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The panel discusses the circumstances of Jordan’s absence as well as the (bright?) future of automated ground transportation. For ease of use and efficiency all panel members this week were replaced by individually simulated speech replication devices. The opinions of these computer programs do not necessarily represent those of Stuff Smart People Like or its subsidiaries. No robots were harmed in the making of this podcast.
The Last Word
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Arrrrrrggggh! Not one stinkin’ week after I go and spend 5 whole dollars on a robust office suite for my tablet, does Google add the very attribute I was looking for! Would I have paid for something knowing that the big G was going to release what I needed for free? No! I mean, that’s free, as in no money changes hands, no bucks get passed, no dough makes the bread - wait - yeah, that’s probably right.
What kind of sick game is this, Googs?! That five smackers, which admittedly I would have spend on some other damn-fool thing, would be a total waste if it hadn’t been that the app (which, again, I paid for), Quickoffice Pro HD is so feature-rich. It does Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoints and PDFs all while integrating with Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and other file services. But! The Googer just added spreadsheet editing to their tablet app - that’s all I wanted! You might say, at least I got the Black Friday deal, since Quickoffice is regularly $20 - but here’s the real kicker: Google owns Quickoffice! So I pay them and then they give me what I want for free!
I can’t win… Pretty good program though.
Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves and we talk about serious stuff. In this episode Dean, Jordan and Ben discuss a rather controversial news story regarding capital punishment. But before that, we serve up some topical smart suggestions.
Raise your hand if you use Wikipedia on a daily basis. Okay, now raise your hand if you know what Boing Boing is. If your hand is not up, chances are you unaware that some web sites have chosen to blackout their content today in a protest to the internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA.
The idea behind the protest is to give people a taste of what the internet would be like if these bills were to pass.
The protest probably is effective if you use these sites on a regular basis. However, Wikipedia and Boing Boing are far from the most popular sites on the internet. Arguably the most popular and useful site on the internet — Google — a staunch opponent of the legislation, could only muster this lame protest:
In this thought-provoking essay Sebastian Thrun makes a strong case for the use of self-propelled vehicles. Three things struck me about this piece. The first is that the technology and engineering behind the work he is discussing comes from Google and not any of the big three car companies (okay, so perhaps this shouldn’t be that surprising). The second thing I found interesting is that not only do these self-propelled cars exist but they also have been tested on almost 200,000 miles of public highways and have done so 100% safely. Finally, texting in a vehicle is legal in Nevada — as long as that vehicle is a self-driving autonomous vehicle.
Mashable reports that “Facebook” was the top search term of 2011. They must really have a lot of “mindshare,” right? Well, sort of. This study really shows what kind of people use Google (primarily) to get to their favorite website, and not necessarily that they are looking for other information about that site. Other top searches this year included “facebook login” and “www.facebook.com”.
Facebook has 800 million registered users, this is a year when practically anyone with a computer and an internet connection has an account. Many of those users know very little about bookmarking, or the advanced capabilities of most web browsers. We’ve all seen a relative trying to “surf the web”. They pull up Internet Explorer and go to Google (or maybe google is their homepage) and type the full address of the site they want, then click the first result that appears. That’s not exactly any indication that the user is any more invested in that site or that brand. And, while I’m a big fan of shortcuts and timesavers to reduce repetitive tasks like entering the same search term every time I use my computer, but that might not really be a priority for many users.
This kind of report is more of a reflection on the users of search engines and how people are using technology, not what they searched for. The study by Hitwise is pretty comprehensive, and defines the majority of top searches as “navigational search,” which seems to hit on what Mashable’s article misses. Its also unfortunate that the study didn’t include mobile searches, which is rapidly growing and becoming the primary means of search and experiencing online content.