Amazon made easier

Looking for a specific item? Now you can go to the Search function within the Amazon shopping app and see not only Scan It but Flow. If you click Flow, it will open the camera so you can take a picture of the item you would like to buy and it will search for that or similar items and put them in a list for you. Flow seems to recognize a product without even showing a bar code. Simply hold the item in front of the camera on your phone and you will little dots working to identify the item. If it recognizes it, it will add it to your history and show a green check mark. If it doesn’t have the item it will tell you that you cannot purchase it from Amazon. Scan It works by scanning the barcode only.

~ Jody Victor

Have you heard of Nest?

Nest is a “learning thermometer.” You can teach Nest by turning it up and down as you need to adjust heat. It learns your lifestyle.

Why use Nest? It can save energy. It can sense you left and adjust automatically. It takes about a week for Nest to program itself as it learns your schedule and needs.

Nest.com says it only takes about 30 minutes to install. You can do it yourself – similar to changing a light fixture. You can adjust Nest via computer or app as well.

Find out more.

~ Jody Victor

Not every one uses the Internet

Jody‘s crew found an article citing one in seven Americans don’t use the Internet. In the article, Steven Vaughan-Nichols talks about a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project from May 2013 that 34% of the Americans not using the Internet aren’t even interested in it. They say it’s not relevant to them. 32% say it’s not easy to use, frustrating, and they are afraid of spam, hackers, spyware. 19% state it’s too expensive to own a computer or pay for connection.

Nearly half of the non-Internet users are over 65. Maybe some of you tech-savvy youngsters can help your family connect!

Is your device safe?

Jody‘s crew found a couple of interesting stories this week:

1. iPhone fingerprint reader is claimed to have been hacked. The Touch ID is supposed to be more secure than a password. They encrypt your scan and place it in an isolated spot on their A7 chip. You can use this to make purchases as well. But a group from Germany has claimed to be able to hack the fingerprint ID. What does this mean? Maybe not that much. DigitalTrends.com points out the lengths that have to be gone through to make a fingerprint readable in order to break in.

2. Android Device Manager is a way to lock your device and erase all your data should your Android phone become lost or stolen. You can check to see if your device is registered on Google (go to your account then your dashboard. It will show your devices. Then if one of your devices is lost or stolen, go to https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager and you will have the option to make your device ring, erase all the data, or lock the device.

News about Apple products

Tomorrow, September 10, Apple will reveal its new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. Along the heels of this reveal is iOS 7. It promises to make everything look different. Here is an early preview look.

There has been much speculation as to what the new iPhone will feature. The 5S model is the more expensive one that is rumored to have a fingerprint sensor, dual-LED flashlight and upgraded hardware. It also is rumored to come in a variety of colors including gold.

The 5C model will be a low-cost model possibly made of plastic and in a variety of bright colors.

iOS 7 may also be released tomorrow.

You may be able to find iTunes Radio app in the Apple store tomorrow as well. It has integrated some features from iTunes Genius. There will be a free version with ads as well as a paid version.

Interesting news from Facebook and Yahoo

Yahoo:
When you tried to choose your username for a Yahoo account, did you have difficulty finding the one you wanted because it was taken? Well now you can make a watch list of names you would like (your 5 top choices) and if those accounts have been inactive for a year, you may get your wish. According to their blog, you will have had to fill out the wishlist last month to obtain it for free. Otherwise, it will cost a mere $1.99.

Facebook:
Facebook now has shared photo albums. Suppose your family had a reunion. Everyone who took pictures could upload them all to the same album! Think of the possibilities: weddings, other milestone events. The album creator can share access with up to 50 contributors, who can each share up to 200 photos. There are 3 privacy settings: public, friends of contributors and contributors only.

~ Jody Victor

What is privacy?

Privacy is the state of being private. Private means you personally own something. In the world of the internet, privacy is no longer considered a right. You may have heard in the news the recent items about NSA and Google or NSA and Microsoft (Skype). If you are using one of the big companies for email or documents, you cannot expect privacy anymore.

Jody’s crew came across an article by Bernard Marr titled Google: Forget Privacy When Using Gmail. Google has admitted to reading emails in order to target for advertisers. They consider you as turning over their information to a third party when you use their service. So if they are targeting you with advertisements from your emails and you share you computer, you cannot expect to keep a surprise a surprise from someone in your household.

Another article by Bernard Marr is about How Facebook Exploits Your Private Information. What he says in this article causes me to pause before I click a “Like” button. This too is used to target you for advertisers. Facebook can even track you when you go to other sites gathering even more information on you. Facebook even has “face recognition” capabilities to track you and your friends from the profiles you have filled in.

Use caution when sharing any information via Facebook or Gmail. Know that there is no such thing as privacy anymore.

~ Jody Victor & Crew.

Passwords and Chrome

If you are using Chrome and haven’t signed out of the browser, and you share your computer or your computer is stolen, then you have shared any passwords you have saved in the browser. Anyone can simply go to chrome://settings/passwords to view the passwords you have saved. There is no other security applied.

Unlike Firefox. You can set a master password that you have to enter before you can see the saved password. This adds a layer in Firefox’s security.

IE encrypts passwords and you can’t easily view them. You can download IE Passview to see them.

The bottom line is, if you share a computer or travel with your laptop, make sure you are logged out of all your browsers and logged out of the operating system. Make sure all user accounts are password protected.

