? All Tech Radio Episode 419
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  • Users looking to get their hands on the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 can head to their local Microsoft Store to pick up the device at midnight on 10/21 Microsoft own retail stores and Best Buy are just one of the many places where users can pick up the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 beginning today. Users looking to purchase one of Microsoft's upgraded tablets from Best Buy and Staples will have to wait until their local store opens at its regular time. However, many of Microsoft's stores are honoring the occasion by holding midnight launch parties, complete with giveaways and the chance to see recording Artist Pitbull give a concert at the grand opening for the Microsoft Store in Orlando, Florida.
  • The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 are a doubling down on the bets that Microsoft made with its first generation hardware: Tablets with kickstands, and attachable keyboards that serve as a case. From that we can infer that Microsoft is confident in its hardware 'package.' The Surface Pro 2 has been incrementally improved in a number of ways, but its core value proposition, when compared to its predecessor, is greatly extended battery life. Battery life was the chief complaint that Microsoft cited as guidance when it explained its building of the device. Holistically, the Surface 2 is a more improved device, with changes to its hardware stretching from its screen, cameras, battery life, casing, and so forth. It's a truly great, light device. Whilst as Starbucks - doing requisite road testing of the Surface 2: low power, bad wi-fi, light, loud noises etc are great friction for getting to know the bones of a computer - it appeared that I had the most attractive device in the shop. The new Touch Cover is a dramatic improvement over the original Touch Cover. If you felt unsure typing on the first generation, the second will be worth checking out. The new Type Cover has a smaller improvement delta over its preceding version. Still, if you demand moving keys, it's a fine option.
  • Microsoft has pulled temporarily its recently released Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store due to a vaguely explained "situation." MUST READ: 14 rabbits Apple may pull out of its hat at tomorrow's announcement Microsoft pulls Windows RT 8.1 update from the Store Summary: Microsoft has temporarily pulled its recently released Windows RT 8.1 update for ARM-based devices due to an unexplained issue. Microsoft has pulled temporarily its recently released Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store due to a vaguely explained "situation." Microsoft pulled the RT 8.1 update some time in the morning of October 19, as reported by WinBeta.org, two days after it first made it available for download by existing Windows RT users. I asked Microsoft what led to the decision to pull the update and received the following statement from a spokesperson: "Microsoft is investigating a situation affecting a limited number of users updating their Windows RT devices to Windows RT 8.1. As a result, we have temporarily removed the Windows RT 8.1 update from the Windows Store. We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and apologize for any inconvenience. We will provide updates as they become available.
  • Facebook said it would let users between the ages of 13 and 17 make posts "public" so that they can be seen by anyone on the network. Previously, teenagers' posts could be seen only by their friends and "friends of friends."With the shift, Facebook will operate more like such rivals as Twitter Inc. that let teens share publicly. Twitter, unlike Facebook, also lets users post anonymously or with pseudonyms.Analysts said Facebook risks losing the next generation of young users if it doesn't keep pace with competitors. But some privacy advocates are more concerned about public posts on Facebook than on other sites because of its vast reach.
  • Halloween is coming early to some Toyota owners. Toyota is recalling 870,000 vehicles because a problem with an air conditioner part could cause airbags to deploy unnecessarily . In some cases, the problem was caused by spiders. Sometimes, their webs can create a blockage in a drainage tube coming from the air conditioning condenser. That can cause water to drip down onto an airbag control module, causing a short circuit. That, in turn, could cause the airbag warning light to light up on the dashboard and it could even cause the driver's side airbag to deploy, something that happens with explosive force. In some cases, there could also be a loss of power-steering force. Models affected are Camrys, Venzas and Avalons.
  • The University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory is working with a local submersible company Oceangate to build a five-person submarine that would travel almost 2 miles below the ocean's surface. Its innovative design and carbon-fiber hull will enable passengers to reach 9,842 feet or 3,000 meters under the sea. Shaped like a bullet, the carbon-fiber hull can plunge down to depth in less than 60 minutes. Once the sub reaches depth, it rotates to its cruising orientation -- and in order for passengers to stay upright during the journey, their seats pivot. The sub's front viewing area inspired its name. The Cyclops sub has a 5-foot-wide dome that passengers will sit in, giving them a 180-degree view through 4-inch-thick glass. Over the past 18 months the researchers have gone through more than 20 prototype designs to get to their just revealed plan. The Boeing Company is usually associated with airspace research, but the company also undertakes extremely advanced work on underwater tech. Boeing worked with OceanGate and the research team on the initial design analysis of their 7-inch-thick pressure vessel.
  • HP has been busy enhancing its online support and social presence over the past year. For example, the company's website design has been streamlined in an effort to make it easier to find answers to common questions. Plus, HP's support-related Twitter account , which has amassed more than 31,000 followers, is now manned by more agents. Perhaps the most notable addition to HP's technical support is its new SmartFriend suite of services, which not only cover HP products but also assist with non-HP-branded PCs. SmartFriend comes in various flavors, with subscription services costing $14.99 per month for ongoing support and one-time services ranging from $29.99 to $99.99.
  • Amazon is well-known for having the best customer service anywhere (usually) and today they showed us that even they canstep up their game. The newest Kindle Fire tablets, which were just announced this morning, will include a new Mayday option on the menu bar. Select it and Amazon promises that within 15 seconds you will be talking to a customer support agent. You'll be able to see the agent, but they won't be able to see you. "With the Mayday button, our goal is to revolutionize tech support," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. "With a single tap, an Amazon expert will appear on your Fire HDX and can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you-whatever works best. Mayday is available 24×7, 365 days a year, and it's free. CEO Jeff Bezos pointed out that those creeped out by a representative could turn it off, but "you'd be disabling the greatest feature we've ever made!"
  • If eHarmony or Match.com features more prominently in your "how we met" story than a smoky nightclub or the produce aisle, you're probably not so reluctant to admit it. Six out of 10 Americans now believe dating sites are a good way to meet people, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. That's up from 44% who felt that way in 2005, the last time Pew conducted a similar survey. And barely two out of every 10 people (21%) still feel that "people who use online dating sites are desperate." Eight years ago, almost 30% thought so. "General public attitudes toward online dating have become much more positive in recent years, and social networking sites are now playing a prominent role when it comes to navigating and documenting romantic relationships," reads a summary of Pew's report.
  • Nokia has apparently set its sights on the iPod Shuffle, but when this alternative might hit store shelves is unknown. EvLeaks, a Twitter account that has leaked Nokia devices images and details in the past with a high rate of accuracy, published a picture of what it claims is the upcoming Nokia Guru. The alleged device, which has been compared in previous rumors to the iPod Shuffle, comes without a display and appears to have a belt clip, similar to Apple's device. Its blue color in the image suggests Nokia will announce color options. The main difference between the Guru and the iPod Shuffle is the inclusion of near-field communication, according to reports. That feature would allow Nokia device owners to push content to it wirelessly. Nokia is hosting a press event Tuesday as part of Nokia World in Abu Dhabi to unveil up to six new devices. It's not clear whether the Guru will be one of those devices or how much the music player will cost if and when it eventually hits store shelves.

email from listeners:

  • Tom for Miami asks "Should I buy a phablet for Christmas presents for the kids or go with the phone and tablet separately?"