Tag Archives: tech

Daily Discussion with BQB – The Infamous Google Memo

Hey 3.5 readers.

So…here’s something that happened that sounds like it could be an Onion article.  A Google employee wrote a memo that essentially says Google suppresses different opinions and could benefit from allowing different opinions.

For offering a different opinion, the dude was fired.

I’m worried to even dip my toe in this fray.  God knows it’s never good to get on the wrong side of the PC police.

But it’s just…if you actually read the guy’s memo, he’s actually a) recognizing that lack of women working in tech is a problem and b) offering possible solutions to help bring more women into the tech sector.

For example, he notes that more part-time jobs might help women get into tech.  Women often find themselves torn between career and family.  Part-time jobs could help mothers keep a foothold in the tech industry but still leave them with enough time to be with their children.  When their kids are older, women who worked part-time will have a much easier finding full time employment.

OK this is where you breathe fire on me and tell me “Blah blah blah why should women have to stay home with the kids?”  You know what?  If they don’t want to, then they shouldn’t.  I’m talking about women who actually, legit WANT to spend time with their children but still also work part time and also have a full time job when their kids are older and don’t need as much help anymore.

OK this is where you breathe fire on me and say, “Well why don’t the men stay home with the kids?”  Well, if they want to, they should be able to.  Problem is this.  The women’s rights movement has gone a long way into bringing more fairness as to what society “expects” from women.

If you’re a woman and you want to work, there are more people than ever who will not give you shit for that.  Also, if you’re a woman and you would rather stay home with your children because you think hugging those babies is what life is all about, people won’t give you shit either.  You’ve got options.

There has not been a corresponding shift in societal expectations of men.  If you are a man, you’d better work and be a good provider if you want a woman.  Your ability to attract a woman corresponds to how much money you make, as if you are a human ATM machine and your personality, your mind, etc matters little.  If you stay home with the kids, you’ll be considered a pussy.

But you know what?  More part time jobs might help men too.  Dads could take a part time job and keep their toe in tech while they take care of kids.  Maybe they could do that while their wives work part time.

And then the memo goes on to suggest that some, note, some women prefer cooperative over competitive environments.  Thus, the memo suggests there should be more group projects where workers help one another rather than solo projects where everyone climbs over each other to be number one.

Sounds like a nice environment, doesn’t it?  I’d rather work with someone than against someone.

Keep in mind the memo doesn’t say ALL women want to work part time, that they ALL want to choose kids over careers, that they ALL prefer cooperation over competition…what he’s saying is enough women do that a significant number stay out of tech and if they could receive some reasonable assistance, the number of women in tech would increase.

But all the PC police see is, “OMG!  He said men and women are different!  Get him!”

It just seems crazy to me.  So contradictory.

PC FOLKS:  We’re mad there aren’t more women in tech!

MEMO GUY:  Here are some ideas that might help get more women into tech.

PC FOLKS:  Rot in hell scumbag!

MEMO GUY:  OK I’ve been fired so I can’t suggest more ideas to help get more women into tech.

PC FOLKS:  Boo!  Why aren’t there more women in tech?

What say you 3.5 readers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Start a Podcast

Hey 3.5 readers.  Alas, my podcasting career was short lived, but I was so surprised that I was able to figure out how to get a podcast recorded and posted, that I’ll share the info with you:

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#1 – What Is Your Podcast About?

That’s really up to you, but I’ve listened to good podcasts and lousy ones.  The good ones have a theme, a point, a structure.  If it’s just you and your musings, make it clear that’s what the listener will get.  If it’s about your love of ancient paintings of toucan beaks, be clear about that too.

You may not have professional experience, but you’ve listened to enough radio to wing it.  My biggest pet peeve is podcasts where there are multiple hosts and they giggle and laugh and tell inside jokes and then someone says something like, “Should we tell the audience what that means?” and the response is “No, tee hee hee.  Well, sorry, but eff you dummies.  You came to entertain me, so either do it or shut off the recorder and have your own private conversation.  Don’t make your audience feel like an unwanted third wheel.

I keep wondering if I was too hard on myself.  My voice sucks, there’s no way around it.  I sort of hope that with more practice I could at least work on diction, pronunciation, pacing, timing, getting rid of stuttering, stammering, lost train of thought and so on.

So practice does make perfect but at the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself.  While the little errors should be removed from your book, I just don’t think it is possible for even the most professional talker to get through a broadcast without an “Uhh” or an “umm.”  It’s when they come every five seconds then it becomes a problem.

#2 – Get a Mic

I’m no expert here, but I know at least enough to tell you that the mic built into your laptop will not do.  You’ll need an actual mic to connect to your computer.  What’s the best one?  You’ll have to search around for that information.  Best for me was what I was able to afford and until you’re raking in the big bucks, you might want to stick with that too.  Don’t shell out your life savings on a fancy microphone, record one podcast, decide it sucks and you’re done.  That will just lead to embarrassment in a few decades when you tell your grandkids the story of that dusty old microphone in the corner with cobwebs all over it.

