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Archive for December, 2012

Robot Underpants #81 – 12.26.12

Posted by Langley at 12:26 AM on December 27, 2012

Langley, Eric and Starman Mike survive the end of the world, and Christmas to bring you Hobbit chat and lots of (spoilers) Doctor Who commentary.

* Augmented Reality TARDIS

* NY’s “Game Over” Initiative

End Track: “Hobbit Love” by The Gazillions

First Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Instagram

Posted by JenThorpe at 3:14 PM on December 24, 2012

InstagramWell, that didn’t take long! The first class action lawsuit against Instagram has been filed. This civil lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The case is called “Lucy Funes, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs. Instagram Inc.”. It was filed by a San Diego based law firm called Filkelstein & Krinsk.

As you may have guessed, this lawsuit is about Instagram’s recent change to its terms of service. After much public outcry, (and a lot of people removing their photos from Instagram and taking them elsewhere), Instagram did make a modification to the unpopular change in its terms of service.

However, the lawsuit is in regards to a portion of the terms that are still there. Instagram kept in the wording that gives it the ability to take user content (the photos people put on Instagram), and place ads in conjunction with that content. There is a part of the terms of service that is still in effect that says that Instagram “may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such”.

The lawsuit is also about another issue related to the first one. People who used Instagram, but didn’t like the new terms of service, had no option other than to cancel their profile. Many did exactly that. However, the lawsuit notes that users who have canceled their profile then forfeit rights to their photos that they once shared through Instagram.

In response, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes had this to say to Reuters:

We believe this complaint is without merit and we will fight it vigorously.

When Instagram changed its terms of service, it included a mandatory arbitration clause. In short, that basically means that users who didn’t like the new terms of service could not sue Instagram. It would result in unhappy users waiving their rights to participate in a class action lawsuit.

However, that portion of the new terms of service doesn’t take effect until sometime in January of 2013. This means that it is possible for “all others similarly situated” to become a part of this class action lawsuit.

Google releases official Android holiday themes

Posted by Alan at 3:35 PM on December 23, 2012

On the eve of Christmas Eve Google has pushed out its official holiday themes for Android devices — not a moment too soon. The mobile operating system will likely be a gift found under many trees this December 25th, but for those already using the number one selling devices then you can get in the spirit of the season now.

Four wallpapers were included in the release — all animated and all including the iconic green robot that we have all become so familiar with. An abominable snowman playing guitar, a polar bear using a tablet, and break-dancing penguins.

These images were announced yesterday by way of the Android Google Plus page. “We made some ‘Happy Holiday Cards’ to share with you this holiday season! Pass them along to friends and family by sharing this post and be sure to download the full high-resolution files…they make great wallpapers for your phone, tablet or desktop. Enjoy!”

TMS-2012-12-22 #70 Windows and More!

Posted by geeknews at 11:43 AM on December 23, 2012

I am joined by Co-Host Rob Greenlee, and guest Paul Thurrott from we talk about tech topics of the week and where we at with Windows 8.

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This Message Will Expire in Ten Seconds

Posted by JenThorpe at 1:30 AM on December 23, 2012

Poke AppFacebook has a new app called Poke. The name was inspired by the Facebook feature called Poke that has been a part of Facebook since 2004. The functionality of the app, however, is something that people are comparing to SnapChat.

If you log into your Facebook account you can select a friend to Poke. I’ve never entirely understood the purpose of this function, but I suspect it is used as a means to let someone you have “friended” … I suppose be reminded that you still exist and want to communicate with them. Whatever happened to a friendly message that starts with “hello”?

The Poke app, is not the same as the Poke feature in Facebook. The Facebook Poke app was released on December 21, 2012, and is a mobile app. Right now, it is only for iOS devices. One might assume that there could eventually be an Android version, (but there isn’t one right now). You can download it onto your iOS device for free.

The Poke app allows users to send a message, a photo, or a video to their Facebook friends who also are using the Poke app. Which, I suppose, can tell you which of your “friends” are using iOS mobile devices.

The message, photo, or video you send will last for a specific time that you set. You can have it appear for 1 second, 3 seconds, 5 seconds, or 10 seconds. Your friend (or friends, as you can choose to send something to multiple users, or groups, at the same time), must press the screen and hold it in order to see the message you sent. After the time expires, the message disappears.

It is easy to see why Poke is being compared to SnapChat. There is some concern that people will use Poke to send messages, photos, and videos, that are of the “not safe for work” variety, (since it has been said that people use SnapChat specifically for that purpose). Facebook sort of acknowledges this potential. It says:

If you ever see something you’re uncomfortable with, you can click the gear menu and report it.

