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  • Apr 13, 2019

    AI Scaling, True Wireless Headphones, and Geoff’s Undersea Adventure | #201


    Last week, Freelance Writer, Editor, and Photographer for The Wirecutter and CNET, Geoffrey Morrison, teased us all with his vacation in the Caribbean. Now, he’s back to being just a normal plebeian like the rest of us. First off, we chat with Geoff about Apple’s uncanny ability to hold dominance over the tablet market, while not being able to reproduce the same results in the world wide cell phone market. Next up, we learn about AI scaling, the latest in television picture technology; while it may not offer any revolutionary picture quality upgrades, it will make older formats look better on newer televisions. Then, we discuss Apple AirPods 2, true wireless headphones, and their sound quality and comfort. Closing the show, Geoff shares his undersea adventure in the Caribbean, and the 360 degree video he captured using an Insta360 camera. Tune in to learn more.


    ·[00:00:00] How Does Apple Dominate Tablet Market?

    ·[00:07:07] What Is AI Scaling and Should You Care?

    ·[00:12:31] AI Scaling Slightly Improves TV Picture

    ·[00:19:51] Pros and Cons of AirPods, True Wireless

    ·[00:27:29] Headphones, AI Assistants, and Security

    ·[00:35:52] Geoffrey’s 360-Degree Undersea Adventure


    [00:00:00] How Does Apple Dominate Tablet Market?
    It’s hard to believe it has been nine years since Apple changed the world with the release of the original iPad. While Freelance Writer, Editor, and Photographer for The Wirecutter and CNET, Geoffrey Morrison, is not a huge Apple fan, he must admit that there is a certain allure to their products. Ever since the release of the iPad, which sold 15 million units by the release of the second generation, Apple has dominated the tablet market. We wonder why they haven’t been able to exert the same dominance on the smartphone category, in which Android products hold 85% of the market share. Geoff doesn’t have an answer, but he does have an alternative to the iPad that he thinks everyone should hear about: the Microsoft Surface Go. This amalgamation combines the power of a laptop with the convenience of a tablet, all while supporting Windows 10. Are you an iPad or Microsoft Surface fan?


    [00:07:07] What Is AI Scaling and Should You Care?
    TV manufacturers are constantly in search of new technology to bring you higher picture quality (at higher prices, of course). The latest advancement, dubbed AI scaling by Samsung, is indeed the next evolution in picture processing, but what is it really? Freelance Writer, Editor, and Photographer for The Wirecutter and CNET, Geoffrey Morrison, explains how all TVs since the dawn of the HD era have used some form of scaling to get older, smaller resolutions to fit on screens with larger pixel counts. Samsung’s AI scaling (known as dual database processing in Sony, and ThinQ AI in LG televisions) uses machine learning to select the best way to scale lower resolution images to fit 4K and 8K televisions. Learn more about the next step in picture scaling technology, and why it may not affect you that much.


    [00:12:31] AI Scaling Slightly Improves TV Picture
    Slated for inclusion in most high-end 2019 television models, AI scaling promises a smarter way to bring old video formats into the future. Freelance Writer, Editor, and Photographer for The Wirecutter and CNET, Geoffrey Morrison, break down how scaling worked then, and how it will work with this new technology. Previously, a low resolution image, like BluRay, would have its pixels duplicated a number of times to “zoom in” on larger, 4K resolution screens. AI scaling instead decides more intelligently how to color these duplicated pixels based on other pixels around them, creating smoother, sharper, or more defined images. While this advancement should not be a defining factor in your television purchasing process (do not buy a TV based on this feature alone!), it is interesting none-the-less. Listen in for a deeper analysis and explanation of AI scaling.


    [00:19:51] Pros and Cons of AirPods, True Wireless
    Anyone who is a long-time listener of Popular Technology Radio knows that Mike Etchart is an audiophile, and an Apple fan. So where does he stand when it comes to Apple AirPods? Well, he hates them! Apple’s famed true wireless headphones will get no love from Freelance Writer, Editor, and Photographer for The Wirecutter and CNET, Geoffrey Morrison, either, but he understands the appeal. Apple’s AirPods get poor marks when it comes to sound quality; is this a symptom of Bluetooth technology? Actually, no. Find out why the poor quality many people experience with Bluetooth headphones is likely due to poor construction, than Bluetooth fidelity loss.


    [00:27:29] Headphones, AI Assistants, and Security
    Have you ever bought a pair of in-ear headphones, only to find later that they are extremely uncomfortable? You aren’t alone! Freelance Writer, Editor, and Photographer for The Wirecutter and CNET, Geoffrey Morrison, attributes this problem to the fact that people have different size ear canals. For instance, Geoff has small ear canals, so the style of earbud that hangs on the outer part of his ears are more comfortable than the style that stick in his ear like a Q-tip. Geoff’s go-to headphones are a pair of Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2, and he suggests them to anyone who has never found in-ear headphones comfortable. Also, we chat about Amazon’s new true wireless Bluetooth earbuds, why Geoff prefers Google Home to Amazon Alexa, and why he only has so much time in a given day to care whether these devices are spying on him in his home. Growing security concerns have Mike leaning towards the Apple in-home assistant option, but Geoff warns that while Apple IS less bad, they still aren’t as great when it comes to privacy as they claim. Listen in for more.


    [00:35:52] Geoffrey’s 360-Degree Undersea Adventure
    Freelance Writer, Editor, and Photographer for The Wirecutter and CNET, Geoffrey Morrison, vacationed in Barbados recently, and got to explore undersea shipwrecks! He took his Insta360 ONE X along for the trip and got some amazing 360 footage of the wrecks. He could not recommend this camera more. Capable of taking high quality photos, and shooting video in 5.7K resolution at 30 frames per second, or 4K video at 50 frames per second, there is no better camera on the market. Geoff updates us on the state of the 360 degree camera market. Find out why Geoff thinks 360 degree cameras will always be a niche product.


    Explore More with Helpful Links:

    ·Contributor: Geoffrey Morrison | Freelance Writer, Editor, and Photographer, The Wirecutter/ CNET

    ·YouTube Video: Geoffrey Morrison: Wreck Dive in Barbados – 360 degree

    ·Website: Apple

    ·Website: AirPods 2

    ·Website: Insta360



    This episode was produced by Entertainment Right Now (ERN). If you found value in this episode, and you’d like to hear more, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a beat. Your feedback helps us to reach more enthusiasts around the world! If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please leave a comment below or e-mail us at


    Host: Mike Etchart
    Producer: Cody Castleberry
    Production Asst.: Joanne Bolden
    Audio Engineer: Cody Castleberry
    Copy Editor: Cody Castleberry
    Contributor: Geoffrey Morrison

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