The Luddite Lounge: Episode 32: May 9, 2017: We’re Back, Baby!
You can find show notes with related links, a downloadable transcript, and the podcast recording at ludditelounge.com/episode32.
You’re listening to The Luddite Lounge where we’re serving up news, views and how-tos for the digital world we’ve all come to depend on—whether we like it or not!
Hey there glad you can join me today in The Luddite Lounge. I’m Elizabeth Kricfalusi, publisher of the Tech for Luddites blog and Chief Luddite.
This is Episode 32 of The Lounge, returning after a lengthier hiatus than expected! You can find show notes with related links at ludditelounge.com/episode32.
Let’s get started!
First off, a couple of changes are in the works for the Lounge. Instead of producing shows weekly, they’ll be every second Tuesday for the foreseeable future. Also, I’m getting rid of the various types of editions—Five Five Tech, I Stream, You Stream, All Things Rando, etc.—and instead they’re all going to be a version of All Things Rando, as in I’ll talk about whatever I think is relevant/interesting for as long as it takes. With these two changes, the episodes will probably get a little bit longer than they have been, although I still wouldn’t expect them to be much longer than 20 minutes for the most part. And today’s is going to be on the shorter side as I woke up yesterday with a cold whose defining characteristics at the moment are a sore throat and hacking cough. Good times.
So because tech keeps ticking along at its normal crazy pace, a lot has happened since the last episode of the Lounge at the end of January. On the Windows side, one of the big items is that Microsoft will be releasing a new operating system soon called Windows S. It’s meant to be a competitor for Chrome OS, primarily used for educational PCs. The big difference between Windows S and Windows 10 is that S will only run programs from the Microsoft Store. You’re also restricted to setting their own Edge browser as the default and Bing as the default search engine, which is a dealbreaker for me right there.
However, if you purchase a computer with Windows S you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $49. And if you purchase the new Surface Laptop, which is available for pre-ordering now with shipping to begin in mid-June, you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free for one year.
I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to try out the new Surface Laptop. I’m not crazy about the Surface tablet I have, but part of the reason is because the screen doesn’t stand up like a laptop’s. So maybe this will be the answer. I definitely need to do some more research.
Microsoft is also entering the smart speaker space to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices. However, at the moment they’re not building their own hardware. Instead they’re incorporating their smart assistant, Cortana, into Invoke speakers manufactured by Harman Kardon.
You can keep up to date with my curated list of Microsoft-related headlines at techforluddites.com/microsoft.
Speaking of smart speakers, Amazon hasn’t been resting on its Echo laurels. It’s just announced two new related products—the Echo Look and the Echo Show.
The Echo Look is an Alexa-powered camera built into it and is designed to be used to help people find the best styles for themselves. Honestly, I really don’t get the concept myself and can’t see myself getting one even just to test out, but I’m not a particularly style-conscious person.
The Look is $200 and only available to purchase by invitation, but you can request an invite. I have no idea what their criteria is for accepting someone, but there’s a link in the show notes as to where to submit your request if interested.
The Echo Show is an Alexa-enabled device with a touchscreen built into it. This one looks more interesting to me personally, so I probably will be getting one. The Show is currently available for pre-order for shipping at the end of June. The price is $230 but they have a promotion going on if you buy two you can save $100.
Another quick Amazon note: They currently have a Mother’s Day promotion going on with discounts ranging from 20 to 50 dollars on the Fire HD 8 tablet, Echo, and several Kindle E-reader models and bundles. If you go to techforluddites.com/blog, you’ll find a post with more info, plus I’ll link directly to it in the show notes. And you can always visit techforluddites.com/amazon for more related headlines.
There’s lots happening in Cutting the Cable Cord world as well, including new streaming bundles from YouTube and Hulu to join the ranks of Sling TV, Playstation Vue, and DirectTV Now. I’m currently in the process of updating and creating new cord-cutting content on T4L so stay tuned for that!
On the general streaming media side, one really big piece of news is that this summer, Amazon will be releasing an Apple TV app so you can watch their videos without needing an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to AirPlay to the box.
One not-so-great piece of news is that HBO will be removing its videos from Amazon Prime next year. So if you’ve been wanting to re-watch earlier seasons of your favorite HBO shows, now’s a good time to get into binge-watching mode!
Finally, here are some of the Tech for Luddites posts that have been published – either as new articles or updates of existing ones – since the last Lounge episode:
The Facebook News Feed: How to (Sort of) Control What You See
Automatically Move Gmail Messages from Promotions to Primary Tab
What To Do If Your Wi-Fi Suddenly Stops Working
Save Your Sanity—And Your Ear Drums—with a Different Type of Smoke Detector
Kindle eBook Programs: Which One Is Best for You?
How to Connect a Nintendo Wii to a Computer Monitor
CBS All Access Streaming Service
And that’s it for this episode of The Luddite Lounge. Again, you can find the show notes and leave comments at ludditelounge.com/episode32. If you’ve been enjoying The Lounge, please consider heading over to iTunes to rate and/or review the show or share ludditelounge.com with your friends on social media.
Thanks for listening! Until next time…