Virginia’s online voter registration will be extended after a system crash. Montgomery County keeps Marriott headquarters local with big incentives. And Washington D.C. dukes it out with Washington state over their shared moniker.
New person-to-person data encryption can make your cell phone or tablet more secure. New Google features could help you buy your next car. And new apps help you manage your brackets as March Madness begins. The Computer Guys and Gal share their wisdom on all things tech.
- Allison Druin WAMU Computer Gal; ADVANCE Professor of the STEM Senior Women's Council & Co-Director of the Future of Information Alliance, University of Maryland
- John Gilroy WAMU Computer Guy; and Director of Business Development, Armature Corporation
- Bill Harlow WAMU Computer Guy; and Hardware & Software Technician for MACs & PCs at Mid-Atlantic Consulting, Inc.
Computer Guys And Gal Picks
- Top five data security travel issues: Protect sensitive information on business trips (ComputerWeekly.com)
- Kojo Nnamdi denies “sleep texting” press conference tomorrow
- Sophisticated, articulate Alan Paller from SANS had free newsletter. Title, “OUCH.”
- Redmond nightmare: must become like Apple and Google!
- Just because you have an app doesn’t mean you are healthy
- Here’s a variation on “crooks are dumb” this time, “crooks are smart”
- For the umpteenth time “If the product is free YOU are the product”
- Foul tweets can get you fired, especially if you are a faux tweeter
- Apps rocket toward $25 billion in sales – Allison will be “appy”
- AAA HAAA! Allison’s fascination with a walking desk – It’s all about the calories
- Today’s paradox: when smaller is bigger (only in tablet sales)
- The silence of the nerds
-March Madness- what tech issues make me mad?
- NETFLIX ENDS DEVELOPER PROGRAM
The company will no longer offer a test environment for developers and its
developer portal is already set to be read-only. The company says these
changes, are designed to allow NetFlix to focus on supporting the products
and features used most by our members. Its developer program, Netflix
argues, has shifted over the past few years and is now more about
supporting all of the devices that are used by its 33 million members to
stream shows and movies. The move is reminiscent of recent changes by
Twitter, where as each company has grown it’s decided having control over
the user experience through its own official apps outweighs allowing the
community to build and extend access as it sees fit.
- SIMCITY IS A MESS
Given the mass popularity of the SimCity series and the glowing praise the
game received ahead of release from press, it was no surprise that the
sheer number of customers trying to snag the game — and subsequently,
play it — overwhelmed EA’s servers. It didn’t help that the new SimCity
requires a constant connection to EA’s servers. The result? Days of choppy
play, or, more often, an inability to access the game at all. Worse yet,
EA’s started shutting off parts of the game in hopes of lowering server
loads across the board, which (understandably) angered many players.
- AFTER ALL THESE YEARS- ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING IS BEING GLORIFIED
A new documentary, ³Downloaded,² will have its world premiere at the South
by Southwest Film Conference and Festival. This film documents Napster
with the participation of Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean
Parker. ³Downloaded² charts the rise and fall of the music file-sharing
service, which had 25 million users before shutting down in 2001, and
presaged the explosion of Internet communities and the widespread piracy
of media on the Web.
-March Madness- what tech helps you march?
- ARE WE MARCHING INTO MADNESS WITH GOOGLE CARS?
In the San Francisco Bay Area, certain car-related Google searches won¹t
just turn up links to car makers and dealers.Clicking the link to an
individual car will show on the right, the dealer¹s address and phone
number, as well as a big red ³get quote² button. Right now, clicking ³get
quote² will only send a dealer your first name and a proxy phone number
and email address. Google will only forward dealers¹ calls and emails to
you a limited number of times before cutting them off to keep
them from pestering you forever.³Google couldn¹t officially sell the car,²
Pasch says, ³but they could really facilitate the entire transaction.²
- THE BOY SCOUTS ARE MARCHING INTO GAME DESIGN
The Boy Scouts of America will be introducing a new “Game Design” Merit
Badge later this year. The Boy Scouts reportedly spent two years designing
the new badge’s
requirements with input from individuals working in the games industry.To
earn the badge, a Scout will take a look at different types of games,
analyze them for their content and themes, and demonstrate an
understanding of intellectual property. He will then keep a notebook
charting the design of his own theoretical game project, from concept, to
design, to testing at official Scout functions, and incorporating
that feedback into the game. Once that has been approved, the Scout will
design an actual prototype of his game, and just about any medium is
acceptable. Note that this badge is different than the already existing
“video game” badge where boy scouts have to demonstrate knowledge of the
video game rating system, creating a
schedule balancing gaming with schoolwork and chores, and learning to
play any new video game that is approved by a parent, guardian or
- KEEP IT MOVING WITH KINECT!
Microsoft on Tuesday demonstrated added hand gesture functionality for its
Kinect technology, which is being adapted to let users not only wave
their hands, but clench their fists and pinch their fingers to pan and
scroll through an on-screen app. The company showed the latest version of
Kinect during its annual TechFest conference, which highlights
developmental projects underway at Microsoft Research. The Kinect contains
a camera, audio sensors and motion-sensing technology that tracks 48
points of movement on the human body. It can reportedly perform
full-motion tracking of the human body at 30 frames per second.
-March Madness- what tech can you use to think about basketball?
- WHO DOESN’T NEED A MOBILE APP FOR BRACKETS?
The PocketBracket iPhone/iPad app (Pure Concepts LLC , $0.99) lets
you create unlimited March Madness brackets and share them with your
friends on Facebook, Twitter, or email. You can also organize private or
public tournament pools. Once the NCAA tournament starts, your bracket is
automatically updated. Not sure
which team to pick in what game? Use the app’s SmartPick feature for a
- CONNECT TO MARCH MADNESS YOUR FREE ANDROID AP
ESPN ScoreCenter offers a free Android App for checking news and standings
from sports leagues around the world. The new Android ESPN app makes it
easy to follow favorite teams, latest scores with personalized scoreboards
- MARCH MADNESS HISTORY ON YOUTUBE
NCAA OnDemand is home to hundreds of the best clips from years of the
In addition to various clips from the NCAA, there¹s also a bunch of
playlists, including buzzer beaters, Final Four highlights, great
upsets, and the best dunks. All clips and playlists have been tagged to
make them easy to find and share with others. NCAA will ask users to
determine the most memorable players, teams, and moments, through an
- Sandy Hook Arcade: Healing Through Gaming:
- In addition to EA’s Sim City debacle, they’re also showing how to ruin freemium gaming with Real Racing 3:
You could spend a fortune repairing your virtual car. As Eurogamer puts it, they’re accurately simulating that auto racing is a rich man’s game.
