GNC #1166 Google Intel has on You!



Did you know that their is 14 things that Google has Intel on you? Time for a little house cleaning as we wind up the year. Also I am hoping that you are in anticipation of the content I will be producing from CES and that you would consider a one time donation towards the funding of that content. I would love to raise $5k between now and January 30th. Consider a one time donation to the show on the insider page.. Or better yet sign up as an insider to support the show year round. Action packed podcast today.

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Adieu Yahoo!



Dear Yahoo,

I’m sorry but I’m breaking up with you, and I’m afraid that it’s you, not me. We’ve been together for over ten years, from the early days of Flickr and Yahoo Groups, but you’ve hurt my feelings twice now and I think you’ve been cheating on me. It’s been fun but it’s not going to work out. There’s no longer any trust between us.

I’ll get my stuff out of your properties and return the keys as soon as I can. Goodbyee!

P.S. If anyone else wants to break up with Yahoo!, here’s the link https://edit.yahoo.com/config/delete_user.


Syllable D900 mini Totally Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds



Earbuds have evolved significantly from the wired junk that came with early smartphones to quality sound via Bluetooth and AptX codecs (and price tags to match). The apex of totally wireless earbuds has been challenging but in the last few months there have been Kickstarter campaigns and even Apple finally has their AirPods. A couple of weeks ago the team at Syllable sent me the D900 mini, a set of wireless earbuds complete with a cool charging case and blue LEDs. I’m in heaven, I thought. Let’s take a closer look…

Right from the start it’s apparent that the D900 mini is well designed and cleverly made. Take the charging case. There are small pogo pins in the cradle for each earbud. Placing an earbud lightly into the case lights up the blue LEDs to indicate the battery level of the case. It’s only when you close the lid of the case onto the earbuds, pushing them down onto the pogo pins, that the earbuds recharge. The lid is kept shut with magnets. All very smart.

The D900 mini comes with three sizes of eartips, a microUSB charging cable and a small suede-effect pouch. As usual, I needed the largest to fit my ears. All the sizes come with retaining hooks to help stop the earbuds falling out. The D900 mini earpieces do point forward slightly too but overall I found the fit was good and I was able to wear the headphones comfortably for nearly an hour, perhaps a little less.

There is a little weight to them so they never quite disappear from your consciousness. While the D900 mini is bigger than the standard earbud, it’s not so much that anyone really notices. With a woolly hat on, they’re completely invisible and the hat keeps them in too. Perfect for long winter walks. Having said that, I didn’t have any problems with the earbuds falling out once I had them in properly. As ever with earbud fit, YMMV.

The earbuds have only one button and that’s effectively the whole of the top surface. Pressing this turns on the earbuds, confirmed by a few tones, and a long press on the left bud will get them into pairing mode – the left earbud is considered the master. I had no problems getting the D900s connected up. (Syllable was even spelt right this time). Once paired with my OnePlus 2, they worked as any Bluetooth headset. Obviously with only one button per ear, the controls are fairly simple. Short presses on the button stops / starts music playback and accepts calls. Long presses reject calls and turn the earbuds off.

Battery life is somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours, which seems short, but given the tiny size of each D900 mini earbud, it’s pretty good. The charging case keeps the earbuds charged up so the D900s tend to be fully charged when starting to listen to music. The charging case is supposed to recharge the earbuds from four to six times. That seems about right be I didn’t exhaustively test this as I didn’t always run the headphones flat.

In terms of audio quality, the D900 mini is as good as any wireless Bluetooth headset I’ve listened to, especially in a quiet room, with good detail, rich sound and solid base. Yes, you will notice the difference against a pair of wired Sennheisers, but for (relatively) low cost wireless headphones, the sound is really good. The D900s are supposed adjust the frequency response to emphasise the bass even at low volumes, though as an engineer, what impressed me most was that both earbuds remained in step – I never once encountered one earbud playing behind the other. Really clever stuff.

Problems? I encountered a couple of minor problems with the D900 mini. Sometimes, particularly when outside, the bass would disappear resulting in a very thin sound. I never quite figured it out but I have a suspicion that it was noise cancellation or frequency adjustment not quite behaving as intended. The other issue I encountered was that sometimes the audio would drop out between one, other or both earbuds for a few seconds. It would always come back and faded in gently rather than just exploding back in, which was a better experience. I noticed that this tended to happen at the beginning of a listening session, so I’m not sure if this was some part of frequency setting or power level calibration. To be fair these were all minor niggles.

