Shelly Palmer Digital Living - Daily Radio Report
Summary: Shelly Palmer hosts a series of discussions about technology, media and entertainment with industry leaders, personalities and celebrity guests. Enjoy Media 3.0 -- The Podcast
By now we know that nothing online is secure; the recent hack of Yahoo Mail only emphasizes that point. Yahoo reset every user’s password, which should hopefully prevent further damage. But most of us don’t use Yahoo Mail – there are far many more of us on Gmail. Luckily, there’s a quick and easy way to tell if your Gmail’s been hacked – before your account starts sending out messages about weight loss pills. Here’s how to find out. Google gives all Gmail users a quick and easy way to see what devices and IP addresses are accessing their accounts. Scroll down to the bottom of your inbox and look on the right side of the screen. You’ll see a message that says, “Last account activity,” and a timeframe. Below that, you’ll see the word “Details,” which is a clickable link. Clicking that brings you to a list of all the IP addresses and locations that have recently accessed your account. See something fishy? Change your password immediately — and consider enabling two-factor authentication, too.
Sending a text message is easy – but what if sending a smell through your phone was just as easy? A research team at Harvard University has designed a new device called the Ophone that transmits smell signals through smartphones. The device uses a small cartridge that attaches to your smartphone and lets you send the smell you want the cartridge to produce through a companion app called oTracks. It might sound strange, but the lead designer says the idea was not just to reproduce an existing way of communicating, but instead to create a new language and a new way of communicating with people around the world. The Ophone not only makes it possible to accurately send and receive smells, but also lets you pair them with images on your smartphone’s screen. Eventually, the team says, the Ophone can transmit up to ten thousand smells and may even be able to capture new smells. Until then, though, we’ll have to stick with boring old words.
As good as glass keyboards on our phones have become, they’re less than ideal when entering complicated things like secure passwords. Touch ID on the iPhone 5s lets you bypass some password situations, but there’s a lot it can’t do. But if you’re on iOS 7 and also have a Mac running the latest version of OS X, you can set your phone to remember things like your passwords and credit card info. On your computer, head into System Preferences to set up an iCloud Security Code under the iCloud pane. Restart your iPhone, then head into the Settings menu. Scroll down to iCloud, tap Keychain, and switch it on. After setting up an iCloud Security Code, your saved information from your Mac should appear. Then, in Safari’s settings, go to Passwords & AutoFill and allow web forms to always autofill with your contact information. These steps make life easier but they’re also more of a security risk – you must decide if it’s worth it to save some time and frustration.
If you’re rocking an iPhone 5c and chose not to buy AppleCare, fixing a cracked screen just became cheaper – and quicker – than ever before. Apple recently announced it is now replacing cracked iPhone 5c screens in store while you wait. The service costs $149 and is available for the iPhone 5c, but not for the iPhone 5s. In the past, if your iDevice’s screen cracked, Apple would ship it to an off-site repair center to fix it – a process that would run you $229 and at least a couple days. The new process takes less than an hour to replace the screen, and there’s no need to swap out rest of the phone. That means you can walk in with a busted screen and walk out with a fresh one, without needing to re-load your apps and data. Apple is trying to take on third-party repair services, which are cheaper than AppleCare but also void your iPhone’s warranty. The $149 screen replacement service isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly cheaper than buying a brand new device.
Imagine an elevator that can figure out what floor you want to go to – that’s exactly what Microsoft Research is working on. Microsoft outfitted a few elevators with a bunch of sensors, which watched what people did for about three months. The system began to learn how the passengers behaved, and started to understand where they wanted to go. After three months, the system stopped watching and began controlling the elevator on the passengers’ behalf. Microsoft programmed these elevators to look for certain triggers – for example, if you’re talking to a co-worker about having lunch tomorrow on the second floor, the elevator will know where to take you, without any further guidance. If you leave your office every day at 11:45 for a quick smoke break, the elevator will know to bring you to the lobby. Microsoft’s elevators are a big step in automation, and a look into a future where we no longer need to operate computers; instead, they’ll be working for us.