- PlayStation 4 finally revealed (release at the end of the year):
It looks to resemble a gaming PC in several ways. From an experience standpoint, Sony hopes make gaming a lot more seamless, minimizing installation and update waits and offering full-system hibernation. Is console gaming long for this world though?
- On the low end, Ouya is launching soon!
Kickstarter backers are seeing it at the end of the month. It should be available to the public in June. It’s a very low cost Android based game console. $99 could get you a LOT of entertainment.
- Kickstarted movies at the Oscars:
- And Inocente won!:
- And a movie partially filmed with an iPhone app won an Oscar:
Malik Bendjelloul, director of “Searching for Sugar Man”, ran out of money and couldn’t continue shooting on Super 8 film. He got the same look using the 8mm Vintage Camera app and was able to finish his documentary.
Spring (email) Cleaning!
- Sanebox (service for a variety of mail providers):
Automatic filtering to present only what’s really important right now.
- Mailbox app and service for iPhone:
More manual intervention, but allows you to quickly defer mail and keep your inbox lean. Reservation required.
- Google publishes what it (legally) can regarding FBI’s requests of Google customer info:
They’re required to not be too specific, so they discuss requests in time and quantity ranges.
- Google Glass, pot-to-kettle edition:
A traditional big screen smartphone is emasculating, but Borg smart glasses on your face are cool, according to Sergei Bryn. (There’s already a NSFW epithet for it!) I do think it’s fascinating tech though.
- Save even more on refurb Macs? Apple quietly selling refurbs on ebay:
Apple doesn’t make the cheapest stuff, so every discount helps. And I’ve been happy with their refurb products in the past.
- And speaking of saving money, how much of a scam is printer ink?:
Answer: It looks like it’s a huge scam. Cartridges keep getting smaller and smaller, and yet prices haven’t gone down with capacity. And now you know why an all-in-one scanner/fax/copier/printer can sell for under $100.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's The Computer Guys & Gal. With stories of Chinese hackers filling the headlines, do you worry about security on your own personal devices? A local D.C. company has new person-to-person encryption that can turn your private smartphone or tablet into a secured device.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAs a parent, do you worry about your kids spending too much time online? The Boys Scouts of America are introducing a new merit badge for game design, joining the video game badge they already award for balancing gaming, school work and your chores. And as a sports fan, do you worry about which teams to pick and how to keep track of them in this year's college basketball tournament? Fear not...
MR. KOJO NNAMDI...there's an app for that. The Computer Guys & Gal will join us to discuss the latest apps, gadgets and tech news. Allison Druin, she's ADVANCE professor of the STEM Senior Women's Council and co-director of the Future of Information Alliance at the University of Maryland. Allison Druin, welcome.
MS. ALLISON DRUINThank you.
MR. JOHN GILROYOh, what a title. I love it.
NNAMDIJohn Gilroy is director of business development at Armature Corp. He is no -- not a candidate for pope. John Gilroy...
GILROYI want to talk about the red shoes. That's what I talk about today.
NNAMDIThat's why you're not a candidate.
NNAMDIBill Harlow is a hardware and software technician for Macs and PCs at Mid-Atlantic Consulting Inc. Bill, how is it going?
MR. BILL HARLOWGoing well.
NNAMDIAnd if you'd like to join the conversation, you can call us at 800-433-8850. An early tease here -- have you tried the new SimCity? How do you feel about having to be connected online in order to play? 800-433-8850. But before we get to that, John Gilroy, Microsoft, it's got a new software duo Windows 8 that runs on computers and smartphones. But new numbers now show that the company's products are only running on some 30 percent of consumer computing devices, meaning 70 percent of devices are Microsoft-free. What does the future look like for Microsoft?
NNAMDIThat's been a rapid 40 percent decline.
GILROYWell, back when I was in grade school, when they first released Microsoft products, they -- it was surprising because they were in a big fight then. And if there are some listeners, remember back in the '80s, there were, like, 30 or 40 companies that had word processing products. You'd spend $10,000 for a word processor. Then the '90s, there were 10, 15 companies that had word processing software, and Microsoft won. And they dominated in the personal computers at home.
GILROYNow, we see a transition to tablets, and the tablets seem to take over. You know, we talk about the 700 million smartphones sold last year. But, you know, companies like Google are getting a lot of revenue from advertising on tablets. So I think what's happening is Microsoft is trying very hard but failing.
NNAMDISo what's the future of word processing?
GILROYWell, I think it's going to be something on a tablet's all I know, and maybe it's going to be a lot of voice recognition and some software. And maybe -- we've be looking at voice recognition for 20 years now. Maybe it's going to come to the point where, you know, I think it's the point when my wife is looking at the pantry and talking to her iPad to get the food list. I mean, this is -- that's what's going to happen. I think it's in transition, something voice-based. We don't know what yet.
DRUINBut it's also -- let me just jump in. I'm sorry.
NNAMDIPlease do, Allison.
DRUINAnd to say that, you know, I think Google Docs has really eaten into word processing as well because the share -- the ability to share your writing with a number of people has been really, really important. And so a lot of times people will end up, you know, just converting it into a Microsoft Word document or a PDF afterwards. And so that you see a lot more of that on online and doing the writing, and then I ship it off.
HARLOWYeah. I wonder if it's just, like, a lot of little, you know, not any one big competitor but a lot of little things people use that are free for their phones or the tablets or what have you. And that, you know, as a whole is what is eating into Microsoft.
GILROYAnd it's a saturated market, too.
GILROYI mean, you know, most people have the products already, so it will be an interesting development here in the next few years.
NNAMDIHave you given up on Microsoft Word? What are you using instead? 800-433-8850. More importantly, John Gilroy, are you wearing new glasses?
DRUINYou just noticed?
GILROYI spent the big bucks. I went into Wegmans, and I walk over to the eyeglass thing. And I just picked the first one out there, so I spent the big bucks on these. They're very stylish, I might add.
DRUINVery spicy, very spicy, yeah.
NNAMDIYou think they're very stylish?
GILROYWhoa. Look at the camera with that face. I should just put that one on my Twitter.
NNAMDIVideo game maker Electronic Arts had a good news-bad news experience last week. The latest version of its popular SimCity game got great reviews in advance of its launch, but the launch itself drew so many players they overwhelmed the Electronic Arts server and made the debut a bumpy ride for frustrated players. What are the lessons to be learned here?
DRUINOh, a lot of lessons. One of which is that you can't test things the way you used to think you could test things. Nowadays, with big data, with a lot of people all showing up in the same place, you've got to test server load. You have to be able to think about phasing in user communities. You can't just do it the way you used to with open the door, everyone come on in right now.
GILROYI've got to imagine they did test that, but it seems like when you have something that's this popular and it's online, no matter what you're going to do to test, it's going to fail. I mean...