Overall, these earbuds are astonishing especially when the price is GB£40 from Amazon.co.uk (US$50 from Amazon.com). Certainly there are a few flaws but the D900 mini is incredible considering the engineering challenges, the technology and the sound quality. If these are first gen products, I can’t wait for the next iteration.

There’s more in this unboxing video.

Thanks to Syllable for providing the D900 mini for review.


More Pokémon are Coming to Pokémon GO



Niantic has been adding new things to Pokémon GO lately, in the form of partnerships between Pokémon GO and companies like Sprint and Starbucks. Niantic’s latest addition is something players will find in the Pokémon GO game itself. In short, more Pokémon are coming!

Niantic announced that as of December 12, 2016, players will have the opportunity to find Pokémon that have been newly added to Pokémon GO. Niantic explains:

Professor Willow has discovered Togepi and Pichu hatching from Eggs! Starting later today, Trainers will have the opportunity to hatch these and several other Pokémon that were originally discovered in the Johto Region in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver video games. These are the first of more Pokémon coming to Pokémon GO over the next few months.

In addition, from December 12, 2016, through December 29, 2016, (10:00 am. PST) players will find limited edition Pikachu all over the world. These Pikachu will be wearing a festive hat. Niantic recommends that you use the Pokémon GO AR camera when you encounter the limited edition Pikachu, and post the screenshot on social media with #HolidayPikachu.


GNC #1165 This is Geek News Central



Yes your heard it, a change to the intro, I totally screwed up in which I edited to fix, which is like the 5-6th time I have edited a show. Nice stack of stories today, and a call to action! Please promote my GoDaddy page with your family, friends co-workers you name it… Spread the network circle and holiday cheer. Hope you enjoy today’s show.

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Hulu Introduces Profiles



Hulu has announced that they are beginning to roll out profiles to their more than 12 million subscribers. They have started rolling profiles out to a small subset of their viewers and will continue to roll out the feature to more viewers across more devices.

After the new profiles feature is rolled out to your Hulu account, you can add up to six specific profiles. I did not realize, until I read Hulu’s announcement, that Hulu lacked profiles. Netflix has had a similar feature for a long time. Hulu explains the reasoning behind profiles this way:

…TV is very personal and we know people share their Hulu with spouses, kids and family members. Inevitably, you may not be as enthusiastic about Sci-Fi as your spouse. And it is likely that new episodes of Doc McStuffins are not quite as exciting for you as they are for your children. The next step in creating the most personal TV experience is introducing profiles.

Hulu users will start by creating a profile. That user will then be taken through a “taste picking experience” where they will tell Hulu what types of shows and movies they like and what types of shows and movies they don’t like. This helps Hulu to know what shows to recommend to you.

Each individual profile can do a “taste picking experience”. Each profile will have its own name, personal info, viewing history, recommendations, and Watchlist. There will also be a new Kids profile type. It will allow young viewers to browse content in the Kids Hub freely, without having to worry about running into mature content.


Instagram is Adding Comment Control Features



Instagram is updating its comment control features on the Instagram app. The purpose is to make Instagram a welcoming place for everyone and to keep it a positive place for self-expression.

Instagram is owned by Facebook. It appears that the comments on Instagram are starting to become more like the comments on Facebook. That means that people are communicating on Instagram through the comments left on photos.

Unfortunately, it also means that some people are leaving mean comments on other people’s posts.  Instagram has already launched the ability to filter comments based on keywords. Soon, Instagram will add a way to turn off comments.

Sometimes there may be moments when you want to let your post stand on its own. Previously, this was only available for a small number of accounts. In a few weeks, it will be available to everyone.

To turn off comments, you need to use the Instagram app, go into the “Advanced Settings” before you post and select “Turn Off Commenting”. You can turn comments back on later if you want to. Instagram is also adding the ability to like comments by tapping a heart icon next to any comment.

Another change is coming to private accounts. People who have private accounts have to approve each follower. In the past, there was no simple way to undo that decision without blocking them. Soon, Instagram users who have private accounts will have the ability to remove followers. The person will not be notified that you have removed them as a follower.

Instagram is also allowing anonymous reporting for self-injury posts. If you believe that someone you care about may be thinking of hurting themselves, you can report it anonymously and Instagram will connect your friend to organizations that offer help. Instagram has teams working 24 hours a day, seven day a week, around the clock to review those reports.


Devolo Extends Home Control To Humidity and Flood



Devolo LogoDevolo has rounded out the range of sensors in its smart home system, Home Control, with the addition of two new sensors for humidity and water (flood). Although previously announced over the summer, these devices are now available for purchase through several on-line and high street stores. The folks at Devolo were kind enough to send two units for review. Let’s take a quick look.

