Life & Technology – 2GB 14th June, 2014

Earlier this year, Facebook tried to acquire social messaging app, Snapchat, for close to $3 billion. However, the founders declined. A few days ago, an app from Facebook called “Slingshot” made an appearance on Apple’s app store, but soon disappeared. On the product page, Facebook explained that users can “sling” photos and videos to their friends, but friends cannot see these until they send something back. Just like Snapchat, these messages can be annotated, and also self-destruct. Facebook is clearly out to try and take some of Snapchat’s market share.


An Amazon smartphone was the other big rumour for the week. The retailing giant recently sent out invitations to a launch event of June 18. While no indication was given as to what Amazon will be announcing, past rumours suggest Amazon will be going head-to-head with Samsung, Apple and HTC in the fight to customers’ handset of choice.


There’s a common misconception that public wireless is a safe as you home network, which simply isn’t true. This week on Life & Technology I had caught up with Dave Wright, a technical engineer at Ruckus Wireless, who filled me in on a fascinating new development: Hotspot 2.0. Hotspot 2.0 is a new standard that will address these security concerns, and provide some great new features. One of these is the ability to roam across wireless networks in the same way you can on cellular.


Another big piece of news from this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo was the announcement of the PlayStation TV. While the PlayStation TV has been available in Japan for almost a year, Sony confirmed that the device would be coming America, Europe and Australia by the end of the year. I had a chat to Patrick Lagana, Head of Product Marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment in Australia about the new device. The PlayStation TV will let gamers play PlayStation Vita and PlayStation games on the their TV, and act as a hub for the video streaming services we all know and love. In addition, gamers can use the PlayStation TV to stream games straight from their PlayStation 4 to another TV. Pretty cool!


I also had a chat to Colm Walsh, the Head of Developer Experience at Microsoft. We had a great talk about the state of apps on smart devices, and the strength of the Windows ecosystem. Microsoft are trying to make writing apps as easy as possible for developers, and it is now possible to write an app for Windows Phone that will work in Windows 8 with almost no extra effort!


These days, we’re used to seeing a lot of 2-in-1 devices. Toshiba have done one better, well, five better to be precise, with their new 7-in-1 Kirabook L93. The L93 includes a detachable keyboard base, so it works in both standard laptop and tablet modes, and its flexible hinge also lets you use the device in display mode with easier the base attached or separated. This could just be the most flexible device of all time!


We also had time for a few more questions from our loyal listeners this week.


I asked about excess internet usage:

“It might be that you’ve just been downloading or streaming a lot of content, but it is also possible that someone could be freeloading off your WiFi. To make sure your network is safe, you should secure it with WPA2-PSK encryption, and change your password. “


And I was also asked “what the deal with AC wireless is”, specifically as to whether or not it will actually speed up your home network:

“AC wireless can potentially increase the speeds of your home network. This depends on what devices you’re connecting. If your laptop, tablet or phone don’t support the standard, then you won’t see any increase in speed. Most devices released in the last year or so will support it though. And of course, the speeds you get will also be dependent on the speed of your internet connection. “