WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Computer Guys & Gal

New person-to-person data encryption can make your cell phone or tablet more secure. New Google features could help you buy your next car. And new apps help you manage your brackets as March Madness begins. The Computer Guys and Gal share their wisdom on all things tech.

Computer Guys And Gal Picks

John Gilroy

  1. Top five data security travel issues: Protect sensitive information on business trips (ComputerWeekly.com)
  2. Kojo Nnamdi denies "sleep texting" press conference tomorrow
  3. Sophisticated, articulate Alan Paller from SANS had free newsletter. Title, "OUCH."
  4. Redmond nightmare: must become like Apple and Google!
  5. Just because you have an app doesn't mean you are healthy
  6. Here's a variation on "crooks are dumb" this time, "crooks are smart"
  7. For the umpteenth time "If the product is free YOU are the product"
  8. Foul tweets can get you fired, especially if you are a faux tweeter
  9. Apps rocket toward $25 billion in sales – Allison will be "appy"
  10. AAA HAAA! Allison's fascination with a walking desk – It's all about the calories
  11. Today's paradox: when smaller is bigger (only in tablet sales)
  12. The silence of the nerds

Allison Druin

-March Madness- what tech issues make me mad?


    The company will no longer offer a test environment for developers and its
    developer portal is already set to be read-only. The company says these
    changes, are designed to allow NetFlix to focus on supporting the products
    and features used most by our members. Its developer program, Netflix
    argues, has shifted over the past few years and is now more about
    supporting all of the devices that are used by its 33 million members to
    stream shows and movies. The move is reminiscent of recent changes by
    Twitter, where as each company has grown it's decided having control over
    the user experience through its own official apps outweighs allowing the
    community to build and extend access as it sees fit.

    Given the mass popularity of the SimCity series and the glowing praise the
    game received ahead of release from press, it was no surprise that the
    sheer number of customers trying to snag the game -- and subsequently,
    play it -- overwhelmed EA's servers. It didn't help that the new SimCity
    requires a constant connection to EA's servers. The result? Days of choppy
    play, or, more often, an inability to access the game at all. Worse yet,
    EA's started shutting off parts of the game in hopes of lowering server
    loads across the board, which (understandably) angered many players.

    A new documentary, ³Downloaded,² will have its world premiere at the South
    by Southwest Film Conference and Festival. This film documents Napster
    with the participation of Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean
    Parker. ³Downloaded² charts the rise and fall of the music file-sharing
    service, which had 25 million users before shutting down in 2001, and
    presaged the explosion of Internet communities and the widespread piracy
    of media on the Web.

-March Madness- what tech helps you march?


    In the San Francisco Bay Area, certain car-related Google searches won¹t
    just turn up links to car makers and dealers.Clicking the link to an
    individual car will show on the right, the dealer¹s address and phone
    number, as well as a big red ³get quote² button. Right now, clicking ³get
    quote² will only send a dealer your first name and a proxy phone number
    and email address. Google will only forward dealers¹ calls and emails to
    you a limited number of times before cutting them off to keep
    them from pestering you forever.³Google couldn¹t officially sell the car,²
    Pasch says, ³but they could really facilitate the entire transaction.²
    The Boy Scouts of America will be introducing a new "Game Design" Merit
    Badge later this year. The Boy Scouts reportedly spent two years designing
    the new badge's
    requirements with input from individuals working in the games industry.To
    earn the badge, a Scout will take a look at different types of games,
    analyze them for their content and themes, and demonstrate an
    understanding of intellectual property. He will then keep a notebook
    charting the design of his own theoretical game project, from concept, to
    design, to testing at official Scout functions, and incorporating
    that feedback into the game. Once that has been approved, the Scout will
    design an actual prototype of his game, and just about any medium is
    acceptable. Note that this badge is different than the already existing
    "video game" badge where boy scouts have to demonstrate knowledge of the
    video game rating system, creating a
    schedule balancing gaming with schoolwork and chores, and learning to
    play any new video game that is approved by a parent, guardian or

    Microsoft on Tuesday demonstrated added hand gesture functionality for its
    Kinect technology, which is being adapted to let users not only wave
    their hands, but clench their fists and pinch their fingers to pan and
    scroll through an on-screen app. The company showed the latest version of
    Kinect during its annual TechFest conference, which highlights
    developmental projects underway at Microsoft Research. The Kinect contains
    a camera, audio sensors and motion-sensing technology that tracks 48
    points of movement on the human body. It can reportedly perform
    full-motion tracking of the human body at 30 frames per second.