GILROY...it happened with Blizzard and Diablo. It's happened with other online games. It's -- I don't know what the answer is, other than be less popular.
DRUINBut, Bill, what do you think about the fact that they chose to make it only online?
HARLOWOh, I think that is a huge mistake. That's a design mistake.
HARLOWThat's got nothing to do with server load. For a single-player experience, there should be no reason why you need to maintain an online connection to a server you have no control over.
DRUINOh, no. It does have everything to do with server load, though, because if you choose that feature, which is crazy to begin with, then you have to make sure you really are testing server load because that becomes your experience. So it's a bad thing.
NNAMDIWell, Joshua in Crawford, Md. has something to say about that. Joshua, your turn.
JOSHUAYeah. I bought SimCity, pre-ordered it and everything. And what's really amazing was that they actually did phase everyone in. So it was -- depending on where you were, like, what part of the world you're in, that's when you got in. So Friday was Europe, for example. And it's just amazing that, even with the entire fan base telling them, "Hey, by the way, you probably should make sure you have enough, you know, server support after the Diablo III launch," and everyone telling them what a terrible idea this was, they continued to do it for a better part of a year.
JOSHUAAnd I just -- I can't -- it's such a great game in and of itself, but there's still features disabled. And there's still things you can't do because they just didn't plan for this. And then they had a beta to test server load, and it was only a weekend beta. You only could play it for three days. So I don't know how you can test anything in three days and then also restrict features on the beta.
NNAMDII got news for them: Hire Joshua. Tell them he will...
GILROYYeah, that's the answer.
DRUINJoshua, did you get a free game? 'Cause apparently those who suffered are getting a free game. I don't think it's...
JOSHUASo they -- the first thing, if you pre-ordered it, you got a $20 coupon on the next game you buy. And then this past -- this week, they said that they're going to give a free game from E.A. Library, and I don't know what the restrictions on it are yet 'cause it doesn't come out till, like, the 28th.
JOSHUABut then you can ticket one out, and then it's for free apparently.
DRUINYes. So make sure, if you're one of those that suffered, make sure you go and pick out your game. I don't know if it's worth it or not, but you should try it.
GILROYSuffered -- let's not use this word if you can't play a game you're a suffering.
DRUINYou're suffering. You really are.
GILROYYou think so?
GILROYPut that in your Funk & Wagnalls. I mean, come on, now, suffer?
NNAMDISpeaking of John Gilroy with an issue that he raised earlier...
NNAMDI...I think Belle in Silver Spring, Md. wants to address that, the disappearance of Microsoft. Belle, you're on the air. Go ahead, please. Belle?
BELLEYeah, I'm here, I'm here. Thank you. I have both an iPad tablet and an Android phone. And my preferred word processing program is Microsoft. And on each of the devices that I have, when I'm on the go, I've been unable to find either a way to access Microsoft Word or to get some comparable word processing program. And I've been using Google Docs as my default, but I actually don't find the editing to be as easy. And I wanted to know whether any of your guests have some suggestions as to what kind of a good word processing program I could use on my devices.
HARLOWWell, I guess the first thing I'd say is, with time, I'd be curious to see if Microsoft releases anything for, say, the iPad. There have been rumors going on forever that they're going to release some form of Office suite for the iPad tablet. And as far as third-party, there is Documents To Go, which kind of has some analogs to the Office suite.
HARLOWSo you've got something that will work with the Word documents, with PowerPoint documents, with Excel documents. And then Apple's Pages, it's not -- I wouldn't say it's exactly analogous to Microsoft Word, but it does have a lot of really comprehensive layout feature. So you can do some pretty powerful things with it on your iPad.
NNAMDIAnd this email we got from Brian in Cleveland Park might interest you, Belle. In reference to your question about word processer, "I have found myself using Evernote quite a bit recently. It has a rudimentary word processing function, but its real utility is its ability to switch across devices. I can write something on Microsoft Word at the office and paste it into my Web version of Evernote, then open it on my iPad or iPhone."
NNAMDIInteroperability is key. I recently heard that Evernote is being banned by some employers, most notably the Congress of the United States. What say you? Has anybody heard anything about that?
DRUINYeah. Interoperability is a really good thing for the rest of us, but in the government, obviously, you know that they have to make sure that things don't go home in certain ways. So, yes, you've got to be careful about privacy and security.
NNAMDIBelle, thank you very much for your call. Bill, speaking of games, you're unhappy about a new car racing game from Electronic Arts called Real Racing 3. It captures the high-priced world of premium car racing, but critics say it also takes players for a ride, charging a lot to stay in the game. What is your beef with this model of free to play games?
HARLOWWell, the free to play or so-called freemium games are an interesting way to monetize games. The idea is that you create something that is a full-fledged game experience, not something lightweight for, like, five minutes on the go but something that could compare to something for a PC or your Xbox or PlayStation. But they're not -- you know, they're not going to be free.
HARLOWIf you're making something this good, they -- you have to get paid to do it. So on the case of Real Racing, they're just finding, I guess, all the wrong patterns to engage into to monetize it. So rather than giving you a really compelling experience that you can stay with and enjoy and get something on it for free and maybe expand upon with purchases, it kind of locks you down.
HARLOWIt's -- you have to spend so much in-game money and spend so much time earning this in-game money that you -- it may be cheaper to race a real car in real life because you have to handle maintenance based on wear and tear, any accidents during races, any parts you need to buy or replace on the car, new cars. All this stuff costs money. All of it takes time to implement, but they'll sell you in-game gold packs for, like, 1,000 points for about 100 bucks, which to me is insane for a game I'm playing on my tablet or phone.
HARLOWBut there you go. The good news is, you know, it's not the only game in town. There are so many good racing games out there for other devices as well so...
DRUINWho pays $100 for that?
HARLOWI hope nobody. Do not reward this behavior.
GILROYDid you notice that he didn't say notebook or desktop? He said on his tablet or phone. That's the transition.
NNAMDI800-433-8850 if you'd like to join the conversation with The Computer Guys & Gal. Here's another question for you. What is your favorite new product? Would you put an encryption app on your phone or invest in a PlayStation 4? 800-433-8850. You can send us a tweet, @kojoshow, using the #TechTuesday, or email to email@example.com.
NNAMDIJohn Gilroy, with all the talk about Chinese hackers attacking American companies, there's now new concern about online security. The D.C.-based startup company Silent Circle has a new app that allows individuals to send encrypted data from a smartphone or tablet. Is that something we'll all be doing soon?
GILROYNo, but we have to think it through. I think you have to consider what about software encryption, what about hardware encryption. Last month, I talked about a local company in Rockville called KoolSpan with a K, K-O-O-L, and they do hardware encryption. So that means to pick up the phone, you want to call Kojo, you want to say something secure, you don't have to reconsider and make sure all the software is connected and working properly.
