Tech News and Updates

Tech Talker has updates on the latest from IFTTT, Google Chromecast. TOR browser, and a new, totally amazing way to handle wet electronics.

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #88

Things are constantly changing in the tech world, which means that us tech writers have to keep up with the news daily - and sometimes revise our previous reports.

That's why today, I’ll be updating you with some changes that have happened recently in the world of apps, devices, and web security.>

Today, I’ll be covering updates on IFTTT, TOR, Chromecast, and best of all - wet electronics!

What's New with IFTTT?

If you remember from my episode on “If This, Then That,” this awesome web app helps automate many different tasks. Well, since I wrote that article, IFTTT has released an iPhone app that adds a bunch of new features that are really useful. They don’t currently have an Android equivalent, but it is in the works.

So what exactly can this app do on your iPhone? It uses the existing apps to add more functionality to your IFTTT recipes! You can have IFTTT add pictures you’ve taken to your Google Drive or Dropbox. You can have your Reminders forwarded to Evernote, and even get texts when an item you wanted gets posted on Craigslist. If none of this made sense, go check out my episode on IFTTT to see how your life could be made much easier by this awesome tool.

Tor Browsing

I’ve done a couple of articles about security and anonymity on the web. The service that I recommended using was TOR or “The Onion Network” which is a great free solution to browsing the web securely and anonymously. This week, however, it was discovered that a piece of malware was targeting the browser that TOR uses. This malware was sending back very specific information such as the user’s actual IP address, hardware address, and geolocation data.

Obviously if you are trying to browse the web anonymously, this is exactly what you’re trying to prevent! As of right now, this malware looks as if it was produced by the government in order to apprehend criminals dealing with child pornography. But that's purely speculation. At the moment the most updated version of TOR closes the vulnerability that the malware exploited.

So update, update, update!

Google Chromecast

After spending some time with the new Google Chromecast, I was pretty impressed with its features. One in particular I wanted to mention to you, since it was not immediately obvious.  When you're using the Chromecast to stream videos, whatever app you are in (such as Netflix or Hulu) acts as the remote for the device. When you start the Netflix app, you push the video to the Chromecast and once the video starts playing, you no longer need the app to be running. The only purpose for the app at this time is to act as the remote for the Chromecast deice. So you can turn off your phone or laptop at this point and the video will still play via the Chromecast. However, if you turn the device off, you lose the remote control feature that the app such as YouTube or Netflix provided to the Chromecast - this means you can't pause or play until you relaunch the app. 

The point is that the Chromecast actually doesn’t stream everything through your connected device. Once you start it up from a device, the Chromecast connects directly, allowing you to get out of the app and do other things on your phone or laptop. Thanks to listener Tom for clueing me into this great tip!

Wet Electronics

One of my very first episodes as Tech Talker was about how to rescue wet electronics. But what if instead of saving your wet electronics, your electronics were all waterproof? That's now an option! There are device cases on the market now, such as the lifeproof case, which will waterproof your device. So you won't need to drop it into a bucket of rice.

However, I recently saw one of the most amazing things, an ultra-thin coating of water-repelling material that can be sprayed on anything to make it waterproof! There are a few different companies that have competing products such as NeverWet and Liquipel. With Liquipel, you can send in your device and they will coat it for you, making it totally waterproof! Check out the videos. It’s pretty incredible. I think this can be a whole new chapter in Get-It-Done Guy's book, on how to work in the shower, tub, and poolside!

With that, here are your 4 Quick and Dirty updates from the tech world:

  1. IFTTT now has an iPhone app that adds a bunch of functionality to your IFTTT account. An Android app on the way.
  2. The browser TOR uses to surf the internet anonymously was compromised. Update now!
  3. The Google Chromecast streams directly from a given service and uses your device as the remote and initial connection.
  4. If you have problems keeping your gadgets dry, or just want to be productive in the pool, check out Liquipel.

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Wet phone and tech news images courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.