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SnapChat Hacked, Google Car Crashes and Apple Joins Twitter #yourlifeintech week 10

“Hound .. how smart is water?” If water wasn’t already smart, it’s just gotten a little smarter thanks to Brita’s smart Wi-Fi Infinity Pitcher that automatically orders new filters when you need them through Amazon’s Dash and you might already be wondering why I started off by saying “Hound“? Siri, Google and Alexa have a new frenemy and his name is Hound, an incredibly fast and accurate speech recognition and language understanding assistant for more than your iPhone or Android phone. Hound also works with the Raspberry Pi which has recently been upgraded with a 64-bit chip and embedded Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for not much more than what you probably spend at Starbucks in a week.

Also, this past week, a French student has created an open source smartwatch OS based on Linux, which could become a competitor for Android Wear and Tizen, Amazon quietly removes encryption for Fire devices, the Popslate indiegogo project puts a second, e-reader style screen on the back of your iPhone and yet another teacher is busted when a student finds nude pics on her phone – a lesson to be learned the hard way on why you should passcode (and encrypt) your phone.

Oh, and SkyWall announces the first drone capturing bazooka, protecting your backyard from the impending drone takeover, clouds are possibly seen on dwarf-planet Pluto, astronaut Scott Kelly returns from space after a year.

Here is a quick glance-summary
from Week 10 (Feb29-Mar5), 2016

  1. Snapchat gets phished and exposed 700 employees personal information
    Source: Slashgear
  2. Google says it bears some responsibility for first accident caused by self-driving car
    Source: Mashable
  3. Indonesia tells Google and other Internet firms to pay tax or risk getting blocked
    Source: Mashable
  4. Microsoft Band 2 Price Drops Even Further, Now $175 at Best Buy and Microsoft Store
    Source: SmartwatchMe
  5. Six Flags launches new Virtual Reality Roller Coaster
    Source: digitaltrends
  6. Amazon removes encryption support in latest Fire OS update
    Source: Washington Post
  7. Apple creates a general support channel on Twitter @AppleSupport
    Source: TechCrunch
  8. Samsung releases 16TB SSD, officially making it the world’s largest drive
    Source: slashgear
  9. McDonald’s Is Transforming Happy Meal Boxes Into VR Headsets
    Source: Wired
  10.  Amazon’s Kindle gets a big update including a personalized home screen, new MyReadingList  and sharing made easier
    Source: Amazon

The Apple Stand-off: Justice Vs. Privacy
Apple and FBI testify to Congress while Apple supporters: Google, Twitter Facebook Airbnb, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Square and Squarespace, among others (except former CEO Bill Gates) file a brief urging the U.S. District Court in California to deny the motion to compel Apple to comply with the FBI’s request.

  1. Apple scores iPhone legal victory that may help in FBI fight
  2. Read Apple’s opening statement to Congress over its FBI fight
  3. San Bernardino Survivor’s Husband Writes Powerful Letter To Judge Supporting Apple
  4. F.B.I. Error Locked San Bernardino Attacker’s iPhone
  5. Twitter, Reddit and more file brief to support Apple vs the FBI
  6. San Bernardino DA says seized iPhone may hold “dormant cyber pathogen”

Our favorite reviews for week 10

  1. Fitbit Blaze reviewed at wareable
  2. The Tin Mill Tipe, Natural Titanium Pen review at the-gadgeteer

Facebooks Lets You React &Like, #MWC2016 and Google AMP #yourlifeintech week 9

To like or not to like has always been the burning question on Facebook and now they’ve made it a little easier to answer by adding some love, haha, wow, sad and angry “reactions”. My reaction to this week in tech is probably “wow” and “sad”. And, despite the Mobile World Congress in Spain was going on with lots of great announcements from the Samsung S7, Oral-B Genius, Garmin Vivoactive HR and Meizu PRO 5, an Ubuntu powered smartphone, it was heavily over shadowed by the ongoing standoff between Apple and the FBI.

Then there was Time, Inc. considering to buy Yahoo! core business and Google plans to speed up the the mobile web with their new AMP project.

Oh, and Spotify moves itself onto Google’s cloud.

Here is a quick glance-summary of a few top headlines from Week 9 (Feb22-Feb28), 2016.

