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Techspotting - Tech News & Trends
4 minutes | Feb 13, 2020
#023 – Facial Recognition, New Samsung and Motorola Smartphones
Today on KITV’s “Good Morning Hawaii,” anchor Maleko McDonnell and I discuss the latest tech headlines, including the controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI, and new smartphones from Samsung (including the Galaxy S20 flagship and Galaxy Z Flip folding phone) and Motorola’s Razr reboot and mid-priced Moto G Power.
4 minutes | Jan 9, 2020
#022 – CES 2020 – Jan. 9, 2020 [Video]
Highlights from CES 2020 in Las Vegas, including the Sony Vision-S concept electric car, the Razer Kishi mobile gaming controller, and the Lenovo X1 Fold folding-screen computer.
4 minutes | Dec 23, 2019
#021 – Ring Data Breach, New York Times Location Data Expose – Dec. 23, 2019 [Video]
Just in time for the holidays, a data breach at security hardware maker Ring (owned by Amazon) reminds us how sensitive smart device access can be. And a bombshell New York Times report shows how readily available location data can allow almost anyone to be identified and tracked.
5 minutes | Nov 5, 2019
#020 – AirPods Pro, Google Fitbit, Apple TV+ – Nov. 5, 2019 [Video]
Apple unexpectedly launches the AirPods Pro with Active Noise Canceling (ANC) for $249, Google acquires Fitbit to revitalize competition in the wearables space, and Apple TV+ launches a week ahead of Disney+.
5 minutes | Oct 22, 2019
#019 – Google Pixel 4, Fortnite 2, HACC – Oct. 22, 2019 [Video]
Google’s latest hardware headliner is the Pixel 4 smartphone. Meanwhile, Fortnite closes version one with a bang, and starts chapter two with a whole new map. Finally, the HACC is underway, with pitches and judging set for November 16 at Aloha Tower.
5 minutes | Sep 30, 2019
#018 – Amazon Echo, Facebook Oculus, Apple Arcade – Sept. 30, 2019 [Video]
Recapping Amazon’s hardware announcements (including Echo Frames, Echo Smart Ring, and Echo Studio), Facebook’s augmented reality news (Oculus Live Maps), and the launch of Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass, both for $5 a month.
4 minutes | Sep 11, 2019
#017 – Apple iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5, Apple TV+ – Sept. 11, 2019 [Video]
Apple’s fall keynote is like Christmas morning for Apple fans. This year Apple announced a reduced price for the iPhone, and better cameras and battery life for the iPhone Pro. Also, the Apple Watch Series 5, and aggressively priced services like Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.
4 minutes | Sep 2, 2019
#016 – Smartphones, Tariffs, Disney+ – Sept. 2, 2019 [Video]
Fall brings the latest flagship smartphone releases from Samsung and Apple, but how much better can they get? Will the new tariffs on Chinese goods affect pricing? And how does Disney’s upcoming streaming platform compare with giants Netflix and Hulu?
4 minutes | Aug 8, 2019
#015 – Banning 8chan – Aug. 8, 2019 [Video]
Linked to mass shootings, sites like 4chan and 8chan often come under fire for attracting hate groups. Although they’re often knocked offline, they usually pop up again. Why are they so hard to keep down? Maleko McDonnell and Ryan Ozawa discuss on “Good Morning Hawaii.”
1 minutes | Jul 28, 2019
#014 – 1Password – July 29, 2019
How secure are you? The only thing worse than a weak password is using the same password for multiple accounts. But coming up with strong passwords is hard, and remembering a hundred different passwords is even harder. One important step you can take toward better online security is using a password manager. Apple builds one called Keychain into its computers. Most browsers save passwords. But a standalone password manager is more powerful, and more portable. I use one called 1Password. It’s an app on my phone, desktop computer at work, and laptop at home. It makes it easy to fill in login forms on every website and app automatically. It suggests strong passwords, and warns you if you’re using the same password in multiple places. It even supports two-factor authentication, generating a second login code for sites that support them. Whether 1Password or LastPass or DashLane, use a password manager to ensure that you’re secure.
