DTNS 2687 – The Oxen of the Cloud

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWould you still use US products if they were mandated to have an encryption backdoor? Darren Kitchen and Tom Merritt discuss the findings of Bruce Schneier and company.

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DTNS 2686 – Kitchen Table Encryption. Also Jobs.

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comHow much data do political campaign have on you? Dan Patterson discusses the relationship between politics, big data, security and social media with Tom Merritt Veronica Belmont and Justin Young.

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DTNS 2685 – Twitterbolic

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comJustin Robert Young is filling in for Tom who is under the weather. Scott Johnson is on the the program too! Changes to Twitter are on the menu.

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DTNS 2684 – 1.51 Gigabits!

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comCan you ever have too much bandwidth?Patrick Beja has a revelation after getting fiber in his new home in Finland.Tom Merritt discusses.

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DTNS 2683 – Ek-cellent

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comEklund joins us to help explain why the NHL switched streaming in the middle of the season and why it had so many outages even with MLBAM involved.

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Weekly Tech Views – Feb 6, 2016

Untitled drawing (1)

Real tech stories. Really shaky analysis.

First, thanks for stopping by for the Weekly Tech Views. Now that you’re here, definitely go ahead and read it; what the heck, you may get a few laughs. But if you want a lot of laughs, get over to YouTube when you’re done here and search “Bob & Ray.” Bob Elliott passed away this week, but left behind a treasure trove of comedy that achieves the remarkable feat of remaining hilarious over the span of nearly seven decades. I watched some more today and laughed out loud more during a five minute bit than I do during a month of most sitcoms.

Do yourself a favor and check out some Bob & Ray. Unless you hate laughing. Which would be weird.

Now, back to our regular program…

The next four days may be the most party-intensive time of the year, with the Super Bowl, Carnival, Mardi Gras, and, headlining the celebratory stretch, and, frankly, making the other events wish they could reschedule to avoid the inevitable shadow cast by such a spectacle, a new Weekly Tech Views! Who wants some beads!? (Don’t worry, all you have to flash is the questionable judgment to keep reading.)

For the week of February 1 – 5, 2016…

What Wizardry Is This?
Nostalgic first-person shooter fans rejoice, Bethesda announced May 13th as the release date for the next entry in the Doom franchise, twelve years after Doom 3. “Twelve years between games? What kind of performance-enhancing drugs are you guys on?” said the Duke Nukem development team.

Thank God For All Those Suds
Microsoft is planning a submersible data center called Project Natick that would sit on the ocean floor. “We really should have seen this coming,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s parents, showing off home videos of young Satya at bath time, happily splashing about with a Lego-encased Busicom LE-120A calculator anchored by three bars of soap to the bottom of the tub.

No, Sir, “Up To 150 Mbps” Means We Promise Not To Exceed That
A Comcast Internet customer has devised a way to creatively complain when his promised 150 Mbps speed drops below 50 Mbps. He has a Raspberry Pi run an hourly speed test and automatically tweet when the result is below the 50 Mbps threshold. In three months of use, his speed has reached the 67% drop sixteen times. “He’s getting above 33% of the promised speed an average of six days a week?” asked a Comcast technician, who then jumped up on his desk and yelled, “Hey guys! We’re getting our bonus!”

Prediction 2: “Rogue Drone” Will Soon Be A Series On Syfy
Law enforcement in the Netherlands is training eagles to take down rogue drones. Prediction: Pilots start disguising their drones as eagles, which proves fairly effective until mating season, which doesn’t end well for anyone.

Think I’ll Go Watch “Draft Day” Again
In other drone news, unmanned aerial vehicles will not be permitted within 36 miles of Levi Stadium in Santa Clara on Super Bowl Sunday. “Makes sense; why should drones get any closer to a Super Bowl than us?” said the Cleveland Browns.

How Many Friend Requests Can You Send Before Facebook Finally Asks You To Face Reality?
Friday was Friends Day on Facebook. I think I held up fairly well, knowing others were celebrating, spending the day watching their friend-filled videos, while I searched in vain for a People You May Know section in my barren News Feed. But then I used the day as a learning experience, to appreciate what it’s like for my Jewish acquaintances (I’d call them friends, but, if that were the case, I’D HAVE A VIDEO TO WATCH, WOULDN’T I?) on Christmas Day. So I ate Chinese food and went wherever I wanted on the internet–with no crowds!

One Less Lonely GIF
Some Android users noticed a GIF button temporarily in their Twitter app. Asked by a reporter for comment, Twitter management sent an email reading “Here’s our statement,” accompanied by a GIF of Justin Bieber shrugging, marking Justin Bieber’s most likeable appearance in the last five years.

You’d Better Update Before I Get My Belt!
Microsoft has recategorized Windows 10 from an “Optional” update to “Recommended.” This is certainly understandable to any parent who has realized the optional method (“Okay, you don’t have to eat your vegetables if you don’t want to be big and strong”) isn’t going so well, and has to kick things up a notch (“I recommend you finish that broccoli or you can go to your room and forget about ice cream for the next year”).

Expect “Recommended” to soon become “Mandatory” (“We’ve had to listen for years to you whining for a Start menu; you’re damned well going to use it!”).

