The Ring Video Doorbell has been described as “caller ID for your front door”. It’s an awesome device that lets you see who’s at your door, talk to them or not, and do all this from anywhere you are on the planet (assuming you have internet). Another theoretical advantage is that you can see if there’s a package left on your doorstep and ask a neighbor to go get it for you before someone steals it.
For answering the door it’s awesome. For seeing the packages on your doorstep, not so much. A year and a half ago when we first got the Ring doorbell, I did a very favorable review of it, with this notable exception. The problem with the Ring doorbell is that it has way way way too high of an upward viewing angle, and not nearly enough downward view to the doorstep.
To illustrate this point, I simulated former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal standing at my front door and showed how there was a good six inches still viewable above his head. I even talked to the CEO of Ring, Jamie Siminoff, about it CES, but he didn’t seem sympathetic to this problem even after I told him about my Shaq experiment. Probably thought I was a nut job.
David Ginsburg of the In Touch with iOS podcast sent in a recording describing the unusual problem he had where Apple shipped him with an operating system actually newer than the one you can download. I’ve started a series called Tiny Tips, and the first one is why you should create a folder called Delete Me. I’ve got part 2 of my Affinity Photo for iPad review/walk through and then we’ve got Security Bits with Bart Busschots.
Update on Ring and they’re problematic app and website, Daniel Semro demonstrates how a blind person subscribes to a podcast. It’s surprising what things you can’t do without data (as I learned in the national parks last week). In response to Tim Jahr’s question, I’ll explain why I said during Chit Chat Across the Pond with Bruce Wilson that IT is waste. Claus Wolf asks for a change to the Amazon Affiliate Links and I grant that wish. Bart Busschots is back with another fabulous Security Bits segment.
Steve Sheridan compares two Bluetooth headphones, the new PowerBeats 3 against the older Jabra Sports, not as much on sound quality but on fit and Bluetooth connectivity. We’ve got our last interview from NAB 2017, with Yi about their 4K+ Action Camera (the guy called it a GoPro killler). I’ll tell you why I think sleep tracking is dumb and Bart will tell you how an Anker 2 port USB charger solved his problem. Joe Dugandzic of Smarter Home Life will tell us about the new offerings from Ikea in affordable smart lighting. Bruce Wilson tells us about the Plantronics Blackwire C435 headset he used for our interview on Chit Chat Across the Pond this week. We’ll finish up with two dumb questions from me to Bart about clicking unsubscribe links in emails and shortened links in Twitter. I learned something new from his answer.
Bart and I pushed out a new episode of Taming the Terminal in both the Chit Chat Across the Pond Taming the Terminal feeds. I’ll tell you why Rogue Amoeba is the gold standard of customer support. Then we’ll hear about Ricoh’s next generation 360 camera. I’ll then go on a rant of all of the quality assurance work I’ve done for so many companies in the last few weeks, including AirPods, iPads Pro, iPad Pro keyboards, Ring video software and website, Apple Watch activity sharing, Screenflow and even macOS. Bart Busschots is back with a new edition of Security Bits. He explains subtleties of the WannaCry ransomeware that I’ve heard nowhere else, then he explains how Apple is going to institute a requirement for app-specific passwords for third party apps with access to your iCloud calendar, contacts and mail. Very important listening.
We have a huge show today. Steve’s put out two more video interviews from NAB in Las Vegas, I’ve got a pretty big announcement about Chit Chat Across the Pond, and we’ve got another giant Security Bits with Bart Busschots. I told him maybe when there’s such a big security news week we should call it Security Blobs!
There are five Security Mediums in this episode. We’ll talk about a remote code execution built in Intel CPUs, Bart will explain what can go wrong with two-factor authentication through SMS, we’ll cover the Google Docs phishing worm and how Google could have prevented it, we’ll learn about how the beloved Handbrake servers got hacked causing distribution of malware, and as if that isn’t enough we’ll talk about the WannaCry worm that has indiscriminately taken down networks across the globe.
I like to post to Podfeet.com when I’ve had appearances on other shows, but this week I’m even more excited to tell you that Bart was on Daily Tech News Show this week! He and Tom Merritt had a great rapport as they discussed the latest tech news. The main topic though was passwords, and they spent a bunch of time talking about Bart’s xkpasswd.net password generator. If you haven’t ever used xkpasswd, it’s a tool Bart created that creates secure, memorable passwords that you can tailor to your needs.
Check out DTNS 3024, which was entitled with a title according to one of xkpasswd.net’s algorithms: :42^DAILY^TECH^NEWS^SHOW^47::
Bart and I have talked a lot in his Security Bits segment on the NosillaCast about the problems with security on Android. It’s not that Google hasn’t produced a good operating system, and it’s not that they don’t patch security holes when they find them. The biggest problem with Android is the stronghold that the phone manufacturers and the cell carriers have over the operating system.
If you buy an Android phone from a cell carrier, It will usually have the latest and greatest version of Android. But once a new version comes out, it might be greatly delayed in delivery to you, or the carrier may never let you have it at all. That’s a problem, but a worse problem is that the cell carriers may or may not push security updates to you.
From the data, it would be logical to surmise that the cell carriers want you to upgrade to a new phone and this is a way of nudging you along. But the important thing is not their motivations but rather the affect of these actions.
This week I’ll tell you about my experience installing the ecobee3 and later in the show I’ll review it. I’ll tell you why even though it’s awesome you shouldn’t buy it. We’ll have the first of our NAB 2017 interviews – Quarterback for Live TV on a phone. Then I’ll explain why you seriously want to avoid buying the TrackR (not because it’s awesome). Then we have a great episode of Security Bits with Bart Busschots. It’s got four Security Mediums which gave us a lot to chew on.
With the recent legislation on privacy rules for ISPs in the United States, a lot of people are considering using VPNs to protect their Internet traffic from home. I thought this would be a great time to get Dave Peck on the show, co-founder of Cloak, my VPN of choice. This isn’t a show about Cloak but rather about VPNs in general. We talked about whether we should consider one for our home use, we talk about what kind of information your VPN provider may be collecting on you, we talk about the importance of understanding privacy policies.
Dave is very frank and honest about things like how Cloak handles things like logging of user data. Dave also answers some listener questions. There are some real surprises in this episode, in particular what you should know about those “top five VPN” lists you may have seen recently. I thought I knew where the discussion was going to go, and I was very surprised.
In preparation for this discussion, Dave wrote up his thoughts at davepeck.org/…