Clockwise 343: Allow Me to Interpret Gibberish
It's time for episode. Three hundred forty three of the clockwise podcast from relay. Fm recorded Wednesday April twenty. Second Two thousand twenty clockwise for people or topics thirty minutes. Welcome back clockwise the tech podcast. Where this day may be the earth's but this half hour is our. I'm Dan Morgan. And I'm joined as always across the Internet by my good friend and Co Host Minister Micha Sergeant. How're you doing today? Mike? I'm honestly a little nervous because I feel like you just challenged the Earth. And that's a really. Don't want to pick up commander Earth Command me. Oh no I'm not part of this earth okay. All right this is of course the tech show where we have two wonderful guest joining us this week to my left. A first timer here clockwise. But we're delighted to have him. Here is the head of podcasts. At DC Thompson Media Christopher. Hi Chris how're you doing? Hello I'm very well I'm in. My Garden is warm at least warm for Scotland but it is gorgeous. I'm jealous I'm super jealous. It's very earth day appropriate. I must say I chew really. I love the birds aren't background. That's awesome is definitely really piped in. It's not like I've done rogue Amoeba Lou back thing guidance and Birdsong under what I'm saying to my left is editor at Perot. Today as well as a well-known podcasts are on the incomparable and writer of the excellent. So what who cares newsletter and all around thought leader at least in my book. It's lease a Schnauzer. Mike I'm squealing a level that only dogs can hear that such a great introduction. Thank you. You're very welcome. Well known that Mike Does the past introductions. I only fire to match on that all right. I'M GONNA kick things out today with the first topic. I'm curious given our current world situation. Is there a tech concept or a kind of technology software hardware? Whatever that you have changed opinions on based on the way we live. Now maybe something that you pooh-poohed but now you find actually really useful or something that you thought might be essential but that actually turned out to be kind of inconsequential for you. Chris Blanch leaves off so know exactly what you say. I did the other day suddenly realize that I had been trying to make time to go and talk to my colleagues across the business or by a particular thing trying to train them in something. I could never get them to you. Know put time aside for me. It was struck down the priority list. I stress me. I realize the other day. Hey since I'm at home and I can't see my colleagues enemy. Why do I just record as a screen cast in on Youtube saying the Lincoln can watch it that way and Ethel? Who why did I know when I was in the office? That was literally nothing stopping me. Recording the screen cast from my desk in the office and sending them the link base hadn't occurred to me so yes so my bold new technology. That I'm championing is screen casts. I think that for the most part. It's gotTA BE GAMING I. I'm not a big Gamer of talked before about how it's not on my phone I don't keep that stuff around usually but in in these trying times I found that it's not necessarily that. It's useful it's that it's a it's sort of how bread is a conveyance method for delicious materials Gay substrate exactly. It's a conveyance method to to spend time with people and so in that way gaming of all sorts. Be It House party and things like that Are The way that I've I've enjoyed spending time with friends. What about you Lisa? Don't be distracted by the bird. Saw The GLIB answer is I don't really need to use Google maps right now but the longer answer is a. Google sheets has become invaluable because it's collaborative is shared. What I what I've actually found. Is that most of the tools I use for. Collaboration are getting much more of a workout. Now from I use apple notes APP to keep running grocery lists and I share that out with my husband and we can both edited and that's getting a lot of work now. Since Grocery shopping now takes a level planning ahead and coordination. It didn't before we can no longer just pop out to the store. Get something and I've been using Google sheets to coordinate resources with volunteer groups and to try to coordinate standing play date standing on facetime play dates with with friends so that we're not always texting people in the middle of their work day when they're also distracted and so they're just schedule can refer to. Google sheets has also been great for you know again tracking groceries in terms of things like that so I have covered collaboration as beat for my job and then kind of rob out because I get to see it in action and talk to people all the time I've really come on board with Digital collaborative tools as a way to keep things running smoothly when you are dealing with geographic dispersal and resource management and asynchronous communication and needing to move information places. That's good I for me. I'M GONNA break my question slightly and say there's a technology. I see promise in that before I might have pooh-poohed a bit more and that is both the augmented reality virtual reality because I was listening to a new story this morning talking about kids in classes and getting frustrated with kids interacting with their peers on zoom and stuff like that limitations thereof and it really made me. Think about how you know. Vr has seemed like something very aimed at say gaming primary focus and well. That's still might be true. I'm interested to see if people come out of this. With new