in order to have my phone number ported. I had no idea what my account number was, so I proceeded to call Virgin Mobile support on my LG Optimus V Android smartphone and ask them for my account number. This took a while – about 15 minutes – because Virgin Mobile has automated most of their phone service and simply saying “representative” over and over won’t get you to a live person right away.
During the call, I glanced over at the iPad 2 display and saw the two teenagers still there.
After I got the info, the Verizon rep asked me a little bit about my service with Virgin Mobile. I told him it was pretty good – that I paid $150 for the phone and $40/month for 1200 minutes and unlimited data and texting. He asked me about the coverage and I told him it was decent – since Virgin Mobile is owned by Sprint they use the Sprint network. It wasn’t the best – I’d been in several places where I didn’t have a signal and others with phones on other networks did. But overall, the service was good for what I paid.
He didn’t ask me why I was switching over to Verizon. He probably figured it was best not to push it and risk making me realize how crazy I was and change my mind. Really, who in their right mind would willingly and intentionally downgrade from an Android smartphone to an 8+ year old Motorola “dumbphone”?
While he completed the transaction, I noticed a teenager with her mom standing next to me as they purchased a couple of iPhones. The teenager was riveted to her cell phone, which was a slider phone with some kind of social media integration, oblivious to the world around her.
I paid my $25 activation fee, put $30 on the phone, and was soon on my way.
As I left, I again caught a glimpse of the iPad 2 display and saw those same two teenagers glued to the gadgets more than 30 minutes after I had first noticed them.
Why ditch the smartphone!?
My reasons are many, but (irrational as they may be) can be summed up in one answer: I don’t need a smartphone. Here are some specifics (in no particular order):
- Too distracting – I’m half tempted to go back to the Verizon store today and see if those two teenagers are still at the iPad 2 display! I love technology. I love being connected to it, interacting with it, using it to make my life easier, safer, cleaner, more enjoyable, etc. But I think there is a point at which we can become too connected to our technology and it can pull us away from more important things. Am I really making the best use of my time when I’m checking my phone every 5-10 minutes for the latest tweet, email, FB post, etc.? Honestly I have to say no, I’m not. Granted, I might find something else technology-related to fill the void with, but the point is it won’t be attached to my hip.
- Privacy – this has been of great concern to me lately. If you’ve read some of my other posts in this blog, you know I don’t trust government. I also don’t trust businesses that use government force and coercion to protect and further their own interests. Google has been under fire for its questionable information gathering practices, from its street view product to its Android smartphone OS. Their goal is to gather as much information as possible about anything, everything, and everyone. Can we trust Google to protect our identities and respect our privacy? When the government knocks on Google’s door demanding the information it has, what will it do? The stark reality of the Internet today is that there is no 100% guarantee of privacy or security. The way I see it, by getting rid of my smartphone at least I’m reducing my exposure. You might argue that if I’m not doing anything “wrong”, I have nothing to fear. Well, the government has deemed it necessary to grope and fondle airline passengers and expose them to toxic radiation via so-called “full body scanners” in the name of “security” and “fighting terrorism”. A government that can justify such blatant invasions of privacy and disregard for basic human dignity and decency cannot be trusted to act any differently with regard to the Internet.
- There are alternatives – if I really want to use GPS navigation for road trips, I can get a GPS system. If I really want to have a portable video recording device on hand, I can get a pocket camcorder. Need to check my email, Twitter, or Facebook? I’ve got about 5 working computers at home (laptop and desktop) that I can use. It’s not like I have to give up all the smartphone features I liked. There a a lot of options out there.
- Replacement cost – it’s a lot cheaper to replace a “dumbphone” than it is to replace a smartphone if it gets broken, lost, or stolen.
- Smartphone plans are changing – Virgin Mobile just announced that they are changing the pricing on their smartphone plans, increasing the monthly cost of their 2 cheapest plans. And starting in October, they will no longer be offering “unlimited” data, but will be throttling it at 2.5GB per month. This is consistent with changes going on across the industry and translates to more cost and less features for the consumer. I think we’re going to see more of this as time goes on. A few articles I read about the Virgin Mobile plan changes indicated existing customers would have their current plan rates grandfathered in, but I still would have been subject to the data cap (not that I ever download close to that much in a given month) and if I ever wanted to change my plan, I would have had to pay the new rates. With these changes Virgin Mobile no longer stands out from the crowd and I didn’t feel as compelled to stay with them.
- Coverage – for the most part coverage was good with Virgin Mobile as they use the Sprint network. But there were several occasions when I was in a place that got no signal or very bad signal and folks around me had no problem. I don’t so much care about the data connection reliability, but I want to know I’m going to have the best chance of being able to make a voice call if and when I need to. And frankly, Sprint is not known for having the best coverage or most reliable network. Verizon, on the other hand…
- I’m a “retro techie” – I absolutely love being able to take old technology that most would consider obsolete or useless and, well…putting it to good use! And I love seeing the looks on peoples’ faces when they see me using things like an old Palm Pilot or IBM ThinkPad. This old Motorola v60s is a welcome addition.
Smartphones are impressive gadgets that allow us to conveniently do many things and interact in ways that were unheard of 10 years ago (Facebook didn’t even exist 10 years ago, and mobile video calls were science fiction). If you love your smartphone or want to get one, I think that’s great.
It ultimately comes down to my own personal journey and me trying to figure out what I want from life. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and evaluate things from a wider perspective. Am I making the best use of my time and resources? Do I really NEED some of the things I have? When it came to my smartphone I felt like it was something I could – and should – do without.
(Originally posted on my personal blog on 7/18/2011)
- How dumb are smartphone users? (broadstuff.com)
- Virgin Mobile $35/$55 Unlimited Data Plan Announced (slashgear.com)
- Virgin Mobile Changes Pricing (gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com)
While I am a geek, I am a tad bit mixed on things new tech. I still like books and I don’t care what kind of beep, blop or ding my PDA makes, it is just not the same as drawing a line through it on a real to-do list. Nonetheless, things are a changin’.
On one hand I think it is real neat that one can use a vending machine with a cell phone and, on the other, I think that the GRcode we use, over at the right, looks like a Rorschach ink bloch test and not something that belongs on a webpage.
Call me old fashioned, but I agree with the first line from the Ars Technica putting the stamp on a letter before the postal snail arrives to collect it is the end of a ritual. This is almost as sad as not having to lick the stamps anymore. Chalk one off to tech, as I quote Ars Technica:
…that ritual is about to be replaced with a more high-tech one: people may soon be able to pay for their postage via text message, thereby eliminating the need for a stamp.
The system works like this: Swedes will be able to send a text message to the postal service saying that they want postage for a letter. The postal service will then presumably charge an account on file, then respond with another text that contains a code. The letter-sender will then write the code on the envelope to show that postage had been paid.
Sounds nice, sounds convenient but what are the Swedish youth going to collect? Well, you shall have to excuse me, I need to make a phone call.. that is as soon as I untangle the cord… what you never saw phone with a cord?
- Swedes may soon exchange postage stamps for SMS codes (arstechnica.com)
- Denmark develops wireless postage stamps. When do we get them? (theglobeandmail.com)
- SMS Postage – Sweden and Denmark Set to Introduce Text Message Stamps (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Denmark to sell codes via SMS as an alternative to postage stamps (bbc.co.uk)