MobileViews Podcast 269: New Amazon Echo products announcements & iPhone Xs first impressions

Jon Westfall and I discuss just two topics in this podcast. But, there’s a lot to discuss.

  1. CNET video of Amazon announcements
    Amazon Echo announcements
    Updated Echo Dot
    Updated Echo Plus (Zigbee radio, thermometer)
    Updated Echo Show
    New Echo Subwoofer
    New Echo Smartplug
    New Alexa Guard
    New Echo Auto
    New Echo enabled clock
    New Echo enabled microwave
    New Echo Input (like a Chromecast)
    New FireTV Recast (DVR & antenna)
    Echo Link Amp
    Echo Link
  2. iPhone Xs first impressions
    Moved from 7+ to Xs
    If you want a bag for the box, that costs 18 cents (seriously)
    Old phone service shut off even before I opened the box and turned on the Xs. Was told this would not happen by the sales person
    Serious problem pairing Apple Watch 3 to the Xs
    Chose smaller device/display on purpose
    Xs cannot display battery percentage in top right status area. Not enough screen space at top due to the notch. Xs Max can though

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 268: iPhone Xs, Watch 4, & DC Universe

In this podcast, Jon Westfall and I discuss:

  1. DC Universe apps for Android and iOS available along with service launch. Soft launched on Sept. 12 and full launch on Sept. 15
  2. Apple broke naming conventions: Xs Max instead of Xs+
  3. The “smaller” Xs 5.8-inch display is larger than the 7+ 5.5-inch screen I currently have
  4. Apple Watch 4 band size
  5. What wasn’t announced:
    USB-C for iOS devices
    Any new iPad / ipad mini (released 9/9/2015)
    Mac mini refresh
    Air Pod v2
    AirPower wireless charger announced last year is still a no-show

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 267: Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant & more

In this podcast Jon Westfall and I discuss:

  1. No speculation discussion! Leave that for other podcasts
    Sept. 12 Apple event – iPhone and other stuff
    Oct. 2 Microsoft event – Surface
    Oct. 9 Google event – Pixel
  2. Introducing Skype call recording
    Stores to MP4 format
  3. Microsoft ‘Confirms’ Windows 7 New Monthly Charge starting January 14, 2020.
  4. Jon’s Tech Find of the week: QNAP Nas Units can easily schedule services!
  5. AnchorFree, Maker of a Top Online Privacy App, Raises $295 Million

    AnchorFree, the maker of Hotspot Shield, one of the oldest VPN apps, said Wednesday that it had raised $295 million. The round brings AnchorFree’s total funding to $358 million, far outpacing any of its competitors.

    The investment in AnchorFree suggests that the VPN category is becoming more mainstream. Investors previously avoided it in part because relatively few users have adopted the technology.

    MobileViews Podcast 23: Hotspot Shield – Free Ad-supported VPN – A Conversation with AnchorFree’s CEO David Gorodyansky – April 18, 2009

    “I was very skeptical of the service before speaking with David. But, I developed a level of comfort after speaking with him and am running their software and using their service on my Asus Eee PC 1000HA netbook running Windows 7 Beta.”

  6. Lenovo Smart Display Bought the 10-inch model for $230 at Sams Club. It came bundled with a Google Home Mini.

    Has a physical front facing camera shutter for privacy. Also a microphone mute.
    Snapdragon™ 624, Octa-Core A53 1.8 GHz
    Beautiful 1920×1200 display.
    2″ 10W Full Range Speaker​, 2 x Passive Tweeters​
    2 x 2 Dual Microphone Arrays

    Kevin Tofel’s Lenovo Smart Display review

    Has portrait mode but it only works with Google Duo calls.
    Rule 1: The main thing to remember is this: Even though it has a touch display, try to ignore it as a UI option. Use your voice as much as possible.
    Rule 2: If you are invested in the Google environment, this is for you. Google Play Movies & TV, YouTube Premium, YouTube TV? Yes. Amazon Prime and Netflix? No. Lenovo is cagey about Netflix though. It can stream radio stations through iHeartRadio though.
    Rule 3: If there is more than one person in your home, be sure they all register with their Google account and train the smart display with their voice – Voice Match.

    Observations:
    Casting to the smart display
    Weather for my area is still near useless. Temperature is off (lower) 5 to 8 degrees consistently
    Synthetic voice is not quite as “natural” as the Amazon Echo’s

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 266: Post Windows world & more hurricane prep discussion

Todd Ogasawara and Jon Westfall are joined by guest panelist Ricky Li for this podcast.

  1. DC Universe streaming service starts on Sept. 15)
  2. Post Windows PC world. Ref: ars technica
  3. Starting Oct. 2 Microsoft to increase device limits for Office 365 consumer subscription users

    [Starting on October 2nd, Office 365 Personal users can sign into five concurrent devices at the same time. They can load the Office apps onto multiple devices, but only be signed into five. For Home, starting October 2nd, that updates to six users, across all your devices and each user can be signed into five devices at the same time. Technically, that means an Office 365 Home customer could have 30 Home subscriptions running at the same time, with each user getting five signed-in devices.]

    Details

  4. Cool Tip: Guided Access (Jon’s favorite hidden IOS feature) can bypass autolock – great for when you need your screen to stay on: Ref: Reddit
  5. The On-Again-Off-Again Pixel Watch. Jon’s already thinking about potentially having a Pixel 3 to play with, what about a Pixel Watch (If one were to become available).
  6. Post-hurricane discussion
    Amazon references: TV tuner
    Antenna

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 265: Post Hurricane Lane

  1. Nothing new in emergency prep apps as far as I can tell
  2. Electric utility rep said on TV that its outage app is not accurate.
  3. Couldn’t figure out why people kept marking themselves safe on Facebook when no dangerous event was near them
    Jon’s Take: People have a horrible grasp of geography + they believe everything hyped by the news, and it’s in the news’ best interest to scare them.
  4. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with POE HAT announced.
  5. ZipGrade.com (I’ve talked about them before, I believe, but a good service that’s fairly cheap)
    ZipGrade turns your phone or tablet into an optical grading machine similar to a Scantron.
    Free download and 100-scans per month
    Unlimited Scanning: $6.99 for 1 year

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Tablet downloads movies without asking: On Deck “feature”

I bought an Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 16 GB, Black – with Special Offers(that’s the full name!) on Prime Day for $50. I was curious to see what a $50 tablet could do and how intrusive (or not) the Special Offers (advertisements) are. It’s unfair to compare it to a $300 or $400 iPad mini so I won’t. Performance is good. It hasn’t shown the kind of overall slowness I noticed in the various Google Android tablets I’ve owned and used over the years. The display is fine although its contrast is low if you use it in a shaded area outdoors during the day. With the exception of Google apps and most Microsoft apps (except for Outlook), many popular Android apps appear to be available from Amazon’s app store.

The only issue I have with the device is its feature of downloading things without asking. It started with a game download. I first thought I may have accidentally tapped an ad to install it. It didn’t show up as an Amazon purchase. So, I deleted it and didn’t think much about it. However, a day or two later, I noticed the Fire HD 8 was downloading movies. In fact, it downloaded three movies: Baywatch, Star Trek Beyond, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The three downloads take up 1.5GB on a tablet that only has 16GB total and, I would guess, about 8 to 10GB available for use. Even worse, I have no interest in any watching any of these three movies. If have a metered broadband service (I do not), it would mean the feature will eat up your bandwidth without asking. Its documentation also indicates it automatically refreshes these on deck movies without asking permission. You can manually delete any or all of the videos. But, I don’t see a way to turn off the On Deck feature itself.

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