PCM12 Podcast: How to Get to Email “Inbox Zero”

The bane of our online world is email, despite how easy it seems to simply push “delete.” Fact is, it just keeps piling up.

INBOX ZERO

Consider this: Laura Stack, a productivity expert known fittingly as The Productivity Pro, once helped someone go from having an inbox with about 26,000 emails to “inbox zero,” aka a clean inbox. The point? If that person can achieve inbox nirvana, you most certainly can. too!

Listen to the Episode Below (00:38:58)

For links, a free guide and resources, keep reading for complete shownotes…

App Guide: Eliminate Travel Hassle with These Apps

With brutal cold winter weather gripping much of the country, cabin fever has set in and it’s clearly time for a break. If you’re planning a spring break trip, by taking a few minutes to set up your smartphone with the right apps, you can make sure your trip is hitch-free.

Travel Apps

One of the best overall travel-planning apps is TripIt. The app takes all of those email confirmations you’ve had piling up in your inbox and turns them into an itinerary. That means consolidating info from airlines, hotels, and car rental services and putting it into one place instead of standing in a busy airport or hotel lobby trying to find that one important email you need at that exact second. Available for all platforms Free for 30 days, but $49 a year for full features.

Viator will help you make sure you don’t miss what you shouldn’t miss from wherever you may be. The app will ensure you at least know of all the local attractions and hang-outs. But that’s not all – Viator also helps you find lower cost ways to book and take advantage of available option, receive deal notifications, check out user reviews and more. Free for Android and iOS.

If you’re looking for a fun way to capture the sights from your trip and let everyone know where you are and when, try TripColor. The social media album-creation app allows you to put everything into a portfolio with your captions and location details – including an interactive map so friends and family can “follow” you on your travels. This one is for iOS only.

Check out my report for NBC below:

Apps: Sling TV Might Be the Scissors to Cut the Cable Cord

The lack of live sports and news is often cited by those holding out on cutting the cable cord as the big missing piece of the streaming media puzzle, but (and to borrow a beloved sports metaphor) the new Sling Television app could be a big game changer.

Sling-TV

Simply put, Sling TV is an app that delivers live streaming TV to multiple platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and my personal favorite, Roku. Additional options like Xbox and Nexus Player are coming soon, too. Yes, that’s live as in live – want to watch Wolf Blitzer deliver breaking news via CNN or watch ESPN’s Sportscenter deliver scores and commentary as it happens? You got it.

And to be clear, yes, Sling is owned by DISH Network, but you don’t need any kind of subscription to anything DISH or any other kind of cable or satellite service.

It delivers 14 so-called over-the-top channels for $20 a month with more reportedly on the way, including AMC.

Currently, the channels are:

PCM11: The Shocking Truth About What Hackers Can Do To Your Car

The auto industry’s incessant moves to give us “connected cars” with Internet access and wireless Bluetooth pairing to our smartphones also have made today’s vehicles extremely vulnerable to hackers who are able to get into a car’s electronic brains with ease.

hackingyourcar

In fact, Delphi, an auto supplier, held a so-called “hack-a-thon” event last summer, and a 14-year-old from metro Detroit was able to hack the vehicle using $14 in parts from a Radio Shack.

Just this week that the Center for Automotive Research held a conference in which tech industry experts expressed a general consensus: the auto industry doesn’t have the expertise to take on today’s hackers. That’s on the heels of a recently released report from a pair of U.S. senators that identifies an urgent need for automakers to take action to prevent car hacking. The report says the public needs “the electronic equivalent of seat belts and airbags to keep drivers and their information safe.”

For episode 11 of the PC Mike Techcast we talk to an expert in car hacking who tells us how the increase in vehicle technologies over the last eight years especially had provided almost countless ways for hackers to “get inside” your vehicle – even possibly opening the door for someone from thousands of miles away to control it. Craig Smith, who wrote Car Hacker’s Manual and is behind the OpenGarages.org forum that is designed to serve as a platform for people to exchange information about car hacks, joins us. Among other things, Smith talks about:

  • How easy it is to hack a car or truck
  • What features can be controlled by a hacker, such as brakes and steering
  • What tech features in your vehicle make it susceptible to hacking
  • Hackers are electronically “hot wiring” cars right now and stealing them
  • How vehicles have been proven to be hacked
  • The auto industry needs to abandon its old model of doing business so it can quickly address the issue of car hacking and shore up vehicle security
  • Internet connected cars create the possibility that hackers, from anywhere in the world, can access a vehicle’s electronic controls
Listen to the Episode Below (00:46:00)

For complete shownotes, links and resources mentioned in this episode, keep reading….

Audio Review: Dude, Where’s My Fugoo?

According to the press kit pics, the Fugoo Bluetooth speaker is designed mostly for use by beautiful people at beach-like settings and/or ON surfboards. Conversely, I am more likely to use it while mopping the kitchen or re-grouting the tile in my bathroom or pretty much anything other than surfing.

Either the best press photo or the worst

Still, I can’t help but be impressed by the Bluetooth-based Fugoo (available in three styles -Sport, Tough, and, well, Style).

Fugoo-Sport-Cutaway

Fugoo Sport

Sure, the name is goofy, but the sound and versatility are anything but – able to deliver a nice, big, full sound without having to make room for a much larger system or speaker. This speaker is not cheap. Fugoo Sport and Fugoo Style are around $200 each, the Fugoo Tough is $229.

It’s pretty amazing, in fact, that this unit sounds so good since it’s just under 8 inches and weighs about a pound.

