Digital Voice Assistance, Cyber Hacks, and Streaming | #150
Technology is continuing to alter the way we do things and as the tech assistance increases, so does the need for security. We chat with Richard Gunther about digital voice assistance products like Amazon Alexa, and what bringing an ‘always on’ speaker into your home really means. Then, we talk about the massive hack that happened over Mother’s Day weekend, called the WannaCry Ransomware attack. Justin Cappos of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering gives us some tips to help keep our personal credentials safe from cyber hackers. We end the show with The Wirecutter’s Chris Heinonen who tells us his favorite sources for entertainment streaming. Learn more now.
· [00:00:00] Happenings in Technology
· [00:06:28] Digital Voice Assistance
· [00:12:31] Voice Assistance in Your Home
· [00:19:51] High Sound Quality Speakers Matter
· [00:29:31] Is the Amazon Look Too Intrusive?
· [00:35:52] Amazon is Always Listening
· [00:42:13] NSA Hacking Tools Breached
· [00:49:23] Backup Protection for Computers
· [00:54:44] Software Updates for Your Protection
· [01:02:04] Playstation Vue Live Streaming
· [01:10:42] Multitude of Streaming Systems
· [01:18:05] Keep Classic Cable, Save Money
Discover more about segments and guests below…
[00:00:00] Happenings in Technology
Jason and Mike give us a preview on the topics that we will be covering in this episode including the WannaCry ransomeware hack, improving cyber security, and whether or not to buy a digital voice assistant. Expounding upon the latter topic, we find out if Mike or Jason have digital voice assistance products within their own homes and why. Join us for more.
[00:06:28] Digital Voice Assistance
We have personal tech helpers with us all of the time, and advances in the digital voice assistance are leading to a new wave of connected home products. Richard Gunther gives us an inside look on what it is like to have a product like the Amazon Echo in your home. The pint-sized Echo can set timers, play music, give you news updates, read off recipes and so much more. Apple’s Siri has similar functions, but does not yet have the technology to go into as much detail as the Echo. Richard thinks that consumers were surprised that Amazon entered into the digital voice assistance field, but that doesn’t seem to hamper the Echo’s popularity. Discover more about the Echo now.
[00:12:31] Voice Assistance in Your Home
Do you have a favorite gadget that makes life easier? Digital voice assistance has worked its way into many of our homes and The Digital Media Zone’s Richard Gunther says he can’t live without it. He has the Amazon Echo located in his kitchen and often uses it when cooking. Richard loves that he is able to get information without stopping what he is doing, and has even programmed his smart lights to interact with the kitchen timer on his Echo. These kinds of products are hitting store shelves with greater frequency, can we expect some of the other big tech companies to join in? Find out more now.
[00:19:51] High Sound Quality Speakers Matter
Everyone is talk about (and to) digital voice assistants like the Amazon Echo. What we really want to know is, how does it sound? The Digital Media Zone’s Richard Gunther tells us what he thinks about the speaker on his favorite little kitchen helper. For day to day information and tech needs, Richards says it’s extremely beneficial to have an Echo in your home, but when it comes to playing music, it doesn’t sound great. The sound isn’t even as good as a portable Bluetooth speaker – Are companies working towards incorporating high quality speakers into their digital voice assistants? Find out now.
[00:29:31] Is the Amazon Echo Look Too Intrusive?
While fashion is important, we think that Amazon could be taking it a little too far. The Amazon Echo Look is a small unit with an ‘always on’ speaker and camera. Great for fashion lovers, the Echo Look can scan outfits noting whether the outfit is stylish, or offer fashion advice to help users stay trendy. It can even recommend wardrobe pieces that the consumer can buy straight from Amazon.com. While this is brilliant for Amazon, Richard Gunther of The Digital Media Zone tells us there is no way he would let the Echo Look into his home. A camera in your dressing area doesn’t seem like a good thing to subject your family too – While the product itself may be innocent, there are cyber hackers out there that are not. Stay informed, listen now.
