Robot Underpants: 09.17.14 (170) “You Too?”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, Eric Rice and “Starman” Michael Gaines discuss this week’s hot topics including: iOS8, Minecraft, U2, Podcast trolls, and more!

* Groot Texts
* Liam and Bono Movie
* Dan Akroyd’s Next Ghostbusters Plan
* Tiny Radio
* “Vacation” Movie News
* Back to the Future Shoes for $99
*Tronify Thread

Using NFC For The First Time

NFC.pndNFC, short for Near Field Communication, is a technological set of standards that has been around for several years. Many Android phones have come equipped with NFC chips for several years. Some retailers along with fast food outlets such as McDonald’s support NFC transactions on every credit card reader.

My first NFC-enabled phone was a Galaxy S3, but I never felt compelled to even give it a try. For some reason I made the completely erroneous assumption that if I paid with my phone via NFC it would be charged to my phone bill.

Since Apple is now supporting NFC with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones, I decided I would give NFC a try on my Note 3 using Google Wallet.

I already had a Google Wallet account because I have bought apps via the Google Playstore. I have also used Google Wallet to purchase hotel rooms via online booking.

To use NFC, I installed the Google Wallet app on my phone. I authorized the app to tie to my existing Google Wallet account. I authorized the Google Wallet app to use my existing debit card by setting up a pin number inside the Google Wallet app. Next I went into the phone settings to turn on the integrated NFC radio chip.

I used NFC for the first time today at a McDonald’s in Shelby, Iowa. When it came time to pay, I simply turned the phone screen on and held the phone against the top of the McDonald’s credit card reader where there’s a sort of sideways WiFi-like symbol. It’s not even necessary to start up the app – that happens completely automatically. It popped up on my phone screen asking me to input my Google Wallet pin number, and the transaction was quickly completed. The McDonald’s order-taker and his manager were astonished!

It automatically debited my bank account. My existing bank debit card remained in my wallet.

As nearly as I can tell, the Apple Pay version of NFC differs from Google Wallet and other NFC payment schemes in that the Apple Pay app only works on NFC-enabled iPhones. The iPhone 6 finger print reader substitute’s for the pin number.

It is possible to pay using Google Wallet in two basic ways – either have it pay via a selected debit or credit card, or set up a Google Wallet cash card that you can transfer money into and out of. With the Google Wallet cash card it is possible to email money to anyone with an email address, which would require them to set up a Google Wallet account in case they don’t already have one set up.

Will I use NFC again? I certainly will. I’m constantly on the road and I find myself eating at McDonald’s and other fast food outlets far more than I’d like. So long as an NFC terminal is set up and I would be paying with my bank debit card, I will try utilizing NFC instead.

Perhaps now that Apple is putting its marketing, educational, and PR muscle behind NFC it will finally have a chance to catch on. If nothing else it’s worth it just to see the amazed reactions of the store clerks!

Read An eBook Day

Read an ebook dayJust in case you were going to miss it, Thursday is “Read an a eBook Day“, a celebration of modern storytelling. Surprisingly, it’s not sponsored by Amazon on behalf of the Kindle but rather OverDrive whose apps let you borrow library books for free. Yes, for free.

It’s probably one of the best keep secrets in the whole tablet and ereader business. Contrary to what Amazon would  have you believe, you don’t have to buy ebooks from them as there are plenty of up-to-date novels available from your local library. The downside is that transferring books isn’t that slick and you need an ereader that’s not tied in to the Amazon ecosystem. I have a Nook, but ereaders from Sony and Kobo are supported as well, and you need to load the books via a PC rather than downloading across the Net.

If you have tablet, it’s much easier as the OverDrive app is available for iOS, Android, Kindle and Windows Phone, as well as for Windows and Mac desktop platforms. Check the appropriate app store or else try OverDrive‘s web site. Once you have the app, all that’s needed is a membership of a library and you can download directly from your library to your tablet.

Instead of “Read an eBook Day”, Thursday should be “Read a Free eBook from your Local Library Day”.

