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This Week in Tech 456
It’s time for Twit, This Week In Tech. A great show for you. Brian brushwood is here. The Scoblizer, Robert Scoble. And Marques Brownlee from MKV HD. I’m surrounded by YouTube stars this week. We will talk about Facebook’s conference, when enmity isn’t truly anonymous. Twitter’s tumble on the stock market and Microsoft blinked. It’s all coming up next on Twit.
This is Twit. This Week In Tech, Episode 456 recorded May 4, 2014
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Leo Laporte: It is time for Twit, This Week in Tech. The show where we cover That week’s tech news. And all its floored glory. Speaking of floored glory Robert Scoble is here, where not one but two devices that could take pictures surreptitiously. In fact Robert is going to see if the Scobilizer has his Google Glass. I recognize the narrative clip. This is good because there is more stealth. Because it is a camera every 30 seconds it takes a picture.
Robert Scoble: And if you double tap it, it will take an extra one.
Leo: Will talk about that. Robert was also at the Facebook Developers conference. We’ll talk about that. To his right is Mr. Brian Brushwood from scam school, the new show NSFW has now called…
Brian Brushwood: Night attack. At nightattack.tv. And it is still dirtier than ever. It is finally actually NSFW. Not that we weren’t extremely thankful for the platform of Twit but man do we use the F word a lot now.
Leo: Really that was your goal in life? To somewhere find a platform that I can swear more?
Brian: There was some clip where Bonnie walked in we were playing and she goes, “Congratulations Brian, just wait till your daughter finds this”.
Leo: So, it was Inside Amy Schumer that they did the douche scam school. Have you seen this? That is what this guy does for a living.
Brian: This reputation that magicians have, they earned it. That kind of thing doesn’t come out of nowhere. There is 1 billion of those guys actually out. But yes I agree.
Leo: Hey, look who else is here. MKBHD, Marques Brownlee is back. I bet we Have something that you don’t have. I should never say that, but I see that Robert Scoble here has been new HTC1. But everybody has the HTC1 but this is the new Sprint Harman Kardon version. Have you played with it yet Marques?
Marques Brownlee: I have not. I have the Google Play addition one and the AT&T one.
Leo: I’m a fan of the M8. I just got the Nokia 1520 just to see what a six-inch phone would be like. And I like it and not that it doesn’t have enough Google services. What is interesting about this one, and I know you just got it you haven’t played with it yet, is this is the so-called Harman Kardon edition and it has the capability of playing back this high bit rate files.
Robert: And they sent me a really nice Harmon Kardon wireless speaker. That is called bribery.
Leo: You don’t get to keep it though.
Robert: I don’t know. It didn’t have a return shipping label.
Leo: I think this is interesting because Neil Young has made a lot of hay with his Pono player. He raised quite a bit of money on kick starter. For basically the same idea. A player that can play instead of the MP3s that we are used to. I think everybody agrees you give up a certain amount when you do an MP3. But even recorded at higher bit rates this CD is 41 kHz by 16 bit. I asked Joe Walsh what do you record in? And he said 44 124. Why don’t you do it higher? And he said it takes up too much disk space. And nobody can hear the difference.
Robert: That’s not true.
Leo: There is some debate over it. Whether you can hear the difference.
Robert: You can actually. If you get into a double testing lab you can tell the difference. Most people can actually.
Leo: I think people can. But I don’t know if I can because I’m so old. But theoretically this phone will do it if you have good headphones?
Robert: Yeah, that’s why I brought these headphones.
Leo: Okay. Do you know if there is 192 24 music on here?
Robert: I haven’t figured that out yet. I literally just got it.
Leo: I figure the only person young enough on this panel to hear the differences probably Marques. What do you think of the idea? You are deaf now anyway.
Brian: I am convinced that this is the age of music entering basically wines. You have five wines and there are like three dudes who can maybe taste the difference between this one and now one, but the rest of us can buy two dollar wine and think it is great and not have any idea. I’m pretty sure that is where we are with audio at this point.
Leo: The Golden years.
Robert: Yeah, it is funny it has modified settings and it has a way to download a higher bit rate and it does sound better to my years. But most people don’t even know that’s there. Also THX has a new format that is surround sound audio. It is sort of neat. It'll be interesting to compare all these.
Leo: NHX keeps pushing surround sound stuff and it just never gets picked up.
Robert: It’ll be picked up by the video game people.
Leo: Right. So Pono raised $6 million, they wanted 800,000 and they raise $6 million. 18,000 people, including me I bought one, but it won’t be out until September. But Marquez literally you are the only one young enough with acute enough hearing to be able to tell the difference. Have you listened to any of this high-quality stuff?
Marques: I rarely do. I just have a lot of MP3’s. I don’t record any higher.
Leo: You see? Kids today. Your generation grew up with iPod and little ear buds and that is all you expect.
Marques: When I am recording I am not recording to the web, just to YouTube and it compresses everything anyway. So even if I did record and a higher resolution you wouldn’t really hear the difference on YouTube.
Leo: It is the same for us, we could shoot in 1080P but why? Do you shoot at 720 or 1080?
Marques: I shoot at 2160P and YouTube will stream at a higher bit rate when you shoot in 4K. So I can export in 45 MHz per second rather than 10 which is the max for 1080 P streaming.
Leo: You shoot in 4K?
Leo: Wow. It is the same thing, you have to compress it so much you can’t imagine.
Robert: I don’t have enough upload speed. I’d be up all night uploading one video.
Marques: YouTube takes forever to process those files too. If I’m uploading in 1080 P a five-minute video it will be done processing in five minutes but if I upload this 4K video that is 4 gigs and it takes about an hour to fully process in order to actually show that resolution.
Leo: So why do you upload MK 4K video?
Marques: I like hi-res video in the first place so I’m kind of future proofing it for now. For the day in maybe 6 years when someone is watching an old video!
Leo: Did you get a 60 Hz, 4K monitor? Were you able to?
Marques: Yeah, I have the Aquos PQU321Q display.
Leo: That is the only 60hz one out there as far as I know.
Marques: At Thunderbolt.
Leo: Are you running a Mac Pro on that sucker?
Marques: Yes sir, I am. Faster.
Leo: This is the guy that had 120,000 comments on a single YouTube video. What were you giving away?
Marques: I was giving away the Nexus Pier. Another one of these is the Nexus 5 with the skin on the back with my logo on it.
Leo: The MKBHD version. Wow. 120,000 comments. Wow.
Marques: All those entries.
Leo: That’s amazing.
Robert: It takes a lot to get Leo jealous of somebody else’s numbers.
Leo: I’m very jealous of Marques! What day is it? It is March the 3rd. No, I’m sorry it is May the fourth be with you. We didn’t actually want to play John Williamson famous music so we you know what they do. They just turn it up a key, take out a note and that is it. May the Fourth be with you. This is Star Wars Day. There is someone in the audience right now that is watching all 6 Star Wars movies in sequence, as is traditional on May 4th.
Promise me they are the specialized editions. The only valid versions.
Leo: They guy is here with his long suffering girlfriend. Wife? Just somebody you know? Old friend. I mentioned Star Wars Day to her. Do you think that is something he would do? Watch all 6 Star Wars movies in one day without eating? He’d watch Lord of the Rings? That’s a pretty big commitment. There are only 3 of them but I feel like it is more time that 6 Star Wars movies. It feels like it just goes on and on. And on. Anyway happy Star Wars Day. Can you believe it is almost 40 years? 37 years since Star Wars.
Robert: I saw it 13 times in the first week.
Leo: You never were a guy to just kind of take it easy were you?
Robert: No. I was in Junior High.
Leo: 13 times? You just kept going back?
Robert: It was the best movie I’d ever seen. I was 13, it was 1977.
Leo: I just went once. Anyway, happy Star Wars Day. Let’s take a break and when we come back we’ll talk about F8 and a lot more. Who did that? Was it Anthony Neilson who did that fabulous Star Wars crawl? We call that our lower third.
Audience: We call that Kyron in the trade.
Leo: Pardon me. Kyron. Yes, I’m sorry I apologize. The Kyron. He probably went to Broadcasting school for a semester. That Star Wars font. I like it. We maybe can keep this.
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Leo: So F8 this year. First of all they haven’t had a Facebook developers conference in 3 years. It is a long time between conferences I think. You look at Apple, Google, and their developer conferences are big deals. It really is an important thing to get developers in your corner. Facebook obviously realized this.
Robert: I bought Parce last year.
Leo: That is one of the things they showed. First of all Mark Zuckerberg leads it off. He looks great. He is very much in command. He is not the shy guy. You’ve interviewed him many times. He is almost 30. He’s grown up a lot.
Robert: He is confident and he is worldly now. He’s a billionaire.
Leo: Well he’s not only a billionaire. He’s got 1.2 billion customers. Amazing thing. He did a couple of interesting things. For a long time Facebook’s philosophy was kind of fail fast, break things early and fix them, the hacker culture. He said, “While that served us well, we want to be a platform now. We want to be stable and consistent”. That is a big change for Facebook.
Robert: Which means he’s got to move slowly. The days of some 20 year old checking in some code without having a committee check it over first is probably over.
Leo: He strikes me as what they are saying is that… I feel like this is happening. You guys tell me. That Facebook realized as Google has realized and others have realized that the monolithic portal page that you go to and everything is there is dead. Mobile is where it is happening now right? And I think Google knew this all along it seems that all Google said is we will just do all these different things, some of which you will use some of which you won’t and we’ll make sure the information we gather about you is shared across all those platforms. We have basically an Ad network. And when you use Google Docs, or Voice, or G-plus, or Google mail or any of our services you’ll see consistent ads across.
Robert: New drive Apps came out this week
Leo: I think Facebook might have realized this with the acquisition of Instagram and What’s App. They don’t need to fold those into Facebook. In fact it is better if they don’t. People want to use apps for specific purposes and Facebook is now going to become the ad platform underneath. To do that and to get developers to use it, you can’t be changing it every three minutes.
Robert: One problem with apps is if you click a link on the Facebook app, maybe to sound cloud for instance, it takes you into the web page. And they just announced a protocol that’ll take you to the sound cloud app. Now people aren’t all that happy about some of these moves because they really are, if you look at it, they are taking over the app eco-system.
Leo: Taking over the web.
Robert: The new web right? I read on my mobile phone far more than I read on my desktop anymore.
Leo: Zuckerberg promised two years consistency in the API. Minimum. So if there is an API call and you are a developer and you’re using it you can be guaranteed it will be good for two years. We are going to pay more attention to customers. We are trying to build, he says, a stable mobile platform. This seems to be a big change.
Robert: The ad network is really the big thing. And most people aren’t going to get crazy passionate about an ad network but the numbers will start showing up in the next quarterly results and that is when we are going to see the effect of that new network. Most of the developers say it is really well done.
Brian: I’ll tell you what Man. That’s all great for Facebook but as a consumer there is only one thing I care about and that is the anonymous login and it is weird because on the one hand I applaud that he does it but there is so much damned hypocrisy. What did he say? “I can sign in on my own terms, we don’t want anyone to ever be surprised about how they are sharing on Facebook”, which is a very magnanimous statement from a man who built an empire by surprising people about what they are sharing on Facebook.
Robert: Yeah, that is what I said he’s starting to grow up. He’s starting to realize that changing all the time pisses people off and he’s doing things to be more user sensitive.
Leo: Wait a minute. Isn’t Facebook anonymous login completely cynical because you are anonymous to the app developer but you are exactly now anonymous to Facebook. What the value to Facebook is to get you to use all these different things and collect information about you across all these platforms.
