All posts by Chris Pirillo

7 Ways Periscope Could Be Better

I’ve been live streaming video for a long time (disclosure: I sit on Ustream‘s advisory board).

When Meerkat launched, I was fascinated by the simplicity from start to finish. Piggybacking Twitter was a stroke of genius, if only because Twitter has become the conversation marketplace in recent years – especially for live events.

At its core, Meerkat didn’t do anything new – the app just made it easy to broadcast, easy to participate, and easy to use. There were few (if any) hurdles experienced in the process as a broadcaster or a viewer.

Enter Periscope.

I’d argue that nobody knew about Periscope until Twitter’s acquisition, and now it’s set to become the most important live social video tool in my array of choices – if only because it’s owned by Twitter outright, and that association will go a long way.

I shared my Periscope tips a while back, but what I haven’t shared is my list of features that I believe are missing from Periscope for better community engagement.

  1. A way to see who sends you the most hearts both during and after a broadcast. This could be solved with re-ranking participants by order of engagement after the broadcast, as well as placing a number next to their avatar while they’re interacting in live chat.
  2. A proactive ban-word list. And, as much as I don’t want to see certain things in a live feed as a broadcaster (and I do frequently record our live session for ourdaily vlog), the commenter should not know if their comment had been banned or they’ll figure out a way around the filter instead of the satisfaction of posting anything deemed ban-worthy.
  3. A way to scroll through chat. What was the question? Who asked it? Too frequently, valuable interaction points are lost because Periscope lacks the ability to scroll up.
  4. A way to reward top participators. Why not show badge next to people who have experienced X+ broadcasts? Why not show a badge next to someone who has given you X+ hearts? Let’s see some rewards for the people who help make broadcasting fun.
  5. A way to know those who have opted to share the link to the broadcast on social (currently, that share does not include the broadcaster’s Twitter handle, so tracking is not feasible.
  6. A way to save / export the video with live comments (not those with ban words) included.
  7. A way for viewers to more easily follow the broadcaster on Twitter (or other social channels, though I’m not sure Twitter would like that idea).

Could these features come in future releases? Sure, but I don’t know if Periscope really understands what they have here from a community standpoint.

I hope for other aspects of the tool to be enhanced over time, but I’ve given up on hoping that horizontal broadcasts will ever be a possibility (at least, when broadcasting and keeping chat a part of the experience).

Facing the Apple Music

Indie Label Beggars Group Expresses Apple Music Concerns:

Beggars Group, like many of the unsigned independent labels, are especially apprehensive about Apple Music’s three-month free preview offer to users, a period in which artists will not be compensated for what is streamed on the service.

That’s incredibly reasonable.

As far as music is concerned, I’m just a listener (and general supporter of artists who have talents that appeal to my ear).

If this accusation is true, it seems to me that there’d be one quick fix that should make everybody happy (Apple Music users included): let labels or artists opt out of being included in the three month trial of Apple Music, but toggle their inclusion once a listener begins to pay for the Apple Music service.

The artists can still be a part of the greater (full, non-trial) Apple Music service, Apple can let the labels control the level of inclusion, and listeners still have a chance to try the Apple Music service and hear their favorite artists when they start to pay for it.

If a listener is upset that they can’t hear their favorite artists under a free trial, I’d question just how much of a “favorite” an artist truly is to the listener. The listener doesn’t need to hear their favorite music again to claim the music as a favorite.

There’s even more reason for a user to pay for a full Apple Music service if certain labels (and artists) are held back during the trial. There’d be more incentive to pay, which I can’t imagine would disappoint anybody apart from people looking for a free ride.

Obviously, this indie label isn’t concerned about discoverability. I’d imagine they’d be happy to be a part of the full Apple Music experience, but not if that means that the artists won’t be compensated fairly (whatever “fairly” is).

But, as I said, I’m just a listener.

And I’m a listener who has supported his favorite artists over the years.

