We chat with journalist and author Masha Gessen, whose newest book explores the complicated family history behind bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
They live, eat & breathe technology. Get the latest from the tech world, when the Computer Guys and Gal return to answer your questions. It’s the first Tech Tuesday of the month!
- Bill Harlow WAMU Computer Guy; and Hardware & Software Technician for MACs & PCs at Mid-Atlantic Consulting, Inc.
- John Gilroy WAMU Resident Computer Guy; and Director of Business Development, Armature Corporation
- Allison Druin WAMU Computer Gal; Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and Associate Dean for Research, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
Take our Poll
If you don’t have a smartphone or a cell phone at all, we’d like to know why. You can leave a comment through our poll after voting or in the “comments” section below.
Allison Druin – Personal Tech Shopper?
One of our listeners sent us the following message recently:
“My boyfriend is a software developer and his birthday is next month. I’m wondering what you guys think is the best gift for a tech guy?”
Allison says: “I love to answer emails like this!!! I’m quite the tech shopper ;)”
If you’ve got a few dollars to burn…
The new Nook ($139) – just out a few days ago looks like it could be an awesome gift for that Computer Guy in your life. It’s not the color nook, and it doesn’t have the millions of options that color has. It more directly competes with the Kindle than any other book reader I’ve seen. The new Nook has a 6-inch infrared eink touchscreen, which means, it uses the same e-ink technology found in other e-readers (albeit much brighter and clearer). You can scroll through books by sliding your finger across the screen or you press one of the buttons on the side of device.
If he’s a Xbox 360 owner – and there are now a lot of them at55 mil:
You could buy your computer guy the ever-popular Kinect Sports -e.g., soccer, bowling, track-and-field, beach volley ball, and more). $40 from Amazon
If you’re a romantic without a lot of money to burn (this was my fave suggestion from V-day):
USB Aromatherapy Oil Burner – yes, for as little as $6, you can get “Scent 2.0″ Comes with a few drops of oil. All you do is put it into this little key and warm it up by plugging it into the UBS drive. No messy software-just smell 😉
Items Heard on Today’s Show
Malware in URL shorteners
Most humans can only track about 150 Twitter followers
- Three banks are responsible for clearing nearly all transactions related to purchases from spammers
- YouTube celebrates 6th birthday with 3 billion views
Apple’s next-generation software
Microsoft demos the next generation Windows 8 operating system, offering the best of tablet and traditional computing?
The latest Mac OS X Malware scare, Mac Defender
Camping App for prints and poop
Want to get away at the last minute
How about documenting that amazing summer?
For the Graduating Computer Guy or Gal
Throwing a Graduation Party and Need a Disco Ball?
And now that you’re so smart, you won’t need to a software app to inspire you with quotes.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's the Computer Guys & Gal. Yep, they're here today, trying to help you make the most out of your technologies this summer. The Computer Guys & Gal, they've got apps that may change the way you travel, warnings about malicious code hidden in plain site -- that's S-I-T-E.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThe latest updates from Apple and perhaps the coolest new tech toy for kids and adults called Raspberry Pi. You know our guests. They're here the first Tech Tuesday of every month. Joining us in studio is computer guy John Gilroy. He's director of business development at Armature Corporation. You can take your hands down now. Nobody is applauding.
MS. ALLISON DRUINThere's no applause.
MR. JOHN GILROYThat's my Benito Mussolini move when you go like this, you know?
NNAMDIComputer gal Allison Druin is associate dean for research in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she also directs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. And in a new role, I guess, the whole purpose of which is to further demean John Gilroy's short title...
NNAMDIShe is now...
GILROYWhat title do you have?
NNAMDIShe is now an advanced professor in the College of Information Studies.
GILROYAnd thanks for listening. And next month, well, it takes an hour to hear your title.
DRUINNo, no, no. You have to actually change it. I was director of that lab for five years. I have stepped down as of last week. So, now, I'm just an advanced professor.
DRUINAn advanced professor, it's actually funded by NSF, that we are there at the university to help women and minorities advance in academic careers. So, John, maybe I could -- no, you're not a woman or a minority. Sorry, John. Bye.
NNAMDIWell, we have advanced...
DRUINI won't be helping you.
NNAMDI...and we have lagging. And just arriving is...
DRUINHe's breathing deeply.
NNAMDI...computer guy Bill Harlow. He's...
DRUINHe's clean shaven.
NNAMDI...a former Mac genius...
NNAMDI...who now works on PCs and Macs at Mid-Atlantic Consulting. You're right. He's completely clean shaven.
MR. BILL HARLOWClean shaven. That's actually on my card now.
NNAMDIWhich is why he was late today.
DRUINBut that's why he was late because he was shaving.
NNAMDIHe had to stop and shave.
HARLOWI was shaving in the car, I'll have you know.
NNAMDIYou can join the conversation at 800-433-8850. And the conversation these days is about hacking, which was in the headlines. Any possibility we can talk about Twitter and keep this episode of The Computer Guys & Gal an Anthony Weiner-free zone? I doubt it.
GILROYThis is too easy a target.
NNAMDII doubt it.
GILROYWe could let the other shows do it. This is just -- this is too rich.
NNAMDILadies and gentlemen, let the record show that John Gilroy, for the first time in his life, has avoided making a bad joke...
NNAMDI...about something. This will go down...
GILROYIt's too easy. (unintelligible).
NNAMDI...in the history of...
HARLOWI'm keeping score here.
DRUINAll right. Tick mark for John. Here we go.
NNAMDIIs it my imagination, or is Twitter now the biggest thing since sliced bread? It seems to have knocked Facebook and other popular programs right out of the headlines. Thirteen percent of online Americans now use Twitter, an increase of 50 percent from last year. What's going on, Allison Druin?
DRUINActually, it turns out that Twitter -- they were taking a look at this through the Pew studies, and, basically, what they're looking -- what they're finding is that Twitter among 18- to 29-year-olds -- so, John, this is not you, okay? Eighteen- to 29-year-olds...
GILROYI'm too young.