[00:35:52] Amazon is Always Listening
There are many great uses of digital voice assistance, but there are some things that should be raising concern with consumers. The Digital Media Zone’s Richard Gunther tells us about some surprising issues users are facing with their devices. The biggest and most obvious fear is the ‘always on’ microphone, and depending on the device, the ‘always on’ camera. Some companies have even begun to take advantage of these features by creating ads that will trigger the device to order your favorite pizza or read you the definition of a product, an outward form of subliminal messaging. On that note, Richard is frustrated with the lack of specific voice recognition, which would solve accidental triggering. What is in store for the future of these devices? Find out now.
[00:42:13] NSA Hacking Tools Breached
A massive cyber hack occurred last week and Justin Cappos, cyber-security expert from NYU Tandon School of Engineering, explains what the WannaCry ransomware entailed and who will be effected. Before the event, there were files stolen and published from the NSA, these files contained hack information they had been storing to use against our advisories. This hack targeted out of date windows systems, encrypted files, and then demanded a Bitcoin ransom in order to regain access to files; even after paying the ransom, most did not get their files back. The question Justin poses: why were these hacks stored by the NSA and not fixed immediately instead? Learn more now.
[00:49:23] Backup Protection for Computers
After the WannaCry Ransomware attack, many are worried about the safety of their important data. Justin Cappos, cyber-security expert from NYU Tandon School of Engineering, is here to tell us what we can do to protect ourselves from a cyber-attack. The best way to safeguard yourself or company is to back up all of your information onto an external storage device, and then (this is important, so listen up!) disconnect it. Any back-ups that remain connected to your computer are easily susceptible to a hack. Discover more cyber safety tips now.
[00:54:44] Be Aware of Vulnerabilities
Fortunately, tech companies are very well aware of the threat of cyber terrorism and are aggressively stopping them as soon as they get wind of an occurrence. Cyber-security expert, Justin Cappos, is here to talk about a few ways to stay safe from those unwanted breaches. Many companies use updates as a way to universally fix problems discovered within their software, and when they prompt you to update, it is because they want to protect you from a potential threat. Some operating systems will be at a higher risk in the future, so it is wise to stay informed at all times. Learn more about protecting your digital assists now.
[01:02:04] PlayStation Vue Live Streaming
Cable TV is now a thing of the past, and streaming applications are battling to be the top dog. There is a new player in the world of live streaming, and The Wirecutter’s Chris Heinonen tells us all about it. Chris is a longtime fan of Sling TV, but has recently switched over to the PlayStation Vue. Why? The PlayStation is not tied down with channel restrictions like some of its competitors. Although the price is higher, you are paying for more options and the ability to DVR your favorite shows. The Vue is reminiscent of the classic cable TV model, making it very user friendly. What streaming option is in your best interest? Find out now.
[01:10:42] A Multitude of Streaming Systems
At this point it is nearly impossible for users to get all of their streaming needs from one location. Many homes have a combination of systems, and have to switch around depending on what they are wanting to watch. Chris Heinonen of The Wirecutter tells us that he uses PlayStation Vue, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and that he even has a sever closet that houses a HDHomeRun Connect. Whew, that’s a lot to keep track of and people are beginning to get tired of it. Chris is sure that most consumers would switch to an all-in-one option, if available. Original content is also swaying users. What is your preferred streaming source?
[01:18:05] Keep Classic Cable, Save Money
Cable TV viewers are going the way of the dodo as new streaming options available, however, The Wirecutter’s Chris Heinonen tells us not to cut the cable cord just yet. We all require internet to use video streaming devices that we have and most internet companies are directly correlated with cable providers. Chris shares that when he went to cancel his cable, his internet bill was subject to a $60 increase. After chatting with the company, he worked out a deal where he kept the cable at an affordable base rate, and his internet bill stayed low. So before you decide to do away with classic cable, make sure you are not going to be paying more.
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CreditsProgram Host: Jason Masters
Program Host: Mike Etchart
Producer: Dave Milligan
Production Asst.: Joanne Bolden
Audio Engineer: Dave Milligan
Copy Editor: Jessica Baumgardner
Graphic Design: Becky Vaughn
Special Guest: Richard Gunther
Special Guest: Justin Cappos
Special Guest: Chris Heinonen