This Week in Google 281 (Transcript)
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Leo: This is TWiG, This Week in Google, episode 281 for Christmas Eve 2014.
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Hey, it's Leo Laporte, your elf on the shelf. Yes, it's once again that time of year where we give everybody the week off and we let you watch reruns. But these are special reruns, the best moments of 2014 from This Week in Google. I love doing This Week in Google. Jeff Jarvis, he's such a brainiac and expert on media, a deep thinker on Google, a deep thinker on issues like privacy and the right to be forgotten and all that, and Leistungsschutzrecht and all that stuff. Of course, Gina Trapani. Who doesn't love Gina? We're all in love with Gina, a developer, a brilliant mind, a Google expert. You couldn't find two better people to anchor This Week in Google and we have some great clips from this year's shows. Let's start off with a little rant, Jeff Jarvis. Apparently, he doesn't like local TV news, in particular, one thing that local TV news does. Let's watch.
(From Episode 236, Wednesday, February 12, 2014)
Leo: - all journalism is telling a story about something that happened so that people understand it better, right?
Jeff: Well, that's one form of it. I think the other form is verbatim -
Leo: I shouldn't say that to the professors here. They probably will spank me for saying that.
Leo: But it strikes me that that's the - that's what we need is, we need the story. We understand things in terms of story. Humans do.
Jeff: Many of my professors would say the same thing. I argue that stories are only one tool we have, and we're not primarily storytellers.
Leo: What's the other story? What's the other way to do it?
Jeff: Data. Tools that consist of data.
Leo: Yeah, but raw data is not as valuable as - in fact -
Jeff: Depends on what you're looking for.
Leo: But if you give me the raw data, that's one thing. If you explain the raw data, i.e. tell a story about it -
Jeff: I'll give you an example. After Hurricane Sandy, or tomorrow after whatever Weather Channel's calling the next storm to hit Gina, we'll get stories. You know what the stories will say? I can write them right now. "Gosh, a lot of snow fell. City digging out." On TV, they're going to put rulers in the snow and say, "Guess what? It adds up over time." They're going to tell us all this - you know, crap that we know.
Leo: So what would you like?
Jeff: I want a tool that says what streets are open, what streets are closed, and I want that data to come from -
Leo: Is that journalism?
Jeff: Yes, you bet it is. It enables the community to share what it knows. That's journalism. Would you agree, boss?
Sarah: Yeah. I mean, that's the, sort of some of the thinking that we're doing right now is, “Should we be teaching our students how to be community organizers?” Basically, to engage individual communities and help provide information that helps them organize themselves. And -
Leo: That's very interesting.
Sarah: That's sort of a new -
Leo: That's a broader definition than the traditional.
Sarah: It is.
Sarah: But nothing wrong with that.
Jeff: Nothing wrong with that. I mean, I've writing this -
Leo: That's a librarian. (Laughs)
Jeff: No, it's a platform maker.
Sarah: That's stopped us in our tracks. Who you callin' librarians?
Jeff: - librarians, mister?
Jeff: Meanwhile, we want to destroy some things. Part of the reason I wanted to bring especially Sarah here was to look at the wonders that are TWIT and reinventing TV news, which I think is vital.
Leo: Well, I'm never doing another stand-up, I can tell you that, after reading your blog.
Jeff: Yep. There's a very funny FOX 5 video on there of a guy who - I think it's the top one -
Leo: Because you got interviewed by FOX.
Jeff: By FOX 5 New York about the stupid things they do in weather stories.
Leo: I'm surprised that they wanted to do that story, to be honest with you. That seems self-defeating. Chad'll have to play it. I don’t have the capability of playing videos back in -
Jeff: Yeah, what happened to your laptop?
Leo: My daughter has it.
Leo: She's using it for work.
(An ad begins to play.)
Leo: This is an ad, unfortunately.
Jeff: Oh, sorry about that. I should have warned you, Chad.
Leo: That's all right. I like Dwight David Eisenhower. I particularly liked Robin Williams's rendition of Dwight David Eisenhower in The Butler. Did you see that?
Leo: Very weird. That's not the first person I'd have Robin Williams play.
Jeff: No. (Video begins) Here we go.
Male Reporter: We get sick of hearing our own voices sometimes. Local news really can be a bit much. We know that.
Leo: What? This is a local news guy?
Female Reporter: You know what we're talking about, obviously. There are silly stories, pointless live shots, endless clichés, and then there's Joel Waldmann.
Male Reporter: Joining us from outside our building. Perfect.
Female Reporter: I couldn't resist. You're perfect for the story.
Male Reporter: Putting a hand to the earpiece so we can hear the anger.
Leo: I like the lower third. Inside, outside.
Jeff: I didn't see that.
Sarah: In case you weren't clear about it.
Joel Waldman: I love putting my hand up to my earpiece here, otherwise known as an IFB, for all of you at home who didn't know this. Look behind me over here at FOX 5 news. There's absolutely nothing going on right now, so we decided to turn it all around, forego Snowmageddon, and tell all you concerned citizens at home exactly what annoys you, and us, most about this job.
Announcer: Time. We never have enough.
Joel: A shocking revelation. Thanks, local news. If you think it isn't, think again. Time is valuable.
Female Voice: Honestly, who has time to waste?
Joel: Maybe you do if you're watching this right now. For the first time ever, in this exclusive local news story, we ask the tough question: Does news ever annoy you? We put CUNY professor Jeff Jarvis on the hot seat to give this story at least an ounce of legitimacy.
Jeff (on video): Doing a story about local TV news is a bit navel-gazing, but it's a good start because it shows me that you're willing to ask the tough questions about what's annoying about TV news.
Joel: Like sticking rulers -
Male Reporter: Almost an inch and a half …
Joel: Not an inch and a half, and please, no more -
Male Reporter: ... wicked winter weather …
Joel: - gimmicks. Thanks for that cliché, reporter man. And please stop, reporter woman.
Female Reporter: I've got this wind meter right here …
Female Reporter: The winds are literally ripping across -
Joel: If you think this station had enough reporters covering its city's severe weather its first night, this was the second. At times in news, we come across another chilling reality: reporters stretching the truth.
Male Reporter: Are these holy men walking on top of water …
Joel: Holy smokes! A canoe in just a few inches of water! But I've never wanted to knee anchors as badly as during these recent blasts of cold, arctic air.
Leo: All right, we get the idea. We don't have to keep going.
Sarah: Give me Will Ferrell any day.
Leo: That's good. I like that, yeah. That's funny. I don't think they're going to stop doing stand-ups. I would defend the stand-up, but I -
Jeff: Okay, try, try.
Leo: Well, again, this comes - see, I understand now why you guys don't want to accept the fact that, really, what we are is storytellers, because that allows some subjectivity to creep into -
Jeff: Subjectivity is great! I love subjectivity.
Leo: You want facts. But the fact is, the human brain wants people. They want faces, they want pictures. This is one of the reasons why I was reluctant to do video. It's very clear to me that audio is intellectual, it's abstract, it's ideas. Video's all about emotions. Video wants pictures and wants - and so, for television news to abandon the stand-up would be, you know, what do you get? You get, you know, the McNeal Lehrer news report, news hour. You get PBS news hour -
Jeff: Well, but you also could get more information, you get more value -
Leo: Well, but people don't - I've got bad news for you, people don't want that.
Jeff: The example -
Leo: What is the job of the journalist?
Leo: Are we the Brussels sprouts of media, or are we here to help people understand stuff in a way that is palatable? I would rather be an Egg McMuffin with some broccoli in there than to be just the broccoli on the plate.
Jeff: Broccoli split.
Sarah: I can't think of any food analogy here but I mean, it's not, again, it's sort of not one thing or the other. You know, I mean, I -
Leo: You go right ahead and be deep data, I don't care.
Sarah: No. I mean, it's a mix of things. There's some times when I want to analyze data; there's some times when I want to have a story that moves me; there's some times when I want some deep, complex analysis; there's some times when I want breaking news. I mean, those are all forms of journalism. They're all critical.
Leo: I'm just saying, you understand why local has a ruler in the snow? That's real for people. It tells people what's going on. There's a wind meter.
Jeff: Here's the example. Here's the example.
Leo: They shouldn't lie about a rowboat in three inches of water. That's stupid. That is bad.
Jeff: No. But there's also stupid - I have pictures in the blog of people standing up in front of the George Washington Bridge in the Christie scandal we have in New Jersey. There's no journalism to be had there.
Leo: Of course not.
Jeff: There's no visuals there, there's no victims there, there's no sources there -
Leo: But it's pretty pictures. If you're doing - if you do TV, I'm sorry, you have to have pretty pictures.
Jeff: I don't think so.
Sarah: You don't think Chris Christie's pretty?
Leo: Yeah, he's pretty. I would have a picture of Chris Christie. In fact, I'd have them on there, of course. You want TV -
Jeff: Another example. Another example.
Leo: As soon as you go to video, you have a responsibility to fill the screen with something, and you might as well make it pretty.
Jeff: Well, okay. So there's a jury out on a trial.
Leo: Doesn't mean you can't have solid information. So what I think is very important, and I know you guys teach this, is that there be this very solid foundation of journalistic ethics, where you don't make up stories, you don't fudge things, you don't attempt to prove a point by editing. You care most deeply about communicating to your audience the truth about a story to give them the information they need to make the judgment that they need to make as good citizens. All of that -
Jeff: And you do the things that are in the service of that.
Leo: Yes. All of that we agree that is the foundation of what you teach. So all we're disagreeing about is how you present it, and I would say that sometimes you want to present it with a little bit of pretty stuff.
Jeff: But here - let me give you another example. So the jury's out in a trial. I used this as an example in the blog. And what do they do? The anchor says, "The trial's going on. This is what happened in the trial. Now we're going to go to the - you know, Gina Trapani in the paneled courtroom." Gina Trapani's going to say, "In that closed door behind me, there's a jury. We don't know what the eff they're doing. I actually have nothing to say to you, but, yeah, the trial's going on, it's about this and that and that. Now back to you." The anchor comes back and says, "You know, we'll tell you as soon as we hear anything." All of which could be summarized in, "Jury's still out. For more, go to the web." And they could get another story in, could get more value in. It's a waste of precious journalistic resource. The reporters don't report. They are props.
Leo: Well A, I would question how precious that resource is. There's a lot of people that you could put out there with the camera operator. That stuff's not precious. That's what TV news does. And I would just say that if you did this imaginary TV news station that you would like to do, no one would freaking watch it. And part of your mandate is not merely to tell the truth and get the story out, but to get somebody to watch it.
Sarah: Nobody's watching it now.
Leo: Well, that's only because there's other places you can have people standing in front of a door.
Sarah: Right, but I don't know - You have kids. I have kids. They don't watch-
Leo: They watch Youtube.
Sarah: They watch - you know, any news that they're getting, they're getting on the laptop.
Leo: You think that there's stuff on Youtube that is any less - YouTube’s full of stuff that's as stupid as the guy standing out there.
Jeff: Oh, yeah. Sure. But it's not trying to be news. It's not trying to inform.
Leo: No, but it's presentational. If you look at the presentation on Youtube, there's a lot of attention to presentation, otherwise nobody watches it. Watch Epic Mealtime, which has no content.
Sarah: Do we have to?
Leo: Yeah. Has no content. My son loves it because it's - because of what they're seeing and doing, he loves. They're mushing hamburgers into a giant lasagna.
Jeff: I don't - here's where I'm going to - I think the conflation of informing and entertaining is the issue.
Leo: Yeah, I agree.
Jeff: Now, that's usually set in terms of, “Oh, it's crappy TV.” What I'm trying to say is something different - is that, if I want to read a long - if I want to read a novel, that's entertainment. If I want to read a long New Yorker story, that's often entertainment. Snowfall, the Times did that everybody loved, was really, to me, entertainment because I don't -
Leo: That was a waste of time.
Jeff: Yes, I agree.
Leo: As much as everybody loved it, that was a waste of time.
Jeff: Waste of time.
Sarah: And money.
Leo: A lot of money. And I would, and this is very not politically correct, I would complain far more about that than some idiot anchor with nice hair standing out in the rain. To me, that is a bigger waste of money and resources that added nothing to the conversation.
