August 12, 2018 - Episode 505 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, TCL is bringing back Palm, Discord is selling indie games and Spotify makes a big partnership with Samsung.

Teaching Kids STEAM - Episode 173 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch discusses his experiences in teaching his young son about electronics, robotics, programming and other STEAM-related topics. In the years the two have done projects together, Avram has learned a few things to look out for, as well as some best practices that have worked to keep his son involved and excited, including working with physical elements, like Arduino, as opposed to simply working in a virtual environment. There is little more exciting than creating something that affects a device in the real world, no matter your age.

TCL Takes Advantage of Backlash Against Huge Phones with Palm Reboot

Over the past few years, phones have definitely gotten larger. In fact, since the beginning of the consumer smartphone market, phone screen sizes have nearly doubled. The original iPhone had a 3.5-inch screen, while the original Android phone, the HTC Dream (known as the T-Mobile G1 in the US), had a 3.2-inch screen. Compare that to the iPhone X's 5.8-inch screen and Samsung Note 9, announced officially this week, with its 6.4-inch screen, and you can see a big change in the market.

Not everyone enjoys a phone with a large screen for a variety of reasons. Whether it be the way it feels in your hand, an inability to fit in into a pocket, or a variety of other reasons, there is a market need for high-profile phone with a smaller screen. Growing electronics brand TCL, who has become known for owning niche markets, is rumored to be interested in a small screen.

After Blackberry ended hardware developement, they licensed the brand to TCL to continue developing phones. Those phones, which focus on the otherwise ignored market of physical keyboards, have seen some pretty impressive success for a brand that had all but been written off completely.

TCL intends to do something similar with the small screen market, planning to re-launch the Palm brand, which they acquired after HP uncerimoniously killed it off in an idiotic and failed plan to become a software services company. Based on some leaked renders, the rumored phone, possibly to be branded the Palm Pepito, is designed in a similar style to the old Palm Pre line, minus the sliding keyboard - apparently that is reserved for Blackberry.

The screen is to be 3.3-inches, will ship with Android Oreo 8.1 and will feature 3GB of RAM And 32GB of internal storage. The device is expected to launch in partnership with Verizon Wireless in the US. That is not an unexpected partnership, as the Palm Pre Plus launched on Verizon before AT&T and T-Mobile jumped onboard with the Palm Pre 2 the following year. Verizon has previously said that they would launch a Palm-branded phone in 2018, so we can expect to see more about the Palm Pepito in the near future.

Providing The Most Amazing Family Approach to Help Seniors (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

We all eventually get to that point in our lives where our parents and grandparents need additional attention and assistance to get through each day. And quite often it happens at a time when we are the least equipped to handle it. Managing our own hectic lives with work obligations and children's schedules get in the way of providing them with the care that they need. Sure, there are services out there to assist with home health care for seniors, but they can get costly with minimum hour requirements and can sometimes lack that personal touch.

After facing this dilemma first hand, Andrew Parker came up with a practical and really wonderful solution. He knew that his grandfather needed some assistance but wasn't to the point of needing home health care. He ended up hiring a neighbor who was a college student to help and it worked out perfectly. The more he thought about it, he realized that this concept could help so many others, seniors and students alike, and Papa was born.

Papa is an on-demand assistance service that helps seniors stay independent while living securely and happily at home. It's a service that has a lot of sweetness to it. They connect senior citizens to college students for social interaction and daily assistance. And it does so in such a family-friendly way. To quote their website, it's like grandkids on demand.

We find this service to be fascinating on so many levels. It not only brings a new niche to the age-old problem of offering companionship and assistance to senior citizens while keeping them as independent as possible, but it also allows for a new type of flexible employment to college students. They are able to work around their school schedules, make some extra money and help seniors with things around the house, transportation needs, technology lessons, and companionship. We love the intergenerational interaction as both parties are able to learn and grow from the experience.

Make sure to watch Andrew's full interview for more information and don't forget to check out Papa's website.

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SPLITAXI has a Fantastic New Rideshare Option (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

Here in the US, we've had the luxury of using various ridesharing alternatives for a few years, now. And although at first, the concept seemed a little odd to a lot of us, it's grown into a lucrative industry that millions of commuters and travelers use each and every day. There are still many countries who do not this kind of flexibility available to them.

We invited Luis Henrique Rodrigues with SPLITAXI to come and tell us about how they are currently in the process of bringing an advanced form of rideshare service to Brazil. And what they are launching is so much more than just a rideshare service. They have found a way to help riders, taxi drivers, the city and the environment with their new service and phone app.

SPLITAXI is a shared mobility startup with a true win-win-win model. Getting a taxi during peak rush hour can be difficult and expensive in the large cities of Brazil, and the traffic is unbearable. To top it off, most cabs usually only containing one passenger. SPLITAXI realized that by coming up with a way to allow more riders in each vehicle, they could help to solve this growing problem. To do so, they use a route matching algorithm that allows for passengers to "e-hail" empty taxi seats in real time, with minimum deviation. The riders are able to choose, in the app, how far they are willing to deviate from their route in order for other riders to share the ride to common destinations. In turn, this offers discounts to each rider while also increasing the taxi drivers revenues due to the ability to carry more passengers. Thus, traffic is lessened overall with also fewer emissions being released into the atmosphere.