DRUIN...disillusioned with blogging saying, yeah, too much time. Okay? And all the big occurrences in the world, you know, in terms of politics, in terms of uprisings, raids on Obama, natural disasters, everything is breaking on Twitter.
HARLOWWould you say the Anthony Weiner event was a big occurrence?
DRUINI won't be discussing big or small there. Anyway...
NNAMDIThere goes that vow.
NNAMDIThere goes that promise.
HARLOWJust a little occurrence. I think it's a little occurrence.
NNAMDII knew it as I was saying it.
DRUINBut that -- so -- but right up against the 18- to 29-year-olds going up 50 percent in Twitter use, 30- to 49-year-olds coming up right behind them. So, John, I don't know if you make that either, do you?
NNAMDIWell, I got the impression that blogs were on their way out, but I'm wondering about the effect that Twitter might be having on Facebook. Is Facebook now an old thing?
DRUINIt's not old. It's different. It's just people are now distinguishing between the two, you know...
GILROYYeah, I mean, I'm more often on Twitter if I have something dumb to say, no one cares about, other than the show, of course.
GILROYBut I do have them linked together, so that if I tweet, it shows up in Facebook, too.
DRUINYeah. No. Actually, I make the distinction that Twitter, for me, is very much about my job and such. Every once in a while I tweet about the lack of food in this area during snowstorms.
HARLOWYou know, at "The Kojo Show" website, I think you'll see the link to the ComScore, and ComScore did a study about the whole big transition to the whole world of social. I think people look at email and go, how can I avoid spam? Well, if I just get email from my friends in Facebook, it's going to reduce the spam. Or, you know, how can I make life easier if you're carrying around a handheld device?
HARLOWWell, geez, it's easier to have 140 characters there than a 200-word blog of all things or a 500-page book. So, I think, it's just this whole transition to mobile madness, as I call it, and to social rather than old school. There are 150 million blogs out there. And I think in the business world, blogs are important, but it's the transition. It's almost hard to read 200 words where you're sitting on a train or something. And, you know, but 140 -- oh, yeah.
DRUINBut Twitter is pointing to a lot of those blogs. I mean, that's the -- I get a lot of my news...
DRUIN...from Twitter. In fact, I used to prep, you know, just get to know what's going on every month for the show by reading paper things.
GILROYAnd if you're limited...
DRUINAnd, now, it's Twitter.
GILROYIf you're limited to 140 characters, you use shorteners and then...
HARLOWIf we get into that, I was about to say that one thing I like about Twitter is it feels lightweight. You know, there's nothing to it, like the fact that there are so many good Twitter apps for your devices, your phone, even good simple apps for your computer. You just, you know, blast something out. You're done, don't have to think about it.
NNAMDISpeaking of our website, which you mentioned, John Gilroy, kojoshow.org, you can find a poll there today. We're comparing our audience's use of cell phones and smartphones to the rest of the nation. So if you go to our website, kojoshow.org, you can say whether the cell phone you use is a smartphone or not. And so we will have our own take among our audience compared to what's going on in the nation. That's at our website, kojoshow.org.
NNAMDIOf course, you can go there if you have a question or a comment about The Computer Guys & Gal. You can send us a tweet, @kojoshow, or email to email@example.com. These days, a lot of tweeters rely on something called Bit.ly. It's a service that shortens long complicated URLs. But it's time to be suspicious of these free services, right?
GILROYYou know, years ago, Willie Loman said he robs banks 'cause that's where the money is at.
NNAMDIThat's where the bread is.
GILROYAnd what are the bad guys saying? They're saying, well, hey, if everyone is going to be on Facebook and Twitter and using shorteners, we're going to go after shorteners. So, now, we see Symantec has a site dedicated to a lot of malicious activities, and they talk about this. They say, well, what's happening now is people are creating their own shortener sites, and they're linking to the valid shortener sites.
GILROYSo even if you're on Twitter and you're getting jostled in your car or something, you try to respond, you go, that looks pretty good. I'm just going to hit on it. Bang, you get attacked. So it's a transition from old school worrying about your virus being up-to-date to new school worrying about clicking on a shortened link that links to another shortened link that links to a site that will click-jack you.
HARLOWYeah, know who the middleman is.
NNAMDI800-433-8850. We'll get tomorrow about middlemen in a second. Are you allowed to use your personal technology at work? What advantages have you found? What difficulties? 800-433-8850. As I said, you can go to our website, kojoshow.org, ask a question or contribute to our poll that's taking place there. Bill, there's an old adage and certainly a powerful one in Washington. Suspicious of someone or something? Then follow the money.
DRUINWell, it turns out if you follow the money when it comes to spam, you'll find the middleman.
HARLOWYes. There's an interesting article, basically, showing that some researchers at University of San Diego and University of California, San Diego, University of California, Berkeley, and I believe it was -- I believe what they found was that only three banks accounted for the majority of transactions used by spammers. So they analyzed, you know, about a million emails and found that, basically, you know, 95 percent of all spam mail generates sales through those three banks.
HARLOWSo, basically, Bank of America, whoever, they don't want spammers' money, but there are a few that do. And, specifically, the banks that they found were -- I can't even pronounce these. That's how small they are.
NNAMDI(word?) Bank in (word?).
NNAMDII know that because that's where Gilroy banks.
GILROYI happen to own that bank.
HARLOW(unintelligible) National Bank and (unintelligible) and (unintelligible) in Latvia, although they said that they inherited those spammers and that they're in the process of weeding them out.
HARLOWSo, yeah, if you cut off the funding, you're cutting off potentially 95 percent of the spam.
NNAMDIHow do --what does this have to do with botnets? How were they able to track the millions of spam email to these three banks?
HARLOWI'm not entirely sure. I know they analyzed about a million mails, and in addition, they bought about 100 different items just randomly to see where it went. And I'm guessing that they were able to do that research in about half an hour based on how much spam goes these days.
NNAMDI800-433-8850. Speaking of spam, 800-433-8850 is the number to call.
GILROYThis is the number to be talking about spam.
NNAMDISpeaking of spam, something new and troubling, we've seen folks intentionally registering domain names several months before they're ready to exploit them for spam. What does that time lag do for them? Anybody know?