Jeff: I think they both are, and I think there's ways that we could probably inform you - when I had my coffee with Katie Couric -
Leo: Did you mention this to Katie? I'm curious what she thought.
Sarah: I wanted to know how long it was going to take you to fit that in.
Jeff: I know. It was -
Sarah: It was a little bit longer than I thought.
Leo: Here we are, the show's almost over -
Jeff: She's been with me too long this week. And so, one thing I said was, "The one difference I see in going to Yahoo is you don't have to fill a clock anymore." We overfill the clock here at TWIT.
Leo: We've never had any problems filling the clock.
Jeff: No. "You don't have to fill the clock anymore, and if you want to say what's new in a story, you can do that in a minute thirty, and then not have to say anything more until something actually happens." So part of what TV does is think, “We have to have video, video, video, video because we have to fill an hour.” Well, if you - instead, your job is to inform people, maybe you can do that in a minute thirty and you're done.
Leo: Well, in my experience, television's very different from that. In fact, my experience of television was that we never had enough time, that there was always the urgency to get stuff done in less time, and that hurt TV more than anything else. That's where you edit out the pieces of him downloading the malware, because - not because you don't want that information, because it takes too much time. There is never enough time in mainstream media.
Jeff: Then why do they waste so much of it on idiots standing up where nothing happened the last twelve hours?
Leo: I don't think they consider that wasted.
Jeff: I do.
Leo: I think they consider that the way that they make a palatable product.
Jeff: That's my problem, is that's the orthodoxy of old TV.
Leo: Well, you can try different things.
Jeff: "This is the way we make TV. It's got to be the only way because it's the way we've always done it." And I'm saying I want - you know what you're going to do?
Jeff: I'm bringing you to New York. We're having an event at CUNY in reinventing TV news.
Leo: We should have a debate.
Jeff: And I'm going to have you in a hacking TV event, where we're going to reinvent things.
Leo: I feel like I want to argue the case for the average Joe who sits down in front of the TV, and I understand what you need to do in television, which we don't do here, but you need to make pretty pictures.
Jeff: I think you're the proof that you don't need to.
Leo: You need to make emotional stuff.
Jeff: You, physically, are the proof that you don't need pretty pictures.
Leo: That's why we have Gina, ladies and gentlemen. Gina Trapani.
Gina: You know, Jeff, I really liked - I thought that your bringing up Circa was really apt. Circa was that news app. I love it. I love it. I barely look at it, but it notifies me when I need, like, so you can follow a story, and it notifies me when there's something new, right? And when there's an update to the story. And I really like that, and I like your point that, you know, the way that TV news works now is that it's just people explaining the same thing, the same story. If you have all the background, you're just hearing the same thing repeated over and over and over again. But what you really want is just to know, did the jury come back? What was the verdict?
Jeff: Yeah. I'm glad you raised that -
Gina: Don't tell me whether or not - only tell me if they have. Right? I don't want to hear anything else.
Jeff: We went to visit Circa this week as well, and they make a big point of that, saying that once you already know enough in the story, then all you want is the update. You want to follow the story. That's a new opportunity we didn't have in big old news.
Leo: Now, Circa came out of Ben Huh of I Can Has Cheezburger actually saying, "I think we need to rethink how we deliver journalism.” In fact, I remember going to Phoot Camp, he was there. Were you at that Phoot Camp, Gina? I think you were.
Gina: I was. And we went back to the cottage and did the show with him afterward. That's when he demoed it, yeah.
Leo: Before he did Circa, he said, "I want to talk with you about what's wrong with journalism, what's wrong with news, and how we can do a better job." And then Circa, I think, is quite successful. But it's a different thing. I mean, I think connected devices are a little different. They are more goal-oriented than sitting down in front of a television, or even watching Youtube.
Jeff: Leo, you questioned the orthodoxy of television. You blew up the orthodoxy of television, yet here you are defending it to me.
Leo: I am defending it because it works really well, I hate to tell you. Here's the bad news: it's working.
Jeff: The audience is dying.
Sarah: By what measure? By what measure is it working?
Leo: Well, okay. Okay. You would say TV news is that thing that's on the box that comes through the air; I would merely say video news and I would say Youtube counts. In other words -
Sarah: Oh. Well, wait. You're redefining the terms here.
Leo: No! Because Circa's very different. So there are ways of getting information via web browsers and so forth, but I think what succeeds is people like to - this is why we spend a million and a half dollars to do this - people like to watch video. They like to - the lean back experience is not a dead experience by any means, and in fact, I will give you the measure. People watch more television now than they did ten years ago. That's the bad news. The number of hours that - look it up.
Sarah: Look at the TV news portion, though.
Leo: Ah, well, maybe -
Jeff: And the age thereof.
Sarah: And the age of the people who are watching TV news, and the portion of the TV news segments that is actually news, as opposed to weather or sports.
Leo: Crap. Yeah. Well, that I agree with.
Sarah: It's really declining.
Leo: Well, that I agree with, but that is the failure of local news.
Sarah: And how much of it is local news?
Leo: That is the failure of local news. Local news has always been horrific.
Sarah: Well, that's really what we're focusing a lot on.
Leo: Yeah, I would agree with you, but I don't think the stand-up is the problem there.
Jeff: It's the first of many.
Leo: I think the biggest problem with that is underestimating the intelligence of your audience.
Leo: And this comes, again, from many years -
Jeff: Rulers in the snow.
Leo: I have worked for all the networks, and I know they don't want you to think of the audience as intelligent. And that's kind of a mistake, if you ask me. Because guess what you get?
Leo: Stupid people. But that's - well, anyway, this has nothing to do with Google. Hi, Gina. How are you? How's ThinkUp going?
(From Episode 247, Wednesday, April 20, 2014)
Leo: I find it annoying. My car is always saying, “You’re out of gas, you’re out of gas. You want to see gas stations?” No! I want to keep driving.
Jeff: Are you one of those horrible people that drives down the fumes?
Jeff: You’re also one of those horrible people who appears two minutes before the flight takes off?
Leo: If possible. Sometimes that’s not always easy to do, but I try. I like to walk in that plane as they are closing the door.
Jeff: Oh no, no, no!
Gina: You like to cut it close.
Jeff: I’m there two hours ahead. My mother made me neurotic as hell.
Gina: I feel like this says a lot. I’m learning a lot about you. Five years later, I feel like this is indicative.
Jeff: What about you Gina? Are you the - I'm trying to think of the ...
Gina: I aspire to be Jeff, but in reality I’m Leo. I come late and I’m like harried and freaked out.
Leo: You know I’m always late for everything. I just show up late.
Jeff: You’re the only TV network on earth that doesn’t give a crap about the clock.
Leo: And I’m proud of that, even though it drives our audience crazy. It drives them crazy! And I don’t want to drive our audience crazy. I should do a Mark Zuckerberg. We built this station on the notion that no show should start on time, but now we want to take care of you, our audience.
Gina: I’m pretty much never ready to start right at four, so I’m really glad - it’s like it’s built for me.
Leo: See, you and I.
Jeff: The week after next, when I'm going out to Google to do a privacy talk, right? The next Wednesday morning, I fly back and I think I would land at 2:30 at Newark and I live 20 minutes away from Newark airport. Leo would say, “Don’t sweat.” Jeff would say “I’m usually home at least an hour before the show something could go wrong” and I’ll be really nervous, and I can’t tell anybody because I’m in the air. “Maybe I’ll stay two more days just so I can be on the show.” That’s the way I think.
Leo: They should have on Google Now a setting for that. “What kind of person are you? Are you a Jeff or Gina?”
Jeff: It’s a neurosis slide.
Leo: Yeah, a slider.
Gina: It’s 15 minutes before show time and Skype’s saying, “Hey do you want to install updates?” and I’m like “What could go wrong?”
Leo: I do that too.” Let me just update Mac.” I do it in shows. Actually I was so proud, because I flew to Colorado to see my son on the Thursday last, and I arrived just as the boarding began for my row. I like, walked in. It was just swell. That’s what I want.
Jeff: This why I’m so proud that I am now - here's how neurotic I am. I'm now a Global Services on United. We go on before the pilots. We go on the first, right? And it’s that horrible moment that I used to hate, those people say, “Excuse me, excuse me. I’m Global Services, let me through.”
Leo: Oh, I hate those people.
Jeff: I know, they’re obnoxious, right? So even though I know I’m going to be the first to board, I don’t have to line up, and I don’t have to do anything, I still show up early.
Leo: Good man.
Jeff: I’m neurotic.
(From Episode [not noted] )
Gina: Remember that demo we saw at Google IO where they were running Android apps in Chrome OS? That is happening for everybody. So we've got four Android apps now available to run on Chrome OS. Duolingo, which is a great app, Evernote, Sightwords and Vine are all available in the Chrome Web store for Chrome OS users, okay?
Leo: Have you installed it, Jeff?
Gina: This is Jeff.
Jeff: I installed the Evernote, yes, and it's great. I mean, it works now. I complained before, I stopped using Evernote because it wasn't native on Chrome, so when my computer dies, which is very rare on my Chromebook, but when it did I lost the material because it wasn't saved to the Cloud. Now it does save locally, which is very important and that means that other applications will do that same thing and that's a big deal.
Gina: So it's the tablet-optimized layout, right? Because it's on your Pixel, your Pixel is touchscreen. So when you launch Evernote, it looks as though it's on a tablet and you can touch it to interact with it, you can use your keyboard, obviously, to type into it and it just acts like it's on your Nexus 7? It's pretty cool.
Jeff: Now I can't find it. Because I have an Evernote Web, so that's what I've been using. So I do use Evernote on it. I just know I can't save stuff.
Leo: In the Web you can.
Jeff: Right, so that's still in my applications and now I can't find the Evernote … hee.
Gina: Yes, I didn't get a chance to steal back the Pixel.
Jeff: Here we go, because you can't alphabetize the apps on the -
Leo: I know, that really bothers me. You can drag them around though, right? You can drag them into any order that you want.
Jeff: But do I have time to be dragging stuff? I don't have time to drag stuff. That's what I have a computer for!
Leo: That's what the alphabet is for, to put stuff in order, in some random order based on the letter of their name! Please! That's why we created the alphabet!
Jeff: A-B-X-Y-Z-F-G, I don't care anymore!
(From Episode 233, Wednesday, January 22, 2014)
Leo: Speaking of crazy, a man and his wife in Columbus, OH subjected to hour-long interrogation by the FBI because employees at the AMC movie theater saw him wearing Google Glass.
Jeff: I didn't believe this story at first, but it's been confirmed since. It's just ridiculous.
Gina: This poor guy. So he has been to this theater before. This is Columbus, Ohio. He's been to this theater before and he's an hour into watching the movie with his wife or partner, he's got Glass on, these guys come in and grab him, and grab Glass off of his face, and take him into an interrogation room. I'm laughing, it's not funny. But I just can't imagine getting my Glass torn off-
Leo: He blogs on the Gadgeteer. “It was quite embarrassing, outside the theater there were 5-10 cops and mall cops.” It was like major bust. First of all, of course because it's Glass, he could have been recording the movie, right?
Gina: Yes, he could've been.
Danny: Or he could have been recording it on his phone, or-
Leo: Right. Well, but people do that and that is a crime.
Jeff: But why, who's going to buy that world's worst video? That's what's so absurd about this.
Leo: Oh, but they do. I mean, there are camcorders, people are getting up and down and that's terrible but people do it and people sell it. But is this really a commensurate response to somebody who is, horrors, taping a movie?
Jeff: (crosstalk) - Google glass.
Leo: Even if he was taping the movie, it takes 5-10 police officers to take this man down? Searched?
Gina: Yeah, I guess this theater had had trouble with bootleg and people recording movies in the past. So I guess when they were interrogating him, they were like, “Hey man just give up your boss, like who are you working for? Just give up the guy up the chain and we'll let you go.” And he was saying, “Hey, just plug in my Glass to a computer and you'll see like, there's pictures of my wife and my dog on there, I didn't record the movie.” And it was an hour, or quite a bit of time passed before they actually looked at Glass and tried to see, ascertain whether or not he was actually recording.