#3 – Train on the Software

I used Garageband for Mac, though I hear Audacity is preferred for PC.  My advice will be geared toward Garageband as I never used Audacity.

I am a complete novice, but here are some things I was able to pick up that got me from, “I could never do this” to “this is hypothetically possible.

  • “When I click record the recording picks up me hitting buttons on my computer and breathing.”

Yup.  You’re not an idiot.  That happens.  Just keep talking.  Record what you want to say.  Your recording will look like a big long running graph of your voice.  Find the parts where you hit buttons, breathed too hard, burped, farted or whatever.  I’m not sure what the marker that you move around the screen is called so I’ll just call it, “the marker.”  Put the marker between what you want to keep and what you want to delete.  Press Command + T at the same time and voila!  Snippy snippy!  Just like taking a pair of scissors to a piece of tape.  (That’s how people edited sound back in the day, millennials.)

  • “How do I string sounds together?”

You should have a cool intro, maybe some music, some kind of lead in, maybe a prerecorded interview or some soundbites you want to play.  You’ll have to study it more than I am able to explain here, but the short version is Garageband allows you to load up all your sounds, then drag and drop them next to where you want them to be in your recording.

  • “How do I fade out music?”

Yes, you’ll want awesome music but you don’t want it to end abruptly and then start speaking.  But you don’t want it blaring over your voice either.  You want it to build up and then start going down so the listener’s ears transition from the song to the words coming out of your cake hole.  I hate to be lazy, but I’m lazy.  I’ll confirm it is possible and it is just a matter of bringing up a line that goes over the voice of your music, plotting out points where you want the music to decline, then recording your voice and dragging underneath where the music fades out.

I don’t know how Howard Stern does it when he’s talking live.  I assume Fred has a fader button.

#4 – YouTube Videos

I literally obtained my limited podcasting knowledge by watching YouTube videos.  There’s a YouTube video about how to do almost anything.  I was utterly confounded by Garageband until I found a good video that told me how to use it.

#5 – How Do I Get My Fabulous Podcast Onto iTunes?

Ah, iTunes.  It’s the place to be for podcasts.  But you can’t just start there.  Steve Jobs didn’t get super rich by offering free hosting space, you know.

You need another site to host your podcast and generate an RSS feed for you.  You might be able to do it on your own website, but don’t look to me to tell you how, for my name is not Bookshelf Q. Einstein.

Soundcloud and Podbean will both allow you a small amount of free space where you can upload your podcast file.  However, if you decide that you’re going to be a regular podcaster, you’ll need to dole out some cash to get more hosting space.  Your choice of site.  I went with Soundcloud because it looks hipper to me.

There may be completely free sites but I’m not smart enough to know about them.

Once you’ve got a site to host your podcast, you can log on to iTunes podcast connect and link up your RSS feed.  iTunes will review your podcast and assuming they don’t have any problems with it, it will appear in iTunes podcasts once they approve it.  I don’t know how long it will take them to approve.  I don’t work for Apple, so stop bugging me, nerd.

#6 – Is There Anything I Should Be Worried About?

Lots, probably.  Just off the top of my head, don’t hijack copyrighted material.  You might like a popular song, but you can’t just lift it and make it your intro, for example.  Just as there are stock photo sites for blogs, there are stock sounds/songs sites for podcasts.  Also, you might think you’re a nobody and no one’s listening but even so, nobodies can be sued for slander and defamation, so mind your p’s and q’s, buster.

Conclusions

Done well, it can probably be a great marketing tool and if you get enough subscribers, you might be able to sell some advertising in order to fund your nerdy empire.  My fear is that it isn’t something you roll out of bed being able to do and even if you master the tech, you, sigh, still have to be someone that people want to listen to and provide a show that people will want to listen to.

Thus, for me, the fear is I don’t want to do it until I’m able to provide something that doesn’t make me sound like a dope.  I’ve listened to podcasts that sound like they came from people who half-assed it and I was left with the impression that they are dopes.  Remember, people are less likely to buy your book, read your blog, partake of your content if you come across as a dope, so if you’re going to do it, do it well.

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BQB Reviews a Go Pro Hero 5 Black

Why did I buy this?  Someone please confiscate my wallet.

After seeing these things for years, but without a reason to justify buying one, I finally went for it.

Let’s discuss the pros and cons.

