This Week in Google 259 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiG - This Week in Google. Jeff and Gina are here, Kevin Marks is here, he's going to spank me a little bit later on. We'll talk about in-app purchases and why the Kardashian game is actually pretty good. It’s all coming up next, on TWiG.
[Intro] Netcasts you love, from people you trust. This is TWiT! Bandwidth for This Week in Google is provided by Cache Fly at Cachefly.com.
Leo: Bandwidth for This Week in Google is provided by Cachefly. C-A-C-H-E-F-L-Y.com. This is TWiG - This Week in Google, episode 259, recorded July 23rd, 2014
What's a Kardashian?
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It’s time for TWiG - This Week in Google, the show where we Google, and talk about Google and all the Googleverse, and the Facebook and the Twit. We got the old gang all together, I'm so happy to see Gina Trapani, in her office. Hi, Gina.
Gina Trapani: Hi, great to be here.
Leo: I saw you yesterday, in All About Android, looking at that one plus one phone that Jason had.
Gina: Dang, that is a nice looking phone. I don't know, it really was like, I like seeing signage and mod on the back of a phone.
Leo: Isn't that kind of cool, yeah?
Gina: Yeah, it made me really happy, it was like hackers legitimized. I like that phone, I think it’s one of the few non pure Google phones, technically non pure Google phones that I really want. I was excited Jason had it.
Leo: It’s a great price, unbelievable. Also here, Jeff Jarvis, that's him. You hear that baritone. That's JJ, he's a professor.
Jeff Jarvis: Basso profundo!
Leo: I'm sorry, the basso profundo, of Jeffrey Jarvis. He is... Look at him, he's a professor of journalism at a University, the city University of New York. Author, he's a published author of public parts and what would google do, and Gutenberg the geek. Blogs at buzzmachine, actually your latest post will be fodder for today's conversation. Also with us, good to have him, Mister Kevin Marks, in his garden.
Kevin Marks: Hi, nice to see you. I actually even have orange juice, my treat, to drink today.
Jeff: Oh, you're so obnoxious Marks. You're outside, you have the breeze, the good weather, and no you have your...
Leo: This is how my mom got us to move to California, from Rhode Island. She said you could go out on the front porch and pick an orange from the tree. Little did I know, that's how they got the Jodes to move from Oklahoma in Grapes of Wrath. Didn't work out so well!
Gina: I miss it. I miss the weather, and picking oranges off the trees. I have to admit, I really do.
Leo: What's the weather in Brooklyn?
Gina: We'll, look at the temperature, it’s fine. But if you walk two blocks and you're instantly soaked, and then you're getting on the subway and surrounded by smelly people. It’s just a different lifestyle, it’s just a different way of life.
Jeff: My office is right on Times Square, and I had lunch on the other side of Times Square, and you know, I always said San Francisco was brilliant, because there are two San Francisco's. The San Francisco that tourists see, the one that residents never go to. Folks, no San Franciscan ever goes to Fisherman's Wharf, they don't ride the cable car, right? So it’s a separate city, just for the tourists. It’s kind of brilliant. New York now has a separate city - it’s called Times Square. No New Yorker walks through Times Square and hugs a Guatemalan refugee in their Elmo suit. No New Yorker, you know...
Kevin: Except that one radio host...
Leo: Or the naked cowboy.
Jeff: No New Yorker. Right, the naked cowboy. No New Yorker does any of that, but I had to actually walk through it, and it’s torture. Torture! We don't go to Bubba Gump Shrimp, we don't do any of that.
Gina: It’s true!
Leo: You know, we have in studio with us today, Ranger Craig. He's the Ranger at Alcatraz, one of the rangers. And Craig, do a lot of locals visit Alcatraz, or is it mostly out of towners?
Ranger Craig: Mostly, when they have someone from out of town...
Leo: If they're there, they're towing somebody from out of town along with them. I've been, of course, to Alcatraz, it’s a wonderful tour. Highly recommend it. Craig has always said, come and I'll give you a special behind the scenes tour and I keep meaning to drag the kids there, and I just haven't gotten around to it.
Jeff: I think we should try to have the show from there.
Leo: One of the cells? Don't they let you... Isn't there a night tour where they let you spend some time, like, extended time in the cells?
Craig: There's a night tour.
Leo: There's a night tour, yeah. I don't know... Anyway, enough of that. Let’s talk about this. The first phone with the words, Cyanogen on the back. This is the One Plus One, the phone you cannot get from One Plus. They just put five thousand more invites out. I don't... What's your speculation, Gina? Maybe you guys have talked about this on All About Android. They call it, the... What do they call it? The killer... The high end phone killer? But, it’s three hundred fifty bucks, for the 64gb version, which this one is, I think. And it has all the specs of a high end phone.
Gina: I think this has a shot at becoming the new nexus. And by saying that I mean, the phone of choice for power users who want the kind of pure experience with a few extra settings, like, cyanogen is basically like stock plus a little extras, but no crappy extras, right?
Leo: And you still somehow, and I don't really understand this, maybe you can explain this, you still get Google services. The Google apps are on here, play store is on here.
Gina: Yeah, they clearly got Google certification, right? Because Google doesn't let any phone carry the Play Store or any of the proprietary Google apps unless they're Google certified. And with that agreement, and I don't think all of the terms of that agreement have been disclosed, but there's certain home screen placement and that kind of thing, right? So you're not dealing with an alternate app store, you get the Play Store and all that stuff. But it’s Cyanogen, and the phone itself is actually pretty gimmick free, and it’s a pretty straightforward phone. There aren't seventeen front facing infrared cameras, there's no scrolling on the back, there's no crazy. It’s just a flat phone, but it’s a high end phone, it’s a beautiful phone, it’s sleek and doesn't have a lot of extra crapware. And it’s pretty plain looking, but the geeks will love it.
Kevin: This is the one that looks like a Nexus 5, isn't it? It basically looks like a Nexus 5, but it’s...
Leo: It’s bigger. It’s 5 & 1/2 inches.
Gina: It has that silver... Edge there. Um, the back feels good, right? In the cyanogen branding, I think is powerful for Android hackers and nerds.
Leo: it’s super cool. What I don't know, and I don't know if Jason knows this yet, is the bootloader unlocked on this? Do you know yet Jason? He says he's pretty sure it is, but... So, it’s hard to figure out exactly. Do you mind if I put it in recovery mode, Jason? Let me try rebooting it, because as it rebooted into clockworkmod or... Or twerp or what? I mean...
Jeff: Gina... I'm not saying that this is ever going to be a big point for regular consumers, but if a regular consumer happens to pick one up and get it, are they going to be befuddled by any of this, or to them does this look like an android phone that just happens to be different?
Leo: The boot loader is not unlocked, but unlockable, says Jason.
Gina: It's a straightforward android phone, you know that, I think would be pretty self-explanatory.
Leo: The issue is, you can't get it! You have to... You know. You have to get an invite or something, it's weird!
Gina: Right now.
Jason: Now I can find a few places... Right, and so does PandaWill. Yeah, I've found a few places.
Leo: And a premium. So, what it sounds like, I don't know how much the availability is, it sounds like they're somehow getting it from somebody that had an invite maybe and reselling it. I don't know. Right... Expanse is reputable, but I buy the way you don't see on Expanses front page, I don't know.
Gina: The scarcity certainly is working in their favor marketing wise.
Leo: It’s a marketing thing. Would you get this over the G... Oh, yeah, it’s been available like in onesies and twosies. I can't figure it out. Are they, is there some constraint on manufacture or is it all marketing? It’s all marketing, isn't it? And yet at some point you've got to open the pipes. There's no point in great marketing if you're not going to sell millions of these.
Gina: Right, yeah. I'm not sure... I'm not sure...
Kevin: It may be a roundabout thing as well.
Leo: Maybe they're hand making them, one by one, with small...
Gina: Chiseling Cyanogen in the back.
Leo: It’s just...
Kevin: Well, they maybe it’s that it’s not completely perfect yet and they're debugging it.
Leo: But, let me say this. If you put out this exact phone, which Opo may have, because I think the fine 7 is the same phone. If you put this exact phone out, without any of the marketing hype, and you just put it on the market with all the other flagship phones, does it stand out? I guess price wise it does.
Kevin: It stands out price wise.
Gina: Price wise.
Kevin: Because it’s... It looks like the other ones but it’s a lot cheaper, it’s about half the price of the Samsung flagships.
Jeff: Market price on Ebay is running $450.
Leo: even then, it’s still a great deal. It’s $150 to $200 less than the comparable flagship phone. I love seeing this Cyanogenmod logo on it, when you're booting it up. Now this is... Of course we, anybody's rooted a phone and put on custom firmware is used to this, but it’s still kind of cool to see it on a phone. And Cyanogen stands to make some money, because they're selling themes so you you can customize this, with Cyanogen themes.
Gina: How are they selling those themes, though. Those themes, they're not in the play store.
Leo: There's an app called Themes Showcase.
Leo: And they're typically a buck. Oh, wait a minute. Here's a buck ninety nine, here's $2.23, here's $3. Maybe it’s third parties selling this, maybe it isn't Cyanogen.
Jeff: I had to quit the nexus five and nexus seven google+ cruxes. All Google+ did was say, "Look at my theme!"
Leo: It’s so boring. And when they say theme, they show the lock screen. Often with a scantily clad woman on it, and icons that look good but you could never use. It’s like, come on.
Jeff: You know this is a problem. I get on this show and now I'm ready to go buy this phone somewhere.
Leo: Stop. Stop. Because, the Moto X Plus One someday soon, they said summer. That gives them 'till a couple of months. The LG G3, a lot of people are raving over this phone. It’s got some... It’s the first ultra HD phone.
Jeff: Nexus six...
Leo: That's a good question, are we going to see a Nexus 6 sometime?
Jeff: Our dear friend Matt Cutts said, others said, don't despair the Nexus line.
Leo: Yeah, but that doesn't mean we're going to make one.
Kevin: That's boring because my son just bought a nexus 5 yesterday. He's going to be grumpy with me.
Leo: I see no evidence that there's a nexus 6.
Jeff: I don't either.
Kevin: His previous phone was a Galaxy Nexus, which was three years old. He's actually very happy with his phone, but if they come out with a better one tomorrow, he'll be cross.
Leo: Actually, I have to say, if this were in widespread society, if the one plus one were in widespread distribution, easy to get, you could walk into a phone store... This is the replacement for the nexus 5, right?
Kevin: Yeah, there are those that are saying it looks like a nexus 5. Is that a bit cheaper?
Leo: It’s cheaper and it has a better screen.
Kevin: Whats its storage?
Leo: Sixty four gigs.
Kevin: So it’s twice the storage, yeah?
Leo: For three fifty.
Jeff: But how much time for an update? It was time for an update, right, and a regular consumer buys the phone, it works and it’s Android. How does it get updated? Is it automatic updated?
Leo: They've promised automatic updates. They've promised that within a few months of the L release, they will have L for it.
Jeff: OK, in a few months, OK...
Leo: But what release means, I would guess, and Gina's going to crack me on this, but release means when the source code for L is released, not when the L is released, because they can't get to work on that until the source is released.
Jeff: Right. Right. When has the Lag been running? We don't know, it’s been so long since we had an actual release.
Kevin: It’s usually after they already release, it’s to the point when they've actually released it, then they release it to the public.
Gina: Google consumers release, there's the IOSP release, and then there's Cyanogen's release of their software on the OSP. Right, so there's going to be a little bit of lag. But I imagine that the moment the Cyanogen has been updated for L, this phone will get to be updated.
Kevin: That's the thing with my son buying a new nexus 5, was that it then said there's a software update. It basically made him run three software updates in a row, to get up to 4.4.4.
Gina: Sounds like windows all over again. Service pack three!
Kevin: Make all the updates google, it’s not that hard.
Leo: I have to say though, there's only one phone that allows you to get a digital tattoo to unlock the phone. This is so weird. It’s a tattoo, temporary, admittedly. That you put on your skin, they say it lasts five days. It'll let you unlock your phone, your MotoX only, by tapping it to your flesh.
Gina: Wait, what?
Jeff: Are we sure this is real...?
Leo: You can buy now, pack of ten, from Vivalink.
Gina: Is it magnetic? What is it?
Leo: It’s an NFC tag in a, really it’s a sticker, okay? And Motorola has done this for a while, so they've had the clip. That's the clip, and if you buy a set of these stickers, which I have all over the place. But there's the tattoo. And it looks cool. It’s a sticker.
Kevin: Not so much a tattoo, it’s a wart.
Leo: It’s a wart! I'm waiting for them to inject something subcutaneously that will let me unlock my phone.
Gina: Prove your identity.
Leo: It’s really just an NFC.
Jeff: what was the science fiction movie where you had the port in your wrist.
Leo: Well there were a couple of those. Wasn't there the one where... Logan's run where you had the little clock. But then there was more recently one that would actually give you a countdown.
Kevin: Well there was existence, where there was a port in the back of your neck when insects went in and out.
Leo: That doesn't sound good. I don't want insects in my port!
Jeff: I saw discussion on the Google+ Chromebook discussion that Indev there was a flag you could set so that you could unlock your computer with your phone. That wasn't working yet, but I think it was out...
Leo: That's actually very risky. There's an app for the Mac called Knock, that lets you knock with your iphone on your mac and unlocks the mac. But it’s very risky because unfortunately, when I installed it on my Mac, Sarah Lane got permission to unlock my Mac. I don't know how. But it’s not what I would call secure. So...
Gina: Oh, that's a bummer.
Leo: The movie was, In Time, and you were thinking of Johnny Mnemonic, I think was the one with the port where the insects could get in there... Wasn't it Johnny Mnemonic? That was the Keanu Reeves as a...