Leo: He says, he writes, "I insisted that they connect to the Glass to see that there was nothing on it, I also insisted that they look at my phone and clear things out. But they wanted to talk first, they wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I'm making, how many computers I have at home, why I'm recording the movie, who I'm going to give the recording to, why don't I just give the guy up the chain because they're not interested in me," over and over. You know, there is something really wrong when Federal law enforcement officials are doing the bidding of the Motion Picture Association of America like this. When there's real crime going on, this is ridiculous.
Danny: You know what? If you're going to question him - there's so much I found disturbing about it. Like, you're going to get ripped out of your seat, okay, but that you're going to be questioned without being read your rights, but you’re actually under arrest and are clearly being detained. Technically he should've been able to walk out any time he wanted to.
Leo: They said that, they said, “You're not under arrest, but if you choose not to cooperate, bad things may happen.”
Danny: Right, and really at that point he could say, “Well bring on the bad things, because I'm leaving unless you want to arrest me,” or whatever. So there are all of these things, but what was disturbing to me was that there's no technical expertise. If you're going to go after somebody, and these people, some of them seem to have knowledge of the bootlegging like, how it's going on or whatever. And you see that someone has this Google Glass, you think you'd at least Google a little bit of information about them. And in short order, you'd understand things like, “Well you're going to get maybe 45 minutes of the movie recorded,” you know? Or if he is telling you, “Well you can take a look if you want,” or whatever with it from there. Then do it.
Leo: Right. He said they released him five minutes after they checked. "Once they went through my phone and five minutes later they concluded that I had done nothing wrong," and offered him four passes to another movie at the theater. There is a lesson to be learned here though, don't wear your Glass into a movie theater.
Jeff: No, there's a lesson to be learned, not for that guy, but for stupid movie theater owners and stupid cops.
Leo: No, I disagree. Because I think that if you did the same thing, like if you held up your phone and did this, or if you had a camcorder they would go in and arrest you and they would be within their rights, that's against the law.
Jeff: He had prescription lenses attached to his Glass, those are his glasses.
Leo: Ah. I didn't know that.
Gina: Yeah, he wears his glasses, yeah. You know, it's funny, Leo, I felt -
Danny: And actually I don't get them saying it's a recording device. It's like, just because it's a recording device, it is also your phone. If I'm wearing my smart watch to the thing, I don't get arrested because it has a recording device-
Leo: No but you held it and pointed at it, and the problem with Glass is it-
Danny: Not necessarily, if my watch were to beep at me and I go to look at it-
Jeff: In Florida, you get shot if you do that.
Danny: If my Ping's up or whatever, I could be having Glass on because I want to sit in a movie theater and for whatever reason, I want to get a notification on email, I want to get a text message showing up so that I know if I'm having a problem with my baby sitter or whatever. Just because it has a recording device doesn't mean that it's recording.
Leo: But I think this is the fundamental problem with Glass, is that it does have a recording device that is pointed at you and you don't always know if it's recording. It's the same societal problem with going into a bathroom with Glass, and people, if you want to have Glass take off, you'd better be very sensitive to this, right?
Gina: Leo, I felt the same way you did before last night's episode of All About Android, which I'm going to plug right now because we had a guest on, Cecilia Body, who was the woman who was stopped and given a speeding ticket in the San Diego area, but she had Glass on while she was driving, and the cop also fined her, or tried to fine her for wearing Glass.
Leo: She had to fight in court, and won, by the way.
Gina: She had to fight in court and she won, right? Because they couldn't prove that she was watching a video on Glass, right? Which is what the law prohibits, is that you're looking at the second screen and you know, my attitude was like, “Why would you wear Glass while driving? Or why would you wear Glass to the movie theater? That's just dumb,” and you know, especially driving, right? Because you open the package and one of the first things it says is like hey, this is not lawful to wear while you drive. I mean, Google basically says don't wear it while you're driving but Cecilia explained that like, first of all, she's a CTO of a company that develops Glassware. She wake up in the morning, puts them on, and is a very dedicated explorer. They're just her glasses, she doesn't think about it anymore. She puts them on and wears them and it sounds like this is the situation with the guy at the movie theater. It didn't occur to her to take them off while she was driving. She wasn't watching Netflix on her Glass or whatever, she was just driving. And particularly with driving it's like navigation is a totally legitimate use case for wearing Glass while driving, so I think that the explorer program, and I said this on the show last night, the explorer program is very much this sort of like canary in the coal mine thing. And I think that Google is figuring out like where does Glass create these issues or problems? I think that movie theater officials and cops on the highway are figuring out, what is Glass? When they're on, does that mean they're recording or not? I think it's just a misunderstanding of the technology, but unfortunately we have people like Cecilia and this guy in Ohio who have to be the ones to deal with these sort of legal tussles and figure it out.
Leo: I think there is some onus though, on Glass owners, to be aware of the sensitive nature of this. And while I don't care if he's in a movie theater, I do think that Glass owners do need to put the Glass up on their head when they’re in a men's room. I feel like it's kind of a little tone deaf on the part of Glass owners to say, “Hey man, these are my prescription glasses, what's your problem?” You're wearing a recording device on your head! So, be aware of that, some people are going to take umbrage, some of them will be federal law officials. It might behoove of you just to avoid the problem, like if that's his only pair of glasses?
Danny: Well he explained quite a bit actually, there's some other things I was reading on how he has another spare pair but he's actually been using them as his ordinary pair of glasses.
Leo: Well he needs to kind of wise up.
Danny: Yeah, but he had also said that he has been to the theater before and -
Leo: So he got away with it before, that doesn't mean it's not -
Jeff: It's not getting away with anything. Leo, hold up hold up. You and I know-
Leo: Yes it is, wearing a recording device on your head carries a higher responsibility than not wearing a recording device on your head. Will you not agree to that?
Jeff: A recording device, I want to repeat this, that has like five minutes of battery power!
Leo: I don't care. You're wearing a recording device on your head!
Danny: Leo, I would agree with you in general. For example, if I go into a restroom and I am actually wearing Glass, I will put them on the top of my head when I walk in.
Jeff: No... Come on!
Danny: No, but all you do is slide it up, it's no big deal.
Leo: We're just living in the world, Jeff! You got people!
Jeff: No, wait, wait, wait. Let's go to that - (crosstalk)
Danny: Hey, Jeff, at the very least I don't have to worry I'm going to go and then they're going to go and then, you know. It's not that big a deal, it's like a polite consideration to do for anybody who possibly might be freaked out.
Jeff: No, no, no... Let me rant back. If you really think that every man on earth wants to shoot other men's junk, the only thing stopping them is that they don't have a camera on their head, then you've got a really- (crosstalk)
Leo: No, that's not what we're saying. You have to be aware that this is societally sensitive. If you go around with a tape recorder like this, people are going to take umbrage and rightly so.
Jeff: You're not, you're wearing glasses that have technology on it. Jesus, is this This Week in Ludditism, what happened?
Danny: I'm just saying that, yes, I can see Leo's point that you might want to think about a bit more when you're using technology that people are not that familiar with-
Leo: Just be sensitive.
Danny: And might be a bit freaked about.
Jeff: No, I'm asking you to give credit to people, that they're not going to suddenly be bad because they have technology attached to their head.
Leo: I understand, and I'm not saying that they are, I'm not even saying this guy did anything wrong. I'm saying if you're going to wear -
Jeff: You're saying he should act as if people should assume that he does.
Leo: He should be sensitive to the fact that people-
Jeff: No, I say he should act as if he is virtuous until he does something wrong, you are making him guilty before he's proven guilty.
Danny: Yeah, but I'm saying, for example, like if I'm wearing Glass on occasions and I'm sitting at a table with someone, or talking with somebody, or interacting with somebody, I may move it to the top of my head just so they don't think I'm going to be, suddenly, being distracted. It's the same way that if I'm talking to somebody and I look at my phone, while I'm talking to them, that can be interpreted as rude.
Leo: Let me ask you this Jeff, are there any places you can envision where it would be inappropriate to wear Glass?
Jeff: That's the issue of wearing it, I don't think it's a matter of inappropriateness, no. I don't think-
Leo: So there's nowhere you could imagine somebody wearing Glass, where it would be appropriate to put them away or to take it off?
Jeff: I think it's appropriate-
Leo: In every circumstance?
Jeff: I think it's appropriate to say to someone, “Are you recording?” It's appropriate to say, “I'm not recording, that's fine.”
Leo: So if I'm going into a locker room where there are children changing and I'm wearing Glass, I should say, “Hey, I have a right to wear this.”
Jeff: I'm not saying it's not right, I'm saying that you are presuming that just because someone is using the technology, the use of it is bad.
Leo: No, I'm not.
Jeff: Yeah, you are and that's an issue because the knee jerk of the technopanic crowd is that if any use of technology - if it could be done bad, it will be done bad by everyone and none of us should use it. I'm objecting to that logic.
Leo: Jeff if I carry an ax around, I have no intent to chop anybody, this is for wood. If I carry a gun around, I have no intention of shooting anybody, I use this to shoot deer, are there not things that are maybe legal, but societally, it might be nice if people showed some consideration for other people?
Jeff: Leo, it isn't far from you that people drive around with gun racks in the back of their pickups, and if you went up to them and said, “I object to you doing that, you shouldn't do that, I want a dash cam on that scene.”
Leo: No, but I can assure you that if they came in here carrying weapons - in fact, you go to Texas and every bar has a sign that says, “Please don't bring your gun in here.” Is that wrong? Are they in some way-
Jeff: Glass is not a gun!
Leo: I'm just saying there are behaviors, there are things you can have, whether you intend to do anything wrong or not, that would just be polite to take them off.
Jeff: It's the same discussion, no - when I get the new Glass, and I get my prescription lenses put in them, I'm not carrying around an extra pair of glasses to change them all of the time, that's my glasses and we have the same issue -
Leo: This is going to be an issue going forward, and it could be very-
Jeff: It was the same issue, it was the same argument when cameras went on to cellphones. And it was, “Oh my God, we can't allow them anywhere near our gyms.” How many stories have you seen of sickos taking pictures in gyms? We didn't see it, because we're not sicko, as a society.
Leo: Yeah, but I have to say, if I go into a locker room, I don't go into the locker room like this, “Hey everybody.” But if you're wearing it on your head, it's okay?
Jeff: Okay, Leo, they got their phone out and are texting like this, and the camera could be pointed at your junk, but they're doing this.
Leo: Well, I think that's rude. I don't think you should do that. I think it's extraordinarily rude.
Danny: When I was at CES, I was in a restroom, and like I said, if I had Glass when I walked in I probably would've moved it to the top of my head just - not because I'm worried that some guy who's standing next to me thinks I'm taking a picture of them, just because the entire bathroom area tends to have some degree of privacy expected into it. So, I'm like, you know, for whatever reason I'll put it there. But, as I was in this restroom, the urinals in this restroom, sorry to get too graphic, had pictures of women making funny faces and pointing down at you, above every urinal.
Leo: Looking at your junk, yes. That's in Vegas, yes.
Danny: You know, so I didn't think it was that funny, but I decided to share it and take a picture of it with my regular phone, but before I did that, I was really, really careful that no one was around.
Leo: If someone's standing at the urinal, you do not take that picture.
Jeff: I'm not saying you would take a picture then and I'm not saying that just because I have a camera - (crosstalk)
Leo: But Jeff, we can't tell with Glass. Let me just say, as somebody who's -
Jeff: Yes, you can.
Leo: I can tell you're taking a picture?
Jeff: “Okay, Glass ...”
Leo: But you don't have to say, “Okay, Glass.” You can wink. You can.
Jeff: It doesn't work with me. I think you're playing in a technopanic. So there was no justification for the treatment of this guy in this theater for wearing his glasses that happen to have a camera attached that he wasn't using.
Leo: No, the right thing for the theater to do would be to say, “I'm sorry, you can't wear your Glass into the theater.”
Jeff: No, the right thing for them to do is to say, “Remember sir, please don't use that camera.”
Leo: Oh, yeah. That'll work.
Jeff: Once again, what faith you have in mankind!
Gina: I mean the reality is, if he had actually been recording the movie with Glass, it would've been the worst recording, if he even had a giant camcorder on his shoulder because-
Leo: That doesn't stop people from doing it, and selling it.
