DTNS 2506 – Thunder-C(ats)

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Beja discusses the theft of ThinkGeek by GameStop, Nintendo’s staunch denial of Android and Apple’s new curated games lists in the app store.


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Show Notes

Today’s guests: Patrick Beja


TechCrunch has confirmed that Microsoft has acquired productivity app Wunderlist. The company that created Wunderlist, 6wunderkinder, has more than 13 million users. CEO Christan Reber said for now nothing will change although new features and partner integrations are likely.

The Verge reports the first products to work with Apple’s HomeKit are here. HomeKit allows smart home products to be controlled by any iOS device. Lutron’s $230 Lighting kits and Insteon’s smart home hub go on sale today. Ecobee’s $250 thermostat, iHome’s power outlet and Elgato’s sensors will go on sale in July. Homekit was announced one year ago today.

ArsTechnica reports that Intel its just announced Thunderbolt 3 will use the USB Type C connector instead of the mini DisplayPort connector. Thunderbolt 3 will as you might expect, support USB 3.1 up to 10 Gbps and Thunderbolt’s transport layer can support 40 Gbps bi-directional full duplex. That means one cable can support two 4K displays or one 5K display at 60 Hz. AT launch a passive Thunderbolt 3 cable will support USB 3.1 DisplayPort 1.2 at 20 Gbps. An active cable will support 40 Gbps but without the DisplayPort compatibility. An active optical cable is coming sometime in 2016. The other two should ship before the end of this year.

CNET reports that a Nintendo spokesman told the Wall Street Journal “There is no truth to the report saying that we are planning to adopt Android for NX”. So turns out Nikkei’s people were not as familiar with the matter as they thought.

Intel also announced updates to its 14-nanometer Broadwell fifth-generation Core processor lineup according to ZDNet. Five desktop and five mobile parts were announced. The Core i7-5950HQ for laptops runs $623 with a 2.9GHz quad-core chip and 95% better media performance than the i7-5600U, although with a  47watt thermal design power. The Iris Pro 6200 graphics card comes as a socketed desktop part with up to 128MB of eDRAM comparable to the GeForce 940M. Five news Xeon server chips get the Iris Pro 6300.

Ars Technica reports GameFly announced it has acquired cloud-gaming service Playcast and is using it to launch a Gamefly streaming service on FireTV today. Gamefly streaming launches with 35 titles available in packs. The packs give unlimited play to 7-16 games ranging in price from $7 to $10 a month. Gamefly intends to refresh the games available and expand to other platforms.

Wired reports that Facebook will open a new artificial intelligence lab in Paris. The head of AI for Facebook, Yann LeCun, was born and educated in Paris, and says he wants to work openly with and invest in the AI research community in Europe. LeCun specializes in deep learning and building computers that mimic the human brain’s neural network. Facebook already uses deep learning to identify images on its site and Google owns a Deep Learning outfit called DeepMind in Oxford, England.

The Verge reports SoundHoud founder Keyvan Mohajer has launched an Android app called Hound. The app is a natural language processor that handles complex questions and answers them fast. Hound does speech recognition and understanding in the same engine. Hey Tom What is the population of the capital of the country in which Space Needle is located? Too Late Hound already has the answer. The population of Washington, DC is 601,723.

The Next Web reports BQ has announced the Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition its second smartphone to replace Android with Ubuntu. It’s a 5-inch 720p display dual SIM, 1 GB of RAM, quad-core processor and 16GB of storage. The rear camera is 13 mpxls too. It’s expected to arrive mid-June unlocked for €199.90 across all of Europe.

Mashable reports that Pinterest showed off mocks of “action buttons” that will let users buy products directly from the site or add items to a wish list. So if you see a recipe on Pinterest and want all the ingredients, you could add those ingredients to your cart with one click. Pinterest’s head of partnerships Tim Kendall said Pinterest hasn’t built the feature yet.

News From You:

rpattony submitted this one and you voted it up. PC World reports on a product called Batteriser which claims to extend the life of disposable batteries around 800 percent. It’s a essentially a scaled down voltage booster that keeps batteries alive even when they drop below 1.5 volts of output all the way down to 0.6 volts. The sleeve is 0.1mm thick so that the batteries can still fit in standard compartments. Batteriser will launch an Indiegogo campaign in June for a September launch at $10 for a pack of 4.

tglass1976 sent us the disturbing news that Hot Topic seems to have been outbid in its purchase of ThinkGeek. Ars Technica reports GameStop swooped in and offered $20 a share stealing the deal away from Hot Topic. Geeknet, ThinkGeek’s parent company has formally accepted GameStop’s offer. The deal should conclude sometime in August.