Podcast Awards Acquired by New Media Expo


As Founder of the Podcast Awards, I want to announce some exciting news. After some thought, I’ve made the decision to sell The Podcast Awards to New Media Expo and their team. I made this decision as Rick and his team have been so involved with us over the past few years.

It has been my absolute pleasure to create and run the awards for the past 9 years, giving podcasters a platform to be recognized. All of this would not have been possible without the support of the podcasting community, and the podcasters that supported the show financially. I will be forever grateful for their participation.

Over the past couple of years, New Media Expo has been instrumental in our Awards Ceremony’s success. I feel certain that the NMX team is ready to take The Podcast Awards to the next level.

Of course, I am not disappearing. I will have a founders’ role and will advise the NMX team in the development and production of the 10th annual event, April 14th in Las Vegas, NV. While Rick and his team will likely make some changes along the way, the spirit of the Peoples Choice Awards will still remain, with the nominees and winners being selected by the listeners, fans and podcasters.

See you at the 10th Annual Podcast Awards

Todd

See New Media Expo Comment

The (Non?) Case For Wearables

It is often difficult to determine in advance which new products or services will catch on, versus which ones are just temporary flashes in the pan.

Some of the fog can be dispelled by determining if the new product or service actually serves a practical long term purpose in the real world.

The desktop computer caught on because it rolled a large number of existing useful functions such as document creation, accounting functions, etc. into a single, networkable device.

As laptop versions of computers became more powerful, laptop sales outpaced desktop sales. Laptops were more portable and just as capable for most uses.

Mobile devices have caught on because they take the most useful bits and bobs of computer networking functionality and put them into an easily pocketable form factor. The very best mobile apps actually perform specific tasks more quickly and conveniently than could be done using a full-blown computer. For example, a well-designed mobile banking app significantly decreases the time it takes to perform everyday banking tasks as contrasted to the time it would take the same person to log on to the bank’s website to accomplish the same tasks.

Do wearable computing devices make any existing networked computing tasks easier and/or more convenient? Using the mobile banking example, a mobile banking app on a wearable wrist computer would have to make it significantly faster to perform basic banking tasks than could be accomplished with the attached smartphone. Interacting with a one inch screen offers extremely limited functional opportunity or efficiency. Talking in to a wrist computer to accomplish banking tasks is not practical in the real world.

There are a number of uses for devices that contain differing types of sensors and recording capabilities. Many of these types of devices inevitably end up unused and forgotten once the novelty wears off, which could indicate the potential for fading fad popularity.

Wrist notifications are cited as a potential use. These notifications could be advantageous for certain people in certain types of circumstances. However, they could also prove to be dangerously distracting, say for example while driving. Interacting with mobile devices while driving is a very real traffic fatality problem, and a wrist notification for many people could prove to be an irresistible temptation.

The people who are constantly texting (the mobile equivalent of Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger from yesteryear) will not be typing on a one-inch screen – it is just too small. The alternative to use voice-to-text is not practical. If you think people yelling into cell phones in public is a problem, just imagine those same people yelling text messages into their wrist computing device!

Will it be possible for developers to take significant bits and bobs of existing networked computing functions and concentrate them into a wrist form that is faster and more efficient to interact with than the smart phone they are tethered to? If not, the future for wearable computing devices is in serious doubt.

GNC #978 Minecraft Acquisition Analysis

Back in the saddle here with lot’s to analyze on recent announcements by Apple and Microsoft. I also dig deep into some things Tim Cook had to say to Charlie Rose on Privacy and Apple. I also make some announcements in regards to desktop replacement decisions.

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Night Stars Landscape Lights Add Sparkle to your Home

Night Stars Landscape Lights LogoAre you someone who struggles to put up (and take down) Christmas lights? I know that it is a bit early to start thinking about Christmas decorations. Even so, if you plan ahead you might be able to save yourself the hassle of putting up your outdoor Christmas lights after the weather gets cold and icy.

Night Stars Landscape Lights are laser lights that come in three different varieties: green, green and red, or green, red, and blue. They are designed to be used either indoors or outdoors. They project points of brightly colored lights onto walls, landscapes, pools, and whatever else you point them at. The purpose is to add some decorative effects and atmosphere to a party or celebration.