Kevin: Existence, yeah, that’s what I was thinking.
Leo: That sounds creepy. Existence.
Kevin: Ninety nine, yeah, Okay. I'm old.
Leo: The insects was the key.
Kevin: This is Cronenberg, said, Okay, we're going to send insects into their.
Leo: David Cronenberg has a fascination with insects, starting with The Fly. Something creepy about Cronenberg. A weapon against trolls? Could it be? Matt Cutts says he's created a patent troll, or there is a patent troll solution, called License on Transfer at LOTnet.com. Companies like Newegg, Dropbox, cannon, google, have agreed if they sell a patent the other companies in the group will get a license to that patent. Oh, so it only protects you if you're in the group.
Gina: I don't understand this. If you sell a patent...
Kevin: Depends on the license group, right?
Leo: Explain it.
Kevin: And I need to read this now.
Jeff: I need you to explain it to me.
Leo: So this is what they write on their front page. "Dear Industry Colleagues. Have we formed Lotnet work in 2005, and if every operating company had joined that year... Approximately ten thousand..."
Kevin: Are they actually becoming a cartel?
Leo: This has actually got to be illegal. How much does it cost to join?
Gina: I kind of don't trust them, because it’s written in Coldfusion.
Leo: Oh my god!
Leo: That's depressing.
Gina: Look at the CFM.
Gina: Listen, I've programed in PHP so I'm the last person to be judgey about programming languages, but this website... I don't know, I spent some time on that and I still kind of don't get...
Leo: So the idea is you sign an agreement, you execute it, you send it to them in Beaverton Oregon, there is a modest, they say, administrative fee. Lets' see how much it costs. Well, depends on revenue. If you're a small company, less than ten million dollars in revenue, it’s only $1500 a year. If you're a billion dollar a year company, it’s $20000 a year.
Gina: The idea is that this is that this defrays cost to anybody in the group that gets around patents.
Leo: They say they won't sue you, they say you're basically buying a license.
Jeff: It reduces the value of trying to sue over a patent, because so many people have a license to it.
Leo: That's the other cost, is that if you join, you are now a member and you have to adhere to these terms, so... If you sell a patent, absolutely they'll reduce the value.
Kevin: This is like second grade blackmail. So if they sell a patent to a troll, then you get protected against the troll for 41500 a year. So it’s a protection racket for people or companies who have lots of old crappy patents that they want to sell off to trolls.
Leo: Google has joined it.
Kevin: Like blackberry for example. Blackberry is about to be this problem, because they're going down the toilet but they have patents, so they're going to sell the patents off to trolls.
Leo: Right, and in fact, had they been a member of this group, they might have gone down the toilet sooner.
Kevin: But if they do that, then the patent trolls will pay less for their patents. Because they can't sue the people that have lots of money.
Leo: Matt Cutts has stopped his run. Has pulled over. There's steam coming out of his ears. You don't understand this.
Gina: But he's on leave, he's hanging out with his wife. I hope he's on a beach somewhere.
Leo: You know we'll get a call from him in three months, he'll say, "I just was in there..."
Jeff: He put up a picture of roses he gave to his wife, and my response was, "So you did stop and smell the roses."
Leo: Nice. Isn't that great? Good news, Google is bringing free Wifi to New York City phone booths.
Gina: I was like... I'm trying to remember where the closest phone booth is to me, and I have no idea. I don't really think they're still around...?
Leo: Is this an Onion article?
Jeff: If you look at the picture, Gina, you realize that there are ads all around the streets of New York, and that’s what a phonebooth is now. See that? Doesn't that look familiar? See? You don't think of it as a phone booth, you think of it as a billboard.
Gina: You're right. You're absolutely right. Sandy did sort of make phone booths useful.
Leo: Yeah, you need phone booths.
Kevin: When I was working at BT, this was one of the things that I was saying, is that we have all these big red boxes in the street. Wouldn't it be great if they were Wifi hotspots. They were like, "Yeah, that could work, but that's going to take a lot of changes to the phone booths." But it actually makes a certain amount of sense, because the phone booths are in the places, they've been taken out of all the upscale neighborhoods already, but they're in places where people will still actually use them, so they'd be good places to fill in the Wifi hotspots.
Leo: And you get Wifi for eighty five feet, at least, around each sight. And phone service, free 911 and 311 calls. 311 is information. The city is also encouraging people who want to do this to offer cell phone charging stations. That would be useful. Short local calls for free.
Jeff: I want to stand there in the middle of the street with my phone plugged in, in Times Square. I'm going to get Elmos coming up and trying to hug me and get paid. No. No.
Leo: You may wonder, you may think hey, doesn't Bell Atlantic, or actually now it’s Verizon own those phones? No. Verizon and all the big TelCos long ago gave up pay phones and sold them off to smaller companies. Currently the payphones in New York City are owned by ten different companies. I actually know one of the guys who does this. It’s very interesting business. He bought his phones from AT&T. AT&T was a small enough business, and been growing smaller all the time, AT&T just didn't want to deal with it. He says, for me, it’s still a billion dollar business. But for AT&T it’s like who cares? He services phones all over the country. Almost all of them are cell phones, they're not connected to a landline, they look like a payphone. Yeah, isn't it? It’s an interesting business. He says, well look in front of Wal Mart, in lowering communities and the bodegas and the small stores.
Jeff: But how do you use a phone card?
Leo: He used to sell phone cards. In fact I think he still does phone cards, I think that's how he got into the payphone business. And he says, really, this was so interesting to me, the real business is how do you collect the coins. Because people are using coins, so this guy is great. And don't remember the name of the company or I'd give him a plug. He's a father of one of Henry's best friends at college, and so I was visiting Henry and I sat and talked to this guy for a couple of hours, about the business, and I was fascinated. He makes a very good living on this, and what happened is that the key is efficiently picking up the coins.
Jeff: There's the first user case I've heard for coins.
Leo: Maybe. I mean, I think you probably can use cards and so forth. Remember, where these are and how they're used. People still want to drop a quarter and make a call. You don't have a phone, or you lost your phone, or whatever, you need to use a phone. It’s basically loaning you a cell phone for a fee. And he's actually developed algorithms, he says very much like UPS or trucks don't turn left. They've developed algorithms to efficiently collect the coins, the more efficiently the more money you make, and he's branched out. He's become in many states, the guy who services the Nestle's freezer cases. Because the same algorithm used to pick up coins from pay phones, have become very useful in delivering ice cream sandwiches. And actually, this was the other thing, those freezers are heavily instrumented. He said, we need to know when to bring ice cream and how much ice cream. And I said, well do you count them or something? He said, well we do have sensors inside the thing, but mostly we just weigh the thing. There's a little sensor and when it gets light enough, time to send the truck. Because we have all the flavors.
Gina: Wow. That is interesting.
Leo: The world is an amazing place.
Jeff: it is.
Leo: And I think there's lots of businesses like these, where people say, that's not exciting or cool.
Jeff: We get so caught up in entrepreneurship. This is a real entrepreneur who sees an opportunity.
Leo: And software is what made him successful, because it’s the software that tells the trucks where to go. By the way, it’s true, UPS does not turn left.
Gina: Oh wow.
Leo: Because a left turn is time consuming...
Kevin: Except in the UK where they don't turn right.
Leo: But then they don't turn right. And they do it sometimes, there are places they'll turn left, but the software that's routing the UPS driver or the ice cream truck guy is smart enough to let it turn left somewhere it can be done easily and effectively, like a one way street, but not where it will be turning left into a two way street, onto a two way street. Because you've got to wait until traffic get by.
Jeff: I imagine a guy in brown shorts who just decides, I'm going to be a rebel today and turn here!
Gina: I'm going to take a little break in the intersection.
Leo: Yeah, really.
Jeff: In related news, Google is offering free Wifi in Uber black cars, in Philadelphia. It said in the rundown somewhere.
Leo: This is smart. Google is doing the little, the breadcrumbs thing. You know you don't have to make a whole loaf, just add up enough crumbs and you get Wifi everywhere. But you don't want to come up against regulators. Hey, it’s just in the phone booths. It’s just in the Ubers.
Jeff: We got the metro wide Wifi, Philadelphia went through a big project to bring routers and every phone pole and the government got involved in this and it never happened.
Leo: You know what happened? Comcast and Verizon and AT&T went to the state legislatures, they got laws passed in more than thirty states, banning municipal Wifi.
Jeff: speaking of phone companies, Josh Marshal who's a wonderful wonderful journalist, he has a great tale today. He got a five thousand dollar bill, I think it was, from Verizon. And he's not a Verizon customer. So they tried to call Verizon to say, what is this. And he has to verify his number, but of course he doesn't have a number to verify he's not a customer, to say I'm not a customer so he can't get a bill. First they tried to say well this is a government requirement to have an emergency phone line, and then they gave that up, and then when he canceled two years ago, two of the lines self-replicated. And they're saying that it’s Josh's responsibility to pay the money. This is going to keep going on and on.
Leo: This is slamming.
Jeff: It’s a Verizon equivalent of the Comcast call we talked about.
Leo: These monopolies... And people complain about Google.
Jeff: I've got to go through files, I was saying, I pay for fifty megs. It was the story that, they're now going to go symmetrical, same up same down. Yay, let me write a check here and I can do a screenshot and put that up and be happy. But I'm paying for fifty and got twenty five. Now you've got Verizon and you gotta go through the whole magilla.
Leo: I'm convinced that Ryan Block Comcast call, isn't something Comcast likes, because they don't want to talk to you. So what they really want you to do is dread getting on the phone. This we know, we know this is true, Comcast reps get ranked down if the calls get too long, if they take too many calls. The worst thing that can happen is if someone calls once and calls again, if it wasn't resolved. Best thing to do, just don't call us. And generally that's going to make them money, because what do you do to cancel...
Kevin: I think it’s cool but the boss is up, because my Comcast bill is now three hundred dollars a month.
Leo: Do you not dread them, do you not dread that call?
Kevin: It’s like, gosh do I actually want to go and do this today?
Jeff: It’s not worth my health, literally.
Kevin: And then we control them that way.
Leo: I'm going to call Comcast tomorrow. I'm saving it up for a day off. Because... I know I'll be on the phone all day.
Kevin: Do it on the show, Leo, there you go!
Kevin: This call is being recorded for service reasons.
Leo: By the way, you do have to say that, in some states. California is one of those states, you have to tell them. it’s a two party state, you have to tell them you're recording. I want to give them more money. I want to add Turner Classic movies.
Jeff; You've been trying to do that for weeks now.
Leo: I know... I tried on the website, okay. There's no way to do it on the website, you can upgrade your package, which I want to do but as soon as you do that on the website it says, OK, make your installation appointment. But I don't need an installation, I just... So I, Okay, clearly the website, they want you call them or something. But I didn't want to call, because of Ryan Block. So I did the chat. And I chatted and I explained to the guy, and the guy says, Okay. This is half an hour later, and you can tell the guy is doing thirty calls at once on the chat, because there's long pauses, and he'd say, are you still there? And then he says, okay, now log into the website and add the package. I said, but I did that now it’s going to want an installation. He says, oh just ignore that. Okay... He says schedule an appointment, it doesn't matter when. Okay, I'm very nervous because I know a truck is going to show up tomorrow, so I schedule an appointment, and then he says, okay now. this is the Comcast chat representative. He says, now, that you've scheduled an appointment you're going to get a new chat with someone else. Tell him what you told me. But I just told you... So now I tell him, and he says okay, I understand. He doesn't say there's not going to be a service call, he says okay I understand. The first guy says bye. And then another half hour goes by. This is in chat, another half hour goes by. And they say, so you want to downgrade your service. I said no. No. And I'm so afraid, that they're going to cut off my internet or they're going to do something bad, that I just disconnected.
Gina: you should have been like Omg fml kmn you're killing me. Chat that.
Leo: So I think Comcast wants us to have ptsd. They really don't want us to have any interaction at all, because the likelihood...
Kevin: The goal is for me to go oh god, three hundred bucks a month, ok but can I face calling them that much?
Leo: it’s worth it not to talk to them. A twin cities man is upset about the way his family was tweeted on a southwest airlines flight. He was asked, he was in a flight from Denver to Minneapolis with his kids on Sunday. He was asked to get off the flight, because the gate agent didn't like a tweet he wrote about her service. Before boarding, the man Doth Watson, and the agent had a disagreement, Watson says I was left, you know. Very upset, very embarrassed, very humiliated. He's an A list passenger, that means he gets priority boarding. But the agent wouldn't let his kids board with him. A six year old and nine year old, they said well you can get on, but your kids can't. And Doth said, fff ttt. Alright. Real nice way, this is literally a quote. "Real nice way to treat an A list." That's their, you know, priority guys. "I'll be sure to tweet about it." And he did. He tweeted, "Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39. Not happy at SWA." Got sat down, family sat down, they kicked him off the plane.
Jeff: And then. And then...? They forced him to erase the tweet before they would allow him back on.
Leo: His kids are crying, literally. Six and nine years old. He said there was no use of profanity, there were no threats made, there was nothing other than, you know, the tense exchange between the customer service agent and a customer, and a tweet. The customer service agent, said I'm going to call the cops. I feel threatened. She said you cannot board the plane, until you delete the tweet.
Kevin: Wow. Talk about abuse of authority.
Jeff: Streisand the fact for that one.
Leo: They've apologized for the incident.
Jeff: They can't. He says he's never flying southwest again.
Leo: Apparently they gave him fifty dollar vouchers. Which he can never use because he's never flying that airline again. The new corporate behavior is, screw your customer, then apologize, say we're going to investigate this.
