This Week in Tech News

'MOOCs' Offer Online College Courses for Free

Programming

Episode 1468

Lately, Leo has been taking advantage of MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. These are college and university courses that are available online for free. There are a lot of ways to do this — iTunes U is a great way to find free courses on the Mac or iOS device. MIT has its CourseWare, and there are even courses provided by Yale and Harvard. There are also commercial MOOCs like Udacity and Kahn Academy. A lot of high school students looking for help on difficult subjects like Calculus and Physics can go to YouTube and watch Kahn Academy videos.

New Social Media Study Shows Shift in Social Media Usage

Social Media

Episode 1467

Pew Research Center on Internet and Technology did a study on social media and the stats for early 2018 were surprising. 78% of 18-24 year olds use Snapchat, and most of them visit the platform many times a day. 71% of 18-24 year olds also use Instagram, and only 45% Twitter. Roughly 2/3rds of US adults say they use Facebook, and 3/4 of that number on a daily basis. Facebook is easily used by the majority of Americans every single day. YouTube's numbers were even higher. 73% of adults say they use YouTube.

Apple Watch Best Selling Wearable

Apple Watch Series 3

Episode 1467

With 1 in 5 wearable devices sold last quarter, the Apple Watch is the best selling wearable device. Leo says that in spite of Android Wear, Apple sold eight million in the last quarter, making the smartwatch war albeit over.

Mobile World Congress Opens with Samsung's Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus

Episode 1466

Samsung announced the Galaxy S9 at Mobile World Congress this morning. Leo originally thought that Apple's $1,000 price tag on the iPhone X would influence mobile phone prices moving forward, but Samsung chose to only raise the price a bit, by comparison, starting at $720 for the 64GB version. You can trade in your older models to get a better price. You can also get $100 off if you buy from Best Buy. Leo says, however, that you don't get any benefit by paying more for larger storage considering the Android phones have a microSD slot for additional storage.

Apple to Store iCloud Keys in China

Tim Cook

Episode 1466

In a move that is causing concern with privacy advocates, Apple has announced it will store iCloud recovery keys in China. Leo says that it's really no different from what Apple does here, but it will make it easier for the Chinese government, or any government for that matter, to gain access to someone's data. Apple does protect your privacy from selling to advertisers, but if the government really pushes, Apple will cave to what they consider an "appropriate" law enforcement request.

Google to Condemn Insecure Websites

Google

Episode 1465

Beginning in July, if your website isn't secure (with an https url), it will warn anyone coming to your site that it isn't. It'll start in Chrome with a warning that "this site is insecure." Leo says it will start with a shaming technique of just a warning, but eventually, it will start bouncing any site that doesn't comply.

Facebook Spams 2 Factor Authentication Users

Facebook on iPhone

Episode 1463

Sending unsolicited text messages is bad form, and Facebook got caught using their 2 Factor Authentication database to send out ads and other notifications.

Facebook admitted their faux pas and apologized. Leo says that's become the modus operandi of Facebook: move fast and break things, then apologize. In other words, better to ask forgiveness than ask permission.

Samsung's Future Galaxy Note Could Have Foldable Screen

Samsung Galaxy Note8

Episode 1462

Samsung has been quite vocal about its plans to build a smartphone with a foldable screen in it, and we could see that next year with the Galaxy Note. On the front it will look like a regular smartphone, but then you'll be able to open it up to a 6 or 7" tablet. That will likely cost a lot more, and Samsung has already said it will be raising the price of the next Galaxy S phone, starting at around $850.

Read more at techradar.com.

Apple Launches HomePod

Apple HomePod

Episode 1461

Leo got his Apple HomePod this week and he says it's a device that suffers from an identity crisis. Apple isn't selling it as a home assistant like the Echo or Google Assistant, even though it has Siri on it. It's limited in its ability to play music, though. It's slightly better than the first generation Sonos, but not as good as a bonafide stereo system. It's just an expensive speaker for Apple Music via Airplay. It doesn't even work with Bluetooth. If you're not drinking that Kool-aid, there's no sense in buying one.