This Week in Tech News

Leo and the Peak Podcast

Podcast

Episode 1618

This week, Leo attended a Podcast convention in Orlando, FL.  There were 3,000 people in attendance, listening to Leo's presentation. Podcasting has become to popular that users are calling the market "peak podcast."

Teen Hacker Discovers Flaw in Educational Software

Black Hat Hackers Logo

Episode 1617

A teenage hacker discovered flaws in his school's educational Blackboard software and presented his findings with the eye of improving security. He made a presentation at the Black Hat Hackers convention in Las Vegas. But while he could have changed his grades, he opted not so. But he did break into a college network to change his admissions status to "accepted" to make a point. And while the software company lauded the teen for discovering the flaws, he was suspended at school.

Samsung Announces Galaxy Note 10

Galaxy Note 10

Episode 1616

Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 10 this week. And it's huge. It's "notch" is much smaller, now more of a dot, and the headphone jack is officially missing. So Samsung has quietly removed any videos from their YouTube channels mocking Apple for the same thing. They say it gives them more room for a larger battery. Also missing is the Bixby button, which is officially dead. Price for the Note 10 - $1200. The 5G version is another $200, but Leo says don't bother. 5G isn't available everywhere yet, and it will drain your battery much faster than LTE. Right now, 5G is nothing but hype.

Dish CEO Collecting Wireless Spectrum Frequencies, Starting 5G Network

Dish Network

Episode 1613

The founder of DISH Network, Charlie Ergen, has been quietly buying up wireless frequencies auctioned by the FCC and will start a fourth major cellular company behind AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint. Leo says that Ergen has been waiting for 5G to establish his network and is planning to spend more than $10 billion. Ergen says that what took other networks over ten years to establish, he can do in three.

Sprint + T-Mobile Merger Approved

T-Mobile

Episode 1612

The merger between Sprint and T-Mobile has been approved by the Department of Justice, giving mobile another major carrier to compete against AT&T and Verizon.  The talk is, that T-Mobile is going to work with DISH Network to create a huge new 4th carrier by Dish. Dish will also get Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and several other MVNOs. As a long-time T-Mobile user, Leo doesn't really have a problem with it, especially as we move into 5G speeds.  But it's not in the clear yet, as 13 state attorney generals are suing to stop it.

Faceapp Causing Concern to Privacy Advocates and Congress

FaceApp

Episode 1611

The mobile app called FaceApp is causing concern with privacy advocates, and even members of Congress because people are concerned that their photos are being uploaded to servers in Russia. But the developer, who worked for Microsoft when he got the idea, assures that all photos are uploaded to Amazon cloud servers. The bigger concern is that the terms of service grant FaceApp the ownership of your likeness forever. Leo says, though, that it's just legal-speak that's written in the broadest possible terms.

FaceApp Raises Privacy Concerns

FaceApp

Episode 1610

Everyone is up in arms about the app FaceApp and it's privacy concerns. People are concerned because the app will upload your images to a third party server and use them whenever and however they want. Leo says that the server is not in Russia, but is actually Amazon Cloud Services. It also has a boiler plate terms of service that users should pay attention to, that transfers your likeness rights to them to do whatever they want. Period. While technically true, it's also probably true of Instagram, Facebook, and others.

Facebook makes a profit on a record $5 Billion Fine by the FTC

Facebook

Episode 1609

After agreeing to a consent decree to protect user privacy in 2011, Facebook has been fined $5 billion for failing to obey the decree. It's the largest fine in the history of the Federal Trade Commission, but it didn't really hurt Facebook, as the stock market rewarded the social media company with a $6 billion stock bump.  This leaves Leo to wonder if you can really fine Facebook enough to make it hurt and if the only way to punish the social media giant is to stop using it.

Amazon Prime Day Starts Tomorrow ... But

Prime Day

Episode 1609

Amazon Prime Days start tomorrow, but Leo warns that not all Prime Deals are actually deals. So he recommends going to TheWireCutter. They have a Prime Deals comparison to tell you if Amazon is offering a deal or not, and where you can get a better deal. And Walmart is about to launch THE BIG SAVE week. Check there too. Target has Deal Days, and eBay is offering CrashDays. Even Nordstrom is getting into the game. 

ISPs in Britain label Firefox as a Public Villain

Firefox

Episode 1607

ISPs in the United Kingdom has labeled Firefox a "public villain" because it is advocating private browsing with a new version of the browser that makes your activity online invisible, making it impossible for ISPs to sell your browsing data. Leo says that alone is enough to start using Firefox again.