This Week in Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Review

Episode 1316

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Leo has the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which he says Samsung rushed out before Android 7 launched this week in order to try and leach off the iPhone sales in the fall. It's got a nifty adapt sound feature that allows you to dial in the sound of the phone should you have hearing impairments. It supports microSD cards again. The TouchWiz interface is definitely lighter, so it's not as annoying as on previous models. You can't break the stylus in this one by putting in it wrong, either. All in all, Leo says it's an excellent phone and he likes it a lot.

Hacking Group Announces Auction of NSA "Cyber Weapons"

Episode 1315

A hacker group called "ShadowBrokers" may have gotten NSA exploits that could be used to target Cisco firewall systems. If these are real, did they hack the NSA to get them? The group is asking for 1 million Bitcoins in an auction for the best "cyber weapons" that the group hasn't released. It raises a lot of questions about the legitimacy of these exploits, how they got them, and how dangerous they are. It seems that they are real, though, because The Intercept released documents on Friday that effectively confirm that the ShadowBrokers preliminary data dump is real.

Microsoft's Anniversary Update to Windows 10 Breaks Most Webcams

Episode 1315

Microsoft had a public beta of the Anniversary Update, called the Windows Insider Program. That means millions of people used the Anniversary Update before it was released. So it's difficult to understand why there have suddenly been so many problems. You can't avoid the Anniversary Update either if you have Windows 10. Among the problems, the latest update breaks most webcams. The reason for this, apparently, is that it broke support for standard compressed video codecs MJPEG and H.264, the format those cameras use. There have also been reports of nonstop blue screens.

Microsoft's First Windows 10 Update Meets Widespread Criticism

Episode 1313

Microsoft Windows 10 Start Menu

Microsoft's first anniversary update has broken many peripherals and applications. Leo says that since it's more difficult to roll back now that the Windows 10 deadline has passed, it comes down to waiting for your device or application to fix the issue with a new update or driver. Leo says that Microsoft should take a page from Linux and have a stable version when their updates start crashing systems.

The chatroom also says that Microsoft has reduced the rollback window from 30 days to 10 days. Leo says that still should be enough to determine if you like Windows 10 or not.

Android Has a Bad Exploit: QuadRooter

Episode 1313

A really bad exploit in the Android OS enables the installation of malware called QuadRooter. Google is working to push security updates, and promises to have an update by September. If your manufacturer or wireless provider is slow to push out updates, then you may be vulnerable for quite some time, especially if you have an old phone. If you're looking to get a new phone, make sure you're getting it from a company that's offering monthly updates.

Rumors Persist That Apple Will Drop Headphone Jack on Next iPhone

Episode 1312

Apple iPhone 6s

With the fall Apple event only weeks away, rumors persist that Apple plans to eliminate the headphone jack in favor of headphones that use the Lightning connector. Leo says it's been tried before. The Motorola Droid Z didn't have one. Leo says that people want a headphone jack and this is going to be a test of brand loyalty. But Steve Gibson says that using the Lightning connector could pave the way for Apple to add noise cancelling earbuds to the design. It could also transmit data like measuring blood pressure while you're working out.

Samsung Announces Galaxy Note 7

Episode 1312

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 7 this week. When the first Note came out, it was ridiculed for being way too big, but now it's common. It's popular for the bigger screens and for the improved battery life over smaller phones. People were surprised at the Samsung announcement because they expected the battery in the Note 7 to be smaller, when it actually will be bigger. While the original Note had a removable battery, the previous Note 5 did not. It also did not have an SD card slot for memory expansion.

Disney Releases Its Own Messaging App for Kids

Episode 1312

Disney Mix

Disney has released Disney Mix, a messaging app made for kids. Leo thinks that this could be an attempt at getting a new generation of brand loyalty to Disney, much like Sony did with its "My First Sony" Walkmen. This is a good idea for kids under 13 that want to use messaging. The app not only has messaging capabilities, but games, you can make meme-style images, share stickers, and more. Disney has a series of community rules about staying safe and staying respectful to others. There's also moderation, and Disney will ban any users from misusing the app.

Free Upgrade Period for Windows 10 Has Passed, but There Are Exceptions

Episode 1309

Microsoft Windows 10

The general public deadline to get Windows 10 has passed and if you want to upgrade now, it'll cost you $129. However, if you are reliant on assistive technologies like screen readers, and have to wait for those to be upgraded, Microsoft will give you some extra time to upgrade at no cost. Microsoft will update the OS two or three times a year from now on. The first big update is coming next week on August 2nd.