1 minutes | Jul 21, 2019
#013 – DuckDuckGo – July 22, 2019
Just Google it. That’s what people say when they talk about searching for something online. Google is synonymous with search, and makes billions of dollars off of our constant curiosity. But Google collects lots of information about you, in order to show ads to you. And for privacy advocates, that’s too high a price to pay. Instead of Google, try DuckDuckGo. Yes, DuckDuckGo is a silly name, but it’s certainly easy to remember. It’s been around for over a decade, and today answers over 40 million search requests every day. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you, and it doesn’t serve you ads. And there’s even an app that grades sites on privacy as you browse. It’s easier than you think to switch. All web browsers allow you to set your preferred search engine. You can switch from Google to DuckDuckGo, and get what you’re looking for without the extra baggage. Learn more at DuckDuckGo.com.
3 minutes | Jul 19, 2019
#012 – FaceApp & Neuralink – July 19, 2019 [Video]
There are reports the viral FaceApp is sending all your photos to Russia. What’s going on? As with most viral stories, there’s reason to be concerned, but it’s probably not as bad as it sounds. FaceApp, which already caught the attention of security researchers two years ago, is back in the news again with people taking the ‘FaceApp challenge,’ which is posting photos in which the app makes you look much, much older. It’s a neat effect, using artificial intelligence, but the company behind it is based in Russia. That’s prompted organizations like the Democratic National Committee to issue a warning to all its staff and members to delete the app. Yes, the app uploads photos to its servers to apply the effects, but by all accounts, it’s not taking all of your photos, and most of its servers are run by Amazon in the U.S. The company says it deletes most images from its servers within 48 hours, and that it doesn’t sell or share its user data with any third parties. The bigger lesson here is to be careful what data you grant access to, since FaceApp isn’t asking for any more access than most apps we use, like Facebook. If you used FaceApp, and your photo was uploaded, are you basically out of luck? You can request that all of your data be deleted via the app, though it’s a somewhat manual process. Under the app settings, you can go to the ‘Support’ section, and then ‘Report a Bug.’ Put ‘Privacy’ in the subject line, and then send the message requesting the deletion. Beyond that, you have to just trust that they get the request and delete your data. And soon, technology could have access to even more, like your brain? Right. Elon Musk this week announced a project called Neuralink. It’s a brain implant that will connect directly to smartphones or hardware like prosthetic limbs. A lot of people have been working on brain-machine interfaces, but since it’s Elon Musk, people are paying attention. The Neuralink is a tiny chip with Bluetooth and a USB-C port, and it would be implanted in the brain by a robot. As many as 10 can be installed in a patient. Elon Musk says it would help stroke victims, quadriplegics, but could also help boost memory, or even enable a type of telepathy. How far off is this technology, really? Elon Musk says in Neuralink testing, a monkey was already able to control a computer with its brain. He said he’d like to see people able to type 40 words per minute just by thinking. And he says he’d like to start human testing by next year. He’s betting on this brain link, and Artificial Intelligence, to bring huge advances in technology.
1 minutes | Jul 15, 2019
#011 – Buffer – July 15, 2019
If you run a business, you probably promote it on social media. But who has the time to can’t spend all day tweeting or posting photos to Instagram. Fortunately, there’s Buffer. Buffer is an app for scheduling posts to social media. At its simplest, Buffer lets you build up a series of posts that are then published over time. Buffer supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. The free plan lets you manage three services, and stack up ten posts. You can have a different publishing schedule for each account. Tweet hourly, but Instagram twice a day. Set things up over breakfast, and let it handle the rest. Buffer works via a web browser, or via a mobile app. Paid plans add more features, like more accounts, more posts, and teams. With teams, you can share access to accounts, or have one person draft posts and another person approve them. Paid plans also add statistics and an inbox for managing feedback. Check it out at Buffer.com.
1 minutes | Jul 8, 2019
#010 – Brave Browser – July 8, 2019
Is your web browser spying on you? A recent Washington Post column declared Google Chrome to be ‘spy software.’ It’s the most popular web browser, but it’s made by Google, one of the world’s biggest advertising companies. The Washington Post found that Chrome picked up over 11,000 tracking cookies in just a single week of use. Cookies do help customize content for you, but they also help web firms compile detailed profiles of your interests. Consider switching to a browser where privacy is the default. I’ve been using a browser called Brave, and I like it a lot. Brave puts privacy front and center, showing a running count of trackers that it blocks as you browse. It’s faster than Chrome, even though it uses the same core code, and it supports Chrome extensions. Brave works on all devices, and can synchronise bookmarks across them without identifying you. And Brave supports an opt-in ad network which shares revenue with you and websites that you visit. You can learn more at Brave.com. Whichever browser you choose, make sure you trust who made it.