Robert: There’s a lot of ways to look at it as a cynic. First of all, anonymous button takes away screen shot and screen space that Amazon or Microsoft or Google could use.
You have Facebook connect and underneath it you have anonymous link. That is the bar where Google Plus would be.
Robert: And there isn’t that much space on a mobile phone so right there took away another button possibility from somebody else.
Brian: I didn’t even think about this as being an insidious way to go like a second level deeper where you not only tell people that they… man, that is dark. It’s like you increase the likelihood of somebody using yours because you have the word anonymous in there and in fact it is totally not anonymous and they are just collecting even more data. That is horrific.
Leo: Marques Brownlee will people notice that? Will people just see the word anonymous and go, oh that’s cool?
Marques: I don’t know if anyone is going to change. The people who care about it will probably click it and hopefully it’ll do what it says it’s doing. Personally I probably wouldn’t.
Leo: So you are saying people aren’t ever going to trust Facebook whether it says anonymous or not?
Robert: That is absolutely not true in the stats. The ad developers I know say a major proportion of their people are using Facebook to sign in because it saves you putting that damn user name and password in for all these stupid apps. Their pitch to the developers was if you put this anonymous button in, more people will try your app because they know they won’t give you any data. And there is something to that.
Marques: Or information to post on your behalf.
Robert: You click anonymous and the app doesn’t know anything about me.
Leo: But that’s the only one who doesn’t. You know what app developers do now. You login with Facebook and then they say, okay give us your email address, your password.
Robert: The best ones don’t do that.
Leo: That is why it is friction free. But you are giving up something as an app developer. Giving us access to your customers.
Leo: Is Facebook so powerful that the developers will do that?
Robert: I think so. Based on talking to the developers in the audience they say they like it because you have another way to get people to sign in to an app and try it without having to type in your user name and password. And they know that they lose people on username and password. I know I do if I have to fill out a bunch of stuff when I first get an app sometimes I go and do something else.
Leo: Facebook feels a little creepy here because they are going to developers and saying, okay we’ve got this. We are going to give you some money, we’ll help you with your data base, so it feels a little bit like that creepy guy on The Family Guy? That’s a nice app. Would you mind…
Robert: I can’t argue because on Ratspace I do the same thing. I’m the drug pusher.
Leo: But the difference on Ratspace is that it is open source software right? It’s a open stack. And you’re not really… Ratspace is not collecting information on my customers. They are facilitating it. Facebook is saying, Hey forget the Ratspace, the Amazon web services, forget the Google Code, we’ll do all of that for you. You’ll be in our eco-system, it’ll be a good thing. And I think it is tempting. I even think for us, as potential ad developers we’d be tempted by that because it is our customer.
Robert: They are not the only one doing it. Google is out there with an Identity play. Twitter is out there with an Identity play. Microsoft is trying. What is really interesting is that I didn’t see any Microsoft on the Facebook stage.
Leo: But you didn’t see any Apple stuff did you? Or Google stuff?
Robert: There was a lot of Apple talked about.
Leo: They know the IOS. They’ve gotta be on iPhones.
Robert: iPhone and Android are the two platforms. Not a single mention of Microsoft. That also matches all the startup side talk. Very few of them build Windows Phone apps.
Brian: Robert walk me through this because if I’m an app developer I understand the benefits of buying into the Facebook eco-system for ease of acquisition of new members. But it seems like in individual login and an email address would be much more valuable if what I want to do is sell stuff down the road.
Robert: It might be, but when you login with Facebook, first of all your users don’t turn because it is one click and then you get, if your users say yes, you get access to their birthday, to their friend network, all their likes.
Leo: So Facebook will… but wait. Not if you use the anonymous one?
Robert: Not if you use the anonymous one. But you know how this is going to work. If I’m an app developer and I opt for anonymous and then at every turn you are going to try to do something and you can’t.
Leo: Oh gee. If I knew more about you, I’d help you.
Robert: Yeah. Please give us full access to your Facebook profile or sign in with a username and password. You know how that is going to play out.
Leo: I think that overall what the most interesting thing here, and I have to give credit to Mike Elgin our news director and host, for first highlighting this for me. Is this notion that the monolithic page is dead? I think, in fact I saw an article the other day that agrees with me, not only we on a post PC era we are in a post tablet era we are in an everything on the mobile phone era. And so for the web experience in the mobile phone is tough. It is too small a screen. We are in an era where frankly all these big companies are going to say, “We don’t need to have one page, we need to have as many apps as possible and if it could be our own apps, it could be through a relationship with an app developer”, but all of them using either the Google Ad platform or the Facebook Ad platform or the Microsoft or Yahoo ad platform.
Robert: And that is where Android is way ahead. If you use some of the newer app launchers, they will actually pull in apps onto your screen that you don’t even have loaded yet. And Apple just doesn’t let developers do that. Also the app eco-system on Android is more connected. I can actually deep link into your app, which I can’t do on iPhone and the fact that Facebook is now coming out with linking for apps tells me that Apple is in a bad position here. They really should’ve….
Leo: I’m surprised that Apple is going to allow that. Doesn’t Apple have the right to say no, you cannot click a link in an app and launch another app?
Robert: I’m shocked that Apple hasn’t done that yet. Because if Apple doesn’t keep it’s app eco-system up to date people will start switching. And, you know already 90% of the market is on android. So it doesn’t take a whole lot more to get us off the iPhone.
Leo: So Marques, I hate to keep using you as the young person. But really your usage is what everybody cares about. They don’t care how Scoble or I or even Brushwood uses stuff. They care about how people in your age bracket uses stuff. how aware are they, for instance, that this is even going on?
Marques: As a college student, just looking around at the way people use apps and trying to sign into stuff. It is obviously way easier to just sign in with your Facebook account and never worry about it again. There also apps that use Google plus so if you have Google plus it is just one click. So that is easy.
Leo: They are not thinking about privacy.
Marques: No. Not a lot. I have certain classes where it is sort of a vocal minority where everyone in the class is concerned about it because it is a class about security or a class about innovation policy where we talk a lot about that stuff. But outside of that, it seems like not a lot of concern.
Leo: So, I am curious about Snapchat in that regards. Snapchat really did well out of the box because, it was that app that you take a picture and then say they can only look at it for 10 or 20 or 30 seconds. It just took over the world. In fact, they turned down a three billion-dollar offer. I can’t remember if it was Google or Facebook, I think Google. They said no we are going to be worth more than that. My daughter yesterday, she said dad Snapchat just updated. They added phone calls and texting. So Snapchat clearly sees this as an opportunity. But I think it could be a mistake though. An application it gets too complicated, one of the reasons snap Was so popular is because it was very straightforward.
Brian: We are seeing the same thing with Twitter right? Aren't they talking about…
Leo: Disappearing tweets. They implied that they would be doing it but they haven’t done it yet. The whispering. You are classmates use Snapchat right Marques?
Leo: What was the reaction to the new app? Did they just kind of freak?
Marques: I haven’t seen the reaction. Actually highly-one we had a reactionary. When I when I thought I thought it came out all the coverage seems to be very positive and glowing. But my initial impression was that is a lot more complicated. When Snapchat started out it was simple. So are people going to try this that use it a lot or are they just going to use it is the way they did before?
Robert: My son who is 20 says they are using it. He really likes it.
Leo: What did your friend say Marques?
Marques: My friend did not use it. I got the update next to him and he said is that the new Snapchat? He said he would update it. And then he did and he said he didn’t know what was going on anymore. Everything was changed.
Leo: My daughter said the same thing. She is 22.
Marques: I think people are going to continue using it the way we they were before. And if they find something that they kind of like they will consider that a bonus and use it more too. I didn’t get any walk-through instructions showing the new feature.
Robert: The new video is pretty cool. If you swipe down it switches the camera to the front facing camera. It is pretty well done. If you actually do play with it it is pretty well done.
Leo: But that is the question. Is it better to be an app that does one thing well, and we will provide you with inter-app communications if you want to do other things.
Brian: First of all, it seems to me like the Facebook angle is that they are obviously sitting on a mountain of cash and goodwill. However, they got there on a very fickle market. All of Facebook was based on the fact that the flip of a switch all the cool kids ran over to Facebook away from MySpace. It seems to me that now that they have the cash they are diversifying and buying stuff with the massive potential. It makes sense for them to do this. But it makes me think of seeing the brakes on Twitter’s growth. Which is really shocking to me. Wall Street of course is taking a giant…
Leo: Snapchat. Chad is sending me a Snapchat.
Chad: With Snapchat, the general idea now, instead of clicking on a chat and then clicking and holding to see something all of your old stuff you can actually swipe over and now you’re in a chat.
Leo: So if I have a picture of a girl I can now chat with her.
Chad: Right. Or anyone really.
Leo: My feeling is, that if you need a tutorial it’s too complicated. You should stop.
Chad: It is funny. What they did was that snap chat actually sent everyone a big old snap explaining all the features. But it is interesting, I think that I saved something from Scott Johnson. What you could do is when someone sends you something that you like… if you tap on it and it is bald and I move away it is going to save it. So you can actually save texts.
Leo: It's too complicated.
Brian: I hate to say it man but I tuned out halfway through the fact that I’m not paying attention is bad news.
Leo: Me too. It’s too hard.
Brian: Simplicity reigns, man. Convenience over fidelity.
Leo: So here is my new Snapchat. I put it on here and I use it just to see what is going on. And then I take it off because I don’t want anyone to think I’m using it. That is a problem. I think that Facebook is making a very compelling argument. Do just one thing well. Don’t add a lot of features. We will provide the platform across which you can interact. An ecosystem where people can use it. Really, these app guys they don’t mind, the only thing they want is the user base.
Brian: Does this make Facebook’s one most valuable asset basically a terms of service agreement that allows them to share information and have access to their walled garden? Is that really the biggest benefit to Facebook to everyone?
Leo: No, it is infrastructure. It is ease-of-use. It is user base. Everybody wants user base. And if you can scale, look at What’s App. If you can get up to 300 million users you are worth $16 billion.
Robert: Facebook wants to know your emotional connection to people, places, and things. So they can filter the feed out and addict to you, which gets you to see the advertising. It is an amazing model to figure out. And the fact that they are building an ecosystem where your ads are going to be shoved into apps and shoved into other places, and your identity system is going to be used all over the web. That just ensures that they know what you are doing to serve you ads. It is not that hard to figure out what they are doing.
Leo: Well this takes me to a Princeton professor and sociologist, who decided that she did not want big data to see what she was up to. She and her husband are expecting. And she has decided that she doesn’t want big data, whatever big data means, to know. We are talking about Janet Vertesi, she is an assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University. She said it was the hardest thing in the world, but she lost her credibility right away with me when she said, “I am a conscientious objector to Google, but I'm still on Facebook”. So right there I say, lady!
Robert: While they are studying who you are, what you do, what your behaviors are, to serve you better.
Leo: She says, “I’ve been on Facebook about 10 years. I got off Google 2 years ago when they change their privacy policies. So don’t use any Google products, I was already a conscientious objector to Google. But I am very active online. I am not fearful of that technology. It was an experimental thing. What would it look like to do it without walking away from Facebook or Twitter?” So the first thing they said is we are expecting but don’t mention it on social media. She told her friends don’t tweet it. Don’t put it online. We are doing an experiment. Then she said, “Whenever we searched for anything baby related we did it on Tor, a privacy network”. So that nobody would know it was her searching. And then when they buy something they created a fake email account on Amazon and when they would buy something and have it delivered to an Amazon locker in Manhattan. So they didn’t have her home address. And she said, “We stocked it with Amazon gift cards which we bought with cash. To draw a distinction between our online lives and our off-line lives”.
