Everyone Hates Ads that Cover the Screen

Google App Interstitial adWhat do you do when you visit a website that allows you to view the content for a second or two and then covers the entire screen with an ad? If you are like me, you rush to close the browser. A (very narrowly focused) case study by Google reveals that people are not a fan of those types of ads.

Personally, I hate it when websites give me two seconds to look at the article I wanted to read, and then cover the entire screen with an ad. It’s a confusing situation to be in, for about a second or two, until I realize what happened.

Where did that article go? Oh, it’s been buried beneath a huge ad. The next thing I do is close the browser. It’s quicker than trying to figure out where to click on the ad to make it go away. I don’t want to waste time searching for an x to click when I could be visiting a different website that has the same information that I wanted to read about.

I don’t use my phone to surf the internet, but I’m certain that if I did, I’d be equally eager to evade those annoying “in your face” ads. And, I wouldn’t be alone. Google did a case study on their mobile ads for the Google+ app. They used interstitials that covered the screen in an effort to make people aware of their app. They had a feeling that they should remove the ad, but wanted to gather data about it before doing so. Here’s what they found:

9% of the visits to their interstitial page resulted in the “Get App” button being pressed. Some of those who clicked that button already had the app. Some of them never followed through and installed the app. I suspect that these clicks were from people who were just trying to get the ad out of their way.

69% of the visitors to their interstitial page abandoned the page. These people didn’t go to the app store, and they didn’t continue to use the Google+ mobile website. In other words, they were annoyed by the ad that blocked what they wanted to see, so they went somewhere else.

Google then chose to remove the interstitial ad, and replace it with a Smart App Banner. One result was that 1- day active users on their mobile website increased by 17%. They have since retired the annoying interstitial ad that was chasing users away from their website.

If there is a moral to the story, it is this: If you want people to visit your website – don’t cover the entire website with an ad seconds after a person decides to give your website a try.

GNC #1050 Autonomous Mil Robots

Will the military ever have Autonomous Mil Robots personally I think there will always be a man or woman in the loop. I cannot imagine a time in my lifetime that armed drones, robots will be allowed to go full Autonomous. I have a stake of thought provoking and opinionated news for you.

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German Rocket Ride to Space and Back.
Is your Android gonna get hacked.
Galaxy S6 Wireless Charging.
Free tool could have prevented OPM Hack.

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Busy Week in Mobile Phones

It’s going to be a busy week in the mobile phone space with both OnePlus and Motorola expected to announce new Android models. OnePlus hasn’t exactly been quiet in the run up to the event and Motorola’s suffered a few leaks in the process. Either way, it’s going to be fun to see what’s on offer before Google and Apple produce their annual refreshes later in the year. Nokia might be re-entering the smartphone market too but their latest announcement is shrouded in mystery.

ThOnePlus Logoe OnePlus 2 will follow on from the successful One, though with OnePlus stoking the rumour mill, it’s still hard to know fact from fiction. What has been confirmed is that it will have a fingerprint reader, 4GB RAM, a Snapdragon 810 processor, USB C connector and cost less than US$450. Some suggest that there might be more than one version of the 2 inbound, but if there is OnePlus haven’t mentioned so far.

Motorola M LogoOn the Motorola side, the teases us with “Your relationship is about to change” signed, “XGX Moto”. I think we can expect new Moto X and Moto G models and as Motorola tends to go with evolution rather than revolution, they’ll probably be much like last year’s, only better. Some have suggested that the two Xs might mean two models, but I think it’s just supposed to be “XOX” for hugs and kisses.

Nokia LogoFinally, Nokia might be re-entering the mobile phone space. There’s a VIP press conference in Los Angeles but no-one knows for sure whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet or a virtual reality headset. The invites featured “Nowhere” and “Now here” which led to much speculation with nothing concrete to go on. We’ll just have to see.

The OnePlus 2 announcement is at 7 pm PT on 27 July which is a very early 3 am UK time. Motorola have a far more reasonable 9 am ET on 28 July which equates to 2 pm here in the UK. Keep ’em peeled.

 

GNC #1049 Cord Cutting Growing

Cord Cutting is having a steady impact to cable companies business models. I can only see this trend accelerating. I hope you join me in Fort Worth on Friday for my induction into the Podcast Hall of Fame. Lots of tech so please enjoy the show.

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This Ring Light Promises an end to Dull Selfies

Ring lightI’ll admit, as a male growing ever closer to the age of 40, I’m not much of a selfie taker. Regardless, the culture of the selfie is becoming more prominent with each passing day. Like it or not, selfies aren’t going away anytime soon. Proof of this can be found in the proliferation of accessories designed to maximize one’s selfie experience. Most prevalent among these being the selfie stick. And while that particular item may solve one problem when it comes to taking selfies, there are still other pressing selfie-related matters that need to be addressed. Specifically, what do you do when it’s time to take a selfie in low-light conditions? A new ring light called Kira being developed in Japan may have the answer.

This ring light clips onto the top of a smartphone providing a wash of directed, even light towards the holder of the phone. Thus improving the conditions for selfie taking in low-light environments. Kira can easily be stowed in a purse or pocket and then attached to a smartphone as needed. It’s worth nothing that many smartphones don’t have flash LED’s on front-facing cameras. So, Kira is filling a need there. It’s also possible to see uses for this accessory beyond selfies. The ring light could be useful for video chat applications like Skype and FaceTime, too.

Kira is currently raising money thru a Japanese crowdfunding site. No word yet as to when the device might be available for public purchase and/or how much it’ll cost.