applications in terms of the sort of those collaborative and virtual meeting spaces me being more useful in case we find ourselves in situations like this more often. Seems like there's a lot of potential promise there and it makes me feel like maybe apple is being very prescient in focusing on so much even if we haven't seen the applications yet but those are all great thoughts around. Let's move onto our second topic which comes from Chris. So my question is what age is too young to get kids into take and this was brought into my two D. it literally. Today I took delivery of my daughter's second ipod touch. She is four and a half And she had her first ipod touch and she was too for Christmas on her. Just after a second birthday I got it because I thought Frank Lenzi our camera and I was like well. If I'M GONNA GET CAMERA GONNA earn ipod. Because it's a cabinet does a whole bunch of other stuff and I I'm fully. I don't really subscribe to this pooh-poohing of screen time the evils of screen time. The kids pain because she is so creative whether she's so much more than that to get so much of a and and I I just wonder if I mean we're a bunch of techies right. We we like technology. So maybe there's GonNa be a just a a writing table everything's fine but what he just too young. So I love this question because I come. My sort of approach is from the fascination of both technology and psychology in how those can sometimes overlap and I will go forth and say that I am not a a father to an humans and I am not terrifying. I'm not a psychiatrist or psychologist or psychotherapist but I know one in Canada and Georgia. Dow is kind of my sort of Go-to person when it comes to stuff like this and so I have to go and quote her and sort of I guess not quote but paraphrase just to say that. I think that I think that like you said it to open up. A world of creativity in possibility is fantastic and I also think that the tech literacy is very important going forward and the earlier you can along with teaching your kids more than one language that you teach them. The coding language is fantastic Because it's a skill that's going to be required in the future. Should we survive it and I think that in those cases it's very good? I think that the pooh-poohing comes from a very reasonable place. And it's a very specific thing and that is when screen. Time and technology are used to distract a child or keep a child. Keep child's attention Because I think that that's the consideration to make but once you've got that figured out. I don't know that there is an age. That's too young except an infant who might swallow an iphone. I did like the fact that my daughter's first technology she ever used an apple. Watch from my arms. She would touch my APP Warsaw. Okay so with the caveat I have a nine year old So I'm coming at this from somebody who's been wrestling with this topic since I had a baby and a smartphone more or less the same and the in America there's a guideline the American Pediatric Association says Generally Speaking Police. Don't stick your kid in front of a giant blinking screen before there too. There's neurological stuff that might happen. My thinking on the guidelines is they come from people who do the stuff for living who research it's a. It's a deliberative body. That said I will cop to show my daughter sign language videos on an iphone what I was like desperate to distract her or desperate to to just take five minutes like in a Leonard. A restaurant or something before she was to and What was really positive about that is we would do sign language videos together and she learned to sign before she could talk. Didn't as a result like that was a great. A great use of technology will be honest and so and so I think my approach to technologies guidelines are helpful as a starting point but what it comes down to is. You have to know your kids temperament and you have to ask yourself. What are you hoping they'll get out of the technology and so the way that we generally approach it with our daughter now is What do we need her to understand about technology? For example I just started letting her use. Facebook MESSENGER for kids to Talk with chat with friends of hers Remotely and when we installed it we let her know. You have no reasonable expectation of privacy on this application not from us because we reserve the right to read everything you send to your friends and Vice Versa. And you have to understand. Facebook reads everything you said. And they're going to use that information to try to sell you things later and they're going to use that information to learn things about you so you need to decide whether that's okay And these are the types of conversations. We have with her about everything from from APPs on her tablets to how long how long she can use them. So I don't think age is ever going to be a really useful guideline except perhaps in a really fundamental biological sense such as please don't show your six mumbles psychedelic videos. But I do think that you know the question you should be asking is how will this held is helper? Hinder my kid based on the personality traits. I know they have. And what am I hoping? They'll get out of this technology and my hoping they can express creativity. Am I hoping that they can do self directed learning M. I. Hoping they can communicate with friends and my hoping I'm hoping they pick a skill and just go from there. I mean so I'll say I'm I'm not a parent. I'm not a professional in these matters. But I think Lisa you know. You've hit the nail on the head here with