Brian: Keep in mind that if she really wanted to keep it quiet, all she had to do was pay cash for diapers at Target right?
Leo: Don’t go on the Internet.
Robert: And don't do any searches about babies. And don't click on any ads about babies on Facebook.
Leo: She said it was a lot of work and I didn’t expect it to be this hard. It was extremely impractical and very inconvenient. This is the thing that I would say. What have you gained? By all this effort, what have you gained?
Robert: No baby ads.
Leo: But don’t you want baby ads?
Brian: Basically, the thing they are trying to compete to do, all of these businesses, their goal is to beat the other guys of offering you precisely what you need. At the exact moment that you need it.
Leo: They don’t want to give you power mower ads, they want to give you diaper ads. But isn’t that what you want?
Robert: Exactly. I’m with you, Man. There is a new digital divide between people like this who are trying to stay off-line. Richard Stallman and I had dinner. He pays cash for everything, doesn’t use credit cards, doesn’t use Facebook. There are people who don’t use credit cards, who stay off of Facebook, who pay cash for everything.
Leo: Good for them. What is the penalty? The only way you can make a penalty, Dvorak does this every time, is if you imagine some draconian scenario like Google gets taken over by Adolf Hitler and now he has all the data. Or, Facebook is actually a front for the CIA and now they’ve got all your data. But what is really happening? All they want to do…
Robert: Didn’t your baby have to get a birth certificate at the hospital?
Leo: Yeah! By the way from day one when Henry was born 19 years ago we started getting offers because at the hospital immediately they sell your information. They give you a gift basket. And then right up to he was 18 and then the selective service emailed and said he had to register for the draft. For 18 years they knew exactly how old he was. That is what they do. And we didn’t need Google or big data to do it. But I ask you again what is the problem? I don’t care, so what. So what is it exactly the harm? I understand people don’t want to, you don’t have to use the Internet. You have to go to a lot of trouble, but you can do that. I don’t understand what people are so worried about.
Brian: The thing is that we want to believe that we are not creatures that are that predictable. But we are. As we have said on the show before, you exist as a feedback loop. Who you are is what you do. And it determines who you are. If you think about it, the ability to know your past actions as a predictor of what you are about to do is really just the concept of reputation. As much as people get misty eyed and talk about, why can’t it be you like it used to be and we were in small towns and everybody knew everybody? Guess what, we are coming back to those days. And it is because of technology and the Internet. I don’t know that it is terrible. I have been driving my car around, I bought a car seven years ago, and it is getting old and I’ve been thinking about buying a new one. Sure enough, out of nowhere Carmax sends me an email. They know that my car is getting old and let me know I should be thinking about a new one. I don’t really know that that is that terrible. That is exactly as evil as thinking to call someone on their birthday and say, you really value their friendship. It is a matter of effort and timing.
Leo: People want to control this data. I understand. But it doesn't help to use scary words like targeting you, or big data, these are kind of potentially scary words to make you fear something. I’m not sure that I exactly understand the real harm.
Robert: When I talk about it I use the scary words because…
Leo: If you are scared at a police state, then be scared of a police state. There’s lots to be scared of with the police state.
Robert: Yeah, when I crossed the Golden gate Bridge on the way here there is a robot taking a picture of my vehicle license.
Leo: So what? So what? What it can do with that? Who cares? What is the damage? What is the harm here?
Robert: For me, nothing. That’s why I don’t care about it.
Leo: You can do things. As Professor Vertesi pointed out, it is a lot of work to stay out of these databases. And I understand that people wish they can control their privacy center. But I am just not sure what the horrible thing is?
Brian: Here is what I think it is. Go ahead and pencil me in as being off the deep end on this. But I think there is a deep seeded, cultural desire for us to not believe that, with all apologies to PadreSJ, that all the Catholics were right, that there really are and all seeing eye that knows all the filthy, dirty things that we do ourselves when nobody is looking. That has been, throughout all human history a tool used by all religions in order to enforce people to be good. And now, it is a reality. It is a fact. That if not seeing you doing the actual deed, we’ve got all the bits that led up to it. And we are pretty sure, looking at your credit card bill that you went to the liquor store 12 times last month. That is the problem. We don’t want to believe that. We reject that idea. We want to believe we are captains of our own lives. And to know that our behaviors are predictable, that they are so predictable, that large corporations will bank money on the fact that, he’s done A, B, and C then he is definitely into F.
Robert: It is interesting watching the chat room because people are like, oh why don’t you put some misinformation? But no, that would screw up that you are going to get.
Leo: You know what upsets people? The Amazon recommendations are so bad. It’s like, they get upset because it’s not working well!
Brian: And plus Google ads is good at one thing. Advertising crap I just bought. That is the reason they are sending me these ads. But I will say it is fascinating to me when I wanted to surprise my wife on her 40th with a ski vacation, I had to do everything in incognito mode because I knew if I just searched one thing ski equipment, Utah or whatever then every ad was going to be asking me if I was going on a ski vacation in Utah?
Leo: Okay there is a detriment. It is hard to hide gifts.
Marques: I had a similar thing where I was making a video specifically on the most overpriced things on Amazon. So I would be able to share this stuff with people and have the links and everything. And one thing I found was $120,000 paper shredder. I kept coming back to that in sharing that link with people. And sure enough, Amazon starts asking me about once a week, hey here are a bunch of paper shredders I figured you would be interested in buying? I feel like everyone who visited the link after watching my video probably got an email about 12 paper shredders you might want to check out. The algorithm is kind of…
Brian: There need an irony filter.
Leo: But it’s not the end of the world though. So she got off Google two years ago because it knew she was engaged before anybody else did. So what happened? Evidently she sent an email to somebody on Gmail and it had the word engaged in it and so Google showed her jewelry store. And she freaked out about that. Like here is this human that knows something about me… but NO! There is no human.
Robert: Google knows when I’m doing things because I put them on my freaking calendar.
Leo: It doesn’t matter!
Robert: I’m already married. So the first thing I’m going to do if I’m getting a divorce is that the meeting with my lyre on my Google calendar and Google is going to know what I’m doing!
Brian: Now you just stepped into it Robert. Because this is where people get freaked out about it. Because when there are algorithms that say the you just bought a sports car? You are working out a lot. So you are having an affair. And you’re getting a divorce. Let’s just go ahead and… exactly right? That is what people don’t want. That is, in every way the nightmare scenario.
Robert: Somebody in the chat room mentioned about Target finding out about a girl being pregnant before her father did. And it’s here. This is our world. And if we don't like that world we have to figure out how to not use it.
Leo: I don’t see that it’s that bad. People do a lot of what if? There is a lot of what ifs but I don’t see any real ones, they are all hypotheticals.
Find: Here is the thing. You can get upset about all the what-ifs. Once there is no alternative, the fact is there are so many alternatives. You can create individual accounts. You can create pseudonyms. You can go through all the steps of informational hygiene that it takes in order to filter your information. And all this story shows is that yes, it is a big pain in the butt. For very little benefit. The fact that we still absolutely, from beginning to end, control all this tells me that I’m with you, Leo. I don’t see that it is a big deal. Unless, certainly if it is any kind of a government entity then I get very uppity. But as long as the end goal of the corporations is to figure out how to serve me better than the other guy? It is really hard for me to get fired up.
Leo: With Google I think it is such a benefit. And it comes out of them knowing a lot about me.
Robert: Or take it into an app like TripIt. TripIt has access to my Gmail. Which is, if we had been on the Leo show 15 years ago in said those someday we are going to give third-party apps access to our email… and now I have like 15 apps that have access to my email. I was in a plane in Chicago coming home and I had an email from TripIt that said your plane is being canceled by another ticket out of town. I clicked on that ticket, I bought I buy a ticket on another flight. And three minutes later the pilot comes on the speaker and says, “We’re going back to the gate”. And so I’m in an all-end world and I am going to give things as much data as possible to help my life be better. And then people like this lady are going to stay all out and she is going to have to stay in Chicago. Sorry.
Leo: Google must acknowledge this though because they just announced that they are not going to scan student Gmail accounts for ads anymore.
Brian: This seems to me like such a bogus story. Again, disses that same magnanimous that Facebook to show. The fact that they are only holding it to students. Like it’s creepy to students but Totally not creepy the rest of the time? I don’t see, it is just so much noise to me. I don’t like that story.
Robert: First of all, I don’t see very many ads in Gmail. And when I do, they are in the promotion folder. And they are not going to turn off the promotion shoulders so they are still scanning your email. They just aren’t going to put an ad on there.
Leo: They are going to scan your email if you have any email service.
Robert: You think they are going to the school district and going to say do you want to buy chrome bugs for all your students?
Leo: 30 million students use the free Google apps for education. So I guess I can understand why they would do that.
Robert: There can hit those students with ads somewhere else.
Leo: They don’t even have to hit them with ads. Just get them to use Google and when they get out of school they will get them.
Brian: The only reason they would give up 30 million abilities to scrub emails, is if compared to the whole pie that is like they are getting 30 million scrubs worth of publicity out of this.
Robert: Somebody in the chat room says it is disturbing that all of us are so on board with this. I think it is disturbing that you guys are so stuck in the mud and not using this stuff. What are you talking about? There are 1.1 billion people. You want to email Leo? And get to Leo? I guarantee you can’t get him on email. But you can get to him on Facebook.
Leo: Don’t tell them that!!
Brian: I am going to differ with you on this Robert. I’m not a get with the program kind of guy. Just because everyone else is doing it, is not a good reason for you to do it as well. But definitely, let me know what it is you are afraid of. Because that is the thing that I don't get. And that is why I can resonate with what Leo just said.
Leo: My only issue is that I hope we don’t lose services because of this kind of moral panic about the technology. And people says that Google glass has face recognition but we are not going to turn it on because people would get upset by that notion.
Robert: How can you use face recognition without turning on face recognition? If your phone is going ot have a Beacon, all I have to do is know that I am aiming at your phone and it is going to be spitting your number out and I’m going to be able to know that “Oh I’m sitting next to Leo Laporte” on my glass. Without doing face recognition.
Leo: Facebook does that already right?
Robert: That is the new feature.
Leo: They have to tread so carefully because people are so… I guess what I am saying is that you a have a right to privacy and I’m not denying your right to that. But if you don’t like it you shouldn’t use these services. That is fine. I’m not going to say anything about that. That is completely within your power. But what I don’t want people to do, people who have this fear of technology and this moral panic is to keep the rest of us from using things like Google Now or Face recognition in Glass. Because those would be phenomenally useful and if we don’t feel like there is an issue with it. I guess you can’t use face recognition because you don’t have the agreement of the person you are recognizing. You can use iBeacon’s because I have to obviously turn it on with my phone.
Robert: Somebody in the chat room says, “I don’t see all the possible down sides”. There are a lot of down sides. Not one of you in the chat room have said a damn thing about what the down sides are to these things. Tell me what those are? I’m going to get more ads.
Leo: You are going to get ads no matter what. I can promise you that. You’re are just going to get better ads.
Robert: Of course you are. Facebook, by the way, the newsfeed is learning where you are, who you are connected to, and algorithmically picks things that you might be interested in. They are trying to get to you. That is what they are trying to do. That is the real downside is addiction. But you guys in the chat room didn’t mention that. They are very good at, they want to do things in front of you that you are going to like, share or comment on. They are going to try to get rid of the noise. You are going to get addicted to this stuff and the addiction does have deep implications for us.
