Episode 99: Total Dad Plan
March 14, 2014
Running time: 1:10:11
Jonathan and Kelli talk about preaching to the choir(.io), web apps for watches, and a second look at smart glasses.
- Zapier pronunciation
- Nitch soundbites
- Marvel adds sound to comic books
- Blog post about scoping CSS/JS
- Nitch Sticker Art
- Nitch Sticker Shipping Form
- Nitch Soundbites
- Scoping Front-End Code Inside Your Rails Application
Titles We Considered
- General Polar Vortex Action
- Clever in a Bad Way
- Total Dad Plan
- Ladies Falconing
JS: Hello and welcome to the niche podcast for Friday, March 14th, 2014. I’m Jonathan Stark.
KS: I’m Kelli Shaver.
JS: Good morning.
KS: Good morning.
JS: Little beat-down this week?
KS: Yeah, I’m just a bundle of energy.
JS: Yeah, it’s been a crazy week that’s for sure. Did you guys get a snowstorm this morning?
KS: No, we got maybe a quarter an inch of snow. It was really windy yesterday.
JS: Yeah, we got it today. It was like in the 60s yesterday and today it was like a blinding blizzard.
KS: Yeah, same here. It went from 73 to 15.
KS: Didn’t help the way I felt this week. It did not help.
JS: I expected … I was thinking, “Ah, I love Rhode Island. I like these big changes in weather but you’re in Kentucky so.” I guess it’s just general polar vortex action. We’ve got housekeeping this week.
KS: We do. Hopefully this week I don’t get interrupted by the UPS guy because he should be delivering stickers any moment.
JS: Oh, excellent. I didn’t put that in housekeeping which I should have. Ladies and gentlemen there are stickers available for free if you just tell us where to ship them to; we’ll send you some J Bud and K Bud stickers. [00:02:00] The Kelly one and the Rails Rumble?
KS: Yeah, I got some in the Rails Rumble that part where I won. It included the prices … the prices included some sticker meal credit, so I whipped up some J bud and K bud stickers.
JS: [Crosstalk 00:02:25] … There is a Google Docs form. I think it’s [inaudible 00:02:36] URL that I gave it. It’s a bitly link and I think it’s niche-sticker-form, yes. We’ll post that on the show notes, but if you want just go to that URL and fill out your shipping details and we’ll send you this sticker. There’s a link to the artwork too so you can decide first if it’s worth giving us your shipping address.
KS: They’re nice big stickers, supposedly. Supposedly, I haven’t seen them yet but they’re five by three-and-three-quarters or something.
JS: They call them [inaudible 00:03:17].
KS: No, no I’m not calling [inaudible 00:03:18] I’m just … I have had stickers before and they’re really good quality stickers.
JS: That’s good to know. All right this week is sponsored by Sticker Mule. I’m looking forward to that; I should probably put my shipping address in there too.
KS: Yeah, I have it.
JS: Let’s see, what else do we have in housekeeping? One thing I’m sort of bummed to report that I think last week or the week before we were talking about Zapier, which is a clone of If This Then That. We were raving about it because it’s got a lot more integrations than If does because they allow developers to create their own integrations. Which is supercool, I really love it. Those guys actually reached out and thanked us for talking about it and let us know that it’s pronounced Zapier.
KS: That makes sense.
JS: Does it? Because it’s like Rapier with a Z.
KS: That’s true it is, but you create Zaps so.
JS: You do create Zaps not Zapes which sounds really, that sounds weird, but I like Zapier better but anyway-
KS: Yeah, I wondered but I agree with you, but at the same time I see where they’re coming from.
JS: Yeah, Zapier. They’ve got to stick with the metaphor.
KS: Yeah, I feel like it’s going to be Zap. I feel like they need to add a second P in there.
JS: Right, right but they can’t because it’s API in the middle there.
KS: Oh oh it is, isn’t it?
JS: Yeah, I didn’t catch that at first, so they’re stuck between … This is a classic, you know me, this is a classic like I would go back and forth for two weeks about this and [crosstalk 00:05:05]-
KS: Yeah yeah you would yeah. I know I would.
JS: I want to call them Zaps but I want to pronounce the name of the thing Zapier and we can’t put an extra P in there but we should but we can’t. I can’t like, dear listener, it took like …
KS: My head would explode.
JS: Yeah, it took like … Meanwhile you’d be coding it and have to change the … I changed the spelling of Spoken like 700 times when we were working on Spoken.
KS: Yes, yes you did.
JS: Anyway, I’m obsessed with that. That’s where my OCD comes out, spelling.
KS: In naming things.
JS: Naming things, and it’s critical I think.
KS: Yeah, it does. There have been … I don’t think there’s been a single project we’ve worked on together where I haven’t had to go back and rename something.
JS: Yeah, no I’m obsessed with it because it’s … But you know why? This is my rationale is that it saves you … The problem is like a lot of times not with you, but [00:06:00] a lot of times you get severe developer cleverness in code-
KS: Obvious I’m not clever.
JS: No, I mean clever in a bad way.
KS: I know, I know what you mean.
JS: Yeah, like isn’t it like one-liners I cannot stand dense one-line Colombo code.
KS: Yeah, like if you’re trying to … I’m off for one-liners but they really should be more than one line and you have to get like super clever to … yeah.
JS: Yeah, I’m just … I’m all about self-documenting code. It’s like if you need your code to be smaller then compress it but don’t write it that way. Anyway, and the same way with naming words like I tend to want to … I do it to the client too, I’m like, “Okay let’s …” when we start a project I’m like, “Okay we need to agree on terms because you guys are using different words for the same thing or I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Let’s all get in the same page and create a glossary for the project and only use this word when we’re talking about this thing.” Yeah, so I get really bad about it. Anyway, moving right along. This is a funny little thing. We put up a page of niche sound bites for the [inaudible 00:07:15] dear listener who wants to make a sound board as waffling.
