Thursday, March 15, 2018

TechTalk March 6 &13 2018

Technology is another thing we are all touched by in some way, shape and form.

There is so much tech around us and so many different ways that tech is being applied that it is refreshing to have a little perspective added to the conversation and that is what TechTalk is all about.

Andrew Thomas and James kick back and talk about the tech issues of the day. And this month Jatin also stepped in to talk about some cool things.

Jatin and James ready to talk tech.

And there is Andrew and James.

The March 13th show.

The March 6th Show.


The show notes for 2 weeks of shows

Jatin Mava, Mr Fitness and Mr Kickstarter.
So, kickstarter is not all about tech is it
-waterproof shoes, I saw socks that looked cool
-wireless headphones
-UVC travel steriliser

-fitness wearables and apps anything lunging out at you?
Still Fitbit Ionic and Runkeeper for me - NOTHIN!

Surface Pro! 5299
It’s a modern, capable, 2-in-1 computer that also happens to be able to connect to the internet without the need for a Wi-Fi network or a hot spot device. It’s the first Surface computer that truly lives up to the notion of a real mobile computer that can go anywhere and not lose any of its functionality.

For $150 more than the standard Surface Pro, you get an integrated modem that supports 20 bands of LTE service. (It’s a Qualcomm X16 modem, the same one found in many Android smartphones released last year.) Microsoft isn’t explicitly saying what carriers the Pro supports, but it is sold unlocked and supports bands for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, plus international networks, so it should work almost anywhere you go. Like the cellular-equipped iPad Pro, the Surface Pro LTE has both an integrated eSIM and a tray for a nano-SIM, and you can set up service on both and switch between them through the Windows 10 settings app. The settings app also provides a data usage monitor so you can see how much cellular data you are using and set limits on it.
Microsoft says the LTE Pro lasts 12.5 hours between charges (compared to 13.5 for the Wi-Fi model), but that’s based on a looping video test and not real-world usage. In my experience, battery life on LTE has been closer to seven hours, which is a little less than I saw with the Wi-Fi version, but still in the acceptable range for this size computer. I’d have really loved to see Microsoft stick an even larger battery in this version to really make it a truly mobile computer, but I think most people will be satisfied with the LTE Pro’s battery life.

12.3 inches

Screen Resolution
2736 x 1824
Max Screen Resolution
2736x1824 pixels
3.5 GHz 8032
8 GB
Hard Drive
256 GB
Card Description
Wireless Type
802.11B, 802.11G, 802.11n
Number of USB 3.0 Ports

Low tech but cool, Post it extreme! $4.99 3pack amazon prime
The Post-it Extreme Notes uses waterproof paper for the pads, so you can leave it outside in the rain, in the shower, and on the side of a cooler filled with ice without losing whatever is written on it. Even better, it’s designed to work with nothing but regular pens, so you don’t have to buy a special marker to ensure your message stays when the darn thing gets wet. Heck, you can even stick this inside the bathtub and the message will stay on even while the tub is full of water, allowing you to use the sticky pad in entirely new ways.

WhatsApp longer delete period!
WhatsApp has quietly changed the way its message deletion feature works. Originally introduced in October, the WhatsApp “delete for everyone” used to only allow you to delete messages up to seven minutes after you sent them. WABetaInfo has noticed that the latest version of WhatsApp extends that time limit significantly to one hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds.

The WestWorld Mobile game do we want it?
At SXSW today, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment announced pre-registration for the mobile game, which will be released this year on Android and iOS. We learned earlier this year that the game is in the works, and today's announcement sheds light on the plot and timing.
Warner Brothers will work with Westworld producers and writers on the game, which is intended to "complement and augment the rich depth of the series," according to a statement from WB. In the game, you'll start out as a newly hired Delos Trainee who gets access to the Delos Park Training Simulation (DPTS). As the game progresses, you'll eventually take over all aspects of the Westworld park operations, "including manufacturing and care-taking of artificially intelligent hosts and satisfying guest desires."
Odd but cool at the same time!
I read the divulgences above at The Future of Secrets. At the heart of this SXSW installation is a solitary laptop that asks "Do you have a secret?" You type your confession, hit enter, and it heads into a database of thousands. Seconds later, a receipt printer hums and pushes out someone else's revelation -- a reward. Meanwhile, your disclosure will be repurposed according to an opaque algorithm.
Across the room, steady robotic voices read the messages over headphones, sometimes in faint whispers, giving the sense that you're privy to a confession. On one wall, projections of secrets pop into view then fade away, mimicking a restless mind of fleeting thoughts, some banal, some disturbing. On another wall runs an infinite scroll of the code which converts written secrets into audio. To the layperson, it appears that your thoughts are being processed and crunched but you don't know how. A second receipt printer convulses apparently at random, spitting out secrets onto neat rectangles of thin, disposable, paper. I contributed my disclosure knowing it could appear minutes later in this room, or in several months, perhaps in in the next city the installation travels to.