GILROYAnd I think that's going to be increasing. People are going to think more and more of it. You know, as personal computers years ago were on the streets a long time before they even thought about antivirus and even firewalls. In '97, '98, people said, firewalls? That's strange. If something is going to happen with the phones, is here and it's 15, 18 years later, they're going to say, oh, maybe I should consider encryption.
GILROYI think that, in fact, that would be a good show for Tech Tuesday, is talk about hardware versus software encryption on mobile devices and strengths and weaknesses because I have three grown kids. Kids tend to forget things, and humans tend to forget things. And I'm kind of leaning towards the hardware encryption. But I think there are responsible people. Probably Bill and Allison will be responsible enough to use it properly. But someone like me, I just -- I'd probably screw up without the hardware.
NNAMDIWell, since a lot of us are doing banking on our mobile devices...
GILROYYep. There we go.
NNAMDI...maybe this question from Raphael in Bethesda, Md., might apply. Raphael, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
RAPHAELGood afternoon, everyone. I am, like a lot of people, have my -- rely on my bank to keep my financial data of checks and payments and balances as well as my retirement investments on -- in the computer databases. And I am wondering if I should be concerned about that data being target of a cyber attack. And what should I prepare in case the bank tell me that my balance have been wiped out or something like that?
GILROYWell, as the folks down at FDIC that have something to say about that. And a lot of that, it's protected, Raphael. I think the strategy you want to think about is to be heterogeneous. There are certain strengths to being heterogeneous. I wouldn't keep anything and any one account in one area. I'd spread it out through many different areas, spread it out through different types of investments.
GILROYI sure wouldn't rely on one bank. It almost implied that he was just relying on one bank for all this. So I think I would rely on the FDIC's guarantee is right down across from the White House, an executive office building. And I would go from there. I don't think it's much to worry about personally. But I don't own a bank.
NNAMDIOr take classes in panhandling, Raphael. No, no, no. The FDIC will probably protect you.
GILROYYou're not going to -- don't worry. Yeah.
NNAMDIThe U.S. government yesterday called on China to stop stealing data from American computer networks and agreed to international norms of behavior in cyberspace. This following reports that a cyber unit in the Chinese military has hacked companies from Google to The New York Times. Is this salvo likely to have any impact at all in your opinion?
DRUINActually, I think that this is just the beginning. Unfortunately, if we don't have global conversations about what are the standards for what we call a norm, we're not going to be, you know, this is just the beginning. I would suspect that that there are other countries or other people out there already doing this. China got caught.
HARLOWYeah. I think that's the news that they caught and that the conversation's happening. That's the news.
DRUINExactly. And, you know, look, all the United States wants is public recognition that this thing happened. They want China to crack down on their hackers, and they just want to agree to have a conversation about, you know, global standards. That's not unreasonable. I mean, any teacher in grade school would ask for the same thing if you got caught stealing.
NNAMDIConversation, yes. But what are the odds that we'll be seeing new global standards come into place for how to behave in cyberspace?
DRUINYou know what, it's not even that we might have those standards. It's the dialogue that's needed, OK? As long as we're having a dialogue, then more people understand what the norms would be because I don't actually believe they're ever going to agree on anything. God knows we don't agree on anything because of cultural differences. How can we agree on anything having to do with, you know, technology differences? But that goes to the question is, what is confidential? What's credible? What's transparency? All these things are different depending on culture.
GILROYYou know, Kojo, this is a street fight, and rule number one on the street fight is there's no rules in a street fight. And there can be no rules here. It's going to be the toughest guy is going to win. And I think we're smart and creative and tough, and we're going after them. They're going to go after us, and someone's going to go either reach parity. But there's not -- I can't believe someone's going to sit down and say, OK now. You don't look at my files, and that's not going to happen. There's going to be a vicious fight.
HARLOWThey can say publicly.
GILROYThey may say that, but it's going to be a street fight.
NNAMDIIf this is an issue you're interested in, you may want to go into our archives for our show that we aired on Feb. 26 when Tech Tuesday talked with a local company that is in the thick of this debate. We've talked with Richard Bejtlich from Mandiant. You can check that conversation online on Feb. 26. Mandiant being the company that has been looking into this for major newspapers and others.
NNAMDIWe're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with the Computer Guys & Gal and take your calls at 800-433-8850, or you can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back with our conversation with the Computer Guys & Gal. John Gilroy is director of business development at Armature Corp. Bill Harlow is software -- hardware and software technician for Macs & PCs at Mid-Atlantic Consulting Inc., and Allison Druin is undergoing a change in title, which we will reveal at a later date.
NNAMDIFor the time being...
NNAMDI...is still ADVANCE Professor of the STEM Senior Women's Council and co-Director of the Future of Information Alliance at the University of Maryland. The Boy Scouts of America...
NNAMDIThe Boy Scouts are at the Southwest Gaming Expo this week to unveil their new merit badge for game design. Boy Scouts can already earn a video game badge for demonstrating they know the game rating system and for creating a schedule that balances gaming with schoolwork and chores. Will the new badge ultimately create more game developers, Allison?
DRUINI think this is an interesting badge because what it's saying is, folks, you know, don't just learn how to make fires now. You've got to look out there, see what the, you know, see what the computer content and gaming is out there. You have to understand what intellectual property means. And you actually have to design a theoretical game, OK? They have something interesting, though, with this badge. They say that you have to get it -- once you design your game, OK, you have to get it approved. And I don't know what approved means.
DRUINYeah. I mean, does it mean like, no, you know, sexual content in your badge or something? But anyway, but then you can actually design an actual prototype, and they don't limit it to, oh, you have to do it in a certain language or in a certain way. And it can be -- any medium is acceptable. But I think it's a great process badge 'cause it says, hey, this is a good way of thinking about moving forward into the future. And, in fact, actually speaking in the future, in July, they'll have a programming badge as well.
HARLOWI mean, just -- some fascinating problem solving going on in getting that kind of badge too, I imagine especially if you have to work with other people and all come together and team up in something like this.
NNAMDIBill, Sony unveiled the specs for its new PlayStation 4. What will we see in this new gaming system, and what's the future, in your view, of gaming systems in general?
HARLOWWell, you know, I kind of wondered if it's going to be the last hurrah for big, powerful, relatively expensive consoles that you setup in front of your TV. That's sort of where they're going with the PlayStation 4, I assume. No pricing has been revealed, but it's going to be quite powerful. It's going to have a ton of very fast RAM.
