Serious About Tech!

Where we get down-and-dirty with technology in news, reviews, and discussions.

Category: Videos

Episode 7 – Phones from MWC 2018

Mobile World Congress – New Phones

From February 26 to March 1, with some companies’ announcements outside that time-frame, Mobile World Congress was held in Barcelona, California.

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus

The day before Mobile Word Congress, Samsung announced their new Galaxy phones: the S9 and S9 Plus. These phones are much like the S8 in design, but have much-improved cameras over the previous generation. The S9 and S9 Plus come with 4GB and 6GB of memory (RAM), respectively, and 64GB of integrated storage, with expansion possible via micro-SD cards.

They will be available for pre-order on March 2 and in stores on March 16. The prices are $720 for the S9 and $840 for the S9 Plus.

Vivo Apex Concept

Vivo, a little-known brand based in China, showed off a concept phone: Vivo Apex.

This concept phone has an almost bezel-less design with the greatest screen-to-body ration to date.

Sponsor: Webb Web Services (

Webb Web Services gives web design and development that is affordable. Zachary Webb (also the host of this podcast!) will design/develop a website for you. Security and ease-of-use are our priorities. Get a website from today and get 10% off. Just go to and use promo code “podcast10”.

Intel and AMD partnership

Intel, who makes computer processors found in many of today’s computers, and AMD, which manufactures CPUs and dedicated graphics cards, have teamed up to create an Intel processor that has improved graphics performance. This CPU, a laptop processor in the Intel Kaby Lake-Refresh architecture (8th generation), will give thinner laptops greater graphics performance.

Sources for this episode include: AndroidAuthority, SlashGear, and CNET.


Episode 6 – the Mirai Botnet & Spectre and Meltdown Attacks

We now know who’s behind the Mirai Botnet.

What is a botnet? It is a network of compromised IOT devices and unsecured computers and routers that is controlled by a few central servers that hackers use to attack more devices, and eventually take down other networks and websites through a DDOS attack. The Mirai botnet took over devices by using the default login credentials to login to them and control them. It also took advantage of known security vulnerabilities and exploits to take them over.

Paras Jha, Dalton Norman, and Josiah White pled guilty to being in conspiracy to violate the Computer Abuse & Fraud Act. Jha, a formers Rutgers University student, had previously hacked the Rutgers University network and ran another botnet with Dalton Norman. Paras Jha wrote the code used in Mirai in or about July of 2016. He used Mirai to take down DynDNS, which routes traffic for the Web in America and Europe, and doing this interrupted websites like Twitter and PayPal. He also DDOSed more websites, and tried to get them to pay for his anti-DDOS service.

But what’s even more interesting is a story by Wired that says the 3 men started the Mirai botnet to DDOS their competition. You can read it on Wired (I won’t because of its length).

Sponsor: Webb Web Services ( – affordable and secure website development and hosting.

Webb Web Services gives web design and development that is affordable. Zachary Webb (also the host of this podcast!) will design/develop a website for you. Security and ease-of-use are our priorities. Get a website from today and get 10% off. Just go to and use promo code “podcast10”.

Your Security Brief: Two attackss against computer processors – Spectre and Meltdown.

Meltdown and Spectre are two related vulnerabilities in modern computer processors that are very dangerous as they can get information such as passwords and sensitive content from user programs, documents, and web browsers. Spectre exploits speculative branch prediction whereas Meltdown uses a privilege escalation attack on Intel processors. Speculative branch prediction is a methodology used by modern CPUs that guesses what a program might do next. This speeds up the processor by 10-50%. Meltdown takes advantage of the fact that CPUs can do out-of-order execution. Out-of-order execution is something that processors use to process information as efficiently as possible. A CPU that uses this methodology will process information not in the order that it came in, but instead will process them as soon as resources become available.

Spectre works against Intel, AMD, and ARM(the chips used in phones and IOT devices) processors. Meltdown is verified to work against Intel processors since 2011, but can effect Intel CPUs back to 1995. To mitigate these attacks, everyone affected should update their computers, phones, servers, and other devices. Microsoft, Apple, and others have now released patches.

Read about Meltdown and Spectre at or

Podcast update

I would like Serious About Tech to become a consistent podcast(twice a month, at least). If you would like to help, support Serious About Tech on Patreon or send feedback and encouragement.

Sources: Wired, TechDirt, NBC News,, TechSpot,

Episode 5 – New Google Devices; KRACKing WiFi




Google announced new devices on October 4. These include the Pixel 2 phones, Pixelbook, Home Mini, Home Max, and Google Clips camera.

