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    A PREMIUM TECH NIGHT OWL LIVE EXPERIENCE! Welcome to Tech Night Owl+! For a low monthly or annual subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free higher-resolution version of The Tech Night Owl LIVE and other exclusive content. For more information and simple signup instructions, click here.

    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, cutting-edge commentator Daniel Eran Dilger, of Roughly Drafted Magazine and AppleInsider, dissects the facts about the presumed success of Google, the Android mobile platform, and Chromebooks, those cheap notebooks that are evidently selling well to K-12 school systems. Daniel asks the questions journalists seldom ask about the problems with Android, and the lack of serious new features in the latest version of the OS. He also discusses the problems Microsoft has had as it disengages itself from the failed multibillion dollar purchase of Nokia’s handset division.

    You’ll also hear from an ethical hacker, Dr. Timothy Summers, President of Summers & Company, a cyber strategy and organizational design consulting firm, who delivers an update on the Apple versus FBI controversy, where the two parties were locked in a legal battle over attempts to unlock an iPhone used in a terrorist attack. The case ended after the FBI paid over a million dollars to hackers who succeeded in breaking into the phone. He talks about Microsoft’s lawsuit agains the U.S. government over the right to inform customers when a federal agency wants to examine their emails. There’s also an extended pop culture discussion, where Dr. Summers comments on how computer hackers are portrayed in the movies and on TV, and whether those portrayals accurately reflect how these people actually do their stuff. The segment concludes with an overview of how hackers attacked the SWIFT interbank funds transfer system in an attempt to steal $100 million.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — May 28, 2016

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    Newsletter Issue #861: What About Siri on Steroids?

    May 30th, 2016

    Ever since Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant, debuted in the iPhone 4s in 2011, it has been both a source of amusement and extreme frustration. While Apple’s TV ads, which often feature such notables as Samuel L. Jackson, depict Siri obediently responding to one’s commands, it doesn’t always play out that way in the real world.

    Under regular use by people who aren’t trained performers, Siri wasn’t quite that responsive — or accurate. Even today, when I request that Siri set an alarm for a specific time, it sometimes gets “AM” or “PM” reversed. And that’s the least of it. In the meantime, competitors have arisen. So we have Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana that are being offered as comparable — or even better — than Siri.

    To be fair, Siri’s original release was quietly and properly labeled as a beta, and it showed. Even though Siri has grown better with each release, and now delivers a more well-rounded feature set, it’s still evidently limited by the fact that Apple isn’t in the business of gathering personal information about you. That’s one key reason, say the critics, that Google Now is superior. Remember, with Google, you are the product they are selling to their advertisers. Apple has assured you that they will do no such thing.

    Continue Reading…

    Microsoft is Desperate to Force Customers to Upgrade to Windows 10

    May 27th, 2016

    According to current estimates, Windows 10, released in July, 2015, has over 15% of the PC operating system user base. Based on the most recent totals, the total user base is approaching 300 million, which sounds impressive. But when you look at the  percentages, not so much. Indeed, it appears that the migration rate slowed rapidly within a few months after the initial release.

    Until July 29, the Windows 10 upgrade is free for consumers. That makes it the same, at least for the first year, as OS X upgrades. But whereas Apple gains huge numbers of upgraders during the year of an OS’s existence, the same isn’t true for Windows. One reason is that Windows 10 isn’t every PC user’s cup of tea.

    Continue Reading...

    Electric Car Charging Systems and Compatibility

    May 26th, 2016

    Consider this scenario: You’re taking the family on a long trip, and the gas gauge is about to hit the empty zone, and you soon locate a sign about gas stations at the next exit. With fingers crossed that there’s enough gas left in the tank, you turn to the offramp and, within a few minutes, you pull up at the first source of fuel.

    As you pull, you see a huge sign saying that the type of gas supplied only works in a Ford. But you’re driving a Jeep. What do you do?

    So you drive to another gas station, only to discover that it only supports a Honda or a Toyota.

    It’s the picture of absurdity. You buy fuel based on the octane rating. If you have a diesel vehicle, there are fewer sources of fuel, but one is essentially as good as another. How could it be otherwise?

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    They Say Apple is Always Doomed to Fail

    May 25th, 2016

    You probably didn’t realize that Google has some big problems to solve. Very few people upgrade their mobile handsets to the newest versions of Android despite touting loads of new features at I/O events. Indeed, most customers can’t upgrade, because it’s not offered to them by the wireless carrier or the handset maker. But that’s just a start.

    In 2015, Google earned $67.39 billon from ad sales. Total revenue was $74.54 billon, meaning that 90% of that cash came from ad sales. Not from the Android OS, not from Nest smart thermostats, not from Nexus smartphones, not from any other product. It was all about those targeted ads that were based on what they learned about you and your tastes. Anything that hurts the amount of money Google earns from each click or tap on an ad can have a huge impact over time.

    But Google isn’t considered a one-product company, even though that’s what the earnings reveal.

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