Scott Johnson is on the show and we’ll talk about Samsung turning off Windows Update, ICANN turning off privacy and Lexus turning on a Hoverboard.
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Today’s guests: Scott Johnson
Tech Crunch reports that the Facebook’s Messenger app is all grown up and has left home. Messenger will now let users to sign up without having a Facebook account. You just need a first and last name and phone number. The feature rolls out today in the US, Canada, Peru and Venezuela with more countries to follow.
VentureBeat reports Microsoft has officially launched its Microsoft Office apps, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for phones running Android 4.4 and up. The apps were previously available as previews. The apps can be used for free to read, preview and make edits of documents stored in OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox and SharePoint. Certain power user features like “track changes” or “custom color shading” require an Office 365 subscription.
Ars Technica reports on Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker’s discovery that some Samsung PC run a program called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe that, well disables Windows Update in favor of Samsung’s SW Update suite. A Samsung customer support rep told Barker that Windows default drivers didn’t always work well with Samsung devices like USB 3.0 ports, so Samsung runs its own software update mechanism. Even if a user turns Windows Update back on a reboot will cause it to be turned off again.
Apple has signed deals that will put thousands of independent artists on Apple Music. Billboard reports that label collective Beggars Group and rights group Merlin are on board after Apple agreed to pay artists for streams during the three month free-trial period. A source told Billboard “The optics don’t look good if Apple backs down to indie labels. But if they back down to an artist like Taylor Swift, it shows they are sensitive to artist concerns, unlike Spotify, who blew Taylor Swift off when she complained about the free tier.” Apple Music launches June 30.
The Next Web reports that Chinese smartphone maker Meizu will release the Ubuntu Edition MX4 phone in Europe tomorrow. The price is €299 and includes 5.36-inch, 1,152 x 1,920 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3-equipped display, 16GB of internal storage, a 20.7-megapixel main camera a 2-megapixel camera in front, and comes with silver or gold detailing. The MX4 will be offered using an invite system via an origami wall on Meizu’s website. No word on releases outside Europe.
PCMag.com reports that Lenovo unveiled its first PC on a stick, the Ideacentre Stick 300. The device works with most HDMI-compatible monitors and TVs. The $129 mini PC sports a 1.3GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, 1 Micro-USB 2.0 slot, SD Card reader and ship with Windows 8.1, upgradeable to Windows 10 on July 29th. You will need to bring your own 2.4GHz wireless keyboard and mouse.
Australian broadband users take note. The Sydney Morning Herald reports ISP Extel has terminated the accounts of about 400 customers it says used data “in excess of the old plan requirements.” About a quarter of those were understood to be on “unlimited” plans. Exetel spokesperson Ben Colman confirmed that it was in response to the growing use of online video streaming services like Netflix, Stan and Presto. The remaining Exetel customers have been forced onto new plans some of which cost more with added restrictions on data usage.
TechDirt reports ICANN is considering a proposal to limit who can use a proxy to protect their private information when registering a domain name. MarkMonitor, a company which specializes in takedown notices leads a group proposing that ICANN not allow domain holders associated with “commercial activity” to hide their registration information like address, phone number and email. Registrar Namecheap has a site called RespectOurPrivacy.com arguing against the proposal.
Akamai’s Q1 2015 State of the Internet report is out and worldwide average speed rose 10% over Q4 2014 and 30% year over year. South Korea remains tops in highest average connection speed with a 6.3% increase to 23.6 Mbps while Singapore overtook Hong Kong for the highest peak connection speed of 98.5 Mbps. Bulgaris remains the country with the highest level of adoption at 97%. On the mobile side, speeds ranged from a high of 20.4 Mbps on average in the Uk to a low of 1.3 Mbps in Vietnam. Australia had the top peak mobile speed at 149.3 Mbps. The volume of mobile data traffic grew by 12% over Q4 2014.
