DTNS 2244 – Skype Talk Pretty

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Norton is on the show today. We’ll talk how Google’s driverless car could impact Uber and whether Microsoft’s real-time Skype language translation is the Universal Translator.


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Show Notes
Today’s guests:  Patrick Norton of Tekzilla


Beats takes a (big) bite of Apple: It’s official: Apple is buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion. Mashable & Gigaom. Part of the deal will be Beats Music, which launched as a Spotify competitor earlier this year. It will be announced, you guessed it, at the Code Conference.  Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will join Apple. Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, told the NYT “These guys are really unique,” Mr. Cook said. “It’s like finding the precise grain of sand on the beach. They’re rare and very hard to find.”

Driver, go left at … oh, wait: CNET reports from the Code Conference by Re/code that Sergey Brin of Google unveiled a prototype two-seater driverless car without a steering wheel. The cars built-in sensors and software are the only control system. The project has only been tested at low speeds of 25 mph or less, but has experienced no crashes. 

The fans rule! More people said things at the Code Conference, including Kleiner Perkins investor Mary Meeker with her annual trends report. One trend is the slowing of people joining the Internet to less then 10% per year, but the fast growth of mobile usage, as mobile data is up 81%. Meeker also asserted that “fans trump audiences” meaning that a fan base that shares, comments and creates content around a show is much more valuable to advertisers than a large audience number.    :- )

Donde esta la biblioteca? Re/code reports Microsoft’s VP of Skype Gurdeep Singh Pall demonstrated Skype Translate onstage at the Code Conference yesterday afternoon. The feature uses speech recognition, text to speech and machine translation to offer real-time translation on a live Skype call. Pall demonstrated it translating from English to German and back in a conversation with a German employee. Pall said the feature should launch in beta later this year with a limited number of languages for the Windows version of Skype.

Thanks for the update: ZDNet reports Apple has acknowledged the attack, largely targeting Australian users, that has locked some people out of their iOS devices. Apple noted “Cloud was not compromised during this incident. Impacted users should change their Apple ID password as soon as possible.” Users from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S. report being hit by the attack.

My Christmas present list is now complete: Oh, you thought we were done with news about people talking at the Code Conference? Not quite. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich wore a smart shirt during his talk. The shirt measured heart rate and other vital signs and was made in conjunction with AiQ. The battery-powered shirt should be available this summer. Krzanich also showed off Jimmy, a white robot that can walk, talk and dance. Intel has plans for a consumer robot-making kit that could sell for $1,600. Krzanich admitted Intel missed the tablet trend, and while they haven’t given up on tablets, they’re focused on not missing the next big market.

Facebook makes the first move: Mashable passes along that the WSJ reports Facebook asked the European Commission to review its acquisition of WhatsApp in order to prevent future legal challenges in European countries. Facebook was not required to get European approval, but may have decided it was just easier than fighting country by country later.

More gadgets to track your stuff: GigaOm reports Samsung announced plans to create an open platform for developing sensors and services to track personal health in real time. The initiative will start with a modular wristband reference design called Simband that tracks heart rate and blood pressure, but could expand into other devices. Samsung also announced a $50 million digital-health challenge to encourage development of better sensors and algorithms for health care. Oddly, Samsung didn’t cover federal approvals and told GigaOm it is not seeking FDA approval.

But can it print a cup of coffee? TechCrunch reports on a new $199 3-D printer called the MOD-t designed by Frog Design and backed by Idealab. The low entry-level price gets you a minimum layer height of .02 mm and the ability to print using the starch-based plastic, PLA. The printer is small and the printing plate moves under the stationary head reducing some complexity though printing slowly. Backers of the Indiegogo for the printer can get the model even cheaper for $149.

Canceled: The Zuck’s Iranian Vacation: Looks Like Mark Zuckerberg can skip a court date. BuzzFeed passes along that the Iranian Student’s News Agency has removed the story from yesterday stating a court in Fars had required Facebook’s Director or his attorney to appear in court. ISNA has published a statement by the Fars province prosecutor’s office denying the report. Al Monitor reports the chief prosecutor of Shiraz also told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that the reports were false.

