GNC #674 Be Careful out There!

Geek News Central Podcast Be safe during your travels over the memorial day weekend. We want all of you back with us next week. I cover Mom’s wreck that happened on Tuesday and pile of tech news and information. Plus one really bizarre story about Mark Zuckerberg.

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GNC Shows
Robot Underpants
Gadget Professor
Saturday Morning Tech

Listener Links
infra-red images of hidden pyramids.

Show Notes:
Geek Pride Day.
Mark Zuckerberg (weird one)!
Goodbye Spirit!
iAdapt i1
Amazon Mac App Store.
Google Wallet.
Miro 4.0
Time Warner Revenge.
P2P Raids.
Mac Malware Ver 2.0
NYSE Floor.
Protect IP Senatorial Gang.
Hold put on Protect IP Act.
Texas Politicians back down to TSA.
Disney Stands Down.
Patriot Act Extended.
Yes the Electron is really round.
Water on the Moon.
North Korea most Advanced Computers!
Skype Broke Again.
Apple and Google App Privacy under fire.
AT&T Good Deal?
Piracy in China.
Empire Avenue.
Twitter Updates.
Flickr and your Photos.
The Google Shake Up.
Tax Man Cometh.
Windows 8 and 8 Reasons Why.
Canadian Bandwidth Limits on Rise?
Pyramids Secrets Revealed or more Mystery.
Cool Shuttle Video.
Charge your Leaf while Towing.
AMOLED on iPad 3.
Best Buy reveals All on cell numbers.
Vodaphone Recharge Semi.
Orion Selected.
Netflix updates Android Again.
Itch in Space.
STS-134 in Space.

Microsoft Buys Skype

Today Microsoft announced that it had purchased Skype for 8.5 billion dollars. Skype will be run as a separate business division with in Microsoft and its CEO Tony Bates will report directly to Steve Balmer Microsoft’s CEO. For those of you that are not familiar with Skype it is a soft ware application that allows users to make voice calls and chats over the Internet. Calls that are to other users on the Skype service are free, while calls from Skype to landline or mobile phones do cost a small fee. It had over 663 million register users as of 2010 with 170 million that are active and it continues to grow. According to Microsoft they plan to bring the Skype support to Xbox, Kinect and Windows Phone. They did indicate that Skype will continue to develop and work on other platforms. Whether this remains true only time will tell. There is always the fear that over time development for the other platforms like Linux and the Mac OS X will fall by the wayside and become after thoughts.

One of the biggest problems when a company the size of Microsoft buys a company like Skype is that the smaller company will simply be swallowed up by the Microsoft culture. That what has made Skype popular with users will get lost and the urge to make it more popular with Wall Street will override the users interest. An Ars Technica article also bring up the point that Microsoft already has a its own voice and chat platform Window Live, which has more active users then Skype at 330 monthly active users. So where does Skype fit in, will it be its ability to do Skype to landline calls, which Windows Messenger doesn’t do. No one knows, there was no mention of it at the announcement. The more I think about this the more I believe that the only group that this announcement is good for are those who own stock in Skype. Unfortunately for the users and employee of Skype I don’t see a rosy future. I certainly hope I am wrong. Hopefully Microsoft can use it expertise to improve Skype UI and security.  The last Skype update was to say the least not very popular with most users.  It is possible that Microsoft will do everything it says it will and Skype will become an even better product for everyone.  I am just not holding my breath on it.

 

GNC-2011-04-08 #661 Insane O-Meter

Win a Prize, watch “The Gadget Professor” sign up for the newsletter and send Don some feedback on this new show. You can win a Dymo Label Printer. Lots of parts in Motion. We demo CueToo.com our new media on demand site. New ads campaigns starting next week as well. Next show will be from the Geek on the road.

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Listener Links
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3D Capable Dell Laptop.
www.flavoralchemy.com