Play on Roku app for iPhone, Android updated

Posted by Alan at 5:45 AM on December 22, 2012

Roku introduced its mobile app for iPhone and Android a while back, allowing owners of the handy little set top boxes to stream pictures and music from their smartphone to the entertainment device. Customers can also use the app to browse and add channels and control their devices with a remote control feature.

Now the company has rolled out an update to its mobile apps that adds even more functionality. According to Roku’s Tom Markworth this update “adds music shuffle and repeat options for Play on Roku.” He went on to elaborate that “You can now create on-the-fly playlists of your favorite artists with the “All Songs” view on the artist screen. Additionally, we fixed several bugs related to music and photo playback on Play on Roku in both versions of the app.”

If you have either a Roku 2, Roku LT or theRoku HD player then uou can get the iOS version here and the Android version here. The new app is version 2.1. If you already had it installed then you should get the update automatically.

Flickr Offers 3 Months of Storage for Free

Posted by JenThorpe at 1:35 AM on December 22, 2012

Flickr from Yahoo!Flickr is doing a very interesting little promotion right now. They are giving everyone 3 months of unlimited storage for free. You can upload your photos to Flickr for free “all day, everyday” for the next three months.

“Unlimited” means “mostly unlimited”. Flickr is basically trying to avoid abuse of the free offer. The fine print reads:

During the Flickr Holiday Gift promotion, as long as you follow the Yahoo! Terms of Service and don’t trigger our anti-abuse controls, you can use an unlimited amount of free photo storage.

Note: To avoid abuse of our unlimited storage, we do monitor accounts for excessive usage. Yahoo! Limits the number and size of photos allowed from an account within a given timeframe. While our goal is to ensure that everyone benefits from unlimited storage, Flickr is not intended to be used as a content distribution network.

Here’s what the Flickr Holiday Gift promotion gives you:

* Unlimited photos (see note above). There also is a limitation of up to 50MB per photo.
* Unlimited viewing of your entire photo library
* Post photos in up to 60 groups
* Download your original, high-resolution photos – whenever you need them
* Upload and play unlimited HD videos.

To get it, just click the bright blue button that says “Get it now”. I clicked it to see if I could learn more about the offer, and unintentionally ended up accepting it. Oops! Once you activate the offer, it brings you to a page that says “Yay!” at the top.

It should be noted that I had a Flickr account previous to this offer, I still have it, and I let my Pro Account lapse a few months ago. My guess is that if you are brand new to Flickr you might have to give them some of your information in order to take advantage of this offer – but I could be wrong about that.

A little investigating revealed that by clicking on the “Get it now” box I have, inadvertently, re-activated my Flickr Pro Account. It is set to expire on March 22, 2013. So far, Flickr hasn’t asked me for any money. I suspect they will sometime in March, right before the Pro Account expires.

Perhaps Flickr is hoping that I, and all the other users that unintentionally re-activate their Pro Accounts, will love the extra free stuff enough to pay to keep it after the free 30 days ends. I kind of feel like I’ve been tricked into re-activating my Pro Account. So far, though, no financial harm has been done as a result.

Flickr may also be hoping that this offer of 3 months of unlimited free storage will attract the people who recently deleted their Instagram account after learning Instagram’s new terms of service. If so, that’s a pretty smart move on Flickr’s part.

Pitfall joins the parade of retro Android games

Posted by Alan at 12:25 PM on December 21, 2012

Recently a number of older games have been making their way to mobile devices via the Android platform. Earlier this year we saw Activision launch a suite of 80′s games, but now the company has struck again with a stand-alone version of the iconic Atari game Pitfall, albeit four months after debuting on iOS devices.

Activision chose to release the game due to it being the 30th anniversary, but the company could not have waited much longer to get it ported over to the Android platform.

“On his 30th Anniversary, take control of Pitfall Harry once again in PITFALL!, inspired by the 1982 Classic that started it all, now re-envisioned and re-booted on Android!”

Well, as the old saying goes, better late than never. Take solace in the fact that the game is free and head over to the Google Play store to grab it and start reliving your Pitfall Harry days.


Welcome to The Gadget Professor Show #86 hosted by Don Baine and produced by Mike Baine.

Today we review three different gadgets, a portable speaker, A USB Plasma ORB, and a package cutter. This makes for an amusing and interesting show.

We also feature a ton of useful – free software choices of the week.

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GNC-2012-12-20 #826 Where Still Here!

Posted by geeknews at 1:10 AM on December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Cochrane Family to you and yours. I will be recording a special GNC Insider on Christmas eve for the Insiders. Join today to get access to this special program.

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