KS: I was not aware that we had put up a page.
JS: Well it’s not really a page. It’s a directory.
KS: Directory listing.
JS: Yeah, just right now it’s just a directory listing of little I think they’re wav files. It’s just a bunch of snippets that I grabbed when I was going through and creating the, was it Christmas episode or something? The old waffles episode.
JS: Going back through the old tapes, if you will, and grabbed a bunch of one or two-second sound bites that I found funny.
KS: Some of those are, some of them are just ridiculous out of context.
JS: Yeah, they’re so-
KS: Some are ridiculous in context.
KS: I did, I did and a simple way to do that inside of [Reals00:08:36] applications. It’s one of those things you have to make a decision, do you want to put everything in one big vial and cabinet, it’s all [inaudible 00:08:48] and all that and encapsulate bits and pieces of that or do you want to be loading a separate file for each page?
JS: Yeah, I think the answer to this is always, it depends.
KS: Yeah, I think so.
JS: Did you … and it looked like … I didn’t read the, I just saw the blog post I didn’t read it yet, but did you come to that conclusion or did you come up with different approaches?
JS: Cool, I think that’s all the housekeeping. Okay, so let’s jump in the future, shall we?
JS: All right, three topics this week sort of related I suppose. Preach into the choir is the first thing. Last week we talked about choir.io and we were super excited about the … It’s like an API that you send events to and it send returns a sound.
KS: Did you do that?
JS: Did I do what?
KS: Just as you said it, “then returns a sound,” I got a bleep from choir.io in my headset. Just the instant you said that.
JS: No, not me, but yeah it’s really cool. Both of us … What did you install it on? Your personal site?
KS: I have it on my website, on my blog, a little forum that I run that’s just some friends of mine and [inaudible 00:11:20] basic account.
KS: No, I just had a little of PHP.
JS: Yeah that’s what I did too. I ended up taking it out because it would sometimes hold up the HTTP response. I’m pretty sure I remember that you can spawn a process in PHP that doesn’t block the actual page. I know you can do in [Badge 00:13:24] maybe in PHP you have to hand it off to Badge with the asterisk/ampersand or something to make that process go off and do its thing and not wait for choir to return. You know what I mean?
KS: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
JS: I’m hypersensitive about even 500 milliseconds it’s like, “I’m not doing it. I’m not adding 500 milliseconds for a page load.” Anyway, so that was super fun. Oh, and by the way, the reason that we were able to even do this is because the dudes from choir.io [00:14:00] it’s two guys, just somehow heard about the podcast and invited us to their super secret private beta.
KS: Yes, thank you guys.
JS: Yes, thank you very much if you’re listening …
KS: Drop us an address we’ll send you stickers.
JS: Dear listener it’s not open yet. You can go to choir.io and put your email address in for an invite, but unless you’re podcasting sorry you’re out of luck. Finally 99 episodes and it finally pays off.
KS: Woo hoo!
JS: Yaay! Cool, so that is really cool. I think that we’re going to see big things around this as …
KS: Yeah, their motivations and reasons for building it are pretty much the same thing we were saying.
JS: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I linked to the blog post there’s …
KS: There’s a group blog post.
JS: Yeah, and they talk about ambient information which is basically what it is. You just have this background knowledge of what’s happening and this very busy … It’s important for it to be a very busy thing otherwise it doesn’t really have a benefit, but super cool.
KS: Yeah, you soak it up on a subconscious level you don’t even really consciously think about.
JS: Yeah, I had it on my computer and I was actually sleeping on the couch and I was awoken from a sound sleep when – even though the noise was ongoing – when 404s would come up, it would wake me up every time. It was like … which was bad, but is exactly the effect that you’re going for like on a production … It would be great on a production site to have that kind of monitoring on in the background. They definitely want to do it.
KS: Yeah, have it on the background in your office.
JS: Yeah, and just know what’s going on and know … It’s like a warning system or like everything … You know the difference between things humming along and things getting hectic [00:16:00] and errors starting to get thrown before emails from customers start coming in like, “The site’s down or the site’s slow or.”
KS: Right, oh the internet doesn’t sound right.
JS: Something sounds wrong. I hear a problem on my site. It sounds like the site’s broken. I am a huge huge fan of audio in general as we said last week. I think that there is … audio is way underused. We can be doing a lot more with audio. I love every kind of advance in that area like SoundCloud and this and just podcasting, the popular podcasting in general. New smaller devices like the dash in-ear smart buds. I just think audio is going to be huge.
KS: It’s funny, my choir stream has been pretty quiet almost like the entire morning until we started talking about it and now it’s just bloops and bloops and drips and drops constantly.
JS: Yeah, well that’s weird I suppose.
KS: There’s a little …
JS: That one was me. Okay cool. Oh, so the point of bringing that up is that our dear Kelli is writing a … planning to write a gem to integrate with choir.
KS: Yeah, I want to write a gem to integrate with choir. It’s been a hectic week so I’m hoping to start on it this weekend.
JS: Excellent! My advice is to figure out a way to spawn a process, not force the page to block. Yeah, looking forward to that. Maybe I’ll port it to PHP so I can use it. Of course, you’ll keep your eyes peeled dear listener for preacher. [00:18:00] Okay, so moving right along. The reason I’ve been especially obsessed with speed this week, especially on Kilo, is that the new Pebble software was really … I can’t remember if we talked about this last week or not, but I don’t think we did.
KS: I don’t think we did.
JS: I feel like I’ve been talking about it a week but I think we missed the podcast cuff. If you’re a long-term listeners you’ll recall that I got the Pebble watch when … the Kickstarter watch initially and I like it. It was really cool being able to just glance down and see your notification without having to pull your phone out of your pocket. It was immediately apparent to me that I pulled my phone out of my pocket a lot just because of notifications because I was using my phone a lot less once I got the watch. That was cool because I was like, “Well, I don’t use Bluetooth for anything so now that I have to use Bluetooth for the watch I’m afraid it’s going to kill my battery.” I stopped using the phone so much that I use the phone like let’s say I turn on the screen 50% less which is about what it felt like. That’s a huge battery savings.
