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Hire Me! Hire me for your writing assignment or event. I'm reasonable and reliable. Also looking for additional writing gigs. Email me at rclimpert003@yahoo.com

Each week, Rick joins his buddy Sully to talk tech on the Limpert Tech "SullyCast on Radio 105.7, formerly TalkRadio 640 WGST

Saturday
Jul262014

My Appearance on WGST's "The Sully Show" 7/25/14 Talking Tech and BB&T Atlanta Open

Current tech topics  -  

Rick is working the BB&T Atlanta Open tennis tourney at Atlantic Station this week.. featuring some of the best men's tennis players in the world.

Have a listen:



Apple iPad Sales are a little Shaky

Apple sold only 13.2 million new tablets, down from 14.6 million a year earlier. This comes on the heels of a disappointing quarter this spring. “IPad sales met our expectations, but we realize they didn’t meet many of yours,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told investors, blaming inventory issues and softness in the U.S. and European markets. He said that the most important thing to Apple was that iPad users were enjoying them and using them a lot.

In the call with investors, Cook focused on the enterprise market. Apple has a big proportion of that market, but Apple isn’t satisfied with how many businesses are adopting tablets. He says that a recent deal with IBM to create better enterprise apps will help speed that process up. “I just think we have to do some more things to get the business side of it moving in a faster trajectory,” he said. “I think we’re now onto something that can really do that.”

The overall tablet market has been shaky, and many people think it’s because smartphones with more powerful processors and bigger, better screens make them seem less necessary. Whenever Apple does release its new iPhones, they will likely be both bigger and more powerful than the iPhone 5S. That’s likely to be good news for Apple as it tries to claw market share back from Samsung. It could also be bad news for the iPad, as it tries to sell iPads to people with big phones in their pockets. But Apple has never been shy of cannibalizing its own products, so the iPad’s loss could be the company’s gain.

With a Apple smartwatch potentially coming, what does that mean for Apple and Apple fanboys?

Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

How do you like going to a website and then you have to watch a 25 second video before you can read the article?

Everyone gets that advertising is what powers the internet, and that our favorite sites wouldn't exist without it," writes longtime ad guy Ken Segall in The Relentless (and annoying) Pursuit of Eyeballs.

"Unfortunately, for some this is simply license to abuse. Let's call it what it is: advertising pollution."

CNN's in-your-face, your-video-will-play-in-00:25-seconds approach, once unthinkable, has become the norm. "Google," Segall adds, "is a leader in advertising pollution, with YouTube being a showcase for intrusive advertising. Many YouTube videos start with a mandatory ad, others start with an ad that can be dismissed only after the first 10 seconds. Even more annoying are the ad overlays that actually appear on top of the video you're trying to watch. It won't go away until you click the X. If you want to see the entire video unobstructed, you must drag the playhead back to start over. Annoying. And disrespectful, but they find it effective.

Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

One of the barriers to entry for those looking to get a more eco-friendly car is price.

Would you be more willing to get a eco-friendly car if you were able to take advantage of a subsidy.
Toyota is on track to launch the first consumer fuel-cell car in Japan next year, and the country's Prime Minister says the government wants to assist the new alternative to gas-driven vehicles. Shinzo Abe announced that Japan will offer subsidies of almost $20,000 for fuel cell cars, which will decrease the Toyota model's cost by about 28%. He said, "This is the car of a new era because it doesn't emit any carbon dioxide and it's environmentally friendly. The government needs to support this. Honda is also planning to release a fuel-cell car next year.

Australian Website Waits Three Years To Inform Customers of Data Breach

Companies should be forced to tell consumers when their is a data breach.


Australian daily deals website "Catch of the Day" waited three years to tell its customers their email addresses, delivery addresses, hashed passwords, and some credit card details had been stolen. Its systems were breached in April 2011 and the company told police, banks and credit cards issuers, but didn't tell the Privacy Commissioner or customers until July 18th.

Pricetag on the new 105-inch Samsung TV - $120,000

An Ultra-HD TV

If you do buy this set, you'll get the white-glove treatment from a Samsung field engineer, who'll come to your home, explain the TV's features, help you optimize it for your viewing environment, and, presumably, whip up the first batch of popcorn.

Other than its ginormous size, the TV has a few unique features, including a curved screen with a 21x9 aspect ratio and 5120x2160 resolution to accommodate the extra screen width. These 21:9 TVs are likely to appeal to movie buffs, as they let you watch the many Blu-ray movies that are shot in the wider 2.35:1 or 2.39:1 aspect ratios without "letterboxing"—having black bars appear above and below the image.