Who Needs a Larger iPad?

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Let’s do our best to avoid rumors and look to what’s in the code. In fact, if such spelunking did not happen, I would have hesitated to pen this post outright (because I do not like lending attention to rumors). Still, here we have it:

Both tweets were surfaced by 9to5mac in separate posts.

So, for argument’s sake, who would want an iPad screen that was physically larger (and capable of rendering more pixels) than iPad Air? I can think of a few rather largely-represented groups.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of would-be users, but without knowing too much more about what appears to be a new iPad family member, it is impossible to apply the value of a larger-screen iPad beyond what we know it to be (an iOS device that carries with it a larger resolution that would scale to 263ppi on a 12.9″ screen – or 2x what the current iPad Air pushes).

Who benefits?

  • Gamers: smaller screens are more portable, but with the rise of mobile gaming (which, I’d say, includes any game developed with iPad in mind), I’d expect that great gameplay will look greater on larger surfaces. Even myopic platformist stalwarts could not refuse a larger playing area on any device.
  • Students: with the ability to run two (or more?) apps on iOS, research and documentation will be streamlined on a single device.
  • Casuals: I’ll stop short of saying “older people” (if only because I’m slightly north of youth myself), but for someone who wants to both view and explore personal media, surf social and the general Internet, plus get a little bit of necessary work done, larger screens on a trusted platform may certainly outweigh the alternative. Or, in other words, “smaller” iPad screens could have dissuaded casual users from getting iPad over a traditional Windows PC or MacBook to meet their exact needs.

Out of these three, I’d be inclined to believe that Apple would target the latter (with the formers in tow as a bonus). Many features in the next version of iOS seemingly have Windows holdouts in their crosshairs. These changes are coming around a time when Microsoft is set to release its next vision of what Windows can be. Users may very well find iOS more viable, but without “larger” hardware that gives these people the opportunity to replace their aging laptop or desktop, the updates are moot.

I’ve long suggested that the average user is already using their iPad as a primary computing device – but whatever Apple can do to further blur those lines will be perceived as an advantage.

We’re not in a post-PC era so much as we’re in an era when the PC still has its place but is largely outmoded by friendlier hardware, software, and service models for most consumers.

Niche markets (like gaming or production) notwithstanding.

Which Tech Player is Playing Catchup?

Tony Yoon, from last week’s AMA thread:

Have you noticed that a lot of the stuff they talked about at WWDC was eerily similar to what Google announced at I/O – and that multi-functioning iPads are what the Microsoft Surface has been doing? Is Apple playing catch up?

This is how I see the question:

Have you noticed that [Company X] is now doing a lot of what [Company Y] is doing? And now they’re copying what [Company Z] has.

There is no winner in a race that never ends.

Is it “bad” to copy an excellent feature to potentially make another consumer-oriented experience better? Is the feature implemented in a similar, viable fashion – or is the feature implemented better than the original? Does competition increase or decrease? Who loses in these scenarios?

I can tell you who absolutely wins: consumers.

Even if your platform(s) of choice are the ones that are seemingly getting copied from, give the industry another year or two and you’ll find that your platform(s) of choice will likely modify themselves to be more competitive by taking what’s perceived as a value from an alliterative platform.

And, again, all consumers win.

Your product gets better – either directly or indirectly – because of competition. And, as much as religious zealots dislike the notion of rooting for the “enemy,” without a viable alternative, innovation will stall.

So, who is playing catch up in tech?

Everybody. All the time.

And you need it to be that way.

Xbox Backward Compatibility

One of the biggest announcements to come from Microsoft out of E3 2015 is backward compatibility for Xbox 360 games on Xbox One.

So, why wasn’t this feature baked into the first iteration of Xbox One? Despite it being a value to the player, I can think of three solid reasons off the top of my head:

  • Xbox One was originally positioned as a next-gen home entertainment (not necessarily gaming) device.
  • Xbox 360 game support would likely have attenuated interest in upgrading to a newer system.
  • It wasn’t considered a must-have feature to ship until Sony’s PS4 was beginning to dominate mindshare.

