Wise Guys on WHO Radio - April 30, 2016

Brian Gongol

The WHO Radio Wise Guys airs on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at WHORadio.com. The show airs from 1 to 2 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. A podcast of show highlights is also available. Leave comments and questions on the Wise Guys Facebook page or e-mail them to wiseguys@whoradio.com.

Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.

In the news this week

Computers and the Internet Microsoft is testing underwater data centers

Figuring that the preponderance of the world's population lives close to the ocean, they're trying to figure out how to deliver things like cloud computing without taking up valuable landside real estate

Computers and the Internet Apple iPhone sales shrink

And the company is dependent upon iPhone sales, so that shrinks the revenues to the company

Science and Technology San Francisco to require solar panels

Always beware mandates like this one: Ordering everyone to do the same thing in the same way, even on a scale as small as a city, leaves no room for the subtle variances in life that make things that can be seemingly sensible turn into total disasters. Today's solar panels are better than yesterday's, and tomorrow's will almost certainly be better still. Requiring people to install technology that is in the middle of a rapid evolution can backfire: What if all houses in 1990 had been required to include giant satellite dishes, or all cars of the same time required to be equipped with bag phones? And what of flexible circumstances -- like a house that's always in the shade, due to hills, trees, or tall surrounding buildings? It's not like San Francisco is a place of cheap real estate to begin with -- it's already preposterously expensive. Mandates only compound that effect, raising the cost of living for people who already may be finding it hard to get by.

Your role in cyberwar

News Joint Chiefs chair (General Joe Dunford): We don't want to go into fair fights

He wants the US Armed Forces to have "the capability and credibility to assure our allies and partners, deter aggression and overmatch any potential adversary"

Security update

Street-smart social media

Computers and the Internet Kanye West may come to regret making promises on Twitter

Words like "never" can be costly when you're trying to get people to pay for things you're selling

Money and technology

Business and Finance Why Goldman Sachs is opening an online bank

Deposits from people who open savings accounts give them financing that makes the regulators happy

Dispatches from the flying-car future

Computers and the Internet Chatbots aren't perfect for everything

Sure, there are plenty of circumstances under which people might want to use natural language in order to interact with a firm or organization. But there are also plenty of times when the scope of what a person can actually do with such an organization are fairly narrow and the exchange is best conducted with something like an interactive contact form instead.

Computers and the Internet Microsoft buys into DNA-based data storage

DNA is, after all, just a means of biological data storage. Whether it can be used synthetically for the same purpose but on a very large scale? That's what Microsoft wants to figure out.

Politics of technology

I went last night to hear Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska give an after-dinner speech. For as easy as it is to criticize politicians, I think it's important to highlight when they get things right. Senator Sasse said at least three tech-related things -- one light, two heavy -- that I think were right on the money:

You ought to follow...


Money and technology

Computers and the Internet What a CEO tells you -- and how -- tells you a lot about the company

Which makes it intriguing that the Alphabet (that is, Google) team took a pass on so doing this year. Aside from a five-sentence intro, the "founders' letter" didn't come from the founders. Meantime, they're moving its hardware products to a new dedicated division.

Computers and the Internet It's getting harder to sell devices

...so Apple is trying to pivot harder into service businesses

Broadcasting Comcast is buying Dreamworks for just under $4 billion

Comcast, once just a simple cable company in Tupelo, Mississippi, has gone full-bore for content creation since becoming majority partner in NBCUniversal in 2011. The deal is being spun as a way to get stronger in "family" programming -- though Comcast carefully calls it "the highly competitive kids and family entertainment space". If it weren't "highly competitive", they might face tougher odds gaining regulatory approval. Of course, Disney bought Pixar, and arguments are made that Pixar is the better studio.

Computers and the Internet Is Yahoo proper really worth -$8 billion?

Stock markets can be terribly irrational sometimes. The tech industry is a brutal marketplace. Together, it adds up to a highly un-enviable spot for Yahoo.

Also in the news this week

Science and Technology Bill Gates on the future of energy

On this issue, at least, he's a supply-sider

Computers and the Internet Nokia is getting into wearable tech gadgets

The one-time dominant phone maker is out of that game entirely, and now looks at wearables as a growth industry

Socialism Doesn't Work China shuts down iTunes and Apple bookstore

Beware any government that would shut off the flow of knowledge

News Steve Wozniak has good advice on learning

It may start in school, but it's a terrible idea to let it end there

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