• USA TODAY tech columnist Jefferson Graham hosts the Talking Tech video series for USA TODAY, and the daily audio edition, heard on USATODAY.com, Stitcher, TuneIn, iTunes and SoundCloud. He's also an accomplished portrait photographer and jazz guitarist.

Japanese monkeys

One of the benefits of visiting Kyoto, Japan is a little monkey habitat by the Bamboo Forest. The Arashiyama Monkey Park is a mega, mega climb, high up in the hills, but worth it.
The animals that roam free up there are called the “Japanese macaque” and also known as the “Snow monkey.”
It costs just around $5 to get in.

Japan monkey

Up close and personal with a Japanese monkey in Kyoto.


Japan monkey

Looking straight ahead at a Japanese monkey near Kyoto, Japan.


Japan monkeys

A Japan monkey hanging on a tree near Kyoto.


These photos were snapped with the Sony RX10II camera.

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#Streetlife from Japan

Geisha girls

A sighting of two geisha gals, all dolled up on a Sunday afternoon, in Kyoto by Jefferson Graham


Japan traffic cop

A traffic cop in Kyoto, Japan takes a quick break on a busy afternoon. Photo by Jefferson Graham


Kobe shopping mall

Despite the retail situation in the United States, the malls are packed in Japan. Here is a shot on a rainy day in Kobe, where covered malls are filled with dozens of stores and busy shoppers.


Bowing dummies

In Japan, the store mannequins bow


Rickshaw

Yes, even in 2017, you can still pay someone to drag you through the streets on a rickshaw ride in Japan


Japan

They sing on the streets with ancient instruments in Japan


Kinono

Tourists rent kimono dresses to walk around Kyoto on a Sunday afternoon


Cherry blossoms

The obligatory cherry blossoms shot.


#Streetlife from Kobe and Kyoto, Japan. Shot on the Sony RX10II camera, April, 2017.

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Review: Google Wifi easy to install, improves network

Subscribe to #TalkingTech on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/talking-tech/id658291823?mt=2​

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – If you’re having issues connecting to wifi in the house, you might want to take a look at Google Wifi, a product that aims to eliminate those pesky dead spots in the house.

Google Wifi, which sells for $299, consists of 3 little round devices. The first one connects to your Internet router–the others are spread throughout the home, and plugged directly into the electrical outlet.

The product was first released last fall, but if you’re listening in the United Kingdom, it’s just about to launch there as well.

What I like about Google Wifi is two-prong. First of all, it works. It eliminated dead spots and made Internet access speedier and more reliable throughout the house. Second of all, it was drop-dead easy to set up.

I had feared tinkering with my internet was going to weaken the signal, so I had held off on opening the box for awhile. But the installation couldn’t have been smoother.

I plugged the first unit directly into the router, downloaded the companion app, which walks you through the installation process, and then went around the house, installing the other two units in strategic places.

I turned on the TV, and the streaming channels that had seemed pokey and almost unwatchable the night before, were now running as well as cable TV.

The drawback, for any of you listening, is why should you have to spend any money to improve the Internet we’re already on the monthly hook for. Because unless you live alone, in a small apartment, you’re sharing your signal with others, and everybody wants to be online at the same time, with the best signal. So your solution is to either grin and bear it, or spring for one of these mesh wifi systems.

Have you tried Google Wifi or any of the competitors, like Eeero or Linkys Velop? What are your thoughts? Let’s chat about it on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham.

To listen to audio, click here: https://soundcloud.com/jefferson-graham/review-google-wifi-improves-home-network​

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50 Million thanks to #TalkingTech podcast fans!


Fifty million thanks to everyone for listening to my #TalkingTech podcast.

50 million downloads for the #TalkingTech podcast

The latest download stats for the #TalkingTech podcast, per our SoundCloud RSS feed,


We crossed the latest milestone last week, with an episode about how Apple snapped the Workflow app into its library of apps. (The app offers shortcuts for simple things like ordering pizzas, Ubers or churning our texts to let the wife know you’re en route.)

The #TalkingTech Roundtable @YouTube Space LA

With 1,097 podcasts under our belt, we began doing the #TalkingTech podcast in 2014, at first to run the complete un-cut audio from our video interviews with celebrities (#TalkingYourTech) only to find that listeners enjoyed the short #TalkingTech burst of news and reviews. (And occasional lusts about the latest photo gear.)

Photographing

With Mayor Eric Garcetti in the front seat of a self-driving Volvo


So we’ve been at it ever since, with seven days a week of daily editions.
Some of my favorites:
–Taking a good look at Amazon’s Alexa coming to the iPhone and discovering–wow–poor maligned Siri actually was more useful.

–Ordering a bunch of flowers for Valentine’s Day, and letting you know who was best–Bouqs, BloomNation or BloomThat.

–Interviewing my son about why he ditched Macs for Windows.

–Five crashes later, what I’d learned about operating drones–true news you could use.

–And the annual turkey list is always fun–the worst of 2016.

We usually record the show every morning, except on Thursdays, when we do three for the weekend, which we publish on Friday. So far in 2017, our top cities are New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Portland, with the obvious countries–US, Canada, UK, Australia and the non-obvious–Japan. Our most listened to podcast of all time had 130,000 listens–an interview with the founder of Joymode, an app for ditching your stuff and renting it instead.

Readers–as we go forward, please leave your reviews on iTunes and let us know what topics you’d like to hear us cover.

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