GILROYIt sets them up, doesn't it.
DRUINYeah, it does. It does. And, you know, and the people that are actually doing premeditated spam, that's like the scary stuff, folks, okay? So you've got to be -- you've got to really run from that stuff.
NNAMDIJohn Gilroy, it's hard to remember, but just a mere six years ago, no one had ever heard of YouTube.
GILROYWho knew? That's back when I turned 30. Six short years ago. It's incredible that...
DRUINOh, I thought you were going to say you didn't know you.
NNAMDIHe still doesn't know himself.
GILROYThree billion views per day, and every minute, more than 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube -- incredible, just amazing. And all of the people in the business world are trying to take advantage of that and trying to market their services via YouTube. It's just it's -- no one would have thunk (sic) it five or six years ago.
GILROYBut, now, we have business people in three-piece suits and ties trying to figure out how they can get Allison's eye while she's in a train with her little iPhone, watching something on YouTube and try to sell her something. It's an amazing transition. I just can't believe it.
NNAMDIForty-eight hours worth of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
NNAMDIYou can go to our website, kojoshow.org, recommend your favorite YouTube video. You can post it at our website, or you can tweet it out. In the article that talked about that, there were examples of what else can be done in 48 hours. One favorite that a cheetah with an average running speed of 75 miles an hour could start in South Africa and cover 3,600 miles, ending up in Egypt in 48 hours.
GILROYRight, (unintelligible) and read all the different statistics and everything else. It's just amazing. I don't know how they have the servers to do that, but they have a server farm somewhere. And it must be profitable, or they wouldn't do it.
HARLOWSo I should no longer curse under my breath when it takes a little bit longer for YouTube videos to stream, is what you're saying. I should take it easy and realize there's a lot going on there?
GILROYI would think so.
NNAMDICheetah airlines to Egypt is what I'm advocating at this point. We got an email from Jen asking, "My boyfriend is a software developer, and his birthday is next month. I'm wondering what you guys think is the best gift for a tech guy." Allison?
DRUINI love questions like this 'cause I'm such a tech shopper.
NNAMDIWhich is why I directed it to you.
DRUINOf course, of course. Okay. So if you have money to burn, my new favorite thing to send to techies is the new Nook, okay? It's only 140 bucks, and it's just out a few days ago. And it looks like it could be an awesome gift because it really is, finally, a direct competition to Kindle. It's got that touchscreen going there, which is really cool -- touchscreen, which is, you know, an actually readable touchscreen.
DRUINAnd what I call -- and, again, access to all Barnes & Noble's books. Totally cool. But, John, did you want to say something?
GILROYI have a gift idea, too.
DRUINYou do? Oh, my gosh.
NNAMDIStifle yourself, John.
DRUINAll right. And then, if you also want to spend money and you're like 55 million other Xbox 360 owners and he doesn't have Kinect sports, okay, that's the hot one. That's the ever-popular, you know, let's do beach volleyball in our pajamas and bowling and such. And my favorite, if you have no money to burn and it's -- and you want to be romantic -- this is from Valentine's Day -- the USB aromatherapy oil burner. I mean, I'm telling you, six bucks, it's totally cool.
GILROYAllison, let me tell you, we -- I work with developers all the time. We hired two developers on Monday, just yesterday. What you want to get them is an ironing board and iron...
GILROY...because they look pretty sloppy out there. Most of the developers I've seen look like they're painting the house. They come in from painting the house, and they (unintelligible).
HARLOWLet them go home once in a while. They'll be freshly pressed, I promise you.
DRUINJust put showers in the office.
NNAMDII thought that was considered tech chic. Speaking of gifts, what are you getting your tech-savvy grad? Or if you're graduating, what tech gift are you hoping for? Call us at 800-433-8850. Are you a dad? Is there a tech gadget or app you'd recommend to other moms and dads? 800-433-8850. It's The Computer Guys & Gal. We'll be taking a short break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation and take your questions or comments.
NNAMDIYou can send us a tweet, @kojoshow, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website, kojosiohow.org. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's The Computer Guys & Gal. Bill Harlow is a former Mac genius, who now works on PCs and Macs at Mid Atlantic Consulting. Allison Druin is -- she directs the -- she was directing...
DRUINI was. I was.
NNAMDI...the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she's associate dean for research. She is now an advanced professor in the College of Information studies. And John Gilroy, well...
GILROYI don't care about my title anymore (unintelligible) for 10 people.
NNAMDIComputer guy John Gilroy has a job.
GILROYBlah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Oh, no. Next break. Coming up. See you next month.
NNAMDIWe have Nicholas in Baltimore, who posted this comment at our website this morning. "I'm very excited for today's show, especially to hear what Allison Druin's new title would be." No, no.
NNAMDI"I'm a self...
HARLOWAllison, do you even know what you do anymore? When people ask you what you do for a living, you just say, I don't know.
DRUINI'm some title.
GILROYShe likes to make up titles.
NNAMDI"I'm a self-labeled Apple fan boy. And I've noticed that for the past three years, the WWDC always comes the day after Tech Tuesday with Computer Guys & Gal. I can't wait to hear what you all think." This is a big week for fans of all things Apple. It's a big week. The WWDC is going on in California. What's going on there?
HARLOWWell, they've been busy. Let's start with that.
HARLOWSo no hardware (unintelligible)...
NNAMDIThat's the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.
HARLOWSo not to leave out Macs, but they went in to more detail about the next operating system, Mac OS 10.7 Lion. First of all, if you're interested, you better have Snow Leopard now because the only way to get it is through the Mac app stores. So you need Snow Leopard and an app store account to download it.
GILROYThere's no DVDs anymore.
DRUINNo. Download directly, 30 bucks. All right.
HARLOWRight. And, you know, 30 bucks. And, apparently, if you have multiple computers in the same account, you can download it multiple times. You can purchase it once, which is pretty cool. But the big news for a lot of people, I think, you know, 'cause there are a lot of non-Mac owners who have iPhones and iPod Touches and iPads, is the new iOS 5. And they added a lot of neat features. We talked about how popular Twitter is.