Danny: Yeah, but he also would've had 45 minutes of the movie.
Danny: You can't do two hours of video.
Leo: So that's like saying, “You know, I have this camera phone and I'm holding it as if I'm recording, but you don't have to worry, because it can only record 720p.” I don't think that's really germane.
Danny: But I think part of the issue, again, this is a precursor of what's going to come. I think they are going to have glasses that will have recording devices in them because they make a lot of sense. So the issue is not going to go away, and it's going to become even more complicated because, yes. If you are having glasses where everything can fit into an ordinary frame, those would be your main glasses. The reason I don't wear Glass when I go to the movie theater, by the way, is because, aside from the fact that I don't need them, I like to wear my regular glasses to let me see at distance, right? What am I going to do? I'm not going to double stack them or whatever, I don't need them for most things, but if I had a pair of glasses or especially around here, sunglasses - I'm desperate for a pair of sunglasses, I use Glass here, in Newport as my sunglasses. Like if I'm going out on the paddle board or something like that the sunglasses are great, I can take pictures of stuff and I don't really give it a second thought because you know, there's a great use case. So, when they become this ordinary device that you're wearing, it's going to be everywhere. So then I don't know what you're going to do at that point, do you stop everybody who walks into a theater because-
Jeff: I'm telling you, this is a rerun. This is a rerun of 1890 and the Kodak camera.
Leo: No it's not, you're not allowed to carry a camcorder into a theater either, I mean, I don't think that's an unreasonable restriction. Admittedly, they overreacted and what they did was wrong.
Danny: But I think to go both ways, I think that what Jeff is saying, when you eventually get to where everybody has these recording devices, you get to the point where people start to relax about them and not freak out.
Danny: It'll probably become pretty clear that a movie recorded from somebody's head is not going to be that great, even as things improve.
Leo: Do you think that we have a legal right to wear Glass?
Gina: We have a legal right to wear Glass.
Jeff: I have a legal right to carry around a pencil and paper when Glen Greenwald, a husband, was prevented from writing down the name of the Asians interrogating him, at the border of the UK, I was offended by that. That you couldn't record something by a mean-
Leo: What if I go into a theater with a GoPro strapped to my chest?
Gina: Well, no I mean a restaurant that says, “Shirts and shoes please?” That's a different thing, I mean, the thing at the bar said if-
Jeff: I don't use a GoPro to go see a movie!
Danny: That's where the private business has the - so, do you have a legal right to go into a private business wearing Glass?
Danny: Probably not.
Leo: The theater has every right to say you cannot wear Glass in this theater.
Danny: Unless you can prove, so maybe there's an American's handicapped - (crosstalk)
Leo: Yeah, like the ADA says I can wear this.
Danny: But you know, most cases, no. A private business probably could prevent you to do it.
Leo: I know they can.
Danny: Do you have the right to be detained, because you're wearing something, by law enforcement without being read your rights?
Leo: Well, no that's recent law that says you cannot record a movie and that is law. I mean, I think they overreacted, but they have the right to do that. They did not act illegally, otherwise there would be a lawsuit going on right now. They did not act illegally.
Jeff: I'm about to have my Dvorak moment and ask, did nothing happen this week?
Leo: We're moving on!
(From Episode 249, Wednesday, May 14, 2014)
Leo: Let’s see, in Google Land there is some big news. Europe has said you have the right to be forgotten. A European court said Google must edit sensitive Search results. People can ask Google to take stuff off of their index. There are 180 similar cases right now in Spain. This is a very popular thing in fact I think it was the EU’s privacy tsar who first proposed this, Nelly Kroes.
Jeff: Yes. Well, actually, it was the other one.
Leo: What is - as you understand it, you are our reporter from Europe, Jeff Jarvis. You’ve been there, right?
Jeff: I’m closer.
Jeff: Actually Gina is closer than I am. She’s about 2 miles east from where I am.
Leo: What is the right to be forgotten?
Jeff: The argument is that when something bad about you is online you should have the right to get rid of this. But clearly, clearly that has an impact on the other party’s free speech.
Leo: Well, what you could do is go to the place where it is - I don’t know, if there are pictures of you in an orgy that were distributed widely. The only place you could get it kind of turned off is Google.
Jeff: Well, the original site.
Leo: But if it’s like on a hundred sites.
Jeff: If it’s spread all over then…access to it but it’s still on those sites.
Leo: Google’s defense would be, I imagine is Google search engine merely indexes the state of the internet as it is.
Jeff: The argument that comes back then is, “Well, what’s your algorithm?” They always risk this danger of the demand to reveal the algorithm. “Well, how did that end up on top?” This is a really, really -
Leo: Can’t Google defend that by saying we have page rank and this is how we use it.
Jeff: I hope so. Here’s the problem, they don’t have a first amendment.
Leo: There’s no right to free speech in Europe.
Jeff: Right, there isn’t the same guarantee in the same absolute way. We had, at CUNY, on Monday we gave an award to Alan Russberger, the editor of the Guardian and Floyd Abrams of the New York Times, who defended the New York Times in the Pentagon papers case. They both spoke and Alan keeps going on about the need for the first amendment in the rest of the world. We’re the only ones who have one. So an absolute right to speech.
Leo: It even more, in my opinion it seems to reflect a misunderstanding of technology - a deep misunderstanding of technology. I think the right to be forgotten is a wonderful thing and I wish it existed but it doesn’t because you’re not eliminating these websites at all.
Jeff: Well, but it’s worse than that Leo because what you’re really saying is, that you’re going to control knowledge. It’s a Men in Black pen moment and you forget. So you’re telling the world to forget something the world already knows. That is offensive to the notion of knowledge. That says that we’re trying to control knowledge. It's mind control; it’s propaganda; it’s tyranny. All these things that if you’d think anyone in the world has learned this lesson, it’s Europe.
Leo: Let me put a counter example. So you’re a person who doesn’t have a lot of presence on the internet, doesn’t participate in the internet. It’s not part of your life, you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter page, you in fact never put anything online attached to your name. But somebody, a bad person, decides to write something bad about you. That bad person has a popular website or whatever and that bad thing gets spread everywhere. That is the entire Google search result for your name - is that bad stuff. It may even be a lie, it may be libel. What do you do then?
Jeff: We have a cure for that. That’s libel. We already have that legal mechanism and in fact, in the UK it’s so wacky people from around the world go to sue on libel there. So there's plenty of mechanism to say something is [inaudible]. The other case is, what if you got arrested for drunk driving 10 years ago and that’s online somewhere and you say, “Well really, it’s been 10 years, can’t you just forget?” But it’s public record. It's there.
Leo: Not on the internet you can’t. I think that blaming Google is what’s really puzzling to me.
Jeff: That’s the anti tech part. That’s the Luddite moment here.
Leo: Because this is just an index of what already exists on the net and they’re saying well since we can’t delete what already exists what if we just control your ability to find it. That’s not Google's fault.
Jeff: No, it’s not at all. I still want to come back to this notion of free speech because in any transaction of information there are two parties and if you say something bad about me and I go on and say, “Well, I just didn’t like that.” Or in the words of - it’s irrelevant and Imade Google take it down, you have the right to say, “No, when I call Jarvis a jerk, it’s because he is a jerk. It’s because I mean it and I have a right to call him a jerk.” Now that right is being impinged.
Leo: So the ruling which was in Luxembourg because it’s the European Union court of justice was in a case where a Spanish man complained to the Spanish Data Protection Agency - it’s interesting they even have such a group.
Jeff: There are some fun groups.
Leo: That an auction - this is the same country that brought you the Inquisition, just in case you're wondering. That an auction notice of his repossessed home showing up on Google infringed his privacy. This is a quote from the judges: “If following a search made on the basis of the person’s name the list of results displays a link to a web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and where the operator doesn’t grant his request, bring the matter to competent authorities in order to obtain under certain circumstances the removal of that link from the list of results.” The judge is conflating the listing of the repossession which is presumably not just - Google is pointing to a page somewhere. But he’s conflating that with Google’s search results saying that Google is in fact presenting that information.
Jeff: They have this idea that Google is the internet. That’s what Eric Schmidt always says, that because Google is the largest entity on the internet that anything people don’t like about the internet they are going to go after Google for.
Leo: This is the biggest issue. The judges said, “An internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out on personal data which appears on web pages published by third parties.”
Jeff: That is so abhorrent.
Leo: What if Google took out any extract that said what that content was but merely a link to the page?
Jeff: Well, think of it from Google's perspective. Now they have to become the court of what’s right and wrong. So I come to you and I say, “You should take down that foreclosure notice.” Google says, “Were you foreclosed, was it true, is it libelous? Is this wrong?” Google can’t be the court of hurt feelings. Gina, you were going to say?
Leo: It’s not even practical.
Gina: This is hard. I’m going to try and take it from the other perspective. In these situations I try not to think about it from the perspective of Google but maybe from the perspective of someone who has a genuine issue. What if, when Etta grows up she doesn’t like the things that I wrote about her or the pictures that I published of her when she was a child? She wants to be defined other than how I defined her. Or worse, you have those sites where friends publish private photos of their girlfriends and talk about them.
Leo: That’s a better example because that could be obviously harmful.
Gina: Yes, of course, I don’t think that Google can decide what’s right and wrong and decide what’s fact and what’s not. But the truth is, it is kind of privacy through obscurity. If it’s not listed in the first page of the Google search results, or of the first few pages, it might as well not exist. People can’t find it. Or if someone has been doxed and their address and social security number has been published somewhere for some reason. I just think that it feels like there are so many instances where an individual who can’t necessarily practically reach out to all these third party web sites and ask them to remove private, embarrassing or potentially harmful information doesn’t have any recourse. I’m trying to figure out, what then?
Jeff: I’m reaching back into my too-elderly memory right now. Wasn’t there a feature on some search engine that allowed you to annotate things and say that there was a response - that there was more of a right to a response than a right to erase? Do you remember that?
Leo: I don't think there should be a right to do anything to the Google index.
Gina: You mean like track backs? That kind of thing?
Jeff: No it wasn’t like that; there was some kind of… Chat room, am I crazy? Wasn’t there a moment where there was an effort to be able to add on to search results?
Gina: I guess my question is, is the solution for an individual what Schmidt suggested? That we’d have to change our names if we want to reinvent ourselves?
Jeff: It was a joke. Let’s be clear.
Gina: I know it was a joke, but if I’m an individual who has a history of whatever well documented online and I’m trying to reinvent myself and trying to be a better person and I’m trying to be a different person. I can’t get that information off. What do I do at that point?
Jeff: The solution is a more tolerant society. Sorry it's this big, the solution is a tolerant society that recognizes that we all do things that were mistakes and we all do things that we’re ashamed of at some point. We all learn lessons and learn life as we go along in our one attempt at it and this idea that “off with your head” if you do one thing wrong at one point, or if somebody doesn’t like that you’re gay - that’s the larger issue is tolerance. We can’t solve that through trying to sanitize Google of things some people don’t like.
Fine, Gina. Take Google out of it and now just say, “the internet.” Now say that you said something about me that I didn’t like at some point. I said something stupid like, “I like Wave,” and as a technology genius on this show…
Leo: Gina wishes I would never mention that book again.
Jeff: So just because I don’t like it, can you come to me and say that you have to take down what I don’t like?
Gina: So there’s the internet and then there’s most people’s lens into the internet. I think Google search results are most people’s lens to the internet. If you can’t find the book in the library, you know, if it’s not in the Dewey Decimal System. If it’s not in the catalogs and no one can find it, sure it exists but look. The reality is that employers, and clients, and mothers and siblings all Google people. You Google people to find out something about them and there might be a time when - you know, I get it, it’s a tough issue. I just, try to think about this from - (crosstalk)
Jeff: The next step of this is that if Google can be forced to take it down then any and every site including us will be forced to take stuff down and we’ll be held liable in Europe. If I say something, you know, “Herr Schmidt is a dork.” Now Herr Schmidt can go to the EU court and say, “You must take that down Mr. Jarvis.” And I say, “No, he's a dork and this is proof because he went to the court and asked me to take it down.” “No, I don’t like this, it is irrelevant to me and you must take it down.” That impinges upon my speech. I just can’t get past that.