Devolo Humidity and Water Sensors in Box

Both sensors use the same basic “mini PIR” design that’s shared with the existing movement and door sensors, though the water sensor has a long tail with the water detector on the end. Obviously this is so that the main part of the sensor can be mounted conveniently and the detector positioned down the back of the washing machine, touching the floor.

The sensors are a sturdy white plastic, much as you’d find any domestic security system. The rear clips off to change the battery which has a claimed life of up to 5 years. I’d be a little skeptical of that based on my experience of similar sensors in the range, but YMMV,

Devolo Humidity and Water Sensors

The sensors aren’t much use on their own and have to be paired into the Home Control central unit. All the sensors use Z-Wave to communicate with the central unit and getting them setup is easy to do out-of-the box. Simply pull the battery tab out of the back to put the sensor in pairing mode, and then use the app on a smartphone to detect and add the sensor into Home Control. The app goes through it step by step, with helpful videos presented for information. There’s a new Home Control app which is much improved over the previous version but does have a few cosmetic issues.

   

Once the sensors are in the Home Control environment, they can be incorporated into rules to do useful things. For example, if the water sensor detects water (under the washing machine), then send a text message or email to alert the owner. If the humidity sensor says that it’s too damp, automatically turn on the power to a fan (and then turn it off when the humidity falls). You’re limited only by available sensors and acting devices. The new smartphone app doesn’t provide rule editing features yet, so the full web app at mydevolo has to be used for the rules.

The water sensor isn’t terribly interesting as it’s all or nothing: either the floor is dry, or it’s time to call a plumber. On the other hand, the humidity sensor is much more fun as it records both humidity and temperature. The Devolo Home Control app shows the current state of the sensor and also historical data, so you can review the graphs to look for trends.

Devolo Home Control Humidity Devolo Home Control Graphs

Overall, these are handy additions to the Home Control ecosystem. Each fulfills a slightly different role, in that the water sensor is for emergencies, whereas the humidity sensor has a day-to-day function. The sensors aren’t cheap, with an RRP of GB£49.99 (and they are a little more expensive than their main competitor) but if you are bought into Home Control, they’re worth considering. For me personally, the water sensor is ideal for my garage as it has a tap without a drain. If the tap is left on, even just slightly, the floor floods over a couple of days. With the Devolo water sensor installed I’d get a quick warning of the problem.

If you want to see more, there’s an unboxing video below.

Thanks to Devolo for providing the sensors for review.

 


Ford’s Pre-Collision Assist Helps You Avoid “Petextrians”



Ford points out that we live in the “Age of Petextrians”.  You might not recognize the word Petextrian, but you have seen them around. Petextrians are distracted walkers. They are the people walking around, staring at their phones (and possibly texting). Petextrians are not watching where they are going, so they risk ending up in dangerous situations.

Ford wants to help you avoid collisions with Petextrians. Ford has created a driver-assist feature called Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. Making its North American debut in the 2017 Ford Fusion, the available Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection can reduce the severity of frontal collisions and, in some cases, avoid them altogether.

Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection uses radar and camera technology to scan the roadway ahead and sounds a warning if there is a risk of collision with a vehicle or pedestrian. If the driver does not respond in time, the system can apply up to a full braking force to help reduce the severity of or even illuminate some frontal collisions. Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection is not a replacement for an alert and aware human behind the wheel.

 


Starbucks is Now an Official Partner of Pokémon GO



Shortly after Niantic announced that Sprint had become the first U.S. Partner of Pokémon GO, Niantic announced that Starbucks is now an official partner of Pokémon GO. The partnership between Starbucks and Pokémon GO includes Starbucks stores that are located within the United States. Starbucks stores that are located outside of the United States do not appear to be part of this partnership. From the Niantic announcement:

Starbucks has a long-standing commitment to providing spaces for social interaction and real-world community building in its extensive network of locations. We appreciate their role in creating safe, welcoming locations for people from all walks of life to come together for refreshment and social engagement. Starting 11 A.M. PST on December 8, this new partnership will transform 7,800 company-owned Starbucks stores in the United States into PokéStops and Gyms, giving Trainers even more places to play and to engage with their local Pokémon GO communities.

Starbucks says that players who locate a Starbucks store within Pokémon GO will discover the Pokémon GO Frappuccino blended beverage.

It starts with a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino blended beverage and raspberry syrup blended with freeze-dried whole blackberries and topped with whipped cream. The Pokémon GO Frappuccino blended beverage will be available at participating Starbucks stores for a limited time while supplies last.