HARLOWWell, it's integrated in the operating system level on the iPhone. And what that means is that the camera can, you know, you can take a picture, directly tweet it. You've got notifications that go directly into that new notification center, which is the other big feature, very similar to Android, actually, where you pull down the status bar, see all your notifications, stocks, weather, whatever you want all in one spot, doesn't interrupt you.
HARLOWYou've got a history, so that's really, really useful. And, to me, the other big news is also iCloud. So it's a streaming service. It's going to replace MobileMe. It's going to be free. And free -- without ads, too, which I think is a big deal. So if you've purchased music through iTunes, you could stream it to all your devices. There's going to be much more in a way of synching effortlessly to the Cloud among all your devices.
HARLOWThe idea is to truly make it a post-PC experience for the people who want that. So you don't need a Mac or a PC to activate your device, sync it up and keep it working.
GILROYThat's the take away from the show. It's a post-PC world. You go right from your device to Apple.
HARLOWYeah. (unintelligible), they said.
DRUINWell -- but even the interface itself for the Lion, for the Macintosh, I mean, it's like a big iPhone. I mean, that's -- they're going to a big iPhone model. I mean...
HARLOWYeah, they're cross-pollinating the features.
DRUINYeah, even the trackpad is going to be -- is going to feel like you can swipe, you can do the things you can do on your iPhone. I mean, it's really -- it's fascinating to see how that's completely, you know, converging in terms of, you know, blurring the lines between these things.
HARLOWWell, they're talking about making support for full-screen apps, too, which is similar to how you experience things on the iPad. The idea is, you're doing one task, you're focusing on that one task, you don't have 20 windows open, and you're thinking about other things while trying to do this one specific piece of work.
DRUINBut the other theme is convergence because, like, for instance, okay, I want to send a text message to Ben. God knows if he's actually on his phone or if he's at the computer. But there's now the ability to send one message, and it goes to everything that you have.
HARLOWRight. They have a new service called iMessage, which will work over 3G and Wi-Fi. And it sort of -- it looks a lot like BlackBerry Messenger, actually.
DRUINIt does. Actually, a lot of this stuff looks a lot like a lot of things they just started to pull a little...
HARLOWYeah, they're stealing back now.
NNAMDIAnd speaking of all things Apple -- wake up, John Gilroy -- here is Kelly in Washington, D.C. Kelly, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
KELLYWell, I have to say I'm really disappointed in Allison for not suggesting this to the last caller who wanted to know what to get her boyfriend for his birthday, and you guys just covered it, the Apple OS X Lion for 29.99.
KELLYI was going to suggest to your last caller, you know, she did say boyfriend, not aromatherapy person.
DRUINAll right. That's a point.
KELLYThat was my suggestion. Thank you.
NNAMDIThank you very much, Kelly. Allison approves.
DRUINWell, I didn't want to take Bill's thunder. So, you know, anyway, but you're absolutely right, Kelly. Actually, if I were to think about what to buy Ben, it would be a, you know, that 29.99.
NNAMDISpeaking of Bill's thunder, John Gilroy, given Bill's passion for everything Apple, what Allison characterizes as his thunder, it's my...
NNAMDIIt's my understanding that you have signed Bill up to have his head examined.
GILROYWell, a lot of people say...
HARLOWYou'd be the first, John.
GILROYA lot of people say he needs a checkup from the neck up, and I will agree wholeheartedly. They -- in my world, the world of marketing, they have this thing called neuromarketing, and they actually try to evaluate people on how they respond to different messages. And they hook people up to these big machines. And what they found is that some of the big tech brands, if you profile the response to a big tech brand and the response to religion, they're very similar.
GILROYSo one may argue that fan boys for Apple and Apple only will be having a religious experience yesterday at the WWDC, and I -- from the blogs I've read and from the news reports, these people were just doing jumping jacks when Steve Jobs is up there. I mean, talk about the long list of -- I mean, and so I think it's just very -- he may be in a cult. We don't know.
NNAMDIWell, the WWDC is going on in California. Let's not forget that the E3 conference is also taking place, isn't it?
HARLOWI think John's already forgotten about that one.
GILROYWhoa, that's (mumbles).
NNAMDIThat's the Microsoft conference.
GILROYOh, we -- there's no time...
HARLOWSo, E3, the Electron Entertainment Expo, which is basically all things computer and video gaming, you know, it doesn't sound like it's necessarily about computing, but what's interesting is things like touch and motion control, a lot of that's really taking it to the next level in games, too. So I'm kind of fascinated by what goes on there, not just as a gamer but as someone who enjoys technology.
GILROYBut the problem is that, about three weeks ago, Steve Ballmer announced Windows 8, and then about two weeks ago he said, well, I misspoke. And then a week ago, he announces Windows 8 on a tablet. So what's going on with Microsoft? I mean, are they -- do they -- you have to ask question marks about them, you know?
HARLOWYeah, although what I like about that -- funny you mentioned Windows 8 'cause one thing that they showed off at E3 was the new interface coming to the Xbox, and it very much resembles what's -- the touch interface called Metro on Windows Phone 7, as well as the new Windows 8 touch interface. So...
GILROYLike a convergence.
DRUINIt's all touch.
HARLOWYeah, they're converging that.
DRUINIt's all touch, yeah.
HARLOWBut what they're showing off, too, that's pretty cool is a lot more than they're doing with Kinect now. You talked about Kinect Sports earlier, which is fun, but it's still very much like what we've seen on, let's say, a PlayStation move or on the Wii, especially. So seeing what they're really doing with that now as far as, you know, head tracking and using the motion sensing controls in games that aren't just things like sports toys.
HARLOWYou know, like, they're showing driving in the new (unintelligible) game without actually holding a wheel or anything, just holding it in the air or being able to use that to walk around a virtual car and, you know, check it out inside and out.
NNAMDIHere is Gwen in Washington, D.C. Gwen, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
GWENHi. I have a question for your panelists about smartphones. My boyfriend is having his birthday this month, and he is going to law school in the fall. And he could definitely use a smartphone, I think, for this. But I don't know anything about smartphones, really. I have an Apple iPhone, but I got it a long time ago, and I haven't upgraded it or anything. I'm partial to the iPhone, but I know that the Android phones are really coming up.