Discussion Section Links:  



Pick of the Day:

Randy writes:

Matt from {insert weather related term here} Sacramento writes:

On Friday you (Tom) had a discussion with Darren regarding trusting Google with your passwords as well as cyber attacks from North Korea. I always find the security and cyber-crime topics on the show entertaining, and this latest one prompted me to start reading a book that has been on my reading list since it came out in February. The book is Future Crimes by Marc Goodman.

The book covers a wide range of topics, from our over sharing of personal information, the motives of the companies we give that info to and how they use it, the technology used in both cyber attacks and terrorist attacks (such as the Mumbai attacks in 2008), and the future possibilities of technology-centered crimes around the world.

It is a lengthy book, but totally enthralling. I highly recommend it for any tech, cyber-crime, or security fan/junkie/enthusiast/conspiracist/luddite or otherwise.

Patrick’s pick of the day:

Duet Display iOS app for MacOS and Windows


juice writes in:

Re your discussion on Monday (I think, I’m listening to it on Tuesday, so it must be Monday’s J with Veronica regarding Facebook and news content – I just wrote a short research paper for my Honours on paywalls – “The newspaper paywall – a sub-optimal payment model that diminishes public access to quality journalism” (yeah, academic wank title J

Here’s a section from it regarding a social danger:

…Readers who are paying per article try to only read articles that they agree with, rather than items that will challenge their world view. (Cook & Attari 2012; Geidner & D’Arcy 2013) …

Quote referred to: “Individuals who had to pay for news were significantly less likely to select stories from an opinion-challenging source than individuals who did not have to pay for news.” (Geidner & D’Arcy 2013)

I also highly recommend Mathew Ingram (now with Fortune after the sudden demise of Gigaom) and Jeff Jarvis (mostly on Medium) on these subjects (I’m sure that’s not news to you, those recommendations).

Keep up the great work, easily my favourite tech news show.

LWATCDR aka David the Programer in Tropical South Florida:

Your story on news sources and which are trusted was very good. Being barley a gen Xer I found it that I really do not match my demographic at all. What the study seemed to miss IMHO is that Facebook tends to expose people to the extremes in news far more than traditional news stories. Sure people on facebook think they are being exposed to different viewpoints but as Veronica pointed out they are just being exposed to things that are so far from their world view that they are easy to dismiss.

Claudia from Brazil:

Yesterday you and Veronica were discussing if the Facebook algorithm interferes (or bias) what kind of news we receive, and I have a personal story that relates to that.
I have always tried to keep my feed “interesting” and would read articles that defended the opposite of my view point… until the last election, that took place last October. The then President, Dilma Rousseff was re-elected …(for various reasons) unsatisfied people started to ask for her impeachment. …
A small, yet very vocal group, started to defend military intervention and a return to the dictatorship…. after butting heads and locking horns with a few of my Facebook “friends” who defended those views, when I realized that rational arguments where not changing their minds, I banished them to my “acquaintance list”, and their posts have disappeared from my wall.
… and recently I have not seen any conservative post in my wall – except for those posted or shared by my mother. 🙀

I believe that feed filtering is real and a real danger. We surround ourselves only with the news we want to hear, with the points of view we agree with and that validates those points of view with other people’s arguments and creates a feedback loop. I am pretty sure that I and other liberals have also disappeared from those friends walls and all they see now are the posts from friends who agree with them.

Of course, since I can’t show you numbers that back this up, this is just one observation.

Jeff from water logged Boston:

A quick note on oh-so-convenient Windows 10 notification Microsoft pushed to Windows 7 users the other day. It has created a lot of work and undue stress for those in the position to support Windows 7 users. “What’s this icon, do I have a virus, etc” have been asked to myself and my peers constantly since KB3035583 got pushed down. I’ve been told Windows 7 Enterprise edition users were spared the notification but in my opinion all machines running the Pro edition should have been excluded as well.

I’m glad Microsoft is making the upgrade path easy and straightforward for home users but they need to be more sensitive to small and medium sized businesses who will have their own deployment schedule and user training for Windows 10!


Wednesday’s guest: Scott Johnson and Lixia Zhang

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