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May 26, 2017 — Rob Pegoraro and Ben Williams

This week, we are joined by tech columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Finance, Wirecutter and other publications. At the beginning of this segment, Rob explains that he’s taken apart his vintage 27-inch iMac, from 2009, in order to replace the drive with an SSD from Other Word Computing. The process requires using suction cups to pry the glass from the chassis. Gene shares his experiences in upgrading a similar computer several years ago. In later iMacs, it’s held together with adhesive, making the disassembly and reassemble process far more complicated. There’s also a discussion about Siri’s voice recognition problems, and a recent report that someone’s Amazon Echo Dot, featuring Alexa, recorded a personal conversation and sent the file to a contact in another city. Can we trust these digital assistances to respect our privacy? Rob also talked about a meeting with security experts discussing changes and possible improvements in online security over the past 20 years.

In a special encore presentation, you’ll also hear a vintage segment featuring Ben Williams of Adblock Plus. Ad blocking has experienced a lot of activity over the past year, especially since Google entered the fray with its ad filter for Chrome. There are still battles between publishers and ad blockers, and payment systems to publishers from users are being talked about with more frequency. Gene and Ben will engage in an extended discussion about the value of online advertising, and the long history of making it as offensive as possible. There will also be a pop culture discussion, about ads that build branding images based on using a well-known personality, such as Oscar winning actor J.K. Simmons, known for Farmers Insurance commercials and loads of movies and TV shows, including the recent comic book film, “Justice League,” where he played Commissioner Gordon. You’ll also learn how ad blockers can be configured to allow ads that have been approved by Adblock Plus.

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