TMS-2013-03-24 #77 Show Name Change

Seeing the show has taken on a New Media focus, we are renaming the show to. “The New Media Show”.  We felt it was time to align the show more with what we have been focusing on.. Today I am joined by Co-Host Rob Greenlee, and guest Don Baine of The Gadget Professor we talk about the changing landscape of media within large and small companies and some tech topics of the week.

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After 5 months the Windows Store hits 50,000 apps

windows 8 store updates link

Windows 8 launched way back at the end of October last year and it has steadily grown since then, though there is a vocal minority who would like you to believe otherwise — some of whom have a vested interest in making you think that way. While the growth of the operating system itself has been rather quick — four million copies sold in less than a week — the growth of the App Store has been slower, but rather steady.

Now the web site Metro Scanner reports a new milestone has been reached. As of this writing, the store is officially as 50,304 apps. This is likely a big moment for Microsoft, as it is validation of the company’s plan and proof that people, most importantly developers, are finally coming around.

Of course, there is a long way to go. The operating system is still without a number of feature apps. Lacking still are official versions of things like Twitter, Facebook and others.

However, the growth should steadily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As more apps appear the pressure on others to get in there will mount. The steadily growing number of users will also add additional pressure on developers to get them on the ball with this OS and Store.

Watch Star Trek on Hulu for Free!

Hulu LogoHulu is celebrating William Shatner’s birthday by offering viewers free access to five Star Trek television series from now through March 31, 2013. This includes every episode of “Star Trek” the original series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Deep Space 9”, “Voyager”, and “Enterprise”.

The LA Times points out that when you add it up, it comes to 693 episodes. You’ve got just nine days to do it in. Make some popcorn and have a Star Trek marathon this weekend! The NextWeb has calculated that you would have to watch 69 episodes a day, every day, between now and the end of the month if you wanted to watch them all for free through Hulu.

An easy way to find everything is to visit the page that Hulu put together about it. Click the image of the series you want to watch and you should be good to go. You do not have to be a Hulu subscriber in order to access free Star Trek right now. Apparently, Hulu periodically unlocks some of its content for free (which I was unaware of).

Is HBO Go leaving its TV subscription confines?

hbo go logoHBO has remained a stumbling block for potential cord-cutters everywhere. While offering a wonderful app, the content producer has made it a requirement that users prove the existence of a cable or satellite TV subscription to use the app. Today the first chink in that firewall may have appeared.

Reuters is reporting that HBO CEO Richard Plepler, while talking at the premier event for Game of Thrones season three, stated that “maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners, could evolve”.

HBO Go was launched back in 2010, but has been limited by the pay-TV shackles. This means customers not only need to pay the monthly TV bills, but also the subscription fee for broadband. HBO could partner with the broadband providers to eliminate the TV portion of the bill while simply adding a small fee for a monthly subscription to the app, potentially saving customers as much as $100 per month.

Plepler pointed out that company was still trying “to make the math work”. The company is faced with tough challenges from services like Netflix, Redbox Instant, Hulu, Amazon Prime and the like.

GNC-2013-03-21 #845 Viva Resistance

Off to Indy tomorrow will be hanging out with my #1 Fan.. Question for the audience today, is do you trust Google are they capable of not being evil.

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Words With Friends

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I have been a heavy player of Words With Friends for the past couple of years. Once in awhile I would notice that my opponent would play seemingly from a different set of letters then what I had been presented with.

For some reason I assumed that both players were playing from the same set of letters, thus fairly matching wits.

I wonder how many people are really familiar with Words With Friends rules, or the Scrabble game that it is based on for that matter? Do you know the rules?

As it turns out, the rules for Scrabble as well as Words With Friends state that each opponent pulls from a random set of letters. Knowing this changes the game strategy somewhat, and it explains why games often seen a bit unfair. There are times when games seems stacked toward one opponent or the other.

Something tells me that I’m not the only Words With Friends or online Scrabble player to make a wrong assumption of the rules of these games.

I will still continue to play both games but not quite in the same way as before.