1 Mobile World Congress in Spain
Companies including Garmin, LG, Oral-B, Samsung, Zuckerberg, Google, Lenovo, HP and other big brands in tech made some big announcements this past week in Spain for smartphones and wearables.
Source: Pocket-Lint

2 Amazon raises minimum order for free shipping to $49
If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, shopping at the online retailer just got a little more expensive, unless you order $25 of books, then, it’s still free.
Source: Mashable

3 Sony making phones again in the US announcing the Xperia X at Mobile World Congress in Spain.
Source: CNet

4 Western Digital buys San Disk despite China investor backing out and a top shareholder in London urging Western Digital to abandon the planned buyout by arguing that the deal was too expensive, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Source: Arstechnica/WSJ

5 Siri is coming to Mac OS X 10.12 According to a new report from 9to5Mac, Siri is slated to debut as one of the flagship features on OS X 10.12 later this year. Hardly a feature Apple has ignored, the report notes that Apple has been testing Siri on the Mac for three years in order to get the functionality and implementation just right.
Source: Yahoo/9to5Mac

ad_week9Stance is an amazingly versatile, compact tripod that mounts directly into your iPhone’s charging port. Watching your favorite videos, using FaceTime®, and positioning your phone’s camera to capture amazing photos and videos. [advertisement]

Russia wants to fly spy planes with new high res cameras over U.S. to test their new advanced digital cameras. So, How does Washington respond at a time when Moscow and Washington are at odds over Syria and Ukraine and senior U.S. defense officials have identified Russia as the No. 1 existential threat to America?
Source: Washington Post

Japan considers treating bitcoin like real money and consumers will be able to swap out virtual coins for physical legal tender. However, once it becomes more regulated by country, wouldn’t that defeat the initial goals of an independent currency?
Source: engadget

Boston Dynamics upgrades Atlas with a smaller body, lighter frame and is also now battery powered. Watch the video to better understand why once the robots take over the world they’re mean to humans.
Source: engadget

Google Fiber comes to SF; AT&T sues Louisville to stop Google Fiber from using poles. The AMP project must be Google’s “plan B” in making the Internet faster because Google Fiber seems to be running into quite a few roadblocks on the Information Super Highway.
Source: Fortune

10 The battle for Net Neutrality turns 1 and many of us don’t even know what that means. Well, imagine if Comcast decides to limit your Internet connection speed to sites that aren’t owned by them or potentially even blocking them. The Net Neutrality fight is about keeping the Internet equal for everybody regards who services they purchase. Companies like Time Warner, Comcast and AT&T don’t want the Net to be like this.
Source: CNet

ad_week9Stance is an amazingly versatile, compact tripod that mounts directly into your iPhone’s charging port. Watching your favorite videos, using FaceTime®, and positioning your phone’s camera to capture amazing photos and videos. [advertisement]

The Apple Stand-off: Justice Vs. Privacy
More tech CEOs, like Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai have stepped up to support Apple, but Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has sort-of, maybe not, offered his support, as Apple and the FBI get ready to testify at a Congressional encryption hearing on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

1 In an interview with Bloomberg TV this morning, Bill Gates said he was “blindsided” by and “disappointed” with reports that he sides with the FBI.
Source: FastCompany

2 Why The FBI Chose To Try The Apple Encryption Case In The Media. Cases like this are usually tried under seal as a national security matter, but the FBI sought a very public showdown.
Source: FastCompany

3 FBI Has Asked Apple To Unlock As Many As 17 iPhones In Last 4 Months. Newly unsealed court documents show that the FBI’s request of Apple in the San Bernardino case is probably not a one-off.
Source: FastCompany

4 NYPD wants access to ALL iPhones (with a warrant). The New York City Police Department says they’d like Apple to unlock every iPhone currently subject to a court-ordered search.
Source: Slashgear

5 Apple and FBI to testify at Congressional encryption hearing. FBI director James Comey and Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell are set to testify.

ad_week9Stance is an amazingly versatile, compact tripod that mounts directly into your iPhone’s charging port. Watching your favorite videos, using FaceTime®, and positioning your phone’s camera to capture amazing photos and videos. [advertisement]

Our favorite reviews for week 8

1 Eve Energy with Siri
http://the-gadgeteer.com/2016/02/22/control-and-monitor-any-device-plugged-into-the-eve-energy-using-siri/

2 RAVPower 20100mAh External Battery Review: Large and in Charge

RAVPower 20100mAh External Battery Review: Large and in Charge

3 Razer Blade Stealth Review: a true MacBook alternative at last
http://www.slashgear.com/razer-blade-stealth-review-a-true-macbook-alternative-at-last-26429207/

4 The SanDisk Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive Is Ready for the Revolution!

The SanDisk Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive Is Ready for the Revolution!