Brian: Let me ask a question specifically to Marques. Because what we are talking about in general is the emergence of persistent reputations in our online interactions. That is what it seems to disturb a lot of people. And we see this trend where, in the early days of the Internet in the late 90s, anyone could say anything, you could post anything and you didn’t worry about it ever coming back to bite you in the butt. What we have seen is that bit by bit the window closing. And more recently in the last year we saw a shift in the way YouTube handled their comments. Because YouTube used to ask people what would we rather do, get paper cuts on your eyeballs or read YouTube comments? And universally everyone is blind because they had some any paper cuts on their eyes. But then the switch to Google Plus as clumsily as that was handled, as much of a backlash as there was, how have you seen things change in the comments on your YouTube videos? Do you find it to be more civil now that more people are using their actual name? Now that they have a persistent reputation to account for?
Marques: Okay. So, it depends on where you look on YouTube. Obviously I do tech review videos about reviewing products. So 80% of the comments are pretty civilized, for the most part. I didn't necessarily see a big change in the way people commented on my videos. The worst thing that would happen on my videos would be people screaming fan boil, the typical reviewer comments like “Hey, I thought this was blah, blah, blah and don’t pay attention to my username”. Then there is the other side of You Tube, well not the other side, but there are plenty of other niches in You Tube, like comedy videos for example where people leave comments like, this isn’t funny at all or I hated this so much. They would just hide behind sort of an anonymous username. The people who did that got really bad about You Tube or Google Plus comments now requiring you to use your name. That is something that bothered a lot of people but inevitable it is just what kind of stuff do you want to be tied to your name? What kind of stuff do you not care is tied to your name? So a lot of the stuff on my videos not a big problem, not a big change. Engagement didn’t really spike or decrease or anything like that. But I feel like on other parts of YouTube where people would be more tempted to leave more ridiculous comments or comments they wouldn’t want to be associated with themselves they saw differences, maybe comedy videos.
Brian: Well, what is interesting is I know I read an article recently about the plight of girl gamers who get a lot of sexist and hateful comments in their inbox after gaming sessions. It makes me wonder what kind of comments are the ones that, number one would be legitimate helpful comments and number two, you wouldn’t want associated with your name. How often does that happen? Can you think of an example of that?
Marques: Just in the Tech videos I see people who are trying to… half of them are people who are not making videos and they don’t want people to know that they are just bashing on everything that they hate, so they can just feel free to lash out at anyone they want and take out any negative thoughts they want to have and put them anywhere they want and no one will notice them. If you don’t have that amenity then you will not do that anymore. You don’t want that tied to your name forever. Because that is your Google account and you can hide that.
Leo: I could think of a scenario. What if you worked for Samsung. And you wanted to say to Marquez, hey we really got a problem with this piece of hardware. You are not going to do it but that is a minor loss.
Brian: Also, there is an ecosystem for that. Right?
Leo: But that is always the exception That people point out. Whistleblowers and the like. People who would like to speak truth to power but can’t safely do it in this country, or in a lot of other countries. So, I understand. There is a need for it and amenity for the Internet comments, chat room. we allow people to use handles our chat room. I don’t know, maybe if we made them use their real name we would have fewer problems?
Brian: I don’t care what you call yourself as long as you keep calling yourself the same thing.
Leo: But that’s what I don’t like. You can hide behind the handle.
Brian: Sure. And there is nothing wrong with that. That is cool.
Leo: I do feel bad. If I were a female YouTuber I would be very happy about this change. YouTube comments were pretty horrendous for a long time.
Brian: Plus also, think about this. If what we want is the web to be a legitimate place for business where real deals are secured and real losses…
Leo: That is why Google and Facebook do this. Because they want real identity.
Leo: As for a commercial reason, and there are reasons…
Robert: And we are not the customer we are the product, right?
Leo: And that is another example of things that people say. If you don’t pay anything you become the product. That sounds negative.
Robert: Mark Zuckerberg pointed out that we don’t pay Facebook for anything. People say we become the product of Facebook.
Leo: That is what you could say about Twit. That everybody who watches Twit is the product.
Robert: In some ways that is sort of true.
Leo: But my point is, that is a very simplifying kind of thing to say. It is not untrue I guess. But that doesn’t say the whole story right? We do tTit because we are interested in talking about this stuff because we want to give people the information that we feel strongly about. The real truth about it is that it is ad supported because that seemed the best way to make it available to the widest, possible audience. But if you say, and it isn’t exactly untrue, that if you didn’t pay for Twit you become the product? The reason we can make money doing ads is because people watch. Your attention is the value to us. But it is not the only reason we do this.
Robert: It if you didn’t have good content, nobody watches so you don’t have good advertisers.
Leo: Mark Zuckerberg did Facebook because he just wanted to use people and make money off of them. And we do twit because we want to use people and make money. That is not the reason we do Twit. I am going to give Mark some credit and assume that is not the reason he does Facebook. I know I’ve said it, and I've used it but I don’t like that idea because I think it is oversimplifying the truth.
Brian: I totally agree with this. This is the problem that we have with robber barons of all varieties is that it is easy to overstate, like “They are getting rich so therefore they must be screwing us in some way”. But in every single case the way they are getting rich is by offering something cheaper, faster, better and that is of value to so many people that they make it happen. And even now, to be honest that is part of the reason why we resent them. Because they make it look so easy, or whatever. But I suspect that what is happening in general is only empowering more individuals and yes, it is weird to watch somebody profit obscenely for what seems like it should be obvious. But all the greatest and all the most important discoveries always seem obvious in retrospect. And they always seem like, “Why did that person deserve to make all that money”? Because it turns out there is a value to limiting interactions to only 140 characters and for that Twitter deserves to make a ba-jillion dollars.
Leo: By the way, they are not making as many ba-jillion dollars as they used to.
Robert: Oh my gosh. We should talk about this.
Leo: In fact, we just made more money on Twit than Twitter did in the same amount of time. Just want to point that out. Actually wouldn't that be a great thing, who makes more money? Twitter or TWiT? Twitter makes very little money, right?
Robert: They lost money last quarter.
Leo: Although, I was watching Jimmy Fallon and they use Twitter very effectively. They use hashtags and they do it like crazy. I imagine that's good for their ratings that there is promotion. He had a lip sync contest with Emma Stone. I saw a lot of social media action around that, lots of views on YouTube, and lots of Tweets about it. That's probably good for their ratings, I would guess. It certainly makes it a more valuable show. But Twitter isn't seeming to see too much about it and as a result, the Twitter stock is sinking. I don't know if the stock market is a way to judge a company.
Brian: No. In fact, I go nuts when we talk about stock because all stock is, is an expectation put to numbers. However, I will say-
Leo: But it does point a problem, the growth is slow. So you got to be very clear. It's still growing, just not as fast.
Robert: The problem is Facebook has 1.1 billion people, Twitter has what-
Leo: 255 million active users, a quarter of that.
Robert: So Twitter should be growing faster than Facebook because they have more open ground to grow and they're not. That tells you something about how strong Facebook is because it has your real social graph, your friends. And the connections to your friends are more emotional to most people. Not some of you in the chat room but to most people, a baby photo from my real family or friends is much more interesting to me than some news article.
Leo: I agree but Facebook doesn't seem to be doing that in their news feed. They want to be a news source, I don't see my friends posts.
Robert: I do all the time.
Leo: Well I see some but I don't see all. I guarantee you Robert, you don't see all of your friends posts.
Robert: Well see, I put my family on a list so I can see all my family stuff.
Leo: Oh you worked a way around it but most people don't do that. You go to your news feed-
Robert: No, but look at all of the crap my family posts.
Leo: And Facebook has decided that the news feed should be news, not my friends and family.
Robert: I guarantee you if there's a baby that was born in your social graph, you're going to see that photo because Facebook is actually pretty good at putting good stuff up on your feed.
Leo: Well most of my friends are dying, not having babies.
Robert: Oh well that's a whole other problem. We'll have to have a TWiT on that.
Leo: Pretty soon it'll be obituaries, starts with weddings, then babies, and obituaries. But no, I usually see like 15 forgotten movies you should watch, 22 celebrities that look nothing alike... That's what I see in my Facebook feed. I would like to see some babies and some weddings. Alright let's take a break. That really killed that subject. Do you want to see a dog and a cat dancing to Happy by Pharrell?
Brian: Heck yeah.
Leo: Alright, that's in my Facebook feed ladies and gentlemen. Happy dogs and a cat in Australia. This is going to get us pulled from YouTube because this is stupid.
Brian: By all means, let's talk about an important sponsor instead.
Leo: Yes! Ladies and gentlemen, our show today brought to you by our friends at Citrix who do GoToMeeting with HD faces. I know businesses because nowadays businesses are spread all out. Teams are in different locations, clients and even colleagues are across the globe. GoToMeeting lets you stay together, stay in touch and you know we're still humans. Face to face is still number one, you've got to see somebody face to face. GoToMeeting started by allowing you to share your screens so you could stay on the same page, literally see the documents, collaborate on the documents, you know give you a PowerPoint. But adding this HD faces now, this makes it really seem like it's in person. And I know teams who are distributed all over the world who keep GoToMeeting running all day because you pay one low flat monthly rate for as long as you want, for as many meetings as you want. So just keep it on all day, and they're working together and collaborating. Anytime we do a conference call, sure we could just use the conference bridge but I use GoToMeeting in case we want to turn on a video or show a document. It's just really helpful to have, GoToMeeting with HD faces from Citrix. It is the powerfully simply way to meet in person online anywhere, anytime to brainstorm, develop quality ideas, to solve... When you get elected to Lieutenant Governor, I want you to bring this to the State House and say, everybody tell the assembly we have to meet online. Start your free 30 day trial of GoToMeeting today, visit gotomeeting.com, click the 'try it free' button, use the promo code: TWIT. Gotomeeting.com promo code: TWIT. I hope politicians start making this a place to come for your campaign. You could come on here and talk- I think that's great. We have a candidate for California State Lieutenant Governor in studio. We can tell because he's well dressed. And the rest of you look like slobs- No, y'all are good. But I think that's cool. I wonder, I think politicians need to be able to use social media like Facebook and Twitter effectively. Don't you think that's important. Now Robert, look at your Facebook. What is that, a baby picture? No, it's some stupid poster.
Robert: No, it's something a friend sent me. Tagged me in.
Leo: How about a cat video?
Robert: I'll find a cat video.
Leo: I've got one. This is a cat dancing-
Brian: I feel like I failed this show just now because I ran to go to the bathroom and grab a soda and I come back just in time to hear, "How about a cat video?" And I feel like I failed you by leaving for any amount of time.
Leo: Isn't that what you're known for, is cat videos Brian?
Brian: Brian Catvideo Brushwood.
Leo: That's what they say. Don't have "Shwood" on, he'll bring his cat videos again.
Robert: I found a baby dancing video, but not a cat video. Cat videos are hard to find on my feed because I keep hiding them.
Leo: Oh that's interesting, does Facebook hear those signals?
Robert: Yeah, Facebook learns from what you do. If you hide certain kinds of posts, you aren't going to see them as often.
Leo: Alright, nice of them to listen.
Brian: That's what people are freaking out about is that a service provider listens and strides to provide exceptional service. And yes, I know there's a million ways it could be abused, before you guys send me emails and a million messages on it. But so far, we haven't seen anybody totally victimized by big data manipulating them. Instead, people are outraged like, aah! I got a coupon that's really useful. That's exactly what I wanted today!
Robert: I found a cat video for you.
Leo: Oh no, I was joking.
Brian: There is nothing that is going to stop you from looking at a Goddamn cat video.