4 minutes | Jun 25, 2019
#009 – Facebook Libra – June 25, 2019 [Video]
Facebook announces Libra, its entry into the cryptocurrency space. Niantic launches Wizards Unite, a Harry Potter game with augmented reality features similar to Pokemon Go. And Mobile World Congress kicks off this week, showcasing 5G technology. Q: It’s been a busy week in tech. Let’s start with Facebook getting into blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Are they creating their own money? A: Alongside established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Facebook is proposing its own, called Libra. Some people are calling them Zuckerbucks. Right now, cryptocurrencies are pretty fringe, and some governments are openly hostile to monetary systems they can’t regulate or control. Libra has the advantage of the backing of the biggest human network on the planet, and they want to “reinvent money.” Partners include Visa and Mastercard. With a digital wallet that will be built into Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, Libra just might be able to make cryptocurrency mainstream. Q: Let’s move from virtual currency to virtual worlds. There’s a new game out that puts people into the world of Harry Potter? A: It’s called Wizards Unite, and it’s from Niantic, the same company that brought you Pokemon Go, and before that, Ingress. Like Pokemon Go, Wizards Unite turns the real world into the playground. But Wizards Unite is a more complicated game. You’re not just trying to catch different creatures, but gathering ingredients for potions and different kinds of locations, including inns and greenhouses and fortresses. There are little mini games, and battles that you can do with three other players. Over time, you level up, and get new abilities and features. Harry Potter is a huge brand, probably bigger than Pokemon Go, but the question is whether people are already tired of these augmented reality games, or if Wizards Unite is too complicated. Q: Finally, this week all eyes are on Shanghai for the latest in mobile technology. A: That’s right. Mobile World Congress is probably the biggest mobile phone convention in the world, and it kicks off Wednesday in China. More than 100,000 people from over 200 countries attend. This year, 5G technology is the biggest trend, as we’re finally starting to see both 5G networks and 5G devices in the real world. Samsung and Huawei are touting their new foldable phones. Artificial Intelligence is also a big theme this year, and the Chinese government has expressed its goal to be a world leader in both 5G and AI.
4 minutes | Jun 4, 2019
#008 – Apple WWDC 2019 [Video] – June 4, 2019
Q: What did Apple announce at its annual World-Wide Developers Conference (WWDC)? A: Although WWDC is targeted at software developers, the keynote address that kicks off each conference is Apple’s chance to announce things to a global audience. This year, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled new hardware in addition to the usual software updates for iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Q: What new hardware was announced? A: The big news this year is a new Mac Pro, designed to be Apple’s top-of-the-line, high performance machine. The previous Mac Pro, dubbed the trash can Mac, was a failure, with a fancy but restrictive design that was hard to upgrade. With the new Mac Pro, Apple has gone back to a classic tower design, which has lots of open slots for add-in upgrades. It starts with an eight-core processor and 32GB of RAM for $6,000. Almost everyone who buys one will be bumping up the specs, and you can expect a nicely configured machine to cost over $10,000. Apple also announced a brand new 6K display, which has a higher resolution than today’s high-end 4K displays. The 32 inch screen will come in both glossy and matte versions, and will cost a hefty $5,000. A special stand will cost another $1,000. Q: What about iPhones? A: Apple previewed iOS 13, and as far as look and feel goes, the headline is dark mode. This is a version of the operating system where most of the design elements are black, and text is white. It’s said to be easier on the eyes and popular with coders, but it’s a popular aesthetic for regular people as well. Lots of other new things are coming with iOS 13, from upgraded Maps to a rewritten Reminders app. But I’m most excited about “Sign in with Apple.” Today, lots of websites and apps encourage you to sign up using your Facebook or Google account. For that convenience, you’re giving Facebook and Google even more information about you. With “Sign in with Apple,” you’ll be able to sign up while giving up the barest minimum of information. Apple will even make up a random email address for you so you don’t have to give anyone your email address. Q: And is there anything for Mac users? A: Apple revealed the name of version 10.15 of its Mac operating system (which have all been landmarks and regions in California): MacOS Catalina. The big news here is the breaking up of iTunes. For over a decade, iTunes has been one program used to manage music, videos, movies, TV shows and podcasts. Now, those will all be separate, smaller apps. Meanwhile, a lot is happening behind the scenes, as Apple brings mobile iOS apps and computer MacOS apps closer together. More and more apps designed for iPhones are going to be showing up on Mac computers this year. Screen Time on the Mac, for example, will join forces with Screen Time on your iPhone to allow you to track how much time you spend staring at all types of screens.