You probably know that you can set custom ringtones for different contacts on your phone, but did you know that you can set custom vibration patterns for them, too? As long as you have an iPhone running iOS 7, you can easily set this up and know exactly who’s calling you without looking at your phone. To try it out, go into your Contacts and pick someone you want to set a custom vibration for. Tap Edit, scroll down to Vibration and tap Default. Here, you can choose from a handful of preset vibration alerts, like ‘Heartbeat’ or ‘Symphony.’ If you want to set up your own tone, tap ‘Create New Vibration’ at the bottom. This is where it gets pretty cool. A meter starts rolling at the bottom. Tap – or hold – your finger on the screen to create the pattern you want. Play it back, and if you like it, save it and name it. Now you’ll know when to answer your phone – or let it go – without even having to look.
Forget Google Glass – Google is getting even closer to your eyes. Google is currently testing a contact lens that measures glucose levels in tears to help manage a patient’s diabetes. The lens, which can get a reading once per second, was created in a time when the International Diabetes Foundation says we are “losing the battle” against diabetes. The ultimate goal of the lens is to help alleviate the pressure of managing the disease, which is so time-consuming it is sometimes referred to as a part-time job. The lenses feature miniaturized embedded electronics and an antenna that’s “thinner than a human hair.” There’s nothing else to the lens, though, so don’t expect an ability to download apps or browse the internet – these are designed specifically to help in the fight against diabetes. Google is working closely with the FDA on the contact lenses, which are currently in early clinical trials. Dealing with diabetes is a major burden, but Google seems close to making it easier to manage.
A few months back, a woman in San Diego was given a ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass. A San Diego court recently dismissed her ticket, based on the fact that no one could prove the device was on. The ticket was a big deal because Google Glass is in the process of becoming more widely available. Three states have already aimed to make it illegal to use Google Glass while driving, but those states should look into Glass a little bit deeper, because a new Glass app called DriveSafe uses the sensors inside Glass to detect if you’re beginning to fall asleep when you’re driving. Saying, “OK Glass, keep me awake” lets the app monitor you as you drive. DriveSafe sends both audio and visual alerts if it thinks you’re falling asleep, and can even guide you to the nearest rest stop for a break. Distracted driving is a big problem, but technology like Google Glass and DriveSafe could be part of the solution.
If you’re on Google Plus, Google recently made it possible for anyone else on Google Plus to email you, even if they don’t know your email address. Your name will pop up as suggestions whenever someone in one of your circles starts composing an email. To maintain a level of privacy, that person won’t see your actual email address unless you respond. While some people may find this to be a helpful feature, many will see it as a privacy threat. While the feature is enabled by default, Google has made it easy to opt out. Here’s how. Head over to Gmail, then click on the gear symbol in the upper right corner. Choose Settings, then Email via Google+. Click No one, then hit Save. That’s all you need to do. The feature is Google’s latest effort to make Google Plus more widely used and more appealing. It’s a great idea for networking, but in a time where we’re very paranoid about our cyber security, it’s also a little creepy.
Awww, your toddler and your puppy are wrestling and it’s adorable! Great! You’ll get to re-live this moment forever because you filmed the whole thing on your phone. Time to upload it to Facebook and … oh no, you shot the video in portrait mode and now it has those ugly black bars on the side that take up most of the screen. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. Thanks to a new iOS app called Horizon, though, we’ll never be there again. Horizon makes sure your videos are shot in landscape mode, no matter how you hold your phone. Even if you rotate your phone while filming, the video stays in landscape. It might sound minor, but pretty much every screen we watch video on these days – from our phones to our laptops to our TVs – is meant for widescreen or landscape content. Horizon helps make sure all the memories we store on our phones will be preserved in an optimal way.
