? All Tech Radio Episode 313
 all tech radio show
 
 
  • Starting today, each time you click an outbound link on Facebook, San Diego's Websense will visit that site first, checking to see if it poses a security threat before letting you leave the world's largest social network. The move is one that seeks to improve security measures online for Facebook's more than 800 million users and makes use of technology that has taken more than a year to develop, said Charles Renert, a senior director of security research at Websense. Once you select a link, Websense's security tools kick into action, visiting the outside website and running a series of scans and tests seeking out botnets, malware, phishing programs, trojans and other viruses.
  • The new Kindle Fire was announced last week. The 7" tablet will run on the Android OS and cost $199. It has less memory, power, and apps than the IPAD, but it's cheap. It's so cheap that Amazon is literally losing $10 on every tablet it sells. Amazon is counting on people to buy ebooks and watch subscription based movies and listen to music to make their profit. 95,000 were reportedly ordered the first day.
  • Amazon has clarified that the next generation of its 3G Kindle, the Kindle Touch 3G, will not be able to browse the Internet without a WiFi connection. Users will still be able to use 3G to sync book and document purchases, but anything beyond Wikipedia will be off-limits. Browsing was (and still is) an experimental feature on the last iteration of the Kindle, now known as the Kindle Keyboard 3G. The experiment appears to have failed as far as Amazon is concerned, as it will restrict the 3G access of the Kindle Touch 3G to browsing Wikipedia and downloading books and periodicals. The Kindle Touch 3G's webpage does not directly note this restriction, stating only that it has "free 3G wireless" that "works globally," but a post in the official Amazon forums states that "experimental web browsing (outside of Wikipedia) on Kindle Touch 3G is only available over WiFi."
  • Samsung has offered Apple a deal. As previously reported, Apple and Samsung have been suing each other over patent infringement. Samsung reportedly offered the deal of I'll drop my lawsuits if you drop yours. Apple is thinking it over. For now however, bpth companies have successfully kept the other out of multiple countries.
  • Google maps has started beta testing a cool new feature. If you use the Maps program to map out your trip on your computer or mobile device, you will soon be able to see your trip in three dimensions instead of a flat line on a screen. You will be able to scroll through your trip in a Google Streets fashion so you can hover over your trip like a guardian angel as you observe every altitude of the mountains, or bump in the road on a pothole covered street.
  • Did your Google Chrome web browser disappear over the weekend? Microsoft Security Essentials and also Microsoft's Forefront Endpoint Protection software can remove Google Chrome as a malware threat. This matches up with reporting from the website ZDnet, which broke news of the Chrome problems on Friday morning in the US. The software errors wrongly spot Chrome as malware to be removed from PCs. For affected users, simply trying to reinstall Chrome doesn't solve the problem. Instead, Microsoft's software removes the browser again.The Windows-maker, however, said that an update to Microsoft Security Essentials' software has been pushed out to the web and it's working on making everything well again.
  • In an attempt to allay fears that Motorola Mobility would receive special treatment following the completion of Google's acquisition, the search giant's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, said that competitors have nothing to fear. "The Android ecosystem is the No. 1 priority, and that we won't do anything with Motorola, or anybody else, by the way, that would screw up the dynamics of that industry," Schmidt told Bloomberg Television in an interview on Saturday. "We need strong, hard competition among all the Android players. We won't play favorites in the way people are concerned about." In August, Google announced that it had agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The deal, if approved by regulators, will see the search giant pay $40 per share in cash for Motorola, representing a 63 percent premium over the company's stock price the day before the deal was announced.
  • For the last several years, most PC users were resigned to one choice - Internet Explorer or Firefox. Those who were smart enough to ditch IE ended up jumping over to the Mozilla-owned browser. But in the last year, Google has been able to do what it does best - jump into a market that has historically slow and stringent changes, and shake up the status quo in record time. Becuase of Chrome's sustained growth, industry tracker StatCounter reckons it will overtake Firefox by the end of the year. The numbers don't lie. At the beginning of 2011, Chrome's browser share stood at a little under 15% while Firefox was resting at more than 27% and IE was at 45%. Now, there's a stark trend emerging - today, Chrome reaches 23.6% of Internet users, while Firefox is at 26.8%. IE remains somewhat comfortably on top at 41.7%.