That also means that regular 16:9 high-def programs, such as those from cable or satellite TV service providers, appear as "pillar boxed" images, with black bars appearing on either side. But thanks to Samsung’s Quad Screen Multi-Link feature, you can divide the screen into four quadrants so you can watch live TV, stream video and access the Web, all at once.
 

Sunday
Jul202014

My Appearance on WGST's "The Sully Show" 7/18/14 Wintergreen Resort and Tech

Rick joins Sully this week from Wintergreen Resort in Virginia to talk about what a great family, golf and ski resort this is, right in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They also discuss the tech issues of the week.

You can find out more about Wintergreen Resort at www.wintergreenresort.com.

Have a listen and you can read the show notes below:

Android Data Wipe Leaves Personal Data   - be careful when wiping data off smartphone

Factory reset tool on Android smartphones does not remove all photos, emails, chats, and other personal data, says security firm.

When Android users choose to reset their smartphones, they generally believe their personal data is deleted. But Avast Software, which makes and markets device-side security apps, says that's not necessarily the case. The company was able to recover vast stores of personal data from wiped smartphones using off-the-shelf software. Time to rethink your selfies?

Avast purchased 20 different Android smartphones from eBay, which typically has tens of thousands of such devices for sale at any given time. The previous owners performed a factory reset, deleting all the content from the phones, before selling them. The factory reset option is buried in the settings menu, but it claims to erase everything from the phone and memory card.

"The amount of personal data we retrieved from the phones was astounding. We found everything from a filled-out loan form [to] selfies of what appear to be the previous owner,” said Avast's Jude McColgan.

Avast restored 40,000 photos -- including 1,500 of children, 750 of women in various stages of undress, and 250 male nudes -- from just 20 phones. Avast also recovered 1,000 Google searches, 750 emails and text messages, and 250 contact names and email addresses. Amazingly, Avast managed to identify only four of the 20 previous owners, but an identity ratio of one-in-five should be alarming to most smartphone users.

So how do you protect yourself? Obviously Avast wants you to download and install its Android app, which overwrites everything on the device and then deletes it. Avast's app is free. There are innumerable other options in the Play Store that provide similar services, including apps from Trend Micro, Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky, BitDefender, and LookOut Mobile. Another option is to encrypt the device. All Android smartphones support encryption, which must be enabled by the user.



Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is coming....  already?

Seems like we just got the Galaxy Note 3

Fans of the niche device series have been throwing out concept images of the new phone for months. Rumor and speculation continue to fly as fans eagerly await announcements from Samsung detailing the ins and outs of their plans at the Internationale Funkausstellung, or IFA, in Berlin, Germany. Directly translated, the title means International Radio Exhibition Berlin (sometimes called the Berlin Radio Show), which has been a springboard for the newest technologies for years, and this year, on September 5th through the 10th, some companies will jump farther than ever.

The history of the IFA in Germany is very rich, indeed. 2014 marks the 54th IFA conference since the first conference held in 1924. Some 180,000 people attended the inaugural conference, then called the “Great German Radio Exhibition,” to seek out the newest technology of the day -vacuum tube  and early detector radio receivers. In 1930, Albert Einstein gave the keynote speech, emphasizing the importance of such events. The peak attendance of the IFA occurred in 1991 with just over 500,000 people coming to see technology presented by approximately 1,000 exhibitors.


IT Salaries Going Up

Looking for a good salary that keeps going up and job stability?

Look for a career in IT

For many positions, 2014 IT salaries are up a robust 5 percent over last year. Paychecks for Project Managers have risen an impressive 6 percent. Even better: Network Architects are up 6.8 percent, Developer/Programmer Analysts have jumped 7.1 percent, mobile app developers are getting 7.8 percent more. This in a period when core inflation is tame (or so the government numbers tell us).
Even Technical Writers are seeing a 3.2 percent boost.

For IT salaries, companies now need to compete for tech talent. My favorite part of this year’s Robert Half Salary Guide – the source for these IT salary numbers – is the section advising companies on how to hire tech talent. The tone is decidedly aggressive.

Retaining top tech talent is just as serious about being supportive toward IT staff. It lists seven perks that firms use to keep tech pros on board. The list includes some standards, like professional development and family leave; it goes up a few notches with on-site health services and fresh food. And then – incredibly – notes that some employers offer housecleaning and a stipend for vacation travel.
Free housecleaning? Cash for vacation trips? Tech talent, are you feeling loved yet? Suffice it to say, these terms of endearment were nowhere to be found in the dark days of 2008-2009.