PRO:

  • It’s got voice control, so that can help you take pictures of yourself with your friends, family, dog, cat, llama and so on.
  • The Go Pro website has a whole host of mounts that you can use to capture action shots.  There’s a mount for your helmet, a mount to wear on a strap that goes around your head, a mount to put on your car, your bike.  There is a mount you can put ON YOUR DOG (Bookshelf Q. Battledog videos would include a lot of sniffing and pooping).  There is even a mount you can put on your GUN so you can take videos of yourself shooting at (well, I hope targets.  My attorney advises me to remind you that you shouldn’t be shooting at anything but targets).  #Merica!
  • It’s a good buy if you’re like some kind of highly active social media video blogger.
  • I got a little handle to attach to mind so it makes it easier to walk around.  It doesn’t have a screen on the front that can show you a picture of yourself which I think is a flaw they need to fix because otherwise, the handle makes it so that if you were some kind of fancy video blogger, you could record yourself easily while you are walking.

CONS:

  • I’m not an active social media video blogger.
  • I couldn’t strap a camera to my head without feeling like an asshole.
  • I couldn’t strap a camera to my dog without feeling like an asshole.
  • I’m not an athlete so my camera will never capture any stunts, back flips, white water rafting trips, parasailing, parachuting or any of that bullshit.
  • So yes, I basically gave Go Pro a donation.

CONCLUSIONS:

All that being said, it is a decent camera.  I’m a tech nerd.  I enjoy this stuff so I find it fun to play with.  If you’re active and you want to record your athletic abilities for the masses, this gadget is for you.  If you’re a couch potato who wants to record video, you’d probably be better off just getting a standard hard drive video camcorder.

Or hell, just take videos with your phone like everyone else does.

Fun fact: Go Pro’s stock took a dive in 2016, the explanation being that pretty much every one who wants a Go Pro has one and the market for future Go Pro purchases is small.  After all, there aren’t that many assholes who want to jump out of a plane and record their parachute free fall.

However, word has it that Go Pro is working on virtual reality and so on so who knows.  Hopefully they have some surprises in the years to come.

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BQB Reviews an iWatch

Ugh.  Tim Cook gets more of my money.

BQB here with a review of an iWatch.

Let me break it down between pros and cons:

PROS:

  • It’s a conversation starter.  I’m uglier than Gollum at low tide but if you’re not, you could get one of these, start chatting up a babe at a party and I wouldn’t be all like, “Check out my iWatch baby!” but chances are she might notice it and ask about it and then you can show her how it works and get her to touch your hand and shit.  Then again, if you’re that hard up, you could just use the money you’d spend on the watch on a prostitute, though my lawyer advises me to remind you that I do not condone prostitution or prostitutional patronage.  (This is probably the only iWatch review on the Internet that mentions prostitutes, so go me).
  • It’s got an activity app which tracks your activity, thus encouraging you to take more steps, stand up more, and exercise more.
  • It’s got an optional Mickey Mouse face.

CONS:

  • There’s not much it can do that your iPhone can’t.  Actually, you do need an iPhone to be able to use it.  And ultimately, all it really does is act as a fancy remote control for your iPhone.  So yes, the Activities app is great but if you’re so lazy that you’d rather look at your wrist then reach your hand into your f%$king pocket then you probably don’t care about your activity levels anyway.
  • Though the activity app is great, you could get a FitBit or something like that at a cheaper price.

CONCLUSIONS:

It’s up to you.  I’m a tech nerd so I’m into this stuff.  If you’re not into it, you can surely live without it.

Dick Tracy’s dream is here but alas, technology made Dick Tracy’s dream obsolete long ago.

Excuse me while I go try to impress Video Game Rack Fighter with my iWatch.

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Amazon’s Checkout Line-Less Grocery Store

Hey 3.5 readers.

Skynet begins!

That’s right.  Amazon has opened up a grocery store without checkout lines, cash registers, employees taking your money or what have you.

The whole thing works with your phone and when you walk out the door, you get charged for whatever food you’ve got with you.  The food items have sensors or something and somehow this damn robot store can tell what food you have taken.

I’m curious how they’d stop shoplifters.  I mean, OK they’ll charge your phone if you have it set up so there’s in that case, even stuffing a bag of Funions down your pants won’t work because you’ll just get charge for those delicious crispy onion treats.

But what if you don’t have the app set up?  I assume Jeff Bezos just sends a team of drones to hunt you down, pick you up by your feet and jingle all the spare change out of your pockets.

It’s very interesting.  I can see some good behind it.  It speeds things up so you don’t have to wait in line.  You can just walk right out the door when you have everything you need.

On the other hand, I do feel bad as this may very well lead to less jobs for grocery store workers.  I know that personally, I have seen more and more stores up the number of self-check out registers in recent years so automation seems to be the trend.

You know what I would love?  If I could just enter all the stuff I want into an app, order it, and then when I show up at the store, someone just hands it to me because they’ve packed it up already.

