Apps

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1153

Dick DeBartolo

Dickie D is back with the Pet Cube. It's a device that allows you to play with your dog over the Internet. It allows owners to watch, talk, and play with their pet from their smartphone thanks to a built in wide-angle (138º) camera along with real time HD video. You can also talk to your pet as the camera has a built-in microphone and speaker. And you can control a laser pointer so you can move it around via remote and play with them through the Petcube mobile app on your smartphone. It's available for Android and iOS. You can also take pictures with it. $199.00.

Do I need to be concerned about privacy when using apps?

Episode 1153

Paul from Houston, TX
Encryption

KNFB Reader reads printed text, but it uses a server-based back end and Paul is concerned about privacy. Leo says that end-to-end encryption fixes that, but the recipient needs to have the encryption as well, making it very inconvenient. But they could work it into the back end on any app. What we do in general is in public though, and there are benefits to that.

"Be My Eyes" is a service that connects blind people with volunteers who can help

Episode 1153

Julian from Los Angeles, CA
Walking stick

Julian says that there's a new service called Be My Eyes, which pairs blind people with volunteers who can literally be their eyes. Sighted people can respond to blind people using the smartphone app, and so far, there's over 30,000 volunteers -- 100 times as many blind people who are using it. Leo says that's extremely cool. And it's free, which is amazing.

Caller Paul says that KNFB Reader reads printed text. It's written by Ray Kurzweil.

As an actor, how can I learn my lines with technology?

Episode 1149

Dwayne from Hollywood, CA
Apple iPad

Dwayne is 75 and has become an actor. He has to learn dialogue sometimes at the last minute and he needs something to help him. Leo says that using an iPad and the app Scene Partner helps actors to get "off book," by recording lines and then use those recordings to interact and learn the scene easier. Ear-Prompter.com is designed to be prompted via Bluetooth.

What's the best voice dictation app?

Episode 1145

Dan from Indianapolis, IN
Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dan would like a good voice dictation app. Leo says that Google, Microsoft, and Apple all have speech detection in its phones, and Google has it on Chrome OS too. So if he has a cell phone, he can do it, and it's about 90% accurate.

Nuance makes an app called Dragon Naturally Speaking, and it's really the best app out there for it. Yahoo Tech writer David Pogue uses it to write his indexes.

How can I have privacy on the internet while out of the country?

Episode 1137

Dennis from Costa Rica, CA
https

Dennis is vacationing and he's concerned about privacy on the public hotel Wi-Fi. Leo says that's when a Virtual Private Network, or VPN can come in handy. It's like a tunnel through the internet that is encrypted and nobody can see his traffic. But it will be a little bit slower. He uses TalkaTone and wants an encrypted phone line. Leo says it's a good option, but he also recommends RedPhone. It has end to end encryption.

Why do apps require so much access to my phone?

Episode 1136

Brian from New Hampshire
Apps

Brian doesn't understand why apps ask permission for so much access to his smartphone in order to run. Leo says that while being able to have denied permissions would be nice, it could break the app since most aren't written that way. But Leo believes we'll eventually get there.

In iOS 8, users get the ability to refuse the permission for apps to ask for contacts. But sometimes those permissions need to be given even for basic functions of the app.