Show Notes:
Firefox Release Schedule!
AT&T and Verizon told to Share!
iPad O’Scope.
BitTorrent grows up.
Microsoft and Toyota.
Robot gets Shot?
F35 Ejection Seat Test.
Computer Screen Chapstick.
UK Seizing Domains!
China says no more Time Travel?
Tethering stealing?
Fed Gov’t Shutdown?
Want Bonus get Social.
Chrome to add Malware detection.
Google Travel only if Feds can Monitor?
Samsung 1 Million to Schools.
64 Bug Fixes on Patch Tuesday!
Signal Phone Boosters to get Regulated.
Hacker says he was working with Feds.
Windows Phone 7 Update Cautions.
81 Billion Light Year Explosion.
Space Shuttle Images.
ISS Gateway to Mars.
Jailbreak it?
Vulkano TV Streamer.
Websites for iPad.
MPAA loves to Sue and little else.
Seizing Domains to Continue.
Verizon keeping iPhone users connected.
2 Million iPad 2’s.
Facebook Open Source Servers.
Sushi Blocks.
Topener!
Mini Coffee Machine.
New Fire Extinguisher.
Dish + Blockbuster = Store Fronts.
March Madness digital results!
YouTube Organizing!
ESPN Goes Live!
Vortexbox!
Vending Box
HitPad customized news.
Gmail Updates.
GoFlex Sim Review.
100 Atari Games for Ios
Homeland Security Updated via Facebook?
Time Warner off to Court.
WHS 2011 Available.
Pandora spying on you?
LinkedIn and Android.
Skype Linux Update.
Bing iPad App.
Nook Apps?
Verizon 2yr contracts only!

GNC-2011-03-31 #659 Green Screen Mania

If you have not watched the video for the show in a while, take a little while and watch it today when I post it, as I employ Green Screen on the show for the first time. I want to congratulate our Seagate Drive winner Justin Stockman. Lots of cool video clips to review in some of the articles tonight folks so pay attention to the show note links.

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Show Hotline 24/7 1-619-342-7365 or e-mail geeknews@gmail.com

Listener Links
1942 Star Wars Uniforms.
Michigan found a way to Tax!
Icann

Show Notes:
Cable Companies Admit its not about the Bandwidth.
SpaceX Something Big!
$30.00 VOD?
Hazardous Air in Iraq!
Skype to get Warrant Next court in your Car.
NYT Digital versus Everyone.
Tangibile Good Study.
MPAA & Indie Film Producers.
Amazon Cloud Player.
Do Not Track gaining Favor.
WOW users wants heavy fine now!
SQL Injection Attack!
Slice HD to real!
Boxcar App you need to try!
Google Mobile Updated.
Twitter Real Numbers.
Meteor Radar?
Up close with Mercury.
Refueling in Space.
REBR Calls home after Re-Entry!
Failed Star place to look for Aliens?
Sun Image Spectacular.
Another Skype Outage.
Hard Time for Movie Uploader.
Windows Phone 7 by the Numbers.
Last Pair of Nail Clippers.
Wallet Eliminator.
Water Leak Alarms.
Cyber Snipa Headset!
Cool Commercial.
Roku goes Retail.
Old School Emulators.
Google +1 Button.
Google Versus Demand Media.
Google Page Speed.
Logitech Wireless Windmill :)
EV Battery Swap Station.
Adobe Photoshop iPad App Demo.
Face Identification?
Apogee Duet 2
207 MPG in ok Looking Car.
Did you backup Today?
Hotmail Desktop Notification.
Google Clamps down on Android.

GNC-2011-03-07 #653 Not the Charlie Sheen Show!

I spend a few moments talking about the technical portions of the Charlie Sheen show on Ustream. Considering the train wreck that happened on their inaugural show on Saturday makes me proud of all the new media creators that produce their own shows, and do so with 50x the professionalism of what I observed Saturday night. I have a new giveaway starting tonight listen to win. This show is action packed from the beginning to the end! Become an Insider or Make a donation to the show to qualify for the contest.

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Show Hotline 24/7 1-619-342-7365 or e-mail geeknews@gmail.com

Listener Links
Shatner wake up call.
Millionaire steals credit card?
Get the BBC iPlayer for 74 Pounds.
Alien Contact made.