Apple Patent Hints The 'iPhone 6' Will Be Made Of Indestructible Glass

Good news for those of you that keep dropping your iPhones

A new Apple patent gives more weight to rumors that the next iPhone will be made of a nearly indestructible type of glass.

Apple won a patent this week for “fused glass device housings," a new method of fusing together pieces of glass, which could be used to make casings for devices like the iPhone and iPad, Apple Insider reports.

The patent award comes amid rumors that the front panel of Apple's next phone, which may or may not be called the "iPhone 6," will be built with a super-durable substance known as sapphire glass.

 

The Comcast Cable Canceling Fiasco

A tech writer in San Francisco tried to cancel his cable service last week, but spent almost 20 minutes onthe line trying to make headway.  He taped the call.

Rick had a similar experience.

Comcast says it’s "embarrassed" by the recording of a customer service rep desperately refusing to cancel a subscriber’s account that had the entire Internet gawking in horror yesterday. However, the company would like to assure us all that this was simply a case of a single, misguided employee leaping over the edge.

Friday
Jul112014

My Appearance on WGST's "The Sully Show" 7/10/14 Talking Tech

Current tech topics

Have a listen:

TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes

(Right now international flights to U.S.)

The US Transport Security Administration revealed on Sunday that enhanced security procedures on flights coming to the US now include not allowing uncharged cell phones and other devices onto planes.

“During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening,” TSA said in a statement.

Don't bring dead phones or laptops to those overseas airports for flights heading to the USA.
Department of Homeland Security officials warned last week that security would tighten at airports where flights head directly to the USA but without providing much detail about how the scrutiny would change.

But security officials said Sunday that the attention is focused on explosives that could be disguised as electronic devices.

4 in 10 US homes are cellphone only, skip landline

More American households are ditching their old telephones: 4 out of 10 only use cellphones, a government survey shows.

That's twice the rate from just five years ago, although the pace of dumping landlines seems to have slowed down in recent years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking phone use for a decade, and the number of households only using cellphones had been rising by about 5 percentage points each year. Lately, the increases have been smaller and last year it only went up 3 percentage points to 41 percent of U.S. homes.

Why the slight leveling off? Experts could only speculate. The lead researcher on the CDC report,

Stephen Blumberg, said it could be people are holding onto their landlines because it is part of their Internet and cable TV package.
— Not all homes have phones: About 3 percent have no landline or cellphone.

— About 9 percent have only landlines, and about 48 percent have both. Five years ago, 17 percent had only landlines, and about 60 percent had landlines and cellphones.

— Younger people rely more on cellphones: Nearly two-thirds of people in their late 20s live in households with only cellphones. Only 14 percent of people 65 and older use only cellphones.

— Men are a bit more likely to shun landlines than women.

Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

Imagine showing up at the airport to catch your flight, looking at your plane, and noticing that instead of windows, the cockpit is now a smooth cone of aluminum. It may seem like the worst case of quality control in history, but Airbus argues that this could be the airliner of the future. In a new US patent application, the EU aircraft consortium outlines a new cockpit design that replaces the traditional cockpit with one that uses 3D view screens instead of conventional windows.

There’s a reason why cockpits are traditionally in the nose of a plane – not the least of which is the pilot being able to see where they're going. In addition to flying, being up front provides a clear view forward and downward for landing and taxiing. That’s all very useful, but it does tend to ruin the aerodynamics of the aircraft’s nose, which would ideally be lancet shaped. As aircraft have grown larger and more complicated, the nose has come to also include the radome, crew rest area and the front landing gear, and the current cockpit design reflects this.

Another problem is that aerospace engineers hate windows. They may be popular with passengers who like to see outside, and pilots, who like to not bang into things, but engineers see them as nothing but points of weakness in what should, ideally, be a solid cylinder. If nothing else, they’ll point to the alarming Comet airliner crashes of the 1950s, which were traced back to poor window design fatally weakening the fuselage. Windows mean heavy reinforcements and multiple layers of glass and plastic to strengthen hull integrity. In addition, placing the cockpit in the nose reduces the cabin size, where every inch is measured in thousands of dollars lost per flight.
 

Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

The biggest complaint about Tesla Motors' electric vehicles is that they're far too expensive for the average motorist. The Roadster sold for $109,000, and the Model S for $70,000. Chris Porritt, the company's VP of engineering, says their next model will aim for much broader availability. The compact Model E aims to be competitive with the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both start in the low $30,000 range. To reduce cost, the Model E won't be built mostly with aluminum, like the Model S, and it will be roughly 20% smaller as well. The construction of the "Gigafactory" for battery production will also go a long way toward reducing the price. Their goal for launch is sometime around late 2016 or early 2017.