KS: Yeah it is.
JS: On balance I was getting more … battery life wasn’t an issue basically.
KS: Right, it can offset itself.
JS: Then they updated to … they released an update for both the watch firmware and the mobile app that, I don’t know, used Bluetooth LE for something. Like Bluetooth LE got a bunch of headlines and they decided they were going to put in … I don’t know what they were thinking, I don’t know what the deal is. They added in Bluetooth LE to the phone, to the watch. Then at the time …
KS: There was this big delay.
JS: There was a delay right, so it was like your phone would buzz and you’d wait [00:20:00] two, three, four, you know, “Oh my God!” and then the watch would buzz and then you’d look at your watch. It happened every single time. It was like I could have pulled up my phone, looked at the notification and put it back before the watch even responded. It was like completely annoying.
KS: Yeah, that would annoy me. It would drive me crazy.
JS: Yeah, and so then the thing was like, “Oh well, I’ll shut off notifications on the phone and just send them to the watch,” but you can’t do that. There’s no way to mute them on the phone without also muting them on the watch. I basically stopped wearing it. Fast-forward probably like maybe six months maybe three months and there were a couple of more updates and I got a Moto X. The cool thing about the Moto X is that it has trusted device support on it, so I started wearing the watch again with no notifications turned on at all, just so that I could pair with it with the Moto X so that as long as the watch was connected to the phone I didn’t have to use the lock screen which is amazingly useful.
KS: Yeah, this is why I just bought an NFC Ring.
JS: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Now the NFC Ring I think that works with more devices than just the Moto.
KS: I think yeah it does.
JS: That’s the phone you have so it doesn’t …
KS: You can do the NFC unlock.
JS: Yeah, that is really cool. You can essentially … Basically your phone is locked when it’s not near you which is exactly what you want. I’m really digging that feature. I have an app on my android phone it’s called Automated that leaves my android devices unlocked when I’m on my home network.
KS: Yeah, I had one called Skiplock that did that same thing, but I started having … I don’t know, it wasn’t 100% reliable and there were a couple of times where I would enter my password and I knew was correct and it wouldn’t unlock the phone and just like hmm, I don’t want to risk not being able to get on my phone.
JS: Yeah, that’s lame. [00:22:00] Anyway, so I started wearing the watch again – back to the Pebble – and then they came out with an appstore for Pebble. With it sort of the same time with this Pebble 2.0 software and I was so underwhelmed by the appstore announcement. I was like, “Whatever, you know, appstore appstore appsore, [inaudible 00:22:23] everybody’s got an appstore everything.” When I actually installed it I was like, “Oh my God! Did I underestimate how important this is? It’s a big deal.”
KS: Makes me want to get a Pebble now.
JS: Oh, so great. It’s like … If the iPhone didn’t prove this to everyone then, I don’t know why I didn’t think it was a big deal. It’s a little abstract if you don’t have one it’s kind of weird. Since the watch is so tightly coupled with the phone, it’s a two-step process where you get the Pebble app on your phone and then there’s a store in the phone app and you pull down software to your phone and you keep it in this locker. It’s called an AppLocker which means it’s on your phone but not yet installed on the watch, because the watch will only hold eight apps. You might want more than that, you keep them on your phone and you can switch them back and forth pretty easily depending on your situation. In my experience so far, it’s only been a week, but so far there’s really only like, I don’t know, a few on there that I think are that big a deal so far. It’s stuff like FourSquare, FourSquare is on my watch so I can go to a place and literally just press … There’s four buttons, there’s basically a back button, [00:24:00] a select button and an up and down button. It’s like an old iPod actually. FourSquare, you just open … you don’t open it, you just scroll the FourSquare, press the button and it’s like, “Check in?” Yes or no, boom, check in. It shows you areas near you. It’s got GPS on it, the phone’s got GPS on it, it’s connected to the phone so it’s like you’re logged into FourSquare on your phone so it know who you are on the watch. It’s like … It’s weird but with the appstore some of the friction and wackiness of getting the app set up is taken away because it’s like normalized I guess.
KS: Yeah, nice.
JS: It’s great. Now there’s a big shift here which is that like before on the watch, and in fact I even said it was a good thing, you can’t do anything on the watch, you just know things. You get a notification, you look at it, you just know okay that’s … Now you can do things and that it’s not … I don’t think it’s that bad actually, because the things are so, they’re so focused, you know what I mean. You have so few controls and so small of an interface, it’s like … It’s actually really cool because it speaks to our philosophy of starting small when you’re building an application experience. It forces you to be like, what is the number one core thing …
KS: That this application does?
KS: I love small apps that do one thing really well.
JS: The watch just completely forces you … To ever do anymore than one thing would just be ridangulous. You just feel like, “Come on!” It’s like … I wish I could remove half the stuff from the main – not the watch face – but the main home screen of the watch. There’s a whole list of things like … The first screen [00:26:00] it’s just like an old iPod. You’ve got like music, notifications, alarms, watch faces, settings and then your apps. I’d love it if I could remove music from there because I’ll never ever use it. Notifications has been updated by the way, and I complained about this in the past. In the past if you didn’t actually see the notification come on the screen there was no way to look at the history, so you had to pull out your phone if you missed it.
KS: Yeah, now you can scroll back.
JS: Now you can scroll through them which is killer. Just so great.
KS: The delay is gone.