Well, no matter the reason, players appear to be quite happy – except for those who sold off most (if not all) of their Xbox 360 games. Me? Well, I currently have no horse in this race since I’m more of a casual (read: mobile) and retro game player.

What is (and What Isn’t) a PC?

My first personal computer (PC):

  • Forgot its previous state when you turned it off
  • Could use cassette tapes for backup
  • Supported 16 colors
  • Came with 64 kilobytes of memory
  • Did not come with built-in applications
  • Was unable to be moved around with convenience
  • Never connected to the Internet

My current smartphone:

  • Remembers where you left off
  • Is set up to use the Internet for auto backup
  • Supports 100% sRGB Color Gamut, full 24-bit color
  • Has a gigabyte of memory
  • Comes with several useful, default applications
  • Happens to be with me wherever I am
  • Remains connected to the Internet

Which one of these is more of a personal computer (PC)?

LG G4 Review

What I Like about the LG G4:

  • Photo quality in certain shots was outstanding
  • Default camera app is insanely configurable, stellar
  • Surprisingly, this is running the latest version of Android
  • Screen is vibrant and crisp
  • Back plate is swappable for another style
  • Battery swapping & SD card slot are a unique feature in flagships now
  • UI ethos intermingling with stock Android isn’t terribly jarring

What I Don’t Like about the LG G4:

  • The LG branding / logo on the front
  • Positions of buttons not “normal” (a crimp in my muscle memory)
  • All of LG’s modifications cannot be removed
  • Virtually impossible to use single-handedly
  • Any degree of default app duplication (Gallery)
  • Software button operation UX confusion (again, Gallery)
  • LG app updates handled independent of Google Play

Who do I think this is for?

  • Someone looking for a best-in-class smartphone camera
  • Someone who wants a mid-sized pocket computer
  • Someone who is ready to move on from their existing Android phone

Who do I think this isn’t for?

  • Anybody who doesn’t like any degree of default OS modifications
  • Anybody who does not value the camera in their smartphone
  • Anybody who does not value removable battery, SD card slot

My patrons were given priority attention in the construction of this review and the videos produced around it.

Why I Shaved My Beard

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette at Sam’s Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

To shave or not to shave: that is the question I face (so to speak) on a near-weekly basis, not being one who opts to maintain a shorn appearance on a consistent basis.

My barber (who lives on Fleet Street) must be on vacation, as I haven’t seen him in a while. If you happen to see Mr. Todd in passing, please tell him that I promise to finally try one of his building partner’s meat pies if he can fit me into his schedule again.

Struggling with blades from the beginning, I find most shaving options treating my skin as though they weren’t treating my skin – which is a shortcoming for someone who has the inherent need to eliminate stubble before it grows into a full-blown beard.

Unless, of course, he finds himself sitting underneath a full-blown beard that has been cultivated over a two-month period of time without any planning, pruning, or promise.

IMG 9866

The timing for receiving a Gillette Fusion ProShield from Sam’s Club was perfect, as my uncontrolled facial hair situation was getting quite hairy. My wife didn’t mind these extra-long whiskers, but they were starting to interrupt my routines. I found myself having to reposition my face as it laid upon the pillow to keep my lip hairs from tangling with my nose hairs (but that’s a matter for a different day to be handled by a different tool). Plus, I was starting to experience random droplets of coffee falling minutes after I had taken a sip… and that was too far for me.

IMG 9809

Coffee is for me – not for my mustache.

It was high time to try the Gillette Fusion ProShield from Sam’s Club (knowing full well that I could use all nine blades included with the package if the beard wouldn’t buckle to one). Yes, the label suggested that it should last me up to 9 months, but you don’t realize just how stubborn my hair can be. And, worst case scenario: I could always get blade refills easily at Sam’s Club.