The lights have an optional flash/pulse setting. There is an RF remote that lets you control your Night Stars lights from anywhere in and around your home. They also have a built in timer that can run for 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours. There are instructions on their website that tells you how to set up the lights. It appears to be extremely important that you follow the directions and use the product only as directed.

The first thing I thought of when I saw these lights was that they resembled Christmas lights. The Night Stars Landscape Lights might be an interesting alternative for those who are not looking forward to climbing ladders, untangling cords, and going out into the cold to put up lights this year. The lights can be reused to add atmosphere to birthday parties and other celebrations.

Tablift Review

tabliftTablift is the most “borrowed” review item by my family members that I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words and in this case it really is.

Let me start out by saying that if you have ever used your tablet in bed your going to love this device. I will often spend a Sunday afternoon relaxing with a good book on my tablet. But after a couple of hours of reading that lite weight tablet may as well weigh a 100 pounds.

In steps Tablift whether your laying down, hanging out on the couch Tablift can hold your tablet in place. The most innovative place I saw Tablift being used was by my son. He reads sheet music on his tablet, and he uses Tablift to prop up his tablet on his desk in his bedroom so he could practice he Cello.

With the built in restraining strap, he could change pages quickly and not knock the tablet over.

For $59.00 you are going to get a lot of utility out of this device going hands free with your tablet, and if your like my house your gonna hear someone shout who has the Tablift.

Sennheiser Launches “Let Your Ears Be Loved” Campaign

Sennheiser UrbaniteSennheiser has launched an advertising campaign that includes some contests. Participation requires both online and offline activity. It is called Let Your Ears be Loved. The purpose is to feature Sennheiser’s Urbanite headphones. The ads that go along with the contest are unique.

The target audience of the ads are the generation of Millennials who Sennheiser’s believes want headphones that not only sound good but also look good. As such, they created an idea that emphasizes how much one’s ears will love the Urbanite headphones.

Personally, I find the ads uncomfortable. Each features a “love scene” in which a person who is dressed like an Urbanite headphone is pampering a giant ear. The headphone has a German accent. In one ad, the ear is lying across a massage table and the headphone is providing the massage. In another, the ear is in a bubble bath, and the headphone is outside the bath tub and holding a washcloth.

To me, it’s a little icky. That being said, I’m in my 40’s, and not the demographic that Sennheiser is trying to attract with this particular ad campaign. Maybe Millennials, people who are between the ages of 18 and 25, see the ads completely differently than I do. I’ll give Sennheiser this: the ads are very creative!

Part of the “Let Your Ears Be Loved” campaign are contests in which someone will win free Urbanite headphones. To participate, you must go to the website and select one of the “romantic” videos to watch. Next, share that video on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. After you do that, a clue will appear on the Sennheiser website. The clue gives you an idea of where in New York City to go looking for a golden ear. Those who find a golden ear will receive free Urbanite headsets. This contest runs from September 12 through September 21, 2014, in New York City. A similar contest will be held in London starting October 20 and ending November 2, 2014.

Or, you could participate in the “Show Me Your Ears” portion of the campaign. Take an “ear selfie” and post it to Instagram. Tag that selfie with @Sennheiserurbanite and #Earlove. The best ones will win free Urbanites. This contest is limited to people who live in the United States, Canada, and members of the European Union. Visit the Sennheiser website for more details.

Robot Underpants: 09.10.14 (168) “Apple Did A Thing”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek, Eric Rice and “Starman” Michael Gaines bring you this week’s hot topics including: Apple Stuffs, Joan Rivers, Gmail Hacked?, Dutch Girl Fakes Asian Trip on Facebook, Minority Report on TV, Trebek’s stache Returns, Microsoft Minecraft and more!

* Apple Stuff
* GMail Hack
* Dutch Girl Fakes Vacation
* Minority Report TV Show
* Trebek Mustache
* Jeff Goldblum Singalong
* Richard Kiel (Jaws) Dies
* All Girl Ghostbusters
* Ghost in the Shell Casting
* Joan Rivers Dies
*  Microsoft May Buy Minecraft
* Destiny Game
*Famous Outfits