Google #io19

Not as groundbreak as io18, but there were still some pleasant announcements in the main keynote. Here are some of my favorites:

Next-Gen Google Assistant

Obv Google Assistant (GA) is already pretty good. But there are an insane amount of deficiencies, limitations, and imperfections. What’s new is that GA can run on-device, locally, without needing to communicate back to online services and all that round-trip audio upload, download latency etc. Super great for most mobile situations in low connection areas, spotty connections, no connection. I’m big on reducing latency. Lots of speed-issues and user impressions is about latency, in everything. And bandwidth in most places are more than sufficient, it’s the latency that’s lacking. Even more so for mobile.

By seriously reducing lag time, running on-device, GA will be increasingly more responsive, fun to use, and actually useful instead of getting in the way.

Next-gen Google Assistant on-device
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Google #io19


Los Angeles, was, unexpected. It was a hard decision thinking/choosing between going to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or some other small random location in California. Ultimately, the path from LA -> SF seemed more optimal, and Vegas seemed really clishchy (what’s that word).

So, LA. Not really the type of town/city of my style either. LA is characterized by beach, hollywood (film industry), sprawl, cars, hollywood boulevard, entertainment industry, none of which were my thing frankly. So half reluctantly we went to LA – after all, we couldn’t be going to NYC two years in a row (or could we).

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My old Ubiquiti Edgerouter Lite died (well it was the second one that died), so I was out of proper routers. Using a spare/emergency Netgear freebie set as a stand-in just didn’t seem to cut it. I couldn’t reconfigure all my DHCP to my liking, I couldn’t get my routing nice, my VLANs, and I suspect it had some scanning turned on that made everything so laggy. Maybe I should have just turned off the scanning.

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Recommendation engines

Having been on the Internet for much of the past decade and more, it’s been stunning to see how it has evolved. Yes it has, by a lot. The social media platforms, the YouTubes, the other big platforms, have grown and grown and grown into billions of viewers, billions of contributors, and trillions of pieces of content and even more metadata. 

The feel also changed, the feeds changed. It might seem like it was just the mix of people and the mix of content that has changed, but hey perhaps like the american elections and this guy has said, the recommendation engines are partly to blame. 

It’s crazy, isn’t it, that the recommendation algorithms, optimized for innocuous metrics to up engagement, watch time, retention time, repeatability and many more innocent concepts have and seem to promote undesirable material simply because the human mind just seems to love gossip, wild stories, imaginative news and the lure of tabloid content. There must be a reason tabloids and gossip does so well. Hah. It’s dangeous. 

I hope more people are able to distinguish between the truth and the fake, the good and the bad, the real and the unreal, but like our poor sad little human minds, it might be hard to escape the mental clutches of logical fallacies, dreams vs realities. 

Recommendation engines


The rise/rebirth of QR codes is … surprising.

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan.” –

The surprising thing is that when the geeks and nerds tried to first introduce QR codes to the world, it was in the form of trying to reduce typing of super long URI paths into browsers and mobile phones. After all, typing is slow and painful when you got h t t p s : / / w w w . e x a m p l e . c o m / r a n d o m / m o r e r a n d o m / m o r e . p h p. Nobody gonna get that right.

But that never really properly took off. Too painful to use, still too much friction.  You never know what you’re scanning. It’s just scary and a bit too slow to scan still.

Then we had link shorteners like bitly, googl etc. Then we had NFC taps. 

But it’s surprising that QR codes came into fashion from a surprisingly unlikely source – China. China and their payment systems. 

What if, this is the death of mastercard and visa, like the deaths of diner and amex. If so much payments bypass them, if people no longer needed credit cards with visa and master on them, if people had new credit cards with other systems (yeah it’s actually different things!), and if people went with less credit, would our banking systems change so much, would shopping data change companies etc. 

What an interesting world.


Can’t Help Falling In Love With You

A heart-aching, heart-wrenching, string-tugger of a song. Surprisingly I never knew it is was an Elvis Presley song, based on Plaisir d’amour [wiki]. 

The other day we heard a superbly slow version of this song, without the background drumset beat. It was, slow. So. heart. achingly. slow. In a good way.

I described it as “when you are hugging someone, in a long hug. and you’re kind of releasing, but the other person keeps on holding you tight. and you’re like ‘oh I guess you want to hug a little longer’. that’s the feeling here when the singer dwells just that bit longer on that note. the very significant small point where it crosses just into that bit of uncomfortably long.”

It’s not easy to describe or understand. But it’s just something you have to know and have felt to understand. 

Not many singers sing it so slow. But it’s quite amazing if you come across one.  YouTube

Can’t Help Falling In Love With You