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Switchback: Talking Tech (Dec. 19)

Dec 19, 2014

The team from The Switch discussed everything from the latest political tech news to the gadgets you’re eyeing.

Hello and welcome to Switchback, our weekly toast to you, our readers!

I want to be able to come home from work and put my iPhone and technology away and just be relatively unconnected for a few hours (and keep the iphone temptation away from my toddler, who when he sees the iphone, he wants it). But--I need to be able to answer phone calls. Is returning to a landline my best bet?

That's a fascinating idea. Kind of like "unplugging lite." Do you already have a landline subscription, or would you need to incur an additional cost to go back to one?

With the Sony hack and more news of government contractors getting hacked, can we expect some more action regarding cybersecurity legislation and spending?

I think lawmakers would be pressing for cybersecurity legislation regardless; it's something they've been trying to pull together for years. The Sony hack likely adds pressure and urgency, but it doesn't necessarily change the fundamental disagreement between national security hawks and privacy advocates over the bill.

Did you guys know that your livechat is subject to the Post's paywall? Seems like something you might want to talk to your web team about...

I think our whole site is actually behind a limited paywall. May I suggest subscribing, or using incognito mode? 

Can you explain, or refer me to an explanation/analysis of the google, amazon and probably other gizmos you plug into a TV that allow it to use streaming WIFI for TV? Thanks

My parents have a Chromecast, and they love it. While I haven't tested out the other options on the market, here's a side-by-side comparison if you're thinking of grabbing one for the holidays. They're a good option if you're a cord-cutter.

I kind of did when it was supposed to be out in theaters, but after all of this; I really want to see it now. It looks sort of terrible, but still funny. Worth a matinee price at least! Do you think Sony would put it on Crackle after all of this? We can't let the North Koreans win!

Well, the latest is that the hackers are telling Sony Pictures to "never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy." So, chances aren't looking great. 

We'll always have "Team America."

Do you think the addition of biometrics is enough to stem the flow of bad press uber seems to be getting?

Honestly, it's hard to see this ending well. Biometrics is still a very new thing when it comes to mass consumer tech. I fear that inevitably something will happen — a data breach, perhaps, or the company taking a few too many liberties with the data it collects — that will wind up backfiring.

But I could be wrong! Do people disagree? Maybe this is a good thing?

I'm with you, Brian. It does seem like collecting more data is not the answer for Uber right now. 

I'm not clear yet how biometrics and voice verification addresses any of the problems Uber has, unless there's a heretofore undisclosed issue with rogue drivers borrowing approved drivers' credentials. I've asked Uber about it, though, and we'll see. 

Other than the above is there any other latest and greatest technology out there for TVs.Plasma still ahs the best blacks and shadow detail especially the late Pnasonic Plasmas. Samsung never did plamsas well. I have always been a Sony guy but since they pulled "The Interview" I am seriously considering boycotting Sony. Please North Korea and thier hacker buds can't conduct terrorists attacks in the US. Please how many terrorists does North Korea have in US maybe one and he is researching enlargement operations for the Great Leader while watching porn. I also beleive either the hackers or the govt of North Korea is blackmailing Sony with some of the info they have and that is real reason they arent releasing the flick. So boycott all Sony products . tell Santa no Playstation 4.

Seems like you're asking about a couple of things here, but on the TV front I can tell you that people are very excited about something called quantum dots. 

I'm still not totally sure about what quantum dots really are, but as I understand it they are basically super-tiny crystals that can emit light at very specific frequencies.  The upshot being, that's really clear picture.

As to your second point, I'm pretty interested in the thought of a Sony boycott over their decision on "The Interview." That's something I hadn't even considered as a possibility. I shall be watching PS4 sales figures closely.


Since  I got to chat a little late, I'm going to take this opportunity to answer that earlier question about the plug-in TV gizmos.

Basically, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Chromecast is super-easy to use, but a bit limited on content. If you're into watching YouTube videos on the big screen, though, it makes it so easy.

The Fire Stick is also really easy to use -- and has a remote! -- but its search leaves something to be desired. I've also heard from some users who say that they have hit a lot of lagging with it, but I certainly haven't heard that from everyone, so that could be a network problem.

Roku has probably the best selection, because they've been in the game the longest. But their interface is also a work in progress. 

And now I'm totally caught up in the idea of a total Sony boycott. Is that something other people have thought about doing?

Can it be starting from now? I have a PS3 which is basically my Roku...other than that, I would be in. But that defeats the purpose?

Of course I thought about it. I completely dissapprove of the decision they made, and releasing it on HBO or netflix or itunes wouldn't leave any movie theaters as targets, would it? I tend to agree that there must be even worse e-mail information that they don't want the public to see. Possibly more about paying actresses less than actors even though they are just as able to bring in an audience. Perhaps some "gentleman's agreement" with the agents/managers that could cause really serious trouble. I suspect that they think that more e-mails getting released would be just as likely to cause a boycott as not releasing the film.

Time flies when you're having fun! We'll see you all next week.

Maru drawer

In This Chat
Brian Fung
Andrea Peterson
Hayley Tsukayama
Nancy Scola
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