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:

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….

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?

Quick Guide: The Latest in Fitness and Training Apps and Gadgets

Personal fitness apps and wearable technology have become one of the hottest categories of smartphone apps these days. Some big bucks have come into the marketplace that give consumers some amazing and advanced technology that lets you get in shape and stay in shape.

The latest in fitness and training apps and gadgets

The new 1,000-pound gorilla in fitness apps is MapMyFitness, bought up for $475 million million by Under Armour and part of a huge move into what’s called Connected Fitness. Apps that read from activity trackers, heart rate monitors, watches and fitness accessories. MapMyFitness gathers all that data, tracks movement, measures calories, counts steps, maps routes and even tracks nutrition in food.

But added to the purchase of MapMyFitness is the app Endomondo, a powerful fitness training app also bought by Under Armour for a whopping $80 million. It’s billed as a personal trainer in your pocket and it has customized workout plans and tracking data available for just about every kind of fitness training you can imagine, indoors or outdoors.

And then there’s Withings – short for wireless things – flooding the fitness tech market with a bunch of new app-connected devices that measure all sorts of activities as well as your heartbeat and even the quality of sleep you get.

The apps are all free and available for all platforms.

Check out my NBC segment on the apps here:

 

PCM009 PC Mike Podcast: Forget Wall St., What Apple’s Success Means to YOU!

Ever since becoming the company to make the most money ever during a three-month period, everyone’s been talking Apple.

nexyforapple

But here’s the thing: A lot of the discussion has been centered on Wall Street as opposed to the view from Main Street – what Apple’s success as a business means to the consumers who actually buy Apple products and services.

That’s exactly what we talk about during this episode of the PC Mike Techcast with our special guest, Paul Sweeting, lead analyst at Gigaom Research and founder of Concurrent Media Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting and editorial services firm specializing in digital media technology and policy issues.

“Apple needs to make big, category-defining, or at least redefining moves to get a meaningful return, rather than competing incrementally for market share the way ‘normal’ companies do,” Sweeting tells us. “Thus, you get moves like the Apple Watch, or the $3 billion acquisition of Beats, both of which are pretty big rolls of the dice.”

In this all-Apple interview, we address:

– With all that money, Apple is going to have to have something huge to move that profit margin again

– If Apple has hit the “next big thing” ceiling

– Skepticism of the success of the coming Apple Watch

– Predictions on what Apple TV will be like

– Big-box retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target are pushing back on the Apple Pay mobile payment platform

– Apple Pay is perhaps the most secure way to make purchases with a credit card, a huge advantage because of the growing hacking problems

– Is there anything Apple couldn’t buy?

Listen to the Episode Below (00:54:49)

Tech News and Trends: Net Neutrality and the Anthem Hack

I kick off the show this week by talking about net neutrality. In non-geek-speak, it means we all get the same speed and the same access to the Internet and you do not you get some of your media faster because one big company paid another big company for “special” access. I provide some background so you know more about the term “net neutrality,” and how it could affect you. (Read more)

Another big tech story this week was the HUGE data breach of Anthem Health Services (one of the largest health care providers in the U.S.), potentially exposing unencrypted health records and information about as many as 80 million people. I talk about what happened and, more importantly, why YOU need to know what’s going on. (Read more) And please, do yourself a favor and listen to episode six of the PC Mike Techcast, where we talked to one of the nation’s top cybersecurity experts who put it best: “Hacking isn’t as bad as you think…it’s worse.” (Listen to episode six here)

Free Audiobook

We have news on how you can get a FREE audiobook download and 30-day free trial by going to http://audibletrial.com/pcmike. Audible offers over 150,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player. For listeners of the PC Mike podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. To download your free audiobook today, go here.

PC Mike Techcast listeners may enjoy “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. Regular price is $34.99, but it’s free if you sign-up for a trial with Audible at http://audibletrial.com/pcmike.

Interview: Paul Sweeting, Lead Analyst, Gigaom Research and Founder, Concurrent Media Strategies

Ever since becoming the company to make the most money ever during a three-month period, everyone’s been talking Apple. However, much of the talk has been from an investor’s angle, and about the value of the company. Sweeting joins us to shed light on what it might actually mean to those buying the company’s products.

App Talk: Dine Stress-Free Using These Apps to Help Split the Bill

Dining out with friends and family can be great – until the bill comes. Then….things can get a little weird.

But forget about that with these awkward-diffusing/bill-splitting apps I talk about in the blog post here.

The Tip N Split app for Apple perfectly describes what it does. It adds in the tip automatically and then divides it up between those at the table. It splits the tip uniformly, equally among everyone. The Lite version is free. There’s also a similar Tip N Split Caculator for Android on the Google Play store.

But if some ordered more expensive stuff, you may want to instead use the Billr app for the iPhone. It splits the bill unevenly, for up to 16 people. It adds the tip, takes into account the cost of each item ordered, assigns them to a person and then gives each person their fair share amount.

The ultimate bill splitter though is called Divvy. It makes sure everyone pays their fair share like the other apps but it does so by having you snap a photo of the bill and the people at your table. It reads each item and then you just drag each item to the photo of the person who ordered it. It only works with the iPhone

We Need Your Help!

As we begin a new podcast like this, it’s very important to get a bunch of reviews to be able to show well in the iTunes listings. So if you can, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave me your rating and review.

Here’s how:

First, open up the iTunes app on your computer or mobile device. Click on Podcasts on top
> From the iTunes Podcasts page, use the “Search Store” field up at the top right corner of the page. Type in PC Mike Techcast under the Podcasts category.
> Click on the logo image of the PC Mike Techcast on the search return page
> From there, you can:

1) Subscribe

2) Choose and Click on a star (1-5) that reflects your rating. Five stars means you really like it, one star not so much.

3) Leave a written review.

Thanks to all for the kind reviews we’ve received so far. I read and appreciate every review! If you haven’t left a review please do so. I will be so grateful!

And remember, you can appear in future episodes. Ask a question or voice your comments by clicking the Leave Voicemail tab on the right side of this page here at pcmike.com. You can then use the microphone on your computer to record your question.

Thank you!