GWENSo I kind of just wanted to get a sense of maybe some places to start looking for him. So do you guys know of anything?
NNAMDIThat gives me the opportunity to mention the poll at our website again...
NNAMDI...kojoshow.org just in the event that you want to talk about, well, how you use your cell phone. Is it a smartphone or do you use it for calls only? You can go to our website, kojoshow.org. And, now, we will have an appropriate gift response answer for Gwen. Allison.
DRUINWell, there was actually research done about half a year ago saying that boys really prefer Androids and girls really prefer iPhones. But I don't know if that's still the case 'cause, you know, I mean, these things change really quickly. I -- you know, it's hard to say. One of the things that I can tell you is actually easier if you both are on the same phone, okay?
DRUINAnd you can actually, you know, those apps are the same and so on. However, you know, if he's a tinkerer, if he's somebody that likes to get under the hood, then one of the Android phones, the Droid, you know, would be a probably good thing for him.
HARLOWThe Droid phones especially are great. The Nexus S is really cool, too. What I would say, though, is if he's in law school, he's not going to have time to tinker. Just get him an iPhone.
DRUINOh, all right. Yeah, it's true. You're right.
HARLOWAnd, you know, let's face it. You're going to be his tech support most likely anyway. You say that you're not, you know, that savvy, but you've had an iPhone for a while. I'm sure you know it inside and out, and he's going to be asking you questions, too.
DRUINYeah, I mean, and so -- yes. I wouldn't even go near a BlackBerry, and -- even though those lawyers all carry BlackBerry sometimes. But, you know, I think the iPhone probably. But if he's a real tinkerer, you can bring it back and get an Android.
NNAMDIHow'd that work for you, Gwen?
GWENThat sounds good. Thanks very much.
NNAMDIRemember, Gwen, you're the best gift he has.
GILROYThat's the truth.
NNAMDIOn now to Gustav in Ashburn, Va. Gustav, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
GUSTAVHello, Kojo. I'm a first-time caller, and I have to say that I love your show.
GUSTAVI have a question for the panel. I have a problem with licensing with WMA format of music from Microsoft Windows Media. A few days ago, I bought a new computer and then transferred my music. And then I got a message telling me that after 10 times of, you know, changing computers, the license was over or something like that. And I couldn't find a place so I can buy a license, a renewal or something.
GUSTAVThen I can only play MP3 music that I bought from Amazon.com. So any advice from the panel? What should I do? Because it seems like I can't get a new license and (unintelligible) question...
NNAMDIWhat's the licensing -- what's the licensing issue here, John Gilroy?
GILROYI don't know. Have you had 10 previous computers, Gustav?
GUSTAVYeah, I've been collecting music since -- over 10 years. And over 10 years, I've had different computers.
GUSTAVAnd, you know, when I get a new computer or -- I've had, also, problems with the hard drives would just go bad. And I would just change and so on. So, only recently, I got a message saying that license something has been used 10 times.
GILROYGustav, I'm going to give you a four-letter word for the answer. It's called EULA...
GILROY...EULA, end-use license agreement. And the first time you clicked on that, you agreed to the provisions of that contract. And probably there's sub-paragraph 18iii, paragraph three, small letters that says 10 times. That's -- so I'm guessing right here. So you're -- you agreed to it. You've got to live by its terms.
HARLOWYeah, there may not be an option. The other thing, too, is there -- I mean, 10 years is a long time. And there are a lot of competing stores that, you know, that, you know, I think -- some even came up before iTunes stores existed. And, you know, a lot of them went under, which means that some of these licenses, they may not be renewable at all. You might be stuck with music that just self-destructed, unfortunately.
NNAMDIGustav, thank you very much for your call and good luck to you. Allison Druin, Washington used to be a BlackBerry town. People talked about their CrackBerry addictions with pride. But it looks like iPads and iPhones have invaded the federal government with lightning speed. What's going on?
DRUINYeah, that and even Gmail. It turns out that people that -- go figure -- people that work for the federal government are just like the rest of us consumers. They actually want to use the same things that they're using at home, at work, because they know it. And so it looks like the State Department, the Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs, NASA, even the GSA are all in the process of moving towards these consumer products.
DRUINAnd even our president is walking around with his iPad. And, apparently, he feels a little bit closer to that than his BlackBerry these days.
GILROYIt makes sense. If you worked for FEMA -- if Bill worked for FEMA, they ship him to Joplin, Mo., he may have 10 hours to get out. He's got to grab something and hit the ground running, and it makes perfect sense. The real challenge with the federal government is what kind of policies to establish.
DRUINSecurity, security, security.
GILROYAnd that's not the easy question. I mean, someone like me meanders into someone's office and go, oh, by the way, I have an iPad and off the door. Well, how is this going to imply 'cause there's lot of information at...
GILROY...sites in the government that you may not want to have get out.
NNAMDIAre you allowed to use your personal technology at work? What advantages have you found? What difficulties have you found? You can call us at 800-433-8850. Bill Harlow, despite some rumors to the contrary, Apple did not unveil an iPhone 5 yet.
HARLOWYeah, a lot of people, actually, are saying that they probably wouldn't so soon. And maybe part of that is because the iPhone 4 was just recently brought to Verizon. They want to give people time to let that sink in, at least delay the buyers' remorse a little bit. So even -- it was unusual, too, that before Worldwide Developers Conference, they put out a press release explaining exactly what they were going to be covering, I think, just to temper expectations and say, look, no new hardware.
HARLOWBack off. Here's what we're going to be discussing. So...
DRUINBut it's been four years. Every -- I mean, every year for four years.
GILROYEvery summer, yeah.
HARLOWBut given the iOS is coming out in the fall, I would look to fall for any new hardware as well.
DRUINYeah. Yeah, I agree.
NNAMDIWhat is -- when it comes to music, what is iCloud promising? How does it compare to Amazon's promises about music storage in the cloud?
