The Computer Guys & Gal

The Computer Guys & Gal

The Computer Guys & Gal are back, and they've got spring fever over the latest iPad, Google's new privacy policy, and the latest robot technology.

The Computer Guys & Gal have spring fever over the latest iPad, Google's new privacy policy, and the latest robot technology. They're also pondering mobile malware, the end of the DVD, and whether computer glasses are the best or worst idea ever. We explore the latest tech news and take your questions.


Allison Druin

Associate Dean for Research, University of Maryland's iSchool; Co-Director, Future of Information Alliance

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

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Heard On Today's Show

On Allison's Radar

  1. Public or Private - it’s getting hard to tell!
    There’s Google new “Privacy Policy.” Then there’s Twitter who sold a huge archive of tweets to a data broker amounting to a treasure trove of behavioral, location, and social connection data that nearly 1,000 companies are lining up to license. And who can forget we don’t trust Facebook or sneaky mobile apps that are sending back our address books and more to the mothership. Is there a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” on the horizon? Can the Federal Trade Commission help? Consumer beware!

  2. Random House Triples ebook prices, and triples mad libraries!
    Random House books sells their ebook versions of books to libraries across the country. Just this past week the company decided to “adjust” its pricing. Nothing is offered below $25, and some common titles are going for above $100. As Kathy Petlewski, a librarian in Plymouth, puts it: “The first thing that popped into my mind was that Random House must really hate libraries.” And despite the obvious ugliness of charging obscene amounts for the purpose of making books available to the public, these companies are faced with the prospect of selling one book and having it lent to a hundred people at once, never get stolen or damaged, be easily duplicated, and so on. In a way, the idea of having e-books “expire” or selling them at a significant markup is easily understood. HarperCollins’ e-books “expire” after 26 uses, Hachette and Macmillan only make part of their list available, and others like Penguin and Simon & Schuster don’t allow library lending at all. So Random House, in a way, looks good in comparison.

  3. Occupy Obama
    Chinese are flooding a Web page of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign on Google Inc.'s social networking service with comments, after China seemingly lifted long-standing blocks. What some are calling "Occupy Obama" began early last week when Chinese Internet surfers noticed that Google's Plus service was widely accessible. Most of the comments seemed purely for fun; some asked for green cards. Many were overtly political, calling for the end of Communist Party rule. "We have no chance to occupy our president Hu," said a posting in English referring to China's leader Hu Jintao. "He hates internet and has no account on any sns website, so we can just occupy Obama, forgive us ..."

  4. Meet and Seat!
    This month, the Dutch carrier KLM began testing a program it calls Meet and Seat, allowing ticket-holders to upload details from their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles and use the data to choose seatmates. KLM’s service is available only to travelers with confirmed reservations who are willing to connect their social profiles to their booking. After selecting the amount of personal information they wish to share, passengers are presented with seat maps that show where others who have also shared their profiles are seated. Satisfly, based in Hong Kong, allows users to submit profile information as well as their flight “moods” — whether they would prefer to talk shop or chat casually — and other details like languages spoken and preferences about potential seatmates.

  5. Card-sized Computer
    The Raspberry Pi is a bare-bones, low-cost computer created by volunteers mostly drawn from academia and the UK tech industry. Sold uncased without keyboard or monitor, the Pi has drawn interest from educators and enthusiasts. Massive demand for the computer has caused the website of one supplier, Leeds-based Premier Farnell, to crash under the weight of heavy traffic. The device's launch comes as the UK Department for Ed considers changes to the teaching of computing in schools, with the aim of placing greater emphasis on skills like programming. The machine, which runs on open-source operating system Linux, can be hooked up to a typical computer monitor - with additional ports used to attach a keyboard, mouse and other peripherals.($35)

  6. Kindle eBooks coming to a Barnes & Noble near you?
    Barnes & Noble and other booksellers recently pulled print editions of Amazon Publishing books from their store shelves because the ebook versions were only sold in the Kindle Store, a stance that B&N said "undermined the industry as a whole." Now, Amazon has confirmed that its latest addition to the Amazon Publishing roster, a series of short biographies edited by James Atlas, will indeed be sold outside of the Amazon ecosystem in both print and ebook form. Is this the start of a new business strategy?

