WTAM 1100 – What is Net Neutrality?

Play Audio – WTAM 1100 Newsradio – Tech Tuesday – February 10th, 2015: Photo by Blaise Alleyne

WTAM 1100 Newsradio Cleveland OhioThere’s a lot of talk about the FCC, Title II and net neutrality in the news lately. While telecom policies and the laws that apply to them are vast and complex, the argument for a free and open Internet is an important one for both sides of the current debate.

For this week’s #TechTuesday segment on WTAM 1100 Newsradio, Bill Wills and I discussed what “net neutrality” is and why it’s important to listeners.

WTAM 1100 – Smartphone Snow Apps

Play Audio – WTAM 1100 Newsradio – Tech Tuesday – February 3rd, 2015:

WTAM 1100 Newsradio Cleveland OhioThis week has seen a lot of Winter storms hitting the midwest. While we’re still digging ourselves out from yet another snowstorm, here’s a list of apps that can be useful for dealing with Winter’s wrath:

  • Plowz and Mowz – Like Uber for snow plowing. It allows you to search for on-demand snow plowing (or mowing service during warmer weather) in your area, either through the website or the smartphone app available for Android and iOS.
  • First Aid – Protect yourself with step-by-step instructions first aid from the American Red Cross.
  • Waze – Get a head’s up as you head into work with traffic and road hazard alerts using this free GPS app that provides information from other drivers on your route.
  • Snow Day Calculator Looking to get your kid’s hopes up? Snow Day Calculator has both a web page and downloadable app that allows you to enter your zip code in and get a rough percentage chance that their school will be closed. The app was built a few years back by a middle school student who is now at MIT.

WTAM 1100 – Support Scams and Windows 10 News

Play Audio – WTAM 1100 Newsradio – Tech Tuesday – January 27th, 2015:

WTAM 1100 Newsradio Cleveland OhioJohn, a longtime #TechTuesday listener had emailed Bill Wills of the Wills & Snyder in the Morning on WTAM 1100 Newsradio to share his story of being called by scammers pretending to be Microsoft. This continues to be a concern for both computer users and legitimate tech support companies, and Bill and I discussed how listeners can help avoid falling for these phishing scams.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, here’s an article on how fake tech support phishing scams work, as well as tips on what to do if you are scammed.

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Also on this week’s #TechTuesday segment, last week was a big week for news around Windows 10. While Microsoft made their formal Windows 10 announcement last year, much of the news was around their enterprise features. Microsoft spent a full day introducing their upcoming consumer-orientated features for the new operating system. Some highlights:

  • Release Date: An exact date still hasn’t been confirmed, but it’s expected to be later this year, and likely closer to October.
  • Free Upgrade: Microsoft will provide a free Windows 10 upgrade for a year to current Windows 8 and 7 devices. Windows Phone 8.1 users will also see a free upgrade. Unfortunately, no free upgrade for Windows Vista and XP, and Windows RT doesn’t currently have an upgrade path. Microsoft has not announced pricing once that year ends, or for new devices.
  • Cortana: Microsoft’s “intelligent digital assistant” jumps from Windows Phone to Windows 10 PCs and tablets, allowing you to speak or type questions or requests and get news, set appointments, control your PC and more.
  • New Web Browser: Code-named “Project Spartan”, Windows 10 will get a brand new web browser that does not contain legacy code from Internet Explorer. IE will likely still be available for Windows 10 for compatibility with certain sites and enterprise apps, but the new browser is expected to be the primary access on the new OS.
  • Unified Apps: While not every software developer will make use of it, they will have the option to create “unified apps” that can run across any Windows PC, tablet, phone and even the Xbox One. An example Microsoft used was a new Outlook app to give you the same look and menu system across your devices, yet still optimized itself for the different screen sizes. Combined with Microsoft One Drive cloud service, you could check your same email account across devices.
  • Continuum: For the growing number of 2-in-1 devices that can switch from being a laptop to a tablet, Continuum is a Windows 10 feature to instantly shift between the standard mouse and keyboard interface of the PC and the touch controls of a tablet.
  • Xbox One Streaming: If the family TV is being used by other family members, gamers can stream their Xbox One games to a Windows PC or tablet screen to play elsewhere in the house.

Expect more information to come from Microsoft at their Build Developer’s Conference at the end of April.

WTAM 1100 – Is Your Smartphone a Germ Magnet?

Play Audio – WTAM 1100 Newsradio – Tech Tuesday – January 6th, 2015

WTAM 1100 Newsradio Cleveland OhioAs the prime flu season continues, you may want to take a look at how clean is your mobile device. Smartphones are devices we handle every day, touching them with both our fingers and our faces. Studies do show that mobile devices are a common haven for pathogens, even though most are harmless.

While you could attack your phone with all sorts of cleaning chemicals, it’s important to note that many household cleaners have the potential to damage delicate electronics. However, researchers have found that you can strike an effective balance between cleaning and carefulness by using a mix of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. This combination is found in many screen cleaning kits available at your local Best Buy.

You can also make a mix on your own by using a 1 to 1 ratio of 70% or better pure isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. It’s important to use a purer alcohol along with distilled water to prevent minerals and other chemicals from being left behind as the solution evaporates. Isopropyl alcohol and distilled water can be found at most local groceries or drug stores.

For more tips on cleaning your mobile devices, as well as your laptop and smart TV, check out this New York Times articles on cleaning the mobile germ warehouse.

WTAM 1100 – Backup Resolutions and Facebook Hoaxes

Play Audio – WTAM 1100 Newsradio – Tech Tuesday – January 6th, 2015

WTAM 1100 Newsradio Cleveland OhioNew Year’s is the perfect time to make changes for the better in your life. On this week’s #TechTuesday segment on Wills and Snyder in the Morning, we discussed protecting your important data by making a resolution to back-up once a week.

This week also saw the long-running Facebook copyright hoax recirculating through social media. Bill Wills and I discussed how Facebook uses your content and what their user agreement means for those photos of your cat posted to your Facebook timeline.