HARLOWWell, anything you buy through iTunes, you can stream to your other iOS devices. So if I was on my computer at home and I've got the latest iTunes and iCloud's up and running, I purchase a song through the iTunes Store, I pull up my iPhone, and I can download it there, no problem. Or I can just stream it. They also have a neat, all-you-can-eat feature, 25 bucks a year. Any music on your hard drive and iTunes, not just music you bought through iTunes, will be streamable to your other devices.
GILROYA paradigm shift, too, for Apple, isn't it?
HARLOWYeah, it is.
HARLOWIt's very, very different. People have been waiting for this for a long time.
NNAMDIiOS is the operating system on the iPhone. And I'm really glad to know that I can now get my music that I did not purchase from iTunes. Here is Michaelynn (sp?) in Annapolis, Md. Michaelynn, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MICHAELYNNHello. Thank you for taking my call.
MICHAELYNNI am just getting ready to graduate with my massage therapy license, and so I'll be starting my practice in the fall, probably September. And I'm wondering what is the best phone for someone who's self-employed like that? I need to be able to answer a call and also access my website to see what appointment I have available. So I'm wondering if it would be an Android or an iPhone or a BlackBerry?
NNAMDIWell, you're starting a massage therapy business.
HARLOWWell, first, look at that USB aromatherapy device. They're very...
HARLOW...really, really cool.
HARLOWGot that, okay.
HARLOWI guess if it's an iPhone, in answering calls, you probably want the Verizon iPhone, so, you know, maybe look into that one.
HARLOWExactly. Coverage issues...
DRUINYeah, coverage issues.
HARLOW...and call reliability.
HARLOWBut I would say it's going to be a modern device. I'd rule out the BlackBerry just as far as checking the websites. You want a robust Web browser, so I think that puts you in, you know, one of the upper-tier Android devices like some of the new Droids, the Nexus, you know, looking at the iPhone 4. So I think those are good choices as well. Actually, the Windows Phone 7, those devices are pretty sleek as well, and they also have a great Web browser built in.
HARLOWAnd the unique thing about that, if you're checking it a lot, could be the way they've got this tile-based interface. They kind of gives you a quick preview of the other apps and their update status, like mail previews, Facebook status, other things at a glance, which is pretty cool. But I'd say, yeah, probably, you know, iPhone and Android, maybe the Windows 7 phone as well.
DRUINOh, I have a question. What computer do you have?
MICHAELYNNI'm sorry, what?
DRUINDo you have a computer that you have, a laptop besides this?
MICHAELYNNYeah, I just have a -- just a laptop that I work from at home.
GILROYOkay. Windows-based machine?
MICHAELYNNYes. Mm hmm.
DRUINOkay. Yeah, 'cause that could make a difference, too, 'cause if you were doing all things Apple, then you could have an easier way of spreading your media between the different machines. But if you've got a PC, then it really doesn't matter which cell phone that you're going with.
GILROYWell, I find that the iPhone experience in the Windows is still pretty good, too.
DRUINOh, yes, still pretty good. Absolutely.
NNAMDIMichaelynn, good luck to you in your new business.
NNAMDIThank you for your call. You, too, can call us, 800-433-8850. Here is Victor in Rockville, Md. Victor, your turn.
VICTORThank you for taking my call. I've had a lot of difficulty in the last few weeks in organizing my digital photographs. And I was looking for, not necessarily a free software program because there are many of those out there on the market, but perhaps something that seems to be for simple-minded people like myself, you know, is able to do the trick. I've really struggled to get this information or a decent text that gives me those kind of information. Any ideas, please?
NNAMDIAny ideas around this table.
HARLOWWe're talking about Windows, or we're talking about Mac OS?
NNAMDIVictor, you there?
VICTORText that tells you how to organize your digital photographs.
HARLOWRight. But what kind of computer are you running? Is your operating system Windows or Mac?
VICTOROh, I see. I'm sorry. Its operating system is Windows 7.
NNAMDIAllison, haven't you recommended something called Picasa in the past?
DRUINYeah, I mean, Picasa works on, you know, on many different kinds of platforms. Also, Flicker works on different platforms. I mean, what I would suggest is to go and just try a bunch of different things with a few photos, because one of the things that will happen is everybody that plays with their photos does it differently.
DRUINAnd so you want to try out these programs and not be married to just one of them so fast because that's a lot of investment that you're going to put into one of these programs once you actually dump all your photos in. But I'd look at Picasa. I'd look at Flicker.
HARLOWYeah, look at those. You can also take a look at Adobe, too. They've got Elements. I think it's got some organization features built-in. And if that's not robust enough, they even have a dedicated program called Lightroom, which -- it can be as complicated as you want it.
VICTORAnd what was that last name?
HARLOWThey're Photoshop Elements and...
HARLOWThose are Adobe.
NNAMDIVictor, thank you very much for your call. We've got to take a short break. When we come back, more of your questions and comments for the Computer Guys & Gal. If the phone lines are busy, go to our website, kojoshow.org. Participate in our poll there. Tell us how you use your cell phone, whether it's a smartphone or whether you just use it for telephone calls.
NNAMDIOr you can raise a question or make a comment. You can send us a tweet, @kojoshow. Email to email@example.com. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back with the Computer Guys & Gal. John Gilroy is director of Business Development at Armature Corporation. Bill Harlow is a former Mac genius. He now works on PCs and Macs at Mid Atlantic Consulting. And Allison Druin is now an advanced professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. We mentioned the poll that we were conducting at our website, kojoshow.org.
NNAMDIAccording to comScore, 72.5 million Americans have a smartphone. We're asking at our website, what kind of mobile phone do you have? So far, 66.3 percent of our respondents say they use a smartphone, 33.7 percent say they use a feature phone, a phone that allows calls and/or text messages only. What do you use? Go to our website, kojoshow.org. Join the poll there and see if you are like most Americans.
NNAMDIWe got an email, Allison, from Kurt saying, "I keep hearing on this program netbooks will go away. I am baffled by this. My own netbook, a cosmetically perfect refurbed Gateway, is less than half of the size of a laptop, has a real keyboard, runs all of my familiar and paid-for programs and many more that I don't own yet but can get for free. It has a big battery pack and a 250-gigabyte hard drive."