The Fugoo Tough

Fugoo Tough

Of course, a lot of it has to do with how much is packed into the unit. There are six symmetrically-placed drivers – two tweeters (for highs), two mid/woofers for mids and two passive radiators that bring out the full, deep bass sound. That’s a mouthful of geek-speak meaning that this little thing gives your music (or favorite podcaster’s voice… hint, hint) a full, awesome sound.

And it’s built for the elements, too, meaning it doesn’t just have to sit on your shelf. It’s actually snowproof, sandproof, AND waterproof and the company says it would be ok when submersed in up to 3 feet of water for as long as 30 minutes. While that scenario, of course, doesn’t seem likely for non-kinda shady situations, it does suggest that Fugoo wouldn’t have any issue sitting by the campfire or on the picnic table when it’s raining/snowing or otherwise damp out.

Fugoo-Tough-Bike3

There are accessories, too, for when you want to actually take it off the shelf. For example, the available bike mount ($39.99) allows you to put it on your bicycle for when you don’t want to go through the arduous task of putting earbuds in your ear. Also available are the multi-mount ($29.99) which consists of a camera tri-pod mount, rope or carabiner loop or belt spring-clip. And there is a strap mount ($29.99) that allows Fugoo to hang out on a pole or tree (sorry, only goes up to 3 feet in circumference so no redwoods). Oh, there’s a remote control you can get, too ($49.99).

Part of the reason Fugoo isn’t meant for sitting on a shelf is it’s just well-built – able to stand a fall of 6 feet (allegedly). To help protect it, there are different, interchangeable “jackets.” There is the Fugoo Sport ($39.99 when purchased separately), which is the one that belongs in sporty settings only.

(Seriously, that’s what the pictures on the company’s press site imply – stuff like there’s a surfer dude or two out there who want to listen to tunes or a podcast while in the water waiting for the next big wave.)

There is Fugoo Tough jacket ($49.99 alone), which is made for “the shop” and has a more industrial-looking design and offers a bit more protection, and Fugoo Style jacket ($39.99 alone), which is simple and kinda boring-looking next to the other two styles and also apparently designed for the slob demographic.

Less cool? Trouble using plates? Fugoo Style is meant for you (Photo courtesy of Fugoo)

Less cool than others? Trouble using plates? Fugoo Style was designed with you in mind (Photo courtesy of Fugoo…seriously)

All joking aside, we get it Fugoo. You want to make/over-emphasize the point Fugoo is versatile. And it’s true. But what really drives home the point is the way it sounds and performs – the battery life, for example, promises up to 40 hours without needing a charge. A human voice (unexpected and slightly jarring at first) “tells” you in a nice clear tone everything you need to know – when it’s on, how much battery is left, when Bluetooth is connected. Fugoo also includes an integrated mic for speakerphone, Siri, Windows Phone or Google Now. It charges with a microUSB and also has a 3.5-mm stereo input for connecting sans Bluetooth.

All-in-all, Fugoo is a great entry in the ever-expanding Bluetooth-based speaker market and worth considering if you have limited indoor and/or unlimited outdoor space.

Quick Guide: How to Get to “Inbox Zero”

E-mail. It’s the bane of our existence. We all get too much and it is too easy to get too bogged down in it. That’s where we can help. Let me show you a couple of helpful ways to cut through the clutter and make your inbox an efficient thing of beauty.

How to get to “Inbox Zero”

A service called Sanebox does some pretty amazing things with your email. It filters it and arranges it in folders making it easy to unsubscribe to unwanted mail and even easier to organize, defer and categorize your mail based on how important it is. It works on all platforms and devices and gives you a free two week trial. After that, it’s $59 a year.

If too many subscription emails and updates and group mailings are clogging your inbox, try Unroll.Me, a really handy tool for any email account that lets you unsubscribe from all of that group mail with a single click. Or you can combine all your favorite subscriptions into one single email sent weekly or monthly. I was amazed at how many junk mailing I got and Unroll.Me helped me zap dozens of them. It’s free, but they make you share on social media after five unsubscribes.

With these two services, I’m getting close to “Inbox Zero,” that state of virtual Nirvana where all my email is handled each day.

Click the video below for my full report from NBC:

 

PCM10 PC Mike Podcast: Net Neutrality 101 and YOU

Net neutrality may be the most significant issue to affect the Internet. You need to know what it is, how it can affect you, and why some gatekeepers are fighting against it.

netneutrality

That’s why for episode 10 of the PC Mike Techcast we wanted to talk one of the nation’s top experts on the subject, Michael Weinberg, vice president, Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that promotes freedom of expression, an open Internet, and access to affordable communications tools for the public.

He explains what net neutrality means to YOU in no geek-speak terms. In short, Weinberg says, the government isn’t addressing how many or what kind of cat videos you watch on Facebook – it’s trying to deal with the quality and speed of how fast you watch them (or anything else via your Internet connection).

We discuss:
– What is Net Neutrality and why it matters to consumers

– What you can still do before the FCC makes a ruling on net neutrality of Feb. 26

– How the gatekeepers of the Internet are showing favoritism to those who can “pay to play”

– Why the big Internet and mobile service players are so opposed to net neutrality

– What role should Congress play in the debate

– What it would mean to reclassify the Internet under telecommunications law

We also have a lot more during the show as we talk all-things-tech, from Android memory issues and malware software to smartphone kill switches and the latest and greatest apps for fitness and training.

Listen to the Episode Below (00:56:30)

First Things First: Why is my Android Always Running Out of Memory?