Gina: What is something is verifiably untrue? Someone says something verifiably untrue about Leo. It happens all the time, right?
Leo: Well, it happens all the time. I understand both sides but I think it's like saying “Then let’s just not have an internet because then this is a problem.” I think that unfortunately punishing Google for this, first of all, is ineffective. It seems misdirected. I understand what you’re saying, Gina, that it’s a card catalog and if you take the book out of the card catalog it doesn’t matter if it’s in the stacks.
Gina: But even if you look at things like the knowledge graph, I mean, Google has taken upon itself that it’s this repository of facts. That you can ask it questions and it will give you answers. What if something is the wrong answer? If something is untrue, do they become the arbiter of truth at some point?
Jeff: Truth is a very hard standard.
Leo: That’s a problem, is that this puts them in a position to do that. They now have to be a judge. Boy, this is a tough one. I don’t know what the answer is.
Gina: It’s tough. I tend to agree with both of you. I’m just trying to - I like to take the perspective of the person who is less empowered. I think this is less about, you know, someone calling someone a name and more about someone who is in the position where information about them which is either untrue or which is truly private or should be private, you know, wants that removed.
Jeff: That’s what Leo’s point is, I think, Gina, is that the horse is out of the barn and the cat out of the bag. We’re in a world now where knowledge. Information passes around quickly. All in all, I want that and it comes with a price. So we also have to teach people to check things first. We have to teach people that they do have to go online and say something in response. We have to recognize that people make mistakes early in life. These are new realities and trying to hold back the technology isn’t going to work. So we have to deal with that reality I think.
Leo: Meanwhile, you have the freedom to annoy in New York. Did you hear about that?
Jeff: Yes, you got a problem with that?
Leo: Ah, the right to be forgotten. I have the feeling we won't get to forget that issue too quickly in 2015. In fact, I feel like we've just opened up a can of worms here. Keep watching This Week in Google for our analysis.
Our show today brought to you by good friends at Personal Capital. This is a great time of year to start thinking about your future. In fact, if you've made a resolution for 2015, exercise more, eat better. I hope one of those resolutions is to make sure that the money you put away for your retirement, for your future, is being responsibly cared for. It's kind of up to us to take care of ourselves in our old age. That's why I suggest you sign up for Personal Capital. It's free, it's easy and it'll give you a dashboard that shows you exactly how your money is doing. Take all your accounts, your mortgage, your checking, your savings, all your assets and most importantly, your investments. You put them into PersonalCapital.com and now you're going to get a single page in your desktop, your laptop, your tablet, even your phone, that will show you exactly how you're doing. It even has an Android ware app, which means you're going to get alerts and updates if things start happening to your investments.
Now, a few things you'll learn from this. It certainly helps you with budgeting, planning for the future. But you'll also find out, for instance, if you're paying too much in fees, if you're kind of frittering away that money you worked so hard to earn, and you stowed away in your savings or investments accounts. If it's getting kind of dwindled away because of paying too much in fees, that's not good and you may not even know it. Personal Capital will give you some awareness on this. It can also help you rebalance your investments for your goals for the future. Make sure - everybody's got unique needs. Make sure your needs are being met. Personal Capital will help you do it. Best of all, it's free and it's easy. You can sign up right now. Make this your New Year's resolution for 2015. Go to PersonalCapital.com/twig. I did, I use it every day. Even if you don't move your money around a lot, which I don't, it gives you a great sense of well being to know that you're doing the job right, you're paying attention and that your money is growing appropriately. It's just well worth it and again, it's free. PersonalCapital.com/twig, please do me a favor for 2015. Set it up, try it, do it. You will thank me later, maybe when you retire.
Now let's get back to work. This is a very hot topic for us, has been all year long. It's the notion that, while the internet brings us so many wonderful benefits, it also can give rise to some unhealthy and undesirable behavior. I'm talking about trolls. Watch.
(From Episode 263, Wednesday, August 20, 2014)
Leo: What is a troll?
Mike: I love that question because when I’ve been writing about trolling this week. By the way, the reason I wrote that column and I’ve been writing about trolls is last week’s This Week in Google got me starting to think about it. That was a really great conversation last week. A lot of people don’t know what a troll is. Essentially, people think that somebody who pesters somebody is a troll, which I don’t believe it is. Or somebody - one troll I got into a big argument with them on Google+, they were saying a troll is anybody who wants to be an influencer. That’s absolutely not true. To me, a troll is somebody who either deliberately creates emotions in the minds of other people in a conversation to either hijack the conversation to get attention on themselves or to get a sociopath kind of thrill out of upsetting and disrupting a constructive conversation. That’s my definition of what a troll is. I think people use the word troll very broadly and unnecessarily. I think the trolling phenomenon is very specific and very real.
Jeff: Mike, I think that’s good and I also just put a link to a piece I wrote on Medium - Leo, am I allowed to say out loud the spelled out a-hole word?
Jeff: Because it’s a book title, so An Asshole is a Theory. Which, by the way, I assigned in the curriculum for our new degree, one of my favorite moments was to assign that book. Aaron James defines that person. He talks about the motive. What I did was, I argued what distinguishes a troll from a mere asshole. I believe that he, as I pointed out, it’s usually men. One, has a target. Two, seeks to get a response or a rise out of the target. Three, believes he is acting out of some ordained moral principle to destroy or bring down his target. That’s my definition of a troll.
Leo: I’m going to read one from 1999 from alt.troll. This has been going on for so long on Usenet that they actually had alt.troll and this is the definition. What is trolling? “The use of the world trolling comes from the fishing technique where a baited hook -” This actually might be useful to understanding this, “Is dragged through the water in an attempt to attract and catch a fish. Usenet trolling is the act of posting an article or troll a Usenet news group with the intention of attracting the native inhabitants and provoking an emotional response,” at which point they would be caught as a fish would be caught. “The phrase was originally coined as trolling for flames.” That is the historical origination. The poster's intention was to incite a flame war, which I think is more to the point. I don’t want to impute an intent on a troll except that they get off in some way on the resulting carnage.
Mike: They’ve made a difference.
Leo: This by the way, the kind of discussion we’re having, is exactly what a troll wants. So here’s the definition of troll from alt.troll. “It’s convenient that the world troll has multiple meanings aside from the fishing example above trolls are also the name of a mythical creature generally thought of as ugly, fat, cantankerous, wart covered, smelly and completely unlikable.” That’s a troll. “Since trolling is thought of as a detestable and unsavory activity performed by loathsome, contemptible hooligans,” I think that’s another good way.
Mike: I like sociopaths.
Leo: “The name troll fits them quite well. There are two troll species. Those who have overactive minds and constantly seek out new sources of mental stimuli.” I say they want negative attention.
Mike: I would go even further and say that there are some trolls who don’t know that they are trolls.
Leo: Absolutely. Many trolls do not know that. “Then there are trolls that are permanently disgruntled or physically short-changed in some way and seek out ways to compensate for their shortcomings through vicious personal attacks against others in order to achieve a mental erection.”
Jeff: I was going to say, that's the most succinct I've heard. Remember - (crosstalk)
Mike: 90s was a crazy time man.
Leo: This is not new to the internet. These kind of flame wars and trolling started with Usenet.
Jeff: Remember, we talked about a study a couple of months ago here and I put up the link in rundown chat, from February, in which the most succinct definition of a troll you can possibly find is a sadist.
Leo: Right, it came down to that. That ultimately, they were sadists. To what they got pleasure out of causing others pain. If you look at what happened to Zelda Williams, that is precisely what happened. Somebody got pleasure out of knowing that they were causing extreme pain.
Mike: Their only interest in her was that she was vulnerable to having pain inflicted upon her.
Leo: Right. It’s a really interesting problem, I don’t know what the answer is.
Leo: Your answer to everything is Google+
Jeff: It is, and a pizza oven.
Mike: Works for me. Again, Jeff is so prolific on Twitter and yet where is the trolling on Google+. Jeff has these amazing conversations on Google+.
Leo: There is plenty of trolling on Google+. You can get rid of it and delete it.
Mike: But it’s a non-factor. But the people who he is interacting with are not seeing that trolling. That's is the difference.
Jeff: There are platforms where you don’t bother, that was Mike’s real point.
Leo: I have a different experience. I had a troll on Google+. Deleted and blocked. The person was able to make new accounts to repost and get others to repost. It turns out even if you delete and block a post the link is a permalink so he was able to recover that. If you’re persistent, you probably can. Now whether they get any traction is another matter. I think you are right, it’s difficult to get traction on Google+.
Gina: If somebody on Google+ writes about you Leo, not replies but writes about you, the way someone on Twitter might mention you. You can’t control that, right? So we're back to kind of the same - the main difference between Google+ and Twitter, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you can delete comments on your post.
Leo: That's what Mike's talking about.
Mike: There are three or four differences. One of them is, you can delete comments, in which case if they can check and see that the comment was deleted. You can flag comments in which case the troll thinks that their message is still there but nobody can see it.
Leo: I like that.
Mike: They have blocking and they have reporting, and Google tends to be more responsive to reporting than Twitter tends to be if you’re not famous, or a celebrity or if it’s not something big in the news. Here’s another one that I never hear anybody talking about. Let’s say, for example, that Jeff Jarvis is not following me and I have a troll who is targeting me on Twitter, and I want to contact Jeff but he’s not following me. So I send a public Twitter message, that is the only way for me to reach Jeff on Twitter. The trolls can see that I’m interacting with Jeff and they can go after Jeff, and pretend to be me and do all kinds of trouble like that.
Jeff: That just happened today, I’ve got five Mike Elgan trolls coming after me this afternoon.
Gina: Me too, on Twitter.
Jeff: I blocked them all
Leo: By the way, that’s all the same person, I’ll point that out.
Mike: On Google+ you contact anyone, including a stranger and totally of the eye of trolls. You simply @mention them, they get the private message and it’s a great way to contact people. Unless, of course, they’ve set it up where they can’t be contacted. That’s is yet another way to do it. The sum total of all those things on Google+ lends itself to cultivating a community with zero trolling, in that community, in your control.
Jeff: We are creating a society online. We’re creating a couple of things at once. “Code is law,” says Larry Lessig. The code of Google or Twitter is its law. The code of Google+ is its law. We’re also creating norms, and my argument about this stuff, every time you egg on a troll you are trolling. You are an accessory to the crime, you are just as bad. You say, “Fight, fight?” You're just as bad.
Leo: It’s been our experience that the best thing to do is give them nothing.
Jeff: But then in essence the trolls have won.
Leo: I disagree.
Jeff: The trolls have won because, that's what everybody has said, “Don’t go after this guy, don’t do anything. Ignore the thing.” But then in essence, he keeps going and going.
Leo: I think you’ve created a Streisand effect here Jeff.
Jeff: I understood that but I finally just had it.
Mike: I think the norms argument that given can only be taken so far. Look at the Louis CK routine where he talks about what a horrible person he is when he is driving compared to when he is in an elevator. The situation will always, always - you know, he's talking about screaming horrible things while he’s driving but when you’re standing next to someone you would never do that. I think that affects lots of people.
Jeff: We both have responsibilities. I don't think it's efficient, I think that's - so, you're right, Mike. The code creates an environment that brings certain behaviors and discourages others but then we within in that environment we can choose to behave well or badly. What I’m really asking here, and what you guys are trying to answer, and what Gina is trying to answer here is, can we create a better society than what we are building? Do we give up and just say the trolls are going to be there and that is that? People are going to be abused and that is that.
Leo: One thing we don’t want for sure is, an internet community where no women are participating because they can’t participate safely. That would be a horrific effect. No vulnerable people of any kind.
Jeff: That is Zeynep’s point about Twitter and Ferguson. The fact that it was open, the fact that it couldn’t be controlled by an algorithm or the fact that it couldn’t be controlled by other people is what let Ferguson trend up to the point that it got on media. I'm fully recognizing the value of Twitter being open and it’s a question I’m not answering, does that doom it? As a social network is it doomed to be anti-social?
Leo: That’s a good question. By the way, from the definitions we’ve heard today, Upworthy could be considered a troll. Most radio talk show hosts could be considered a troll.
Mike: I would disagree.