Our upcoming reviews &articles

1 Making fitness wearables and food tracking work for you
2 Skinomi® TechSkin screen protector for Apple Watch
3 Kenu Stance for iPhone

Fitbit’s New Alta, Yahoo Layoffs, Apple Pay and Elon Musk gets Mad #yourlifeintech week 6

Happy Birthday Me! & Facebook. On February 4, Facebook turned 12, and I like to think that I just “leveled-up”. The bigger the number in games is usually better, right? Anyhow, it wasn’t me or Facebook that took center stage this past week. Oh no, it was Elon Musk, who didn’t appreciate a fellow venture capitalists critical blog comments over having to wait an extra 2 hours for Musk to show up to a Tesla event where he was of course the headline show. So in Musk’s disapproval of the criticism, he cancelled the fellow’s Tesla order publicly via Twitter. Lesson to learn is not to piss off Musk or he will cancel your order. Although, I’d like to know the reason Musk was late. Did his Tesla run out of power? or, maybe it was that electric plane he is trying to build? or, even worse, did he get stuck in his own Hyperloop. Humor aside, maybe one of his 6 kids had a basketball game that ran late? Either way, in my opinion, both were inappropriate in their of handling of the situation. You can read more at FastCompany. Oh, and there was Yahoo laying off 1500 or so people.

Here is a quick glance-summary of a few top headlines from Week 6 (Jan31-Feb07), 2016.

1 Fitbit blazed into the week announcing their new fashionable Alta, but is it sexy enough to win over the hearts of the consumer and compete with similar fashionable activity trackers like Fossil’s Q series or even the Jawbone UP?
Source: Arstechnica

2 Dutch police are training Eagles to grab drones from the sky. Now this is actually a pretty cool idea. What animals could we train next? How about dope smelling Squirrels?
Source: Mashable

3 Sesame Launches a venture arm to invest in startups that help kids. Don’t misread that headline. Although, some toddlers may have some creative and innovative ideas.
Source: Fast Company

4 Google is now the most valuable company on Earth. Sorry, I should have this saved space to link to something that we already didn’t know, like if you actually had somewhere in the ballpark of $500 Billion dollars how would you spend it? On a fleet of Lexus self-driving cars which are now roaming in a suburb of Washington? or maybe smart bathroom mirrors that update you on news events and current weather?
Source: Mashable/Fortune

5 Yahoo lays off 1500 workers, shuts down Games and announces make or break plan. Unfortunately the link to this article on Yahoo! News was removed. Nah, kidding, just google it.
Source: CNET/Wired

You’ve seen Lose It! on the Today Show, in the NY Times, or heard it mentioned on Howard Stern. Isn’t it time to join the millions of others who have downloaded Lose It! and give it a try yourself?[advertisement]

6 Amazon Retail Store goes beyond books but probably won’t be opening hundreds of bookstores like some stupid CEO was quoted saying.
Source: Recode/CNET

7 Oral Roberts University and Christian college says mandatory Fitbits won’t track sex, but they will track hand-jobs if you have your dominant wrist set appropriately. You can switch from left-to-right as needed in the Fitbit app’s settings.
Source: Engadget/ORU

8 Apple Pay adds 32 new US Banks and Credit Unions to Apple Pay. This is great news but still lacks the merchant support. 6/10 stores I visit daily still do not accept Apple Pay.
Source: iMore

9 Microsoft buys AI powered keyboard App SwitftKey for $250 million
Source: Mashable

10 Microsoft wants to put data centers at the bottom of the sea Aye, Aye matey! Modern day Pirates will now be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi while pillaging the open seas.
Source: Engadget

You’ve seen Lose It! on the Today Show, in the NY Times, or heard it mentioned on Howard Stern. Isn’t it time to join the millions of others who have downloaded Lose It! and give it a try yourself?[advertisement]

Our Favorite Reviews for Week 6
1 Flowstate. If this app had a free version I would totally try it, but right now I can just as easily press the backspace button.

2 Smartwatches, like the Fossil Q Founder, are coming for the mainstream, but what defines these devices as “smartwatches”? Yes, they tell time, but outside of displaying notifications what makes them “smart”?

Our Upcoming Reviews
1 HomeBrite Smart LED Bulbs
2 Moov Now
3 Lose It!

 

How do I make Spotify sound more like Beats by Dre?

There is an ongoing debate on how music should be delivered to your ears. Some want it like Dre, tweaking the music to emphasize the bass and vocals, while depressing the “less interesting” middle frequencies, thus giving it a sharpness to your ear. Others may want their music a little more flat sounding or prefer it be like a “CD” and finally you have the “the way it was recorded in the studio” crowd. Defining each of those presets is a little subjective in my opinion and going to be a picky crowd to please. So how do all these online music services like Beats, Rdio, Spotify and Tidal make everyone happy?  (more…)