Tag Archives: technology

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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BQB Reviews a Hatchimal

Over this fine Christmas holiday, I had the chance to witness the birth of a Hatchimal.

Once you get it, it seems like a pretty lame plastic egg.  But play with it, pick it up, rub it, and eventually it starts pecking away at the egg until it is all gone.  Then it is a baby for a while, then it is a toddler for a while and finally it is a kid for a while.  In other words, it grows up over time and changes its reactions accordingly.

Does it seem like a dumb toy?  On the surface, yes.  But I have to say, it’s a remarkable piece of engineering.  Consider what has to happen for this thing to work:

  • A toy stuck in an egg that you can see has to respond to you when you play with the egg.
  • The toy inside the egg must physically break through the egg, but it must do so in a safe way so that a kid doesn’t take a piece of egg in the eye or something.  Somehow, the egg is sturdy enough that it won’t fly into a million pieces but breakable enough that it responds to the little animal’s beak.  (After it pecks for a while, you can start pealing the egg pieces away and help the little schmuck out).
  • It then must go out of peck mode so that the kid doesn’t peck.  It then must keep track of time i.e. how long the kid plays with it until it feels nurtured enough to go to a new stage of life.

In other words, a lot of science went into this thing.  I was impressed.  If you have a kid, you should get him/her a Hatchimal.

Just beware dud Hatchimals.  There have been reports of some of them not hatching and some reports that they swear, though I have a hard time believing that.  They seem so cute and good natured but then again it’s always the ones you don’t suspect.

 

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Should Amazon’s Alexa Be Forced to Help with a Murder Case?

“Alexa, can you under me new socks?  Alexa, can you order me more toilet paper?  Alexa…can you help solve a murder case….DUN DUN DUN.”

Yes, 3.5 readers, Amazon’s Alexa, the little voice on an Echo Dot that you can put in your home and ask to order you shit and do stuff for you has become the focus of a murder case in Arkansas, where authorities believe Alexa may have heard (i.e. recorded) incriminating evidence or may have been used to order something incriminating.

I don’t know.  On the one hand, Amazon can be a big help.  You can order things as you realize you need them and if you have Prime, they’ll come in a day or two.  Otherwise, if you are busy, you might have to suck it up and go without it until you can get to the store, and then what if you go to the store with your shopping list and you forget?  Plus, you have to drive to the store, walk around all the aisles, carry all the shit into your house…bleh.

I can see why prosecutors might want the information in order to help put a murderer away.  As a conspiracy theorist though, I wonder if there’s a slippery slope where government agents in black helicopters might start collecting info on when I order new underpants or whatever.

I don’t have an Echo Dot.  I have mixed feelings on Amazon.  The ease of ordering is good.  Sometimes it is too good and then you end up ordering crap you don’t need.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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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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I’m Thinking About Becoming Amish

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Hello 3.5 Englishes,

Your old pal BQB here.

So check it out.

I’m thinking about becoming Amish for the following reasons:

#1 – Too much stress.  Too much technology.

That’s two reasons. Too much stressful technology? OK now it is one.

Cell phones were a great invention but really never should have evolved other than you have a device you can use to call someone and ask for help if you find yourself in a jam.

YES – “I’ve run my car off the road and need help!”

NO – “Hello this is your boss. I know you are on vacation but I need to talk to you on the phone right now while you are sitting on the toilet in the bathroom of a Tijuana Señor Frog’s.”

3.5 READERS: But BQB what about your blog?

Good riddance, infernal blog! Who needs you? Always pestering me to update you just to entertain 3.5 readers.

NOTE: I’m just kidding. I love you blog and 3.5 readers.

#2 – Health – Diet and Exercise

Have you ever seen a fat Amish guy? No!

Why? First they’re always exercising. But they’re not going to gym like assholes and running around on a treadmill like a goddamn hamster on a wheel are they?

No. They are not. They are raising barns and churning butter and planting crops and so on.

Shit actually happens when they exercise.

Wait. You know what? Up until like 1950 people didn’t even think to call strenuous activity “exercise.” They just called it “doing shit.”

Here’s what people were like:

CHESTER: Hey Bob! You doing some shit on your farm?

BOB: Sure am, Chester. I’m doing all this shit on my farm, then later I’m going to pickup some heavy shit and move some shit and dig up some shit and plant some shit. You off to do some shit of your own?

CHESTER: Of course. Gotta get to my farm where I will also do a ton of shit. In fact, I got a long ass fuckin’ walk to my farm and I’ll tell you even that wears the shit out of me. But once I walk to my farm I’m going to do a lot of shit.

BOB: Boy howdy, doing shit sure does keep you from becoming a fat fuck doesn’t it?

CHESTER: What’s a fat fuck, Bob? I’ve never seen or heard of one before.

BOB: I think I saw one in a picture book once. Some egghead scientist theorized that if people ever stop doing shit they’ll get really fat.

CHESTER: Aint that some shit?

 

But now we’ve got cars and computers and gadgets and shit so a lot of the heavy lifting is gone.

Second reason why you never see a fat Amish guy – they’ve got good diets.

Seriously. They don’t have Amish McDonalds. They no quiero Taco Bell. They don’t have processed foods.

You know what their food process is? They pull a damn carrot out of the ground and shove it in their suck hole and then if they want a steak they cut it off the ass of the cow that has been their family friend for years.

That in and of itself would get me to stop eating meat and become a vegetarian.

I love steak and burgers, but only as long as some nameless butcher in some factory somewhere is hacking the cow to pieces somewhere far, far away where I never see it.

If I have to hack the cow up then I’ll just eat carrots instead. I’m not going to bond with Bossy the cow and then be all like, “I’m hungry so time to die, Bossy.”

And I love chicken, especially chicken tenders and chicken nuggets…but not enough to wrap my hands around a chicken’s neck and strangle the ever loving shit out of it until I watch all of that chicken’s hopes and dreams fade from its eyes as the last bit of its life force exits its feathery carcass.

No thank you. Fuck that. Pass the broccoli.  And no matter how many reports I get that broccoli is good for you, I will never forego red meat and chicken meat in the name of broccoli unless I’m Amish.

#3 – Romance Simplified

Oh my God.  Dating is such bullshit.

Just arrange my marriage when I’m five.  Or you know what? Just let me choose.  The one in the bonnet or the other one in the bonnet.

And let her choose too. This isn’t Communist Russia.  Let her choose between me, the one in the beard and the hat or the other one in the beard and the hat.

I’m sure there is a modicum of bullshit that enters into Amish dating.

“Oh, I was going to marry Ezekiel but Jedediah has raised far more many barns!”

But that’s fine. I’ll just raise a lot of barns. At least then I know what to do. Here in the modern world women get mad at you and you never know why and even they don’t know why.

But in Amish world its simple. You just haven’t raised enough barns and you need to raise some more and then you will be able to get your hands on an Amish babe’s sweet, sweet ankle.

CONCLUSIONS

So that’s it.

Those are my three reasons.

I want to be Amish so I can kick technology to the curb, exercise more, eat less and eat more nutritious food and impress women by raising barns.

What say you, 3.5 readers? Am I on to something here? Do you want to become Amish with me?

Who’s down?

 

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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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