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.

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.


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

We kick off this week’s exciting show with a call from listener Patrick who wonders why his Android (16GB) seems to always be running out of memory and keeps him from doing things like downloading apps.

I answer by saying that Jerry Hildenbrand over at Android Central described it best – pointing out that the whole purpose of RAM is to use it. In Jerry’s words, empty RAM is wasted RAM. Keeping your commonly used applications in cache allow your Android to load up those applications much quicker every time you use it. And the Android OS is adept at releasing low priority apps (ones you don’t commonly use) from memory if your RAM fills beyond capacity.

Truthfully, the secret here is to use a more intelligent app like the Auto Memory Manager. What makes it so intelligent? Well, instead of blindly killing all applications that are consuming your RAM, this memory manager prioritizes apps based on their category. When memory consumption starts getting in the way of normal phone operation, the app will start removing apps from cache for you.

Question: Help with Malware?

A listener asks for help with finding an anti-malware program such as Malwarebytes that is free and won’t have any trial period popups after a week or two.

I suggest that if Avast isn’t your style, I recommend the free version of Bitdefender.  It’s  lightweight, simple, and ranks very highly in all antivirus tests, making it pretty much set-and-forget option.

If you want the better protection, you’ll have to spend some money.  Kaspersky is highly ranked while Norton, F-Secure, and G Data get high marks from AV-Test.org

Forget about Microsoft Security Essentials (also known as Windows Defender in Windows 8). Most antivirus test show that it has fallen behind on its ability to detect viruses.

Question: Roku Compatibility?

Listener Janet wants to know if the Roku Streaming Stick is compatible with Amazon Fire and with Chromebook.

Here’s a list of Roku’s compatible devices http://support.roku.com/entries/56698214-Roku-screen-mirroring-compatible-devices

Roku doesn’t have the ability to mirror a computer display onto a big screen. It’s going to be some time before Google is able to catch up to the 1,000 apps that are available right now on Rokus.

Question: Any Tips for Helping with Quick Fill?

One last question comes from Teri who asks about any easy way to fill info (name, address, phone) automatically in one step. She says she used to like Gator. I offer her the best solution – to use the autofill option on her browser. Here is a link for enabling autofill on most browser types (Read more).

Tech News and Trends: Smartphone Kill Switches, Google Glass Flop, Facebook’s Legacy Contact Feature

Smartphone Kill Switches Proving to Be Effective Theft Deterrent (Read More)

New York Times Analysis of Why Google Glass Flopped (Read More)

Facebook’s New Method of Dealing with You After You Die (Read More)

App Talk: Latest and Greatest in Fitness and Training

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 they get in shape and stay in shape.

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.

Online Learning – free trial for PC Mike listeners

I get asked a lot about finding online courses for learning how to use photography software such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom CC, which are both on my recently updated list of tech gear. I talk about how I benefited from taking online courses as well as a special deal available only to PC Mike Techcast listeners at pcmike.com/lynda, where you can even try it free for 10 days and see if online learning works as well for you as it has for me. By the way, they have more than 3,300 courses to pick from – including more than 100,000 video tutorials – in subjects ranging from photography, video and audio to graphic design and web development.

With Lynda, you can get:

  • Unlimited access to all 3,314 courses—more than 100,000 video tutorials
  • Learn new software and stay up to date
  • Watch and learn from top experts

Listeners of the PC Mike podcast can get a free 10-day trial. Try any course. Start your trial now and see what you can learn. Just go to https://pcmike.com/lynda to get the free 10 day trial.

Interview: Michael Weinberg, Vice President, Public Knowledge

Net neutrality may not be the most exciting term ever, but you need to know what it is, how it can affect you, and what you can still do to protect your Internet. Michael Weinberg, vice president, Public Knowledge, lays it all out during the main part of this week’s show. You can check out the Public Knowledge webpage devoted to the subject online (Read more)

For more details about how some of the bigger players in the game feel, check:

Verizon’s view (Read more)

Sprint’s view (Read more)

Comcast’s view (Read more)

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.

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

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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!

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.