Gina: That's crazy.
Kevin: The point is that they used the reaction. That was my thing. I clicked on a link this morning, and I got fished by a lot of ads. That was lovely, so I tweeted about it and Yahoo concierge services, saying, 'we're trying to explain about fishing to you'.
Leo; At first when you tweet it, you know Comcast Cares. First when you tweet it, they jumped and they did something. Now, and this happened about a year ago because I remember I tweeted about Comcast and I got a call from Comcast executive whatever, it wasn't a call to say I'm sorry we're going to fix this. It was berating me. And so that's the new thing, is oh my God let’s not fix the problem.
Jeff: Under what basis, what did they say?
Leo: I can't remember She was mad that I... I don't know. I hung up on her. Let’s move on. I don't want to talk any more about this. I just feel like there is some trend here that is not a pleasant trend.
Jeff: Everybody watch twitter tomorrow for Leo's Comcast call.
Leo: No I stopped tweeting because I don't want the executives to call me and yell at me. They're going to win because they're a monopoly. There's nowhere I can go. So we are held hostage.
Jeff: There really is a fear that they would just cut you off, just to F you.
Leo: It’s worth three hundred dollars a month, not to get cut off.
Kevin: No, I don't want Comcast to cut me off. That would be annoying.
Leo: I spent two hundred dollars a month to go to Comcast business so we would have unmetered hundred megabit service with no bandwidth shaving.
Kevin: That's two hundred a month, I'm talking about my domestic one, and that's cheaper.
Leo: It’s worth it, but wait. Because I thought of course Comcast one company, they'll cancel the domestic. So now I'm paying, even though I don't have a router ,they came and took the router and put the business router in, but they didn't cancel my regular internet. So I'm paying for two internets, and then I have to make a call. And I'm not going to... Because I'm deathly afraid that they will... You can call. But I'm deathly afraid, what I don't want to do is come home and Lisa says the internet is not working. You know that's what’s going to happen!
Kevin: It happened to me, it happened here when I was in Paris. Got a call from my wife saying the internet is not working, and it had to do with that Comcast chat thing in Paris. I'm like can you fix this thing? No, I do not have that information, I can tell you where to get that information but I'm in paris. they just cut my family off the internet. Stop it.
Gina; Coming home to spouse rage, while the netflix thing is spinning around your head like this is the worst thing. It happened to me last night, I came home and it was like GRRR. I got the GRRR, why does the internet suck so bad?
Leo: I get that one too.
Kevin: A couple of weeks ago we actually called Comcast out because the TV stopped working. The guy found under the house, the hub that they plug the UHF connectors in that it had been down there so long that rats had nibbled it or something, and it had just got to the point where the TV stopped working. It just hit that point there, that there were enough bit’s being dropped that it could no longer send us tv. And we were wondering, it's kind of a bit slow, and he's like well this is what happened.
Jeff: Did they charge you for the service call?
Kevin: No, they didn't charge for the service call, they replaced that piece, and they unplugged the cables that were going to the ruined one.
Leo: Occasionally it does happen, and I've had this happen, that you get good service, so it’s not universal. And I don't know, Jeff, you've gotten contacted, I'm sure. But I got contacted by Comcast reps they need. It’s just a mess. It’ss a systems problem. Here's a good thing coming out of the EU I think. Google has been told by the EU to stop calling games with in app purchases free. Apple has also been told the same thing, but apple hasn't done anything about it, yet. But we know these in app purchases are really the big cost of games, sometimes they cost a lot more than up-front costs. So, starting in September, the google play store will no longer use the word 'free' for any game that requires in app purchases. It’s also going to come up with some targeted guidelines for games to prevent encouragement of children to buy items. This is an ongoing problem, Apple got sued and settled a class action lawsuit by sending us all gift cards because of in app purchases by kids. The EU says Apple has regrettably not provided any solution or timetable. Apple's response, "Apple takes great pride in leading the industry in parental controls that are incredibly easy to use. We over the last year, have made sure that any app that enables customers to make in app purchases is clearly marked, by court order. We have also created a kids section of the app store, with even stronger protections. Our goal..." Blah, blah, blah, blah. "And we will continue to work with the EU members in response to their concerns."
Kevin: This is a plague on gameplay, isn't it?
Leo: That's really the larger one, I mean, yeah. Kids are going out and buying fish and you know every once in a while I'll get about ten emails from the iTunes store, each of them two dollars and ninety nine cents. These things happen. The worst plague is you think you're getting a free app and it’s just unplayable unless you give them more money.
Gina: We were talking about this last night. There's kind of a difference between the apps that are, effectively impossible to play unless you pay for something, right. Like, you can do very very limited stuff in it. Verses the apps that you can do, you know, a fair amount, but where's the line? How do you draw the line between those two?
Leo: Well we, in our reviews for when we do this in a more formal way, but always when I review a free app, I'll explain in app purchases and I'll review the point of view of how playable is it if you don't. After my bad experiences with the Simpsons tapped out, I joined the program...
Jeff: It’s not just games either right? Tim O'reilly recommended an app, which is a very good app and I'll probably pay for it. I'm not going to resent the money, I'm going to pay. I'll totally be up front, it’s called Sleep At Android. It monitors your sleep, Sleep As Android. And you know, I've got these things, on my wrists that I can't get to. That do that, but this you put, this is wacky. You put the phone on the mattress.
Leo: It could be worse. It could be in your underpants.
Jeff: And so, because of motion and noise, the sensors, this is the power in these sensors. It sees how much you slept and the great thing is, I compared it to my wearable, and it’s pretty similar. So it gives me, here's... Let me see if I can find a graph. So here's a graph of my sleep.
Leo: This is like if it fit...
Jeff: Yeah, but I don't have to wear anything.
Leo: here she is, she's putting it in her bed.
Jeff: Here's the other thing about it...
Leo: So you don't put it under the mattress. You have to put it next to you?
Gina: So it’s on the mattress next to you, okay.
Jeff: It’s on the mattress, I tried it out last night and I put it on the nightstand. Didn't work as well.
Kevin: It’s supposed to see if you wiggle, yeah.
Leo: That's creepy.
Jeff: And if you want...
Kevin: This doesn't work if you sleep with dogs, does it?
Leo: Or anybody in bed with you! This is for the loner.
Jeff: If you want to, it will record your snoring.
Leo: Oh I do want that!
Kevin: Does it know who's snoring though?
Jeff: So I don't know, in any of these apps, it tells me how much of my sleep is deep. Nobody tells me what I should have. How normal it is. Does anybody know?
Leo: It’s so funny, they all say, I've done this and it said, you were restless eighty nine times. Is that a lot? Is that a little? I don't know.
Jeff: It gives you zero data. So I had this good night. I had fifty two percent deep sleep cycles.
Leo: That's good. That's very good. What you're supposed to do, everybody's different.
Jeff: I was snoring twenty five per cent of the time.
Leo: You're supposed to say to yourself, how do I feel today? Do I feel good? Then that's a good number. Do I feel tired? Then that's why.
Jeff: I always feel crappy and tired.
Leo: me too. What they don't take into account is those of us over a certain age are tired all the time.
Gina: It feels like they could put those numbers into context based on other users' data and that they should. I'm going to say it’s their responsibility to do that. I have a deep aversion to apps, and I've built an app that shows numbers, but, my argument against somebody inside the thinkup is what does this number mean? It’s a tough thing, right, without context what does twelve mean.
Leo: Wait a minute. Here's a nice feature. So, if the alarm goes off, it gets you out of bed. You have a giant QR code next to the mirror in the bathroom and you can stop the alarm.
Jeff: Or you could have it ask questions...
Leo: The alarm gets you out of bed. You unplug the phone, you go in the bathroom, and you show it your QR code. You're awake. Otherwise you couldn't do that. If you were asleep.
Jeff: Like other things, it'll pick the moment to wake you up. So the other morning it woke me up half an hour earlier than I wanted.
Gina: Yeah, that's not cool. Not cool.
Leo: It plays you lullabies.
Jeff: It’s a cool app.
Leo: So presumably a lot of these are in app purchases.
Jeff: So anyway, yeah, so if you want to hold on to and do some of that it’s $4.95. Again not much money, and I don't resent that, but I just want to be up front.
Leo: It will work with your cues, so you can have the cues slowly wake you up. The cue lights can slowly come on. It'll work with your pebble, so if you have a pebble, you can just wear the pebble Chad. I wonder if it worked with Android Wear, that would be cool.
Chad: Yeah, I already have this app.
Leo: Oh, you already have it.
Chad: I don't use it... The thing is, for a while it’s funny though, you mentioned it waking you up thirty minutes early. There's kind of an idea that you should be woken up when you're in a light sleep cycle, so that was actually what I was looking for. I just kind of got over that.
Leo: You said, what you're going to do is set a range. And if you set the range, don't set it before you want to wake up. Set it so that it'll wake you up sometime in a half an hour after you want to be woken up. Otherwise it'll get you up earlier.
Chad: Exactly. And thats what they gear Four did, when I had an iPad app setup for that. I just kind of grew out of that. Now I just want to wake up when I need to wake up, and and monitor what time I go to sleep.
Leo: The QR coach is... See the problem is, I know people like this, they'll hit the alarm unconsciously and it turns it off. And they go back to sleep. So there's, they give you, you could do math problems. You could shake the phone a certain amount, or you can find sheep. Or you can do the QR code. So it forces you to... I think this is kind of cool. I have to point out though, I'm in the google play store. Maybe it’s different on the phone, but here it doesn't show me what the in app purchases are on the website.
Jeff: That's my point.
Leo: It should. Apple does that.
Gina: It should. The difference between this and spending six hundred dollars playing the Kardashian game, right, because you can't do anything unless you... The Kardashian game, isn't it? It’s amazing how well it’s done.
Leo: By the way, great game. Yeah, it’s wonderful.
Kevin: I just read an article about it and thought five hundred dollars on that?
Gina: Well that's right, that Jezebel writer. It’s easy, right? But you basically can't do anything unless you buy the K stars or whatever.
Leo: Ashley is trying not to buy K stars. My daughter is playing it. She says the really annoying thing is it keeps sending you notifications, "Your fans are losing interest, quick, play now. Do something Kardashian like!" You're not playing Kim Kardashian, you're playing her friend. You're not even her friend, you have to get to know her.
Kevin: It’s like Kim Kardashian.
Jeff: I am so proud to say I haven't the faintest freaking idea what you're all talking about, and I'm staying that way.
Leo: You know. You know the Kardashians! Who was it... There was a member that...
Jeff: I know who they are.
Leo: There was a member of congress that said, "What's a Kardashian, is that a machine?"
Gina: They're actually, for you Jeff, they're an amazing brand. That's just embraced every single platform, right. And this app, the fact that this app is doing so well, it challenges my notion that these are not smart people, right? These are smart people.
Jeff: But it proves that Faust lives.
Leo: It’s John Dingell, who is among the oldest members of Congress, he's eighty eight years old and apparently doesn't know anything about the Kardashians. It’s fun to follow him on twitter, I guess.
Gina: yeah, I mean, Instagram is like their thing.
Leo: "I'm the last original author of the clean water act, but I have no idea who or what a Kardashian is, and I rarely play games. Staff has now informed me of what a Kardashian is, I'm only left with more questions." I'm following him. I love him... This is good. So yeah... I was going to check this on the phone, do they tell you on the phone, whether there's in app purchases? Like on the phone entry.
Jeff: I just found another app from these people called MindDroid. It’s an auditory visual stimulation device. A mind machine, psycho walkman. It provides each of your brain hemispheres with a signal, either audible or visual, with a slightly different frequency in order to stimulate your brainwaves. Then it says, at the bottom. Caution, shall not be used by users suffering any epileptic or cardiac symptoms. I don't think I'm downloading that.
Leo: no... Hey we gotta take a break, I forgot that we have this. I'm just having so much fun talking with you. This is really just like, sitting around having a beer, talking with friends. Kim Kardashian, by the way, will make $81 million on that app this year.
Jeff: See that's the redistribution of wealth. It’s like the lottery. You know. People stupid enough to play the lottery suddenly get lots of money.
Leo: She won the lottery when she was named Kardashian. You know what my daughter did not know and what I think a lot of people who know who the Kardashians are, because they got famous because of reality television. But you and I know that the reason that their dad was the first Kardashian, he became famous because he was on the defense team for OJ Simpson.
Jeff: I think that's what it was, yes.
Gina: I am in the midst of watching season eight. I've just watched all eight seasons of the Kardashians.
Jeff: Gina! Ginaaa!
Leo: Is it good?
Gina: Yes. It is... Great trash TV. I mean, it just is.
Jeff: I'm shocked! I'm shocked! Shocked! You've crushed me! I thought you were so much above the flotsam of the world, Gina. Oh no, you're human!
Gina: I'm trying not to be judgemental or hoity toity or over intellectual. The Kardashians are a huge brand, I didn't understand who or what they were or why people cared about them. I started watching the show, and yeah. I sort of get the appeal. I won't go into my Kardashian thing, but particularly with this app, I find them a fascinating brand. I think they've done an amazing thing across lots of different platforms. I think there's like, really interesting interplay of gender and media and like, who's a personality and publicity and privacy and, like, just, you know, they made a show that has a lot to do with it.
Jeff: Or did you just find it all just now.
Leo: You've got to wonder, I mean, their father Robert Kardashian was the first celebrity in the family. Friend and defender of OJ Simpson. He died in 2003. You've got to wonder... By the way at the age of 59. So... But you've got to wonder, what he would have thought of all this. What did he...