NNAMDI"It costs $205 delivered, which I understand will buy me about a third of an iPad. I keep wondering, are there that many people who think it's really worth hundreds of dollars more just for the privilege of being cool and having the newest technology?"
DRUINAll right. I won't address the notion of cool, but it's a very good point the listener has. You know, why go with an expensive iPad when you can get a netbook that suits you? But the thing is there's not just one technology that fits all people. And, in fact, actually, there's a very broad swath of people that haven't been well-served by traditional computing. And, in fact, tablet computing has brought more of those people into being able to use them.
DRUINSo -- but the bottom line is, you have to ask yourself, what do you care about most? Is it the screen? Is it the keyboard? Is it, you know, I care about a touch interface. Do I care about the apps? I mean, we had this wonderful listener who actually had a hard time reading the screens of laptops. And it was the iPad that actually helped her read for the first time in a long time. So it really depends on -- it depends on what your needs are. And you have to know very well what you care about in order to what you choose.
NNAMDIHere's Dan at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Dan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
DANHow you guys doing? Good? Kojo, love the show. I used to be an IT administrator before I joined the Air Force. And I think one of the things that I saw trending in the company that I worked for was that they were starting to switch over to more Apple products. We were implementing on a low level, some iPads and some iPhones and stuff like that. Now, I was watching the Keynote last night.
DANAnd the part about iCloud struck me as the most important part of what they were saying because, really, what they were doing is they're changing the model of the way that people use their own information. 'Cause as it stands right now, if you have a company that has 20 BlackBerry, you know, users, they have a BlackBerry server at the company that they own that transfers all that data.
DANAnd now Apple is saying, well, you can buy our products commercially and do the same thing. Now, I think, personally, that this is kind of the unsung story of the whole developers conference yesterday. But I think Microsoft, for probably the first time ever, has something to worry about in the enterprise business 'cause what they're essentially saying to business consumers now is that we can do what you've been doing all along.
DANBut you don't have to support the infrastructure. You don't have to have servers on site that you have to buy and upgrade and maintain. We'll do that for you, and here are convenient products to make that happen. And I want to know what you guys thought about that 'cause I -- and another thing is I heard Allison a little bit earlier. She made a kind of funny comment. She said that the OS X Lion was essentially a big iPhone or that it was, you know, being used in that way.
DANAnd I think that's interesting because the way that you see them implementing the features that work from one device to the next to the next and until now you have OS X Lion that integrates all these different technologies is very interesting and unique. And I don't know that any other company has done that yet.
NNAMDIAllison made a funny comment on this broadcast?
GILROYYeah, that's hard to believe.
DRUINAren't you shocked?
NNAMDI(unintelligible). John Gilroy.
GILROYWell, you know, Dan, I think you hit the nail -- we talked about a paradigm shift earlier. But I think you tried to apply that to the corporate world. I don't think see Apple very much in the corporate world. And I don't know if Microsoft is that worried about Apple in the corporate world right now. But the idea of shifting from...
DRUINThey should be.
GILROYThe idea of shifting from having all my tunes on my little portable device versus I have all my tunes on some server in the Cloud, that's the change. And I think you hit the nail right on the head.
HARLOWRight, right. And the thing, too, is that Apple doesn't sell anything like Microsoft's, you know, exchange system that, you know, you can really get from them and have -- you can't get this iCloud experience as something, you know, that you bought yourself buying high-end hardware and server software right now. So, you know, if a company is looking at a host of services anyway, then, yeah, this is an option from Apple that didn't quite exist in this fashion before.
HARLOWGoogle has had something like this for a while now, too, that actually we use at our company. It works very well, Google Apps. And...
HARLOWAnd then Microsoft has their online services as well. So I think it's a paradigm shift for Apple. And it could be big news in the industry, given that there are just so many devices from Apple that run iOS.
NNAMDIDan, thank you very much for your call. And it leads directly into this call from Linda in Silver Spring, Md. Linda, your turn. Go ahead, please.
LINDAYes, Kojo. Longtime listener, first-time caller.
LINDAThanks for taking my call. And I -- well, I'm calling about -- sort of relates to what you were just discussing. I'm a -- over 50. So I've been a longtime, you know, Windows user. But after getting my first iPhone in my own personal life as a consumer, I became just a convert. So I'm very happy with that, but it's just in my personal life. And what I'm interested in noting and getting input on is I was out in -- at a restaurant in Rockville a couple of weeks ago.
LINDAAnd I saw the waiters there basically looked like they were running the restaurant on an iPod Touch. And I was wondering if there's -- how do you distinguish -- as I'm looking, just as an employee somewhere to start using Apple products more at work, is there some way to distinguish betweens apps that are consumer-oriented, apps that are business-oriented and get up to speed on that a little bit more if we wanted to start implementing some of that stuff at work?
HARLOWI mean, no real hard distinction. There -- a lot of these are going to be available through the app store. And some may be targeting consumers. Some may be more business-oriented. I was actually at a coffee shop in Chinatown, Chinatown Coffee, and they were running -- I think, using Square's credit card reader in their POS software. And -- which is something that is relatively inexpensive that anybody can go and buy.
HARLOWSo it doesn't necessarily need to be, like, a business tool to be used in that way. I mean, there are definitely categories in the app store where you can go and take a look, you know, at business and productivity and see what's out there. The only really hardcore business app you're going to see is if there's a company that writes their own software -- it's not in the app store -- and they provision it to their own devices.
HARLOWThat's something that is completely custom, though. And you're probably not going to run into that often, I would think.
NNAMDILinda, thank you so much for your call. John Gilroy wants to know where that restaurant is so he can avoid it.
NNAMDILinda, again, thank you very much for your call. John Gilroy, I'm sure parents wants to -- parents want to know, what gift can they give their kids to ensure that they grow up to be their very own computer guy or gal?
GILROYI'm thinking that -- nothing technical. I think you have to have the discipline of learning many new things and keeping open-minded to what's going to happen down the road. And, you know, that's really the best advice for any youngsters. Don't get locked into anything and just always look in new areas because the technology is changing so fast.