Bose AR and sunglasses
-cool micro speaker
I read the divulgences above at The Future of Secrets. At the heart of this SXSW installation is a solitary laptop that asks "Do you have a secret?" You type your confession, hit enter, and it heads into a database of thousands. Seconds later, a receipt printer hums and pushes out someone else's revelation -- a reward. Meanwhile, your disclosure will be repurposed according to an opaque algorithm.
Across the room, steady robotic voices read the messages over headphones, sometimes in faint whispers, giving the sense that you're privy to a confession. On one wall, projections of secrets pop into view then fade away, mimicking a restless mind of fleeting thoughts, some banal, some disturbing. On another wall runs an infinite scroll of the code which converts written secrets into audio. To the layperson, it appears that your thoughts are being processed and crunched but you don't know how. A second receipt printer convulses apparently at random, spitting out secrets onto neat rectangles of thin, disposable, paper. I contributed my disclosure knowing it could appear minutes later in this room, or in several months, perhaps in in the next city the installation travels to.

Netflix is a tech company 1st working on the best streaming tech!

Learn to type

Elecxtric is all the rage, Gary West on Nightline from GM last night talking electric cars and I drove the BOLT!
Tesla has increased its Supercharging rates across the US, Electrek reports. And while most states' prices increased by 20 to 40 percent, some experienced more substantial rises in costs. For example, California's rates rose from 20 cents per kWh to 26 cents and New York's rose from 19 cents per kWh to 24 cents, but Oregon's rates doubled from 12 cents per kWh to 24 cents.
Those affected most by the changes will be Tesla 3 drivers because while Model S and X owners receive 400 kWh of Supercharger credits each year, Model 3 owners don't. Tesla has been adding to its Supercharger networkthis past year, expanding into urban areas and building larger Supercharger stations. And as Model 3 production ramps up, its charging stations are likely to see more use.
Tesla told Electrek that even if it adjusts Supercharger prices, they'll always be less expensive than gas. "We occasionally adjust rates to reflect current local electricity and usage. The overriding principle is that Supercharging will always remain significantly cheaper than gasoline, as we only aim to recover a portion of our costs while setting up a fair system for everyone," said Tesla. "This will never be a profit center for Tesla." You can check what Tesla's Supercharger prices are in your region here.
Apple Maps shares bike sharing sites
Apple and Ito World have partnered to bring bike-sharing dock information to Apple Maps, TechCrunch reports. Now, in a number of cities, users can just type "bike sharing" or the name of a bike-sharing service into the Apple Maps search bar and it will show you all of the nearby docks as well as the bike-sharing service's website and phone number. Ito World's bike share data feed currently includes information for 179 cities in 36 countries.
Apple began working bike-sharing info into Maps last April, but the company's partnership with Ito World greatly expands the amount of available bike-sharing data. There are a few limitations though. Apple Maps can show you where bike-sharing docks are located but not how many bikes are available or how many docks are currently empty and it can't give you information on dockless bike-sharing services.
Enter Wear Space, a prototype we spotted at Panasonic's SXSW exhibition. A collaboration with Japanese fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga, it embeds noise-cancelling headphones in what's basically a glorified horse blinder. The idea is to keep you focused when working in open spaces like coffee shops or communal co-working spots.
Yes it looks sleek, and yes, it's a positive development that product designers are becoming more mindful of our collective concentration deficit. But perhaps it also highlights how badly we need better solutions -- whether in ethical software design, regulation or individual habits. There must be more dignified ways to sharpen our attention than a human pet cone, no matter how fashionably it's designed.

I need this in my life!

-pocket sprite
-wifi load up
-preloaded with emulators
-sega, gameboy and gameboy colour and amazon

In 2013, entrepreneur Jamie Siminoff left the set of Shark Tank without a deal for his video doorbell company--and in tears because his company was almost out of money. Five years later, Amazon is buying it for a cool $1 billion.

Another Smart Phone

Not sure what is this
Love this

OK let’s talk MWC and that means Samsung and SONY.

