Libby is a mobile app that enables you to check out a library book for free, and transfer it to your Kindle app to read it. It takes a few minutes to sign up for a library card, and it's built with Overdrive, the standard in online book lending. You can also listen to audio books. iOS and Android.
This Week in Tech News
People are getting text messages out of nowhere from people you don't know or remember. Turns out that phantom texts are a thing, and they happen when a text message doesn't get delivered until up to a year later!
SATPAQ is a cool accessory for your cellphone that will give you the ability to send text messages via Satellite. Check out Rich's story on it here - https://ktla.com/2019/11/08/satpaq-satellite-text-messaging-smartphone-accessory-review/. But it's not cheap, at $250 plus.30 cents per text, sold in $100 packages. As long as you can see the southern sky though, it can keep you connected. Uses Bluetooth and supports both Android and iOS.
With everyone pretty much owning a smartphone now, Rich says the next great mobile frontier is accessories for mobile devices. Google knows this and they have bought fitness tracker FitBit for $2.1 Billion. More than they paid for YouTube. Rich also says that Google needs this because its Google WearOS Devices haven't really taken off as they should. And while Google says that they will never share your personal health data, he believes that Google will erode that promise over time. Information is what Google is into.
Google announced the Pixel 4 this week. Leo says that of all the features, the camera is the one that everyone is looking at. Leo also said that Apple was waiting for what Google announced before releasing the upcoming iOS 13.2 update to improve image quality. Leo also says that computational photography has reached a point where your mobile phone's camera is as good as a real camera, so there's no real need to own a separate one now. The phone will also use machine learning to teach the camera what different parts of the image look like, so it'll adjust the image accordingly.
A mandatory power outage up in Petaluma this week nearly scuttled programming at TWiT and for the Tech Guy Show. The outage, designed to guard against wildfires, was enacted when high winds hit the area. But fortunately, by Saturday they had died down and we're still in business!
Microsoft has gotten back into the phone game with a new, hinged dual-screen mobile phone. Instead of running Windows though, it will run Android. It opens and closes like a book, and gives users dual screens that can work separately or together tablet-style. It's called the Windows Surface Duo. But here's the thing: the phone won't hit the market until late 2020.
At a surprise event, Microsoft announced two new Surface products, one like a digital book, the other a 5.5" dual screen mobile phone. Dubbed the Surface Neo and Surface Duo respectively, both devices will run on Windows 10X, a new mobile version of the OS, and will be available Christmas 2020. Microsoft says it will fold together like a book, or open up to be both screens on either side, or close facing each other. Unlike the overpriced Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Surface duo is hinged, rather than folding the screen.
This week, at Oculus annual VR conference, Oculus announced a new virtual social network called Facebook Horizon, where you can join friends in a virtual room and hang out. It's like the infancy of Ready Player One. Leo says it makes sense now the way Facebook would spend $3.2 Billion for Oculus, now. They see the future. Here's what it will look like:
TIVO has announced that they are putting ads in front of every recording they make. Leo says that will be a death knell for the company, which has been struggling since the advent of video on demand. Leo also says it's ironic because TIVO also has a commercial skip button. It's outrageous because you spend hundreds of dollars for a TIVO, and then you pay for a monthly guide subscription. We shouldn't have to deal with ads from TIVO as a reward. Plus, we don't need DVRs anymore, and if we do, Leo says that Plex (a sponsor of the TWiT Network) on your Roku does just as good a job.