3-D Printed Cap Detects When Milk Goes Bad

biohazardWhen exactly does your milk go bad? There’s a helpful “sell-by” date printed on the packaging to give you an idea of the liquid’s shelf life. But at best, that date is an educated guess. Of course, sometimes it’s really obvious when milk has gone sour. But sometimes, it’s not so easy to tell. Fortunately for me, Jen has a keen skill for detecting when food products have gone bad. But on my own, I know I’ve consumed my fair share of food items that were probably better sent down the drain or into the trash.

Once again, new technology comes to the rescue in the battle against spoiled milk. Using 3-D printing, engineers have developed a cap that can be used with milk jugs to determine when the milk has gone bad. The cap uses a special sensor that’s able to detect changes in electrical signals caused by the proliferation of bacteria. To test your milk, all you need to do is tip the container until some of the milk comes in contact with the cap. From there, the cap will indicate if the milk is still good or not.

Researchers are hoping to find ways to expand this technology to other food products, eventually including things like Internet connectivity so food sensors can report directly to computers or smartphone apps. Finally, we’ll able to use an actual product of science to know when our leftovers have become an actual science project of their own!

Hey, Apple. Fix my iMac!

Two iMacsMy wife and I are the proud owners of two 27″ iMacs (seen in the photo to the left). Both machines were manufactured in 2011. They’re identical in terms of model and specifications. And both have been afflicted by the same problem – failed video cards.

The first iMac went down in early 2014. I took it to a local Apple certified repair shop where the problem was identified. The repair tech told me that Apple had put in a special “repair extension program” specifically for this iMac model because there are known issues with the video cards that shipped from the factory. Thanks to this program, Apple covered the cost of the repair and the iMac has worked flawlessly since.

The second iMac (seen to the right in the above photo) was acquired used in late 2014 as a replacement to my wife Jen’s aging MacBook Air (which she had mostly used like a desktop computer). A few days ago, this iMac started acting erratically and the symptoms were very similar to the other iMac’s failing video card. We took the second iMac into the shop and sure enough, the problem was diagnosed as a faulty video card.

But the iMac didn’t result in the same outcome as the first computer. This iMac was apparently originally purchased in May of 2011, which means the repair extension program for this machine expired in May of 2015. A scant two months ago. Due to this technicality, Apple won’t cover the cost of the repair, leaving us with a $500 bill after parts and labor. I recognize that Apple was being generous in even offering the repair extension in the first place. But the fact is, these iMacs were shipped with defective parts. It was only a matter of time before the video card would fail. But too bad for us it didn’t break down three months ago? That’s a lousy way to treat a loyal customer, Apple!

And speaking of us as customers. Here’s a rundown of all of the Apple products we’ve owned over the years:

  • 9 desktop Macs
  • 2 laptop Macs
  • 5 iPhones (and 1 iPod)
  • 2 iPads
  • 1 Time Capsule

Also, I’m legally blind and I live on a somewhat fixed income while my wife is a freelance writer and relies on her computer for work. The $500 repair bill is difficult for us financially and this is compounded by the fact that Jen is losing valuable productivity time while the machine is down.

So, come on, Apple! Wouldn’t it feel great to help us out and just approve the repair of the bad video card? Doesn’t our longtime patronage of your products mean more than a simple technicality in a warranty program? Please, Apple. Fix this iMac!


GNC #1048 Privacy is Lost

First things First apologies on the last show, I talk about that at length today.. Also I think we have entered and area where Privacy is Lost. I do not think that we can find our way back from a online presence that is fraught with to many security breaches.

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Gefen’s Multiview Switcher is Shipping

Gefen logoGefen has announced that its new 4×1 DVI KVM Multiview Switcher is shipping. This new generation solution in KVM switching is ideal for controlling four computers from a dual display workstation.

An operator can observe data from up to four computers on one display. At the same time, a second display can be switched to display any image that needs closer attention. A unique cascading ability allows a system expansion of up to eight switchers accessing up to 32 computers, providing comprehensive control from a single keyboard and mouse.

Preset and customizable window configurations are readily available, including single screen, split screen, picture-in-picture, and four windows on the same display. It has two front panel USB and bi-directional audio ports (for microphone and headphones/speakers) that can be independently routed from any of the computers.

Gefen’s 4×1 DVI KVM Multiview Switcher has flexible control features that include front panel buttons, keyboard/mouse control and RS-232. High resolution video up to 1920×1200 or 1080p full HD is supported with HDCP compliance. You can put it on a shelf or mount it in a standard 19-inch rack.

3-D Printed Headphones Are Here

3-D headphonesAs more and more people are consuming audio like music and podcasts on the go, the need for headphones has increased. But many headphones are either easy to lose or they stop working after a short period of time. I know I’ve been stuck many times over the years having to face a long bus ride with a fully charged media player and a portable set of headphones that no longer work, no matter how much I manipulated the audio cord and connection jack. Now, getting that next pair of headphones might be as simple as firing up the nearest 3-D printer.

These headphones are the work of designer Maxime Loiseau and they use an innovative design in terms of an electronic device being created with 3-D printing. The process uses what’s called “roll to roll” manufacturing, making the parts very thin. In fact, these 3-D printed headphones are made from only eight pieces, where a typical set of phones could require up to 50 individual parts.

Since these headphones are made with “printed electronics,” there’s need for only one wire for each headphone. And if you’re worried that these headphones will sound weak, don’t. The speakers are made with piezoelectric cells that provide quality comparable to traditional headphones.

The headphones are powered by Bluetooth and they use a lithium-ion battery. The battery is also made as part of the 3-D printing process. These headphones were presented during New York Design Week 2015. They are likely to go thru some tweaking and modifications before hitting the production line. Check out this video to see the production process in action.