My bet was that it would take no less than five blades to shave, but one was all I needed.

IMG 0001

IMG 0059

Not that I keep track of what’s a good shave or a bad shave, but I always consider the fresh face feeling to be a prime indicator as to whether or not the blade went above and beyond its primary function. I’m a guy who doesn’t use facial creams or other assorted body tonics, so the addition of lubrication during the shave turned out to be a godsend.

I don’t want to worry about lubricating before and after doing something, ya know? I know I should do it, but that doesn’t mean I will do it. The intelligent incorporation of a critical feature that’s viewed as optional suddenly becomes mandatory once you’ve used it. Giving yourself a smooth shave can only happen with a sharp blade, but having a face that feels refreshed after shaving can only happen when it’s not dried out.

If you’d like to try it for yourself, I’ll give you the chance to receive a free Sam’s Club Gift Card to get your own kit. Simply share the link to this blog post in your social feed (like Twitter) and be sure to tag me so that I see it. One person will be chosen at random.  Be sure to use #DontLoseYourSmooth in your Tweet, too!

I don’t have blog comments because I got tired of 50% of the people telling me that I needed to shave more, and the other 50% telling me I needed to shave less.

I’ll shave when I feel that I need to shave, and I’ll be shaving with Gillette Fusion ProShield from Sam’s Club for the foreseeable future.


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7 Things I Like about Huawei’s Nexus 6P Android Smartphone

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huawei. All opinions are 100% mine.

Before I dive deeper into my experiences with Huawei’s Nexus 6P device, you might wanna read what I’ve already written about the company. As much praise as Google’s biggest flagship smartphone is getting with techies, the company that created it deserves a bulk of the credit.

There are certainly an array of Android-driven experiences in the marketplace to accommodate a variety of users (which is the power of the platform), but this was my first experience with Huawei. I had been eyeballing it for quite some time, if only because I had been using an older product as my go-to Android gadget and had been wanting something with updated internals and a far more responsive screen.

The Nexus 6P did not disappoint.

  1. It shipped with the latest version of Android (currently 6.0, also known as Marshmallow). This is a welcome surprise. It will always be at the head of the pack for updates, too – given its status as a Nexus device. It’s as pure of an Android experience as you can get today.
  2. It looks good all around with clean edges constructed of metal and glass. Moreover, the front is all it needs to be with a screen and speakers – no design distractions (all logos are on the back of the device).
  3. The ability to record 4K video is currently a cutting-edge feature, fully available with the camera (and 1080p video in the front camera is also wonderful to have).
  4. The power button and volume rocker switch have different textures. This is a fine detail that really makes the device more usable (since you know which button you’re pressing without needing to look).
  5. The screen is bright and responsive. I felt that the animations and transitions were always smooth – always hitting around 60 frames per second without serious snags.
  6. The fingerprint sensor is blazing fast. I never had to rejigger my hold on the phone to get it to recognize my registered fingerprints, either.
  7. The software is running in parity with the hardware. I didn’t feel like I was dealing with an Android’ish experience – I felt like I was using a device that was designed with a singular vision.

These days, there are a smattering of smartphones from which to choose – but sacrificing quality for budget isn’t an absolute anymore. You can have premium products without necessarily paying a premium price, and that’s pretty much what Huawei has produced in the Nexus 6P. If you want to get one, you can go directly to Huawei and experience a level of customer service satisfaction that helps further set the company apart.

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This Freebie is Worth Five Bucks

Hello, My Gnomies!

I usually earn gift cards left and right (and, sometimes, diagonal).

I was price checking an item at the store today and discovered that it was far more affordable to buy there than it was online. If you’re not double-checking everything you’re shopping for, you’re easily wasting the value of that smartphone you carry with you wherever you go.

While I was doing my research, I was prompted to let you know about an offer.