Robert: A cat hates this singing birthday card.
Leo: Nooo, nooo, no.
Robert: Aw come on, it's entertainment.
Leo: A new MacBook is here, ladies and gentlemen. Here's an interesting story. It's $100 less, it has a faster processor, but according to Benchmarks it's got a way slow hard drive. So, I don't know if Apple is trying to save money by putting a much slower SSD in there, but it was 1/3 as fast as last year's 11 inch MacBook Air for unzipping files. That's painful, that's not good. So just a word of warning.
Brian: Well this is difficult too because if you're going to make your bones by having exquisitely fine hard ware, you need to keep doing that because your reputation is everything, right?
Leo: Well, the expectation is going to get better every time. It's a shock when something gets worse. I know it's $100 less.
Brian: But think about it, when they launched MacBook Air it meant one thing. So thin it was like magic. It was like the highest end of the hind end. We all enjoyed reading stories of rich assholes throwing them away in the trash because they couldn't even know that they were there, but now-
Leo: Wasn't that you?
Brian: No, I wish.
Leo: Oh, it was Clayton Morris.
Brian: Now though, the MacBook Air just means the entry-level base whatever. I don't know it's just a real bummer to see that value of that brand drop.
Leo: What it shows you is interesting because $899 is not a cheap computer by any regard, but it seems cheap for Apple. Wow, it's the lowest cost computer, besides the Mini. But really in truth, in the real world, $899 is a fairly pricey computer so you don't expect a drop in performance. So just a word of warning I guess.
Marques Brownlee: But if you're a student and you get told, hey you should get a MacBook. Then you would go, what's the cheapest one I can get? That's going to be the one.
Leo: Right, in fact I mentioned this when there was NESTA earlier this week, but this high school that I consult for stopped buying MacBooks because the prices- It's a one-to-one program so everybody going to the school gets a laptop. There's Lenovo for Education Windows laptops that they're giving kids.
Robert: They're not going Chromebook?
Leo: Well it seems like Chromebook would be the right thing to do, frankly.
Robert: Most of the schools that I talk to are going-
Leo: 21% now, in schools have Chromebooks-
Brian: Holy cow. You know my daughter is in 4th grade and already they've centered everything in the Google environment. So already, she's got her own ID and uses Google Docs. I just walked in and she was writing a paper in Google Drive.
Leo: Smart move.
Brian: It is a smart move. And we've talked about this before, that doing everything in the Cloud seems dumb because what happens when there's no cloud, those days are gone. There's never going to be a day when there's no cloud. Like having no cloud in ten years will be as weird as the power going out. You remember like 30 years ago, it was not weird at all, like once a month for the power to go out.
Robert: One minute and twenty seconds of my life every day is cloudless when I go through the tunnel.
Leo: You know what my friend? Pay attention to the road and stop Tweeting in the tunnel.
Robert: And I cashed in all of my Spotify, did you know about that if you go to the right settings you can cash in all of your Spotify?
Leo: Yeah, I use Google Music, same thing. You pin it and it's there.
Brian: The only way this will go bad is if something were to violate net neutrality. Can we talk about this whole FCC situation?
Leo: Yeah, we can talk about it. By the way, it was David Pogue who accidentally threw out his MacBook Air because it was so thin. It was in a stack of papers and he just threw it away.
Brian: Well I take it back, when I said a-hole I meant delightful individual.
Leo: Delightful singing fool, David Pogue. This is actually a little bit of an old story, we talked about it last week on TWiT but I certainly don't mind bringing it up again because it isn't over until the fat commissioner sings. Tom Wheeler, who is a tame lobbyist for the National Cable Television Association, former president there and the wireless industry. He's in both Halls of Fame, so he really gets around and is also, oddly enough, the Chairman of the government group that is supposed to regulate these industries. I don't know how that could possibly- Seems like that would be a problem... He's Chairman of the FCC and has proposed new FCC rules, none of which we've seen Denise Howell pointed out last week. And apparently we still have not seen these but the Commissioners will be voting on these I believe next week. Then they'll be up for comment. Saying, hey you know what this whole open internet thing is nice but the Telecommunications Act doesn't really allow us to do that so here's what we're going to do: Since the law says we can't regulate this we're going to just stop. If you are an internet service provider and you want to charge an edge provider like TWIT or YouTube or Netscape to get to your customers, you go ahead and do that. Of course, that's a violation of everything we hold near and dear and as Senator Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts Tweeted she said, I don't think we know what the next big thing is going to be in the United States but one thing I think we're pretty sure of is it's going to be online and that start up gives companies like Netflix and YouTube the power to pull up the ladder. And before you say your thing, there is something you can do about it. The FCC has opened a mailbox for comment, email@example.com. So whether you love this or hate it, you can let them know how you feel about it. You know how I feel about it, go ahead Brian Brushwood.
Brian: Well I am very conflicted over this whole thing, I honestly don't know. I'm going to play the dumb card on this because on the one hand, we're hearing so many of the right words come out of Wheeler's mouth talking about the importance of competition and of doubling down and making sure everyone has access. These are things we want to hear, but then in the same breath he's like, we should also have a fast lane available for people who feel like paying with it, which makes me cringe. But then I think about the whole breakdown of the peering agreement with Netflix. Netflix in peak hours picks up 1/3 of all internet traffic. Netflix wants to work out a deal-
Leo: I understand your concern, and you're confusing two issues. Netflix pays currently for peering and this is not what we're talking about, that's different, but there is a big argument there and God knows Netflix is not happy- By the way, Verizon is now saying, yeah you can give us some money too. But you can make the argument that they are using a lot of bandwidth so maybe they should be paying for peering because it's not a symmetrical issue, but that's not what we're talking about. What Wheeler's proposed rules will do is let edge providers- That means everybody who provides content; TWiT, you Brian, everybody can now pay for improved access. That's a different thing, that's not a peering relationship. That means the cable companies and the phone companies- AT&T is already doing it, they allow a company to pay them so that it won't count against your bandwidth count so that's the same thing, but they're already doing it, ComCast will absolutely do it if these rules go through. But that's different, they're going to each content creator and saying, oh by the way you have to pay us too.
Brian: Now that surprises me that you're so universally against it, as the stated goal is to preserve-
Leo: Why wouldn't I?
Brian: Well let's say we didn't know we were talking about the internet. If I said, there's a thing and the guy regulating the thing wants to regulate it to preserve competition and wants to ensure-
Leo: He's lying. You're buying into Wheeler's big lie. The first thing he does is publish a blog post that says, pay no attention. This is no change in rules, no no! It's all fine. And enough people bought this, I was shocked, companies like CNET published articles saying, oh it's okay! But it's not, it's a very big change in rules. Don't get fooled by the big lie, remember who pays Tom Wheeler. It's a revolving door at the FCC and he will go right back to industry. The current Chairman of the National Cable Television Association is Michael Powell, the former Chairman of the FCC. It's a revolving door, these guys are going to go right back into industry and will be very much rewarded for changing the rules to their benefit.
Robert: If I'm in a cable company right now, I am scared to death because we are so close to getting what we need on internet connected devices to get rid of all cables. We now are getting sports and are now getting good enough news, and so what's left? We're getting custom content like House of Cards and Amazon has a series of shows that they paid for. We are getting custom content on the internet.
Leo: The cable companies are not stupid, so what they're doing is they're raising the cost of internet alone to match the cost of cable plus internet. They get you in the fold and they've been very careful about doing that.
Brian: Plus, also nowadays you can actually pay less for you internet if you accept basic cable as well. I mean, they are so concerned about maintaining this fig leaf that everything's fine.
Robert: I'm not naive, the chatroom is really a-
Leo: Don't pay attention to that. That's just some guy, that's not the audience, it's just some guy. Don't pay attention to that.
Robert: I'm just saying I'm not that naive, I work for an internet hosting company, come on. I know who owns the pipes.
Leo: Oh you are naive, you think there's still fairies and unicorns.
Robert: I do.
Brian: Well, I'll tell you this much, as far as the net neutrality thing, and this goes back to like three or four years ago my hope is, and it's not just mine it's the EFF's as well. If you read the EFF stuff, they say stuff like, yes it's important that we have universal access and that everyone gets in and no we are not crazy about the idea of government being the one to make sure that happens. I want to believe that net neutrality will remain this electrified third rail that nobody dare touch.
Leo: You're a free market nut ball. You believe that if there is true competition, in other words, if I had a choice of ten internet service providers it would all work out, and you're right. But you don't, do you? And who was it that set that up? The FCC created duopoly. At best, you have two choices in this country. So the government created the problem to begin with.
Brian: That's not true. I'm not going to say that Austin is representative of everyone, but I will say that the choices-
Leo: Well you have Google Fiber, that's pretty lucky.
Brian: What's funny is I don't. I live six miles outside of the Austin city limits which means I don't have Google Fiber and plus, Google Fiber isn't even installed. But just the threat of Google Fiber caused AT&T to come in and offer a gigabit service outside of Austin. So they preemptively competed which means I have AT&T U-Verse, Clear, Time Warner Cable, Direct PC, I can even use- As many people do, we're seeing a lot of people not cutting the cable cord, but cutting the internet cord as they instead use their mobile devices. -So I can use AT&T wireless. And again, it's not ideal or as fast as I'd like, but the fact is I have more choices than ever before.
Leo: Who are the companies you can choose internet from. Your cable company, and there's your phone company.
Brian: There's two competing cable companies.
Leo: Oh you have two cable companies, that's very unusual.
Brian: That's correct and then there's also the phone company, there's phone companies if I want a DSL, there's also satellite-
Leo: Wait a minute, you have more than one common phone company?
Brian: No, what I'm saying is if what I want is data service, my total list off the top of my head, we had Clear here in Austin, we have Direct PC which is the satellite, we have AT&T wireless, Verizon Wireless, all of the wireless providers and there plans are much better. There's also two cable companies competing, one of them is Fiber Optic which is what I've got right now, and on top of that for the fringes because of the rural areas, they have individual radio-based services as well. So again, none of this is ideal but if I could have more I would.
Leo: What are the caps on the wireless that you have?
Brian: My wireless, for AT&T?
Leo: Just out of curiosity, your Direct TV and wireless caps are very low. They're not usable. You have an unusually good situation, and still it's not that good.
Brian: Well it's not as good as I'd like, but if you came to me 20 years ago and told me this was the future, I'd pee my pants. You're talking to a guy who paid $150/month for a crappy satellite service that I set up in my apartment on two cinder blocks to get the signal so I could get four times and it's indisputable that it's getting better and of course, we all want it to get better faster.
Leo: Okay so we have Comcast and DSL. DSL will ride on AT&T's wires but it might be a third party. The DSL is too slow unless you're within two kilometers of the central office so I have Comcast. Do you think if this goes through that Comcast will then give me tiered service? We'll say you want the bronze plan. You can have access to Myspace, Yahoo, and Dig. Or you can have the silver plan where you can have access to YouTube, Vevo-
Brian: This is why I'm not afraid of this. The mere fact that you used this an example, this is universally the nightmare scenario that everybody laughs at and says, screw the whole system if that's what they offer us.
Leo: Well what would I do about it?
Brian: To be honest, it's not what you would do.
Leo: It is because most people would be in that situation what is your choice then?
Brian: The answer is, it's not about what you would do. It's about what the entrepreneurial spirited competitor would do and they would recognize that nobody wants this. They would come into this are because they would see a tremendous market opportunity-
Leo: Why haven't they done that already? Isn't there an opportunity now?
Brian: Well because you just offered up a straw that nobody's offering. Nobody's offering this bronze silver service or whatever.