So, how does it work? The app shows you the others in your area that are looking to go to the same destination, or to one that is very close or the way to yours. You can then choose to share a cab, and set your specifications as to how much time you are willing to allow to get where you are going. There are also options available to customize your share. For example, there may be a situation where, say, a female would prefer to restrict her rideshare to only other females.

We found this to be a practical, new take on this industry. Not only does it allow for riders to save money, but it does it in a way that doesn't add other cars onto the already busy roadways. It also doesn't threaten the livelihood of the taxi drivers in any way. On the contrary, it has great potential to increase their overall income. It's a great idea for large cities and the fact that it allows for proper matches and is flexible enough to make adjustments in real time is fantastic.

SPLITAXI plans to grow their business in Brazil first and then expand worldwide. Make sure to watch their full interview for more information about their model, as well as investment opportunities. You can visit their website.

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Apple Believes They are the Only Way to Discover New Apps in the Future

Since the beginning, one of the top ways that people discovered new apps for iPhone, iPad, and macOS has been through the Affiliate Program. Through the program, websites and influencers alike could promote one or more apps and make a small commission on sales. The program is what has made app review websites possible, which makes finding new apps easier while giving a consistent view of these new apps.

The program was responsible for 7% of all app purchases in the store in 2017 - a huge symbol of success. The success of the Affiliate Program has been in large part because of the overall lack of discoverability in the App Stores themselves. Over the years, Apple has tried to make the experience better, with features like Today, but the company has never quite understood the process of discovery. The Today tab seems to be the same for everyone, regardless of their interests. As I am writing this, for example, I am being advertised a category called "Texting for Tweens" which has no value to me as a user. In addition, the apps being featured are all products that the majority of people already know about: Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, Prime Video, etc.

This behavior is the opposite of discoverability: it is just featuring of already successful apps. Thankfully we have the Affiliate Program to help promote apps that you don't already know about. That is, until October 1, 2018, when Apple will be removing apps and in-app purchases from the program entirely. This move on Apple's part is likely to cause app-centric websites to have revenue issues, meaning many of them will close. It will be a big hit to marketing for new apps unless Apple's claims are to be believed.

In a letter sent out to current affiliates, Apple claims,

With the launch of the new App Store on both iOS and macOS and their increased methods of app discovery, we will be removing apps from the affiliate program.

So, Apple is working on something new in the App Store to promote discoverability. The App Store on the current iOS 12 beta does not have anything new or exciting as part of it, so either the new features will not be previewed ahead of time, or it won't launch until the new devices are announced later in the year. The latter would make sense, being as October tends to be iPhone announcement time.

This does serve as another reminder that building a business on someone else's brand is always a dangerous idea. When the company changes its priorities, you can lose your entire business, as these app discovery websites are unfortunately about to discover for themselves.

August 5, 2018 - Episode 504 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Apple is tightening its grip on the App Store, Google is losing their grip on Google Play and YouTube plans a better Music experience.

How to Get Inexpensive Windows 10 - Episode 172 (Piltch Point)

This week, Avram Piltch discusses one of the biggest costs in building your own computer: Windows. While Microsoft sells a copy of Windows 10 Home for $139, there are other ways to get Windows 10 going for little or no cost. Whether you repurpose an existing activation key or purchase it wholesale, Avram's got some ideas to decrease the cost of your build.

July 29, 2018 - Episode 503 (F5 Live: Refreshing Technology)

This week, Google removes crypto from Android, EA adds extra games to Origin Access and MoviePass cuts its service for a while.

What an Awesome App to Easily Help Manage Custody! (PLuGHiTz Live Special Events)

No matter how amicable the breakup, family matters involving custody are always difficult. And let's be honest, most are not anywhere close to amicable. All too often there are stressors, tempers and unfortunately even aggression that get in the way. Jonathan Verk, CEO of coParenter, stopped by to tell us about this great new app that is aimed at solving these all too frequent situations.

coParenter is a management and mediation platform for separated and divorced parents. It helps to facilitate a stable and positive environment for the best possible outcomes. They accomplish this by providing specific tools that are aimed to help parents minimize conflict and stay out of court. This allows them to focus on the needs of their children and in turn, helps parents develop new skills to be better parents together, leading to happier children. And happier children make the world a better place.

The app also helps both sides financially. They are able to make better decisions outside of courtrooms, hence saving thousands of dollars. It enables parents to create their own court-ready custody plans that better handle the day to day parenting time as well as the ever so important holiday schedules. And just because it is app-based doesn't mean that there isn't professional assistance. Disagreements are resolved with a qualified, on-demand coParenting professional whenever necessary.

coParent is also there for the long haul. This easy to use system can also be used down the road to make alterations to an existing custody agreement. They also provide articles, videos, and stories to help you along the way, all from leading coParenting professionals, judges, therapists, mediators, and attorneys. Parents will always have new tips, tricks, skills, and habits right at their fingertips to help them be the best coParent- and parent- they can be!

To learn more, visit their website.

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