JS: The delay is gone. Yeah, it must have been just something that they needed to fix or whatever, I don’t know, but the delay is gone and the apps are just amazing. Let me just quickly go through the apps. There’s one called Pebble Cards which allows you to … It’s almost like Google Now-ish in a way where you can set up a couple of different sub-applications inside of Pebble Cards. It’s almost like a way to get widgets onto the watch. There’s things like stock report or RSS or … Can’t remember some of the other ones. Time to Home. You can pick a couple of these; you probably wouldn’t pick a lot of them because you don’t want to scroll through them all but you can just pick a couple. One of them is called Custom. What Custom is you just enter a URL and that’s it. If the URL returns [Jason 00:27:29] it has a property called Content then it will just put that content on the screen.
KS: Oh nice.
JS: Yeah, it’s awesome. I just set up a page in Kilo where … I should mention that the content is shown beneath like a watch face. Half of the screen at the top it says Thursday, March 13th 11:15 that’s the time it is right now. Then there’s a line halfway, a horizontal line halfway across the screen. Underneath that is one, two, three, [00:28:00] four, five lines of text area where your custom text pops in. you can leave this … It’s like a watch face, in fact I ... Well looking at it for a second. It’s like a watch face but then underneath you can put custom, like a custom widget. Underneath there I’ve got three options that you can scroll through. One is the battery percentage because by default the watch doesn’t tell you where the battery is at, which is annoying. Then the local weather, which I don’t know why I have that on there because I know what the local weather is, but somehow I like to look at it. The third one is Custom and it points at a URL on the Kilo site that is just basically like getkilo.com/pebble/youremailaddress. It retrieves the calories you have left for the day and then as many of the recent things that you ate or exercised in a list. You can see immediately, like I’m looking at it right now. It says I’ve got 1,270 calories left for the day and so far I’ve had cereal and Gatorade. I know the last thing I ate was cereal so I know that I updated you know what I mean. I know those calories are accurate, and I know the watch updated. I know it’s in sync. I don’t need it to say like, last updated at sometime or whatever. I can see my entries. If you long press on it, on the select button, it will slide over and give you a fullscreen version of the widget. If you had more text you could fill a fullscreen of text which actually is quite a lot of, it’s plenty of text. It’s probably 200 characters of text maybe 300. This is mind-blowing. In maybe 10 minutes in using this Pebble Cards app, I did 10 minutes of programming on the Kilo site to create a new controller basically. [00:30:00] Just pointed at the URL and bang! All of a sudden I’ve got glancable information on my watch which again is like one … is probably 15 times a day I’ll probably pull up my phone to see my calories. I pull out the phone, fortunately I don’t have to unlock it anymore but if I’m using my iPhone I have to unlock it and then I’ll go to the net and launch the app, wait for the app to launch and then okay. It’s probably like at least five seconds. Now I just look at the watch, done.
KS: Right. Yeah that’s nice, being able to read the custom cards sounds awesome.
JS: It’s great. I wish you did the multiple ones.
KS: Yeah or you can only have one.
JS: Yeah the one custom card but that leads me to, I’m going to write a watch face that allows you to … this isn’t a watch face it’s an app. There is two kinds of things you can build for or really three kinds of things you can build for a Pebble. One is a straight up app which is just on the watch, it doesn’t really need the phone after the installation and so I’ve got one of those called Seven Minute Workout which is so cool. You basically press go, you start it and it says jumping jacks and it’s got a countdown of, I don’t know how long it is but it shows you this progress bar. You are doing jumping jacks, you’ve got the watch on and then when the progress bar runs out it vibrates so you know to stop. Then you look at it and it says rest and it’s about 30 second countdowns and then it says, next exercise is pushups. Then you are like okay, and you rest and then you get ready for the pushups. Then it buzzes, you start doing the pushups, you don’t have to look at the watch because it buzzes when you are done and then it says rest for three seconds, next up is [00:32:00] squats or whatever.It wouldn’t work with the phone because you’d have to strap the phone to yourself. The exercises are all very different, they are like lounges, and jump up on this chair and do all sorts of things. I’ve literally never done any kind of DVD exercise program or had a trainer. I like going to the gym, I don’t go as much as I used to but this is literally the first time I ever used anything like this and it was great, it’s awesome. I was like damn but anyway the point is that that’s a little stand alone application, it doesn’t need your phone. Basically it doesn’t need any network access or authentication so it can just stand alone on the watch. Then there are companion apps which are like a combination thing so companion app is like an extension of an app that’s on your phone. Like FourSquare is a perfect examples of a companion app.
KS: Yeah it makes sense.
JS: Where you go in and you’ve got full screen on your phone and you install the FourSquare Pebble app and then you install that in your phone but you authenticate inside of the phone so that the watch app knows who you are and can check in for you there and knows …
KS: Right then it can do a couple of things on the watch like check in?
JS: Yes, you basically, you say just want to check in, yeah check in and then it says, “Okay look, places near you,” and then you scroll through a list and find out where you are at and just press on it and checks in. You can’t change any settings like whether or not to show your Facebook or Twitter or whatever. You can’t comment, you can’t turn it on, you just check in. That’s perfect. I’m sort of getting back into FourSquare and the watch is accelerating that process so weeks from now I might get sick of it again, but like check in fatigue. It’s super [00:34:00] great to be able to just look at your watch, click, click, wait a second for it to load the things and boom, check that, done.It’s just one more time you are not pulling your phone on your pocket. Every little thing and not pulling your phone out of your pocket and it’s just making me realize how much I pull my phone on my pocket more and too, how much I like it when I don’t have to.
KS: Yeah, because I get a lot of notifications on my phone throughout the day and it would be super nice to not have to. I am quite often turning on my phone, even when I am sitting at my computer and I get an email, if I am in an editor or doing something I wouldn’t leave the editor to go to my browser to look at Gmail, I’ll pull out my phone.
JS: I do the same thing.
KS: See if it’s something I need to deal with.