Come to think of it, there are some stores that do have an online ordering/delivery feature where you can order in line and then they deliver the food to your house.  The downside is you can’t squeeze the melons in the produce section to see if they are ripe or not and I hate to miss out on that because this is the most action I get in life.

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Is this how Skynet begins?

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No One Wants to Buy Twitter

This CNN article explains it better but essentially, Twitter is looking for a buyer and Disney, Google, and Apple have said nope.

What’s up?  What do you think? Has Twitter reached its apex? Its zenith? Yikes, I’ve put a lot of time into it I hope its not going to go the way of Myspace.

What say you, 3.5 readers? Do you use Twitter? Do you like it? Is tweeting worth it?

Oh and shameless plug – follow me @bookshelfbattle

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A Thought on Campaign Funding, the Internet and Technology

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Hello. I’m Bookshelf Q. Battler, noted ugly rights advocate, champion yeti fighter, proponent for a cure for Lightning Infused Toaster Paper Toilet Death (we must find the cure in our lifetime) and the owner of a website owned by 3.5 readers.

Blah blah blah, you know my spiel about not getting political.

But here’s a thought I wonder if everyone couldn’t consider.  And I’ll say up front, I’m not sure how it could be carried out.

It just seems like it is becoming too much that people are able to cut a check to a candidate for huge amounts of money and then say with a straight face that this transaction doesn’t mean the candidate’s loyalty hasn’t been bought or that the donator is doing it solely on ideology and not expecting some kind of quid pro quo.

The problem has always been that the money has always been needed.  You don’t take it, your opponent will, your opponent can then buy a lot of TV ads and attack you 24/7.

But look at the tech today.

First, it is easier to collect small donations from the little guy.  Few people have the attention span to remember to write a check, address an envelope and mail it to the campaign of their choice.

However, if the laptop is already on your lap, burning your genitals while you’re watching Scandal Thursday nights on ABC, it doesn’t take much effort to send your candidate whatever you are willing to part with.

Should there be a cap?  Hypothetically, yeah, if its limited to, say, a hundred dollars per person then I’m not sure the average politician would become beholden to someone for a hundred bucks.

In other words, its never been easier to collect small donations from the general public and those donations won’t necessarily lead to an unsavory phone call demanding that a politician engage in sketchy behavior.

Second, and here’s the big one – video and/or other content has never been easier to produce, create, and share.

Seriously.  If some kid in his dorm can generate a million followers on YouTube by buying everything he needs at the local Best Buy, then surely the prospective leaders of the free world can.

Really – buy ad time? Seems like an outdated concept.  Turn on your smart phone, say something controversial about your opponent, post it, and then the media will pick it up.

OLD WAY: Buy millions of dollars worth of ads to play a commercial about how your opponent is a butt face.

NEW WAY: Turn on cell phone camera.  Say, “My opponent is a butt face.” Post. Wait for major networks to report that you called your opponent a butt face. Heck, your ardent followers will even spread your message to all their friends, informing them that you think your opponent is a butt face.

IN CONCLUSION:

  • It’s never been easier to raise a lot of money from a lot of little people who don’t have the power call you at 3 a.m. to ask you to do something to compromise your integrity because of a $20 donation they made on your site.
  • Content has never been cheaper to create or share.

AND THE BEST PART:

  • The average person who is a semi-respectable, non-douche with good ideas but hasn’t spent a lifetime being a henchman/woman for people making giant donations might, just might, be able, with a few simple, affordable pieces of tech available at Best Buy, be able to spread meaningful content about his/her ideas that goes viral and becomes as formidable as content created through enormous donations, thereby allowing better, less douchy people to rise to the top.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

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iPhone earbuds go wireless; Apple Gets Rid of the Headphone Jack

Apple has deep sixed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, claiming that getting rid of the jack hole will help make the phone waterproof.

Great idea or incredible outrage?

Harmless innovation or CIA conspiracy to give us all brain cancer and/or control our minds via wireless earbuds?

Discuss.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Will Virtual Reality Be the Next Big Thing?

Happy Saturday 3.5 Readers.

Virtual reality. How big do you think it will get?

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One of BQB’s 3.5 readers reads Bookshelf Battle in VR.

A lot of articles in the news.  Seems like every tech company from Facebook to Google is getting in on the action.

VR was dabbled with in the 1990s but the graphics weren’t that good.  Community had an episode last year where they made fun of it. (Why would you want to put o a pair of VR goggles and search through a virtual filing cabinet to find a file when you could just point and click your mouse?)

I think it all depends on the quality of games and/or experiences that can be made. If they can make something that truly immerses you and allows you to pretend to do something you could otherwise never do then they might be onto something.

At any rate, the last big tech innovation was the iPad/tablets.  Now it seems like all the tech companies are going full force into Virtual Reality.

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Would you like to read this horrible blog through VR glasses?

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