Is My Tin Foil Hat On Straight?
A study shows that, at any given time, sixteen apps are running on an Android phone, eight of which the user is unaware. “I knew it!” said every AM radio overnight talk show host.

Yeah, We Know, But Trust Us, This Is Better Than Being Able To Edit A Tweet, Even If None Of You Asked For It
It was mentioned a few weeks ago that Twitter was considering a non-chronological method of displaying tweets, and now it appears that the change is imminent. You might say that I’m overreacting to something just because it’s different, without giving it a fair chance, but based on what little I’ve heard discussed, providing my timeline according to some new “Al Gore rhythm” seems an outdated idea, at best.

Also, “Organic Malware” Is My Favorite Band; I’m Sure You’ve Never Heard Of Them
The Internet Archive has launched The Malware Museum, where you can see the resultant messages from computer viruses prevalent in the eighties and nineties, without, of course, your computer being infected. In independent coffee houses across the country, hipsters huffed and downloaded actual viruses on Windows 95 desktops.

Like That’s The Worst Thing That’s Happened To It
Word is that Apple will be allowing iPhone users to trade in damaged phones for credit toward a new phone, the credit ranging from $50 to $250, depending on the device. I’d be willing to accept significantly less if, just once, they’d take my phone back without feeling compelled to incessantly grill me about what led to the problem: “Do you work around industrial vats of peanut butter? How else could you get so much so far inside every crevice? Seriously, do you realize at this point this is more peanut than phone?” Sheesh.

Whoa! That was some party! Am I right!? Hope you saved a little hell-raising for the secondary celebrations.

Till next week,

Mike Range
@MovieLeagueMike

P.S. Carolina 31 Denver 20

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Weekly Tech Views by Mike Range is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

DTNS 2682 – Just assume it ends in doom

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com
Scott Johnson and Molly Wood fill in for Tom Merritt and talk VR and Len Peralta illustrates the day.

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Continue reading DTNS 2682 – Just assume it ends in doom

DTNS 2681 – We Don’t Need Another Hero

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.com
It’s fanmail Friday on Thursday! We’ve got great thoughts and expert takes from folks in the audience about Amazon shipping, Apple’s rumored iPhone 5SE, Yahoo prospects and more!

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A Look at Facebook Earnings

This was sent to us by Brian Henry, Assistant Professor of Finance at Benedictine College and listener to the show. Thanks Brian!

At the end of 2015, some of your shows discussed more content from the community possibly showing up. I don’t know exactly what you meant by that, but I got bored the other day and was looking into Facebook’s earnings. Thought I would send you a quick written summary mostly from their earnings call, on how they had such a good quarter. If you want it for anything it is yours:

Facebook had a heck of quarter to finish out 2015, which has seen their stock price soar along with expectations. If you dig into their reports a lot of the discussion is on growth of their people. Lots and lots of people are using Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc. While MAUs (Monthly Active Users) are great, I wanted to look at how Facebook said they are converting their users into large profits.

Advertising is the vast majority of Facebook revenue, it made up over 97% of their total revenue last quarter. If you listen to the earnings call they go into detail about how they grew ad revenue by almost 32% from their 3rd quarter results. Both more impressions (more ads served up) and higher price per ad were cited.

More ads are the typical path for Facebook, or like revenue models online, to grow. Cost per click and different ad approaches tend to decline in per click/impression revenue over time. For instance, in the earnings call Facebook reported that ads on the right hand side of the PC browser page are decreasing in value per impression as people have learned to ignore them. When is the last time you looked over there when you were on Facebook? So they tend to depend on growing the user base, or increasing user engagement to grow revenue.

In this case though, Facebook seems to have started taking advantage of mobile in a way that no one else seems to have figured out. Mobile ad revenue was up 81% year over year and now makes up 80% of Facebook’s ad revenue, so the browser value of ads just is not as important to them anymore. They also said it was Facebook mobile and Instagram that were driving most of this. Also, price per ad went up 21% overall because the mobile ads are getting more per impression. That may follow other ad types downward over time, but for now it is working well. They highlighted a couple of ad campaigns including one for Shutterfly during the holidays as creating the higher value per ad on mobile.

Important things said during the call highlighted how well the shift to mobile is going. Of their top 100 advertisers, 98 are on Instagram. After that discussion they stated, “If we have high quality ads, those create a good user experience.” It seems as if Facebook will try to create high quality mobile ads, with high relevance. They feel that it will keep ads from hurting user experience even if they increase the number ads shown. This in turn will improve results for advertisers, and is increasing demand so far.

There are factors working against this success continuing, like the typical price decreases to ad types online over time. Plenty of ad blocker discussion has been had in recent months, and other apps are always trying to come in and steal away eyeballs, but for now Facebook seems to be firing on all cylinders.

Brian Henry
Assistant Professor of Finance
Benedictine College

DTNS 2680 – Amazon gets Physical, Physical

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comA mall CEO says Amazon may open 300-400 bookstores in the US. Warby Parker and Bonobos have done similar things. Are malls the last mile for online retailers? Scott Johnson and Tom Merritt discuss.

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