Leo: Well if I were you I would be a little more worried Brian because if the providers who provide your stream for your show and they don't pay the fee which causes you to get buffered to 90% of the US, how are you going to feel about that? Is that going to foster your business?
Brian: Well no I certainly wouldn't like it and would immediately offer up a fist full of cash and say, who can offer me not this and that's what I'm hoping everyone would do.
Leo: No, no. Because you're an edge provider, you don't get a choice. You have to pay- A fist full of cash to who? Somebody who's going to give you point to point access to your customers, you don't get a choice. You're a provider.
Brian: All I'm saying is I have more choices than I've had before.
Leo: You're just talking about as an end user. I'm just pointing out you should be worried as a content creator even more than the end user. Let's say you're right; somebody is going to march in and trench out to my house and give me high speed internet, which isn't going to happen. But it still doesn't solve your problem Brian because you have to pay Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon for access to their customers or you're going to be buffering. And you're not going to have a stream, so you could offer download.
Brian: Yes in your fantasy, that would be terrible and I would be against it. I also don't believe that's going to happen. I believe that would be suicide for anyone to do this. The mere fact that you're afraid of this scenario, that not one person in the entire world would vote for, there's no-
Leo: You don't get a vote. It's too late, the FCC decides.
Brian: There's no precedent for it to go down the way you're describing and I don't believe it's going to happen.
Leo: Oh there is a precedent. Try using Skype in Canada where Rogers, after fifteen minutes, will disconnect you. There is a precedent.
Brian: Is that the service provider?
Leo: They use Sand Vine.
Brian: How's that working out for them? Are they really excited and is it hugely profitable?
Leo: People complain about it but as a result, Rogers does quite well.
Brian: Again, short term benefit long term, very foolish maneuver. I don't think it's going to work out for them for the long term.
Leo: I understand your great fear is government regulation of the internet. I understand that.
Brian: It's not even a great fear. I just think it's an unfortunately imprecise instrument to be used. All things being equal, I would rather the highly precise forces of market demand determine it and not the lazy bureaucratic hand of government.
Leo: I agree with you 100% I just don't feel like that's going to happen.
Brian: I'm more optimistic than you and that's always been our dynamic hasn't it?
Leo: It would always be the case, if market forces could operate freely in this case. But we know they can't, it's highly regulated- These are monopolies. Government franchised monopolies. So already, you don't have a competitive situation. You're very lucky, and I don't think you have a very competitive situation even in Austin. We'll see how it goes.
Brian: In general, my default position is always more competition, 100%, across the board.
Leo: I agree.
Brian: Even my swimming in soup situation here in Austin. But I guess I'm not as worried about-
Leo: That soup is pretty lukewarm.
Brian: The fact that every time the subject is brought up everybody goes up in arms, I love it dude. Everybody pull out the pitchforks all the time because that's really what concerns all these guys. You think these guys are worried about government regulation? These guys buy government officials all the time.
Leo: Well that's kind of the point, isn't it?
Brian: Exactly. It's like the last thing I want is an entity that has a reputation for being easily corrupted and easy to buy off.
Robert: The reason we get up in arms is because the system that we have as of today brought us all sorts of innovation in this country and a whole lot of startups that are employing people. Those startups happen because it was a fair playing field and everybody could afford the entry fee to it. Now we're heading toward a world where if you have the money, then you can pay for it, but that means a small startup- Like Instagram when I met them was two people at a little picnic table. So is that startup going to have the same access to the customer base they have today? I don't know.
Brian: The answer is yes, they did and it turned out great for them.
Robert: No, they did but the rules are changing now. In order to get access to the Verizon customers or to the Comcast customers, you have to pay. That means a whole lot of little 19-year-old-run companies that do not have the capital yet are going to be locked out.
Brian: And so we need government to hold their hands?
Leo: We can stop, we can stop. We get everybody's point. The positions are just now clear, except for Marques who's just been sitting on the sidelines thinking, thank God I don't have to say anything. Come on Marques, you want to pitch in at all?
Robert: When you're remote, by the way, Marques it's really hard to jump in. I feel your pain.
Marques: I just wrote a paper, I had to write collaborative paper on net neutrality for a final project, so my brain is just kind of all worn out now. I had to write like a sort of PSA, like a public service announcement, giving all of the potential pros and cons for internet users and service providers and all of that stuff. I've heard all of the side already and have basically read all of the sides, and I'm just-
Leo: So where do you stand? What was the thesis of your paper?
Marques: My thesis was that you should care and if it goes to the extreme and if legislation becomes like really prominent then you should really care and vote with your wallet, but the whole point of the paper was to not take a side, be as neutral as possible, and just inform the people reading it that the problems could potentially exist.
Leo: I think it comes down to- We don't need to go on any further really, because I think everybody understands everybody else's point in here, but it does come down to how much you believe that there is a free market in internet in the US but I just find it hard to believe that you think there is. Maybe you think that there will be if there were-
Brian: Let me put it this way, whether there is or whether there isn't I guarantee there will not be more after a government comes in and sets the rules.
Leo: Ah, you might be right. Yeah.
Brian: Yeah, absolutely. 100%, bet my children on it.
Leo: Yeah, the real solution I think for community internet and municipalities and so forth, but unfortunately, then what happens is the government comes in and prevents that. It's happened in many states, I think 30/50 states because TelCo's don't want competition from municipal internet and prohibit it.
Brian: Pitchforks are the answer.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by audible.com. We did talk about this in great extent last week but I know Brian, you had a different point of view so I wanted to give you a chance to say something. We were supposed to have Alexis Ohanian on the show today but he is unfortunately, but he's got the right solution. He's buying a billboard outside the FCC offices saying, Don't touch the internet.
Brian: It's good.
Leo: Who can argue with that? Our show today brought to you by-
Brian: I have a new favorite audio book, maybe of all time Leo. And it's going to kill me if you've already read it but you probably have. Tell me you've read The Martian by Andy Weir.
Leo: No, I've never even heard of it.
Brian: Are you kidding me? I'm so excited! I have a gift for you and for everyone else. The last time I was this excited about a book is when it was Ready Player One by my buddy Ernie Cline. Somebody recommended that I check out The Martian. It takes place, first of all, it's exquisitely well acted by the guy that reads it, and it takes place- Minor spoilers that you'll learn in the first few pages coming up. The opening line is; Log Soul 6: I'm pretty much effed. And it's the log of an astronaut who is six days into their five month mission. It's their second mission ever to Mars, six days into the five month mission. There's a storm that comes in that's so bad that they have to scrub the mission and in the shuffle of getting from point A to point B the communications dish breaks off and stabs him. His readings show up as dead and depressurized so they leave without him. He wakes up and realizes that he is alone and marooned on Mars and all he's got is a few bits and pieces laying around and he knows that the next Mars mission is three years away but he's only got a year and a half's worth of food and it's how he makes his way. It's Robinson Koruso on Mars, the voice is exquisite, the story is so good- I got my wife on it and she is not a SciFi nut, but she loved it and it was so exciting that we spent the last- I walked in and she had it on speaker and was clearly in the last hour... I sat there in the dark in my bed, holding Bonnie's hand, excitedly listening to the climactic conclusion for the second time and it's been forever since I've loved a book as much as I've loved The Martian. Definitely, definitely, definitely try it.
Leo: I am, so I'm going to show you what happens here at audible.com. This can happen to you, you're going to get two credits- I'll explain how you do it. -But you add it to your cart, then look and see, oh this is amazing, the cost is nothing! Absolutely zero.
Brian: It's a magic trick!
Leo: It's a magic trick, this is worthy of scam school. Next step is login with your brand new platinum account on Audible, download the book, and start listening. I'm going to complete the purchase because you just sold me on that book and I'm going to buy it right now. The Martian by Andy Weir, and there you go. Total charge is nothing, one credit applied, and I am golden. You could do this twice if you go to audible.com/twit2, and there are two books waiting for you. Actually, I turned Chad onto a book that I'm sure you've read Brian. It's called The Windup Girl.
Chad: Yeah The Windup Girl, I think I'm close to an hour into it. Brian, have you heard of this book?
Chad: Oh I think you would like this.
Leo: I'm so excited! Brian is the one who recommended the 1038, the weird Q230 or whatever.
Chad: Well what he's really going to be excited about is, Brian you like Snow Crash. And the world that Snow Crash painted, that's what me and Leo were talking about and he said The Windup Girl. And I'm already into it and it's absolutely that sort of dystopian, futuristic, commercial world.
Brian: Actually, and this probably reflects on my crackpot bizzaro views of the world where when you read Snow Crash, it's clearly meant to be a dystopian hell hole, but as I read I'm like, oh that seems pretty good. Everything's up for grabs, you can have your own currency, your own citizenship in multiple franchises, yeah I'm down for that.
Leo: We do have a tradition, I should mention that when we have an author in studio who has a book out on Audible, we also mention and one of your new books could be this Robert Scoble's latest, he wrote it with Shell Israel, The Age of Context. Mobile censors, data, and the future of privacy talking about exactly these issues. Boy, this is the problem with Audible, so many great books. We're going to give you an Audible account that's good for two books and the first month is free at audible.com/twit2. Those first two credits are free, and that's usually two books although some books are a little more, and if you cancel within the first 30 days you'll pay nothing. The book are always going to be yours, you'll also get the daily download of the Daily Digest, New York Times, or the Wallstreet Journal that's part of the subscription. I love Audible, we all listen to Audible like crazy.
Robert: I love that it syncs up to the Kindle app. So if you read up to page 49 in your Kindle, and then you go in your car and start listening to the Audible book, it starts on page 49.
Leo: Whisper Sync, it's really a cool thing, yeah. Whisper Sync for Voice I guess they call it so you can actually read, then listen, read, and listen. We love Audible, the best readers, the best books, 150,000 strong. You know we're fans, Brian's a big fan. Brian has turned me on to so many great books, I can't wait to listen to The Martian. Right now I'm listening to The Flash Boys, the wonderful Michael Lewis book about high frequency traders. That's an eye-opener and the unfairness of Wallstreet. There's so many great books and it's like an education always in your brain. Once you're out of school, Marques, you'll realize that nobody is pouring anything in your brain anymore and you're going to have to find a new source of information into your brain. Do you get to do any reading for pleasure Marques? You work all the time, because you've got school and then you do your things.
Marques: No time.
Leo: No time.
Marques: No time.
Leo: No books on that bedside table, there? Nothing?
Marques: There's an iPad over there. Those are all textbooks.
Leo: Where is it you go to school?
Marques: Steven's Tech in Hoboken.
Leo: And you are a business major?
Marques: Yeah, business and technology is the name of the major, yeah.
Leo: I am glad that they are teaching you about net neutrality and stuff like that, that's really good. I think one thing Brian and I can both agree on, let me just try this: We should get the influence of money out of politics.
Brian: Oh sure. I think. The problem is, what does that mean?
Leo: Well it's hard to do, isn't it?
Brian: Because you could say that and then say, which is why all ads should be banned. Or you could say, which is why anyone who owns a media station should never be allowed to talk without giving equal time to another. The problem is, we agree that money is a corrupting influence but the question is, how do we get to fix it you know?
Leo: Well I have thoughts but I don't think it's appropriate for this discussion, so we're going to move on. I know how we can get money out of politics, get Marissa Meyer to foot the bill. She, I think, cut $200 million last year for her compensation. We were all feeling bad for her because they fired her number 2 and he got this big severance package. I don't feel too bad.
Robert: I don't feel bad for Marissa.