Gina: That's sort of a recurring theme amongst the family.
Leo: Oh, they refer to him.
Gina: Yes. They talk about him a lot.
Gina: And so I guess, the mom was actually friends with Nicole Simpson and was really upset. It’s sort of contributed to their divorce. Whatever. I'm not going to get into it... And then she married Bruce Jenner and Kendall and Kylie...
Leo: Wait a minute - she married Bruce Jenner?
Gina: Yeah, Bruce Jenner is like... Her current husband. Yeah. And they had two kids. They're off the...
Leo: The swimmer?
Gina: Not triathlete, the race guy. The track guy. The seventy six Olympic medalist.
Jeff: He's a swimmer.
Leo: He's a swimmer. Remember the...
Jeff: And have you looked at his plastic surgery recently?
Leo: Way out of control.
Leo: Okay now we have to look up Bruce Jenner. He is, according to his website, the world's greatest athlete.
Jeff: I remember sitting there, saying," Tacky Americans."
Leo: He's married to Chris Jenner, who was Chris Kardashian.
Kevin: The decathlon is pretty cool.
Leo: Oh he was a decathlete? I thought he was a swimmer.
Gina: Yeah, no the decathlon.
Leo: Wait a minute... Kendall Jenner goes topless channel... I'm sorry. I've lost... I've lost control of this show.
Jeff; Make some money, Leo.
Leo: I want to play this game now. I want to spend some of that money on Kim Kardashian, Hollywood starlet or whatever it’s called. Superstaar. But it’s not cheap. Have you played the game?
Gina: I have not. I have actually resisted the game.
Leo: I'm going to put it on Jason's one Plus One phone.
Gina: I watch the shows. I don't want to spend any more hours on these people. But I do find them fascinating as a brand and as a marketing tool.
Leo: Abbey really likes the game, she says it’s actually a really engaging game.
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Jeff: Would you admit it to your father if you had?
Leo: Would you admit it if you had?
Gina: My god the entire chat room, is like so disappointed in me. I'm really sorry you guys.
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Kevin: It changes AC to DC, basically.
Leo: Oh, it’s the brick that we have on every device we plug in. Because AC is what's coming out of the wall, and most batteries want DC. What's wrong with the existing power inverters?
Kevin: Good question. They probably waste too much power.
Leo: Yeah. We believe, says Google, that inverters will become increasingly important to our economy. As solar pv batteries and similar power sources continue their rapid growth, more broadly similar forms of power electronics are everywhere, of course, in laptops, phones, motors, drives, electric vehicles, wind turbines... We expect that innovations inspired by this million dollar prize will have wide applicability across all of those areas. So there's a number of different kinds of inverters, I guess.
Jeff: Can they also make them lighter?
Leo: And they do, you know, they're wasting power, because they get hot. And we do know that inverters, if left plugged in, will use power even when there's no draw.
Gina: Whenever google puts out these calls for, either, bug bounties or crowdsourcing invention, you know it’s a really hard problem, because if the brainiacs at google haven't figured it out...
Leo: That's a good point, that's a really good point. I love this page for the little box. The little box challenge, littlebox challenge.com. Wait a minute, let me start it over again. It starts with they're squishing a truck. Think shrink, it says. And then a giant dog trying to get in a little tiny dog bed. The Japanese, Tokyo subway station where they're stuffing more people into the car during rush hour. A kitten in a cup, using a hose to vacuum... I can't continue to narrate this... So little box challenge is...
Kevin: Oh, sorry, so I had it backwards. It’s the other way around. It’s the thing that makes AC from DC.
Leo: Oh, that’s inverter. Okay.
Kevin: That’s the inverter, right, sorry. Yeah, it’s—
Leo: Oh, it takes it from solar panels and batteries, inverts it—
Kevin: Yes, and then gives you AC to run existing things.
Jeff: Or from your car battery to make a laptop work.
Leo: Got it.
Leo: So this is something less common, but very important if you’re trying to do solar energy for instance.
Kevin: The obvious answer is well why are we making AC when the things at the other end are turning it back into DC again, so if you’re going to cut the middle man out, that makes more sense. We go through this process and replacing all our lights with LED, which actually want DC, but they have to have a transformer in them to turn the AC into DC because we’re screwing them in AC sockets.
Jeff: Did we mess up? Was Edison right?
Leo: Should we have gone DC?
Kevin: It depends what you’re doing. DC is better short range. AC is better at long range.
Leo: That’s the whole point of AC is that you can have a power plant and at a distance, it can send power at a distance because it’s alternating the current.
Kevin: Yeah. It’s easier to scale it up to very high voltages and transmit it because it ends up being an oscillating transmission.
Kevin: It’s a wave you can guide along wires, but the DC is much better for short range because you basically when you’ve got AC it’s doing all that all the time and you’ve got to put it through a capacitor and clip it off and make it into a DC thing so that your screen isn’t flickering all the time.
Leo: So thanks to our chatroom who are all experts on all of this, they say, for instance, that you probably have an inverter in your laptop for the screen, that hams notoriously hate inverters because they’re noisy. They put off a lot of RF. They’re used to export power back to the grid is what one of them says.
Kevin: Yes, the other thing is the grid runs AC, and so if you’ve got a giant battery or this other thing then you would need to basically give them a wave form that they like the look of to feed into the grid.
Leo: And Google’s saying they want to get it smaller, so applicants have till September to register their team, the end of September. Then next year, registered teams will submit a technical approach, so you have about a year to get working on this thing. You have till July 22, 2015. In October, 18 finalists will be notified of their—this is something NetFlix did this with the NetFlix prize where they wanted to get a better recommendation engine. I love this idea where commercial entities will say, “Hey, this is so important. We’ll give a million dollars to somebody who comes up with a better way of doing this.” The X prize.
Jeff: The great thing about the NetFlix thing was the honor of winning became so important, people spent more than a million dollars to win the million dollars.
Leo: Right, right.
Leo: It really fosters innovation. It’s a great idea, and there’s a lot if you want to know more at LittleBoxChallenge.com.
Kevin: But the other half of this is saying, “Well, are there ways we cannot need to have—running AC around the house and then having something like this connected to every device… Oops…to every device you’re using—
Kevin: —is less than ideal. Especially with LED light bulbs and things like that, you’re literally putting one of those into every light bulb socket—
Kevin: —just because that’s what you’re running around the house, and you can actually run DC wires, the LED bulbs could be that big rather than the size of the bulbs they’re replacing. There’s a bunch of stuff that will mean this will make more sense over time as we start running more DC around the house. Yes, it’s a transition technology as well.
Leo: (Laughter) Apparently, I’ve just been informed that a visitor to our studio has brought me an entire pepperoni pizza.
Gina: (Laughter) Aww, that’s so sweet.
Jeff: That’s beautiful.
Leo: It’s because I did one on Twitter, the pepperoni industry would have been calling me, but thank you. That’s very nice. Actually, it would have been the ham and pineapple industry (laughter) that would have been giving me a hard time.
Leo: Google, the day after we did the show last week, Google announced its second quarter results. Great quarter. Revenue up 22% year over year, $16 billion. They talked about the Lenovo transition for Motorola Mobile, and that was included as part of that. Let’s see. Let me just look at some highlights here. Net income $3.42 billion. That’s up a few hundred million from last year. I’ll take it. That’s more than a billion a month. That’s good. Discontinued operations did hit that a little bit. Our sites generated revenues of 10.94 billion. Partner networks or partner sites 3.42 billion. They don’t mention how much they made on Chromebooks. Interesting to know.
Jeff: Was that the beginning of a smart-ass line there?
Leo: Yeah, it was. It was. Yeah (laughter). No. One thing they do point out—no actually, I like Chromebooks, and I’ve come around to your way of thinking.
Jeff: And they sold a million of them to schools last quarter.
Leo: Yep. One of them I bought for our 6th grader, Michael.
Jeff: Oh, that’s right.
Leo: It’s really nice. For $200, it was the Acer CES 720. Very nice.
Jeff: That’s a nice machine, right?
Leo: Yeah, for $200 it’s amazing.
Jeff: Did the school give you a choice of what to buy or are they all bought—?
Leo: Well, the school gives the students one. Is it a one-to-one program, Lisa or do they have a pool that these kids share? It’s a one-to-one program, so the school does have the budget I think partly through nonprofits like the—two to one. Oh, that’s interesting. Two kids, one Chromebook. That’s going to work well.
Jeff: That’s not a—yeah.
Leo: (Laughter) Then we thought well, they’re so inexpensive, Michael should have his own, so we just got him one. But I think that’s great. I think that’s a really great program.
Jeff: And they laugh at the Chromebook. They laugh!
Leo: They get money from the Petaluma Educational Foundation, which is a nonprofit, which we support for that. So that’s cool. Income tax rate. I don’t know how long this has been going on, but both Google and Apple are at great pains to point out they pay a lot of income tax despite the Dutch turnaround and the Indonesian Polynesian upside down cake or whatever they use.
Leo: Twenty-one percent, the effective tax rate. That’s less than I pay, but it’s good. I think I once had an accountant who said, “That’s about where you want to shoot for, 20%.” Same guy said—
Jeff: Don’t I wish.
Leo: “Go take more deductions.” (Laughter)
Gina: But plan for a third, yeah (laughter).
Leo: Plan for a third, but pay a fifth. Twenty percent. What do you think? Yeah, we’re in California. We’re in a high-tech state. They don’t say federal income tax rate. They say our effective tax rate, so I don’t know.
Kevin: Are they counting across all countries?
Leo: I don’t know.
Kevin: Is that averaging between the tax they don’t pay in Ireland and the tax they do pay in America or what?
Leo: Next time I want you on that analyst call, Kevin Marks.
Leo: Thank you for the pizza my friend. This looks like good—where did this come from? Mary’s. Now if anybody wants to send me a Pepe’s Pizza, just fly out.
Male Voice: Have you ever heard don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, Leo?
Leo: I’m sorry.
Leo: I love it wherever it came from. Headcount, 52,069 full-time employees. Of that, 3,485 were Motorola.
Jeff: Because I remember we did numbers on this show for Google employees when it was hitting over 20,000 as I remember.
Leo: Yeah, 52,000, huh?
Leo: All the tech companies actually reported pretty good results this quarter. I don’t think anybody had a bad quarter except Blackberry. I don’t even know if Blackberry had a bad quarter. They might have had a great quarter.
Kevin: Microsoft took a big charge, but…
Leo: Microsoft had to take a charge for the layoffs, over a billion-dollar charge for the layoffs.
Kevin: But also a big charge for the tablet, not doing very well.
Leo: Yeah. They did that this quarter or previous quarter?
Kevin: This quarter.
Leo: They took a big one. More. Yeah, because they took more than a billion on service a couple of quarters ago. Re/code, Kara Swisher, the most powerful tech journalist in the world. She can start a fire with her eyes.
Kevin: (Laughter) That’s why she has to wear those glasses, yeah.
Gina: That’s why she wears those glasses.
Leo: That’s right.
Gina: Yeah, I was going to say. That’s why she wears those aviators.
Leo: She’s used her mutant powers to determine there have been no Google Spotify acquisition talks, none. There you go. That said, Spotify co-founder and CEO, Daniel Ek, did indeed meet with Google executives about various and substantive commercial deals at YouTube, Google Play, and Android. But one source reflecting many others said, “Don’t shoot me with your eyes, and there has not been a single conversation about Google’s interest between the two.”
Leo: “There was never a price, never a negotiation, never anything. Please don’t shoot me with your eyes.” All right.
Gina: You guys talked about this with Shira, the New York Magazine profile?
Leo: Yeah, what do you think of that? We also talked about the Elle Magazine profile of Tabriz. Did you see that?
Gina: No, I didn’t.
Leo: I’ll have to bring that back because we wished you were here. So tell us about what you thought of the (laughter) picture of Kara on the beach.
Gina: (Laughter) That was great. I really enjoyed it. I learned things that I didn’t know. I thought of course the things that stuck with me were the personal stuff. Like I didn’t realize that Mossberg had walked her down the aisle because her mother is not supportive of her relationship.
Leo: Awww, ohhh.
Gina: That was interesting to me. I didn’t realize that they had that kind of close personal relationship. Yeah, it was a great piece. You know, Kara’s such a personality. She just makes a great story, so many great quotes.
Leo: She’s been on our shows of course many times. In fact, as I pointed out last week, those dogs that she’s holding in the ivy pooped on our floor once.
Gina: I like that she tells various founders that they dress like Ellen. That also made me laugh.
Leo: That’s apparently her line.
Leo: You dress like a lesbian is her line. She uses it on many people apparently.
Gina: I aspire to dress like Ellen, so I would take that as a—
Leo: I think Ellen dresses quite well.
Gina: I do too (laughter). I want to search for her stylist.
Leo: However, having said that, I’ve got a little kudos to Google’s top hacker, Parisa Tabriz “who appears to wear black almost exclusively. ‘It’s slimming,’ she says shrugging, not that she needs to worry about that. She has a simpatico face, always worn bare, that could easily elide from one ethnicity to another and a classic Gap-in-its-heyday sleek tomboy aesthetic: dark-washed jeans, clean-line crewnecks, and Chuck Taylors, with the occasional bomber jacket thrown on top.” We talked about this last week, Elle magazine’s profile of Parisa Tabriz whose official Google title is “security princess.”
Gina: Security princess, okay.
Leo: You didn’t see this?
Gina: I didn’t. This is going into my queue right now.
Leo: Get that Elle magazine out of the trash and read it.
Gina: I know. I missed out. I always read Elle.
Leo: Do you?
Gina: No, I don’t (laughter).