GILROYI mean, from my perspective, I see it just -- I think understanding humans, I think understanding how humans learn things -- as basic as that is -- that's probably important. And I think how to present that information -- that sounds like an artsy-craftsy answer.
GILROYBut presenting information to humans is probably a good skill set to have in the next 10 years because how is this going to change in the next three or four years? I mean, it's going to be amazing. And it's got nothing to do with virtual LANs and TCP/IP settings and knowing how to set up a redirect to DNS server. It's got a lot to do with trying to understand humans -- the hardest things in the world. I'd rather do a VLAN than understand a human.
DRUINThat explains it, John. Oh...
NNAMDIFirst serious answer you have given to a question on this broadcast in a very long time.
GILROYI feel sorry.
NNAMDIThank you. Now how do you feel about Raspberry Pi, which is what I was really asking about?
GILROYYum. That's what I say.
NNAMDIWe'll get back to that in a second. Here is Peter in Fredericksburg, Va. Peter, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
PETERHi, everybody. I am -- my question has to do with Android phones. When you're looking to buy an Android phone, a lot of them on the websites and stuff you're buying, it says Android 2.3 or Android 2.2, Android 2.1, Android 3.0.
PETERAre these phones upgradable to the newer Androids? If you buy a 2.2 Android phone, can you improve it to the 3.0? Or -- like you do on an Apple? Or is it 2.2 forever?
HARLOWI'm going to think -- I'm going to answer in an old Oasis album title, "Definitely Maybe." Unfortunately, even if they say, when you buy it, oh, it will be upgradable, they may actually backtrack on that if they find it's too much work. Google, I think, would like to see every Android phone be upgradable. And I think on a lot of phones that aren't upgradable, it's still technically feasible.
HARLOWIt's just that the phone manufacturer doesn't want to support that. So I would kind of look at the big heavy-hitter phones for your best bet, you know, looking at, like, the higher end Droid series, looking at the Nexus S, for example. Possibly the HTC Evos would be good candidates as well if you want to have some degree of future proofing, but, unfortunately, there's no guarantee.
GILROYYou probably want to look at the top three large sellers. You know, the...
GILROY...main and the plain ones out there are probably going to be upgradable. But if you go down into unusual -- like, Kojo drives a Yugo car. I mean, that's probably not a good car to own because the maintenance...
NNAMDIThere's a shower in that car.
GILROYThere's a shower in that car. But the main -- Motorola is a real standard, kind of a common name that's probably going to be around the next four or five years.
HARLOWYeah, but even at a certain lines. Now, if you know what rooting an Android phone means, then you can probably do it anyway. If you don't, don't even go there.
DRUINOh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely not.
NNAMDIAllison, before hitting the road for summer vacation, you recommend that people check out at least two apps. Talk about Trip Journal and AAA TripTik Mobile.
DRUINYes. The AAA people that's brought you Travel -- yay -- they actually have a TripTik Mobile that -- it's free. It's free. You don't have to pay or anything. And you could look at hotel reservations. And that's an app for an iPhone. And you can look at gas prices and routes to take and so on. So that's a great one, and it's very useful. A lot of people are using that.
DRUINAnd then for the Android, there's Trip Journal. Just to make sure that everybody knows exactly what you're doing at all times during your wonderful adventure, you can send real-time updates and places you visited. It's nothing that you can't probably do with other things, but it has it all together. And that app is $4.34.
NNAMDIWhoa. Used to be that campers or hikers packed food, water and a Swiss Army Knife. These days, it's a phone filled with apps that they are packing, MyNature Animal Tracks?
DRUINOh, prints and poop, yeah.
NNAMDIWhat is that?
GILROYI am shocked.
DRUINYeah, shocking, huh? There's an app. It's wonderful. It's, yeah, Nature Animal Tracks that basically -- so, you know, you got to worry about those bears visiting you at night. And then you say to yourself, well, was that a bear track or was that a deer? So you take a look with your iPhone. And -- now, this thing is a little pricey, 7 bucks in the app store, but I think their database is well worth it.
HARLOWTo prevent bear attacks, 7 bucks is a bargain.
GILROYSo you point your phone at the droppings and it IDs it? Is that what you have here?
DRUINPretty much. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, next there will be even...
GILROYOh, I believe that one too.
DRUIN...the smell, you know, factor, too. It'll be great. Anyway. Yeah. So, yeah.
NNAMDIAnd that's about all the time we have on this. I think we are getting the results of the poll at our website here right now.
GILROY(mumbles) machine results coming in. First hour of the poll.
NNAMDISmartphone, 66.93 percent, just a little bit up from the last time that we mentioned it. The feature phone that allows calls and/or text only, 33.07 percent of our listeners happen to use that, those of you who responded to the poll. So it looks like, among the listening audience of the Computers Guys & Gal, smartphones by 2-1, a 2-1 margin here.
GILROYNo one admitted they didn't have a cell phone, but that's the new trend with high-level executives, by the way. Getting rid of the phone. Have someone else handle it.
GILROYThat's the latest thing. It is. That's the latest thing.
HARLOWThat's a good plan. That's a great plan.
DRUINThat explains your problem?
HARLOWI'm going to adopt that.
GILROYI'm getting rid of mine.
NNAMDIJohn Gilroy uses his smartphone to find the nearest whiskey bar.
GILROYYes, I do.
NNAMDIHe is director of business development at...
GILROYNow, there's an app I'd buy.
NNAMDIHe is director of business -- you should create that app. He's director of business development at Armature Corporation. Bill Harlow is a former Mac genius who now works on PCs and Macs at Mid-Atlantic Consulting. And Allison Druin has, well, too many titles. She is currently an advanced professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. Hey, thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
Most Recent Shows
More women on screen and more exploration are among the trends in video gaming this year. Tech Tuesday explores how pop culture and new technology are changing the gaming experience.
Airline profits are soaring but passengers feel squeezed. We explore the economics of flying as the busy summer travel season takes off.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has authorized a proposal to build a light rail line connecting Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. But he wants local jurisdictions to pay more for it. We explore where the debate heads from here.