Show Notes:
Facebook Comments?
Facebook Comments #2?
Charlie Sheen Social Insanity.
Sheens Korner needs some Production Help.
Motorola Xoom Music App hacked.
Buttons or Touch Screens.
Geek Watch (Must Buy).
Phone 135 years old.
Firefox 4 Looks Amazing.
Hawaii TSA a Joke!
Unban PS3 Hack.
First Amendment vs Copyright Laws.
Scientist Study on Sons Voice.
SMS coming to Facebook?
Jamming Time?
Ten iPad Tips.
Facebook Evil on Advertising?
Tax Apps.
Facebook Saves Boy.
Star Trek Wakes Discovery Crew.
Discovery Leaves ISS.
Can we Get our Groove Back?
Woz on Tech and Education.
6 Things in Space.
What went up did not stay up!
Our First Alien.
New Angle on Saturn.
Supernova back as Video Portal.
Fake MPAA/RIAA notice scams $280K
Fox Double DMCA Takedown (Idiots).
UV Cellphone Cleaner?
Where is your Threshold of Business forgiveness.
Sorenson Squeeze 7.
HP Omni Pro.
Google Responds to Droid Malware.
Robot looks real!
WD buys Hitachi HD Manufacturing.
Samsung 950 Series Pricing.
JVC 3D Consumer Camera Debut.
Microsoft pays a Billion to Nokia!
iTunes Home Sharing Update.
$539 Motorola Xoom.
Awesome Asus Ad.
Are you Really Anonymous.
Firefox 4 Crash Reasons.
Skype Ads.
Speed Test Website update.

Skype at CES 2011

Skype

Todd Cochrane interviewed Rick Osterlash, VP of Consumer Products for Skype at CES 2011. Skype announce several new products and partnerships either at CES or just prior to it.

The first product Mr Osterlash talked about was a new version of Skype for the iPhone, which allows two-way video calling. The calls can be either phone to phone or phone to desktop. This update was issued just before New Years and over the New Year’s holiday there were more than 1 million video calls made from the iPhone. Apple was very helpful in getting the application on the iPhone. Second Skype announced a partnership with Verizon which will enable Skype on LTE Advance devices including Android. Furthermore they announced a partnership with various TV manufactures. Skype will come installed on certain TVs, allowing consumers to make video Skype calls directly from these TVs.  At the same time they also announced partnerships with some Blue-Ray manufactures which would allow customers to use Skype on older TVs. Finally they announced that the new version of Skype on the desktop will allow group video calls. This is available for both Windows and Mac, although the Mac version is still in beta.

Skype is doing very well in fact there was a study done by TeleGeography which said that 25 percent of all international calls are now done through Skype, and that number is only increasing.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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GNC-2010-12-23 #637 Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

I want to wish all of the Ohana a Merry Christmas and of course a safe and Happy Holidays. As a family we are dealing with several things that are really making us reflect, thankfully my daughter is here for the holidays and it has been entirely to long since she has spent any time with us. I hope as you spend time with your Ohana that you cherish each moment with them. I will have a regular show on Monday and a slightly abbreviated show next Thursday.

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Show Hotline 24/7 1-619-342-7365 or e-mail geeknews@gmail.com

Listener Links
Verizon and Net Neutrality.

Show Notes:
Norad Tracking Santa!
Dell Streak.
Paradigm shifting to Google?
Windows Expander.
20 Programs for Windows.
Net Neutrality #1
Net Neutrality #2
Net Neutrality #3
Chevy Explains 2 MPG Charts.
Google buys a Whole Block in NYC.
Vudu 2.0
BBC iPlayer.
Comcast + NBCU – Good to Go?
Netflix Versus Apple in HTML5 Streaming.
500 – 1k Christmas Presents.
Revision 3 signs another show.
Your Bathroom May need this!
BYTE coming back?
Pocket Router.
Skype Status.
SPOT gets into Security!
Android Market Ready.
Mars Movie.
Space Junk getting Worse.
Interbreeding?
Watch Snow on your Monitor.
Airplay working on PC.
IE9 Best for Malware Protection.
Idiot of the Month.
0 Day IE Exploit.
BOA Loosing Battle.
New Zealand opens up UFO records.
Indie Music wants to Seize Domains of Promoters.
More Copyright Cops.
My Advice Sleep.
One Smart Dog.
Navy Engineering.
Get Stuck in a Airport here’s the place to eat.
SXSW Thoughts.

Plantronics .Audio 1100M Review

Plantronics .Audio 1100MThe Plantronics .Audio 1100M is a simple USB VoIP telephone handset optimised for use with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 and Lync 2010, though it will also work with Skype and other softphone applications.  Habitual users of these systems will recognise the benefit of having a dedicated handset rather than relying on speakers or built-in microphones.

As you’ll see from the photos, it’s functional rather than aesthetically pleasing, with just a numeric keypad plus buttons for mute, speakerphone, call and hang-up.   There are also volume and ringer controls on the left and right sides respectively.

The handset has a good weight to it – not so heavy as your hand gets tired, but it feels like a solid product that isn’t going to break the first time it hits the floor.  The back of the phone is curved and fits nicely into the palm of your hand.