HARLOWBut I think they're making with this that I find interesting and it kind of reminds me of some of the things I liked about way back when we had like the Nintendo or the Atari 2600 or even what we sort of seeing with the convenience of using smartphones and tablets which is get rid of any barriers to taking a few moments to yourself to play a game. So, you know, the existing way that computer games work, you download or buy the software, install it, takes forever to patch it.
HARLOWIn the case of having a PlayStation 3, it's sort of like that, too. Most games require installation, and it gets old. So the idea here is that everything's streamlined. You can play things while they're installing. Things will patch behind the scenes. You can be playing a game and then just shut the system down, go to other things, come back. It remembers exactly where you left off.
HARLOWIt was in hibernation stage. So I find that interesting. But I think longer term, we're not going to see these dedicated consoles. We're going to find -- whether it's an iOS device or something else or this new OUYA -- how do you pronounce it anyway? The OUYA console that's coming out, 99 bucks, run on -- runs Android. The feature, I think, is going to be cheap and portable, I think.
DRUINBut what about Xbox, though, with Kinect? I mean, because you really can't do portable very well when you're dealing with, you know, gesture recognition and big data, the kinds of stuff they're doing with that.
HARLOWWell, I see no reason why you couldn't take, like, a tablet or, let's say, Surface, since we're talking about Xbox...
HARLOW...dock it into, like, a little Kinect sensor bar, and off you go.
GILROYThey have them at South by Southwest. It was on the news last night. They showed a product that's just about a size of pack of matches.
HARLOWWell, I mean, you can get a Kinect now that work -- plugs into your PC. That's no reason why you couldn't adapt that to plug into other things.
NNAMDIHere's Bryan in Washington, D.C. Bryan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
BRYANHi. How are you guys doing?
NNAMDIDoing pretty well.
BRYANExcellent. So I am a game developer in the area, and I just wanted to have a voice on behalf of online game developers. I don't think that people who play games probably realize how complex games have gotten in the last five years. And sometimes, when it comes down to it, you can't find a bug until you have 20- or 30,000 people on your game.
BRYANAnd it's just like they said. There's no way to test that kind of scale without actually getting it out in the public. And, unfortunately, that sometimes upsets people, but they'll hopefully keep playing. And I'll take my comments offline.
NNAMDIWell, thank you very much for making that point. Was that a good point, Bill Harlow?
HARLOWI think it's a very fair point. I mean, I know people in the industry, and it is -- it's brutal, how complex this stuff can be. But part of me thinks, then why take that challenge? Why force people to be online in the case of some of these games? So, like, I think -- I personally think of Diablo III, which came from a developer that really knows its way around online gaming, developed a game that you could play single player but always required an active connection to their servers.
HARLOWAnd, like, we use the term software earlier. In the end of the day, like I waited a week or two, and I got back to it later. And it wasn't the end of the world. But, still, there's a lot of excitement to this new release. You want to -- with the other thing, too, they didn't comment on, the shelf life of a lot games has been getting smaller and smaller.
HARLOWLike, if you don't get those people right now, you're going to lose them. So you got to, you know, it's so tough because you really want to make sure that there's enough time to fix this while people are still engaged in your product.
NNAMDIAnd, Bryan, why not just soft launch the game?
BRYANWell, the difficulty is when you do soft launches, oftentimes, you do it in different countries. And different countries will have different, like, patterns on how they spend money and how they actually play the game, which is why oftentimes you do a soft launch in somewhere like Canada. But again, that doesn't quite stress all of your systems. And so you write this incredibly complicated game, and you spend years on it. You put it out there. And, you know, you just can't test that kind of scale, not the way that we used to be able to do it.
BRYANAnd so we do the best we can, and, hopefully, people really enjoy it. And usually, people are patient with the game like SimCity. It's got a lot of press, and so, you know, we'll see how it goes.
NNAMDIPlus Bill's getting increasingly impatient as he gets older.
HARLOWI'm a grumpy old man.
DRUINBut it does suggest that the way we used to create games, the way we used to create software in the age of big data has to change, OK? In other words, we have to put resources into testing in a way we never thought about. We have to put, you know, we actually have to really think about the pressures of servers, and so on, that we never thought about. So I think you raised a really important issue, and I think people are just running to grapple with it right now.
NNAMDIBryan, thank you very much for your call. Allison, is Google getting into the business of selling cars in the San Francisco area? If you search Toyota Prius Silicon Valley, you will get a link to page with details about actual cars on the lots of dealers, and Google can put those dealers in touch with you. Is this the future of shopping for a car?
DRUINYeah. Isn't it scary talking about a soft launch here?
NNAMDINot scary for me.
DRUINWell, it's -- they're doing it just in the San Francisco Bay Area. They wanted -- they want to see how much they can mix the physical and the virtual, OK? How much are they going to be able to support people with, in fact, no middle person, OK? Now, dealers -- some dealers are very worried about this. Oh, my goodness, does this mean the end of being a dealer to sell things like cars? On the other hand, other dealers...
HARLOWI have little less sympathy towards that angle personally.
DRUINYeah. To be honest with you, I'm not feeling any, but...
NNAMDISpending four hours on the lot haggling is (unintelligible).
DRUINYeah, it's not the idea. But, you know, some dealers are saying that 67 percent of their business is now coming directly because of Google. Now, thankfully, Google has a way of only forwarding a certain number of emails to you or phone calls to you before cutting off these dealers because that's -- the problem is that it's way too easy for these people then to be, like, sending you emails after emails or calling you. So I think it remains to be seen. I think this is a question of the social norms of how -- of what's going to press buttons.
HARLOWIt's a future I see is you're going to be able to go on Google, find a car, buy it, it'll be a Google self-driving car, it'll show up in your driveway.
DRUINNo. My goodness.
GILROYHere's the actuality, not the future. My sister bought a car, brand new car, at Costco. They sold them.
DRUINThat scares me. Wow.
GILROYIt's all changing. The whole marketing of vehicle is changing the play upside down. I mean, this is just a tip of the iceberg.
NNAMDI800-433-8850 is the number to call. We move on now to Jim in Hyattsville, Md. Jim, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JIMYeah. Thanks for the segue. I wanted to go back to this computer spying and bring up the incredible explosion this year of commercial spying. Every email, every website, every whatever that I visit -- and I'm fairly computer literate going back to the '70s, so I've left my gates open. And it's appalling how many of those websites and those internal email words generate specific advertisements along the side of my screen. It's just overwhelming.
HARLOWWhy leave the gates open?
GILROYWhy open? Why you -- why don't you protect yourself?
JIMBecause I'm willing to take the risk just to see what's going on. And I am noticing an incredible amount. I've always -- I haven't, you know -- I'm willing to risk unsafe surfing just so that I know what's going on because -- and I've lost a few -- you know, I've picked up a few viruses. I have Macintosh OS X, and it's not too bad. But in order, as an informed consumer, to see what's going on the Internet, instead of blocking all these advertisements, I am appalled that the number of advertisement...