Samsung is giving you a reason to upgrade! Better screen like way better…
This is the same evaluator that deemed both the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 as the world’s top performers shortly after their 2017 announcements, ultimately ranking the iPhone X panel ahead of the pack thanks to Apple’s optimizations and… Samsung’s hardware.
Said hardware is now taken to the next level, as the S9 screen may look identical to the S8’s, but it’s absolutely not. It’s actually significantly brighter, more accurate in terms of color reproduction, with better viewing angles, and “very good to excellent” ratings in all of the DisplayMate lab test and measurement categories.
Just like the dual aperture cameras, the Galaxy S9 screen has no obvious weakness, setting or matching a grand total of ten records for things like absolute color accuracy, native color gamut, contrast ratio, screen reflectance, and brightness variation with viewing angle.
Overall, this is explicitly described as the “best performing smartphone display” these expert reviewers have ever tested, with an “Excellent A+” grade. That’s actually the same mark earned by the S8, Note 8 and iPhone X last year, so perhaps DisplayMate should think of revising its grading system.
If the Samsung Galaxy S9 truly has the best smartphone display, well ahead of all those great past OLED performers, why not give it an “Extra-excellent A+++”?
The Pocket recap!

Missed The Google Android Village!
The village is split into a number of back-to-back stations in a long, narrow area, perhaps unintentionally representing a conveyer belt where visitors pop from one station to the next. Each station, staffed by Googlers wearing blue Converse All-Stars and workers wearing arctic-white jumpsuits, has a different theme to showcase the products in the new lineup of phones Google has unveiled this week during the event.

VERO is getting some buzz especially with the Instagram algorithm change.  I signed up like a lemming but I am not sure why!
Except, Vero’s not new. Vero’s actually been around since 2015, but it’s only now gaining significant momentum.
Why? It’s hard to say for sure, but speculation is that Vero’s rise is a result of the ongoing backlash against algorithm-defined feeds, particularly on Instagram. Vero’s layout is actually much like Insta, with a focus on images - except, as detailed in the above video, you can post a wider variety of content on Vero, including music, links, book and film recommendations, and other sharing options.
As explained in Vero’s introduction:
“We made it so you could play music and buy stuff without leaving the app, then, we didn’t put any advertising in it. Which meant we didn’t have to put any algorithms in it. Which meant we didn’t have to mine data from anyone, ever. And when we were done, we realized we hadn’t just created a new social network, we’d created a new way to be social online. Less of what makes it suck, more of what makes it great.”
The premise is certainly inviting, and is much the same as the one Ello used when it first launched to a quick burst of hype. But Ello never really caught on.
So will Vero follow the same path?
There’s obviously no way of knowing what will come next for the app, but there are a few lessons we can take from the sudden interest in Vero:
  1. There is appetite for an alternate social network – One which is free of ads and/or algorithms. Snapchat was first able to gain momentum by being the anti-Facebook, a way to share without having it saved for posterity, and without it being seen by everyone, and saved on your permanent record (and used for ad targeting). Snapchat’s eased its approach on all of these fronts as they’ve grown, because they’ve discovered, over time, that in order to scale, such ideals can’t ultimately be maintained, and their recent introduction of their own algorithm (of sorts) has left users looking for a way to regain control over their content. Vero offers this – but it’s likely that they’ll run into the same challenges as Snapchat, if they ever reach significant levels of usage.
  2. Vero’s ‘growth hacking’ strategy is helping its rise – As noted, Vero has no ads, and they don’t plan to ever introduce them. So how will Vero make money? One way is through a subscription-based model – according to CNBC, Vero plans to eventually charge users 'a few dollars per year' to use the app. But right now, they’re using this as a growth device – Vero says that the first million users will never have to pay any fees, pushing people to get in quick. So if you even think Vero might be something someday, it's best to jump in soon. The app is reportedly now very close to that million user mark.  
  3. The growth of social commerce – The other way Vero plans to eventually make money is by taking a cut of any sales generated through the app. Of course, social commerce options are cropping up everywhere, but it is possible that Vero, if it were to become popular enough, could establish a sold funding model through in-stream sales – though again, at some stage, the challenges of scale would likely become a problem. It'll be interesting to see how Vero plans to implement this.

Tech dependency, Alexa went down and we, well not me but others, had a little meltdown!