1 minutes | Jun 3, 2019
#007 – Honolulu Mini-Maker Faire – June 3, 2019
Are you or your kids crazy about science and tech? Check out the Honolulu Mini-Maker Faire. Modeled after the flagship maker faire in San Francisco, the Mini-Maker Faire is like a showcase for makers. Makers means everyone from coders, to carpenters, to 3-D printers. If you make something, you’re a maker. And this event gives you an up-close look at the creative process. In addition to displays and hands-on activities, the Honolulu Mini-Maker Faire will feature drone racing. There’s also a workshop on building your own electronics. Some of my favorite groups will be there. The Puzzle Company will bring its great, big games to play. The LEGO club will bring a ton of bricks. Whether it’s arts and crafts or robotics, there’s something for everyone at the Honolulu Mini-Maker Faire. Best of all, it’s free. This sixth-annual event is coming up on Saturday, June 22. It runs from noon to 5 p.m. at Iolani School on Kamoku Street. I hope to see you there. I’m Ryan Ozawa, and this has been Techspotting.
1 minutes | May 27, 2019
#006 – Slack – May 27, 2019
Are you buried under email? Are your coworkers calling too many meetings? You should try Slack. Slack is a chat app for teams, and it’s described as an “email killer.” Whether for your company, club, or family, Slack makes it easy to chat with a group of people. And Slack organizes conversations into channels, so you can discuss different topics. There can be a channel for your marketing team, where they can discuss the next radio ad. And another channel to plan a potluck. Channels can be public, or private. Slack also supports sharing documents, photos, and other files. And for most features are free. Paid plans let you search every message ever posted to Slack, and connect other apps. So instead of playing phone tag, or copying everyone in an email thread, use Slack to get things done fast. Want to try Slack before telling your boss about it? Check out HawaiiSlack.com. I’m Ryan Ozawa, and this has been Techspotting.
1 minutes | May 20, 2019
#005 – Mastodon – May 20, 2019
Sick of the drama on Facebook, and the abuse on Twitter? You might want to try Mastodon. Mastodon, named after the rock band, is a federated, open-source social media platform. It’s federated like email, which means you can have hundreds of different servers that speak the same language. And it’s open source, meaning no company controls it, and anyone can run a Mastodon server. Mastodon looks like Twitter, except instead of tweets, posts are called toots. But Mastodon has features that Twitter doesn’t, like a content warning to hide spoilers or graphic content. Whereas Facebook is a giant monolith, the Mastodon community is very diverse. There are Mastodon servers for artists, programmers, academics, and activists. It’s part of a growing collection of apps and services that are part of the indie web. Want to give Mastodon a try? Learn more, and choose your first server, at joinmastodon.org. I’m Ryan Ozawa, and this has been Techspotting.
1 minutes | May 13, 2019
#004 – FollowUpThen – May 13, 2019
Does your email inbox rule your life? Supercharge it with FollowUpThen. While my kids think email is old-fashioned, it’s still how a lot of work gets done. I’ve outsourced my brain to Gmail. It’s so easy to search, I email myself notes all the time. I’ve recently found a new tool that turns my email inbox into a powerful reminder and to-do list. It’s called FollowUpThen, and everything is done via email to followupthen.com. Here’s how it works. Let’s say I want to remember to renew my car registration in three months. I just send an email addressed to threemonths at followupthen.com. In three months, that email comes back to me. Dinner reservations on June 20th? Send a message to june twenty at followupthen.com. If you copy a FollowUpThen address in a message to a friend, you both will get the reminder. It’s great. And if FollowUpThen is too long to type, you’ll love the short version. Email tendays at F U T dot I O. I’m Ryan Ozawa, and this has been Techspotting.
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