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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frannie is looking for an app that can keep track of every charge she makes so she can pay everything off at the end of the month. What's an easy way to check and reconcile charges with a phone?
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.
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.
Jennifer is having a problem with her Samsung Galaxy Tab 3: it crashes when she uses social media apps. Leo says it's probably a good idea to update the OS. And it's also a good idea to do a clean restore.