~ Jody Victor

A new tablet worth looking at

Google Nexus 7
The newest Google Nexus 7 has a 7-inch full HD screen.
Its pricing starts at $229 for 16GB.
It’s screen displays 30 apps at a time.
You can have user profiles and restrictions.
Screen resolution of 1920 x 1200.
5-megapixel rear camera.
Android 4.3 installed.
9 hours battery life.
Lighter, thinner, not as wide but taller than its predecessor.

~ Jody Victor

Can YOUR car be hacked?

(Reuters) A couple of white-hat hackers (those who are hired to find software vulnerabilities) set out to hack some cars. They were able to force a Toyota Prius to brake when it was going 80 miles per hour, jerk its steering wheel, or accelerate its engine. They can disable the brakes on a Ford Escape at slow speeds so it keeps moving no matter how hard the driver tries to stop.

They were actually doing this sitting in the cars with a laptop on their laps hooked to the network of the cars. They didn’t do it remotely, but this did uncover security flaws.

The two hackers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, will detail their findings ans publish the techniques they used in a 100-page white paper. This research was conducted with a grant from the U.S. government. They will also release the software they built to do this at this week’s Def Con hacking convention in Las Vegas.

~ Jody Victor

SIM cards, Apple, Nokia news

Can you SIM card be hacked? A German cryptographer claims to have found some flaws and will reveal them at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on July 31.

Other news…

~ Jody Victor

Something new from MIT

Play with a new tool from MIT. It allows you to see how the NSA sees you. Be logged into your Google account, click the link and you will see what the government sees about you. The information that a stranger can learn about you are mapped on this tool.
The NSA can identify teams and their leaders.
Big nodes that don’t show linkages reveal relationships that are best hidden. These are seen as potential areas for blackmailers as they could be due to direct email to mistresses, doctors, lawyers, etc.

~ Jody Victor

Like Android?

Well you may have used it on your phone or even a tablet. But now you can use it on a full size all-in-one home computer.
According to HP’s blog, HP has developed the Slate21: a 21.5-inch IPS touch-screen. It runs Nvidia’s Tegra 4 processor and Android 4.2.2 (Jellybean).

Now you can stream your Netflix in style. Imagine playing Angry Birds on this size screen.

They are working out the ability for future upgrades. The starting price point for this is only $399!

~ Jody Victor

Have you ever tried to use a GPS while on a motorcycle?

If you have, you know it’s nearly impossible. The screen is hard to see in sunlight, you’d have to take your eyes off the road to look at it or keep pulling over. It’s hard to hear what it is saying. These are just a few of the problems.

LiveMap, a Russian company, has been working on a helmet with built-in GPS for the past 5 years. It is Android-based and 4-G. It uses voice technology. Battery should last a full day. They have several prototypes working now.

Price will be $2000. (Early birds $1500.)

Read more about it here.

~ Jody Victor

What’s a good tech gift for Father’s Day?

With Father’s Day just around the corner, we found some top picks for your dad.

Under $100 From Cnet:

  • Roku 3 – Has more than 750 channels including Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Vudu.
  • Apple TV – If your dad is an Apple person, this would be the better choice – it has most of the same things as Roku 3 but will also stream from iTunes.
  • Seagate Backup Plus – a USB drive that lets dad drag and drop up to 1 TB of data.
  • Logitech Harmony 650 universal remote – Program on the web to control up to 5 devices at once. A good gift for a couch potato.
  • Dayton Audio B652 bookshelf speakers – They sound great for the low price.
  • Amazon Kindle 2012 – At just $69 this has a long-lasting battery and paperlike screen.
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch (2011) – This offers a touch screen, expansion slot for more memory, long battery life, wi-fi access at Barnes & Noble stores.
  • Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 – This will work with Apple Mac, iPad and iPhone and switch among the devices.
  • JBL Flip Bluetooth speaker – compact in design, can be used vertically or horizonatally, has speakerphone capabilities.

For more gift ideas check out:

~ Jody Victor

See what’s coming to streaming radio

A few of the most popular online radio services are Pandora, Slacker, and Spotify. There are a few others such as Songza, Soma.fm, and TuneIn. There is another one in the works tentatively called iRadio from Apple. It is speculated it will be unveiled next week at WWDC (Apple Worldwide Developers Conference June 10-14.) What will make iRadio different from Pandora is its integration with iTunes making it easy for someone to purchase a song they like. Like Pandora, there will be a free ad-driven version and a paid ad-free version.

~ Jody Victor

How smart is your house?

Last week’s episode of Apprentice featured some innovations from LG Electronics. The celebrities had to come up with commercials for their smart appliances. It starts with the LG Intuition: part cell phone, part tablet, part e-reader. Through this you can control your kitchen. The refrigerator can keep track of the food you have, expiration dates, help with grocery lists, and even give you recipes with the ingredients you have on hand. You can also keep track of the timing on your laundry, oven temperatures etc. This is worth looking into!
~ Jody Victor

Ever wonder what the very first website was?

Well, Jody, according to mashable.com, CERN – the people responsible for web standards has found a 1992 copy of their site. You can view it at its original URL. They are trying to find an earlier version from their very first site in 1991. In April 1993, they made the WWW technology available royalty-free.

Other beginnings:
See an article by Business Insider showing what 14 popular websites looked like when they first launched in comparison to now.

Happy Earth Day, Jody Victor!

Since today is Earth Day, below are some “green” tips.

Recycle your old smartphone:

Ideas for utilizing tech and staying green:

See how companies are being green or making it easier for you to be green