Leo: Is link baiting a form of trolling?
Mike: I don’t think it is, because the idea is to disrupt somebody else’s conversations, not start your own.
Leo: So it’s more targeted and vicious.
Mike: If you want to start your own annoying conversation -
Leo: It’s not look at me it’s -
Mike: It's disruption. If you set up a radio station that’s entirely about screaming political venom. That’s not disrupting anything, you’re creating your own cesspool. If you go into somebody else’s constructive conversation and wreck it deliberately, that’s trolling.
(From Episode 245, Thursday, April 16, 2014)
Leo: Internet trolls really are horrible people. Science says, “New research conducted by Erin Buckles of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues sought to investigate whether people who engage in Internet trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall on the so-called dark tetrad - Machiavellianism, psychopathy, sadism and narcissism.” Turns out, not so narcissistic, but really sadistic. What they did is, they polled - they surveyed these people and asked what they enjoyed most when on online comment sites debating issues that are important to you, chatting with others, making new friends, trolling others and Other. Among the people who said they enjoyed trolling - it was a small number. Only 5.6%, they really had personality traits for sadism particularly. You can read the study, it is -
Gina: That’s why you don't feed the trolls.
Leo: You don't feed the trolls. Both trolls and sadists, they wrote, feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun and the Internet is their playground.
Jeff: I'm working on some curricula which I won't talk about today, but I'll talk about another time, involving engagement in journalism and I had the great delay in the including and the required reading if I may use this word Assholes, A Theory.
Leo: That’s a scholarly paper?
Jeff: It’s a book, a very good book.
Leo: And what is the theory of assholes?
Jeff: Just kind of why they do what they do.
Leo: Well, it fits right in I'm sure.
Jeff: It does and if you're going to deal with the public you have to know this stuff now.
Leo: This is the conclusion of the study: “Because these
behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will
likely have a difficult time curbing trolling with punishments,”
for example, banning users. “Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially desirable manner.”
Gina: Is sadism ever socially desirable? It's more like socially acceptable. You couldn't do in real life, what you can do online.
Leo: Now you can do it, and it's drawing them in. Machiavellianism, a little bit, is the willingness to manipulate and deceive others. Narcissism, not so much egotism and self-obsession. Psychopathy, the lack of remorse and empathy, but the big one was pleasure in the suffering of others. That's really the -
Gina: That's why if you are suffering at the hands of a troll you do not let the troll know that that’s the case.
Leo: Right, because that's what they dig. That's what they're going for.
Jeff: It also says - and I was a big defender comments early on in newspapers and I said this in the show before, what the problem is with comments. It's inherently insulting for the public to say, “We will allow you to comment after we're done with our work.” We should be more collaborative. But the other problem with comments is that it is just an open space and it was true of forums before, and it was true of News Net before. An open space - trolls will go and find it and find the opportunity to have this behavior there. If it doesn't have a purpose, you're going to have this trouble.
Leo: We've talked about this before, is why I bring this up; I was of the opinion that these are people who are seeking negative attention because they received this as children and they had misinterpreted it as love, I was giving them a lot of benefit of a doubt, and it turns out they're just cruel sons of bitches. Really, no, it's not - they are just nasty people. In their study, they found that only about 41% of internet users don't comment and don't engage online at all. Of the remaining 59% only 5.6% are trolls. So it's a few percentage points, maybe one or two -
Jeff: That’s all you need.
Leo: We know this, we know that part. But, boy, that 1 or 2% is really effective because they just push those buttons. They have a test they call GATE - the global assessment of Internet trolling. They ask things like on a scale of 1 to 5 do you agree or disagree with this statement, “I have sent people to shock well websites for the lulz.” Anybody in the chat room, have you ever sent people to shock websites for the lulz? I'm not talking Rick Rolling. I'm talking Goatse, that kind of thing.
Jeff: Somebody we know and respect once famously did that.
Leo: Who was that?
Leo: Anil Dash?
Jeff: He wore a Goatse T-shirt that appeared, I believe, in the New York Times.
Gina: In the New York Times! Yes, well, but -
Jeff: And typical for Anil anything he does, even that, turns into an intellectual discussion.
Gina: Yes of course. But the New York Times photographed him with the T-shirt on, not knowing what it was, and published the photo. That was the prank. It was a stylized - it was not clear. It was not the actual photo.
Jeff: Exactly, it was all that.
Leo: Some people typed in the URL.
Jeff: Boy. that caused a discussion at the time! Oh my Lord.
Leo: The first time I did a live TWiT, we did it at the Apple Store and somebody sat down in the audience and hijacked the WiFi router so that all web searches went to Goatse. And it was really interesting. If you don't know what Goatse is, just ask your mom. It was really interesting because you can see the waves of horror and disgust propagate through the audience -
Jeff: I shouldn't laugh.
Leo: And we found him because he was sitting there chortling. It was very easy to figure out who it was.
Gina: Aren’t there whole blogs dedicated to photographing the moment a person sees it, right?
Leo: “True or false? I like to troll people in forums or in comment sections of websites.” Trolls as it turns out are pretty forthright; they say, “Yeah, I'm a troll. Yeah, I like to do that.” “I enjoy griefing other players in multiplayer games.” Here's one; “The more beautiful and pure a thing is the more satisfying it is to corrupt.”
Gina: I'm thinking about Weave.
Leo: Poor Weave - now, he's a self-declared troll, right? He got off, but on a technicality/ But he was the guy that was downloading e-mail addresses of iPad users by discovering a flaw in the AT&T database website.
Gina: He’s also the guy that trolled Kathy Sierra.
Leo: Oh, he is. Oh, I didn't know that.
Gina: Yes, and he was horrible to her and that was what that last sentence made me think of; the more beautiful and pure a thing is -
Leo: So no wonder there is such mixed feelings about him getting off. Now I understand. I mean, he's a self-proclaimed troll, and I guess he really, really, is.
(From Episode 273, Wednesday, October 29, 2014)
Leo: Let me show you this picture, because we were talking last week about Inbox, which is the Google email program. Gina, very kindly, did pull some strings to get both me and Jeff Inbox. I love it, we'll have to ask you how you love it. But as soon as we talked about it, look at the Tweet. Because we were speculating, “I bet these guys are watching as we talk about it.” Yes, three -
Gina: Oh, nice.
Leo: There is the Inbox team watching us talk about Inbox with beer.
Gina: That is amazing.
Jeff: I had tweeted, or I guess in the show, when Leo was trying to find something and then he finally did find it, I said, “I imagined there were Googlers saying, 'Yes, Leo! Yay, Leo!'” They give credit for who took the picture there?
Leo: Jason Cornwell.
Jeff: Thank you, that's brilliant.
Leo: Jason, I presume, is on the Inbox team because his Twitter icon has a giant Inbox icon in his hands.
Jeff: Did you read the little nametags there? I think that's him. That's his desk too.
Leo: The bearded guy. So, pretty sweet.
Jason: I'd be really impressed if they took a picture of this on the screen.
Leo: Right, let's do Inception. Take a picture of us, looking at you, looking at us.
(From Episode 231, Wednesday, January 8, 2014)
Video: Welcome to, What is That Thing? The show where we ask you, What Is That Thing? This week, the thing is this! What is That Thing?
Leo: How do I go full screen?
Video: Is this thing A, B, C or D? The answer is E, none of the above. It's the new Apple Mac Pro, available now, starting at the high, high price of $3000 and going up to $9500. This computer is crazy fast. Look at this, in Final Cut Pro it can munch this 4K video like butter. That's four times the resolution of high-def TV, and it's made in the USA. It's portable, one-handable, expanding the memory is super easy. The shell pops right off. (video continues in background)
Leo: Oh, the music's going to make me shoot myself. It's like Benny Hill. Dah-dah-dah …
Jeff: No one who's watching this is going to buy it.
Video: It's not like the old Mac Pro. (continues in background)
Leo: That's all right, they still have to - you know, I'm glad it looks like this. This is good. If there's a market for this, all the better. It's not our market.
Jeff: It's not our market at all.
(Benny Hill begins playing)
You're going to drop it and then we're going to see you crying. I love how he had to unplug.
Jason: This is awesome.
Leo: This is why I'll never be David Polk. I just don't have the damn energy, that guy.
Gina: He had a lot of jump guys working for him, Leo.
Leo: How does he do it?
(From Episode 236, Wednesday, February 12, 2014)
Leo: The change log is coming up next with Gina Trapani. Put your change log hat on.
Gina: Will do.
Leo: Get your change log scarf.
Jeff: What do you call it, with the lips, the “umbrecher?” No, the -
Jeff: When you do a trumpet, what’s that called. Chat room what’s that called?
Jeff: What, embouchure? Get your embouchures ready, people.
Leo: That's your -
Jeff: Yeah, because it trumpets.
Leo: You know, really, I'm sorry, when I hear a Tuba I just see a guy going (noises) into a big tube.
Jeff: At least that catches the spit.
(From Episode 249, Wednesday, May 14, 2014)
Leo: Is that in Twitter?
Jeff: It's in the chat room.
Leo: It's in the chat room? So this is - that’s kind of interesting. Ben did this. I think Ben did a little illustration of what this show is reminding him of. Ben, can you put Glass on the old man on the left?
(Later in the same show)
Yes we are. Oh, yes. Here it is. Thank you, Ben, for an updated image.
Gina: Thank you, Ben.
Jeff: Complete with Glass too, that's good. Very good.
Leo: That's Photoshop wizardry. I like it.
(From Episode 232, February
Leo: We used to make the joke, the paperless office. That'll be here as soon as you get the paperless bathroom. I have now a paperless bathroom.
Jeff: Do I want to know this? Do I really want to know this?
Gina: This is the thing that, like -
Leo: The Japanese toilet!
Matthew: Get outta here!
Leo: It works! So, maybe it is time for the paperless office.
Jeff: Oh, visuals! Oh, visuals!
Leo: I know, I shouldn’t bring it up. Okay, changing the subject, changing the subject! Somebody in the chat room said, “Next thing Google Buys If This, Then That.”
Matthew: Yeah, I can see that.
Leo: Totally right? And then Hue Lights, and then -
Jeff: Hue Lights, I don’t get at all!
Leo: Oh, I love the Hue lights better than my Nest.
Matthew: Hue's are pretty cool.
Leo: Okay, so here’s an application Jeff. There’s an application on the iPad and iPhone called Exoplanet that notifies you whenever another planet outside our solar system is discovered. You set it up, it has a little button, that the Hue light then changes to the color that it looks like on the surface of that planet, depending on the sun that the planet's in - the solar system.
Matthew: That's off the nerd-ometer.
Gina: That's something - I don't know how anybody ever existed without that. Sorry, Matthew.
Jeff: That’s the geekiest thing I ever heard.
Matthew: Off the nerd-ometer.
Gina: Off the nerd-ometer, I like that a lot!
Matthew: Nerd-ometer needle is spiking in the red, now.
Leo: Hue lights are very big on the nerd-ometer.
Gina: I don’t think I’ve heard of these, these are just smart lights? What is it?
Leo: Phillips makes them, they’re not that expensive!
Jeff: What’s smart about them is they get a huge amount of money out of you. What's smart about them is that they rip you off for how much money?
Leo: 60 bucks a bulb.
Jeff: 60 bucks a bulb!
Leo: No, no wait! These are LED lights now. Admittedly, LED lights have gone down and you can get them for ten bucks now. But I am sure these will go down at the same time. Phillips is rapidly reducing the price of LEDs, but LEDs are expensive. But they are 10,000 hour bulbs, these are RGB LEDs, which means they can make any color at all from this light. So much so that you could take a picture with your smart phone, put it in the Hue app, click a part of that picture and say, “Light bulb, you go to that color.” It can literally -
Jeff: Wait, wait a second! Maybe you'll sell it for one thing. Can it stop me from looking pink?
Leo: Yes! I guarantee you.
Gina: Now we're talking.
Matthew: So for 60 bucks, right there.