  • BlackBerry PlayBook - The BlackBerry PlayBook is Research In Motion's 7-inch QNX-based tablet. QNX is the operating system that's supposed to represent RIM's future. The PlayBook originally started at $499 for the 16GB model, but you can now find it starting at just $299 at Best Buy. Pros: Powerful multitasking capability permits apps to run in the background without restrictions, and swipe-based navigation works perfectly with the PlayBook's small screen. The PlayBook also handles Adobe Flash better than many Android tablets. Cons: It has hardly any noteworthy apps, performance is buggy, and there's no native email or calendar (yet). Verdict: RIM says that it's not abandoning the PlayBook. This is probably true, given how crucial QNX is to the company's future. This tablet is worth a look on the strength of its potential--but only after RIM adds email, a calendar, and Android apps to the platform.
  • HTC Flyer - A 7-inch Android tablet, the HTC Flyer runs Android 2.3 with HTC's Sense interface on top. Its starting price was $499, but the going rate will drop to $299 on October 1. The Flyer works with an active digitizer pen (sold separately for $80) that allows users to draw and scribble notes in a handful of apps. Pros: The Flyer is a bit chunky, but its rounded edges and aluminum finish feel nice in the hands. A set of capacitive navigation buttons rotate from portrait to landscape mode depending on the hardware's orientation, reducing the chance of accidental presses. Cons: Android 2.3 was meant for phones, not tablets. And because it uses that OS, the Flyer can't run tablet apps from the Android market. Also, the Flyer's single-core 1.5GHz processor seems outdated in a dual-core world. Verdict: Its freshly lowered price enables the Flyer to edge out Samsung's original 7-inch Galaxy Tab as the go-to tablet for anyone who wants what amounts to a blown-up Android phone. Not a terrible option by any means, but certainly not state-of-the-art.
  • HP TouchPad - HP's first and only tablet was a failure when its starting price was $499, but the TouchPad quickly became a hit when its price plunged to $99 in August. The last we heard, HP had quickly sold a batch of these 10-inch tablets to its own employees, and it's not clear whether any will be left over for the bargain-hungry public. On eBay, new TouchPads are on sale for Buy It Now prices of $239 and higher. Pros: WebOS's card-based multitasking is among the best on the market, and an active homebrew scene should keep the software in shape. Cons: The tablet is thick and heavy compared to the iPad 2 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1. The WebOS software isn't as smooth or intuitive as Apple's iOS, and no one has a clear idea the operating system's long-term viability. Don't expect much activity in the App Catalog from now on. Verdict: Even at eBay prices, the TouchPad is the least-expensive 10-inch tablet you'll find. It's probably best suited for users who like to tinker; if all else fails, you can always install Android.
  • Toshiba Thrive - This 10-inch Android Honeycomb tablet is thick, heavy, and ugly--but it's the only Android tablet on the market with full-size USB, HDMI, and SD Card slots. The Toshiba Thrive debuted at $400 for the 8GB model; today, the asking price has shrunk slightly to $380 at Best Buy. Pros: Its trio of full-size ports makes this tablet more PC-like than any of its peers. Cons: No points for style. Battery life is below average. And the Thrive comes stuffed with bloatware. Verdict: Toshiba's already working on a 7-inch Thrive and on a superslim 10-inch tablet known only as the AT200. We'll probably see another price drop on the 10-inch Thrive before the holidays are over.
  • Acer Iconia Tab A500 - There's nothing special about Acer's 10-inch Android Honeycomb tablet; but its single, full-size USB port lets you connect a mouse, a keyboard, a gamepad, or an external hard drive. The Iconia Tab A500 originally cost $450, but you can now pick it up at Best Buy for $400. Pros: The full-size USB port comes in handy, and aluminum trim adds a subtle touch of class. Cons: It's big and heavy, and its display has some quirks according to our hands-on review. Verdict: There's not much to recommend at $400. But a $300 refurbished model at Best Buy? If you need a tablet that plays well with your external USB devices, the Iconia Tab is your cheapest option.

email from listeners:

  • Lou from Seattle asks "I am finding tablets to be very limiting. Are they ever going tob e as powerful as a regular computer?"