? Episode 294
 all tech radio show
 
 
  • Facebook was caught red-handed last week being socially unfriendly to Google, its Silicon Valley competitor. It hired a public relations firm to plant negative stories about Google's privacy policies, and then it tried to hide its involvement in the whisper campaign. This is ironic, considering that Facebook is all about getting people to disclose everything about themselves.
  • Google has finally made good on their promise to deliver Chrome OS to the world this summer. Or they will, on June 15 when the first Chromebooks are available. Google's Chrome is a direct attack against Microsoft, but the laptop, which costs over $400, doesn't do much more than browse the web. The new cloud version of Chrome is coming soon. This will have a minimal cost, or no cost, and be paid for using a $20 subscription service. It will also include Google's Apps.
  • People have been wondering what has been killing the hone bees. A new paper (PDF) from Swiss researcher Daniel Favre claims that part of the problem is our obsession with cell phones. According to Favre, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, phone signals may confuse honeybees so much that they become fatally disoriented. Favre and his team performed 83 experiments that recorded honeybees' reaction to nearby cell phones in off, standby, and call-making mode. The result: Honeybee noise increases by 10 times when a phone call is made or received. Normally, an increase in noise, or "worker piping," is used as a signal for bees to leave their hives. But in this case, it just makes them confused.
  • For three pennies an hour, hackers can rent Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)'s servers to wage cyber attacks such as the one that crippled Sony Corp. (6758)'s PlayStation Network and led to the second-largest online data breach in U.S. history. A hacker used Amazon's Elastic Computer Cloud, or EC2, service to attack Sony's online entertainment systems last month, a person with knowledge of the matter said May 13. The intruder, who used a bogus name to set up an account that's now disabled, didn't hack into Amazon's servers, the person said. The incident helps illustrate the dilemma facing Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos: Amazon's cloud-computing service is as cheap and convenient for hackers as it is for customers ranging from Netflix Inc. (NFLX) to Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) Last month's attack on Sony compromised more than 100 million customer accounts, the largest data breach in the U.S. since intruders stole credit and debit card numbers from Heartland Payment Systems in 2009.
  • RIM has decided to recall about a thousand of its PlayBook tablets thanks to a buggy operating system, the company has confirmed. The confirmation came after RIM had begun notifying its distribution partners about the faulty units, with the company noting that the majority of the recalled devices are still in distribution channels-not in customers' hands. Buzz about the recall began as early as Saturday, when several sites, including Engadget, got a hold of a leaked memo to Staples. The memo said that "approximately 900 units of the Blackberry PlayBook" had been determined to be faulty, providing a list of serial numbers for store employees to check against. Only the 16GB versions of the 7-inch tablet were affected. PlayBook fans were concerned that the recall notice to Staples might just be the beginning, but RIM later issued a statement claiming that the problems were only limited to a thousand units or so. The bug in question apparently resides within the PlayBook's OS, preventing software from being loaded upon initial set-up.
  • Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 in the exact opposite way it had launched previous versions of Windows Mobile. In other words, Windows Phone 7 launched with consumer features that were never present on Windows Mobile, such as integration with Xbox Live and Zune, and is adding enterprise features incrementally. For the business user, Mango will improve the Office Hub by adding document sharing support with Windows Live SkyDrive and Office 365, which should be coming out of beta in the Fall. Lync will get its own Windows Phone app, supporting VoIP, instant messaging and live presence. In the demonstration today, Microsoft showed how Lync ties into contacts, but didn't actually get to do a complete demo of the Instant Messaging feature. The email experience will be improved all around, with threaded conversations, the ability to deeply search Exchange Server, and the ability to create pinnable folders for projects, groups, RSS feeds, or even individual contacts. On the IT side of things, Mango will add the ability for users to connect to hidden Wi-Fi networks and support for complex alphanumeric passwords.Mango will also bring Information Rights Management (IRM), a feature common among the previous versions of Windows Mobile. This gives privileged users the ability to send and view confidential e-mails, read-only documents, and self-destructing documents. A launch date for Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" has not been formally announced.
  • As popular as the iPad and other tablets have been, many users have been frustrated by the lack of storage space offered on tablets, and Seagate feels their pain. The benefits of local storage are now combined with the convenience of Wi-Fi in Seagate's new wireless external hard drive, the GoFlex Satellite, and accompanying GoFlex Media app. The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is a portable hard drive, offering 500GB of storage space, wireless connectivity over 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and rechargeable battery power. The hard drive features an integrated lithium polymer battery that offers up to five hours of continuous video streaming or 25 hours of battery life in standby mode. In addition to the GoFlex Satellite hard drive, Seagate is offering a free app for iOS devices that further maximizes battery life through progressive download. It temporarily downloads media onto the iOS device, letting the drive return to standby mode while the user enjoys their video. Though currently only available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, an Android version of the app is planned for release later this summer.
  • The emerging theory, based on reports from industry analysts, is that the next model of Apple's smartphone will be called the iPhone 4S and be an update of the current model, not a radical advance. There are also rumors that the new phone will also be available on Sprint and T Mobile.
  • A Fox News article claims that traditional console-based video games are on their last legs, preparing to give way for cloud-based services. Nintendo doesn't believe it.
  • The founder of file-sharing company Lime Wire agreed on Thursday to pay $105 million to the Recording Industry Association of America to settle a 5-year-old copyright case. Sure, that's a lot, but consider that the settlement figure is equal to only 7 percent of the $1.4 billion the RIAA sought. This is likely the final chapter for LimeWire, after 10 years in operation. The two sides agreed to settle a year to the day after U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood ruled that Gorton was liable for willful copyright infringement. Later, Wood ordered that the LimeWire peer-to-peer network be shut down. The financial agreement between Gorton and the labels came amid a jury trial to determine how much Gorton would have to pay in damages.

Email from listeners

  • Scott from Seattle asks "I am confused about Blu Ray vs. DVD, and what kind of box to get to watch internet TV on my television. How does it all work"?
  • Broadcast Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
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