No matter which wireless carrier you choose, chances are good that you’re probably going to be gouged by a pretty high monthly bill. But thanks to Google Chrome’s mobile browser, you can use less data each month and maybe even save a few bucks. Google has a couple features in its browsers for Android and iOS that reduce your data consumption by up to 50 percent. Powered by Google’s servers, one feature optimizes and transcodes the images you see on websites to the WebP format, which requires fewer bytes than other, more popular photo formats, like JPEG. To enable this feature, head into the settings menu of Chrome, then select “Bandwidth.” You’ll see an option that reads “Reduce data usage.” Turn that to “on” and you’re ready to go! Also in “Bandwidth” is an option for preloading webpages. Chrome lets you choose always, never, or only on Wi-Fi. To save on data, set it to either option that isn’t “Always.” Happy browsing!
Have you ever wondered how to take a screenshot on your Mac? It’s really simple. If you want to capture your entire display, press Command+Shift+3. If your sound is on, your computer will make a camera shutter noise and save the image to your desktop. The file will be named “Screenshot” plus the date and time. If you just want to capture part of your screen, press Command+Shift+4, then click and drag your cursor to highlight the area of your screen you want to save. Let go of the mouse, hear the shutter noise, and head to your desktop to find the image. You can also take a screenshot of just one window by again pressing Command+Shift+4, but then hitting Spacebar. Your crosshair will turn into a camera, and clicking on a window will save just that portion of your screen to your desktop. Next time you need to show someone what you’re working on, these tools will make it easier than ever.
Whether we’ll be able to make in-flight calls in the near future is anyone’s guess, but Delta’s CEO Richard Anderson recently sent out a company-wide memo that said Delta will not allow calls – either cellular or VoIP – on any flights in the future. The airline’s not banning smartphones altogether, though: Anderson said Delta aims to let us text, email and use other silent data transmission services from gate to gate. Delta’s stance is similar to JetBlue’s, which also recently banned in-flight VoIP calls. JetBlue was originally okay with the idea, but complaints from flyers reversed their decision. Cell phone use on planes has been a hot topic in the past few months, and many restrictions, including use during takeoff and landing, have been lifted. The FCC is in favor of allowing in-flight calls, but the decision ultimately comes down to the Department of Transportation and individual airlines, which would have the right to enforce their own rules. No matter what decision is made, flying Delta will mean a quieter, call-free flight.
Amazon spent much of last year focusing on original content, and is now looking to help those involved in the process of creating movies and TV. The site recently launched Amazon Storybuilder, which lets you manage ideas with virtual post-it notes and a corkboard. If you’ve ever seen a screenwriter’s workspace when they’re planning a script, you have a sense of how messy and chaotic it can get. Storybuilder looks to tidy up the papers strewn across your floor by digitizing the entire process. Its homepage shows all of your notes, and lets you separate them into different groups, perfect for breaking down your thoughts into scenes or acts. Storybuilder ties right into Amazon Storyteller, which launched in June and lets would-be filmmakers and screenwriters translate their scripts into full storyboards with characters and dialogue. Both Storybuilder and Storyteller are free to use, and can be accessed by heading over to studios.amazon.com. When your next script wins Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars, don’t forget to thank Amazon!
If you want a new tablet but don’t have the money to spare, Amazon has a plan for you. The company recently announced that if you buy a Kindle Fire HDX, you’ll have nine months to pay it off. Whether you want to get the $229, seven-inch tablet or the $379, 8.9-inch model, you’ll only need to pay a quarter of the cost up front. Your remaining balance is then spread out over three payments, every 90 days. The plan is simple, and Amazon isn’t charging any interest. But if you don’t send Amazon the money you owe, Amazon might brick your device. Amazon says it reserves the right to deregister your device in that case, which would block it from accessing Amazon content. The Kindle Fire HDX is an awesome tablet – it’s built around a great media experience, and is great for tech newbies thanks to its “Mayday” tech support feature. It was already a great tablet to buy, and now Amazon has made that process easier than ever.