Gina: Not even close. Not even close. Are you kidding? (Laughter)
Kevin: She just appears on the Kardashian game.
Gina: Do I look like I read Elle? I am wearing a gray t-shirt. (Laughter)
Leo: Actually, as Jeff and I concluded, in your absence because we didn’t have an actual woman, that this actually is a surprisingly good piece, part of Elle’s women in tech series that despite that one paragraph, which is a little bit much—
Gina: A little much.
Leo: —it really does talk a lot about some real stuff and does promote the idea that women can be successful in a tech environment. She talks about the idea that women can be successful in a tech environment. She talks about the challenges of that, and it’s pretty good. Doesn’t hurt that she looks good in black.
Gina: She can rock those Chuck Taylors.
Leo: Oh, those Chuck Taylors look good.
Gina: I had no idea that Elle was doing a women in tech section. I don’t know how I feel about this.
Jeff: Hello, Elle. Hello, Elle. Guess who you’re missing? Oops wrong way. Guess who you’re missing.
Leo: I guess the “L” word in this case stands for lovely. (Laughter)
Leo: There’s a whole article here from December, “Why We Need Women Who Code,” featuring a movie star pretending to use a computer.
Leo: Copyright 20th Century Fox.
Gina: And it’s a photo gallery of women.
Leo: Yeah, it’s a photo gallery.
Gina: it always is isn’t it? Isn’t the women in tech list always a photo gallery?
Leo: They’re so good looking. You’d never know they were nerds.
Gina: I know, can you believe it?
Leo: Can you believe?
Gina: And then she took off her glasses and let her hair down and she was beautiful.
Leo: Ohh, why Ms. Tabriz, you’re beautiful. Actually, there is a gooder article (laughter)—
Leo: —if you follow the links to “Why We Need Women Who Code.” Actually does profiles of female coders and founders, and it talks about how they learned to code, being a woman in the field, and so forth. So it’s kind of neat.
Leo: Yeah. I mean, they’re doing something. There’s somebody from Code for America, some engineers at various companies. Hey, it’s Elle. What did you expect?
Gina: That’s true. That is true.
Leo: Let’s take a little break here.
Jeff: Nope, I just want to make sure we get to “right to be forgotten” for my rant of the week.
Leo: Jeff, we still have the change log, which we’ve missed.
Jeff: That’s right. We are just— (Whistles)
Leo: Jeff’s rant of the week, coming up, but first, let me show you my box. This, my friends, is an amazing device. We’ve talked about Lantronix before. Their xPrint Server line, which takes any printer, even dumb old USB printer and puts it on the Wi-Fi network and makes it compatible. Now the first one we showed made it compatible with air print, but this is the one you really want. This makes any printer compatible, almost any printer, 4,000 different printers, compatible with Google Print. That is very cool. Google’s cloud print means that you can print from your Android or cloud device, but you can also—I could print to my home printer because I use one of these from here over the Internet. This allows your USB printers to be shared over the network. It automatically discovers them, sets them up. There’s no software to install, nothing to download. You literally open the box, plug it in, and voila! You are printing via cloud print. The cloud print edition is $149.95, supports up to 10 network printers and 8 USB printers simultaneously. We’ve talked to people who’ve used these. In fact, I talked to an administrator at a school who said, “We had printers all over the school. We wanted to make it easy for people to print wirelessly. I plugged this in and I’d never seen anything so easy. No configuration necessary. It just works.” It’s really, really cool. If you’ve been looking to get cloud print to work with your older USB printer or you just want to turn a printer into a Wi-Fi printer, this is awesome. It will even work with the Chromebook. It will even work with a Chromebook (laughter).
Jeff: Uggh. Of course, because everything works with a Chromebook.
Jeff: Why would you even doubt something good would work with a Chromebook?
Leo: Actually, it’s more surprising that it works with a Kindle Fire. Even works with a Kindle Fire. Now here is the site, xPrintServer.com/twit to find out more about it. If you decide to buy it, use the offer code TWIT, T-W-I-T. You’ll get free shipping. XPrint, this is such a cool technology. xPrintServer.com/twit. Make any printer, even that old funky USB printer a Wi-Fi printer that supports cloud print. That is awesome. XPrintServer.com/twit. All right. Let’s do the changelog first, Jeff. Hold that rant.
Jeff: I will; I will; I will.
Leo: Because I want to eat some pizza. (Laughter)
Jeff: Priorities (laughter).
Leo: It’s time. Play the trumpets.
Announcer: The Google Changelog.
Leo: And now ladies and gentlemen, the latest from Google with Gina Trapani.
Gina: Good news for Windows users who are also using Chrome. In the latest beta version of the Chrome browser supports Microsoft’s DirectWrite API. What that means for you is that typography fonts look really good. You can see there in the screenshot there on TechCrunch—it’s actually maybe not as easy to see. You can kind of see the top one is without the update, and the bottom one is with. You can see the fonts there are much, much clearer and better looking. So you have to be a Windows user on a machine that runs at least Vista in order to see it, and you need the Chrome beta. So very nice there.
Leo: And you want the Chrome beta because the old Chrome killed your battery.
Gina: Ahh, was that true. The current stable version on Windows is a battery killer?
Leo: The updated Chrome because frankly it, yeah, it was killing Windows batteries.
Jeff: Was it just on Windows machines?
Leo: Yeah, it wasn’t Mac or anything else.
Jeff: Well, puuugh! Who cares about that?
Gina: (Laughter) Aww man.
Leo: Jeff doesn’t care.
Jeff: Get a Chromebook. Get a Chromebook.
Gina: Windows is like the Kardashians of operating systems (laughter).
Gina: Jeff is like puuugh.
Jeff: Oh, Gina, Gina, Gina. Ohh.
Leo: So you do need to be in the beta channel, not canary, but beta channel for this?
Gina: You do, you do. You need the beta to get the good-looking fonts.
Leo: I don’t know which version of Chrome has now fixed the battery life issue. I don’t know if you have to—I’ll find out. Keep going.
Gina: That just came out today, by the way.
Gina: Or this best week.
Leo: This is not Typekit? This is a different thing. This is for your desktop?
Gina: This is for your desktop. This is Windows on desktop, chrome beta, fonts look much better. Uses Microsoft’s DirectWrite API on the desktop. Google Maps for Android is getting an update that’s rolling out now. A couple of few nice updates that are probably hooked into Android Auto. So you’ve got some voice actions when you’re in navigation mode. So you can do how long until destination, show traffic. Bicycle directions now display elevation, including elevation comparison for multiple routes. So you can say, “Hey, show me which route involves less climbing.” Your places now appears on a slideout nav menu. The voice icon replaces the person in the search bar that used to load places, and the Uber car now shows in the car tab of navigations instead of just public transportation and walking. So Uber in the cities where Uber’s available will show up. So nice update to Google Maps there, and I believe that that’s just Android. The Google Play app on Android is updating to a new version. I haven’t gotten it yet. I keep tapping my settings icon. You can download the APK, but it’s kind of the first introduction in material design that you’re going to see in the Google Play Store. So basically, when you first load the app, it looks pretty similar to what you’ve got now, but when you navigate down to an app page, you’ll see that those are redesigned. So it’s got the new material design animations and it’s got a new white background. App’s have, you can see on the Chrome, Chad’s got that up on the screen there. Apps have a video trailer. We’ll have that prominently displayed at the top. Bigger app screenshots. As you scroll downward, the page begins to gradually cover up the space where the trailer was. Is pushed off screen. That’s material design motion. And when you select “read more” in the app changelog at the top, you can see full-screen view with the information about the app description and changes. Just a much nicer app page in the new version of the Play Store. I haven’t gotten it yet on my phone, but that is rolling out now.
Leo: Yeah, I don’t see it on mine either, yeah.
Gina: Yeah. Android Police has an APK you can download or side load, but I’m waiting for it to hit my phone over the air as the kids say.
Gina: Google Drive has been updated with filter views for spreadsheets. So this is for real spreadsheet nerds, pretty cool stuff though. There’s a new filter views feature, so you can sort and filter your data on view only spreadsheets, and then you can share that filter view with a URL. So you can turn on this temporary filter view from the toolbar or the data menu, sorry, to make adjustments to filter your data and sort it. Then you can share a link to that particular sort and view, so nice update there for spreadsheets. And finally, ahead of the Android One rollout, this is part of Google’s reaching the next billion users on Android, Google’s launched Maps in Hindi on both the Web and Android. So the Hindi version of Maps is available to those using Google Maps on Android 4.3 and up. So you can set Hindi as your language preference in order to access it. They’ve done translations that tried to stay true to the dialect but also read correctly, but they are taking suggestions and corrections from users. So makes a lot of sense before Android One gets released that India would have (laughter) in the native tongue, so good for them.
Jeff: You know the phone I do want to get is the Android One. I want to get an Android One and just show people how you can do an amazing phone for so little money.
Leo: This is not available in the U.S. but available in India or...?
Jeff: Will be.
Gina: Yeah, it will be. Right. It’s not out yet. I’m actually not sure when the release date is, but yeah, I interested to get my hands on the Android One too because it sounds like a really nice low-end phone. Stock Google, good updates. Yeah, so it’s India and other developing nations. So the maps will now have support for India and native speakers.
Leo: And then play the drums.
Announcer: Is the Google Changelog.
Leo: So I’ve been doing research. Couple of things. First, they do not show—
Jeff: Pepperoni is good.
Leo: Pepperoni. Excellent. Good choice.
Jeff: That’s the research.
Leo: Love the pepperoni. Got to love the pepperoni. Also, they do not show in-app purchases on the Google Play Store, even on the phone. They do that on Apple. I think that’s something Google should do.
Gina: Doesn’t it show it lower on the screen there?
Leo: I thought it did, and I don’t see it.
Kevin: What’s this?
Leo: Well, I’m looking at Android. That has in-app purchases, right?
Gina: Yeah, that has an app—so it’s right below the screenshot. No?
Leo: I see top developer. I see rate this app. I see what’s new, description. Maybe if I expand this—
Jeff: Maybe it’s trying to show you.
Gina: You’ve installed it?
Leo: Huh? Yeah. Or maybe it’s because I installed it?
Gina: Yeah, like right below the screenshot right there. It says in-app purchases.
Leo: Oh, all right. So maybe it’s because I installed it.
Jeff: Oh, right.
Leo: Oh, yeah. There it is. In-app purchases. But it doesn’t show you what they are. It says here in really fine print right above how big it is because everybody wants to know it’s 7.62 megabytes, it says in-app purchases. But it doesn’t show you on—zoom in will you? On the Apple Store, it will actually give you a list of in-app purchases and their costs, which is really nice. I mean, that gives you a much better idea what could this potentially cost me.
Gina: It would be nice to see what is the average amount of money users spend on this app as well.
Leo: Oh, wouldn’t that be nice?
Jeff: Oh, that’s interesting.
Kevin: Oh, there you go.
Leo: Yeah, because that will tell you how much you need to spend really.
Gina: How much you could expect to spend.
Leo: Yeah, how much could you expect.
Gina: How much does a typical user…
Leo: Wouldn’t it be a great line, “You can expect to spend $300 on this app over the lifetime of the purchase”? That would really kill some of these freemium apps. I think it’s a blight on the app store these freemiums. I understand the developers make tons more money when they do it free plus in-app purchases, but that’s because they’re tricking people.
Gina: Well, right, yeah. I mean, it’s a little misleading, right?
Gina: We were talking about all about Android last night. For the impact on developers, if Google’s going to categorize apps with in-app purchases separately from free apps, then that does hurt developers, right? Because users are going to say, “I want something that’s free.”
Gina: So you’re going to be taken off the top free list. You’re not going to be listed as free, so I feel like if you’re being more honest that this isn’t a free app. But you know some in-app purchases apps you really can do a lot for free and then they offer something extra. I think it’s going to make developers really think should this be in-app purchase or should I just charge someone upfront to use it, right?
Leo: Right. Well, that’s why I like your idea. The average user has spent. A histogram would be nice too, but that’s a lot of real estate. The average user has spent this much on this app is a really valuable statistic, especially when you launch the Kardashian app and it’s $400. That might tell you something.
Gina: Yeah, I mean, I would love to see that, and if my kid is trying to install an app, I’d like to see what’s the average customers have spent on this app.
Leo: What could this cost me, yeah. So I also did research on the Chrome thing, and I don’t think they’ve fixed it. This is from Tech Times. “Google has finally acknowledged a problem that has been reported to Google since 2010 that a flaw in Chrome accelerates battery usage in Windows laptops. It has something to do with the tick rate. When most browsers, including Chrome, are in active use, they run the clock at a tick rate of about a millisecond.” Maybe one of your smart people can explain that to me. “But when browsers are open in the background but not active, all of them except Chrome for Windows just ease up and they reduce that tick rate to 15 milliseconds. That cuts consumption about 25%.” Chrome for Windows 1 millisecond no matter what, background or foreground. A clock tick apparently is a measure of how often Windows wakes the processor. The processor sleeps while inactive, waking at predetermined intervals. In other words, having Chrome open on Windows will basically keep the processor going. It won’t be able to sleep, and this is something that’s not so hard to fix. And they say, “We have prioritized working on an update to fix the issue.” So the stop gap, if you’re using Chrome, close it if it’s in the background. Don’t put it in the background. Just close it. Apparently, Mozilla and IE do not suffer from these issues. On Macs, Macs work differently, so Chrome for Mac is not affected by this problem. So there you go.
Jeff: So you know, Leo, that white watch band?
Jeff: Well, yeah. It looks like you’re a retiree in Florida wearing white shoes
Leo: I thought it made me look like eurotrash.