NNAMDIAppalled but remarkably patient, Jim.
GILROYJim, you know, I've said this many times. I'll say it again. You know, if it's free, you're the product. I mean, if you're going to use a free email service like Gmail, they're going to tap it. They're going to tap in. So you're the product, and I think there's ways to work around that. But, you know, we'll avoid that right now for a while 'cause you seem to be pretty excited about it.
NNAMDIJim, thank you very much for your call. Bill Harlow, two companies now have tools that promise to organize your email inbox. How do SaneBox and Mailbox work?
HARLOWSo SaneBox is a service. It's got a monthly fee, and, you know, it costs more per email account you have set up. But the idea behind it is that you set up filters, and it, very intelligently behind the scenes, shows you what you need to see for that day. So your inbox kind of contains the essentials. It's not going to be perfect, so you can find an email and flag it and say, you know what, let's defer this, put this in, and I'll get to it eventually, whatever.
HARLOWAnd at the end of the day, you've got your core inbox full of stuff you actually need to attend to, you attend to it, and you get on with your life. Mailbox is an app for the iPhone that actually it's not quite as automated. A lot of it requires you to sit there and sift through and say, OK, this can go into -- by the way, my favorite feature, the black hole.
HARLOWYou put something in the black hole, and that person just -- you just never see anything from the person again.
DRUINOh, I love it. Oh.
GILROYI'm identified that way. Is that all right?
HARLOWAnd then it's got other things where you can go to defer something, and you can then pick, OK, remind me tomorrow, remind me in half an hour, put it in the I'll-get-to-it-eventually box or the I'm-lying-to-myself box, whatever you want to call it. And then once you go through and you attend all the emails you need to attend to, you get this beautiful graphic that just says you're all done, and it just -- it's Zen and peaceful, and I just love that idea. The idea of attending to email right now and not letting it run your life.
NNAMDIWell, speaking of emails, we got one from Anthony that falls into the just-because-I'm-paranoid-doesn't-mean-they're-not-following me...
GILROYI like it.
NNAMDIHe says, "My wife has been on a two-week business trip in China. She has been using our personal Macbook there. When she returns to D.C., are there any steps we should take to make sure the machine didn't pick up a security problem? I should mention that during that same Feb. 26 Tech Tuesday conversation on Chinese cyber attacks, this tangentially related question did come up.
NNAMDI"A listener asked about hardware manufacture in China and whether it's possible these -- that these devices and their internal software contain vulnerabilities that are intentionally engineered that way. Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not following me."
GILROYI have a three-word answer.
GILROYTake that. No, I would be very, very careful about anything. In fact, I was reading an article about the steps to take in case you do take a machine over. I think it was one of our previous guests around here. I think it was -- oh, but I can't remember the name of it, but there are very specific steps you take before you go over there. But I would be very wary of using...
HARLOWWas it basically like sandbox it beforehand?
GILROYYeah. It was step-by-step what to do and not to do and how to use it, especially in a place like China, and I'm just -- I'm very wary I'm going there. Wayne Rash, that's the one. Wayne Rash wrote an article on what to do if you go to China. So -- I think he writes for eWeek. I mean, that's where I read it.
NNAMDIHi, Wayne. He's always listening, too.
NNAMDIJared in Reston, Va. You're on the air, Jared. Go ahead, please.
JAREDHi, Kojo. Thanks for having me. So I wanted to make a few comments regarding the -- what your guest has said...
NNAMDIThe SimCity problem.
JAREDOK. So this was mainly with EA. So EA, for a while now, has been doing this model. They're -- you know, they're a company, and I understand they do this to make money. But they intentionally tell developers to deliver a game that's incomplete and so that they can later on expand upon that with expansion packs and things like that, right, so your users tend to pay more money, so they can maximize their profits, right?
JAREDThat's a big difference from before where -- I've been playing games for all my life -- where, you know, in the 1990s and early 2000s before the Internet, you really had to develop a -- an end product that you thought was fun because there was no distribution system for that sort of thing. And personally I just think that that's something they need to move away from.
JAREDThis is something that EA is pretty notorious for, actually. And going back to the whole, like, tablet game, you know, casual Facebook games, things like that, they have been, like -- where you pay more money to get more -- I think it was called Simoleons in, like, "SimCity"...
JARED...or on Facebook where you would -- you know, it wouldn't take as much time to play the game. So that was essentially another game. And -- yeah. So the other one...
NNAMDIWell, what's your primary question, Jared?
NNAMDIOr is there a primary response that anyone here wants to give to Jared's observations?
HARLOWWell, I guess what I would say is that, in my opinion, EA hasn't necessarily been the worst about it just in regards -- I've played a ton of games from them that -- there's definitely what they call DLC, downloadable content, but they always feel like they're additions to the game. It seems like the core game is pretty solid, whether it's something like any of their sports games or "Mass Effect." And they're not the only ones.
HARLOWI mean, if you look at pretty much any Xbox game, there are going to be downloadable maps, downloadable characters, extra missions. In the case of one of my favorite games, "Forza Motorsport," there -- you could spend, you know, over 100 bucks just on new cars to add to the game. But the core there is really, really solid.
GILROYI guess EA's not going to call it incomplete. They'll call it modular.
HARLOWYeah. And that...
GILROYThat's the phrase of the day: It's modular.
HARLOWThe big phrase everybody hates is what they call "day one DLC," which means that the game came out and there's already stuff you can buy to add to it, which means why wasn't it on the disc in the first place?
NNAMDIGot to take a short break. Jared, thank you very much for your call. You can still call us at 800-433-8850. Sales of small-sized tablets are booming. What tablet do you like best? Share your pick with us. 800-433-8850. Send us a tweet, @kojoshow, using the #TechTuesday. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. We're talking with Bill Harlow. He is one of our computer guys, hardware and software technician for Macs and PCs at Mid Atlantic Consulting Inc. John Gilroy is our other computer guy. He is director of business development at Armature Corp. Our computer gal is Allison Druin, ADVANCE professor of the STEM Senior Women's Council and co-director of the Future of Information Alliance at the University of Maryland.
NNAMDIAs I asked earlier, sales of small-sized tablets are booming. Which one do you like best? Share your pick with us, 800-433-8850. John Gilroy, the original iPad set the stage for a boom in roomy, 10-inch tablets that allow you to enjoy your apps without squinting like you have to do on your phone. But consumers seem to be signaling that what they like best is something in between. Small tablets, like the iPad mini, are on track to outsell their bigger cousins this year. What makes smaller tablets more popular?