Leo: For instance, I have a picture of a moonlit night, I put it in my Hue thing. And I said, “Okay, bulbs, I want it to be a moonlit night, and you feel like you’re literally in the moonlit night.” You can also you can use If This Then That with it. You can set alarms, you can say for instance, “I want to slowly wake up. I want the bulbs to ramp up starting at 6 a.m. to give me a sunset or a sunrise in my bedroom.” You can have daylight, you can have night light. Now admittedly there is no - this is not that practical and there are some strong negatives. For instance, as I discovered, if the power goes out and then comes back on, the Hue lights turn on full bright. So in the middle of the night I’m lying in bed and suddenly, “Good morning!” Because I have a lot of them!
Gina: “Take me to the light!”
Matthew: How many do you have?
Leo: Nine. And I reach for my phone cause I know what’s happened, all the - “God damn it, the Hue lights came on,” And I’m starting to open the app and Lisa just reaches over and flips the switch, which was actually the right thing to do.
Gina: I feel like you live in the kingdom of modern marvels, between your toilet and the lights and yet -
Matthew: Welcome to the future.
Leo: Okay, the toilet - now don't listen. Cover your ears, Jeff, cover your ears. So you get up, you go in the bathroom, the toilet goes (buzzing noise) to welcome you.
Matthew: Does it play a song or -
Leo: No, no, this one does not.
Jeff: There's the creepy line, there you go. We have found the creepy line.
Leo: The seat is warm. It's heated. Very nice, never sit on a cold toilet seat again.
Gina: That’s nice.
Leo: Also, the water is heated.
Jeff: Stop there. When I sit on a warm toilet seat, it's because somebody - it makes me feel like somebody was on it before me.
Leo: Yes, I know. This is a clean warm.
Gina: A clean warm, a fresh and clean warm, a sanitized warm.
Jeff: 59 years of visceral response.
Leo: You sit down, the fan goes on because it has a carbon-filtered exhaust fan in the bowl, so that everything is exhausted out. Then when you’re done, there are front and back washers, they oscillate or pulse or any combination thereof. It's warm, you set the temperature, it bathes you.
Matthew: Is there a wiper blade?
Gina: It's a bidet. It's a modern bidet.
Leo: There’s no touch and then it has a nice little blow dryer. So after you’re done washing, you press the blow dryer, it goes (blowing noise). It dries you off, and then you stand up and then you walk out because the seat automatically - the toilet automatically flushes, the seat automatically goes down, it sanitizes and it's ready for the next person.
Jeff: All right, all right. We're going to have a Howard Stern Moment here!
Jeff: No, it's okay. Does it deal with dingle berries?
Leo: Yes. It’s a very powerful thruster!
Jeff: Oh, oh!
Leo: It’s - I don’t want to go too far with that. It’s very pleasant.
Jeff: So, on the Howard Stern Show!
Gina: Got to go -
Matthew: There’s no brushes though, right?
Leo: No, there's no physical - so, I realized what it is. I suddenly understood this after doing it. See, you have to use the Nest. You have to use these things to get it and to get the pros and the cons. One of the things, you can't just - this is why reviewers sometimes miss the boat. They try it for a week, “Okay, I get it.” Then go on. You've got to live with it. So what I realized is, the Japanese don't care so much about butt cleanliness as they do about not touching anything. So what this really is, is a toilet where you could walk in like this and not touch anything. That's the point of it.
Jeff: Because we've gotten to the point where in public restrooms, you no longer touch the water faucet. You don't want to touch the paper towel dispenser.
Leo: Right, that's what this is.
Jeff: But of course, you use your hand on the damn door, so.
Leo: Right, and the idea - I think that they're probably right. It doesn't really matter how clean your butt is. It matters how clean your hands are.
Matthew: Is the blower like the ones in the airport where it's like 8000 - you know -
Leo: No, it's not a Dyson.
Jeff: You know what I want? I want a Dyson in my shower. I just want to go (blowing noise), I want to be dry. I hate getting out and being cold while I dry off.
Matthew: That's a good idea, actually.
Leo: They have those, actually.
Jeff: They do?
Gina: Although, I don't think I could stand the sight of the flapping flesh, though. That always freaks me out.
Matthew: It does, I think it's going to come off or something. You're flesh ripples and you're like, “Oh my god.”
Gina: So this is a yes or no, this is an acceptable level of cleanliness for you when you're done?
Leo: Yes, this is acceptable. You don't go, “God, I wish I -” Of course, you can supplement it.
Jeff: While we're on toilet technologies, two from the Howard Stern show. One, is “poo-pourri”.
Leo: I have potpourri. Do not buy potpourri.
Matthew: This is a whole side of you I didn't know about.
Jeff: How about the squat and -
Leo: This is sounding like I am so anally fixated. I am not.
Jeff: What about the squatting -
Matthew: No, no, in Japan you're just describing a normal toilet.
Leo: I am normal for Japan. This is a Japanese toilet.
Gina: The Squatty Potty, yes. I've heard about that.
Matthew: The Squatty Potty.
Leo: Potpourri doesn't work. So the whole theory is that it creates a barrier in the surface of the water - it's just fragrance. Very, very strong fragrance, and it does not have any magical properties.
Jeff: Yvonne Quiver [?] says she carries it with her.
Leo: Yes, because she smells like flowers everywhere she goes.
Jeff: So that's that one.
Leo: The theory of it sealing out the odor, that's meh. But it does - it's a very strong deodorant because it smells like whatever flavor you got and it's very, very strong.
Jeff: So there's this Squatty Potty, which Howard now swears by.
Leo: Now, this is an image I don't want.
Matthew: I reviewed it on Giz Whiz. I reviewed the Squatty Potty on Giz Whiz.
Leo: Is that the one where you're - it's not a hole in the ground that you squat over.
Matthew: No, no.
Jeff: This is your legs up so your angle is better.
Other: It's a step stool for the can when you're sitting.
Matthew: Which is supposed to be ergonomically better.
Other: Which is ridiculous, because all it's doing it bringing your knees to your chest to make your organs all fit together. All you have to do, instead of spending $30 on a plastic stand on the toilet seat - no, lean forward. If you put your chest toward your knees, it works. Just lean forward, don't buy a Squatty Potty.
Jeff: What have we done to TWiG?
Gina: I'm really glad I didn't miss this episode.
Leo: I did say, at the beginning of the show, that we talk about Google and whatever the hell else we want to talk about.
Gina: So we're covered.
Jeff: Now, about a Cloud of poop odor.
Leo: This show stinks.
Gina: Smart Homes got to smell good.
Leo: Nest, thank you very much.
(From Episode 236, Wednesday, February 12, 2014)
Leo: How is ThinkUp going?
Gina: ThinkUp is great. We demoed it last week at New York Tech Meetup, which is a huge organization.
Jeff: Oh yes, how did that go?
Gina: It went very well. I was worried, I heard it was a really tough crowd.
Jeff: It is.
Gina: They were really good to us. The demo went well.
Jeff: The video is up?
Gina: The video, yes. I'm not sure if they chopped it up into individual demos, but the video of the entire meetup is up. We were up against, like a Sex Tech section that was like smart vibrators and -
Sarah: I was there.
Jeff: You were there?
Sarah: I was there. I didn't realize that was you.
Gina: Yes, that was me!
Sarah: Oh, wow!
Gina: There you go, there you go!
Sarah: Yeah, no, it was really fun. I mean -
Leo: What do you mean, "up against" smart vibrators? What do you mean, what is that - can you -
Sarah: It's a really complicated concept.
Leo: Is it a competition?
Gina: No. Well, so the tech meetup is a series of demos from various tech companies in New York, and there happened to be, and it was actually the first ever, it was a Sex Tech section at the end of the night where they -
Sarah: It was in honor of Valentine's Day? You know, kind of?
Gina: Oh, was it?
Sarah: Yeah, sort of a February event.
Gina: Yes, yes, so basically, you go up and you demo in groups of two or three, and we actually - the other company that we demoed with was Lendo, which is a micro-payment loans company. They actually got a ton of questions as well. But it's really fun. It's a huge event. It was really intimidating, but it went really well, so I was happy with it.
Gina: Yes. So, thank you, thank you. ThinkUp's going really well.
Jeff: Wait, wait, we've still got to hear more about the Sex Tech, Gina.
Jeff: You've got male geeks out here; you're not satisfying their needs.
Jeff: Let's hear one stupid Sex Tech item.
Leo: I am so biting my lip right now.
Gina: There was a demo of a smart vibrator, and I forget what the name of it was. Maybe - I don't know, maybe, Sarah, you remember?
Sarah: I'm not going to - I'm going to tell you that I don't remember.
Jeff: She's trying not to.
Leo: Chat room, what would you name a smart vibrator?
Jeff: "Telestosterone," says the chat room.
Gina: Let's just say it's remote-controlled wearable tech, and that's all I'll say.
Sarah: It was designed by someone who was living in Boston, I think, and his wife was back in Singapore or something like that -
Leo: Oh, you mean over the internet?
Sarah: So she can help to - he can help her achieve an orgasm with the -
Gina: With the app.
Sarah: - with the remote vibrator.
Jeff: With the aid of the internet.
Sarah: It was a riveting demonstration.
Leo: This gives new meaning to the word "latency," I've got to tell you that.
Gina: I have to say, the demo - the guy who demoed came off - he was so earnest. He really was like, “I really want to help -”
Sarah: It was a devoted husband trying to help his long distance wife. What are you going to not like about that story?
Jeff: Wait, wait, is this Vibease?
Sarah: Yes, that's it. Check it out.
Sarah: All you girls out there.
Leo: It's only $79.
Sarah: I know there's two or three of you.
Jeff: There's a video chat. I don't - do we dare?
Leo: Wait a minute. So there's a - no, don't show that.
Gina: My favorite moment of the demo was a point at which he said, "And we even talk to women about how -"
Leo: Well, it's about time.
Gina: And I thought, “Oh.”
Leo: Connect, select, play …
Sarah: It was a little - you know, there was sort of a bit of an anticlimactic moment, if I may use that term because they announced at the beginning, they said, "Okay, anyone with young people, you know, children under the age of, you know, X, you really need to leave the room now because we're going to have this special sex, you know -”
Jeff: “Imagine listening to 50 Shades of Grey with a hands-free vibrator.”
Leo: “That vibrates in perfect sync with the audio fantasy.”
Jeff: So there's an audio fantasy?
Sarah: Yes, yes.
Jeff: So you don't need the husband?
Sarah: No, that's what I'm saying. You can be 3,000 miles away, and -
Jeff: But you don't need the husband at all.
Sarah: Well, he's talking over his iPhone.
Jeff: No, but there's a video - there's a fantasy. There's an audio fantasy. That's the husband substitute.
Leo: That's the fantasy. You don't need the husband.
Gina: Yeah, there were a few different options.
Sarah: Yeah. You could -
Jeff: "You've been replaced by a podcast, honey."
Sarah: You could choose different paths. Aren't you the one who's interested in paths?
Jeff: Oh, paths, paths.
Leo: There's more than one way to do it.
Sarah: Not to in any way overshadow ThinkUp.
Gina: Well - (Crosstalk)
Leo: You see what she meant when she said -
Jeff: Even with this, you did well. Yeah, this is great.
Gina: This is what I meant by being up against some tough - it was a tough time to demo, honestly.
Leo: Well, that's important.
Jeff: Wait, wait, it's - oh no.
Leo: Oh, no. No, no, that's -
Jeff: I've seen too much! It's wearable.
Leo: It's a 100 percent hands-free experience.
Gina: It is indeed wearable. It's wearable tech.
Jeff: I think I'm about to get fired for having - being in an unpleasant work environment.
Sarah: The dean is here. It's okay.
Jeff: Yeah, it's okay. Jesus.
Leo: The dean!
Gina: I didn't mean for this to go so far.
Sarah: Well, it was the topic of my ex-faculty meeting. Now you've blown it for me.
Leo: There's an app for it. That's what's, I think, kind of interesting. It has an app, Android or iOS. I'm surprised Apple approved that, to be honest. Seems like that's something Apple wouldn't approve. They don't believe in people having sex.
Sarah: I think they had some problems with it, actually, and then -
Gina: Yeah. It was part of the discussion, was like, how do legitimate consumer products that are related to sex deal with, you know, things like app store policies? Even just getting, you know, payment processors and different web services.
Gina: A lot of the companies just won't work with them.
