? All Tech Radio Episode 416
 all tech radio show
  • A few days back, when Samsung officials gave a series of interviews about their plans for curved screens on smartphones, one unnamed executive gave the game away on the Galaxy Gear. He acknowledged that the new smartwatch lacked the kind of substance that would turn window-shoppers into fans. We've acknowledged that our Gear lacks something special. With more investment for user interface and user experience, Samsung devices will be better in terms of customer satisfaction," said a Samsung official, reported in the Korean Times. That could well be the kind of comment that kills interest in the product. Notably Samsung is not talking about overall sales. The comment came on the back of an announcement that Samsung would launch a curved glass smartphone in October, probably in Korea at first.
  • Facebook's steady march to make its users' lives as transparent as possible is about to take another big step forward. The social network will shortly let you search posts and status updates across Facebook (subject to privacy settings). The update to Facebook's Graph Search function, launched earlier this year, will let users search for status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments. Previously, Graph Search only allowed users to search through some personal information about other users-their Likes, in particular, as well as details ranging from relationship status and employment to residential location.
  • Intel wants to get in on the same market as Google glasses. They have invested heavily in a new company. Their target, Recon, until recently were also an "inside" play, providing the wearable computing in the Smith + Recon Ski Goggle. The goggle provides a slew of information including speed, jump analytics, altitude, distance, location, temperature and much more. Recon jet is Recon's own cycling and runner glass. Intel capital has invested "significantly", according to Recon Instruments, in particular to fund global sales expansion. Intel will likry turn the goggle into something more like Google Glasses where it can show augmented reality to anything on the internet.
  • The NSA (National Security Agency) is tracking Americans' social connections, their travel partners, and locations at various times, according to an extensive New York Times report that cites documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The paper reports that monitoring began in November 2010, when the NSA lifted restrictions and began allowing the analysis of phone-call and e-mail logs in order to examine Americans' "network of associations" for foreign-intelligence purposes. A January 2011 memo confirmed that the policy change allowed the agency to "discover and track" connections between Americans and intelligence targets overseas. The documents Snowden shared indicate the NSA can track Americans' "bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls, and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data," the Times reported. Thus far, the NSA has declined to comment on how many Americans, including those with "no wrongdoing," have been tracked.
  • From the mind of eccentric billionaire John McAfee - founder of McAfee Antivirus - comes a "new and revolutionary technology" that will reclaim our lost privacy, he says, and restore the ability of college students to get all the free movies and music they want. "I cannot imagine any college student not standing in line to buy one of these," he said. The product is a $100 "D-Central" gadget that will allow its users to create a small local-area wireless network dynamically, which people can use to communicate and share anonymously without the risk of being tapped by the NSA, the FBI, or any other three-letter agency, McAfee said.
  • Microsoft has formally announced Surface tablet successor models with Windows 8.1 operating system - Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8.1 and Surface 2 with Windows 8.1 RT. Microsoft has formally introduced the successors of its Windows platform based Surface tablets, called Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8.1 and Surface 2 with Windows 8.1 RT. Sporting 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display, the Surface 2 is powered by Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset while the Surface Pro 2 runs Intel Core i5 "Haswell' ultra low power mobile processor. Microsoft will offer Surface 2 starting$449 (Rs 28,185 approximately) and Surface Pro 2 starting $899 (Rs 56,356 approximately) from October 22 and early November in 22 markets excluding India. These new tablets will be sold through Microsoft's own online store and select third-party retailers as well as commercial stores. Both new Surface tablets will have Kickstand integrated at the back, bumped processing power and most importantly - battery life. In terms of design, Microsoft has decided to stick with the same VapourMg Magnesium alloy technology molds used in the first generation Surface tablets. So the new Surface 2 tablets look slim, sleek and light.
  • According to the Pew Research Center's internet and American Life Project survey, 15 percent of Americans, approximately one in seven, don't have Internet access. More surprisingly, the May 2013 survey revealed that 34 percent of that group isn't interested in using it. Someone should tell Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. However hardZuckerberg tries, not everyone is going to be on the Internet or Facebook. Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet Project research associate, found that: 34 percent of non-Internet users think the internet is simply not relevant to them, saying they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it. 32 percent of non-Internet users cite reasons linked to their sense that the internet is not very easy to use. These non-users say that it is difficult or frustrating to go online, that they are physically unable, or that they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys. 19 percent of non-Internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an Internet connection. 7 percent of non-users cite a physical lack of availability or access to the Internet.
  • Google faces financial sanctions in France after failing to comply with an order to alter how it stores and shares user data to conform to the nation's privacy laws. The enforcement follows an analysis led by European data protection authorities of a new privacy policy that Google enacted in 2012, France's privacy watchdog, the Commission Nationale de L'Informatique et des Libertes, said Friday on its website. Google was ordered in June by the CNIL to comply with French data protection laws within three months. But Google had not changed its policies to comply with French laws by a deadline on Friday, because the company said that France's data protection laws did not apply to users of certain Google services in France, the CNIL said. The company "has not implemented the requested changes," the CNIL said. As a result, "the chair of the CNIL will now designate a rapporteur for the purpose of initiating a formal procedure for imposing sanctions, according to the provisions laid down in the French data protection law," the watchdog said. Google could be fined a maximum of €150,000 ($202,562), or €300,000 for a second offense, and could in some circumstances be ordered to refrain from processing personal data in certain ways for three months.
  • Microsoft's outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer is one of the most passionate and interesting business leaders to watch on stage. And after 33 years at the company, that energy and love for the company is still very much alive. Earlier this week, Ballmer led and spoke at his final Microsoft employee meeting and delivered a goodbye speech like no other to a stadium full of his Microsoft colleagues. "Soak it in, you work for the greatest company in the world," Ballmer screamed on stage as his eyes welled up with tears. As people screamed out his name he said, "This isn't about any one person, it is about the company, it is about a company that is important, that's forward thinking, that's innovative, that's ethical, that hires great people and lets them lead great lives, that helps people around the world realize their potential."
  • At a recent event in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Toyota gathered together one of each of its hybrid vehicles from around the world to recognize 16 years of paving the way toward more efficient vehicles. Though the event focused so much attention on that which has already come to pass, it didn't stop the automaker from looking forward to its future. From all accounts, Toyota's future is looking quite green. Toyota's managing officer Satoshi Ogiso discussed the future of its hybrid program and the upcoming fourth-generation Prius. "Our next generation of hybrids will feature improved batteries with higher density," Ogiso is quoted as saying. Auto Week notes that Ogiso also discussed the proliferation of nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion battery tech thanks to a steady stream of research and development funds.

email from listeners:

  • Jeanie from Seattle asks "Is there a way to lock down tablets and phones for kids?"