Google Pixel Phones

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Phones by Google

Image from GSMArena

The new Pixel 2 smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, were products from this event most waited for. The new phones run Android 8.0 Oreo and deeply integrate Google Assistant. The Pixel 2 has a 5 inch display, whereas the Pixel 2 XL has a 6 inch display. These devices have OLED screens and improved cameras over the original Pixels. The Pixel 2 starts at $649 and the Pixel 2 XL starts at $849. A special feature of these phones is the Active EdgeTM that allows users to gently squeeze the device to activate Google Assistant. Something that is no longer a feature is the headphone jack, which Google has removed from their Pixel 2 smartphones. But, Google released their Pixel Buds to ease the pain. The Pixel Buds are Bluetooth earbuds that will cost $159.

Update 10/26/2017: The Pixel 2 XL smartphone’s OLED display has some burn-in problems.

Google Pixelbook

The Google Pixelbook is a premium notebook running ChromeOS. Pixelbook comes with a special stylus that can be used to draw or tap on the screen. You can also summon Google Assistant, which is included on this laptop. Pixelbook has a 12.3 inch touchscreen and the laptop can be folded to use as a tablet. This laptop uses 7th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, and can be configured with 8 or 16 gigabytes of RAM. You will also have plenty of  storage with a choice of 128GB, 256GB,or 512GB solid state hard drives. This device goes on sale starting at $999.

Google Home Mini and Max

Also announced were two new smart speakers, the Mini a competitor of the Amazon Echo Dot, and the Max a competitor to Apple’s HomePod. The $49 Home Mini is a smaller version of the original Google Home speaker. The $399 Home Max is a smart speaker similar to the Google Home, but has much better sound and bass output and is built specially for streaming music.

Google Clips camera

If you wanted a camera that uses AI to capture photos of your kids or pets, Google Clips might be something to look at. This $249 camera is aimed to parents who can’t seem to capture that perfect picture of their child. It stores the pictures and bursts it captures on its 16GB onboard storage. You can then copy those to your phone or delete them using the Clips app.

Sources: Business Insider, Google, Fortune, and Geekwire,

Sponsor: Webb Web Services ( – affordable and secure website development and hosting.

Webb Web Services gives web design and development that is affordable. Zachary Webb (also the host of this podcast!) will design/develop a website for you. Security and ease-of-use are our priorities. Get a website from today and get 10% off.

KRACKing WiFi – is it really that bad?

There is a new attack on Wifi called KRACK (stands for Key Reinstallation Attacks). This security vulnerability affects all Wifi connected clients. (Clients mean devices connected to the network, such as phones, laptops, and IOT devices.) Someone on the network works as a man-in-the-middle and breaks your WPA2 encryption. They may also be able to break TLS communications on that client as well. This would allow them to peak into HTTPS content. FYI, a VPN (virtual private network) protects attackers from seeing your private communications.

Because they implemented something wrong in their WiFi client software, Microsoft’s Windows OSs and Apple’s operating systems are not vulnerable. Other operating systems and wireless clients have fixed this problem, such as Ubuntu, OpenBSD, OpenWRT, Amazon Echo, and more listed on BleepingComputer’s page on Krack. Android is vulnerable to this attack, and Google is testing updates to fix this problem.

According to the KRACK FAQ, routers, or access points, do not need to be updated, as the vulnerability is exploited in the client. However, if you have a mesh network, or a network repeater, those do need to be updated, so watch your manufactures’ firmware websites for updates.

Sources: BleepingComputer, Security Now! podcast.

Episode 4 – Cortana and Alexa… Friends? The iPhone X and the Equifax Breach


Cortana and Alexa… Friends?

Cortana and Alexa are now able to talk to each other, giving you cross-compatibility from Echos to Windows PCs. You can say to Alexa, “Alexa, open Cortana”, and you can give commands that Cortana will understand. The same works with Cortana, “Hey Cortana, open Alexa.”

iPhone X

Apple announced the new iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10) on September 12, 2017. This event was in the new 1000-seat Steve Jobs Theater. The iPhone X has a new Apple A11 Bionic processor that includes a new graphics chip and the Secure Enclave co-processor for FaceID.