Leo: She's done alright. According to an analysis by Equilar, as much, perhaps, as $214 million cash, stock, and options in Yahoo. Although, Marissa, just a tip but you might want to sell that Yahoo stock as fast as you can. Don't hold on to it.
Brian: That's the Catch 22 though, right? If she were to exercise all of that it would not reflect well on her prospects.
Leo: But Larry Ellison is an example, Oracle CEO. $78.4 million, nothing. The poor guy, I don't know how he lives.
Brian: Isn't- Well there isn't a way for me to say what I was going to say without starting another rabbit hole. Let's move on to something else.
Leo: Henrique De Castro who was brought over from Google by Marissa to run advertising at Yahoo was fired and got a severance package of $109 million. 15 months, COO, 15 months, $109 million. I think that Yahoo is doing better than anybody thinks. Either that, or they're just hemorrhaging money to their executives. Amazon is open to wearable technology store- We've got Scoble over here wearing two cameras, his Google Glass, narrative clip - And Amazon is now opening a store where you can buy all this crap. What do you think?
Robert: Well we're all waiting for the Apple watch.
Leo: What do you think Marques? If you found a wearable, would you wear- What do you wear, the FitBit Flex?
Marques: I was wearing the Pebble, and then the Pebble Steel but I switched back to the original Pebble.
Leo: Ah, why? What's wrong with the Pebble Steel?
Marques: I just don't like the design as much as I thought I would. I actually prefer the thinner polyurethane band, it's just more versatile as a wearable I guess, for what I do, instead of having metal on my wrist all the time.
Leo: So I've been wearing the Basis watch, the Basis doesn't have any of the Pebble notification or calendar stuff, it's just a health watch. It has a heart rate monitor, steps, and it syncs with the phone using low powered bluetooth, which is nice. So it's a good health watch. It seems like there is three categories; there's the health watches like FitBit Flex, and the Basis. There's the extension of the phone watches like the Pebble and then of course, Galaxy Gear Fit does both so it's possible to combine the two, and then what was the third category? It seems like maybe we should have a watch that-
Brian: Like as an independent thing?
Robert: There's special ones for triathletes or something.
Leo: -That's independent. Like, it doesn't need a phone and just does its own thing.
Brian: Last time we talked about this Leo, you were not so crazy about the Pebble. Whereas, I love mine.
Leo: I gave Chad my Pebble.
Chad: Loving it! Loving it so much!
Leo: He loves it. So you still wear the Pebble too, Shwood?
Brian: Oh yeah, it's right here. The thing is, if you receive let's say 100 notifications of any variety a day, and let's say conservatively it takes you 4-5 seconds to pull out your phone and check or whatever every single day that you wear a Pebble, that's 500 seconds saved by just glancing instead of pulling the phone out. That's like 5-10 minutes of free time?
Leo: Yeah, but I don't want to wear an ugly ass watch just to save a few minutes.
Brian: Well it's ugly ass now but I've said this before, this is the Palm Pilot of the smart watch.
Leo: Right, and I was a big Palm Pilot fan.
Brian: Exactly, the Newton came out and it was hilarious. Then the Palm Pilot came out and said let's do less and do it better and it took off. What's funny though, I love wearing it and I love my Pebble, but every time we shoot Scam School I take it off and put it in my pocket because I'm so aware of how hilarious it's going to look 3-4 years from now.
Leo: Right. You might as well have a giant phone that you talk on. Marques, you're an athlete and you play ultimate frisbee...
Leo: What would be the ultimate wearable for you? What do you think will happen and what do you look for?
Marques: I don't usually wear my watch when I'm like working out or at practice or anything, but when I have the Pebble on like in class, it's for the same reason Brian said. It's because I can just glance, instead of pulling my phone out of my pocket, which teachers apparently hate. So I guess glancing at your watch might still not look great if you’re a teacher-
Leo: Well that's insulting, it looks like you're going, when is this class going to be over?
Marques: Yeah, I'm just waiting begging for the class to end. But I feel like it's a quicker glance and I cannot take as many seconds of attention away from whatever the class is about so, just as a student I guess, I'm a fan of the Pebble and the notifications.
Robert: That's one reason I never took to the Pebble because when I'm sitting anywhere, my phone is right in front of me and in my car I have a dashboard mount for my phone so I don't need the glance ability that much.
Marques: Yeah, it's just that I have to take my phone out of my pocket and then hit the wake up button-
Robert: If I was in school and I wasn't able to look at my phone because my teacher didn't like it, I totally-
Leo: So yeah, Tim Cook here calling from Apple for Marques Brownlee. Hey Marques good talking to you, love your stuff. What do you think we should do with the iWatch, what do you think? Just tell me anything.
Marques: Wow... It should be light, it should not be- I don't know, I'm not a fashion designer. I just think the design of it is going to be extremely important. The way it looks, the way it feels.
Brian: I feel like it's too early for them to try to get away with any kind of design that looks svelte or thin, or try to sell us on it. I say own the thickness, own the blocky-ness for now, which I feel like Apple would do.
Marques: See, we keep seeing Moto360 and then like-
Leo: I think that looks sweet, do you like the Moto360?
Marques: I do, yeah. That's the one I'm looking forward to most and I can't wait until we actually get to like physically have it-
Leo: And that's going to be out this summer they say. It looks like a watch, it's round!
Leo: It's a little thick. To me, this is the closest thing I've seen.
Marques: I just have a couple of concerns about the display and the battery life; Those two things just because it's obviously not that big. So it's going to have an LCD display that should be bright enough to view outdoors, but also if it's a watch it's always on, so you're just glancing at the time. So is it an always on, very bright LCD? In which case, you're burning through battery constantly and have a really short life, or does it have a really huge battery? I don't know how that's going to work, so I'm curious.
Brian: That is the one thing that I really adore about the Pebble is the fact that I really do only charge it like once a week, basically.
Leo: Everybody agrees, that's one of the best things. So you interviewed the new CEO of Motorola yourself, Marques, did you talk about any of this stuff?
Marques: Yeah, he hinted at the fact that they were working on wearables when I interviewed him and that was a couple of months ago.
Leo: It wasn't Dennis Woodside, you talked to the new guy?
Marques: No, no I talked to Dennis.
Leo: You talked to Dennis, okay. So he's no longer CEO and has moved on.
Leo: So he hinted at this, but we now know because they announced it. This is not a guess.
Leo: Rick Osterloh has taken over for him, he's an interesting fellow and I like him a lot. He was the guy who designed Motorola Blur, which was among the worst of the carrier improvements on Android and I said, Rick I'm sorry. That's a terrible thing, why did you do that? He said, we had to because Android in the version 2 was so God-awful that nobody would've bought it so we had to clean it up a little bit. And that's when the Motorola X came out and he said, now we don't need to. It's a beautiful UI and a great OS and we don't have to modify it. I think the Moto 360 is my- But this is a notification watch, it's not a health watch. It sounds like you don't have any interest in a health watch?
Marques: No. I don't wear it for anything fitness-related. I've never even bought a FitBit or a Nike Fuel Band or anything, I just don't use wearables while working out.
Leo: Oh, it's because you're fit.
Marques: No, I do work out. Like a pedometer seems like a cool idea, I just don't have it turned on in my Galaxy S5, I just don't really care about how many steps I take. I don't know.
Leo: Yeah, the stuff I do never seems to register. So I'll row for half an hour and when I look it'll say something like, you took 3 steps. And it's like- Then Lisa says, well you know you rowed. To which I respond, yes but I want credit for it. I want credit, I want a star, I want points.
"You know you rowed. You rowed!"
"No, but I didn't- I have to... And how's Kevin Rowes going to know I rowed if I don't show up on the leader board. I don't get any credit for it." Marques, do you like the S5, is that your daily driver?
Marques: Oh no, my daily driver is the One M8, Google Play Edition.
Leo: Yeah, baby!
Marques: Is that you too?
Leo: Well I don't use the Google Play Edition, I actually think that the stock HTC Sense is not so bad.
Marques: I do like Sense 6, but I still prefer stock Android. So that's where I'm at with my daily driver. I'm testing a couple of other phones.
Leo: How do you think the camera-
Marques: This OnePlus...
Leo: Wait, whoa! Whoa! Hold that up again. You have a OnePlus One.
Marques: Yeah, this is a really exciting phone.
Leo: For a long time I thought this is a scam, a fake, they're never going to release it. It's the real phone, it works?
Marques: In the flesh, yeah. It's a living breathing CyanogenMod phone and of course, I really like stock Android so much, so I'm a fan of the OS here, the interface, the camera is very impressive and the price is the most impressive part of it so I'm having fun testing it.
Leo: $350, I think? Is that what they're going to-
Marques: This is the 16 gig so it's $300. And the 64 gig is in black and it'll be $350.
Leo: Wow. So this is the reason I thought it was a scam. First of all, OnePlus One, OPO. And these guys came from Oppo so I thought- It's really an Oppo phone isn't it?
Marques: Yeah, I see a lot of resemblance, I see a lot of the same- It's like sign language, I have a Find 7a next to me too and it's very similar.
Leo: Hold it up though, it looks very thin.
Marques: It might even be the same panel. It's a 5.5 1080p display. It's got the silver trim around it and I guess I prefer this design a little bit more. The back, the camera actually looks almost exactly the same as the Find 7. In fact...
Leo: How could they sell this phone for $350 though, this is impossible.
Marques: I don't know, that's the question.
Robert: Costs on these things are coming way down because-
Leo: And they'll give it to you for $1 if you smash your phone. Did you see that, what did you think of that one?
Marques: That? I'm glad they turned back on that.
Leo: Oh they did?
Marques: Yeah, they got a clue that maybe that wasn't the best idea so they were offering this contest, I guess, where you submit your phone and your idea for smashing it and they would pick 100 people and then you smash your phone and-
Leo: Your ride is here, you want to get that?
Marques: No, every day there is a traffic jam at like this exact hour and results in people beeping their horn.
Leo: And people like to beep, what could possibly go wrong? Okay go ahead, I'm sorry.
Marques: So they turned back on it and now they're allowing the 100 winners that they did select to donate their phone, instead of smashing it which is a good idea.
Leo: Much better idea. Although, those guys with the blender, BlendTech, they smash things all the time and nobody says anything about it. The 'Will it Blend' show.
Chad: It would be 100 phones.
Leo: That's right. These would be 100 phones and they wanted you to take a video of you smashing it. Demonstrating not only that it was smashed, but that it can no longer turn on. So you had to turn it on, show it, hit it with a hammer, show it again that it's not turning on now... Seems like a lot. I'm just searching my inbox to see if I got anything from them, I guess not. So I guess I'll have to wait. Do you feel like this phone is ready, is it buggy, is it reliable?
Marques: This one I have here is like super Alpha and it doesn't even have volume buttons, but they're sending me another one that is finished packaging, finished product. But right now, from the software it is fine. It's a CyanogenMod entirely, it didn't have any bugs or quirks once it's working so I feel like it's working great.
Leo: Awesome, and you said you really like the camera. Tell me about that.
Marques: I do, I was impressed. So it has this new camera app from CyanogenMod. Of course you can swipe in on stock Android from the side? So you swipe in a little bit and so it says, okay I'll open the camera. But it's the whole entire viewfinder, first of all, so I like that. It's really simple it takes 4k video, 1080p, slow motion HD video in 720, it takes 13 megapixel photos I believe and they look really good. Sweet dynamic range-
Leo: Better than your M8?
Marques: Definitely better than the M8.
Leo: I know the M8 is only 4 megapixels, but I like the pictures it takes.