Radar Changing the Face of Cycling and how drivers see bicyclists and how bikers see cars


MAKE Magazine has a great review of a bicycle radar product — showing off some of the early prototype innards: "The latest version features a 24 GHz radar antenna — high enough to resolve more targets and small enough to fit on a bike — an ARM processor, and Bluetooth LE to communicate with the front unit. The radar creates a doppler map, and recognizes not only the vehicle, but how far away it is and how quickly it’s approaching. It communicates this to the cyclist by a system of LEDs, and to the car by increasing the rate at which the tail light blinks as the car gets closer.

Thursday
Jul032014

My Appearance on WGST's "The Sully Show" 7/3/14 Talking Tech

Rick and Sully talk the tech topics of the week.

Have a great 4th of July and thanks for listening



Current tech topics

Facebook conducted massive psychology experiment on users

Are we all just guinea pigs?

If you have a Facebook account, you could have been part of a massive psychological experiment conducted by the social media site.

Facebook says it manipulated the news feeds among nearly 700,000 users, according to Daily Mail, as part of a new study. The goal was to determine how the posts that users see affect their moods and their own posts.

A study by the PNAS Journal says seeing more negative posts caused positive responses, but also caused more negative posts by the users.

According to the study, “These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.”

US Supreme Court Rejects Google's Street View Appeal

The US Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a Google challenge to a lawsuit that alleges the search giant spied on individuals by collecting personal information from private Wi-Fi networks while recording Street View data from its cars. Google is being accused of violating the US Wiretap Act and now faces a late 2015 trial.

As is always the case in such refusals, the US Supreme Court did not comment on the ruling or explain its decision in any way.

Privacy advocates began complaining about Street View and the weird Google cars driving around in their neighborhoods as soon as the service started, back in 2007. "You can see people in their yards and even in their homes," Wrote Paul Thurrott, who covers Microsoft and technology, at the time. "You can see license plate numbers clearly. You can even see some Stanford co-eds sunbathing in bikinis if you're so inclined." Google said originally that it would remove any offending personal images upon request, but over time it moved to automatically blur faces, license plates and other incriminating imagery.

Within a few years, controversy over Street View had settled down in the United States, and had of course moved to Europe, which such things are taken even more seriously. But then Google was caught capturing "payload data" as its Street View cars roamed around our streets. That is, in addition to recording photo imagery, the cars were in fact sniffing private Wi-Fi networks in homes and businesses and collecting any data they could find as well. They stole email messages, passwords, web histories, text messages and other data during this collection.

"We screwed up," Google co-founder Sergey Brin admitted.

Soon you’ll be able to send SMS messages to toll-free help lines

This could open the floodgates for landlines to receive text messages

Toll-free numbers administered by wholesale VoIP provider Bandwidth will gain the ability to send and receive text messages — which could mean that you never have to hold for an operator again.

Bandwidth, which is the nation’s sixth largest telco based the number of telephone numbers it has, isn’t designing the toll-free SMS program for its clients. Instead, it’ll be up to each company or software provider to design their system using Bandwidth’s APIs protocols.

So there aren’t many toll-free numbers you can text today. Still; imagine a world where instead of being put on hold, you can simply receive a text when an operator is available. As more companies adapt to this new capability, that’s exactly what will happen.

Red Cross releases app to help people learn to swm and prevent drownings

The number of drownings at pools and lakes around the Atlanta area this summer is staggering

The Red Cross has a new free Swim App to promote water safety for parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim.

Ensure your swimmer understands and retains the water safety tips they learn with the games and videos in the special section just for kids

Do fun activities with your swimmer

Learn how to keep your family safe in a variety of environments, such as home pools, rivers, lakes and oceans.



Facial Recognition Might Be Coming To Your Car

What if you got into your car and you had to authenticate that it was you behind the wheel? That might be what's coming in the near future as Ford's working with Intel to bring facial recognition to the car. The idea would be to improve safety and in-car tech with this system which is being called Project Mobil.

When someone enters a Project Mobil-equipped car the system uses front-facing cameras to authenticate the driver. If the driver can't be authenticated it'll send a photo to the vehicle owner's phone asking for permission for this person to drive the vehicle. Once identified, the car can then automatically adjust certain settings to the driver's preference.

Friday
Jun272014

My Appearance on WGST's "The Sully Show" 6/27/14 Talking Tech

Rick and Sully talk the tech topics of the week - and now it looks like the government will need a warrant to search your mobile phone.