JS: Yeah, it’s weird. It speaks to the shift that’s happening and I think it’s important for web designers and web developers because they are the ones that are going to end up building this stuff. Well, yeah, who else is going to do it? Java developers, no, it’s going to be people who are currently building websites and people who are currently building mobile websites. People who are doing IOS development are not going to get into this. I just don’t see that transition, maybe but, maybe you’ve got a really popular app like Four Scare and you get yeah, let’s get one of that.
KS: Let me get into a [inaudible 00:35:28] watch or something.
JS: Yeah probably, that sort of thing more likely. The thing is … I’ve been doing this talk called The Death of The Touchscreen for a while, like for two years and it’s starting to show, I’m starting to see it happen like when I do have to pull out my phone, I’m like, “God, this is annoying.” You pull out your phone and then you just get soaked into notification quick sand and like oh these badges has like, the phone is [00:36:00] becoming really annoying. You don’t want to pull it out because if you pull it out …
KS: Yeah, I get a little mad every time I have to use my phone in sunlight.
JS: [inaudible 00:36:09] that. I mean don’t look, has this ever happened to you, you reach for your phone to do something and then five minutes later you are like, “What was I doing?” Then you put your phone down …
KS: Yeah it’s like I want to tweet away, there is a badge on my email that says eleven and away there is a badge that says I need a system update. There is a badge that says, yeah.
JS: Right and just like you said, like, “I’ll be at the computer, I don’t want to change what I am doing on my computer,” I’m like, oh I forgot to log my serial, I’m going to track my … so I pick up the phone and I am like, “I don’t have to talk, can I just do this and then yeah I’ll just do the updates and it’s finished.” Then put the phone back down, I go back to what I was doing, I’m like, I forgot to log my serial.
KS: Yeah like Android, turning on the Android phone, gets a little watch screen and then up at the top there is this big bar, at the bar at the top there is like just hangouts notification, look like there is an alarm clock that I left on, all this is a little triangle. There is the applications are a bit but what updated it, interesting yeah, this little ray of tiny icons going halfway across the screen that I just can’t ignore.
JS: Yeah it’s really addictive, it’s not really the right word but it just sucks you in. To be able to just do the task … I guess my point is there is a case for lots of more special purpose devices like wearables. Wearable’s is definitely not a fad; it is definitely going to catch on
KS: Yeah it needs more refinement [00:38:00] but it is definitely going to be a thing.
JS: Yeah. In fact we are going to talk about Google Glass compared to a Pebble in a little bit. Really the complain I have about the watch right now is the Bluetooth sucks. It happens to me three times a day that the watch is not connected, it says not connected but my phone says it’s still connected to a trusted device. The phone thinks it’s connected but the watch doesn’t. Then you are like, “Okay, I got to shut off Bluetooth, what do I have to shut?” I shut off Bluetooth on the phone, shut off [inaudible 00:38:38] okay for now forget the phone, forget the phone and the watch, forget the watch and the phone, okay great. Now pair, okay and both of them buzz, okay now pair those recipients venture and that is super annoying.
KS: Complex Bluetooth dance.
JS: Oh my God, it’s the worst but I don’t think there is a better option right now, that’s the drug. ZigBee, that’s not going to happen and like WiFi direct, I don’t think so.
KS: NFC is ...
JS: NFC is too close, yeah. Okay so that brings into another topic, well geez, there is so many things to talk about with the watch. Another topic is, and this is a change of heart that I’ve had, I haven’t spoken this [inaudible 00:39:23] your reaction. When people first started talking about smart watches and before the Samsung one came out even the Pebble one, the Pebble was announced and like it’s lame. It should be able to connect to acuity internet; it should be like a candle. It should have whisper net; it shouldn’t be tethered to a phone. I’m starting to change my mind about that but only because I think it’s going to be … I think [00:40:00]
JS: … When you think about using your phone the way that you use your phone, I still stand by that statement but I think we are going to start using our phones very differently. That is why I think that it might make sense to continue tethering to the phone. Or to put it in another way, I think it makes sense to have one device that’s connected to the internet, not 10. Whether or not that’s your phone is irrelevant to me. It could be a MiFi that you just have in your bag or your bag pocket. Dealing with all these stuff I am like, “There is no way it makes sense to have a cellular connection on every single one of these things.”
KS: No, you want your own little server, where everything goes through.
JS: Yes, you want your own little router.
KS: A little router, yeah.
JS: You want a little own body router that is connected to the internet and can connect devices to it but something more reliable than Bluetooth, please God. Then all of a sudden your phone isn’t your phone anymore, now you have an iPad touch which is a third of the price. Now you have an iPad without 3G which is $200 cheaper. Now you have Google Glass that can work on Wi-Fi without a phone. Now you have, the watch doesn’t or the watch has to have a connection but if it Bluetooth’s to the router the now the watch can connect it back. I do believe that we will see what we currently think of as a modern Smartphone, say iPhone 5S, that’s going to explode into its component parts. The component parts are going to go into the places that they are most appropriate because it’s totally inappropriate to have the radio, [inaudible 00:41:47] cellular radio in the handset, it’s a dumb place to put it. If you are only going to carry one thing okay, it’s self contained, it’s pretty nice but that has a lot of drawbacks, battery life for example [00:42:00] and also weight and size. What if you could take a power? If you had something that would be too big for your hand but still really conveniently sized like say the size of a candle fire, you put it in your bag, it’s got no screen, it’s got a killer battery and it’s got a 4G connection and also it’s a radio, it’s like Bluetooth wireless.
KS: Yeah like the size of a small [inaudible 00:42:25]
JS: Right. Well yeah, but what in, it’s like a bay station. You got the bay station, you keep it in your bag or whatever because I’m still always carrying a bag like a mass, I’ve got my laptop, I’m not going to not carry my laptop. If you’ve got your stuff …
KS: Maybe I have an antenna woven into the fabric of the bag.
JS: Exactly. While you are at it, the solar panel is on the front of the bag, all that stuff you’re reclaiming power from the soles of your shoes as you are walking.