Leo: I bet they only have problems in the U.S., though. I think in -
Sarah: No, no, she said globally they have a problem.
Leo: Globally. Not in France?
Jeff: Really? Not in Germany.
Leo: Not in Germany.
Sarah: I think she was saying - I mean, there was a woman who, I forget her name, who came up afterwards, and was quite passionately, you know, annoyed about how the financial world was sort of shutting them down.
Leo: Yeah, were anti-sex.
Gina: Cindy Gallop.
Sarah: That's right.
Leo: So a lot of negativity about sex.
Sarah: Especially by bankers.
Jeff: So it's all the more impressive that you did so well, Gina.
Gina: Thank you.
Jeff: That's a tough act to be onstage with.
Leo: So let me ask you, how's ThinkUp doing?
Gina: ThinkUp's going really well, Leo, thank you. We demoed last week, it went awesome. We're going to open up sign ups to the public in the next couple of weeks. It's going really well, thank you for asking.
Leo: Thank you, thank you.
Jeff: "And damn you, Jarvis. You couldn't let it slide, could you?"
Leo: Well, not only does it slide - well no, that's all right.
(From Episode 278, Wednesday, December 3, 2014)
Gina: Just today, Google released a new Android app called Device Assist. It offers live tech support, troubleshooting tips and more. The catch is, it's only for Nexus, Google Play edition and Android One devices.
Jason: I have it installed, I can show it while you talk about it, Gina. I don't know if you have the overhead.
Gina: So in addition to offering quick access to Google support, you can text issues about the device's set up, make suggestions on things like connectivity and battery settings to improve overall performance. It gives you kind of - it's like proactive troubleshooting to help you sort of get the most out of your device.
Jason: It's like tips.
Gina: How is it looking to you, Jason? Do you get like a live Googler on the line? Is it like the Amazon?
Jason: Okay, well, looking for help, send device information to Google for improved technical support, see Google's... okay, sure. I don't know what I'm about to do here.
Gina: Are you about to launch a help out here?
Jeff: Oh, you can request a call back. Wow.
Jason: Request a call back, provide a backup number if you can. “Phone issues will be easier to solve if we can call you on a different phone.”
Jeff: Wait, is it illegal to like, call them right now and see what they do?
Daniel: Yes, of course it is.
Jason: So you're telling me to do it, then.
Daniel: Yes! Tell them to call you back. See how long it takes.
Jason: Oh, that's a - oh, see. Oh.
Jason: Oh, really, I have to enter information?
Gina: (crosstalk) - your phone number?
Jason: Google, don't you know this about me already?
Gina: It's an app on your phone. It didn't ask for access to your number?
Daniel: Cover it.
Jason: That's really weird. (making noises)
Gina: Yes, now I feel like we're putting you on the spot here, Jason.
Jason: “Describe your issue.” It's only optional so I don't have to actually describe my issue, so I won't.
Gina: “I'm live in a Google-related podcast and I'd like for you to comment on Device Assist. That's my issue.”
Jeff: Right now, someone's calling someone at Google and saying, “Get ready, here comes Jason!”
Jason: Yes, exactly. “We want to call really, really fast, right? We want everyone to know that this works right away.” So I guess I would just wait and see, then. I'm sure at some point I'll get a phone call and it will buzz on my wrist, by the way. So I'll really know when it comes through. Detected issues, I don't have an issues on the Nexus 6. So apparently I'm good. But it also has this tips column for - and I think, actually, this is a really good idea. Because so many times, things inside Android are just kind of buried. You kind of have to discover them, or know that they're there, or long press something randomly and, “Oh, hey, I didn't know it did that!” So this is good. This is really good.
Jeff: Like having a little Gina Trapani there to tell us what.
Jason: Exactly. It should be called the Trapani Tip.
Jeff: Yes. You know, one of the things we do in the academe is we observe our colleagues and write memos about it -
Jason: Oops, I'm getting a call, by the way.
Jeff: Oh, oh, go!
Jason: This is Jason. Oh, hold on. Oh, it's -
Speakerphone: Thank you for contacting Google. My name is Tom. Am I speaking with Jason?
Jason: Wow. Yes, you are. How's it going, Tom?
Speakerphone: Hey, Jason. I'm doing well, thanks. It looks like you set up a call with our new Device Assist app. That's pretty awesome. What can I help you out with today, Jason?
Jason: I have to be completely honest. I called, A, to see how fast you would call because I'm very curious. I think this is a great feature. B, I'm doing a show called This Week in Google, where we talk all about Google things and you're on the air right now. So you're famous.
Gina: Hi, Tom.
Speakerphone: Thanks, Jason. I really appreciate that, man.
Jason: You know, that call back only took, man, what? 30 or 45 seconds? That was super impressive. This is very cool and a great service you guys have. I just wanted to call and see how it goes. I appreciate your time and sorry to bother you.
Jeff: What are some of the first questions he's getting? Has he gotten any questions yet?
Speakerphone: You're not a bother at all.
Jason: So before I let you go, what are some of kind of the first questions you're getting? Are you getting a lot of these kinds of questions or are you also getting actual service support questions?
Speakerphone: Well, my shift just started about ten minutes ago, so I haven't really gotten many calls yet. You're actually my first call of the day. So, you know what? I guess it's yet to be determined what kind of questions we're going to be super fielding.
Jason: So your first call ever doing this is live before thousands of people.
Jeff: How much training did he have?
Jason: How much training did you have?
Gina: This poor guy.
Speakerphone: A few weeks.
Jeff: Are you in a nice warm place or a cold place?
Jason: Are you in a warm place or cold place? That's Jeff Jarvis, one of the hosts on the show.
Speakerphone: I'm in a cold place right now. It's real windy and rainy today.
Jeff: Well, that's not fair. They should be moving you to California.
Jason: You are in California, correct?
Speakerphone: Yes, northern California.
Jason: We're experiencing the same weather. We're up in Petaluma so we have it right out the window as well. Hey, don't want to bother you. But I really appreciate your time and you know, check out This Week in Google, you're on it.
Speakerphone: Well, Jason, I'm real glad I was able to help you out with those questions today. I just want to let you know, at the end of the call here there is going to be a real brief customer support survey asking for any feedback you might have on the support you received. I understand if you've got the time that you need to take for the show, so I'll go ahead and get you transferred over there. I want to thank you again for contacting Google and enjoy the rest of your day.
Jason: Right on. Thank you so much. Take care.
Jeff: We've got to give him good grades now.
Jason: All right, I guess I'll give a good grade while you continue on with the change log?
Gina: Sure, let's do that. Okay, this poor guy. That was kind of fun.
(From Episode 268, Wednesday, September 24, 2014)
Gina: I want to call it the Her. I don't want to - let's just call it the Her.
Leo: Me too. Let's just say, “Oh, hello Scarlett.”
Gina: What was her name? I forget now what her name was.
Leo: Samantha. Sam.
Gina: It would be borderline a little creepy if you called the phone Samantha.
Leo: I would like it because actually, if it had Scarlett's voice - I don't know how you feel. Siri's voice I've gotten used to, but the Moto X Google voice is strident. Here, I'll give you an example. Let's get out of this. Let me think. What am I going to do here? Hello Moto X. What's the weather in Petaluma?
Moto X: Unlock your phone to continue.
Leo: It's just a little, I don't know. A little strident.
Moto X: It's 78 degrees and overcast in Petaluma.
Leo: Siri just seems nicer. You disagree? You agree?
Gina: No, the voice is still a little robotic. I think it's difficult to get it a little softer, but I haven't used Siri in a really long time.
Leo: Well, you want to hear Siri these days? I think she's sounding a little bit better. I forgot what I do to start Siri. Oh, I have to press a button. By the way, I have to be careful on the shows now, because if people have their iPhone hooked to the power and you say, "Hey, Siri," it will actually wake her up and she'll start doing stuff. How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?
Siri: Golden Gate Bridge is 8,981 feet long.
Leo: She seems friendlier.
Gina: Yeah she does. Interesting, and her voice is a little lower. Now we've got to get Cortana in the mix, but -
Leo: I actually like Cortana's voice. But my Windows phone is in the other room so I can't. You have it there? There goes Danny. He's going to get it. I can upgrade the voice on this right? I can download a better sounding voice.
Danny: So you need to have celebrity voices, right?
Leo: That's a TomTom. I used to have great celebrity voices on my TomTom.
Danny: My TomTom, one of the versions I had was great because you could have all the - you could put your own voice and I had my kids do all the turns. So they would be like, "Go forward. Make a U-Turn."
Leo: “Daddy. Go forward, Daddy.”
Danny: Actually, whenever I had to do a U-turn, because that was usually a sign that I was lost, it would say - my wife would go, instead of saying, “Make a U-turn," it would say, "Why don't you pull over and ask directions?"
Leo: That's good. I like it. So let's hear Cortana. You got Cortana.
Danny: Yeah. What do you want her to say? I don't know if you'll be able to hear her.
Leo: It doesn't have a speaker?
Danny: Yeah, but I don't know if you can hear it through my headset.
Leo: Hold it, just put it right up there.
Danny: There we go. How long is the Golden Gate Bridge? How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?
Cortana: It'll take 6 hours and 51 minutes to drive to Golden Gate Bridge.
Danny: Did you hear that?
Leo: Yes. It said it'll be six hours to drive there.
Danny: That's not too long. Let's go.
Gina: It doesn't sound at all like Cortana in the game.
Gina: They should have gotten Cortana from Halo to voice. I'm so disappointed, because I love Cortana in Halo. I know this is a different Cortana, but I wanted the voice to be the same.
Leo: Ask Cortana what she thinks of Siri. Does she say anything about that?
Danny: She's got a whole series of things that she does.
Leo: That's one thing that Apple and Microsoft do is, there is some personality.
Danny: What do you think about Siri?
Cortana: Hard to say. So far our conversations have been kind of one-sided.
Leo: She's great. I mean there's inflection. That was pre-recorded. That's another thing that Microsoft is doing which is intelligent. These canned speeches, and this is obviously one, are treated differently than synthesized speeches. So that sounded great. Morgan Freeman would be good.
Danny: Oh yeah.
Leo: Oh well, someday. Ask who Bill Gates is married to.
Danny: Who is Bill Gates married to?
Cortana: Bill Gates is currently married to Melinda Gates.
Danny: I like that "currently" part.
Gina: I like “currently.” Like, right now this is the answer, but you better check tomorrow.
Danny: To the best of my abilities - (crosstalk)
Leo: I would fix that. Holy cow. Jiminy Christmas. Well we don't know what's going to happen in the future, but right now -
Gina: Right now things are good with Bill and Melinda.
Danny: Who is your father?
Cortana: Technically speaking that would be Bill Gates. No big deal.
Leo: Oh, I love Danny Sullivan. He does such a great job. It's so much fun to be on this show with Jeff and Gina, and the many guests that we've had on including Kevin Marks, Matt Cuts, Danny Sullivan, Matthew Ingram. It is, I think, one of the best shows we do on the network and I hope you watch each and every week. You can watch live. We do it every Wednesday, 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern time, 2100 UTC on live.TWiT.tv. But if you can't watch live, you can always get on demand versions at TwiT.tv/TWiG. Cool, huh?
If you can't download it there, you could always subscribe. In fact, that may be the best way to get it. There's lots of ways to subscribe. Use your favorite podcatcher, iTunes, Xbox Music, Stitcher, Tune In Radio or one of the great TWiT apps. We thank our developers. One of the things we're really grateful for in 2014 is those great independent developers who've made TWiT apps for us on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Roku. You guys are the greatest. Thank you, and I invite everybody to pick one and download it, install it on your smart phone. Put us on the front page so you never miss another episode.
Thanks for being here. I wish you and yours the happiest 2015. Don't forget, our New Year's Eve party, 3 a.m. New Year's Eve to 3 a.m. New Year's Day. I'll be up 24 hours. We'll be saying, “Happy New Year,” to every time zone in the world. We've got lots of acts and fun, and bands. There will be an electronic bowl and a bouncy house and - I don't know. It's going to be crazy. Please tune in, 3 a.m. New Year's Eve to 3 a.m. New Year's Day. If I don't see you then, I'll see you in 2015. Happy New Year from all of us at This Week in Google. Bye, bye!