Have a listen:

 

Current tech topics

Google i/o conference going on this week in San Francisco

An Android update, "the ultimate smart TV," wearable gadgets and so-called smart home devices are just some of the innovations Google showed off today as its two-day developers conference, known as Google I/O (for Input/Output), got underway in San Francisco.

In recent years, the conference has focused on smartphones and tablets, but this year Google's Android operating system is expected to stretch into cars, homes and smartwatches.
The head of Google's Android division, Sundar Pichai, took the stage first to talk about the growing reach of Android phones and tablets. He said Android now has one billion users, who take 93 million selfies, walk 1.5 trillion steps, and check their phones 100 billion times each day. Android app installations rose 236 percent over last year, he said.

Dave Burke, director of engineering for Android, described highlights of Google's latest Android operating system update, referred to as "L."

One new security feature called personal unlocking will allow a device to automatically unlock when its owner picks it up, by recognizing a familiar Bluetooth signal and other clues. If a stranger picks it up, it will stay locked.

It will have a battery saving feature that Burke says can extend battery life by 90 minutes, and 3D graphics capability for an immersive gaming experience.

Then came the much-anticipated announcement of Android's expansion into wearables. Google engineering director David Singleton introduced Android Wear, the software that will run smartwatches like the LG G and the Samsung Gear, which go on sale starting today on the Google Play store. Another model, the Moto 360, will be coming from Motorola later this summer.

Android Wear will enable developers to offer health tracking, navigation apps, voice-activated ride sharing requests, step-by-step cooking instructions and other functions in an even more portable format.

The company also announced Android Auto, which will bring many popular features of smartphones to new car models from more than 40 automakers


Report: Apple having pro athletes like Kobe Bryant test iWatch

-Does Sully want an iWatch?

Following recent news that Apple is prepping an iWatch for release this fall, a new report claims that the company has enlisted several professional athletes to test the still-unannounced device.
Top players from U.S. professional sports leagues, including Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), are testing the device's "fitness capabilities in intense training environments," according to 9to5Mac.

Among the athletes testing the iWatch are Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Los Angeles Kings player Dustin Brown. In addition to citing sources with knowledge of the collaboration, the report said Bryant was seen on Apple's Cupertino, Calif. campus last month to meet with the company's design chief Jony Ive.
While Apple appears to be covering all of its bases by involving nearly every professional U.S. sports league to test its new device, it's easy to see why the company is singling out Bryant in particular.

Facebook speeds up app after a trip to Africa

Facebook this week rolled out an update to its Android app that adds some new options for liking and tagging posts, but the social network also provided a sneak peek into how a team trip to Africa helped boost apps speeds for users around the globe.

Within the new update, Facebook added the ability to "Like" posts, photos, and Pages when you'reoffline; remove tags you've created; remove tags of yourself that your friends have created; and turn post notifications on and off, in addition to improvements for speed and reliability.

Facebook sent a team of product managers and engineers to Africa, where mobile performance doesn't quite match up with service in the U.S. - from network connections to actual devices.

The result of Facebook's trip? Its engineers and product managers came up with four key areas where they could tweak its mobile app a bit: Performace, data efficiency, networking, and the size of the application.

Facebook's modifications to the application's loading process involved tweaking how features get loaded within the app — on single-core mobile devices, this presented a bit of a bottleneck as the smartphones struggled to churn up a bunch of processes simultaneously. Facebook also tweaked the loading process for News Feed stories to more quickly deliver cached content (for those on crappy networks). Together, these two modifications "reduced start times by more than 50 percent in the six months following the trip to Africa," Sourov wrote.

China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

Sand, cement, wood, and steel are China's weapons of choice as it asserts its claim over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei have sparred for decades over ownership of the 100 islands and reefs, which measure less than 1,300 acres in total but stretch across an area about the size of Iraq. In recent months, vessels belonging to the People's Republic have been spotted ferrying construction materials to build new islands in the sea. Pasi Abdulpata, a Filipino fishing contractor who in October was plying the waters near Parola Island in the northern Spratlys, says he came across "this huge Chinese ship sucking sand and rocks from one end of the ocean and blasting it to the other using a tube."

Artificial islands could help China anchor its claim to waters that host some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. The South China Sea may hold as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. China has considered the Spratlys—which it calls Nansha—part of its territory since the 1940s and on occasion has used its military might to enforce its claim. In 1988 a Chinese naval attack at Johnson South Reef, in the northern portion of the archipelago, killed 64 Vietnamese border guards.