KS: Yeah like Harry’s ring.
JS: Like what?
KS: Like Harry’s ring …
JS: I don’t know what that is. Oh yeah I was [inaudible 00:43:08] pardon me, so Harry, because it’s been so damn long since they released the Dresden novel.
KS: That’s coming out in May.
JS: I can’t wait but yes it is like that. It’s going to be a little while and I think the Smartphone in the existing form factor is still a viable product; it’s still going to be a popular thing for a long time. I would be super happy to go back to MiFi plus, I might as well just do that. Think in this rule, I had a MiFi for a long time and then I gave it up when tethering came to ILS because I was like, “Well why am I paying for both of these plans?” It would be super sweet … [00:44:00] see the problem is, if you have the MiFi that would be great and you could connect it to a decent size external battery for MiFi or whatever. You just keep it in your bag and that’s your connection all the time that would be really cool. The problem is, you still wanted to have Bluetooth or something to connect to the devices that don’t connect to WiFi, that’s interesting. We shall see, people, but I think the bottom line is that the cluster of sensors and actuators and battery power and radio’s that are inside of the smart phone are going to explode into the component parts and get distributed around your person.
KS: Yeah and then you are just going to have a big battery that you …
JS: Yeah, yeah, because a huge battery in a phone would be annoying but a huge battery in your bag is not that bad.
KS: No, it’s not. Speaking of phones that are annoying, just to completely change the topic, I bought a windows phone yesterday.
JS: No way!
JS: Which one?
KS: It’s an older one; it’s a Nokia 520 so it’s one of the older.
JS: Sweet yeah, those are pretty nice though, what color is yours?
KS: They are they are, just black. Keera is getting to the point now where she is staying after school for more things and stuff like that so I wanted to get her a cell phone. Well I just go ahead and get this windows phone and that way if I want to test something on windows phone, I can do that.
JS: Yeah, I’ve actually seen a fair number of those in a while. I’ve seen more of those in public than the iPhone 5s.
KS: That doesn’t surprise but I mean the 520, when I bought the phone, it was 60 bucks so, you know.
JS: Who is the carrier?
KS: It’s just a prepaid cell phone.
JS: Nice like T-Mobile or Comm. That’s pretty [00:46:00] sweet, the windows phones are nice. I like it. The problem is the app getto but they are pretty nice.
KS: Yeah it took me a bit to get used to it.
JS: You got to give in to the paradigm, like the tiles concept and the fact that they match up data from different apps but it’s really convenient. I use … Lumia 920 was my main phone for a couple of weeks, it’s really nice and that’s two year old phone.
KS: It was funny, the 520 is a pretty basic phone but hardware wise it’s a nice little phone. Yeah, the windows, it’s funny because in the process of setting it up and of course you had to create a Microsoft account for a lot of stuff.
JS: Doesn’t that hurt?
KS: Yeah it does and it’s just hilarious when we were doing it because we sat there for an hour last night trying to set things up and we kept getting messages like, “We’re really sorry an error occurred. We’re not sure what happened, try again.” It’s like over and over and over then every single thing we tried to do, we had to do it three or four times. It’s like, “This is not a good first impression for windows phone,” but maybe it was just a network thing and [inaudible 00:47:21]
JS: I didn’t have that experience but I am sure a lot has changed in the meantime. They probably tried to immigrate with all kinds of stuff, it doesn’t work. For me, it was pretty good, I really don’t use that many apps on my phone, it’s like web apps which would work fine and then Twitter, Facebook, Messenger.
KS: Keera [inaudible 00:47:42] right away.
JS: Yeah it’s a sexy little phone.
KS: Yeah, it’s pretty intuitive. For her there was really no learning curves she just spent time, poking around it and was like, “Oh okay, this is how it works, and this is not the dozen, I’m going to put flappy bird on her now.
JS: [00:48:00] It’s nice to have. They are number three, they’ll stay around I’m sure. Anyway I’m really excited about the Pebble, I’ve been talking about it way too long but it’s very exciting and I am definitely going to be writing watch face, definitely an app, maybe a watch face for a Kilo integration. Using the Pebble cards app, right now, if you are using Kilo and you have a Pebble, you can get your calorie information delivered right to your watch screen which is really nice. I also bought a coffee with it and it has a Starbucks app on it, you can just go and put your watch in front of the barcode scanner and beep, you paid.
KS: I would go jealous as I watch.
JS: Think about it, paying at the cashier even with the Starbucks app which is the best one out there in terms of mobile payments. You still have to pull out your phone, swipe open the thing, wait for the app to launch, press the pay now button, the thing clips over, it’s a ten step process that takes five seconds. It definitely takes longer than pointing out your credit card if you don’t have your phone ready.The watch, you just pick up your hand and put it, it’s faster than a credit card. It’s like boom, done, you don’t have to hand anything to anyone, you just bang. It’s hilarious because I’ve done it twice and both times the [inaudible 00:49:35] was like, “Did you just pay with your watch?” I was like, “Yeah,” so like, “That’s cool. I hadn’t seen that one.” I was like, “Yeah there is a new app for your watch now.” They are like, “Cool.”
JS: Yeah it’s very cool.
KS: You’re tempting me; I’m sitting here on a order page.
JS: On the Pebble?
JS: I know. I’m trying to keep myself from [00:50:00] buying a Pebble still because I don’t need one. They are better looking in the plastic one but they are not that great.
KS: Yeah, not $100 great.
JS: Well, if I didn’t have one at all I might go that way and use the leather band and the silver one but I already have one and I think I paid $150 for it. It’s like spend another 250 to have two of them, I don’t know.
KS: Yeah, I’m sitting there and going, black or red?
