Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2015 - 12:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: remote access, gps., google, Android
Looking for your phone? Well, Google will now let you literally search for it. A recent update to its Android Device Manager service, the search giant now allows users to type "find my phone" into Google search. So long as you have Android Device Manager turned on (and some sort of network connection) and you have the latest version of Google's Search application installed on your Android phone, you will be presented with the phone's location on Google Maps along with options to ring the device at the loudest volume, remotely lock the device with a new password, or remotely wipe it altogether. Note that you will need to be signed into your Google account on the PC to access these options, and you may need to re-enter your password. Hopefully you have a trusted PC (or backup codes) available that you will not have to authenticate with your, well, (lost) phone if you have two factor authentication turned on.
If your smartphone is nearby you can have Google ring the device at its loudest volume for up to five minutes (once you find it you can stop the ringing by pressing the power button).
The remote lock is handy if it appears the phone has simply been left behind somewhere relatively secure while the erase option is handy if the phone is on the move and appears to be stolen. If you don't have a backup of your data, you might try calling it first to see if you can get it back, otherwise it is best to erase it, report it stolen to the authorities and chalk it up to a lesson learned (backup, backup, and backup again! Bittorrent Sync makes this easy, btw).
On the phone side of things, you will get a notification card along with a timestamp of when the device was located by ADM. This locate, ring, lock, and erase functionality has been around for a couple of years now, but it is now even easier to use and all you have to do to get to it is run an intuitive Google search of "find my phone". It works well and is definitely a welcome update. More information can be found here.
This has been a public service announcement from PC Perspective. Stay vigilant out there folks!
Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows xp, windows, microsoft, google, EoL, chrome
It has been a year since Microsoft cut off extended support for Windows XP including Internet Explorer security updates for the platform. Yeah, I know, it doesn't feel like it. Other browser vendors announced that they would continue to target the retired OS after Microsoft washed their hands of it. At the time, Google said they would give at least 12 months support, which brings us to yesterday.
Now Google is extending their commitment to the end of the year. They did not say that it was a hard deadline for their customers, but they also did not add an “at least” qualifier this time. The browser vendor wants people to upgrade and admits that they cannot genuinely provide a secure experience if a known issue bites everyone at the OS level. You can keep training the guard at the door, but if your window falls out, mind the pun, then it is still dangerous to be inside.
Granted, we have not seen a major attack on XP over the last year. You would have to think that, even if the attacks are sophisticated, some of the victims would have noticed and reported it to someone. Still, I wonder how it keeps surviving, especially since I would have thought that at least one vulnerability in the last twelve Patch Tuesdays could be ported back to it.
Maybe it is too small of a target?
Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2015 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: youtube, subscription, google, adblock
YouTube sent out an announcement to official YouTube Partners informing them of a new program they will be rolling out on June 15th of this year. While they failed to specify two key points, the gist of the announcement is that a new advertisement free subscription service will be offered to YouTube users. Unfortunately we do not know if this will be offered to a small group initially or to all YouTube users and more importantly there was no mention of what the monthly fee will be. What was revealed was the benefit to content creators, YouTube will pay them 55 percent of the total net revenues from these new ad free subscription fees.
This being the internet the initial reaction will of course be to similar to the comments on Slashdot; to consider this a stupid move since ad blocking plugins are free and for the most part effectively remove any ads on YouTube. The use of those plugins means that for all the hard work that goes into the content on our page, we receive absolutely no revenue from your views. Using this service would give you the same experience but at the same time increase our revenue stream to allow us to continue to produce our reviews, news and videos.
If you do not wish to see ads and for whatever reason do not want to participate in the program perhaps you could consider reaching out to Ryan to discuss other ways of contributing directly to PC Perspective's continued existence or maybe even subject yourself to ads once and a while to provide us with the associated micropayments?
