Tech tAUk Reloaded #44: So Long for Just Awhile

Just over five years ago, we started a quirky new technology-focused TV show at American University’s ATV, and called it Tech tAUk. Nearly four years-worth of episodes later, we spun off that show into this podcast. And now, as we begin the year 2015, we say a fond farewell to the Tech tAUk franchise for the last time.

It’s our final episode of Tech tAUk Reloaded, and it’s also our 2014 Year in Review episode. Following a special throwback to the very beginning of Tech tAUk, we take a look at the top tech stories of 2014:

  • FBI blames major hack of Sony Pictures on North Korea; Sony retracts, and then re-releases the controversial movie, The Interview
  • Apple and Google frustrate feds with new device encryption functionalities in iOS and Android; aftermath of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations still largely unresolved
  • Apple’s Year: iPhone 6 & 6 Plus get bigger screens and record sales, OS X Yosemite gets new interface, Apple Pay service launches, iPad Air 2 gets thinner
    Also: Apple blamed for iCloud hack leaking nude celebrity photos, Apple wins iPod antitrust lawsuit in court, free U2 album debacle, Tim Cook becomes first major U.S. CEO to come out as gay
  • The “wearables” market launches: Google Glass (which was on general sale for one day), Samsung and Android smartwatches… plus, Apple Watch announced, and coming soon
  • DRONES… enough said, but stay safe out there!
  • FCC proposes internet regulations opposed by net neutrality activists, and by Netflix, Google, Facebook, and other major websites (even after Netflix signs bandwidth deal with Comcast and Verizon).. John Oliver piece on net neutrality causes FCC website crash
  • Comcast announces merger with Time Warner Cable, which is still pending
  • T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” strategy sparks increased competition, major business practice changes in cell carrier industry
  • Amazon suspends pre-orders of Hachette book titles, and products of other companies that it doesn’t like
  • Uber faces down protests, regulatory hurdles, and PR disasters as it continues to grow its services

There were of course many other big stories of the year which we mention in passing, and we offer a couple of predictions about what tech stories we think will be big in 2015.

Then, Douglas and Josh take a stroll down memory lane, reflecting on many of the funnest (and strangest) gags and infotainment segments that we enjoyed during Tech tAUk’s long run. Most notably, Josh honors our longest-running segment, FLUNKS!, by revisiting the most notorious FLUNK-worthy moments of the past five years in his FLUNKS! Hall of Fame.

Finally, in our last Byte of the Week, Douglas gives a shout-out to Google’s “No-CAPTCHA ReCAPTCHA” in this week’s installment of “A Very Tiny Bit of Awesome!”

Thanks to all of you who have watched and listened to Tech tAUk and Tech tAUk Reloaded over the years, and to the many friends and contributors who made these shows possible. Have a fantastic new year.

Episode Duration: 1:56:41
On This Episode: Douglas Bell and Josh Feldman
Download: Tech tAUk Reloaded #44 (56 MB MP3)

Tech tAUk Reloaded #43: Easy As 1-2-3

It’s become a familiar pattern: Apple holds a big product launch event in September, then follows it up with another press event in October, which they did again on Thursday. And while they may not have made a huge splash like they did with the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, they did give us a nice counting lesson with the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, and iMac 5K, plus the final release of OS X Yosemite. As we always do, we break down Apple’s announcements and try to distinguish the differences between the FIVE models of iPads now available.

Our other tech headlines this week:

With Apple’s iOS 8.1 update rolling out to phones this week, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users will begin getting to use Apple Pay, which will also be coming to the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, plus next year’s Apple Watch. Douglas offers an in-depth overview of the Apple Pay service, how it works, why it actually is secure, and why certain Apple devices only offer certain Apple Pay features but not others.

Josh returns with a fresh array of FLUNKS, in which he chides Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for disparaging comments on the gender pay-gap, questions Macy’s for starting Black Friday at 6 pm on Thanksgiving this year, and utterly screams at Hatred, a senseless, ultra-violent video game. He also offers an EPIC WOW to Google’s response to Stephen Colbert, and an OKAY THEN, UMM to recent comments by Apple’s design chief, Jony Ive.

Episode Duration: 1:35:56
On This Episode: Douglas Bell and Josh Feldman
Download: Tech tAUk Reloaded #43 (46 MB MP3)

Tech tAUk Reloaded #42: Dating for “The 1%”

There’s so much news in the world about threats that are scary, things that are depressing, and people who are incompetent. It’s nice to break away from that and check in on the latest goings-on in the tech industry… news that seems so tame and relaxing by comparison. Well, we’re happy to help.

Our tech headlines this week:

Josh lampoons Luxy, a Tinder-like dating app for wealthy people, and Douglas offers a mixed review of Beats Music, which was recently acquired by Apple.

Episode Duration: 1:11:10
On This Episode: Douglas Bell and Josh Feldman
Download: Tech tAUk Reloaded #42 (34.2 MB MP3)

Tech tAUk Reloaded #41: Worm-Shaped Amusement Park Electric Trains

Well, this has been a banner week for Apple, hasn’t it? When we recorded this episode a few days ago, Apple had launched a webpage for users to remove the free U2 album from iTunes, and facing media allegations that the new iPhones were prone to bending.

Well, it turns out that the “Bendgate” allegations were overblown, so instead Apple made a MUCH MUCH bigger goof-up: their iOS 8.0.1 update broke cellular reception and Touch ID functionality for up to 40,000 users who installed the update before it was pulled. We would have had so much fun slamming Apple for this screw up, except it happened right after we finished recording this week’s show.

So instead, here are our remaining tech headlines this week:

In a slightly-renamed segment, “Be Patient… Let’s Make This Less Confusing,” Douglas extrapolates one of the points of Tim Cook’s open letter on privacy to discuss the business models of user data, and what they mean in terms of how different companies use your data in digital cloud services, social media, and the specific case of payment management services like PayPal, Google Wallet, and Apple Pay. Josh then acknowledges the 125th anniversary of Nintendo.

Episode Duration: 1:17:19
On This Episode: Douglas Bell and Josh Feldman
Download: Tech tAUk Reloaded #41 (37.1 MB MP3)

Tech tAUk Reloaded #40: The Things You Can Do With Your Wrist

Surprise, we’re back! We have come out of hiding, hiberation, hiatus, whatever you want to call it, and finally back on the web with a fresh episode, ready to cover Apple’s huge, gigantic, mind-blowing special event (their words, not ours). Best of all, if you’re still subscribed to our show in iTunes, then this episode has already been deposited in your iTunes library for free, whether you want it there or not!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or also on a hiatus), you’ve heard that Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and previewed the new Apple Watch.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sport bigger screens, and the iPhone 5c and 5s saw big price reductions to round out Apple’s lineup. Cell carriers are competing like mad to get you to upgrade to the iPhone 6 with them, even as preorders were plagued with huge problems.

The Apple Watch, on the other hand, won’t ship until early next year. All we know is that the models start at $349, but the high-end gold watch could cost as much as $1,200. And Apple is getting into the mobile payments game with Apple Pay, and they have decided to work directly with banks and credit cards to bring the feature to light next month.

Our other tech headlines this week:

In light of the recent account break-ins, Josh discusses the importance of setting up 2-step verification on iCloud and other key web services. Douglas makes note of 8 ways the password is dying (password pills, anyone?), and then reviews his new 13″ Retina MacBook Pro.

Episode Duration: 1:34:04
On This Episode: Douglas Bell and Josh Feldman
Download: Tech tAUk Reloaded #40 (45.2 MB MP3)