JS: Good, yeah you are looking on the plastic ones. I’ll tell you though, you remember some Swatches from the 80s or whatever, they look like that, they are very plastic. They make them look a lot nice in the website because that looks very glassy but it’s not. When you get it you are like, “Oh that’s plastic.” They look like cheap watches, somewhat cheap stylish, hipster stylish. I got the white one which was dumb.
KS: No, I don’t like white.
JS: Yeah, don’t get white.
KS: [Inaudible 00:51:09] black one. Maybe the red one would match my phone though.
JS: Black is safe, red is probably … I get nervous with colors like it’s going to clash with something, horribly clash with something.
KS: Maybe the red would have matched my phone.
JS: Yeah that’s a good idea.
KS: Yeah, the red phone.
JS: Then you won’t clash.
KS: Accessorizing my accessories.
JS: Do it and if you are interested in getting [inaudible 00:51:33] from us you have a meter problem.
KS: If you are interested in getting stuff that’s from us, I would like to remind you that I am legally blonde.
JS: And we both play DND. Moving on, it’s a pretty good segway actually in the wearable’s department to Google Glass. I have had Google Glass for … I’m just going to say glass because I can’t say Google Glass. [00:52:00]
KS: No. I feel like an infant, Google glasses …
JS: Yeah, goo goo gah gah. I’ve had glass for two weeks now or something like that and …
KS: My instinct and jealousy has worn off because it sounds like there is something bad with it. It doesn’t sound like [inaudible 00:52:17]
JS: You can live without it, but you wouldn’t like that. Here is the thing and everybody I have talked to that has them … first of all I’ve talked to, in person with three people who own Google Glass and none of them had them with them. Right off the bet you are like okay.
KS: I no longer want this [inaudible 00:52:42] or something.
JS: I can definitely live without this and I will absolutely send it to you so you can check them out because they are worth checking out. Comparing them to the Pebble especially with this new update with the apps on it is like it gives me a really clear [denuation 00:53:04] between what the two things are. I don’t know if Google tried to this, I don’t know if this was their intention or not but here is what I think they’ve done. They completely brought the concept of the heads up display wearables into the mainstream consciousness. I’ve worn them out in public a couple of times and I have that, I don’t want to. When they first were announced I was like, “I would totally wear those in public,” but now that there has been so many negative press stories about people getting into fights and stuff I start to second guess that and I’ve only worn it on public twice or three times. One time I was going to be in the car the whole time so no one was going to see me. One time I went out with them, nobody came up to me although I caught a couple of people [00:54:00] thinking about it, you could see they were thinking about it. Another time I wore them and two people came up to me separately and totally knew what … one person came out to me and said, “So, do they work?” and excited. By the tone of her voice you could tell, “Shit that was kind of cool,” and we were at the coffee shop, she was cleaning up her stuff or whatever. I was like, “Yeah they are pretty cool. I wouldn’t go out and spend $1500 on it if I was a regular person but they are pretty cool.” Another lady came up, she said something similar but she looked like she had more time in her hands so I took them off and I said, “Here try them on.” She jumped at the chance and she was pretty wowed by it. The initial impression is very wow like, “Oh man, there is a transparent screen right there, I can just totally see it, but I can see through it too.” That experience of having a translucent heads up display is very powerful. Five minutes later you are like, “What am I going to do with it, really?” Interestingly enough in both cases, both of those people were older than my mother. You are talking like late 60s, I’ll give them some credit, maybe somewhere in their 60s, two 60 year old females completely knew what Google Glass, knew what it was. That wasn’t even like, “What is that?” they knew exactly what it was. It is completely a mainstream concept. I think that in itself is a good thing. The other thing that I think is that whether they meant to or not, this is a moon shot. There are a bunch of things that you could do to Glass to tone it down that would make it a more viable consumer product but I think that [00:56:00] that was never their intention. In fact I think Larry was quoted as saying, he’s like, “Yeah, they are socially unacceptable, well that’s not a good reason not to build it.” To me that says that he’s never planning on selling it because he doesn’t care about an important thing, they weren’t like sales. Weirdly they went and they had nice prescription lenses etcetera, etcetera but I really think that it’s more of a …. You could take the camera off and all the bad news will be gone away so you just don’t have a camera. You don’t use it that much, the pictures suck. It’s like just have the screen or there is lots of things you could do to make it better and make it less obtrusive or whatever. You can take off the touch, you can change the way the touch thing work, you can have it just be notification, it has a lot of features and accelerometer and geo and the touchpad and it’s just tons of stuff going on. If they did that though, if they hadn’t left all those things off you wouldn’t, as a developer you wouldn’t be like, “Oh my God, I need to think of a whole new way of programming with this kind of …”
KS: Right, I’ll reach the time which means I can first date it too.
JS: Right, exactly. If they did that it would have turned into the Pebble watch on your face. It would be like, the glass is a total moonshine, it’s from the future. It’s not from the old.
KS: They are not trying to create a consumer product that, use your heads up display to look at information. They are trying to change the way [00:58:00] you interact with computers.
JS: Exactly and you can feel it. When you have it on, I feel like I’m in the future, this feels like a future. It stars glitters and there is stuff that could be smoothed out from the user experience but that’s like nit picking. You feel like you are from the future.
KS: Yeah just don’t search for pictures of Millennium Falcons.
JS: Do you really think I should tell that story?
KS: I think you should, we can delete the other parts that you’ve left out.