"YouTube announced today its plans for an ad-free, subscription-based service by way of an email sent out to YouTube Partners. The email details the forthcoming option, which will offer consumers the choice to pay for an "ads-free" version of YouTube for a monthly fee."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- LG screen software left Windows PCs open to malware @ Engadget
- Strapping an Apple II to Your Body @ Hack a Day
- Using Office 365 at work? It's dangerous to go alone! Take this... @ The Register
- Microsoft goes cloud KERR-AZY, chops Windows Server to bits @ The Register
- HP admits it can't compete with Amazon and Google in public cloud @ The Inquirer
- AKRacing Rush Gaming Chair @ Benchmark Reviews
- TP-Link Archer D7 1750AC Router @ Kitguru
- Netgear Arlo Security System @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | February 18, 2015 - 01:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: irony, Privacy, google, gigabit broadband, AT&T
Kansas City got Google Fiber back in 2012 and not surprisingly a lot of users jumped to this ~$70 service from their current ISPs the moment they could. Two of the incumbent ISPs suddenly came to the realization that there was demand for broadband at this speed and turned on some of their already laid and configured fiber connection so they could start to offer actual broadband and now several years later AT&T discovered that they would need to do the same to be able to attract customers in that market. The fiber has lain dormant for quite some time as most ISPs have argued that there was no demand for that level of connectivity; at least until Google offered it and customers left them in droves proving that the demand had always been there.
From The Register we hear that AT&T now offers $70 for a1Gbps connection, an additional $50 will get you TV and you can even bundle home service into the deal if you wish. For an additional $29 per month AT&T also offers not to log everything you do on the web over their connection, something which Google does not offer. This makes for an interesting discussion as most surfers no longer blink at Google the search engine tracking what they do online, but what about Google the ISP; does that create a different gut reaction? Then again considering AT&T's loose definition of unlimited, what do they mean by privacy or even gigabit for that matter?
"We've moved quickly to bring more competition to the Kansas City area for blazing-fast Internet speeds and best-in-class television service," said John Sondag, president of AT&T Missouri, without apparent irony."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 170: What the kids put in their PCIe slots these days
- Collaboration Summit Keynotes Will Stream Live on Wednesday, Feb. 18 @ Linux.com
- Qualcomm, ARM: We thought we had such HOT MODELS... @ The Register
- Lenovo is building ARM-based servers to improve energy efficiency @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | February 11, 2015 - 08:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google io 2015, google io, google
Or is that Left Shark Eggs? Yup, pay attention near the end of the post for an Easter Egg.
Every year, Google hosts their I/O developer conference, which often involves the launching of new hardware and services. This year, it will take place on May 28th and May 29th. Registration to register will open on March 17th at noon ET and it will end on the 19th. If you do not get in, many keynotes and sessions will be broadcast over the internet... because it's Google.
Note how I said “Registration to register”? That was not a typo. You are putting your name into a randomizer that will select candidates to actually register and purchase their tickets. Last year, tickets sold out in less than an hour. Apparently Google believes that it is better for the tickets to go to the luckiest individuals, rather than the best F5ers.
I hope this made your day as bright as mine. Basically, I HOPE I RUINED YOUR DAY TOO!
Subject: General Tech | January 28, 2015 - 01:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: youtube, google, flash, html5
Youtube has finally ditched Flash as the default player for video in Chrome, Internet Explorer 11 and Safari 8. If you use the beta builds of Firefox you will also be provided HTML5 video by default but as of yet the official release will still be playing Flash videos. The adaptive bitrate which HTML5 can handle, without the use of plugins, could reduce buffering by 50% in a normal situation and up to 80% on congested networks according to the information which was given to The Inquirer. As well the VP9 Codec can provide a stream at 35% less bandwidth than Flash which makes 4K and 60fps videos start much faster. Flash is not yet dead and you can revert back to it, if you want to play Snake while your video is loading.
"GOOGLE'S YOUTUBE video portal has made the switch to HTML5 as a default renderer, marking yet another milestone in the downfall of the Adobe Flash format."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Another day, yet another emergency Adobe Flash patch. Because that's how we live now @ The Register
- Ghost in the Linux machine hits Debian, Red Hat and Ubuntu @ The Inquirer
- Horrifying iPhone sales bring Apple $18bn net profit A QUARTER @ The Register
- IBM details PowerPC microserver aimed at square kilometre array @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Systems | December 29, 2014 - 01:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: laptop, google, dell, ChromeOS, Chromebook, chrome, acer
According to DigiTimes via The Tech Report, because of course DigiTimes, we should receive 15.4-inch Chromebooks in the near future. Their sources claim that both Acer and Dell have products planned with that operating system, in that size, and will cost less then $300. The Acer system is expected in March 2015 with Dell scheduled for some time in the first half of 2015.