The battery lasts 2 hours longer than iPhone 7 and the iPhone X works with Qi chargers. Apple has a new wireless charging dock called AirPower that can charge your iPhone 8 and 10, series 3 Apple Watch, and AirPods with the optional wireless charging case. It has a 5.8″ Super Retina Display and a glass back also. The front display has practically no bezels and no fingerprint sensor either.

Apple’s new face tracking technology looks really cool. You can use it with SnapChat or with Animoji. There is also a new dual camera system with both cameras having optical image stabilization (OIS). The one lens is telephoto and the other a wide lens. Both of these are 12MP sensors. The “selfie camera” can now take portrait photos, portrait lighting, and is 7MP. FaceID can unlock your phone by sensing your face.

Your Security Brief: the Equifax data breach

Equifax is a major credit bureau in the United States. It recently had a data breach that exposed 60% of US adults’ information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and drivers license numbers. This could affect you! Please take precautions to secure your identity. The FTC has good information on this.

Serious About Tech! podcast update

I am wondering if you enjoy the video companion to this podcast. I am thinking about not doing video because it takes lots of time in post-production. Audio takes less time to edit, and I can record whenever I have time. Send your feedback through email, the contact form, or my Twitter poll.

Be sure to check out the Serious About Tech! YouTube channel.

Sources: PCWorld, PCMag, ZDNet, and Apple.


Episode 3 – Bose Headphones may spy on you, Why have a website, and Apple’s WWDC

Sorry for not having an episode in July. I have been very busy (but haven’t we all?).


Bose headphones may spy on you through the Bose app.

Bose was caught collecting data about what you listen to with your Bose wireless headphones. They could do this because of their app, which users could use to control the settings for their Bose audio products.

Having a website is a good idea for businesses.

Businesses should have a website because potential customers can find you easier. You can also have a central place for your contact and social information. Some more things you can have on your business website are company blogs, shopping carts, or customer testimonials.

Buy a website from (hint: it is my business) and get 10% off your website solution by going to

Apple had its World-wide Developer Conference (WWDC 2017)

Apple held its WWDC on June 5. There they announced the Homepod, a new home audio device like the Google Home or Amazon Echo, which has superior audio playback quality to the other home audio devices. Apple also announced ARkit, they’re new augmented reality toolkit. Apple has long been behind on this field, but this new toolkit shows their interest in this new platform.

For podcasters, this conference brought news of new podcasting features in iOS 11. Podcasters will be able to tell Apple Podcasts that their podcast is episodic, meaning in order from newest to oldest, and also serialized, meaning the podcast is a story-type show, and should be listened to in seasons.



Episode 2 – Teenagers and Technology with guest Jim Collison


I have been wanting to have someone on the show, so I asked Jim Collison to come on to Serious About Tech! to talk about teenagers using technology.

Teenagers should be using technology in more than a consumption manner.

Most teens is this day and age only use technology as a consumer. Most do not think about the technology they use, or how they can develop for these technologies.

Coding apps, websites, and more is good for teens to do.

Teenagers should be coding in Scratch, Python, HTML/CSS, and others. These skills will be useful for teens in a career of technlogy, or just in case they need these skills to program bots, robots, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles.

About the Guest

Jim Collison is a podcaster at and also works for Gallup Technology as IT Manager. He was named a Microsoft MVP in April 2011. Before working for Gallup, Jim worked at Omnium Worldwide as the director of Enterprise Information Management and also worked at Commercial Federal Bank. Jim is now the President of the Gallup Federal Credit Union Board.

Find the guest online.

Twitter: @jcollison

Google+ +Jim Collison

Jim Collison hosts Home Gadget Geeks and co-hosts Ask the Podcast Coach.

He also makes Gallup’s webcasts and podcasts.


Knox Podcast Microphone Review

This microphone is a great dynamic cardioid microphone for podcasting and voice-overs.

Buy on Amazon:


Episode 1 – LastPass, Samsung, Galaxy S8, Windows Creators Update – Serious About Tech! podcast




We want to know what you want us to talk about! Send us feedback.

Windows Creators Update

The Windows Creators Update is an update for Windows 10 that will bring 3D Paint, game mode, and extra privacy settings to Windows. It will come in mid April 2017.


LastPass had a security vulnerability that would have allowed malicious Javascript to get your passwords. This was fixed, and LastPass is still a good secure password manager.

Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samasung Galaxy S8 was announced this month. It will have a 5.8″ screen and on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, a 6.2″ screen. This phone looks very nice, with a very nice display and design. It will cost $750 for the S8 and $850 for the S8 Plus.

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