In what appeared to be a real-life version of Amazon’s funny Super Bowl commercialin which Alexa loses her voice, several Amazon Echo customers took to social media Friday, March 2, to report that the popular voice assistant wasn’t working properly. The problem appeared to be widespread, with the biggest reports coming from the West Coast and Northeast. It appeared that people could still get answers to their burning questions via the Alexa app, but not using their voice.
As you can imagine, Twitter users responded with confusion, frustration, and of course, lots of jokes. Here are just a few of our favorite Tweets:

Maybe a Microsoft laptop with a foldable touch screen? PLEASE!
A recent patent application filed by Microsoft reveals that the company wants to make a laptop-style device consisting of an all-encompassing, touch-capable, flexible screen. This screen would be divided into three sections: the top to present content typically seen on a laptop screen, a “transition” section at the “bend” that renders a taskbar, and a third section rendering a virtual keyboard. Embedded sensors determine which screen you are using to display content.
According to the diagrams, the device sports a hinge consisting of “wheel elements” and octagonal rods extending along the Y-axis. This design enables the device to bend in either direction, with the screens facing each other in a closed position or facing outward in a makeshift tablet-like configuration. Hexagonal or cylindrical rods could also work, the patent suggests.
On a more technical level, the device would consist of a transparent cover, a touch-sensitive layer underneath, the flexible display unit, and a thin “shell” binding these ingredients to the hinge. This shell can consist of plastic, glass, ceramics, fiber composites, metals, or any combination of these materials as long as the hinge area remains flexible.
What will be interesting to see is how Microsoft plans to cram the actual computing hardware inside its flexible device. The list includes a processor, a graphics chip (if it’s not integrated into the CPU), system memory, non-removable storage, wireless connectivity, and so on. That’s in addition to the actual screen, the touch-input sensor layer, and enough space inside to passively cool the inner hardware.

Will be playing with a new Surface Pro LTE next week!

Voice shopping is set to boom! But TRUST is an issue!

While consumers are using smart home speakers to listen to music and answer questions, they’re also increasingly using them to buy things.
Voice shopping is already a $2 billion business and projected to grow to $40 billion within four years.
Online retail giant Amazon is projected to dominate the home speaker market, which will grow from 13% to 55% of homes, according to a study comprising a survey of 1,500 smart speaker owners conducted by OC&C Strategy Consultants.
Three tech giants lead the virtual assistant AI space in the U.S. Amazon’s Echo has 10% penetration, Google’s Home 4% and Microsoft’s Cortana 2%. Apple just recently launched its high-end HomePod smart speaker.
There are some twists in voice commerce, however:
  • Only 39% of consumers trust the personalized product selection of smart speakers
  • Voice purchases tended to be standalone, lower value items
  • There are only 39 retailer connected applications within the voice shopping category
  • Only 44% of consumers believe that smart speakers offer the best value selection of products
However, Amazon still has the upper hand. A large majority (85%) of consumers select the products Amazon suggests.
That Alexa is one smart voice retailer.

Apple Uhhhh…. And we just ignore this because the device is cool?
Representatives of Apple Canada appeared before the House of Commons standing committee on industry, science and technology to answer questions about the company's admission in December that it slowed down the software on older phones.
Apple said the slowdown was necessary to avoid unexpected shutdowns related to battery fatigue. Many consumers responded with skepticism, reading Apple's move as a way to stir up demand for newer iPhone models.
When pressed, Jacqueline Famulak, manager of legal and government affairs at Apple Canada Inc., said the company never meant to leave the impression with consumers that it was withholding the reasons behind the slowdown.
"It was not intentional," she told the committee. "We don't think we miscommunicated anything at any time.
"We apologized because our consumers didn't hear directly from us."
Tensions flared during Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith's five minutes of questioning.
The former commercial litigation lawyer asked Apple Canada to disclose any internal communications, opinions or advice given to Apple Canada or its American parent company regarding whether the source of the iPhone performance problems should be made public.
Apple's lawyer, Simon Potter, quickly shot down that idea.
Bookmarks by Twitter!
Twitter officially launched its Bookmarks feature Wednesday for users worldwide on iOS, Android, Twitter Lite and the social network’s mobile site.
Associate product manager Jesar Shah announced in a blog post that the new share icon beneath every tweet will allow users to bookmark tweets for later reading, as well as to share them via direct message or several other ways outside of Twitter.
Twitter began testing a Save for Later feature last October, renaming the feature Bookmarks over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Shah said that based on input from users, Twitter added the ability to save replies and to share tweets “hours or days” after they are bookmarked, adding that Bookmarks are only visible to the user doing the bookmarking.
She also provided the following instructions for using the feature:
  1. Tap the share icon under the tweet.
  2. Select “Add Tweet to Bookmarks.”
  3. To access it later, tap “Bookmarks” from your profile icon menu.
Finally, Shah noted that tweets can be removed from Bookmarks at any time.

