DTNS 2323 – When in Roam–

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comAndrea Smith talks about things you should know about mobile data and SIM cards when traveling, plus the real reason why Microsoft bought Minecraft.


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Show Notes
Today’s guest:  Andrea Smith, technology journalist


Cult of Mac says it has talked to folks inside Apple who say the NFC chip on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will only be used by Apple Pay. That’s similar to TouchID which was not accessible to developers at launch. TouchID has opened up a bit in iOS8, and many hope that the iPhone’s NFC will open up to developers down the road as well.

You know how Microsoft says they’re a productivity and platform company. Well PC Mag reports on a few new peripherals that fall in the productivity side of the equation. The most intriguing is the Universal Mobile Keyboard that connects by Bluetooth to Windows, Android and iOS devices. It’s coming to US and Canada in October fort $80. A new standalon Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse will come Sept. 18 for $70. The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 is back with fancy artwork this moth for $30. And a version of the Xbox One controller meant for Windows packs in a 9-foot USB to microUSB cable for $60 starting in November.

$350 for a watch made by somebody from Apple that won’t come until next year? We can do better. The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports the Misfit Flash tells time, tracks activity and sleep, and syncs with the Misfit App on an iPhone. While it doesn’t have apps, it does runs on an actual watch battery, so no recharging. It also comes in seven colors, is waterproof down to 30 meters and only costs $49.99. It will be available in stores in October and you can pre-order starting today. Oh and the company is led in part by former Apple CEO John Sculley. You know the guy who fired Steve Jobs.

Reuters reports the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington threw out a jury order that would have required Apple to pay VirnetX Holding Corp. $368.2 million for VPN patents. The decision does not find Apple innocnent of infringing but determined the trial judge incorrectly instructed jurors on how to calculate damages. The appeals court returned the case to the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, for further proceedings.

Eweek has it that Docker, maker of open-source container virtualization tech, closed a $40 million Series C round of funding. The funding is a big vote of confidence for Docker 1.0 which will create a commercial ecosystem around the tech. Docker lets developers build their app in any language, then put them in a Docker container that allows them to run anywhere.

TechCrunch reports IBM has announced a new cloud application called Watson Analytics, to help business users crunch big data. And yes, IBM execs say the underlying technology includes the the same ability to process natural language queries that helped Watson the Giant Supercomputer beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy. The product goes into beta this month and is slated for general release by the end of the year. The program will run on a variety of platforms including tablets, smartphones and PC/laptop. Oh also, there’s a FREE version.



News From You

KAPT_Kipper pointed out the Ars Technica article that a jury in Marshall, Texas (Go Mavericks) found CBS guilty of infringing a patent from Personal Audio LLC and ordered to pay $1.3 million. Personal Audio holds a patent on a System for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence. The patent was filed in 2009 and published Feb. 17, 2012. What CBS did was put a compilation file together, in this case a “web page” made from “HTML” and then transmitted episodic content through that file over the Internet. The decision allows Personal Audio to move forward with suits against NBC and Fox. The EFF is challenging the validity of the patent with the patent office later this year.

tm204 submitted the Engadget report that security researcher Benjamin Daniel Musser discovered a security hole in the Manage Your Kindle page. An coorrupted ebook, for example one with a script in the title, could be created to access your cookies and subsequently your Amazon account credentials. Musser discovered the hole in October and Amazon patched it but it resurfaced recently. Musser says if your carefuk about what ebooks you load into your Kindle it should be easy to avoid the problem.

gewbert passes along The Verge report that Roku has sold more than 10 million streaming players since 2008. Apple annoucned earlier this year it had sold 20 million Apple TVs since 2007. Roku has now amassed 1,800 channels and users have streamed more than five billion hours of content since the service launched. Roku currently sells a $49 streaming stick and three set-top boxes, including the $99 Roku 3.

Discussion Links: Roam if you want to…


Plug of the Day:  ‘Events of a Different Nature‘ by Tom Merritt

I want to let you know I have a new self-published book out called ‘Events of A Different Nature.’ It’s about two dogs who solve crimes. NOW WAIT. It’s not nearly as cute as it may sound. It’s more Raymond Chandler than Wind in the Willows and they never once admit that they’re dogs or in any way inferior to humans. So if you want to check it out you can find a free version as well as print and versions for various ebook platforms at tommerrittbooks.com

Pick of the Day: Darik’s Boot and Nuke via Brian Burgess

One of the free tools I use a lot, especially when I want to completely nuke a computer and do a “real” clean install of Windows is Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN): http://www.dban.org/
Or, if you want to blow away a drive that’s heavily infected with viruses and other malicious code it’s perfect. You burn it to a disc and then boot from it and use the command line interface. For most consumers the “Quick or Auto Nuke” option is good enough, but for the truly paranoid you can your drive to near Department of Defense standards. You can set it to overwrite the drive up to 7 times.

Tomorrow’s guest: Michael Wolf of the NextMarket podcast

5 thoughts on “DTNS 2323 – When in Roam–

  1. I used xcomglobal in Vancouver and it worked great. It was about $15 per day which sounds pricey but it was the same price as hotel wifi, and all of our phones were locked so we couldn’t rent a SIM card anyway. I took a portable battery with me so my family and I had access to the internet all day. I was so happy that when I sent along a thank you post-it with the returned device, they wrote back and gave me a 10% coupon code (embarrassingly, it’s ‘kayolovesxcom’) to share with others. It’s good for a year from June. (I don’t get a kickback for that and I don’t work for this company, btw.)

    In Japan, I used a similar service from Global Advanced Communications and that worked really well too. Their coverage was good and the speed was faster than my Comcast connection at home. My brother recently used his free T-mobile 2G roaming plan in the Tokyo area and he was pleased with it as well. Hope that helps!

  2. Hi Tom,
    I noticed several uses of the phrase ‘Slated’.
    This caused me quiet a bit of confusion until I realised that in the USA this means ‘scheduled’ or ‘due to arrive’, where as here in the UK it means ‘Severely Criticise’.
    As in “his work was slated by the critics”

    Just a point to clear up any confusion.

  3. Hi Tom,
    I have bought Knowroaming (http://www.knowroaming.com) when it was first announced (on Indigogo I think) but had the occasion to use it only last week-end. And now I think it’s the best tool for travelling with your phone!
    -Good rates anywhere for voice/messages/data
    -No need to think about it in advance; you arrive at destination and install the profile and it works. You get back home, you remove the profile and it’s done.
    -Switches to the strongest network
    -Easy to use app and website where you buy credits. That also mean you cannot spend more than you planned without knowing.
    Only drawback for some; it requires an unlock phone.

  4. I usually skip data when I travel to Italy unless vodafone happens to be running a special. But on my last trip, I took advantage of tmob free data and was pleasantly surprised. For Google maps, google translator, email, and light web browsing, the service was great. The downside was that folks in Italy had to dial my US number to reach my phone – meaning it was an international call for them. And worse, I had to pay international for a few marketing calls from the US.

    But that said, it was super convenient (no need to charging up my account) and it also included free unlimited text messaging. It’s really all I needed. And as you mentioned in the podcast, most hotels include free wireless, which is great for skyping with family back home.

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