News From You

Our top story on the subreddit was submitted by KAPT_Kipper. Valve announced it will not be releasing its own version of the Steam Machine and Steam controller until 2015. Valve’s Eric Hope said the company got a “ton of useful feedback” on the controller and want to get it right. The delay will not impact the release of SteamOS and has no affect on third-party steam machines not made by Valve.

MikePKennedy submitted the Verge article that Amazon has confirmed it is buying less inventory from Hachette Publisher and no longer taking preorders for Hachette books as part of a dispute over ebook prices. Amazon even suggested customers might want to consider Amazon competitors for buying Hachette books. Amazon also suggested that it and Hachette create a pool of funds to disburse to Hachette authors who are being affected by the slowdown in Hachette sales. Hachette declined the offer at least until after Amazon and Hachette come to an agreement.

Discussion Section Links: 




Pick of the day:   Bossjock Studio via Dave Brodbeck

I have been using Bossjock Studio for IOS for about a year now. It is a really nice podcasting app that allows you to mix in music and such as well as export files as mp3 or AACs to various platforms. You can email the files, transfer them to your computer and ftp them to many places. It is a great mobile podcasting platform and I use it a lot with my son for his podcast, the Jonathan Files.

Thursday’s guest: Don Reisinger, cnet.com  

3 thoughts on “DTNS 2244 – Skype Talk Pretty

  1. Hi Tom (and Patrick).

    Love the show. One question about Google and its driverless vehicles: what’s going to be the economic impact of no longer requiring taxi drivers/ truck drivers?

    There was mention of companies saving about $50k a year on salaries per driver if (when, moreso than if) the driverless concept takes off – which is great for the companies – but how many people are going to lose their jobs? What happens to those people?
    Unemployment goes up and the job market becomes more competative which isn’t always a bad thing, but thinking long term – isn’t this going to have negative effects?

    I for one welcome our Google overlords and can see the benefits of an interconnected network of vehicles that know where we need to go and when we need to go there (a great simulation on 9 to 5 Google of how intersections of the future will look can be found here ), but I often wonder if such increases in efficiency can have long term negative effects.

    Like I said, love the show – keep up the amazing work (sorry to be such a downer).

    1. It’s a a fair question but I also think too often we look at these things in a vacuum. Computers have got rid of human computer jobs and the role of typists. What happened to all those people? They found other jobs that required similar skills. I don’t mean to imply that it’s always as easy as that, but these new technologies usually roll out slowly enough that jobs shift naturally and skills are valuable as a transferable element into something else.

      1. Hi Tom.

        Thanks for airing the question on DTNS 2247, just a quick correction though – I’m a guy. Don’t sweat it though, it happens all the time and I actually get a chuckle out of it so to be referred to as a girl on the air/bit-waves made my day.

        It was good to get some feedback from those in the trucking and transportation business – and I agree that the changes will be gradual and of course new jobs will be created in the process.
        The responses from yourself, Jason, David (and others) are spot on – there will still be human services required – but these requirements will change, and as such skills will be lost (while new ones are required). Sure the changes will start off slow, but (sticking to the transportation industry here as the example) what about when the technology becomes more reliable. Drivers would no longer be required in the trucks, and would only be required at depots/ weighbridges to do regular checks on the vehicles as they pass through.

        David mentioned the transportation of dangerous goods – which is a really good point – but the requirement may go from “truck driver” to “security guard” to ensure safe delivery of the goods, without actually requiring any knowledge of the trucks operation. With regards to the loading/ unloading issues mentioned – these responsibilities could be placed more on the recipient of the goods – further reducing the drivers involvement.

        I actually sent a what-if to Randall (xkcd) to ask for a more scientific approach to the answer, taking into consideration things like:
        Moore’s law;
        changes in education requirements and technical requirements of the new jobs created; and
        current unemployment rate;
        using as a basis of comparison:
        the historical rate of unemployment at times of major technological advancements; and maybe
        the length of time to implement changes at an education and laws/regulations level.
        But basically – are we going to out smart ourselves?

        Ok I’ll stop now.
        Love the show, and keep up the good work.

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