(Delaware 18.6 Mbps average. US 19 w/ 11.9 Mbps. Right behind Belgium)
News From You:
jmbburg26 notes the Windows Central post that Microsoft may ship hard copies of Windows 10 after all. ON USB. WinFuture.de has sources that say the Home and Pro versions of Windows 10 will be sold in retail stores on USB instead of DVD. Windows 10 Home is listed at $120 and Windows 10 Pro at $200. Although existing Windows 7 and 8 users can get a free upgrade at launch on July 29.
KAPT_Kipper sent us this Ars Technica article reporting that the EFF and others are requesting an exemption to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act to allow users to revive abandoned online games. However, Entertainment Software Association president Mike Gallagher criticized copyright arguments that rely on games or servers being considered abandoned or obsolete, arguing that games are often re-utilized and re-purposed on different devices and platforms. The Copyright Office is also considering a DMCA exemption that would allow users to legally jailbreak video game consoles in the same manner as cell phones to allow for new functionality and play of homebrew software. A similar petition was denied in 2012.
Pick of the Day
Last Monday night, I decided to watch the Bethesda announcement on Youtube. Like a lot of people I got really excited about the Fallout 4 announcement. Then extremely excited about the Pip-Boy edition. So I went to Amazon to try and pre-order it. As you may have guessed it was not available…sold out… I was very annoyed … Then I found this website called NowInStock.net. You sign up for a free account and they will notify you by text, e-mail or both when the item you are looking for becomes available. They have a large selection of items you can get notifications for, like game systems, video cards, Frozen merchandise, cameras, etc. So I signed up and I got a text alert around 8:30 last Friday night while I was grocery shopping and was able to pr-order my copy from Amazon. So now I am very happy and my wife thinks I’m crazy.
Just wanted to share because I have noticed this becoming a big issue, people buying up stuff early and selling it on eBay, and those of us who are not quick enough get screwed. I know it’s capitalism but it still sucks.
Rich from Lovely Cleveland:
Thinking about Gmail’s Undo Send reminded me of something I think I first read about on Lifehacker. One of the benefits of using a desktop email client is that you can control when you send and receive your email. At work, I have Outlook set to only send and receive at the top of the hour, which basically gives me a nice big window for “undoing” any misconceived missives (DTNS has benefitted from this numerous times). As a side benefit, it helps my productivity in that my inbox isn’t constantly drawing my attention away from the task at hand. I’m sure there’s some mobile client that could do the same for your phone (luckily I don’t have to deal with that for work). Obviously its not as convenient as a webmail client, and using Gmail Undo Send has saved me from a couple typos, but I actually like the control of a good old desktop client (unfortunately most of them are butt ugly).
Jason Quiz writes:
Personally I am excited about the new Undo Send feature from Google. I often send an email by mistake using the email shortcut CMD+ENTER. It is super frustrating when this happens and having the ability to quickly stop the email from actually being sent is amazing.
I am disappointed to see that the feature has not been included in the “Inbox by Google”. I love using the new Inbox and this is where I experience the keyboard shortcut problem the most.
Thanks for putting on an amazing show.
Scott (Co-executive Producer) from blazing hot Maryland:
I just wanted to provide follow up to the story Veronica got a big chuckle out of. On Tuesday’s episode you mentioned the Navy paying a boatload of money (bad pun intended) to keep XP updated. I work with a lot of Government agencies that have a very legitimate reason to stay on XP. One example is a very large scale security system with the primary application being a 16 bit piece of software that depends on IPX (which was deprecated in Windows 7). We tried moving it to Windows 7 and nothing worked, so we went back. Another example is a highly specialized system for secure HF radio messaging that goes even farther back and runs on MS-DOS! Yes I am responsible to keep a few dozen machines running Windows 3.1 up and running, and it makes me giggle every time they call with an issue. In both cases the software makers have gone out of business and since neither system shows any signs of breaking, there is no motivation to spend taxpayer dollars on a more modern alternative.
Thursday’s Guests: Justin Robert Young and Iyaz Akhtar