Jeff: Oh, well, maybe. Yeah.
Leo: Oh, well, would you like to see my monkey?
Gina: I like it. It’s different.
Jeff: (Laughter) I don’t know.
Leo: So here’s the deal on this. You’re probably wondering. I’m talking about my Android Wear Watch. I got the LG specifically because it had a white band (laughter). No, there’s a black and there’s kind of a goldish metal, but the goldish metal comes with this ugly white band. But here’s the good news is that the standard 22 millimeter watchband so you can replace it with any watchband. So I just haven’t gotten around to going out and buying some other watchbands. I wanted everybody to know I’m wearing Wear. No question. Why is Leo wearing that weird white rubber wrist thing? That’s his Wear Watch.
Jeff: Yep. He’ll be off his parole soon.
Gina: You can strap it to your forehead…
Leo: By the way, I kind of like—Android Wear, it is definitely not anything anybody needs to run out and get, but if you use Google a lot—
Jeff: But I like it.
Leo: —like Google Now. See? It’s a birthday and it shows full screen the person’s picture from Google +. It says, it’s Adam Marshal’s birthday today. He doesn’t have much of a picture, but I can see the Giants beat the Phillies in 14 innings. That was last night. A game that ended at one in the morning. I can see stocks. See that my Fire Phone shipped. Hey, that’s exciting.
Gina: Oh, nice!
Leo: Nice. These are notifications for various apps. When you slide this over, I can see what the high will be, what the forecast is for four days and that kind of thing. I don’t know. It’s got my calendar and my steps. These are all Google Now and then it’s got a picture, which is kind of cool.
Jeff: Craig Newmark put a picture of my birthday message on his watch and he said he was frightened.
Leo: Yours was great. I loved it.
Jeff: It looked kind of scary, yeah.
Leo: Yeah, because you were like peering over it, right?
Jeff: Yeah, exactly.
Gina: (Laughter) I remember a time when birthdays were like a big deal.
Leo: Aren’t birthdays a big deal, Gina?
Jeff: That was before 40.
Leo: What do you mean? You don’t celebrate.
Gina: No, no, no. I do celebrate birthdays. I’m saying in a time, once upon a time, before social media, before I had this really huge list of friends, right, on various—a friend having a birthday was an unusual occurrence. But now every day.
Leo: Now every day, three or four friends.
Gina: It’s somebody’s birthday. Not to devalue your birthday, Jeff. Happy birthday by the way.
Jeff: No, I hate birthdays. I hate it. I hate it.
Jeff: Sorry I brought it up.
Gina: Aww, all right, all right, all right. It’s just not a big deal. Like it used to be if a friend had a birthday, we were going out and celebrating.
Gina: It was a big deal and it was an unusual rare occurrence, and now I feel like I’m just birthdayed out. I’m like, “Oh, it’s…”
Leo: Another birthday.
Jeff: That darn Internet. It ruins everything, even birthdays!
Gina: Even birthdays. Social media has ruined birthdays. That’s what I’m saying. Facebook specifically. But Google + does it too.
Jeff: Kardashian makes it all better, doesn’t it, Gina?
Gina: (Laughter) Give me K stars for my birthday people.
Leo: I didn’t know this. I mean, the Android comes with a variety of watch faces. I just have a plain digital watch face, as you probably saw if you were watching the video. But apparently, they’re going to have a new API that will let you do custom watch faces. And I like the idea of having—I mean, this one on this—
Jeff: I put on one. I got a new ones.
Leo: You can download them from the Play Store. I don’t know how they’re doing it, but…
Kevin: People are reversing through the API, yeah.
Leo: Oh, okay.
Gina: Developers are hacking around the API and Google’s actually asking developers to wait until they ship the API so that you can kind of do the right way or the way that Google wants you to do it.
Leo: This is Wayne Piekarski posts. “As we work on finalizing the API, we would suggest not posting your apps publically to Google Play until there’s a stable published API.” So where’d you get that one? That’s nice.
Jeff: I got this. They’ve got one called Squares and they got one called Circles for the new one, and it’s very nice. It’s online, but from a company called Smartwatch Face Company. The only thing is I could be wrong. I could be absolutely wrong about this, but in my imagination, I think it actually increased the battery wear.
Gina: Mm-hmm. Oh, increased?
Jeff: Not sure about that. Might make the battery worse off.
Leo: Ooo, I like that one Kevin. That’s not a standard—that’s not a stock face.
Kevin: That’s the Matrix one, yeah. That’s a developer one. It’s just like the Matrix display.
Leo: Probably should not download these though, right?
Kevin: Well, you know. You download them from the app store on your phone. They’ve basically reverse engineered the watch face API. They don’t do any particular harm, I don’t think, but they’re going to release a proper version of the API soon. But that one’s open source, the Matrix one.
Gina: Oh, cool. That’s cool. I look forward to Dribble being filled with watch faces.
Leo: I’m waiting for the Moto 360. I mean, I want a round one.
Jeff: Oh, yeah. We all do.
Leo: Yeah. Really make a big difference.
Jeff: Then we’re going to see can Apple top this, and it’s topable, but we’ll see what they do.
Leo: I don’t know. I don’t know. There are those, and I think everybody on Mac Break Weekly I think is in the category believers who think that Apple will do what they did with the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, reinvent the category. And then I’m in the other camp that I feel like I don’t know if Apple’s got the mojo anymore, and I don’t know if this is reinventable. I hope I’m proven wrong. I’d love to have something that—I mean, this is right now just kind of nice. It’s nice.
Jeff: Fun. It’s nice. It’s nice.
Leo: It’s nice.
Gina: Apple’s got an aesthetic and a sense of style that no other company has, and there’s aesthetics and style involved here.
Leo: Yeah, that’s true.
Gina: So I mean, Apple can change this from a like this is pretty cool to I absolutely must have that because it’s part of my identity and it’s a statement about who I am. It’s a fashion statement.
Leo: I think Apple’s will certainly be more jewelry-like.
Jeff: Gina, have you lusted after an Apple product in the last year and a half?
Gina: No. I mean, I’m sitting here at my Mac, and my iPhone, my development iPhone is the old 4s. I’ve definitely looked at the newer iPhones. I guess the 5s now.
Leo: You develop on a 4s. Wow.
Gina: I do. I just never bought a new whatever (laughter). And I have an iPad 2, and there were times when I thought I should probably upgrade, but there are such incremental upgrades now.
Gina: It’s never been like I have to have this. Not in a long time. I think the iPad maybe was the last time.
Jeff: On Windows Weekly when you were complaining about your Mac, so I was on the Mac that I use for the show, and I was going into the chatroom to make fun of you and tell you to get a Chromebook.
Jeff: But of course, my Mac crashed (laughter).
Leo: Macs are perfectly fine, and I can do things on the Mac that I can’t do on the Chromebook. But I still have my Pixel and I was using it this morning.
Leo: I like my Pixel. I think a Chromebook is a tool for a very specific situation. I don’t think it’s a universally appropriate computer. All right. We’re going to get ready for our rants.
Gina: Oh, yeah.
Jeff: Just one, just one, but it’s a topic we’ve done often.
Kevin: Well, I may have one too, but okay, you go first.
Leo: Oh. It’s rant time. Let’s get ready to rant. Oh, I’ll get sued if I say that.
Jeff: I’m thinking of replacing a number with the techno panic of the week.
Leo: Let me take a break, and then we’ll get our rants of the week.
Jeff: Oh, sorry. I didn’t know that was a tease.
Leo: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s all right. That’s all right. I didn’t telegraph it.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. No.
Leo: You know, in just a moment, we’ll have Jeff Jarvis’ rant of the week.
Leo: But first, this word from Full Sail University. Full Sail offers both online and campus degree programs giving your real-world experience in areas that I think people are really interested in. social media marketing but also search engine optimization, Web metrics analytics, online consumer behavior. That’s their marketing degree. They have an online master’s degree for people who want to keep up with modern marketing skills. But they also have programs on entertainment, media, technology. Full Sail University’s online and campus degree programs center on real-world education and experience with industry technology and workflow. Through their innovative curriculum, you’ll get your master’s degree in a year. That’s nice. They have a LaunchBox program. That’s the Project LaunchBox that gives you a MacBook Pro preloaded with Apple’s complete line of creative software tools, as well as degree-specific sets of pro level applications. That’s kind of nice. In addition to Internet marketing, Full Sail offers a variety of master’s degrees in related fields. Business intelligence. You know, if you knew business intelligence, big data, you would be in big demand these days. This is an area that’s just about to explode. Innovation, entrepreneurship. Henry should do that. Henry wants to become an entrepreneur. And new media journalism. Sorry Jeff. To learn more about Full Sail’s master program and internet marketing or any of their related programs, go to FullSail.edu/twig. FullSail.edu/twig, and we thank them so much for their support of This week in Google. The right to be forgotten. The jury’s still out on whether this is—I mean, at first, I completely dismissed it as stupid.
Jeff: Oh, no Leo.
Gina: Oh, boy.
Leo: Just winding you up, Jeff.
Jeff: Oh, no. Do you know what you are? You’re a human Slate Magazine.
Leo: But now that I think about it, don’t you think some people should be—there needs to be some mechanism for people to kind of—
Jeff: Well, like the guy who’s based in the Netherlands who wanted the Wall Street to take out the fact that it did a feature on a tantric workshop that he’d attended 20 years ago.
Leo: Well, that’s kind of legitimate.
Jeff: No, it’s not. It was in the Wall Street Journal.
Leo: All right.
Jeff: By the way, my theory is, he knew the Sinatra effect would come into effect.
Leo: He wanted people to know.
Jeff: So actually, eh wants ladies to know I’m certified in tantric.
Leo: He’s a tantric expert. Hey ladies. Hey ladies (laughter).
Jeff: So the EU is now going farther. They’ve invited in Google, Bing, and Yahoo are going to come in to have a discussion about this. And according to the Wall Street Journal, two even more abhorrent things are happening with this. One is that EU regulators are pressuring Google to stop telling the media properties and others whose links are taken down that they’ve been taken down. So there’s no opportunity to appeal. The free speech right of these organizations is clearly affected. Obviously, they’re upset that newspapers when a story is taken down, as in the case of the Wall Street Journal tantric story, do a story about it because they have something called free speech. They’re allowed to, EU. Get with it. The second problem is the EU regulators are also, according to the journal, upset that Google is restricting the deletions to the country domains, the EU country domains, not across Google.com. So here’s the EU, as far as I read that, saying no, we want to erase things for the whole freakin’ world. Great precedent. Put that in the hands of China and Iran. Aren’t you people thinking? This is about rights that operate in transactions, and when you go too far to kill the fly, you’re affecting other rights. This is just dangerous and stupid and it’s not going to live forever because it’s affecting media companies and it’s affecting journalism. I said from the beginning it would, and I just want to say one more time it’s stupid.
Leo: To me, I always focused on just the impracticability of it. Obviously, it’s stupid, but also it’s impracticable for a lot of reasons. I mean, they’ve already picked one, which is that this stuff is global. But also, how is Google to know—I mean, what’s the process. Is Google supposed to set up a tribunal?
Jeff: They have. There’s a whole large committee now to do this for them.
Leo: That’s ridiculous.
Jeff: They didn’t ask me. And they have paralegals doing it, and now what’s going to happen too is Bing is just catching up. Bing hasn’t been doing this, so now Bing’s going to do it too.
Leo: Oh, have they been required to do it.
Jeff: Oh, yeah. They’ve been required to. Google is doing it first.
Jeff: So what you’re going to see is uneven enforcement of this. So Google takes this down—you know, Google has rejected some. There was one example in the Journal’s story of something said to some kind of service company. No, this link may be of interest to people who are considering using your services. As in ahhh, this guy sucks. There was a whole separate case having nothing to do with this in France where a blogger wrote about a restaurant, complained about the restaurant, and was fined something like 4,000 euros, a fair sizeable amount of money—
Leo: Oh, this is ridiculous.
Jeff: And was fined more, was held more liable because she was more popular and her file, her posts raised higher in Google search. So she was liable for being popular on Google.
Leo: And her post was really that she didn’t think the service was very good?
Leo: Admittedly, she was a little over the top the way she described it (laughter), but she—
Jeff: Welcome to the land of free speech.
Leo: It’s called reviews. I mean, imagine if you as a reviewer for many years were subject to this kind of thing. We don’t like what you said about our movie, our TV show, so we’re going to have you pull it down and fine you.
Jeff: There are still people, Leo, who want to jail me for not liking Babylon 5.
Leo: Well, that’s true.
Jeff: (Laughter) Wait, I want to show you something. I’m going to—
Leo: How do they square this with that? I mean, how do they square this with the legitimate reviewers and the press?
Jeff: They don’t. They can’t.
Leo: She was fined $3,400. She was forced to pull down the negative review on her blog, which only a few thousand people see. It’s just bizarre.
Gina: Yeah, that’s not okay.
Leo: It seems a societal issue though, right? What’s really sad is she now says, “I will never say bad things about a restaurant again. It’s too dangerous.”
Leo: That’s sad. She’s a French blogger, Caroline Doudet. She wrote, “The place to avoid in Cap-Ferret Il Giardino (laughter). She talked about the bad service and stuff, and even the guy who owns the restaurant said, “Yeah, we were having a bad day. I admit it, but this is harming my business.” (Laughter) Yeah, that’s the idea! She has 3,000 followers. A Bardot judge said that’s a significant number, so we’re going to fine you. You bad person you. How dare you review that poorly?
Jeff: Can’t people see the implications of these decisions? Can’t they see the unintended—I mean, it would be generous to call the unintended consequences. They’re just idiocies, but they have an impact.
