Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Google HTC Deal

Google officially closed its $1.1 billion deal with HTC Corp.,
adding more than 2,000 smartphone specialists in Taiwan
to help the search giant chase Apple Inc. in the cut-throat
premium handset market.

The deal will help Google design more of its own consumer
hardware and could set it up to wade deeper into special-
purpose chips -- like Apple. Google’s most recent Pixel
model came with a new image processor to improve the
device’s camera. More of this "custom silicon" will come
in the future, Google’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh said
in an interview.

Osterloh brought in HTC engineers and designers to help
Google control more of the design and production of its
products, including working more closely with suppliers.
Google previously focused on software and let manufacturers
including Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC handle the
hardware. But modern phones offer features like augmented
reality and artificial intelligence-based services that require
close integration of software and hardware.

"You have to be vertical in some cases to really push the
envelope for consumers," Osterloh said. "Our intention is to
invest in this for the long term. You’ll see a steady increase
in investment from us."

HTC said in a separate statement that it plans to proceed
with its next flagship smartphone and will focus its efforts
in the segment. “Today marks the beginning of an exciting
new chapter at HTC as we continue to drive innovation in
our branded smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses,”
Cher Wang, chairwoman at HTC said in the statement.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Change in Email Servers

We have been advised by our email server that they are  going out of business.

If you use the email address to contact us
then you’ll need to change it.

To what you ask? We don’t know yet!

For now please use our Gmail accounts (the Editor’s account

We apologize for any problems but we’ll work to resolve this

Monday, January 29, 2018

Smart Speakers

Since their debut more than three years ago with the launch of
the Amazon Echo, smart speakers have often been seen as
more novelty than valuable resource. This reality is changing,
however, as companies partner with the devices to make
consumers’ lives more convenient. Increasingly, this is
becoming the case in the grocery industry: Consumers who
do their grocery shopping online are more likely to see the value
in these devices, according to new research from London-based
technology company GlobalWebIndex.

Some 56 percent of online grocery shoppers worldwide said
that they either currently use a voice-controlled smart speaker
or plan to purchase one within the next six months, the research
shows. Although the research involved consumers across the globe,
results were consistent across regions.

“Voice assistants took off in 2017, and retailer investment in
this technology will only continue to grow,” says Dan Farmer, VP
of retail solutions with Toronto-based ecommerce platform provider
Unata, which was recently acquired by third-party grocery delivery
service Instacart.

From startups to industry leaders, technology providers in the
area of conversational commerce vary in size and capabilities.
Ken Fenyo, head of consumer markets for New York-based
consulting firm McKinsey Fast Growth, who was previously VP
of loyalty at the Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., recommends that
grocers experiment with a range of technology partners to see
which solutions and partners most appeal to their shoppers and
fit their operating model.

“As with grocery in general, it will be critical for retailers to
leverage their data and ability to personalize the shopping
experience to capture share of wallet,” he says, also adding
that retailers also need to “find partners to help them tap
into the various text-messaging platforms to ensure they
reach every one of their shoppers when they want to order.”

In structuring these relationships, grocers must be sure they
don’t get disintermediated along the way, by retaining control
of their customer data as well as key consumer touchpoints
such as delivery and pickup or product selection. One way to
do this is to partner with multiple tech innovators to ensure
broad coverage and test emerging capabilities.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Apple OS

After a five-week beta period, Apple today released iOS 11.2.5,
macOS 10.13.3, tvOS 11.2.5, and watchOS 4.2.2 to the general
public. Each of the new operating system releases includes
bug fixes and stability improvements, following Apple’s rush to
address Spectre and Meltdown processor vulnerabilities in an
earlier point-point release.

iOS 11.2.5 includes support for the upcoming HomePod speaker,
allows Siri to read the news in three Hom

ePod countries, and addresses “ChaiOS,” a malicious text
message link that can crash iOS without being clicked. macOS
10.13.3 fixes a Messages bug that can display incoming
messages out of order, as well as a security bug that allows the
System Preferences’ App Store menu to be unlocked with any
password. No user-facing changes apart from bug fixes were
noticed in either tvOS 11.2.5 or watchOS 4.2.2.

As the releases propagate across Apple’s servers, they will be
available to download directly from iPhones, iPads, iPod touches,
Macs, and Apple TVs, with the Apple Watch update available
through the iPhone’s Watch app. iOS and tvOS releases will also
be available through iTunes.

As of last week, Apple said that iOS 11 had already been installed on 65 percent of devices, down significantly from iOS 10’s and iOS 9’s roughly 76 percent footprints four months after their respective releases. The 11 percent difference could be explained by a higher number of devices unable to upgrade to the current version, a larger pool of devices overall with fewer in new OS-critical uses, or users holding off on upgrading to iOS 11 because of something they don’t like. Currently, 28 percent of devices remain on iOS 10, and 7 percent are on iOS 9 or earlier releases.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Circular Electronics Day

Products that are functional should be given a second chance
before being collected as waste, and services that enable this
should be made visible and used by more people. In addition,
the prerequisites for the reuse and recycling of IT products and
other electronics must be improved. Therefore, all participants i
n the project ELAN, “Electronics should be reused”, have
designated the 24th of January as #CircularElectronicsDay.

