? All Tech Radio Episode 480
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  • North Korea has threatened unspecified attacks on the US in an escalation of a war of words following the Sony Pictures cyber-attacks. In a fiery statement, the North warned of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and "the whole US mainland". North Korea denies US claims it is behind cyber-attacks linked to a film that features the fictional killing of its leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea has a long history of issuing threats against the US.
  • North Korea's Internet has been hit with outages and is offline today, according to a network-monitoring company, days after the U.S. government accused the country of hacking into Sony Corp. (6758)'s files. North Korea, which has four official networks connecting the country to the Internet -- all of which route through China -- began experiencing intermittent problems yesterday and today went completely black, according to Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research in Hanover, New Hampshire. Although N Korea has 4 official networks the US has 152,000.
  • Amazon isn't ready to turn its back on the Fire Phone just yet. It got a big update on Friday that adds a host of new functions. The phone's Firefly feature now allows it to recognize more than 2,000 famous paintings using information from Wikipedia, and text translation is now available for English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Another addition is Best Shot, which takes a picture just before and just after you press the shutter button in the camera app. That means each time a picture is taken, you'll have three options to choose from. The update comes with a few more typical fixes, too. It improves battery life, according toAmazon, and now allows users to add custom ringtones, as well as block phone numbers. You have dozens of keyboard languages to choose from and download.
  • Aircraft manufacturer and defense contractor Boeing has turned to Canadian telecommunication form BlackBerry for help developing a super-secret, self-destructing 'Black' smartphone for government agencies. According to The Telegraph, the smartphone will feature dual-SIM capability, built-in encryption, hardware communications crypto, swappable backplates that allow the smartphone to have satellite or radio capability, solar power chargers, and biometric sensors. Also, in case of any unauthorized teardowns, any tampering of the case will result in all the data being deleted.
  • Facebook is getting less and less cool, at least among teens. A report Thursday by Frank N. Magid Associates Inc. found that the portion of 13- to 17-year-old social-media users in the United States on Facebook slipped to 88 percent this year from 94 percent in 2013 and 95 percent in 2012. In the same period, Twitter and messaging applications rose in popularity in that age group, the study showed. The Menlo Park, California-based company first warned a year ago that teens weren't using its website as often as before. Facebook stopped discussing teen usage on its earnings calls after last year's disclosure alarmed investors. While the issue was all but forgotten as the company's advertising revenue reached new highs, it's a bigger concern now, according to Tero Kuittinen, a managing director at Magid in New York. "You look at Facebook and you say, 'Wow, something really changed in 2014,'" Kuittinen said. "If kids are starting to use so much of their daily time on messaging apps, surely it's going to hurt somebody."
  • An Investment research report states that Apple Pay was responsible for 1 percent of the digital payment dollars spent in the month of November, that included Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Google Wallet accounted for 4 percent of digital payment dollars, which I think is actually quite encouraging considering Google Wallet is still not that well known to consumers. Apple's active ad campaigns for Apple Pay may actually be helping Google Wallet due to mobile payment awareness increasing. It seems like a great time for Google to start advertising Google Wallet, along with their enjoyable Android ads.
  • HP announced in October that it would begin selling 11-inch and 14-inch touchscreenChromebooks. Today, the 14-inch model has stealthily made its way onto HP's online store for $439. This model is a bit higher-end than its non-touchscreen counterpart, offering a 14-inch 1920×1080 display, NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and a variety of ports including one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. It comes in one color option of snow white with silver accents. This new model of HP's 14-inch Chromebook looks to have improved on the problems of its predecessor, like a low-res display and sluggish performance. With those enhancements, the price has also risen by $140 to a new price of $439. With that, though, you get improved specs and a touchscreen, something that we haven't yet seen much in Chromebooks. That touchscreen, however, will likely become more helpful as Google continues to work on porting Android apps to run on Chrome OS.
  • Dish Network customers who are tired of switching inputs on their TV to move between satellite TV and online streaming will be happy to hear they can now sign into their Netflix accounts right from their Hopper set-top box. This makes Dish the first pay-TV provider in the U.S. to provide Netflix streaming through its DVR. Netflix service won't come for free, of course; Dish subscribers will still need a Netflix subscription. But for Dish customers who don't have a smart TV, a home-theater PC, or a stand-alone streaming device (an Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or Roku, for instance), being able to stream Netflix right from their second-generation Hopper set-top box will be tremendously convenient. Once they've linked their Netflix account to their Hopper, they need only push the blue button on their Dish remote and then select the Netflix icon on the TV.
  • The third generation of Cadillac's CTS-V will debut at the North American International Auto Show here next month and based on a sneak preview, it should put BMW and Mercedes-Benz on notice. To sum it up, its top speed is 200 miles per hour. A supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 can go from zero -to-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Thus, the 2016 CTS-V is more powerful and about 100 pounds lighter and nimbler than its predecessor. Cadillac is not disclosing the price yet, but the current CTS-V goes for between $71,000 and $75,000, depending on options. The car, which is assembled at General Motors' Lansing Grand River plant, will go on sale late next summer as a 2016 model.
  • T-Mobile customers in who incurred "cramming" charges can expect to finally get their money back, now that the company will be dishing out $90 million to customers across the nation.The settlement aims to resolve allegations that the phone service provider placed charges for third-party services on consumers' mobile telephone bills that were not authorized by the consumer, otherwise known as "mobile cramming." Crammed consumers often incurred charges, typically $9.99 per month, for "premium" text message subscription services, or PSMS, such as horoscopes, trivia and sports scores that the consumers never heard of nor requested.
  • Red light cameras were considered an effective tool in fighting speeders, but new research commissioned by the Chicago Tribune appears to blow that idea out of the water. The report found that Chicago's red light camera program was not safer. In fact, it actually caused more rear-end accidents than before it was implemented. Ars Technica reports that rear-end crashes resulting in injuries actually went up 22 percent under the program.

email from listeners:

  • Tom from Portland asks "Which is faster, Xbox One or PS4"