Leo: Incidentally, if you go to the way back machine, you can read the review. She took it down, but it’s still here.
Gina: Now it’s an article of note (laughter). I mean, now it should be available because it’s part of this story.
Leo: Right, right.
Gina: But of course, it should be available either way.
Leo: And I can tell you, if I ever go to Cap-Ferret, where ever the hell that is, I’m not eating at Il Giardino.
Gina: You’re convinced?
Leo: I’m convinced (laughter).
Gina: She was silenced, so it must have been true.
Leo: Must be true.
Gina: (Laughter) It makes it more true, doesn’t it?
Leo: How do you solve this though, Jeff? Courts will do these things.
Jeff: You rule to principle. This is the problem with legislating and doing court decisions to technologies. Gee, the Internet’s made this worse. I mean, look at it this way. Would we tolerate, would Europe tolerate the idea that you’d go into every library and take out the library catalog cards for books that people don’t want you to find because they didn’t like it? We would never tolerate that, so what makes the Internet okay to censor but books not?
Jeff: Because we think books are holy.
Leo: Well, maybe that…
Jeff: Well, the principle would say, speech is speech no matter what the medium. If you won’t do it in books, don’t do it on the Internet. Again, one more time. Europe, of any place on earth, should see the danger and damage of rewriting history—
Jeff: —and restricting knowledge.
Leo: Yeah. What WWII? There was no WWII. What are you talking about? Jeff wrote a eulogy for Forbes, which is now—
Jeff: Not quite a eulogy. It got sold.
Leo: And you actually talk about Lewis DVorkin who kind of you said performed a miracle with Forbes by rescuing the dying brand, but he rescued it by killing the patient.
Jeff: A bit.
Leo: A bit. Good article. Good blog post.
Jeff: It’s a little media wonky for this show probably, but—
Leo: Well, I’m a media wonk, so naturally I’m very interested.
Jeff: The long and the short of it is that the brand was dying. DVorkin’s a really smart editor and he came in and he used as a candy for contributors to come in, 1,500 I think contributors. And again, I’m all in favor of being open, but the quality was not of the high quality that Forbes journalists had had. And then they also opened it up to advertisers under what we now see going all over the world in native advertising it’s so called under what they call brand voice. So when I see a link to Forbes on Twitter, I hesitate three beats. It could be a good journalist. It could be a good contributor. It could be a stupid, bad contributor. And it could be just a really wordy ad for an advertiser. I don’t know which. And that affects the brand.
Leo: It devalued it.
Jeff: Yeah, it did. And they still managed to get I don’t know how much money supposedly they valued at 475 million, but they were going to try to sell the whole thing. They couldn’t do that. They maintained a lot of stock. I’m guessing they probably got less than 200 million cash; 45% or more of that went to Elevation Partners. So the thing’s still alive. He rescued it to that extent, but yeah, I think the baby and the bath water are out the window.
Leo: And I, of course, always admiring your sagacity and intuition and insight, I like the line where you say—and I can’t wait to read this white paper you’re writing that we have to shift to businesses based on known relationships with people as individuals and as communities rather than as a mass. And that’s what we do at TWIT, and I think you’re absolutely right.
Jeff: Oh, this white paper will put you to sleep.
Jeff: I’m trying to finish editing this or do my first run of editing this week, and I have to do it because this is what I do. You know, at the university, but no, you don’t want to…
Leo: But no, but this is what we kind of do instead of mass media—the title of the Medium post is “No Mas Mass Media,” which I like. But it’s what we do. We don’t do mass media. I think of us as artisanal media, hand-crafted—
Leo: —for an intelligent audience.
Jeff: I talk about you all the time. I met the new president of Guardian U.S. today and I was just telling him about the wonders of TWiG today.
Leo: Well good.
Jeff: I think it’s a great example of how exactly you can focus on—(a) you can be entrepreneurial at a low cost, and (b) you focus on communities and understand what the communities want and keep your ear open to the communities.
Leo: Right. Well, you have to now. You really have to. And Kevin Marks, you said you had something to rant about.
Kevin: Well, partly because I was listening to this show last week, and you were talking about the Google+ names thing.
Leo: That’s why you’re on the show.
Leo: I forgot about that. So I screwed this up royally.
Kevin: Well, the rant that I did at Google IO ignite, which you can play if you want, but I can give you a recap of it instead. It comes down to the way programmers tend to simplify the world and then get grumpy when the world doesn’t fit their simplification.
Kevin: And Google world names is a huge example of that because it wasn’t ever you have to have a real name. It was you have to have a name that our algorithm thinks is a name.
(Audio recording starts to play)
Leo: Oops. I accidentally started playing it, but we’ll play it later.
Kevin: Play it if you like. It’s five minutes.
Leo: That’s one of the beauties of Ignite Talks.
Kevin: Yes, they don’t take that long.
Leo: Yeah, I don’t want to take five minutes up, but we’ll play it at the end of the show.
Kevin: Okay, so the thing you were saying was you were referring to it as real names and verifying names, and that was only of the appeals procedure. The point was that if you put up a thing that they thought wasn’t a name, then they would get into an argument with you over whether that was really your real name or not. Then you’d have to send government documents to Google and things like that. Whereas, what they had said consistently was you just have to have something that looks like a name to us because we want things that look like names because then we’ll have a better community because people will think the other people are real people. So all it did was incent the spammers to use American-looking names. So it was disaster from beginning to end. I’m glad they finally stopped doing that, and that’s good, but in sort of the presumption that it ever did anything to make a better conversation, I think is wholly unproven.
Gina: I think that’s fair.
Leo: Yeah. That’s fair. And I understand why they felt it would help, right?
Kevin: But Google, they’re supposed to measure these things.
Leo: Well, maybe that’s what happened. Maybe they—
Kevin: Well, yeah, but for three years?
Leo: Yeah, that’s a long time.
Kevin: That was internal—when I started ranting about it on Twitter, I got stuff from people who were at Google at the time saying, “Well, the best thing is we don’t have to argue about it internally anymore.
Leo: Well, demonstratively it didn’t do what—because as you pointed out, spammers just made up real-looking names. That’s all.
Leo: So really the policy wasn’t to have real names. The policy was to have real-looking names. That’s not a very good policy.
Leo: That’s doomed to failure.
Kevin: Right. And the point is you need to look at behavior. If you’ve got a chatroom here that anyone could be any name they like and half of them are like web XYZed, but they get kicked out if the do something dubious.
Leo: Yeah, we base it on behavior. Right.
Kevin: Yeah. And the problem with that is that actually involves—
Leo: It takes work. Yeah.
Kevin: And that’s why Google is wary of it because they didn’t like doing things that require humans.
Leo: We can do it only because we have a fabulous crew of volunteers, as many as 15 or 20 volunteers, who spend a lot of time in the chat. And what we learned of course is that you have to make it on behavior because bad behavior whether it’s in a real name or not just degrades the place to the point where nobody wants to be there.
Jeff: Yeah. I’ve long said that as long as I can name a-holes by name, ergo name doesn’t stop you from being an a-hole.
Leo: Right. It’s time I think. Thank you, Kevin, for correcting that.
Kevin: That’s okay.
Leo: It’s time I think to talk about our tip tool number of the week. Kevin, I’ll let you do the honors because you don’t have an official role in all of this. If you’d like to give us something you[‘re excited about. Every time you’ve done this, by the way, it’s been something addictive that I’m mad about.
Kevin: The link I’ve picked today is just a silly thing that I thought was wonderful and I think you’d like to see, so just look at my first link.
Leo: Perfect for Geeks. This is Ali Spanola who discovered that she needs to be wearing one of these at all times. This is some sort of steady cam for your beer.
Kevin: It’s a steady cam, but it’s a steady cam for beer. So you can dance and your beer will stay stable.
Kevin: Because you were talking about beer as we were waiting for the show to get started.
Kevin: I thought this was something you could use.
Leo: Is this fake?
Gina: Yeah, how does this work? How does this work?
Kevin: This is how steady cams do work. They isolate the movement—
Leo: Gyroscopes, it’s all with gyroscopes.
Jeff: I don’t know, Kevin. I don’t know, Kevin.
Jeff: I’m not buying it.
Leo: I think if they were to make this, I think it would be very, very popular.
Kevin: I’ve seen steady cams that do do that, but that may well be fake.
Leo: Not that well.
Gina: Yeah, that looks pretty photoshoped.
Kevin: Well, he’s being careful not to go too near it.
Gina: Yeah (laughter).
Gina: He’s kind of mesmerizing. He’s like the dancing baby.
Jeff: Stop the poor man. He’s doing this forever.
Leo: I can’t stop watching.
Leo: That’s actually a really question I’ve been meaning to ask. When you stop watching an animated gif, do they stop moving?
Jeff: Does the tree fall in the forest? Does the light stay on in the refrigerator?
Leo: I mean, I’m really puzzled. Like is there a universe of animated cat gifs right now—
Gina: That are just frozen?
Leo: —doing stuff?
Gina: Or do they all just go...?
Leo: Or do they just all say, “Well, have a smoke”?
Leo: What happens to the animated gif when no one’s watching?
Gina: (Laughter) Gif like no one’s watching.
Leo: Just call me Bishop Leo. Only Kevin will get that joke, and it’s a very long way to go to get it.
Leo: You got it though didn’t you? Took him a little while. Kevin’s Ignite talk is at the official Google developers blog or YouTube channel. And is it all of it on here or no, just your talk? Oh, no, you’re in a portion of it. So you’re 46:26 in.
Kevin: I put the link with my timestamp in.
Leo: Aren’t you a smart man?
Leo: I did an ignite talk once, and I love it.
Kevin: That’s the other thing I want to actually recommend to people is that Ignite Talks are both fun to watch and fun to do. And they’re fun to watch because you get ten of them. They’re five minutes long, so even if one’s bad you can just zone out for a bit. They usually come with beer and audience participation. But they’re actually fun to do, so the patent is you get 20 slides that also advance every 15 seconds.
Leo: Period. That’s it.
Kevin: So this means that you have to practice. You can’t just sit there and waffle and go on for an hour. You have to make sure what you say will fit with it, which means that the talks better too. But then when you’re actually doing one, you can never lose your place for more than 15 seconds because the next slide will come up.
Leo: (Laughter) So it can be comedic. It’s kind of like a slam.
Kevin: And then it comes back in later. Brady Forrest runs these all over the place. They’re often at conferences.
Leo: I think they were invented by O’Reilly weren’t they?
Kevin: Brady Forrest runs it for O’Reilly. There was a thing called PechaKucha, which was the same idea—
Kevin: —but with slightly different timing.
Jeff: Which by the way is not pronounced PechaKucha, but I cannot pronounce how it’s supposed to be pronounced.
Jeff: If you go look up the audio, there’s an audio pronouncer.
Leo: It’s because it was a Japanese word.
Jeff: No, it’s something else. It’s like Indonesian or something.
Kevin: Finnish, okay.
Leo: It says it was devised in Tokyo in February 2003, but maybe it’s a Finnish name. twenty images in 20 seconds.
Kevin: So 20 slides for 20 seconds each.
Leo: Oh, oh. Okay. By 20 seconds.
Kevin: it’s 20 slides in 15 seconds. It makes it shorter.
Leo: I like Ignite better.
Kevin: It is a Japanese term, apparently.
Jeff: If you search on PechaKucha announcer, the first YouTube video.
Leo: Pe-cha-Ku-cha (assorted distorted pronunciations).
Leo: P-e-c-h-a-K-u-c-h-a. I’ll leave as an exercise for the viewer. Thank you very much.
Jeff: Yeah (laughter).
Gina: (Laughter) I don’t know why it struck me as so funny, but you don’t even know.
Leo: (Unintelligible sounds) You have to watch our video of what is it called? Pronunciation Book? The YouTube channel. Have you seen it?
Kevin: Yes, the one that just pronounced everything wrong, yes.
Leo: They pronounce everything wrong.
Chad: Pronunciation Guide.
Leo: Pronunciation guide. YouTube.com/pronunciation guide. You can’t stop laughing.
Chad: We have I think a 10-minute video that I have shown everyone in the office and every single time I show it to them, everyone busts out laughing.
Leo: One of them’s real. So somebody did it real for real and then somebody said, “That’s bad.” Then they did a fake one. I think it’s Pronunciation Manual? I wonder if they have PechaKucha? I don’t know.
Video: Propolio, prohilakitac. Propolio. Canolioneolio. Canolio? Nonolio.
Leo: I wonder if PechaKucha’s on here.
Video: Assthma. Asthhma. Assthhhma. Vagena. Vangena.
Leo: Whoever did this was truly inspired (laughter). Gina, your tip of the week.
Gina: Actually, before I do my tip, I just got an e-mail. The subject line from Amazon, “Congrats. Here’s a list of your apps that have been approved for the Fire Phone.”
Gina: Yes. My app got approved for the Fire Phone, and I guess the Fire Phone’s coming out because you’ve got a shipping notification, and I’ve got an app approval notification.
Gina: So we’ll seeing the Fire Phone soon.
Leo: I will get mine tomorrow. They announced it’s going to come a day early.
Leo: And I’ll be reviewing it both on the radio show this weekend. I’ll show it on TWiT and then I’ll do a full review on Before You Buy on Tuesday.
Jeff: Did you see Pogue has now hit the depths of desperation, the absolute depths of desperation. You’ve got to watch this Pogue thing.
Leo: Well, now everybody as usual with a new phone, Walt Mossberg got it; the Verge got it; Gizmodo got it. Did Pogue get one?
Jeff: Oh, where is it?