  7. Do you have the Luck of the Irish? iPhone (free)
    This calculator seems to add years to your age. It asks you for your age and then calculates what your “Irish age” would be. So it’s rough being Irish?

  8. St. Pat’s Easter Bunny Wall Paper- Android App ($1)
    Tired of spending your hard earned money on holiday live wallpapers every month? Well we got you covered in this one. This is the St Patrick's day easter bunny LWP. Once Saint Patty day is over, no need to trash or delete since this will last longer into easter for a good 2 months. Perfect for those who are on a tight budget.

  9. Need a Leprechaun friend? iPhone ($1
    For those of you with too much time on your hands - Shake the phone left and right to make a rainbow appear, or front and back to make a pot o' gold grow! The sky changes according to the time of the day, or you can swipe through to change it. You’ll get fiddle music and a little green guy wandering your screen.

On Bill's Radar

  1. Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion announced with Gatekeeper application security. What does it mean?
    Gatekeeper will allow application developers who distribute software outside the Mac App Store ecosystem to sign their applications. By default in Mountain Lion, when a user tries to run an unsigned application, he is warned not to. Also, should a signed application become revealed as malware, Gatekeeper gives Apple the ability to quarantine the malware even after it's distributed.

  2. Use the anti-virus software the security pros use... none?!I'm not suggesting everyone ditch their AV software tomorrow, but it does illustrate that for end users security is often not a pure "technology" issue, and that organizations need to take a better look at other attack vectors (for example keeping web servers, databases, mail servers, etc patched and up to date). 

  3. Houston, we have a problem (yes, I pulled out that old chestnut) NASA hacked 13 times last year
    Hackers working from China were able to breach the systems at NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs. It seems they pretty much had full access to sensitive documents and user accounts. 

  4. Today's internet users can't bear to wait more than 1/4 of a second
    Google researchers have determined that if your web site takes 250 milliseconds longer than a competing web site, you could lose visitors. Consider all the ways we use the web and it starts to make sense: checking the web from smartphones (and over 3G), streaming audio and video. Web developers: keep it mean and lean, and don't overburden your site with ads!

  5. We be (GPS) jammin:'GPS jamming and spoofing systems are threatening infrastructure. GPS signals are often used to keep cell phone towers the electrical grid in time sync. GPS spoofers can falsify location information. "There have been incidents where trucks carrying high value goods have been hijacked," he said, "where GPS and cell phones have been blocked."

  6. Sexual harassment in competitive gaming:
    This article focuses on a fighting game tournament broadcast as a web series. You'll need thick skin to watch some of the videos—the epithets thrown around can get pretty ugly. The reason I think this can be a challenging, fascinating, and deeper story stems from gaming culture in several ways. You've got a community built around off-color humor, dominated by posturing male teens (and man-children). Online gaming in particular can be incredibly competitive and aggressive, and grants a degree of anonymity mixed with a wide audience. It's almost like taking part in a massive, online, co-ed locker room occupied by both teams. In this case, with the Cross Assault tournament, it was especially painful, since these gamers weren't faceless and online, but on site and face to face. We're at a crossroads. Gaming is mainstream, especially for the younger generation, and it's not just boys playing. As gamers become parents, they're facing challenges raising kids to be good "gaming citizens" too.

On John's Radar

  1. One-quarter of work devices are Smartphones and tablets

  2. A map to find the elusive Twitterati

  3. Android Malware Increased 3,325 Percent in Seven Months, Says Juniper Networks

  4. The number of mobile devices will exceed world’s population by 2012

  5. A sad day for WiFi sniffers...Twitter & HTTPS

  6. Suggested pickup line for single listeners: "Hey, would you like to type on my keyboard?

  7. Apple is worth more than Google and Microsoft combined

  8. I come not to praise DVDs, but to bury them

  9. Windows 8: best-kept secret or move away from the personal computer?

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.