“The purpose of #CircularElectronicsDay is to highlight the
positives of reusing products and for people to share ideas
and tips under the hashtag. We can all inspire each other to
reuse more and make sure that products have a second life
instead of collecting dust in a drawer”, says Andreas Rehn,
criteria developer for the sustainability certification TCO

By following these simple steps, we can all reuse more
  1. When buying electronics, check if the product you want is available second hand or if a product with a sustainability certification is available
  2. Erase old data and sell your products to give them a second life
  3. If you do not want to sell your old products, hand them in to a recycling facility or another collection point

It is not just consumers that can make a difference. By
demanding reused products or products that are designed
for reuse, large companies and the public sector can also

To be able to sell electronics second hand, the products
need to be attractive to the buyer and have the potential
of functioning well for a reasonable period of time. The
rapid development in technology means that products
quickly become outdated unless they are leading edge
when they are new. Therefore, it is important that the
products are high-performing and that hazardous
substances are replaced with safer alternatives.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


By Bayle Emlein
PSafe used  Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular in San Francisco
on October 28 to introduce DFNDR 5.0. The DFNDR app was
built for mobile devices from the ground up and incorporates
Security, VPN, Vault, and Performance.

DFNDR Security is PSafe’s flagship product. DFNDR
Security includes 21 apps to make your phone safer
and faster. Recognize phishing scams, suspect weblinks,
add unwanted calls to your list of blocked numbers with
a single click. Clean up junk to speed performance and
release storage. It’s free, or $4.99 a year to upgrade to
premium and skip the ads.
VPN Defender, from Smart Sense, helps keep you safe by
directing your mobile data through their secure servers
which encrypt your information. VPN Defender is fully
automated so you don’t have to remember to turn it on
every time you want a secure internet connection. It  works
with all WiFi connections and mobile data carriers and r
equires no registration.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Kwilt Shoebox

By Bayle Emlein

One of the things that I learned on October 28 at Pepcom’s
Holiday Spectacular in San Francisco is that I am not the only
person who would like an easier way to get photos off my
phone to share and to edit. It’s so easy to take picture after
picture after picture with my phone. And so hard to do anything
with them but share via social media. Kwilt offers a solution with
their Shoebox. (Rembember where Grandma kept the photos
that didn’t make it into the family album?)

The Kwilt Shoebox, along with its accompanying free app
for either Android or iOS, lets you turn any external drive
into your private cloud. While uploading photos to traditional
cloud storage seems like a good solution at first, management
of photos and albums can get cumbersome as your online
presence grows, it can get expensive especially after you pass
the first level of storage allowance, and you are dependent on
the service provider for access–and service.
Once you’ve purchased your Shoebox, you have no other
storage expenses unless you choose to add drives or USB
memory storage. There are no monthly fees. The Shoebox
acts a bit like a personal Network Attached Storage System
except that it does not require a dedicated server and it is
simple to set up and expand.  A user can associate his
account with several Shoeboxes sitting on any local or remote
networks. A Shoebox can also be associated with several users’
accounts to facilitate sharing or to coordinate records of different
activities. It bridges your USB storage devices to you anywhere.
Kwilt’s October 2017 partnership with  Netgear and DLink
including Kwilt compatibility into their routers means that users
simply need to connect a USB drive for their pictures to be
immediately available to their Kwilt account. A Mini HDMI port
on the Shoebox makes it easy to display those photos and
videos on the biggest screen you can find to bore, ehr entertain,
your friends and family with.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Day From Hell

Yesterday was the day from Hell for me.

It started out fine, my daughter-in-law took me to TUS airport from Fort Huachuca, where they live. From there I flew backwards to LA, even though I was going east to Nashville. Oh well, it makes sense to someone. No problems on that flight, so far so  good.

That's when the problems started. Have you ever flown out of LA on Southwest? They have made multiple gates out of each existing gate ahd that means things are TIGHT! Oh well, I can live with that. Then pre-boarding started and the couple in front of me had a dog and at least 8 huge packages. What happened to the rule of one carry-on and one personal item? I asked the gate agent and he just mumbled something about they can take what they want. Why?

Then I got on the airplane, a full flight naturally. The person sitting next to me was a Mexican, female Sumo wrestler who wanted more room. My reply to her demand that I move my elbow was not well received. All I said was "it''s attached to my arm".

Eventually we got to BNA, it seemed like it took forever! And that's when it got worse! I got my baggage and looked for my ride, an InShuttle van to Clarksville. Nothing. I called their office and was told it would be hours before someone could pick me up. Did I want my money back? NO!!!!! I want to go home!

