This Week in Tech News

New Direct Deposit Scam strikes

Episode 1526

Online scam artists are targeting users of the direct deposit payroll system, using social engineering to gain access to bank accounts and steal your paycheck. The primary targets are in education, healthcare, and airline employees. So be watchful over emails saying you need to log into your account to verify your direct deposit information. That's where they get you. As usual, do NOT click on any links in emails. Contact your HR department immediately to verify.

Amazon Hosts Surprise Alexa Event with 14 New Products

Episode 1525

Thursday, Amazon held a surprise Alexa event, announcing 14 new Alexa centered products, with nearly 75 new features. Rich doesn't think it's trivial that Amazon chose the day before the iPhone shipped to grab all the headlines. But Rich also thinks that companies want their customers to be exclusive, and you can end up becoming deeper into their ecosystem, making it harder to use other products outside of it.

IFixIt Finds interesting things inside the iPhone Xs

Episode 1525

IFixit tears down mobile phones to see if they can be repaired and they found that the iPhone has a gigabit wireless antenna, and the IP68 rating is pretty legit. The taptic engine is better than any device out there. One thing that Apple didn't tell us, is that the Camera bump is even bigger than before. The cameras are bigger, and it likely means you'll have to get a new case, rather then try and use the older iPhone X case. How big are the batteries?

National Test of IPAWS Emergency System Happens Thursday

FEMA logo

Episode 1524

On Thursday, FEMA will conduct a test of IPAWS: Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. It will send a message to all the phones in the US to test the infrastructure of the warning system. The test will happen around 2:18 PM ET and will last a half hour.

Rich says it's a big deal that the federal government will take command of every cell phone tower in the country in order to reach everyone at once with a test emergency text message. Rich also says that while there is an opt out provision for some emergency alerts, this isn't one of them. You cannot disable it.

SpaceX Has Signed the First Private Moon Traveler


Episode 1524

Elon Musk's company SpaceX has announced that it has signed the first private moon traveler. The company will announce who it is, and when that flight to the moon will be, on Monday. The original plan called for two passengers to fly around the moon using a Falcon Heavy rocket and a Crew Dragon capsule, but the new strategy is to fly around the moon using an even bigger SpaceX rocket that has its own dedicated passenger ship with only one person aboard.

Apple Announces iPhone Xs, Xs Max, XR

Apple iPhone Xs

Episode 1523

This week Apple announced the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr. Rich says it sounds like a drink you buy at the gas station. Why Apple dropped the "Plus" moniker is beyond Rich, because Plus and Max are really the same thing, except the new iPhone Xs Max has an edge to edge screen, rather than any sort of bezel.

Find out more at

Verizon Severely Throttles Fire Department Wi-Fi Access During Emergency

Fire Truck

Episode 1517

This week Verizon Wireless severely throttled the wireless internet speeds of the Santa Clara Fire Department, unless the department paid double. Verizon says it was merely a mistake and has nothing to do with new net neutrality rules. Leo says that throttling the fire department is a danger to public safety and doesn't buy the excuse. But it'll take years to settle in court, if it goes at all.

Microsoft Using Minecraft for Education

Microsoft Minecraft Education

Episode 1517

Calling Minecraft the "Lego" of the 21st century, Leo says that Microsoft has created an education edition of the game for computer programming, chemistry, and a host of other teaching tools within the game itself. It's also available on the iPad. Leo says it's a very cool idea and a great way to learn science, technology and math (STEM).

Magic Leap Jumps into VR Headset Game

Magic Leap One

Episode 1517

Magic Leap has jumped into the VR headset game with a strange looking goggle like headset that makes you look like an alien when wearing them. It's called Magic Leap One, and it's a developer edition, so most people won't get it in this form. As the field continues to mature and more companies offer headsets, though, the price will go down.