Zynga Will No Longer Require Players to Use Facebook

ZyngaThis is exactly what I’ve been waiting to hear from Zynga! As you may recall, Zynga and Facebook changed their relationship status in November of 2012. It marked the beginning of changes between the two companies. To make a long story short, it appeared that there was potential that there would come a day when people who did not have a Facebook account could access Zynga games through the Zynga website.

Today, we get more details how that is going to work. Zynga wrote a blog that describes the update. It reads:

So what’s new? Starting next week, when you visit Zynga.com you will see a streamlined setup that lets you create your own account just for playing games. We also wanted to make sure that existing Zynga.com players continue to have the best experience possible so you don’t have to start from scratch. All players will have the option to connect with Facebook and keep your game friends and game progress, while deciding what you will share with your gaming community.

Basically, this means that next week, players who do not have a Facebook account will be able to play Zynga games through Zynga.com. It also means that people who have a Facebook account and have been playing games both at the Zynga website and on Facebook won’t lose access to their fellow gamers on Facebook once this change starts.

As someone who has gotten quite tired of Facebook, I have to admit I am excited to start playing Zynga games again. I’ve been wondering if Farmville 2 is as fun as the original version. Looks like I will soon have the opportunity to find out! You cannot log in without a Facebook account just yet (I checked) but it will happen soon.

This change matches what Playdom has been doing for quite some time – allowing players to access their games through Playdom.com without requiring them to have a Facebook account. Since leaving Facebook, Playdom has gotten all of my attention when I was seeking a quick, simple, game to play. Zynga wasn’t getting any, as I could not access their games. It will be interesting to see what happens after next week.

Striker’s Simple Sucker is a cheap, universal phone mount

StrikerA couple of weeks back I took a look at one of two Striker products that I had recently ordered. The Light Mine turned out to be a great little tool for around the house, as I used it during a power outage yesterday, but I primarily intend to use it hiking and camping. The other product I picked up was called the Simple Sucker, which is a universal phone mount.

I had been in the market for a universal car mount ever since I purchased my Galaxy Nexus last year. My previous mount was built exclusively for the Motorola Droid X and is now obsolete. I didn’t want to invest in one like that again, plus my wife sometimes has a need for these things and she has a Nokia Lumia 822.

For $6.99 Striker sold me what may be the simplest solution of all — a two-way suction cup mount. The product is small and simple and initially I was worried that such a device could not hold onto my 4.7-inch screen phone. Those worries were, thankfully, unfounded.

Last week my wife had a trip to take and needed GPS for the journey. The Simple Sucker stuck to her windshield like glue and did the same with the back of her 4.3-inch Lumia, despite the phone also being in a case. She reported no problems with it on her journey.

Striker’s Simple Sucker, for only $6.99, worked every bit as well as dedicated car mounts that cost many times the price. It is also completely flexible, allowing you to angle the phone in any way you wish. It was certainly the best deal I have got in some time.

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Which is it? $99 Amazon Kindle Fire or no?

amazon rumored tabletTwo major tech blogs seem to be warring today over Amazon rumors — to save problems I will not even bother naming or linking to either because it is honestly not even important to the whole story here. The subject in question is if Amazon has a $99 Kindle Fire HD in the works or not.

While there are sources claiming this product is in the pipeline, an Amazon spokesman claimed it “does not exist”. Honestly, while its hard to believe “unnamed” sources, it is also hard to believe Amazon would tip its hand on something like this, so we really are left to guess for ourselves and go with instinct.

Regardless of who is right and wrong in this little internet spat, there is one thing that I feel I can be certain of — Amazon can afford to do exactly this. The company has no need to profit from the hardware — it displays ads on the device, sells apps and sells music, movies and TV shows. The profit comes on the backend.

Honestly I have expected such a move for sometime, though I assumed it would come as a Kindle Fire discount offered to Amazon Prime customers. Prime already offers tremendous value to its users, and it does so because of the aforementioned backend.

So what does Amazon really have in store? Will there be a $99 Kindle Fire HD? It certainly would jump over the competition and could actually serve as a “game over” move against tablet rivals, including the Nexus 7. And it would do so all while using Google’s own mobile operating system as a weapon against them. Check mate.