Samsung in 2015: Chatting Galaxy Phones with Trisha Hershberger

The lovely and talented Trisha Hershberger joined me in the office to chat about the state of Samsung this year. We became friends by bonding over our affection for Galaxy phones, but this year has been challenging for some of us older Sammy fans. Settle in for a fun chat between two buddies, because we’re going to talk about some tech!

Trisha Hershberger around the web:

I wrote a book! If you want to take your smartphone photography and video skills up a notch, you’ll want to read my book! ‘Take Better Photos: Smartphone Photography for Noobs!’ is now available –
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FCC Reclassifies Internet as a Utility, Defends Net Neutrality

FCCThis has been a crazy trip.

From Verizon suing the Government over the Open Internet Order, to proposed “Fast Lane” rules, to now. The FCC has been busy today. First, announcing it will preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina which were preventing community funded broadband efforts.

Second, approving rules which will reclassify broadband internet as a common carrier utility under Title II regulations. Thankfully, unlike the OIO, these new rules will also apply to mobile networks, not just wired ones. The vote was 3-2 in favor, on party lines with the Democrat majority winning the day.

“While I see no need for net neutrality rules, I am far more troubled by the dangerous course that the Commission is now charting on Title 2 and the consequences it will have for broadband investment, edge providers and consumers,”

-Republican FCC member Michael O’Rielly, who voted against the new rules.

We can also expect much crying and gnashing of teeth from the GOP in the House and Senate, with tired FUD and scare tactics, even though companies like Sprint have already pointed out that light touch regulation can be incredibly beneficial to a market as stagnant as our telecommunications industry. You would not have carriers like T-Mobile today, if the cell phone industry hadn’t been reclassified as Title II in the mid 1990’s. You can lead an elephant to water…

It’s a day many supporters of Net Neutrality thought we’d never see, and while there will still be a number of battles to fight over who regulates the internet, and what those actions should resemble, we can at least call today a victory for pretty much anyone who uses any kind of commerce or data driven service online.

The FCC has a five page write up, detailing the new rules.



Video: Discussing Technology’s Role in Child Sex Trafficking: Carol Smolenski, Executive Director ECPAT

carol smolenski headshot executive director ECPAT intervew somegadgetguyI’m a futurist. I believe most of the solutions to problems facing humanity will involve our ability to apply tech. It’s always a shock discovering that those same tools that I enjoy can be used to support some vile behaviors.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Carol Smolenski, the Executive Director of ECPAT, an organization which provides educational materials, outreach, and supports law enforcement in reducing child sex trafficking. They were recently honored by The Hilton Foundation winning the 2013 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize.

It was a sobering discussion to realize that child abuse imagery is on the rise around the world, and we spent some time discussing what technology’s role might be in solving this problem.

For more info please visit:

My Morning Commute – Woman watches video on tablet while driving

WP_20130924_08_53_17_Pro__highresWe have to be better than this people.

We all get comedically outraged when we see bad tech behavior from people operating motor vehicles, when we recount those stories at dinner parties. However, there’s something sickeningly shocking about actually confronting this behavior head on. Out in the wild. Actually on the street. That momentary, icy chill when you realize that someone values their video watching more than the lives of all the people around them on the road.

Distracted driving has become one of my causes. It’s already illegal to use tech in this manner, but that doesn’t seem to act as much of a deterrent, and over 100,000 crashes a year involve technology. We need to do a better job of making it unfashionable. We need to make it as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving. We can be responsible tech citizens.

Moments after I took this photo, I honked my horn to see if I could snap her out of it. She didn’t even flinch before she turned to merge on I-405.

And yes, the irony of me using my phone to snap this pic isn’t lost on me.

For more info on the dangers of distracted driving, I would humbly ask you check out, please share the free documentary From One Second to the Next (directed by Werner Herzog), and you can also check out a recent event held here in LA to encourage people to sign the pledge to curb distracted driving.

NASA develops new RADAR which can detect human heart beat under 30 feet of rubble

NASA FINDER disaster relief radar heartbeat detectorI happen to live in an earthquake prone state, so the fear of being buried alive under a collapsed roof is very real.

NASA has developed a new tool to aid disaster relief first responders. A small box the size of a carry-on suitcase (an actual carry-on, not those gi-normous bags YOU try and cram into overhead space) utilizes RADAR to detect human heart beats through tens of feet of rubble and debris.

FINDER, which stands for “Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response”, isn’t just a tech proof of concept either. NASA has worked on fleshing out the device’s ecosystem focusing on ease of use and portability. FINDER’s battery will allow for up to 14 hours of use, and it’s controlled via tablet. NASA believes that most people should be capable of using FINDER after only a few minutes of introduction, and that it’s little different in operation than pointing a flashlight down a dark tunnel.

Lastly, even though FINDER is bleeding edge rescue tech, NASA estimates that individual units could sell for around $10,000. In terms of speeding up disaster response, that’s not a difficult price to pay.

(pic via PhysOrg)

Galaxy Note 3 first to feature new Qualcomm Radio Power Management. More run time, less heat.

qualcomm radio lte envelope tracking galaxy note 3 somegadgetguySo the radio in your phone is often one of the worst offenders in draining your battery. For all of our criticism surrounding powerful quad-cores, throw your phone into airplane mode, and it’s shocking how long that quad can run. We can only pack in SO much battery density, and the rest of your phone can be surprisingly frugal, which is why developments in radio management are so crucial to improving the smartphone experience.

Qualcomm has been working on Envelope Tracking for their LTE radio technology. To over-simplify, LTE is a little different in how it communicates with cell towers than 3G, which in the past has made it more difficult to adjust the power of the radio in your phone while maintaining a stable connection to a tower. Essentially, your phone’s radio tries to find an average signal to broadcast at, but often just runs at max on LTE, which is pretty terrible for battery life, and can sometimes result in a poor connection.

17 action menuEnvelope Tracking for LTE allows the radio to better scale with the quality of the tower’s signal. As the radio is working a brute force style signal, it should greatly reduce the amount of power needed to run, which should also cut back on wasted heat. Qualcomm is estimating a 20% reduction in power and a 30% reduction in heat generated by the radio. This should also provide a more stable link to the tower, hopefully resulting in faster throughput.

Now normally when we write up new tech like this it’s usually an article about researchers in a lab, and we’ll all have to wait for the breakthrough to eventually filter down into our actual consumer devices. The nice thing about Qualcomm’s ET gear is it’s already going to be included in the Galaxy Note 3. Likely one of the reasons Samsung went with Qualcomm’s 800 series chipset for its LTE variants of the note.

Hit the Qualcomm blog for better explanations of all the  science-y details.

Friday Retro Fun: Walter Cronkite shows us the home office of 2001 (from 1967)

It’s always kinda cool to see how much futurists of the past got correct. It’s also kind of crazy to think that today a phone which fits in our pocket replicates all of the functionality on display here (and more).

Happy Friday!