Phone in Monitor HookAlso in the box is a cradle which can be attached to your monitor or other vertical edge.  This keeps the handset handy for when a call comes in without cluttering up your desk.  The picture on the right shows the handset in the cradle.

On both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10,  the .Audio 1100M was instantly recognised and the drivers loaded.

The 1100M has been optimised for Microsoft Communicator 2007 or Lync 2010, as it’s now called.  This means that when used with either of the two Microsoft products, all the buttons work as expected and allow you to dial numbers, pickup and reject calls and so on.  Call quality was good and the person on the other end of my call could hear me well.  I’d definitely rate it as one of the better handsets I’ve used for call clarity.

When used with Skype, the 1100M works as a basic USB audio device in that you can have a conversation but the numeric keypad and the accept / reject buttons don’t work.  Call quality was still high.

A few colleagues suggested that an LCD screen would be useful to see the number being dialled but I’m not sure that it’s essential.  When used with Communicator and Lync, you can see the number displayed on the PC screen so I think you’ll be more likely to look at that to check the phone number.

The online price is just under £60 or $70 going by Amazon.  Clearly, there are cheaper handsets on the market, but this device is not aimed at the individual consumer.  The .Audio 1100M is for businesses implementing unified communications where a lower cost device is needed for basic phone calls.  One scenario I can imagine is someone who works from home occasionally but connects to the work network via a VPN.  This handset would suit them.

If there were a couple of things to improve…first I’d make drivers available so that all the functions work with Skype or similar softphones.  To be fair, the .Audio 1100M is designed for Microsoft Communicator / Lync and it doesn’t try hide this.  Second, I’d make a curly USB lead available to make the device more phone-like.  And finally, I hope the next version of the handset is a little bit more attractive.

Other than that, the .Audio 1100M is a good solid device with better-than-average call quality.

Thanks to Plantronics UK for the device.

GNC-2010-08-09 #600 @ $2.00 we could do 3 Million

Your going to love what I have lined up for you here on Show 600 putting it together was as fun as the very first one. I spend 30 minutes looking back. Plus I jam a full load of a tech at you in the remaining time. Some remarkable stats to share. New Sponsor in the show today, business owners go fill out the contact form and watch the video. Let me know what you think of their services.

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My Facebook Profile
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My YouTube Channel
Visit the Ohana Store for GNC Gear!
Streams Justin.tv / Ustream.TV
To Comment on show call 1-619-342-7365 or e-mail geeknews@gmail.com

Insider / Ohana Links:
www.supercircuits.com
Stunning Aurora Videos.

The Geek’s Show Links:
It’s Finally Plugged!
Verizon Road Map!
Amazon Kindle DX Review.
Verizon / Google Net Neutrality Conspiracy.
Google / Verizon Press Conference!
Google / Verizon Analysis.
.AVI in the iPad.
12 Core on Mac Pro.
Bill Gates on Net Education.
Great Way to Quit your Job.
Did you watch your Time?
Skype 100 Million IPO.
TBD.com
Apple Roadmap?
Microcell not working with iPhone 4.
Parking Meters with Credit Card slots.
Android and Netflix.
Windows 7 battles Mac Still.
Car Tracking and Warrants!
Watch the Video, Watch Gates!
Verizon and iPhone.
Tire Pressure Monitoring!
Light Sleepers versus Rock.
Does your Hybrid pay you back.
Time to Leave the Planet!
Discovery Legal versus PR.
Congress on bill naming!
Is BMI running a racket?
BMI NYT Article!
Apple tries to block Jailbreakme.com
ISS Spacewalk.

Send in your stories to geeknews@gmail.com and be sure to provide a link to your websites!

Calling With Style

This week’s unofficial style and design award goes to Native Union and their beautiful Moshi Moshi range of handsets for mobile phones, USB VoIP and Bluetooth.

There’s four in the range, the first three created by designer David Turpin and the last by Michael Young.   They’re a stylish mix of retro and modern and I think they’re reasonably priced for a well-designed item.   I’m tempted to get the Bluetooth handset (MM03) myself.

Two of them have 3.5mm jacks and two are Bluetooth.  A range of adaptors are also available from the web site, including one for converting to USB for Skype, GoogleTalk and so on.

Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite but the website has full photo galleries.

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And if you are wondering what “Moshi Moshi” is, it’s what Japanese people say when they answer the phone.  You can read about the myth behind this phrase over on WikiAnswers.