this idea that there's no one-size-fits-all approach right with the exception of you know. I think the very very young children look technology is going to be a part of their lives right. I mean unless the whole world knew post-apocalyptic state which is possible. Anything can happen But Christmas is is daughter. Using Apple. Watch well he was holding earned. It's like yeah I mean you can't avoid it right like unless you're going to decide you want to move off to commune. Which Hey. That's your call but I in terms of the way that society is going to progress. You can't really avoid it so I think you know it's not so much necessarily just about a flat data all right before this time Tony so some technology and after this time it's fine. Just go wild. It's like us some judgment and try to figure out as Lisa was saying like what is. How do you want to manage that with your kid? Like how what do you want them to know? How do you want to educate? How do you want them to be informed about it because I think none of us would argue that the holy? Depriving Your Technologies. A good approach. Either we we've all probably learned tons of stuff on tech and I know when I was a teenager. You know the World Wide Web was just sort of starting out at that point. I learned a lot from that. Why can I learned a lot about technology and coding? And all this stuff and so it was incredibly valuable. And so I think there's like with everything there's some moderation involved both in terms of the amount and in terms of how it's being used and I think that there's really you know kids are GonNA use technology. And if they don't find out about from you kinda learn about on the street I Chris. Any last thoughts up this one. I think that I'm when I bought the thing from my door. It was the was no statistics pointing of new. I want her to do this or does he get this? I'm I've slept more abstract notions of Length figure out how they can make stuff work the best for them and I haven't for neither my wife or I have for a second said to my door. We're going to manage your screen time. We're going to say this much too much. She's just herself and jumps between painting on the windows and throwing things on the floor. I'm running back in the scooter and hitting the I posted. A part of her plea is great. I'm really proud of the fact that she hasn't needed any of management or guidance. For All right. That's two topics down. Two topics left to go. Which of course means it's halftime here clockwise and this week's episode is brought to you by our good friends at Leonard whether you're working on a personal project or managing your Enterprise Infrastructure Leonard has the pricing sport and scale. You need to take your project to the next level if eleven data centers worldwide including their newest Data Center. 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Twenty twenty dollars credit our thanks to winnowed for their support of this show and all of relay. Fm ALL RIGHT. That is halftime sorted. Mica what do you got for us? so there was a new report in the verge talking about how? Google is releasing an update for its Google Assistant. That will let you sort of change the sensitivity for smart devices. So you can make it so that yes more often it. Hey Boo boo and response to it. I am curious. Do you have smart assistance in your home and if you do how often are they accidentally triggered and also? How do you respond when they are triggered? Lisa we'll start with you. Does Siri Count Yet. Making sure okay so we I had this happened yesterday which I think speaks to an interesting gap in What I think of as a fluid computing experience and let me. Just tell the story super quickly so have a giant plant in our kitchen Huge Viney Ivy thing and I was installing who was installing with those command. Hooks are basically plastic Little sticky backs and you have to hold them in place on the wall for thirty seconds so that the so that the He's if can stick and I held up my wrist with my watch and I said he series set a timer for thirty seconds and right as my watch responded with okay setting a timer for thirty seconds. Syria on my computer. I can't do that. Would you like me to set? I can't do this on this computer would you like me to set a reminder for you instead and Repeated itself a few times and I thought to Myself Ito. This almost makes no sense. Why CAN'T SYRIA BE SMART enough to identify the source of the query as opposed to just being triggered by voice Why doesn't the concept of me as Lisa flow across my phone? My tablet my computer my watch and be contractually dependent The way I responded was basically just stood there for thirty seconds. Well Siri yelled at me. And then I hopped off the ladder and and the gated the reminder but in terms of responding it was basically no now except I couldn't say no because then lose the title of my so again it just basically triggered a bigger question in my mind about how could apple improve series where Syria has a notion of me as a discrete set of data that interacts with it and how chooses to respond is dependant on the source of the clearing because certainly it should have been able to recognize that when I'm speaking at my watch I'm much closer to my watch intriguing triggering series as compared to my laptop which was somehow across the rim and still no way they got this. Yeah that's a great point. My House has anybody who knows me is replete with smart speakers and I have. It's really one of the problems right. It's the problem where you're watching TV. And all of a sudden the