Leo: It’s on his tech channel I’m sure. David Pogue, no longer with the New York Times. Maybe he doesn’t get these things. A spark of potential? Is it that one?
Jeff: He plays and old professor or something (laughter).
Leo: David really is a character.
Jeff: Oh, it’s really just—
Leo: (Laughter) This is the ad. We’re going to have to skip the ad, but…
Jeff: —desperate thing you’ve ever seen. Jay Rosen tweeted—maybe somebody can find it.
Chad: If you mute your video, I can play it.
Leo: Okay, go ahead.
Video: In the touchscreen phone era, gestures have taken on a new meaning.
Leo: This is not it.
Chad: No? This is not it?
Jeff: No, this is beyond, beyond, beyond belief how awful it is.
Leo: You know, I got a review unit too, by the way, on the list. The box came. I was so excited. I opened it on Saturday. It was very exciting. A UPS box from AT&T Dallas. Inside, I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t’ know what was going to come. They didn’t tell me ahead of time. I open it up. “Oh, there’s a Fire Phone inside.” I open it up, there was no phone in the box.
Leo: It was an empty box.
Leo: We contacted the people (laughter), the PR company. They said, “What? No, we sent you a phone. UPS must have stolen it.” I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I looked at it, and it was nicely sealed. Anyway, we sent it all back to them and said, “You figure it out.” There was no phone in here. Fortunately, I videoed the opening of it so that I have proof that I did not, no sleight of hand—
Gina: Oh, you did an unboxing. That’s smart, yeah (laughter).
Jeff: (Laughter) Okay, all right. All right, all right, all right.
Leo: Here it is. I got the link here in the chatroom. Thank you Scooter X.
Jeff: It’s a smartwatch. I’m sorry. It’s a smartwatch.
Leo: Oh, smartwatch. This is not it.
Jeff: Smartwatch OS.
Leo: That was the Walt Mossberg review of the Fire Phone. I would pretty much agree with him. He thought it was nothing to get excited about. All right. Keep going, Gina. What else?
Gina: Yeah, let me do my tip.
Gina: I realized that we haven’t talked a lot about Bitcoin here on this show.
Leo: We have not.
Gina: I’m not sure why. I’m sort of fascinated by Bitcoin mostly because of the technology versus the sort of gold-digging community. I feel like there are the technologists and the gold diggers. I’m more on the technology side of it (laughter) because it is a fascinating technology. But Google now support Bitcoin conversions from the search box. I’m not sure if you covered this in last week’s show when I wasn’t here, but you can go to the Google search box. Probably already know you can do currency conversion for all different kinds of currency. So you can say, “Ten U.S. dollars in euro,” and it’ll tell you how many euros. Well, now you can do ten USD to BTC and it—
Leo: So BTC is the abbreviation for Bitcoin.
Gina: BTC is for Bitcoin, yes. So you can see how much Bitcoin converts to U.S. dollars.
Leo: And a graph of how you’re losing money in Bitcoin.
Gina: And a graph of how you’re losing money in Bitcoin (laughter).
Leo: That’s actually visa versa. How you’re gaining money now, yeah.
Gina: How you’re gaining. It’s how you’re gaining.
Leo: One Bitcoin $620. It’s kind of stabilized around that number for a while.
Gina: it’s kind of stabilized about 600, yeah. This is courtesy of Coinbase, which is a pretty good Bitcoin wallet.
Leo: That’s the one I use, I think. I can’t remember.
Kevin: But they don’t translate Dogecoin.
Leo: Nobody translates Dogecoin. That’s why we use Dogecoin. We don’t want to be part of the corporate oligarchical structure.
Gina: Once Google started doing this, I tried to add BTC to my stocks on Google Now—
Gina: —and it was an option, but it just never shows up, so I can in my stock settings and put BTC. I mean, it’s not a stock, right? It’s a virtual currency, but it’s kind of interesting to see Google—it feels like a moment of mainstreaminess with Bitcoin.
Kevin: The what do you call them? The twins.
Leo: Oh, the Winklevoss. The Winklevoss twins.
Kevin: Are launching an exchange rate Bitcoin fund whose symbol will be coin.
Leo: C-o-i-n really on...?
Kevin: Yes, so you can buy Bitcoin over the counter from E*TRADE or whatever.
Leo: Oh, Lord.
Gina: From E*TRADE or whatever? Mm-hmm.
Kevin: So in the same way you’ve got dollar tracking ones, there will be a Bitcoin tracking on and they’ve been going through the regulatory nonsense to do that.
Leo: If anybody’s going to make money in Bitcoin, it will be the Winklevoss twins. Jeff, you have a number?
Jeff: Yeah, I want to mention this first that the—God bless you, America—1,067,779 people sent comments to the FCC about net neutrality. And if you want to feel a little bad about democracy, that’s less than the 1.4 million that went to the FCC over Janet Jackson’s nipple, but let’s remember that was mainly about angry bots sending the message, so…
Leo: Oh, really? Is that true that the wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl, the complaints were coming from bots?
Jeff: Well, in essence Parents Television Council.
Leo: Yeah, they were people, but they were people without a will of their own.
Jeff: All right, so this week, I give you a choice, Leo.
Jeff: The ten questions that are now banned from Google interviews because they were too stupid or 15 top Eric Schmidtisms.
Leo: Oo, God. Those are both great! How can I pick? Can you do one from each?
Jeff: Uh, why don’t you go to the Schmidtisms and pick?
Leo: You’re going to put this on me, huh?
Jeff: Well, there’s some sympathy here. A lot of what he says he’s right about and it’s wrong and he said to me once, “It’s death by Twitter. It’s out of context.” Nonetheless, they’re pretty funny.
Leo: I don’t know. I think...
Jeff: Some of them are very right.
Leo: I complain so much about crappy CEO interviews that I really should support this.
Jeff: I do too. There’s a few…
Leo: Here’s a guy who speaks his mind, however crazy it is. One day, we had a conversation where we figured out we could just try and predict the stock market. And then we decided it was illegal, so we stopped doing that.
Leo: Yeah, I really like that. The pictures help.
Jeff: Yeah, they do.
Leo: Google’s staggering collection of personal info. Would you prefer someone else? Is there a government you would prefer to be in charge of this? Hmm?
Jeff: Which I actually agree with.
Leo: On getting caught on Google Street View. “With Street View, we drive by exactly once, so you can just move.” You see us coming. Get out of the way. On chance. “Serendipity can be calculated now. We can actually produce it electronically.” (Laughter) What does that even mean? Those are the Schmidtisms. And let’s just try—give me one interview question banned from Google interviews.
Jeff: Oh, okay. Go ahead and pick your way through.
Leo: Oh, it’s a slide show. Round manhole covers. Because everybody knows why manhole covers are round. To look like the next thermostat.
Jeff: Piano tuners.
Leo: Piano tuners. How many piano tuners are there in the world?
Jeff: Well, the answer….
Jeff: We’d answer however many the market dictates. If pianos need tuning once a week and it takes an hour to tune a piano and a piano tuner works eight hours a day for five days a week, 40 pianos need tuning each week. We’d answer one for every 40 pianos.
Leo: And then you’re supposed to show that work and then show maybe some calculations about roughly how many pianos there might be. It doesn’t matter if you get the answer right on these. People don’t do these anymore, do they? These interview—
Jeff: They don’t do this anymore.
Leo: I think it’s deprecated.
Kevin: These are the banned ones. That was the point. But no, just because—
Jeff: That was the bad ones.
Leo: Well, what’s a good one, Kevin Marks? If you were going to hire me tomorrow for British Telecom, what would you like to know?
Kevin: (Laughter) Well, the thing is that these brainteaser things were very popular.
Kevin: But they don’t actually tell you anything useful because they just tell you whether you’ve seen that kind of question before. It’s like any of these assessment things.
Leo: Yeah. They’re too well known now.
Kevin: My son’s teaching SAT prep this week and he’s helping students get their SAT scores up a lot, which you’re not supposed to do in theory. It’s supposed to be an objective assessment, but actually, if you sit down and do ten tests in a week—
Leo: Apparently, you can. You can.
Kevin: —and look at what you got wrong, you can get better at this stuff.
Leo: Yeah, yeah.
Kevin: And it’s not any of these things. Many of these assessment things don’t actually make sense. There was a really good article on model view culture, which I’ll stick in the chat, about how we do engineering recruitment and how it ends up being an “are you like me” question—
Jeff: (Laughter) Yeah.
Leo: Isn’t that really the truth?
Kevin: —rather than a is this useful. It referred to Joel Spolsky’s “Guerilla guide to Interviewing,” which Joel then took off the Internet because he was ashamed of the old version of it.
Kevin: But the original version of that, of his guide, is very much the sort of gleefully saying the unwashed masses are stupid and I need to find the bright ones. And the bright ones will understand these things that I’m saying to them. And literally it was the Chicago question and it’s those kinds of things. And what it comes down to is are you—the other thing he said in the original piece was pick something that they say that you know is true and say, “Well, that can’t be true,” and get them to defend it. So basically, troll them in the interview to see how they respond to it, which is—
Leo: Why troll your interviewees? Let’s just have a civil conversation.
Gina: Let’s put someone in a terrible power relationship and then threaten them.
Kevin: You’re selecting people in crappy chatrooms. So sorry. Go ahead, Gina.
Gina: No, no. Let’s put someone who’s totally not in a power position and someone who’s disempowered.
Leo: Right. It’s a power trip.
Gina: And then have the person in power say, “You’re wrong” and then see how the disempowered person reacts.
Leo: Ha, ha, ha.
Gina: It’s a ridiculous thing. You know, I haven’t done a developer and engineer interview in years and years because I’ve been lucky enough to freelance and start my own business and all that, but I really want to be in one of these interviews where they ask—what was it in the internship? If you were shrunk down a half an inch and stuck at the bottom on a blender, how would you get out?
Leo: I love that one actually.
Gina: Because I would like to just look at the interviewer in the face and be like—
Leo: What’s wrong with you?
Gina: —“Is this the question that you’re deciding whether or not to hire me? Because if this the question, then this is not the right place for me to work” and get up and walk out. Because it’s true. It’s just so indicative of stupidity. I mean, it’s fun to look at this article now, what questions have been banned. But it’s so crazy that Google fell into this trap at any time.
Leo: You know what? It’s very hard to hire people.
Gina: It’s extremely difficult. It’s extremely difficult.
Leo: Yeah, it’s true.
Kevin: Getting people to actually write some code can be a good thing. That’s not necessarily a bad idea. Getting them to do it on a whiteboard? May not be ideal.
Leo: Yeah, that’s Australia, yeah.
Kevin: And Google itself has backed away from this. When I was interviewing for Google, there was—of banned questions. There was also a sort of poll of these are fairly good questions. What do you think? And then tell a discussion board to try and make them better. But it was still very hard to not get people to play gotcha when they’re interviewing.
Leo: I’ve got to wrap this up because this is the party for the third anniversary of the Brick House, and there’s a lot of people gathering.
Leo: It was three years ago tomorrow, but we’re not going to be here tomorrow, so three years ago tomorrow that we opened the Brick House for the first time, July 24, 2011.
Gina: Three years. Crazy.
Leo: I know. Isn’t that hard to believe. We had a big parade and everything.
Gina: How did that happen?
Leo: So we’ve got pizza. Thank you and (laughter) we’ve got a pretty good audience, so thank you all for being here. We’re going to celebrate in just a bit. Coming up, Tech News Tonight. I’ve got to end though with David Pogue’s review of wearable watches. I think this is the one.
Jeff: This is the depth, yes.
Leo: Yale Online University A.D. 2052.
David Pogue: Welcome back, students. In this virtual class, we examine the desperately primitive early efforts of your ancient ancestors to develop technologies for the—
Leo: What is he wearing? A sleep mask?
David Pogue: Learning about these crude devices is useful for context. Without knowing where we’ve been, how can we know where we’re going? In previous virtual meetings, we’ve looked at the UNIVAC I, one of the earliest computers; the Apple 2 showing the computer shrinking to desktop size; and of course, the—
Leo: All right, I can’t bear this. We’ll leave this as an exercise—
Jeff: It’s just desperate.
Leo: —for the viewer. (Laughter) Thank you very much everybody. Kevin Marks, really appreciate it. Anything you want to plug, Kevin, before we go?
Kevin: Just the usual indiewebcamp.com and you set up your own website. There’s a community of people to help you do that.
Leo: I really want to do this thing.
Kevin: Known thing, yeah.
Leo: Known. He e-mailed me and I’m just waiting. I guess they want to get it off of whatever weird database they were—
Kevin: They’re getting to the point where they can do hosted staff.
Kevin: But he’s based that side of the bridge as well, so you should just get Ben to drop by some time. That would be fun.
Leo: I will. We’ll talk to Ben. Thank you, Kevin. Appreciate it. Jeff Jarvis at the City University of New York. He blogs at BuzzMachine, author of “Public Parts.” Great to see you once again.
Jeff: Always good to see you.
Leo: You’re not so pink today. You look good. Gina Trapani, before the candles burn down (laughter). Founding editor of Lifehacker, you’ll find her now at thinkup.com. Get your think up. It’s so awesome! Thank you everybody.
Gina: Free trial.
Leo: Free trial?
Gina: Yes, sign in. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, full free trial.
Jeff: Oh, yea.
Gina: Two weeks, no credit card required. Just try it out. Thinkup.com. Just sign in.
Leo: We started this show three or four days ago, but (laughter) we’re going to wrap it up now. We do it normally 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesdays. Thank you for joining us, and we will see you next time on This Week in Google!
Gina: Mmm. Look at that cake.
Leo: Thank you everybody. Happy third anniversary Brick House!