Eventually they won. I cancelled them out and got a hotel room for the night.

It was not a good day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Smart Speakers

One in six Americans now own a smart speaker, according to
new research out this week from NPR and Edison Research –
a figure that’s up 128 percent from January, 2017. Amazon’s
Echo speakers are still in the lead, the report says, as 11
percent now own an Amazon Alexa device compared with 4
percent who own a Google Home product.

Today, 16 percent of Americans own a smart speaker, or
around 39 million people.

The holiday shopping season also seemed to have played
a role in the increased adoption of smart devices in the U.S.,
with 7 percent of Americans reporting they acquired at least
one smart speaker between Black Friday and the end of
December, and 4 percent saying they acquired their first s
mart speaker during the holidays.

Both Amazon and Google used the holiday shopping season
to their advantage in terms of acquiring market share for their
respective devices by slashing prices to encourage more
impulse buys, and by heavily promoting the items across their
storefronts. In fact, analysts believe that both Amazon and
Google likely lost a few dollars per unit during the holiday
season, where they were discounting their smaller form factor
devices to $29 for the Amazon Echo Dot and $50 for the Google
Home Mini, for example.

The end result for Amazon was that the Echo Dot became a
top seller across its site and by manufacturers through the Black
Friday weekend, and through the holidays, Amazon recently said.

The new report also delved into how consumers are using their
devices, which have a range of functions including things like being
able to stream music, control their TV and other smart home
devices, and more.

Monday, January 15, 2018


Just in time for holiday preparation, Ecovacs
Robotics displayed its next-generation robotic
vacuum, DEEBOT OZMO 930, at Pepcom’s
Holiday Spectacular in San Francisco. OZMO
includes improved mopping and a breakthrough
adaptive floor/carpet sensing technology. The
Ecovacs line of robotic vacuums is Deebot.
Their robotic window washers are Winbots.
Their air purifiers are ATMOBOTs. Despite the
large window area at the Holiday Spectacular
venue Metreon City View, no demo of a Winbot.

Ozmo 930 can vacuum both rugs and floors,
adjusting to the surface. It can also mop and
will automatically avoid rugs when in mopping
mode. Users can set virtual boundaries to
precisely define the area to be cleaned if there
are restricted areas, such as stairs or projects in
progress. Ozmo 930 uses laser mapping to
learn a home’s floor plan and build a model for
efficient cleaning.   
Ecovacs is primarily known for their consumer
robotic appliances. They’ve been around for
over a decade and continue to develop new
features. In addition to the ability to adust to
floor surfaces and to mop as well as vacuum,
Ozmo 930 can be controlled via smartphone
app or programmed to clean specified areas
on a regular basis. There might still be features
that a maid service does better, but the Ozmo
will never call you at the last minute to say it
can’t come, does away with concerns about
letting strangers in your home whether or not
you’re there, and never needs a 1099.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The End of CES 2018

This is from CES:

CES 2018 officially wrapped today, after dazzling the world with
a glimpse into the future.

More than 3,900 exhibitors showcased world-changing
technologies that spanned more than 2.75 million net square
feet of exhibit space across Las Vegas - the largest show floor
in CES' 51 year history.

There were 860,732 tweets about CES 2018 and 450,554 uses
of the #CES2018 hashtag.

From major international brands to the more than 900 startups
participating in Eureka Park, CES 2018 truly reflected the vibrant
global tech industry.

Watch keynotes and conference sessions from #CES2018 online

Then, save the date for #CES2019: Jan. 8-11, 2019, in Las Vegas,
NV. See you next year!


TiVo, a global leader in consumer entertainment technology,
took advantage of Pepcom’s October 28 Holiday Spectacular
in San Francisco to demonstrate several additions to the their
latest advancements in hardware and user experience. TiVo
introduced the TiVo BOLT VOXTM and TiVo Mini VOXTM.
TiVo VOX Remote™ is part of the new product line. Viewers
can search by voice across live TV, DVR, video-on-demand
and online streaming services.

The visually rich, on-screen TiVo experience  with enhanced
usability includes built-in personalized recommendations and
intelligent predictions based on viewing habits. to help users
sort through the ever-expanding array of TV choices.  VOX
Remote™ empowers a user to use natural speech to refine
searches. For example, you can ask to be shown, “Westerns
where someone says, ‘Make my day’.”
Users can also request the ever-popular Tivo SkipMode™
to bypass commercial breaks. Upon verbal request, OnePass™
will scan multiple outlets to have locate episodes of a series.
Spend your time engrossed in the shows of your choice instead
of searching for something to watch. The system is backwards
compatible: owners of previous versions of TiVo BOLT, TiVo
Roamio and first-generation TiVo Mini can upgrade to voice
control by purchasing a separate TiVo VOX Remote for just
The TiVo Mini VOXTM enables users to bring the same
viewing and voice control experiences to every room in their
home that has a modern television.