Use my referral link to get a $5 coupon at Amazon for signing into the Amazon App the first time: – that’s what they told me to tell you.

So, if you’ve not yet logged into the Amazon app, that’s one nice incentive that could be applied to whatever it is that you want to get next.

Chris “Something for Nothing” Pirillo

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The 24/7 Live Chat Room is Back

Hello, My Gnomies!

As many of you know, I started up my account on Twitch last week in an effort to better engage our community on another front. With it has come a side benefit of becoming a partner and being able to offer subscriptions and bonuses to anybody who cares to take advantage of the ongoing offer.

You see, my Twitch profile has a web-based chat room that is also fully accessible by way of IRC – and THAT means some form of live text chat with me is back (if you remember the way it used to be long ago). That’s a 24/7 live text chat, even if I’m not there 24/7. My old chat room regulars are still quite amazing people, and I wish that my personal life didn’t interfere with my ability to keep going with it years ago; I couldn’t support it half as well as it always supported me.

While Twitch chat is currently for any Twitch “follower,” I will likely lock it down to just my Twitch “subscribers” at some point. Anybody can “follow” on Twitch for free, but to get “sub” bonuses on Twitch, you have to “subscribe” at $4.99 a month. It’s their wording, not mine. You probably already sub to someone on Twitch, anyway.

All I want to do is interact with y’all, and it seems that chat on Twitch is going to be the best way to do it 24/7 – but that means you’d have to sub to me on Twitch for *THAT* feature if it’s something you want. Again, absolutely nothing changes with how we’re doing TLDR at this stage – for Super Gnomies or anybody.

Twitch is pretty much all about gaming, but if you don’t care about watching video game streams or other streams from me there, my 24/7 chat may be enough of a value to join in. Once it’s locked down to just my Twitch “subscribers,” it should be relatively free of trolls just like our Patreon arena is with TLDR.

Being active on Twitch does not keep me from doing TLDR for you as I’ve been doing (and offering this same range of bonuses that I’ve been offering you all this time). I’m just doing more and able to offer more bonuses to people on another platform.

I’ve always been limited by what these platforms can offer, and text chat has been missing for so long that I’m happy to see a viable option back on the table (albeit, not on a single platform as desired).

If you want, I’m in text chat now / constantly: (and often multitasking). If you have any questions that I haven’t already responded to, please ask. I hope I was clear.

Chris “As Clear as Invisible Mud” Pirillo

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A Day with Tech Was a Day Without Talking

Hello, My Gnomies!

As you might recall from yesterday’s rather haphazardly-worded report, I started feeling under the weather before I slinked under the covers after sipping a shot of knock-out juice (but not before making sure you knew what I had been up to for the past 24 hours or so).

I don’t enjoy the beginning period of a cold (not that any part of it is bearable), so I tend not to speak aloud so as to avoid straining my voice, further irritating an area of my throat that’s already been worn raw. Today, I refrained from flapping my gums – and if a nod or head-shake wouldn’t suffice, I resorted to using forms of digital communication to make sure that Diana knew what was going through my mind at the time.

The smartphone is a lifesaver – it’s become one of my favorite computer models of all time.

Imagine if I had to drag my wife to a PC at a desk, open up a word processor, type in what I was trying to tell her, and then wait for her to become impatient with my not being able to find the right emoji. I’m sure that for some of you, this is a dream scenario – but it’s just not for me.

Later this evening, after I finished editing the day’s vlog (which was 5% me and 95% the rest of my immediate family), I connected to IRC for the first time in I don’t know how long. Twitch chat interoperates with the classic Internet service, so now I can speak with my subs on a frequent basis. Yep, I’m a Twitch partner now with a Subscribe button – and if I find enough supporters, I’ll be that much closer to building a media studio here in Seattle (for myself and fellow content producers).

Anyway, I didn’t talk all day. That’s what I really wanted to tell you.

Chris “I Can’t Stop Typing” Pirillo

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