-March Madness- what tech can you use to think about basketball?


    The PocketBracket iPhone/iPad app (Pure Concepts LLC , $0.99) lets
    you create unlimited March Madness brackets and share them with your
    friends on Facebook, Twitter, or email. You can also organize private or
    public tournament pools. Once the NCAA tournament starts, your bracket is
    automatically updated. Not sure
    which team to pick in what game? Use the app's SmartPick feature for a

    ESPN ScoreCenter offers a free Android App for checking news and standings
    from sports leagues around the world. The new Android ESPN app makes it
    easy to follow favorite teams, latest scores with personalized scoreboards
    and alerts.

    NCAA OnDemand is home to hundreds of the best clips from years of the
    In addition to various clips from the NCAA, there¹s also a bunch of
    playlists, including buzzer beaters, Final Four highlights, great
    upsets, and the best dunks. All clips and playlists have been tagged to
    make them easy to find and share with others. NCAA will ask users to
    determine the most memorable players, teams, and moments, through an
    online poll.

Bill Harlow


  1. Sandy Hook Arcade: Healing Through Gaming:
  2. In addition to EA's Sim City debacle, they're also showing how to ruin freemium gaming with Real Racing 3:
    You could spend a fortune repairing your virtual car. As Eurogamer puts it, they're accurately simulating that auto racing is a rich man's game. 
  3. PlayStation 4 finally revealed (release at the end of the year):
    It looks to resemble a gaming PC in several ways. From an experience standpoint, Sony hopes make gaming a lot more seamless, minimizing installation and update waits and offering full-system hibernation. Is console gaming long for this world though?
  4. On the low end, Ouya is launching soon!
    Kickstarter backers are seeing it at the end of the month. It should be available to the public in June. It's a very low cost Android based game console. $99 could get you a LOT of entertainment. 


  1. Kickstarted movies at the Oscars:
  2. And Inocente won!:
  3. And a movie partially filmed with an iPhone app won an Oscar:
    Malik Bendjelloul, director of "Searching for Sugar Man", ran out of money and couldn't continue shooting on Super 8 film. He got the same look using the 8mm Vintage Camera app and was able to finish his documentary. 

Spring (email) Cleaning!

  1. Sanebox (service for a variety of mail providers): 
    Automatic filtering to present only what's really important right now. 
  2. Mailbox app and service for iPhone: 
    More manual intervention, but allows you to quickly defer mail and keep your inbox lean. Reservation required. 


  1. Google publishes what it (legally) can regarding FBI's requests of Google customer info:
    They're required to not be too specific, so they discuss requests in time and quantity ranges.
  2. Google Glass, pot-to-kettle edition:
    A traditional big screen smartphone is emasculating, but Borg smart glasses on your face are cool, according to Sergei Bryn. (There's already a NSFW epithet for it!) I do think it's fascinating tech though. 
  3. Save even more on refurb Macs? Apple quietly selling refurbs on ebay:
    Apple doesn't make the cheapest stuff, so every discount helps. And I've been happy with their refurb products in the past. 
  4. And speaking of saving money, how much of a scam is printer ink?:
    Answer: It looks like it's a huge scam. Cartridges keep getting smaller and smaller, and yet prices haven't gone down with capacity. And now you know why an all-in-one scanner/fax/copier/printer can sell for under $100. 

'Black Mirror' Is Back, Reflecting Our Technological Fears

The Peabody Award-winning series returns for a third season, with six new episodes picking apart our fear of — and dependence on — technology. And it's more consistently compelling than ever.

In Jerusalem And West Bank, Nutella Cafes Offer A Sweet Refuge

Palestinians are flocking to a string of Nutella cafés that have popped up in the region. The cafes offer a welcome refuge from the realities of living in a conflict zone.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - October 21, 2016

Virginia’s online voter registration will be extended after a system crash. Montgomery County keeps Marriott headquarters local with big incentives. And Washington D.C. dukes it out with Washington state over their shared moniker.


Cyber Aggression Takes A Back Seat To Other Presidential Campaign Issues

The White House says it plans to retaliate against Russia for cyberattacks. Cybersecurity has been a constant issue on the campaign trail. No candidate professes to have expertise in this policy area.

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