Indie Nation Google News
This is the Google news part of our news show here at indienation.fm.
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
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.
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)
There seems to be no shortage on iPhone apps. Everything form a case mod with and app to turn the phone into a bottle opener to whatever is limited only by your imagination. Recently the iPhone is in the news again.
First, there is a controversial iPhone app that allows you to buy your friend a beer. When this story was reported on my local six o’clock news, the reporters immediately pounced on the fact that it might allow minors to buy alcohol. It is an app that allows you to send your friend a coupon to buy a him or her a beer.
One thing my local news pointed out was that, in order to install the app from beer2buds.com, the installer must agree that he or she is 17 years or older. Is there any state with a 17 year old drinking age?
Would You Use Your iPhone to Open a Bottle?
Well you can now and, no, there is not an app for that…. It is more of an addition, according to an article at physorg.com, there is actually an iOpener. And actually there is an app that goes along with the addition. The app will help keep track of your suds. Unlike those DUI apps that warned you of check points there has been no cry to kill this app. I wonder if we will now have drunk, texting driver attacks on this very useful gadget… (sound of a pop tab would be perfect)
To date only a few hundred have been sold but the article states that they are negations with big box retailers. The “Pizza” key photo is from saragoldsmith’s photostream on Fickr. Personally, I think I would want that over an iOpener.
Tech news for 04-04-2011 Pandora oh no, and Commodore 64 Redux.
The subpoena is targeting the ‘app’ for IOS device more so that the desktop or app that is common on many blu-ray players? I don’t get that actually. Go after portable devices when you could (connect your audio out to a recording device at home).. How much more money does the RIAA want to squeeze our of the public.
Redux a classic computer:
The commodore 64 is 29 years old, the NEW commodore as its called looks the same but surly is not even CLOSE . its a Intel atom processor running opensource, or is it? promises to bring back the C64 and offer modern office applications. Can you say open office everyone.
What is your thoughts on both topics :
- Commodore unveils images of the all-new C64 (news.cnet.com)
- Pandora Subpoenaed In Probe of Mobile-App Privacy (yro.slashdot.org)
- Pandora Subpoenaed In Privacy-Related Probe (huffingtonpost.com)
- Commodore 64 revivalist posts prototype PC pics (go.theregister.com)
- Sneak peek at the all-new Commodore 64 (images) (news.cnet.com)
Arguably the best low-end smartphone currently on the market, what has attracted so many people to it (including myself via Virgin Mobile) is the surprisingly great features and quality you get for the surprisingly low price. This smartphone really is a smart buy.
Virgin Mobile currently sells the Optimus V for $150 and no contract, allowing you to choose between $25, $40, or $60 monthly plans that include 300, 1200, or unlimited minutes respectively. Each plan also includes unlimited 3G data and texting.
If you purchase the Optimus C through the Cricket website you can get it for $129.99 after web discount and mail-in rebate. Cricket offers one Android plan at $55 per month for unlimited voice+data+text with no contracts.
Those who have held off on getting a smartphone due to high phone and plan costs should take a serious look at the LG Optimus V or LG Optimus C. Can it compete with the iPhone or DROID in terms of power and features? No, but as an Optimus V owner I can honestly say it’s a great phone and you will not be disappointed at what you get for the price.
(Did I mention that there are NO CONTRACTS if you get it through Virgin Mobile or Cricket?!)
You can see my videos about the LG Optimus V at http://youtube.com/geeklooptv
- LG Optimus One Android Smartphone Comes to Cricket (lockergnome.com)
- Cricket Wireless launches LG Optimus C for $130 off-contract (engadget.com)
- LG Optimus C available on Cricket Wireless for $130 (geek.com)
This is not due to a lack of features or poor hardware – quite the contrary. About a year ago I was looking for a media player and had narrowed down my choices the to the 32GB iPod Touch (previous gen) and the 32GB Zune HD.
On paper, the Zune HD held its own against the iPod, and even offered features the iPod lacked, such as a built-in HD Radio tuner and true high-definition output to an external display. I also really liked the user interface of the Zune, which seemed really smooth and intuitive.
What won me over to the iPod Touch was the apps. While the Zune HD certainly had the hardware to run sophisticated apps and games, it only had a handful available to choose from, with no sign of any kind of “app store” in the works for the Zune market.
Microsoft really missed out on a prime opportunity to tap into the potential of the Zune HD and perhaps even develop a “Zune Phone” to compete with the iPhone. Instead they decided to try to ride the popularity of their Windows operating system and develop Windows Phone 7, which they claimed was inspired by elements of the Zune interface.
While their attention was focused elsewhere, the Zune fell by the wayside as Apple continued to issue new feature-packed releases of their iOS and update their iPod and iPhone hardware.
I, for one, was hoping Microsoft would use the Zune HD to its full potential and build upon that. But apparently Microsoft figures they can deal with yet another missed opportunity – yet another failure.
Meanwhile, with the iPhone coming to Verizon earlier this year and the recent release of the iPad 2, Apple products are more popular and more coveted than they’ve ever been. Now there’s a company that knows an opportunity when it sees one.
(this post also published on my Lockergnome blog)
- The Zune Is Finally Dead (AAPL, MSFT) (businessinsider.com)
- Microsoft reportedly kills off Zune hardware, will focus on software instead (engadget.com)
- Zune hardware is dead, long live Zune software (thenextweb.com)