echo is like oh I think I heard my name allow me to interpret gibberish for the next thirty seconds until you something that's not useful to you or standing over the smart speaker furiously yelling at it because it was not listening to me at all like to the point where we are convinced that my upstairs neighbors believed that a my wife and I have a recalcitrant daughter named Alexa. We constantly so I think the answer is this could get a lot better and honestly on the Apple Front I have to home pods sitting here and I have had the wake word turned off for those almost since day one because I found that they got so many misfires that they were just not useful and kind of his point. I do use. Siri on my watch and my phone and it would always try to hand out to the home pod home bobby. Like I can't do that. Sorry then nothing would happen. So yeah I think I get accidental things like these all the time and I really wish that all of these companies would make them much better at sussing out. Am I actually being talked to right now? And should I respond to that? Because there's a lot of room for improvement. What about you Chris? Not Huge. I don't have any Amazon devices a toll or Google devices and that's partly a previously. Well it's partly a I live in the apple ecosystem thing but there's not enough to pull me out of that to get those other devices because I am physically worried purposes. You only serve area in my life where I am tinfoil hat on is around or listening devices in my home and so but we do have a whole bunch of apple device including homepod. We don't really get many misfires but the creepiest ones. We get to him. Deals for the homepod gets this in particular is when Siri mistakenly. Here's herself or himself being triggered but hasn't had a question and to then just goes You're having a conversation going to women's voice currently and just everything and then somebody goes. What is that? I'm not. I'm not big fun. Not Not a big fun I am with you that one. That little Is Very strange. I've got all of the smart assistance in my home and they go off at various times. I'm quite sensitive to saying the actual words. And for some reason it's made me sensitive sensitive seemingly to saying things that are similar to the actual words but I'm currently sheltering in place with my partner and he routinely triggers the different ones and so I've taken to just trying to sort of rewind live live and think about what it was that he said that could possibly be the trigger that caused it to go off because it's fascinating to me. What does 'cause it? And what doesn't but anytime that happens I just shop nevermind from across the room just took to both try hosting several podcasts. With someone named Lex and then I think I'll pass on that. Thank you all for your answers on that topic. Let's go to our final topic which comes from Lisa. This is just. I have serious fellow because my all of my computer's allegedly don't have sufficient processor power to provide virtual backgrounds in Microsoft teams or or zoom. Which are the two meeting platforms? I use the most. I have been admiring everybody else's from galaxies to the Golden Gate Bridge to the Weird Open. Space Office plan that a colleague of mine always puts up in the background as if to to make us think that he's really not working at home when I want to know is are you seeing a lot of virtual backgrounds in these zoom or teams or other video conferencing calls you have what are the best background you've seen and flex a little about the backgrounds you have. Wow that's so one I will say I don't I? Don't use zoom a lot for meeting stuff in my line of work but I do use it. A lot for some podcast. I will say the Best I've seen. I've seen the bridge of the enterprise Which is a solid one enterprise d? Just so we're clear and I I saw online somewhere. Somebody did a video background of themselves where it was them walking in on themselves while they're on a meeting and I thought that was very funny and clever in a little disturbing enough slightly disturbing. Just open the door then the oh no and then they leave again. That's like that would be so weird most of the season backgrounds or actually when I'm playing in dnd campaigns over other comparable often with Mike and we have some good. We have some Fellow players there who really I think Try every week to bring their best background games including like we were fighting a vineyard this past week and they'll put up vineyards behind them or haunted mansions or castles are taverns and I love how good that is my background. Unfortunately of my office is so cluttered. I really I need a green screen. But they're all sold out so the virtual background in that makes me very sad one of these days one of these days Chris. What about you so the other day as you can hear your joining me for my garden just now the other day? I I took a Zoom Cola here and soon so nice background. That's my clock two examples of Similar to yours Dan. I saw somebody had just recorded themselves. Sort of like looking attentive. I mean just sat back and they just sold it off into the kitchen. So there's this thing of angels looking at the corner but the other ones there's genuine. Dvd's sweet was a teacher had Before he had left his school classroom he taken a picture of the classroom and he used that when he was doing virtual with students. Just sort of that sort of sense of continuity in space and I thought that was a genuinely brilliant. Use of zoom background check. That's awesome so I would say the ones that I've seen I. It is