For many of you, your day likely ends by watching some kind of television show. I know mine does. Even if I don’t have time to watch, or I’m too exhausted to stay awake, I still find the time. Usually, it’s a quick 30 minutes, but it’s something. Because of my busy schedule a lot of what I’ve been watching are the typical “streaming” shows. You know what I’m talking about – the original programming from Amazon or Netflix. My life is pretty uninteresting, so why am I mentioning this? Well, what we don’t think about or even consider is the actors and writers in these shows. My assumption has been that they get paid the same way that any TV actor/writer gets paid. But apparently not.
In an attempt to avert a strike, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have reached a tentative deal with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). What exactly does this mean? Well, it means that TV will go on for another day. This deal comes just after two months after AMPTP reached a deal with the Writers Guild of America. Again, what does this mean? Simply put, no writers strike and subsequently more TV for everyone to enjoy. Do you remember the writers strike of 2007/2008? I remember a couple of my beloved shows ended far too soon. It wasn’t a great time for me as I love to watch television. … Read the rest
Stock Market Glitch Reports Apple and Other Stocks at $123.47
If you have stock in Apple, Amazon, Google or Microsoft, you may have woken up to some interesting news. These stocks were all listed at $123.47. Which was a drop for the first three, but a significant gain for Microsoft. But, the drastic jump in stock prices was not accurate. If you woke up and had a mini heart attack today, you can calm down as it was all because of an error. A Nasdaq spokesman told CNBC that the glitch came about after some test results were wrongly distributed by the third party finance sites. “As part of its normal process, the UTP distributed test data and certain third parties improperly propagated the data. Nasdaq is working with third party vendors to resolve the matter,” the spokesman said.
What is interesting is that these stock prices were all the same. Down to the penny. But that alone might not have been enough for some people to know that it was an error. “I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often,” considering the complexity of today’s financial markets, said James Angel, a finance professor at Georgetown University in Washington. “We want these mistakes to happen when the market is closed on a holiday, rather than when the market is open for business.” I too am extremely surprised that this doesn’t happen more often. As Angel points out, the markets are complex.
According to Bloomberg, “Nasdaq and NYSE Group Inc., each run central data feeds that are the industry standard bearers.… Read the rest
Wait for an Apple HomePod? Or Buy a Home Assistant Now?
If you are in the market for a home assistant, you’re probably wondering which one you should buy. The big two that are available are the Amazon Echo and Google Home. During last week’s WWDC, Apple announced it’s own home assistant. Well, kind of. It’s being marketed as a smart speaker that you can use to control your HomeKit enabled accessories. The difference is that it is also an bit like a wireless speaker. The big question, however is should you wait for it to be available? With the Amazon and Google product being available now, should you wait until December to buy Apple’s version. That’s right, I said December. It’s likely not as far away as you think it is, but still. Do you want to wait six months for a home assistant? Or should you?
The HomePod is more like a speaker than a home assistant. It has some pretty incredible technology built into it that allows the speaker to understand the dynamic of the room to be able to adjust the sounds. At this time, neither the Echo or the Home have the same technology. There are similar capabilities, but if you’re interested in a dynamic musical experience, then you should hold off for the HomePod. That being said, you might be able to get a similar experience out of the Echo as you can connect the Echo Dot to a speaker.
Apple is marketing the HomePod around the idea that it wants to give you a better musical experience. … Read the rest
HBO Pulls Original Content From Amazon After 2018 Contract Expires
Is HBO competing with itself when it comes to online streaming? Let me explain. HBO currently offers access to HBO original programming through Amazon. A deal they are considering ending when the contract expires in 2018. But does the contract even make sense with the HBO Now service? I guess it depends. Does HBO get more money through it’s licensing deal with Amazon, or through it’s HBO Now subscriptions?
HBO Now features original series from the last 30 years, and with Amazon offering some of the same content. What is interesting is that HBO was estimated to be getting $250-$300 million from Amazon in this deal. Which leads me to believe they think they could be making a whole lot more from their own subscriptions. But is that realistic? Would you pay to have a stand alone HBO Now subscription, in order to access HBO content?
Don’t get me wrong, the original programming from HBO is second to none. However, I wonder if HBO is being realistic with their long term plans to get more money out of subscribers. Let’s look at this critically. First of all, there is an over saturation in the market as far as TV options. Whether it’s traditional cable TV, or online streaming, there are many options to choose from. What makes HBO believe they can stand out among the crowd in this regard? Like I said, it’s not the programming itself, but can one survive on HBO alone?… Read the rest
You Can Now Find Alexa in Ecobee Thermostats and Light Switches
This is good news for Amazon. The company Ecobee is integrating Alexa into their thermostats and light switches. Which is also good news for consumers. Right? In theory, yes. It will give consumers the ability to have a smart home, that’s integrated with artificial intelligence. But is that always a good thing? On one hand, the idea of a smart home is great. Giving home owners the flexibility to make changes to their homes when they aren’t there. But this takes it one step farther by integrating the voice control piece from Alexa into the smart devices. The question I have is around privacy. Should we be concerned that Alexa is now integrated into our homes? Is she listening at all times?
There were some jokes being made around the question posed to Alexa, asking if the CIA was listening. Giving people the impression that someone was listening in to their conversations, and ultimately their lives. Whether or not you choose to believe that is up to you. I’m not going to get into that particular example, but it is an interesting theory. Like the good conspiracy theorist that I am, I could take this very far. But I won’t. I will suggest that there is the capability to hack into these devices and, in this case listen. But is that happening is not known at this point.
Another example, which is equally scary in my opinion, is around baby monitors. … Read the rest
These are the Best Tech April Fool’s Day Pranks this Year
I know there is no way you were able to get to all the April Fools pranks happening so we did you a favor. Here are the best tech ones in one spot. The T-Mobile one is my favorite. I mean I would actually order it on Amazon if it was real. The Google Ms. Pac-Man game was actually fun to play. This year more than others, April’s fool was a hit.
Google went all out this year. With a few great and a few not so great pranks from the different departments. From the Google Maps team, Ms. Pac Maps. It turns any map on iPhone and Android in a huge Pac-Maps game. It’s actually fun. There is the Bubble Wrap Keyboard, Google Gnome and Haptic Helpers.
Hulu: Hu Short Cuts
Hulu is cutting shows to just a few seconds.
Amazon Echo that can talk to animals.
Lyft: Power Glove
Raise your hand in the air and request a ride.
T-Mobile ONEsie full-body wearable that monitors everything for $40 is fake but I want it!
Lucid: The Haramed Mattress
I don’t know if I want to laugh or smh. I ended up doing both.
The online Apple store this week started selling Smart Rope. What makes this jump rope “smart” you ask? The jump rope counts the number of jumps you take. My first thought was whats the big deal. The Tangram Smart Rope shows the number of jumps right in front of user. So as you jump you will see your jumps “in the air” which is pretty cool. The Smart Rope has built-in LEDs. You can also display the number of calories you burn instead of jumps if you wish. The 23 LEDs embedded in the rope flash at thousands of times per minute, using persistence of vision. The LEDs are bright enough to be seen clearly even in bright room.
The Smart Rope relays your information to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You have to use an app called the Smart Gym. The app displays information on jumps, calories burned and total training time. You can also sync the app with Apple HealthKit to help provide an even more accurate picture of your overall well-being. The cost of Tangram Smart Rope Factory in the Apple Online store is $89.99 or you can get it at Amazon for the same price.