One part that stands out for me is the maximum price of $300. The claim is that this is a Google mandated ceiling for Chromebooks with up-to Core i3 performance. This is troubling for two reasons. First, depending on the details, it might dance around inside the minefield of price-fixing laws, although I am sure that Google is doing this in a legally. I mean, Apple has been getting away with enforcing maximum retail prices of iPods and iOS devices for around a decade and I believe console manufacturers do about the same.
Second, and more importantly, it limits the ability for manufacturers to be creative and innovative, which is the major advantage of an open ecosystem. Being a web browser-based platform, there is already constraints on what manufacturers can implement. Sure, Google is probably open to communication with their partnered hardware vendors, but it is uncomfortable none-the-less. I could use the Nexus Q as an example of an experiment but unfortunately it was neither a hit nor did it cost over $300. Sure, they could add a more powerful processor to escape that clause but it is still
These Chromebooks are expected to launch in the early half of 2015.
Subject: General Tech | December 17, 2014 - 12:00 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: holiday, google, chromecast, 10 days of christmas
Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!
Getting media from your PC to your TV is still a feat that can often take complicated software and dedicated hardware. There are several methods for getting around this headache including things like the Amazon FireStick, Intel's Wireless Display technology and Miracast. But perhaps the most interesting, and one of the least expensive, is the Google Chromecast.
Chromecast is a small thumb-stick sized device that plugs into an HDMI port on your TV and then connects to your wireless network. From there you can connect to the Chromecast with your desktop, laptop or mobile device that uses Chrome as the browser. Essentially, anything that can you watch or read or stream in Chrome can be send wirelessly to your TV. In addition, for Android smartphone and tablet users, a growing number applications support streaming to the Chromecast directly including Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, ESPN, MLB.TV, Google Play Movies and Music, Plex, MLS, crackle, Vevo, Rdio.
The only annoyance in setup is that the Chromecast requires a USB connection for power - but most TVs today have the necessary USB port so you don't have to use an AC adapter.
But damn, for only $29, this is a neat gadget worth giving a try!
If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)
Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?
- Day 1: Google Nexus 7 Tablet
- Day 2: Dremel 4000 Variable Speed Rotary Tool Kit
- Day 3: Intel Core i7-4790K
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 15, 2014 - 03:31 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: shield tablet, shield, Portal, nvidia, half-life 2: episode one, half-life 2, google play, google, Android
Back in November, we published news about the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet update to Android 5.0. A part of the update was the “Green Box” promotion, which gives Half-Life 2, Portal, and Half-Life 2: Episode One free with the purchase of a 32GB LTE SHIELD Tablet. Today, Half-Life 2: Episode One launches on Google Play store for $7.99 USD (or free with the Green Box). Unlike Half-Life 2 and Portal, which runs on the original NVIDIA SHIELD, Episode One requires an NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. It also requires a controller.
Like the previous release of Half-Life 2 and Portal, this is a complete port to the ARM architecture of NVIDIA Tegra K1. The game will run natively on the device, without being streamed from a host PC. For a little perspective, the Tegra K1 has a little more compute performance than a GeForce 9600 GT – a popular mid-range GPU that launched two years after Episode One.
Half-Life 2: Episode One launched today for $7.99 USD (or free with “The Green Box” bundle).
Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2014 - 09:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: apple, safari, google, yahoo, bing, microsoft, mozilla
After Mozilla inked the deal with Yahoo, the eyes turned to Apple and its Safari browser. Currently, the default search engine is Google on both iOS and OSX, although Bing is the primary engine used for other functions, like Siri and Spotlight. Until early 2015, they are tied into a contract with Google for those two browsers, but who will get the new contract?
Apparently Yahoo and Microsoft have both approached the company for the position, and Apple is not ruling any of the three out. Probably the most interesting part is how Yahoo is genuinely taking the search business seriously. The deal with Mozilla is fairly long-term, and with Yahoo approaching Apple as well, it probably was not just charity on Mozilla's part because no-one else wanted to be Firefox's default. Yahoo would probably need some significant monetary backing for an Apple deal, which suggests the same for their deal with Mozilla.
If both Mozilla and Apple leave Google, it will take a significant chunk out of the search engine. Power users, like those who read this site, will likely be unaffected if they care, because of how low the barrier is to change the default search engine. On the other hand, even the most experienced user will often accept default settings until there is a reason to change. The winning party will need to have a good enough product to overcome that initial shock.
But the money will at least give them a chance when the decision comes into effect. That is, unless the barrier to changing default search engines is less than the barrier to changing default web browsers.
Google will always be default on Google Chrome.