GILROYWell, they're cheaper, for one thing. But I had lunch with a guy named Ken Collo from MicroPact in Reston, and he gave all his employees iPads. He thought that was a very efficient way to work, and that's what people are doing. And people are looking at this. And if you look at the sales, the fourth quarter from last year, something like 22 million iPads were sold, and 7 million were the minis. And so there seems to be a place for it. Now, there are some people that prefer the nicer display, but I think, increasingly, speed makes it a second or third device, and why not?
HARLOWI mean, you call them the mini ones. I mean, it's apparent right away that it's -- it feels great. I mean, you can one-hand it. It's super light. You know, it almost -- I mean, it -- the iPad feels like a really, really neat, small computer, and the iPad mini feels like, OK, this is just a little book-sized thing.
NNAMDIHow is it for reading books? How is the Kindle and the iPad mini?
HARLOWI think it's fine. But I'm still used to the retina display. I think that a retina mini is what I'd really love to see because I don't want to see pixels when I'm reading on a device, and you still see them on the iPad mini.
GILROYYou know, after Christmas, the Nook in our house is gathering dust. I'll say about reading books on the iPad, it's just great.
NNAMDIWho are the competitors in the small tablet category? And which one do you like best, Allison?
DRUINI still like that iPad mini. But, you know, but there is -- I mean, everyone's saying, well, the Kindle Whitepaper (sic), the...
HARLOWThe Paperwhite is really nice.
DRUINThe Paperwhite, I mean, and the Nook.
NNAMDIJim in Silver Spring says, "I was planning to buy a Nook. Now I hear it may not have a future. Tell me it's not so."
DRUINYeah. I mean, that's the problem is that I've never believed that, you know, that the content there was going to last forever, whereas, you know, Barnes & Noble and, you know, and those folks are really trying to push things. But, you know, you've got Amazon and the millions and millions of books that are all there on the Kindle. It's a big deal. And then you can have that app that sits on any of your devices...
DRUIN...and that's the key.
GILROYThat was a good strategy.
NNAMDIJohn, the tablet revolution seems to be a bonanza for Google, which is going to generate $5 billion in advertising revenue from tablets this year. Is that a surprise?
GILROYWell, the surprise is Google generated $50 billion last year and five billion from -- that's 10 percent. I mean, if you're outselling hot dogs and 10 percent of your customers is from one place, or you're selling cars, 10 percent are Mazda3's or whatever, I mean, this is a substantial portion that came out of nowhere. I mean, where did it come from? I mean, four, five -- they didn't plan that. They didn't hire a vice president for tablet sales. It just kind of overwhelmed them like a wave and...
HARLOWIs this specifically tablet sales or advertising from tablets?
GILROYYeah. The advertising on tablets. And it's going to go up from there. So it's really an amazing figure, and I think more and more people are going to get free content on tablets. And guess what, you know, our listener Jim may not like it, but there can be ads attached to it. So you have to -- there's a trade-off there. Remember, if it's free, it's -- you're the product.
NNAMDIHere's Gayle in Dumfries, Va. Gayle, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
GAYLEYes. Good afternoon. I'm enjoying the program very much. I have a quick question about Google Acer Chromebook. At Christmastime, it was recommended that that would be a good purchase for a 90-year-old who has not used a computer before. She's having problems, so we got one for her. She's having problems seeing the screen. Is there a way that a monitor, a larger monitor or even an old TV, can be hooked up to it to provide a larger screen for her? She lives in Florida, so this is -- I'm going down to see her, and if it's possible, I'd like to do it.
HARLOWI just -- I'm trying to picture it with my head. I'm pretty sure it's got a video output of some kind, a VGA or an HDMI or something. So I think that should very much be possible. I'm just speaking from memory, so I'm not 100 percent sure on that, Gayle.
GILROYAnd then the large screens are pretty inexpensive. That would be the good solution.
GILROYJust plug in the bigger screen and see the larger type. Yeah, that's the solution. I would think three or $400 for a big screen?
HARLOWYeah, cheaper -- I mean, it depends on how big, but...
HARLOW...I mean, like a 23-inch you can get for 100, 200 bucks.
NNAMDISo you'll be connecting it to a TV?
GILROYYeah, to a screen.
HARLOWYou can do it -- if it's got HDMI, you may be able to run into a modern HD TV or get yourself an inexpensive computer monitor.
NNAMDIOK. Gayle, thank you very much for your call. Facebook has redesigned its news feed, the first page users see when they log on. How does this reflect the company's need to strike a delicate balance between the needs of its users and the desires of its advertisers, Allison?
DRUINWell, they've -- it's interesting. They've made bigger photos and bigger links, but bigger photos also in the advertisements, OK? So it's not just in the news part. It's in the advertisements. They really are trying to figure out how to deal with their advertisers so that they get more bang for their buck. But they're also -- you know, Facebook is really competing with these specialized social networks, OK?
DRUINSocial networking is a big business, and people are trying to eat Facebook's lunch, and they know it. And so what they're trying to do is make room for these specialized streams for focus topics as well in there. And, you know, I mean, I think the jury is still out on, you know, on how much users are going to like this or not. But Facebook has got to do something 'cause they've got -- they're competing against an awful lot of people.
NNAMDIThey got to do something, Bill?
HARLOWWell, I will say this, that with the bigger pictures, I tend to do a lot more scrolling past the stuff I don't need to see. So that's a negative for me. But I just think, honestly, like the visual aspect of it, it is a lot sleeker. And, I think, especially when I'm on a computer, on a tablet, it seems to be the way to go. And it's a nice response to, like, when I look at Google Plus and when the way they -- I think, for the longest time, they've done a better job of showcasing photographs.
GILROYWhat I think is so interesting about this is, is this Zuckerberg guy was introduced to an investor through a guy named Hoffman, Reid Hoffman, who was the founder of LinkedIn. And Zuckerberg is looking at LinkedIn, saying, oh, no, 200 million users, one of our -- it's like they're all competing with each other for that same market share.
GILROYAnd I think that's why LinkedIn is getting very, very popular. LinkedIn, last six months, has increased its news feeds, and I think Facebook is saying, well, we got to compete with that. And that's one of the 200,000 social networking sites that are out there. I don't know how -- it's a great number they're competing with.
DRUINBut they're, you know, Twitter also does a very good job now of aggregating, essentially, pointers, tweets to news and so on, and they put that now in their discover area. So, I mean, I think that everybody's doing it and making specialized news feeds for you, depending on what you're searching for, depending on what you tweet about or write about. So I think that, you know, and -- that all of the user interface designers that work for these companies are all learning from each other, and so you're going to see -- you're bound to see them start to look alike.