I want a google clips!

Other things you might like to know

  • The Clips doesn't record audio. Baby's first steps are a possibility. Baby's first word is impossible.
  • The Clips isn't always recording, period. Google says it's constantly checking to see whether a given photo looks interesting (because it has faces, expressions, pets, motion), but doesn't start recording until it reaches a verdict.
  • It's not designed to be wearable. I clipped it onto baby, but it didn't record much because it tries to avoid blurry photos. It's really meant to be stationary. I clipped it onto me, too, but I felt like an asshole walking around with it on.
  • We didn't test with older kids, which might make Clips more valuable. Kids might enjoy using a camera like this themselves. Especially kids without phones.
  • Google says Clips might get smarter. The mini neural network on board is updatable via Google's app, and Google plans to update it.
  • Clips might make more sense if/when it gets cheaper. Weddings could be an excellent use case. Clips is much more foolproof (and animated) than disposable film cameras, and the married couple can spend less time sorting through footage.
  • It works in any orientation: It flips to portrait mode automatically, and you can pop the Clips into its case in a different orientation too.
  • There are two manual shutter buttons. One in the app, one on the Clips itself. Tap either to capture immediately, hold down to shoot longer than the standard 7-second shot.
  • There's a live preview mode. You can stream to your phone in the app.
  • Google says the battery lasts 57 days in standby mode. It's designed to be thrown into a purse or diaper bag and always be ready to go. It records for closer to 3 hours at a time, though we saw it stay on for upwards of 5 hours when it wasn't recording often.
  • It charges over USB-C. It can run on an external USB battery too.
  • The internal battery isn't replaceable.
  • It's not waterproof. "If a kid sneezes on it, it won't break." But don't submerge it, says Google.
  • To save or delete a clip, just swipe. In the app, I mean. It's quick and easy.
  • In the app, you can press a button to have Clips highlight clips it likes best. We felt the feature highlighted some clips that didn't make sense (like a hand covering the camera) and missed some good moments too, but it could help you sift through.
  • The clip on Clips doesn't grab everything equally well. Google says it's designed to open to 12mm (roughly half an inch). That wasn't big enough to stay latched onto some baby-safe toys and furniture.
  • You can buy an alternate sleeve with a tripod mount. Incipio sells one.
  • Clips are natively recognized by Google Photos and iOS. The iPhone considers them to be Live Photos, and you can search Google Photos for "Motion Photos" to pull them up.
  • The app lets you easily pull a still JPEG image out of any clip, and they look pretty good. Way better than your typical video screenshot. You can also set the start and end points of the Motion Photos, or record as animated GIFs instead.
  • Video resolution varies. The largest files we pulled were around 1,920x1,250-pixel resolution, at a data rate of 18Mbps, but some were much smaller. All were 15 frames per second.
  • We have no idea what the plural of Clips is. Do you?

Would you trust a robot to take candid photos of your family, pets and kids? That's the question Google is posing with the $250 Google Clips. It's a tiny, 2-inch square of a camera with AI smarts: A neural network Google trained to snap 7-second videos whenever it sees something "interesting" occur. (More on how Clips interprets "interesting" a bit later.)

Clips automatically takes 7-second videos of moments you might miss with your phone.
Sean Hollister/CNET
It's a camera you can set down anywhere to automatically capture fleeting moments -- a laugh, a smile, a goofy expression, a cute gesture -- you'd never be in time to capture with your phone. And since you don't always need to whip out your handset, you can live in the moment. Be in the shot with your loved ones, instead of stuck behind the camera.
That's the pitch, anyhow.
Video quality isn't the issue -- it's good! Google does a remarkable job of keeping images crisp, light on noise and well-exposed, even with challenging lighting conditions like direct sunlight (useful for Patrick Holland's sunbathing cat Stella) or the dark interior of a moving car after sundown. Particularly if you set the Clips to capture at high quality, which you totally should.
If you're too far away from the Clips, it won't work. This is too far.
Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET
But since the Clips doesn't pan, tilt or zoom -- it only records what's in front of its 130-degree wide-angle lens -- I'd often get clips of my 1-year-old daughter and 5-year-old Shih Tzu simply walking past the camera, or hanging out at what looked like far, far away on the opposite side of the room.
(Wide-angle lenses tend to do that.)
Google says it's designed to record people and pets roughly 3-8 feet away -- and in practice, that means placing the Clips where you already know the action is about to occur.

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