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Weekend of February 8th, 2013 – Hour 1

 Tech News & Commentary

Consumer reports feature with Donna Tapellini

Rose in Fulton, Mississippi sent the following email and asked: “I have some old film that used to drop into a polaroid camera. it was the drop-in type, not the roll. I was wondering if I can get that developed anywhere and how. It’s from back in the 70s or 80s.”

Rose, from what you’re telling us, the type of film you’re referring to is film belonging to the SX-70 polaroid that was available on the market from 1972 to about 1981. If the film hasn’t expired and still able to be developed, the only place we could find that would be able to do it is The Impossible Project, which specializes in the manufacture and development of old polaroid films.

We do have to ask though, since many Polaroid cameras used self-developing film cartridges, do you know that this film has been exposed? Typically, the Polaroid cameras would eject the picture, which would self-develop because of chemicals in the binder. So if you have a “cartridge” of Polaroid film, it is entirely possible that it’s just that…film, not pictures.

And if it IS pictures, you need to prepare yourself for the chance that they can’t be developed. After 30 plus years, there’s no telling if the film is still good. It may be just fine, but you’ve gotta think about how long it’s been sitting around.

For more information tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast. Just click the red arrow in the upper right column on this page.

Favorite apps of the week :



“Vine. The hot new “it” social network from the same company that brought you Twitter. Vine allows you to create 6 second videos that play in a loop when they are on screen with your device. You scroll through it like you would Instagram or Twitter, and you can follow specific people (or it will select some at random). When a video can be seen, it animates and you hear sound, as soon as it scrolls off the screen, it freezes again. The thing that separates Vine from “just plain old short video clips” is the editor. You can shoot much longer videos and then edit them down to 6 seconds. Clever Vine users have created some very interesting special effects this way. Vine is free in the iTunes App store. ” — Mark


“My app this week can be very helpful this time of year. The app is called IRS2Go and it’s the first official smartphone app from the IRS. You can find out when you’ll get your refund (my favorite part) or you can use it to get all sorts of helpful tax information. You can sign up for alerts which will give you daily tax tips and info during tax filing season and periodically throughout the rest of the year. The updates cover topics like topics such as free tax help, child tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit, education credits and other helpful info. It will also give you access to the IRS Twitter feed with more info. The app is free (as it should be) and available on both iOS and Android.” — Chris [/accordion_item]


“Lulu, is the girls-only app for dating intelligence. Now, I got this from a Press Release — I have not used it! It just launched in US Colleges. Available on iOS and Android platforms, they say Lulu is the smart girl’s app for private reviews and recommendations of guys. It takes its cues from the real world: a girl meets a guy and think he’s cute, but wants to know if he’s the dreamboat he appears to be or every girl’s worst nightmare. So they ask our girlfriends, and look him up on Facebook and Google. It’s a private, fun ritual all the ladies indulge in — so I’m told — often complicated by the fact that they don’t want the guy to know they’re checking out his creds. So they created Lulu to give girls another useful tool to date more intelligently.” — Dave




“Tired of spending tons of money on clothes, Guys if you’re like us and you don’t really know what is the new trend to wear, and you don’t want to break the bank to look good for that special occasion. Then Jackthreads is for you. This Free app on iOS and Android, sells contemporary and streetwear fashion at discounted prices in a limited-time, in a flash-sale format.” — Andrew

Matthew in Wasila, Alaska listening on KBYR 700 “Alaska Talks Here” : I just got a Galaxy S2. It’s still running on Gingerbread. I was wondering how I can get the newer version of Android onto my phone without using a computer. Since I got a smartphone, I kind of stopped using the home computer and now it’s pretty much a paperweight.

Matthew, you can’t. If no updates are being pushed to you by your phone company, the only option you have left is to download Ice Cream Sandwich builds released by Samsung and install them using your computer.

Even that is a little tricky, from what we’ve heard. The versions of Ice Cream Sandwich 4.1.2 for the S2 that are available online were originally intended for other countries. They seem to work in all other  regions, but you should probably make sure that you want to take the risk of installing something that wasn’t released by your carrier or for your country before you do anything. And again, even that installation will require a computer if they phone itself is not finding updates pushed by your carrier.

That is, by the way, one of the things you need to take into account before deciding between iPhone and an Android phone. With the former, wireless carriers do not control the software on the phone. When Apple issues an iOS update, all iPhones can get it at the USER’S discretion. When Android is available in a new version, the wireless carrier gets it, spends however much time it wants adding their own interface tweaks and baked in applications to it, and then, IF they choose to, push it out to their customers. Android may indeed be the mobile OS of “choice,” but it’s not always YOUR choice.

Now, you can always root your phone and install whatever ROMs and Android version you like, but we’ve already mentioned the potential pitfalls to a rooted phone. You’re on your own for support, you might void the warranty, if you unlock the phone while rooting it you’re breaking the law, and you just need to be fairly tech-savvy to make it go smoothly. We hope you’re able to resolve your problems with less headaches, but honestly? You’re really sort of stuck with what your wireless carrier wants to offer you.


Sends us the following email : I have a Yamaha AV-R 367 surround sound unit.  Recently when I turn it on and select the DVD or cable box selection the audio doesn’t work.  However I can get audio through the HDMI to the TV using the TV speakers.  Then after maybe 5 or 10 minutes the digital audio comes on.  It then works fine until the unit is turned off and then the whole process starts again.  Is this a fixable problem or is it terminal?

Thanks for your help and suggestions.

John, we haven’t been able to find anyone else with your problem, so we’re just guessing here.  If there’s something wrong with your optical out port itself, it is replaceable, it’s not that easy to get the part and get them replaced, but it can be done.

The thing is, unless you’re using some very interesting hybrid optical audio/vacuum tube home theater system, there’s really no reason for the audio to kick in after 5 or 10 minutes.

It may be that some component is not making proper contact before the unit gets warmer and then it suddenly does when the temperature makes some parts expand, what the component may be, we have no idea. There are probably a few logic boards inside you surround sound unit, one of them may be cracked, or it may be some cable that’s not making contact as it should, the only way to know for sure if this is terminal or even worth fixing will probably be to take it to someone who can open it and have a thorough look.

Yamaha may have some service centers in your area, but even if they don’t look around, just a few weeks ago we interviewed someone from UBreakIFix and he told us that they’ll try to fix pretty much any electronic brought into the store. Look around and you will definitely find some repair shops around you willing to take a look and give you a better diagnosis than we can from our studios.

Grant in South St. Josephs, Michigan listens on 94.9 WSJM called in and said : “You guys were joking about what carriers are unlocking phones. AT&T will do that when your contract expires. You have to send it through some kind of qualifying method. I’ve done that now on a couple different iPhones and given them as gifts to family.”

Yes indeed Grant, many carriers WILL unlock phones once the contract has expired. You have paid them back all the money they spent underwriting the cost of the smartphone, so they don’t lose anything by unlocking it.

For the record, if the CARRIER unlocks the phone, that is 100% legal – according to the new law.

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Written by Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for over 20 years. He is the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

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