JS: All right, so this is not safe for work. One of the things I’ve been dying to do with glass is to get Coopers reaction to it because he is super comfortable with iPads and he’s started to get more comfortable with laptops, regular computers and stuff. I was like, “I wonder what his reaction would be to the screen right there?” I tried to put it on him a couple of times and he’s just very picky, he is like, “No, no.” He’s just not interested so okay. The thing is, I think if he saw that there was a screen there, that he would be more interested in it. If I try to put regular glasses on him he’d say no way. At night where we go out [inaudible 00:59:16] he’s going to bank that and he sleeps in the bottom. We go to the bottom and read books and stuff so he was talking about Millennium Falcon or something and a lot of times, we’ll Google stuff on my phone and just read a Star Wars book and then I’ll ask about something and I’m like, “Okay we’ll look at pictures of [inaudible 00:59:35] or whatever. He was talking about Millennium Falcon and I was like, “I know what I’ll do.”He’s very tuned into when I say, okay Google now or like, “Okay glass,” he gets distracted and he knows I’m not talking to him, he knows I’m talking to Google which is more scary too. [01:00:00] I didn’t want to do that because it would cause a tension to it, I want to be really sorted so I was like, “I have this plan. I’ve formulated this plan to …”
KS: Sort of total that plan?
JS: Total that plan and this is on the fly, just thinking on my feet and you can tap the glasses to call up the search so you don’t have to say, “Okay glass.” You tap on it, so I got into the Google Search without him noticing.
KS: Right, you were laying next to him on the bed and he could see the glasses’ screen?
JS: Right. My plan was to sneakily Google for Millennium Falcon and then be like, “Look dude, they’re right there, look closely, there is not any falcons right there, in that glass right there.” I didn’t want him to hear me search for it so I wanted to time it. I was like, “Oh, what we should do is search for images of the Millennium Falcon,” and I tapped on the search right, at the point in the sentence where I was seeing images, or like pictures of Millennium Falcon. If you haven’t used Google Now or any of these voice recognition things, what happens is it types out what it thinks you said and then it executes the search a second later. I go, “Look, there is pictures of the Millennium Falcon,” and it goes bloop, pictures of ladies and I was like, “Oh my God, don’t look,” trying to swipe down so it wouldn’t continue to swap down to cancel, oh my God. I was like, “Forget these things, get this out of here.” Normally with the verbal stuff, it won’t even recognize the word sucks. I was like, “How did it get ladies ethering at a Millennium Falcon?” [01:02:00] I promise it was not for my search history, I haven’t taken glass to that level yet. I was like, “So total tech fail.” Anyway the point with glass verses the pedal is that glass is from the future, it’s a moon shot, it’s for developers to think way outside of the box. How people could interact with computers in the future. The watch is super right now, the watch is cutting Android now.
KS: Very practical.
JS: Yeah, nobody is going to like look at you for wearing a watch, no one even notices it. It’s super convenient and that’s the other thing. Glasses, even if I’m not using the screen, they give me a headache within an hour. I just get headaches from glasses, like sunglasses, any kind of glasses so I just can’t wear them. It’s like I’m not going to go home with a headache.
KS: I have prescription glasses and I think this one was made for, I’m like, “Yeah but I have a $650 pair of glasses.” I’m not going to get ones that’s made for Google glass in addition to that.
JS: No, some have done it, you should really try them out, they’ll blow your mind.
KS: Yeah I do want to try them out.
JS: Yeah, they’ll blow your mind but you don’t want to actually use them. Interestingly enough Sundar Pichai from Google announced that within a week or two they are going to release an Androidestic key for wearables. They are kind of over the road if you ask me with, there is the glass wear API which is really a sweet concept.
KS: Yeah doesn’t say buy, what was the watch they bought?
JS: WIMM as a matter of fact, good memory. WIMM I bought and in fact WIMM is the reason why I bought a Pebble because I have a WIMM and another black smart watch. WIMM is [01:04:00] a little tiny computer with a watch band. It’s like a touchscreen, it has Wi-Fi, it can browse the internet, you can take it out of the band very easily and put it somewhere else. That’s what people are talking about, they are like, “Oh a little sort of Android [inaudible 01:04:19] run Android,” way back when it was like 2.1 I think.Then Google bought them and now they are going to release it as Android STK which has had probably a year at least or two years of polish and testing from this WIMM team and who knows what’s going to come out of it. He said, people were like, well [inaudible 01:04:40] some watches, there is going to be the way the glass works, you are going to put Android in glass and he was very like, “We see ourselves as a platform provider and people can build whatever they want, how it will rise.” They were like maybe they will release a Nexus watch, a reference hardware so people know what you could do with it, like what you could do with the Nexus phones. He even mentioned a jacket and I was like wow. You can follow Google for a lot of things but they think big. Anyway so with this long memo about wearable’s and programming and stuff, it all just goes to reinforce like what we’ve been seeing for a year and half or two years. Which is like, you got to have API’s, you can’t think too much about a particular client rendering or a particular layout. This stuff is just going to explode into a million bits; it’s exploding into a million bits.
KS: There is more and more things that we need to get information out to various small screens or screens that don’t render HTML or screens that aren’t real screens.
JS: Yeah, imagining [01:06:00] the virtual screens, the watch as a matter of fact, I don’t want to sign off before I mention. I violated our own principles with my first integration of the Kilo for Pebble because I was like, “Oh, this is only going to run, there is no other place this can run.” I have a very little bit of real estate so I found myself wanting to format the text to the extent that I could. It only takes plain text, no tags or anything. I put a couple of current returns in the content and to format it to fit the lower half of the screen on the watch face. Sure enough then I discovered that you could slide over to a full screen view, full screen air quotes like in inch diagonal and oh it looks like crap there. I inserted layout information into the content and it screwed me within an hour. It was just like, “Dude don’t do it,” like, “Why, why did you do that? You know not to do that,” and I totally did it. If there was a one line view, a bunch of data that could have been on that line would have been pushed out of view. I knew I should do that … I was doing it; I was like, “Wow, I always tell people not to do this but it’s fine here.” Do not insert layout into your content, I’m going to get that tattooed to my hand, so ridiculous. All right that’s our show for this week. I’m Jonathan Stark …
KS: I’m Kelli Shaver.
JS: We hope you join us again next week for the 100th episode of the podcast. Bye.
KS: Bye. [Music] [01:08:00] [Music][01:10:00]