PCM36: Demystifying the Cloud with No Geek Speak

We hear a lot about “the cloud” these days but do your really know what it means?

Well in keeping with our approach to tech – no geek-speak – we’re here to help with the answer.

Bill Fisher, instructional designer, GCFLearnFree.org – which offers free classes on computer and Internet basics – joins the show to help you understand everything you want to know about the cloud but are afraid to ask.  Among other things, Bill and Mike discuss the differences between options like Google Drive and Dropbox, how safe the cloud really is when it comes to backing up and securing files,  and the future of cloud-based computing.

In the news of the week, PC Mike weighs in on:

  • The Feds are About to to Require Drone Registration
  • There’s a new Drone weapon out that can “shoot” down drones
  • Apple TV is about to reinvent TV viewing
  • Facebook Promises to Alert You if the Government is spying on your Facebook account
  • Facebook is working on a fix to its iPhone battery gobbling app
  • How to make your iPhone battery last longer
  • The latest on Microsoft’s super hot Surface Pro combination tablet and laptop computer
  • Also, Mike shares three apps that will hep you better manage your smartphone’s data usage so you don’t go over your cap.


Complete Show Notes for Episode #36 Oct. 23, 2015 of the PC Mike podcast:

Tech News: New Drone Rules and Weapons, Apple TV, Facebook Fixes, and Super Surface Book

New Drone Rules: Citing growing concerns of potential interference with other aircraft, owners of drones will soon have to begin registering them. (Read more) [spp-timestamp time=”2:26″]

New Anti-Drone Weapon: An Ohio-based company has developed a way to shoot down snooping drones without firing a single bullet. (Read more) [spp-timestamp time=”6:45″]

Apple TV Ready to Launch: Consumers will be able to finally begin ordering the new Apple TV next week. (Read more) [spp-timestamp time=”8:17″]

Facebook to Warn if Government Hacks User Accounts: Facebook said it will begin warning users if it detects a user’s account is being targeted or compromised by a nation-state or a state-sponsored actor. (Read more) [spp-timestamp time=”9:46″]

Facebook Fixing iPhone Battery: Facebook is working on a fix for the iPhone battery drainage that many users will have experienced over the past week. (Read more) [spp-timestamp time=”11:58″]

Quick Guide to Extending Your iPhone Battery Life: The HiTechMom blog has a great post out of extending your iPhone battery life. (Read more) [spp-timestamp time=”17:15″]

Microsoft Adds 1TB Surface Book: Microsoft has revealed the highest-end model of its Surface Book but – at $3,199 – this one is pricey compared with your average Windows 10 laptop. (Read more) [spp-timestamp time=”17:28″]


Thingamajig of the Week: Smartphone Upgrades

Paul Ulreich, Verizon’s Uber User, joins the show to talk about when to upgrade your smartphone. [spp-timestamp time=”19:54″]

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network.

You’re out with some buddies at a restaurant and you all hear a device vibrate on the table. Everyone checks their phone at the same time wondering if it was them. Except for you. You checked your wrist and knew it was for you because you felt the notification on your Samsung Gear S2.

Having a network connected wearable with standalone capability means you can call, text, email, and more without having your phone near you.

A connected wearable with standalone capability also means more than just sending and receiving messages. It means you can use apps like Twitter Trends to stay up to date with top tweets, or you can find a new place to eat with friends using Yelp for Gear – all without taking your phone out of your pocket or even having it close by.

The Gear S2 is designed with a circular interface and rotating bezel to easily navigate through your notifications, apps and widgets. You can also personalize it with custom watch faces and interchangeable watch bands to create a watch that’s perfectly “you.”

The Samsung Gear S2 is now available to pre-order for $349.99 and will be available for purchase online and in stores beginning Nov. 6. Customers can also pre-order for $299.99 with a new two-year activation. Customers can add the Gear S2 to their Verizon account for $5 per month. The Gear S2 from Verizon will be available in Dark Grey and Silver color models.

Visit Roadtreking.com/vzw for stories about how technology can enhance and improve your life.

Apps of the Week: Keep Track of Your Data Usage with These Apps

Keeping track of your dataLet’s face it – having to pay overage charges for using more minutes than you get with your smartphone’s data plan can go way beyond irritating. [spp-timestamp time=”25:10″]

Luckily, there are some apps that can help you quickly and easily keep data use – and costs – in check:

DataMan Next is an iPhone and Apple Watch app with a super easy interface that’s especially user-friendly. DataMan checks your usage at any point from any screen simply by reviewing your iPhone’s notification center. DataMan can even forecast usage to help you stay within your data cap. It costs $1.99.

My Data Manager is for iOS and Android and helps monitor data usage on one device or several, which is especially useful for a shared plan. You also can set it to send notifications when you’re getting close to your data usage limit. The app also tracks historical consumption to ensure you are using the right mobile data plan. It’s free.

Onavo Extend takes data management further by compressing images and texts so that you don’t use as much data. Onavo also gives you a breakdown of how much data individual apps are consuming. Onavo Extend is free for iOS and Android.

Interview: Bill Fisher, Instructional Designer, GCFLearnFree.org

Bill Fisher, Instructional Designer, GCFLearnFree.org

Bill Fisher, instructional designer, GCFLearnFree.org, joins the show to help demystify the cloud. [spp-timestamp time=”29:10″]

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

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.


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!

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.