NNAMDIAn announcement, lady, gentleman and John Gilroy, March Madness begins this weekend with selection of the teams that will play in the NCAA championship tournament. What tech tricks do you use to follow the games and track your brackets? 800-433-8850. Allison, the first game is a week from today. What apps are out there to help us pick our teams and, well, follow the madness?
DRUINOK. Well, there is PocketBracket that can live on the iPhone and the iPad. And, essentially, for those people that don't understand what brackets mean, they're not for your teeth or anything. It's essentially...
HARLOWIt's a way to waste money.
NNAMDIIt's a way to win, baby.
DRUINEssentially, it's, you know, you find -- you try and figure out who's going to play who, OK? And can you guess who's going to win and who's going to move to the next round? And then you start filling in this -- essentially this diagram. And people get totally into it. So, you know, PocketBracket actually has a smart pick feature that's going to try and help you give suggestions and so on.
DRUINBut then for the Android folks, there's also, you know, you can connect to March Madness with, you know, picking what teams to follow and get personalized news from. And there -- so there's a free Android app from ESPN, which actually gives you that. And then, you know, you can certainly get some history on March Madness and the NCAA on demand in -- on YouTube, OK? So, you know, if you're a basketball nut and you want to know who did the best dunks, who had the best upsets, go to YouTube. It's a great user channel.
HARLOWWhat I love about March Madness, though, is you can always tell when people are following the brackets closely 'cause they'll be in a public space somewhere, look at the iPad, you can feel, like, no.
DRUINIt's so true. Oh, my goodness.
NNAMDIEspecially for those who think they're not guessing but that they're operating from a...
HARLOWExactly. That's all it is. It's guesswork.
DRUINOh, it's just guessing.
NNAMDI...operating from a base of knowledge and information. They are the ones you see screaming when you go out. Here is Carol in Rockville, Md. Carol, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
CAROLHi. Good morning. I was just following up on the earlier question. Someone had called in to say what do, you know, what do -- how do we clean our computer after a trip to China. I have had a similar question. But I did a quick search in eWeek trying to find an article by Wayne Rash that was suggested...
CAROL...and I didn't turn anything up except a few articles by him on China, you know, cyber hacking and whatnot.
NNAMDIWell, we can help you. We have found one from 2010. Here's John Gilroy.
GILROYYeah. Well, Carol, that's the first mistake I've ever made, you know, I...
DRUINI'm so shocked. Oh, my God.
GILROYIt's incredible. In all the 32 years I've been in the planet, that's the first mistake I ever made. Yeah, for some reason, I have a lot of respect for Wayne. I thought he wrote about that. I must've gotten confused. But this is from -- I must have seen this in -- on -- this is from Computer Weekly. And it's "Top five data security travel issues: Protect sensitive information on business trips." So people are out there, and they're writing about it. I just attributed to the wrong author.
DRUINSo it's on the site, though. It'll be on the Kojo site.
NNAMDIWe just tweeted it...
NNAMDI...and it will be on our website at kojoshow.org. So, Carol, you can find the information there. We move on now to Mark in Washington, D.C. Mark, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MARKThis is going to be a little bit embarrassing because I actually have done network and computer security for 14 years.
MARKBut I'm not sure if you're aware, you know the product called CloudMagic?
NNAMDIWhat about it?
MARKThis product, basically, you give it access to your Facebook, Twitter, your Gmail account, MSN account, your computer, anything that's in the cloud or even on your computer. And what it does is it indexes everything. So as you type, you need to find anything that has happened in the last years that's, you know, email related or -- whatever, and as you type, up comes that particular piece of data that you want. So...
NNAMDIAnd it's called CloudMagic?
MARKYes. It's called CloudMagic.
NNAMDIWe'll check it out.
MARKSo -- and the key is, as a security guy, I wonder, hey, I've given these people access to pretty much everything I've ever done.
GILROYThat's -- you're asking the right question.
MARKSo -- and their terms are a little bit ambiguous. They say something like it's secure, but there's some stuff that isn't. So...
NNAMDIAll right. It's something we'll check out. We may have more information on a later broadcast of the Computer Guys & Gal. But thanks for sharing that with us, Mark. Bill, the crowd funding platform Kickstarter helped fund three films nominated for Academy Awards this year in the documentary short category, and one of them, "Inocente," took home the Oscar. What does this mean for Kickstarter?
HARLOWWell, I think it's great. It just means, hey, you know, you don't need to go through traditional channels to fund your projects. I mean, you can...
GILROYIt's great stuff.
HARLOWIt's so cool. And it's not the first time that they've had -- Kickstarter projects nominated. Is it the first time they've won, though? I think it might be. So "Inocente" won. And then the other thing I thought was so cool was that the -- there was another documentary, "Searching for Sugar Man." And Malik Bendjelloul, he actually ran out of money, and he was shooting on Super 8s.
HARLOWSo he needed a way to complete the film. And he found that someone had an app called 8mm Vintage Camera, and he installed that in his iPhone. And, sure enough, the footage resembled what he shot before. He was able to integrate it, finish the feature and wins an Oscar. So how about that?
NNAMDIAllison, the documentary about Napster, the now defunct music file sharing service, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival last weekend. Will this film spark a whole new debate over illegal file sharing?
DRUINOh, I hope so. I hope so. It's really a fascinating film. You know, they are basically giving two sides of the argument: Everything should be free, or everybody should go to jail, one or the other. And, you know, but it is giving a bit of history. This is 12 years ago, folks. The 25 million users, you know, had downloaded, you know, almost 80 million recordings. I mean, this is incredible. This is really one of the early social network successes before it was shut down. And the question is how not to repeat history and how to change the world to make it a better place.
NNAMDIWhere does the Stop Online Piracy Act stand right now?
DRUINDon't know. It's, you know, it's -- right now, it -- there's a lot of discussion going on.
NNAMDIAfraid we're out of time. Allison Druin, ADVANCE professor of the STEM Senior Women's Council, and when this show began, she was co-director of the Future of Information Alliance...
GILROYShe's gotten promoted.
NNAMDI...at the University of Maryland. She is now chief futurist for the University of Maryland's Division of Research. Allison Druin, always a pleasure.
DRUINAlways a pleasure, Kojo.
NNAMDIJohn Gilroy, when this show began, he was director of business Developments at Armature Corp.
NNAMDINow, he's unemployed. No, he's still director of business development. Bill Harlow is hardware and software technician for Macs and PCs at Mid-Atlantic Consulting, Inc. Thank you all for joining us, and thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
Most Recent Shows
"Insurrections" is a collection of short stories that all take place in Cross River, a fictional Maryland town not far from Washington, D.C.
One cost-saving strategy would shut down low-performing Metro stations during off-peak hours.
Kojo explores Michelin’s newly starred restaurants and finds out how these fine eateries have changed “Steakhouse D.C.”