Kinda fun that over at twit. We took some photos of our studio different studio spaces and made those available to folks so if they want to be doing their own personal Video conferencing calls from the twit studios. They can since we obviously have the studios closed down right now But personally my favorite one. When I found out you can do video in the background right before the shelter in place orders took went into effect. I was at some tide pools here in northern California and we came across a baby harbor seal that was stranded And it was far far away from its mom. It was underweight. We called Marine Mammal Rescue. Came out and said wow. This is a little early for a harbor seal to even be born So clearly there is something going on here and they ended up rescuing getting to safety but from a distance took some video and so I had this this video of this adorable most innocent looking creature I've ever seen in my life. Baby Harbor Seal in the background of my zoom chat Just sort of playing on a loop. It was just a short little video so that has to be my flex for sure because Sunday is doing well and fine in Marine Mammal. Rescue location lease around us out with yours. I have a colleague who has been just posting fantastic pictures of the galaxy behind in every time we talk so it's like talking to somebody in space and I love that and like I said I have another colleague who keeps Loading Different Open Office space backgrounds and I can't figure out if it's really clever psychology where he's like if I look like I'm all business will remember that we're working or or if there's some other motive behind that I don't quite discern I will say I have serious. Virtual SERIOUS VIRTUAL BACKGROUND SUMMER. Right now so. I have really enjoyed hearing about everybody else's unfortunately when people with me they'll see whatever posters we have up in the kitchen although I may have to readjust chair so that they can behold my giant evil plan or if oh my Gosh. This thing is huge. It's grown like half foot while we've been in quarantine. I think it's getting ready to eat us or you can see. My daughter's aren't working. Interoffice downstairs nothing. Extraordinary just everyday life all right. That is four topics. We have just enough time for a bonus topic and this week our episode is brought to you by are very good friends rogue Amoeba and their APP. Sound source sounds sources a sound control utility so good it should be built into Mac. Os whether you're listening to podcasts. Are blessing music or streaming video sound sources for everyone who uses audio on their Mac? I've been a sound source listener four years and I find that it is incredibly useful in terms of being able to control. What audio on. My computer is at what level? So if you are on a lot of zoom conferences these days and maybe then you have to turn up the volume or something and you switch to some music. And all of a sudden the music blasting really loud you can set individual volume levels for different apps you can choose which devices audio gets sent to. So it goes to your speakers or headphones. You can decide that on that basis. There's per APP equalizers. It's great there is basically every single thing you ever need to do with audio all in his handy little control panel. Everybody should check it out so for better sound quality volume levels you can add an equaliser even apply advanced audio units to any audio on your. Mac you can have fast access to your device. You have to dig around in system preferences. And if you've got a display Puerto Rico device that doesn't offer volume adjustment sound source can help it gives them a volume slider and the volume keys feature makes your keyboard controlled to all of this is available right for your menu bar with sound source visit. Mac AUDIO DOT com slash clockwise to check it out. You can download the free trial and save twenty percent with cope coupon code clockwise. That's MAC audio dot com slash clockwise and coupon code clockwise. Thanks to the Audio Wizards Rogue Amoeba for sponsoring the show. All right. This week's bonus question very very quickly. we've all been second side. What if you've been watching or binging or reading Chris? I just want happy happy stuff. So I'd go into the happy issue and ask my wife and I finally pursued her daughter to sleep in evening and sit down slumped in front of the television with our meal we watch parks and REC gutter better. You cannot beat boxing. Great Mike Yeah. I'm introducing my partner to all of the Star Trek Franchise and so we are currently watching star Trek Voyager. So I'm reading a book called a People's history of Scotland actually By Christopher yes by Kris van very well. I've only been to your beautiful country once and it was humbling to realize how little I knew about the history and so I've been trying to catch up on that. I am reading my way through a lot of the Nebula and Hugo award nominees this year. Because I've been trying to read a lot more and on TV. I've been binging the show gargoyles which is a cartoon. I watch when I was a teenager and it holds up really good all right. We have reached the end of the show. All that remains is to think are fantastic guests this week Christopher thin. Thank you so much being here. Pleasure and Lisa Schnauzer. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you I love doing this podcast and Mica. We shall finish celebrating Earth Day but we shall be back next week and we remind everybody listening out there until then watch what you say and keep watching the clock by everybody.