5 Things - Week Ending 8/9/13

This is the 50th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

Starting on August 16, Apple will offer users of third-party iPhone, iPad, and iPod power adapters the chance to trade their old chargers in and pick up a genuine model at a discount. The USB Power Adapter Takeback Program will allow you to bring your third-party adapter in to an Apple Store or Apple authorized service provider and get an Apple-branded adapter for $10 (“or the approximate equivalent in local currency”), just over half of the standard price of $19.

At the end of July, I shared a story about a Chinese woman who was electrocuted by a knockoff iPhone charger. Since that story broke, Apple has decided to offer anyone with a third-party iPhone, iPad, or iPod charger the opportunity to turn it into an Apple Store and purchase an Apple-branded charger for $10.

If you purchased a third-party knockoff charger, I would advise you take Apple up on this deal!

pressure cookers, backpacks and quinoa, oh my!

Michele Catalano:

45 minutes later, they shook my husband’s hand and left. That’s when he called me and relayed the story. That’s when I felt a sense of creeping dread take over. What else had I looked up? What kind of searches did I do that alone seemed innocent enough but put together could make someone suspicious? Were they judging me because my house was a mess (Oh my god, the joint terrorism task force was in my house and there were dirty dishes in my sink!). Mostly I felt a great sense of anxiety. This is where we are at. Where you have no expectation of privacy. Where trying to learn how to cook some lentils could possibly land you on a watch list. Where you have to watch every little thing you do because someone else is watching every little thing you do.

There have been numerous stories about the National Security Agency and the various ways they are tracking people through technology. I haven't commented on these stories too much since I don't want to fill this blog with my political views.

I do think it is important that you realize that almost anything you do on the internet can be tracked though. If you end up searching for the right combination of terms on Google, you may end up with federal agents on your doorstep.

The slow death of dial-up: 2 percent of us still use AOL

Brian Fung:

It’s easy to take Netflix and Spotify for granted at a time when fiber optic cables can send HD movies and high-quality audio to our computers in minutes. But according to AOL’s second-quarter earnings report Wednesday, more than 2.5 million people still subscribe to the Internet company’s services.

I recently was hired by a client who was still paying $6.99 per month to AOL. This person hasn't used dial-up in years, but was convinced that they still needed to pay the monthly fee to AOL to keep their email address. This is not the case. If you know someone who is stil paying a monthly fee to AOL and is not using dial-up (most people aren't), I would recommend that you encourage them to cancel. It took us less than three minutes to cancel the subscription. You can even have them call me to walk them through the process!

Google Maps Mobile Apps Will Now Be Polluted With Ads (Sad Face)

Mario Aguilar:

Google Maps app on your smartphone is one of those wonderful things that makes owning the gadget an absolute joy. Instant, essential knowledge. Today, Google announced that it would be robbing its iOS and Android apps of their purity by allowing advertisers to advertise against your searches.
Ad displayed at the bottom of Google Maps on a smartphone

Ad displayed at the bottom of Google Maps on a smartphone

Have I ever mentioned that I hate ads? I understand that businesses need to have a way to create awareness about their products and services, but we live in a world inundated with advertisements.

Any chance I get I will choose to pay for an ad free experience. That is why I pay for Netflix and will often choose to purchase a television show from iTunes instead of watching it on television or on Hulu. If a free app gives me the opportunity to pay a small amount to get rid of ads, I take them up on the offer. I have been approached by a few advertising companies that want to put ads on my website and I have chosen to turn them away.

I hope that Apple chooses to take the high road and keep the Apple Maps app on the iPhone and iPad ad free.

What Is Sleep Texting?

Angela Haupt:

Indeed, young adults are so attached to their phones that many respond to texts while they’re sleeping. When the phone beeps they answer, either in words or, often, gibberish. And the next morning, they have no memory of their activity — until they check their message history. Sleep texters commonly recount their behavior using hashtags like #sleeptexting on Twitter and Instagram.

This doesn't surprise me. Many college age students have grown up with a cell phone practically attached to their body and are now finding themselves unable to disconnect even during sleep. One young woman wears mittens at night to prevent herself from sleep texting.

I have my iPhone in Do Not Disturb mode from 10pm until 7am so it will not buzz or otherwise bother me in the middle of the night. No sleep texting for me!

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