Marques: The Google Play Edition M8 doesn't take nearly as good pictures, unfortunately and I do like pixels so I'm not a fan of it only being a 4 megapixel camera. I like to zoom in and pixel peep I guess. I'm not normal on that but when I'm looking at Galaxy S5 photos and iPhone 5s photos I'm way more impressed so I think this is a lot closer to those cameras, which is impressive because it's so cheap.
Leo: Is that what kids are calling it these days, pixel peep?
Marques: Maybe I'm weird that I pixel peep, I don't know. That's what I call it. I like to check out-
Leo: You zoom in on it and you're pixel peeping it?
Marques: Yeah, on my own phone just because if I'm taking a landscape shot and I'm literally comparing the quality of two different cameras... I took the same picture on both of these cameras and I'm trying to compare which one looks better, so I'm zooming in on the edges of something to see that it's softer here and sharper here, that's what I'm seeing.
Leo: Alright, well I thought it was a scam. It's not and it will be out this summer. It really will be $300-350.
Marques: That's what they say.
Leo: Now you're talking Nexus 5's prices.
Robert: It will be interesting to see what they hand out at Google IO this year.
Leo: Well the rumor is, I don't know if it's true, but the rumor is that they're going to replace the Nexus with the Silver Edition. That sounds a lot like what Microsoft did with their Signature PCs, which nobody made. Vizio, I think, made them. The idea of being, god you people are crapping up our Windows devices, so we're going to sell a signature PC that's just pure Windows. And none of the manufacturers bought it, they all said, no we need to make money off of our crapware. It feels like the Silver Edition is kind of the same idea. What do you think Marques?
Marques: It reminds me of the Google Play Edition stuff where originally, I saw no reason for it to exist at all and am still not sure what benefit it has to a company to have a Google Play Edition, other than to be more developer friendly and have that relationship with Google. But when that Google Play Edition Galaxy S5 first came out, that blew my mind. So it reminds me a lot of the same program and I'd be curious if that's an actual thing and not just a rumor.
Leo: Yeah, we don't know. They may still make the Nexus phones, which are made by Google to Google Specs, as opposed to say, I'm going to take the Galaxy S5 or the HTC One and just make it a pure Android.
Marques: Yeah. That's what I keep saying. The main reason the Nexus even exists is to show that Google Spec. They move away from things like SD cards and move away from capacitive buttons. If they were to use the Galaxy S5 as Google Play Edition, you still have the SD card and the physical home button and all of that stuff that you're trying to move away from. So Nexus serves to move, at least software and hardware in the same direction Google wants.
Leo: Well you can thank Nexus for the new M8, they've got capacitive buttons, they've got on-screen buttons, and I was not a fan at first but now I think it's great. I see where Google was going with this thing. We're going to take a break and coming up with more here in just a bit. MKBHD is here, Marques Brownlee; Robert Scoble, the Scoblizer; Brian Brushwood-
Leo: -The Brushwoodizer. Is it Night Train, or is that a fortified alcohol?
Chad: Night Attack.
Leo: Night Attack.
Brian: I was really confused, if you were still talking to me.
Leo: Night Attack was the name of the new show.
Brian: Night Train, The Night Train Thunderbird as a new podcast, that's amazing. Oowens Farm Strawberries, our new podcast. Zema, our new podcast. You're going to love it.
Brian: I will say that I almost never catch a Daily Motion link when I do a Google search.
Leo: Let's see if I search for Mario Batali, they've got a new series of him cooking- No I don't see a thing. I see Mario Batali YouTube.
Brian: I don't want to say that this is a nefarious anti-comptetitive practice on Google's part-
Leo: No Google would say, hey no this is what people want, right?
Brian: I would be curious to see how much of their secret sauce they would expose to justify it because I do agree, that Daily Motion is definitely under represented considering the size of that site.
Leo: It seems fairly credible, but we don't know. Let's see, Microsoft blinks... You used to work at Microsoft. They said, we are not going to update Windows XP. That's it, it's over. April 8th, that's the last update. Turns out there was a zero day flaw in Internet Explorer that affected all versions of Windows, including XP so they sent out a patch last week.
Brian: Wait, they went back and patched the next-
Brian: That's a bummer, I feel like they should have stayed firm.
Leo: Stay firm, Microsoft.
Robert: When I worked at Microsoft, the guy who runs the Internet Explorer team pulled me into his office and explained how life is for him. They have so many customers with so many installs that if the CTO of XYZ big company calls you and says, you fix this or I'm moving to Linux, you decide to fix it.
Leo: Yep. I thought this was an interesting free market story, in fact it takes place in your neck of the woods Mr. Brian Brushwood. There was a startup called Outbox, seemed like a great idea. A couple of guys said, what we're going to do is you fill out a forwarding form at the post office and forward all your mail to us, don't even have it delivered to yourself. We will scan it, we will let you check boxes to say what to deliver and what to not deliver. Seemed like a great idea, they launched in Austin. Have you seen it?
Brian: What's funny is I saw this story but didn't understand it and I remember thinking, I want Leo to explain this to me.
Leo: I'll explain it, they got funding, people got excited about it, they wanted to expand so they went to San Francisco and started doing it there. Everybody wants this, nobody wants snail mail unless they want it, so much of it is junk mail. And so they got called to meet with the Post Master General in Washington D.C. and they thought, oh this is exciting! Maybe the Post Master wants to partner with us because it's a better way. They go into the meeting and instead of just Patrick Donahoe, the Post Master General, there is also the General Council of the United States Postal Service and the Chief of Digital Strategy.
Brian: I can tell this story turns out super great, with everybody high fiving and the customer being happy.
Leo: This is the story from inside sources. Evan says the Post Master looked at us and said, we have a misunderstanding. You disrupt my service and we will never work with you.
Brian: This is awful.
Leo: This is just Evan's recount, this is the Post Master General and he says, you mentioned making the service better for our customers but you need to understand that the American citizens are not our customers. About 400 junk mailers are our customers, and your service hurts our ability to serve those customers. By keeping that junk mail out of people's mailbox, you're putting us out of business.
Brian: Okay, for the record you were wondering why I'm the nut job who would prefer to not see government object itself to the net neutrality.
Leo: This supports your case.
Brian: Right? This is disgusting because by objectively they could move less crap, spend less time, move fewer resources, but this protectionist buggy whip crap is... I rest my case your honor.
Leo: They told Outbox, here's what we're going to do, we're not going to honor those forwarding requests. So Outbox said, oh crap now what do we do? They literally had trucks going to everybody's mailbox in Austin and San Francisco, get the mail out of the mailbox- You have to sign a long contract that says it's okay to do that. -They take it, took your mail. And of course, it was so expensive that they basically have gone out of business.
Brian: That's a real bummer, and again, I'm not going to harp on it but this is to me, unexceptional. It's something that happens a lot and it's the reason for my default skepticism of injecting government in the net neutrality-
Leo: You know what, you're absolutely right I'll give you this one. In their closing blog post, saying we're going out of business they said, you may think government organizations are completely insanely backwards. You're wrong, they're worse.
Robert: Well look at Las Vegas, right? They built this new high speed tram and it stops a quarter mile from the airport.
Brian: Why did they do that?
Leo: We got you this close.
Robert: And the same forces that brought that to happen means we don't get Uber and Base.
Leo: And you don't get Air B&B, practically banned in San Francisco because they don't pay hotel taxes. Yeah, you're right Brian it's easy to find these examples.
Brian: I feel like you're just rubbing my shoulders now Leo. You're making me feel better with all of these examples.
Leo: Feel better Brian?
Robert: Don't you hate when the world isn't black and white? It's sort of muddy.
Brian: I love Air B&B, I love Lift, I love Uber. I love all of these disruptive services and it bums me out that people are using the hammer of bureaucracy to shut them down.
Leo: Well I think we should shut this thing down. Thank you Brian Brushwood for being the voice of reason and bringing that little bit of Texas into this show.
Brian: Well thank you for patronizing me and putting up with my non sense. Look I'm 100% wrong about everything I get that. This all feels very balanced, Leo. It turned out very well.
Leo: Damn your eyes, Brushwood.
Brian: Hey can I tell you guys about a brand new thing and I want to know if Marques thinks this is going to work. We launched a brand new series on Scam School, it's only the second time we've launched something new on the channel. But if you've ever watched Scam School, every episode is very much modeled on a television show. Episodes are usually 10-15 minutes long, which in the YouTube world is like Lawrence of Arabia. We have a cold open, an intro sequence, an intro, and then finally we get into- People just tend to just jump forward like, just get to the trick. Meanwhile, we have this back catalog of like 300 past episodes with like really good bar tricks and clever scams you can pull on your friends. So we decided to launch something new called Scam School Remix. For example, the first episode we do the entire episode is 75 seconds long and the idea is waste no time.
Leo: So in 75 seconds, you will learn how to scam.
Brian: Less than that because the second half is all follow up, watch you can learn the trick right here.
Leo: You're going to break your arms doing that. Don't do that anymore, that's dangerous.
Brian: It's alright, as long as they're the one lifting. But you'll notice in the second half, we're 45 seconds in and already in the follow up and then the wrap up is the last 30 second or so. The idea is we have been openly hostile to the things that make YouTube successful so now we're trying to embrace it by shortening everything.
Leo: You got confused Chad, didn't you? He thought you were the video and the video was you. You got confused, I think you did.
Brian: That happens. But Marques, here's my question to you: How important is brevity in the YouTube world these days? The don't waste my time, get to the point, go go go. Is that the leading factor in how you design your videos?
Marques: Not necessarily for me, but for YouTube in general when you have a series going on and people are finding a whole bunch of your stuff at the same time, it does get important that it's quick to get to the next point. So if someone were to find my channel, for example and wanted to just cruise through 15 videos, my intro is 7 seconds long and then I get right into the content so I guess I do make a point to get right into things. But like you were saying, with a 15 minute episode where you're kind of formatting after tv where it takes a while to get into what you're titling the video, people might skip over that and so it does make a lot of sense to just head into what you're going to do. If you have a title, a thumbnail and the first 10 seconds of the video, that's very satisfying to someone who clicked on it.
Brian: Well I'm really excited. This was my pitch to the folks over at Discovery, the idea was to weaponize previous videos. Let's make them viral gold by taking what was a ten minute episode and making it 90 seconds, we'll see if that works out.
Leo: Awesome. And you can find Marques, of course on YouTube, youtube.com/MKBHD. Just the one channel? You're not going to do an MKB4HD?
Marques: 4K? No, just the one. That's it.
Leo: That's it, right there. It is awesome, and Marques has actually showed that people on YouTube will watch longer videos with more content and that encourages me I think that's really great. You do great stuff, it's good to have you on I appreciate it. And your preview of the OnePlus One is up there too. What is that a Tesla? Do you drive a Tesla too?
Marques: I did.
Robert: I drove the new Mercedes Benz electric.
Leo: Yeah, I saw you-
Robert: So take that Marques.
Leo: You had an exclusive on that one. How'd you like that, I watched that video, pretty sweet.
Robert: It was nice. I had South By Southwest BMW get me the i3.
Leo: That's BMW's electric.
Robert: These are $45,000 cars. The Mercedes is bigger, it's a little quieter.
Leo: But the Tesla's the one to get, isn't it?
Robert: Yeah, but that's $70,000+ so it's out of my budget.
Leo: Even the i3 is out of my budget, would you consider that?
Robert: I'm looking at it, my Prius is five years old now so I'm definitely looking. I hope my car lasts until the Tesla 45,000.
Leo: But the cost of electricity... Because I know a number of people with electric cars that say, I'm paying through the nose. It's very expensive.
Robert: Interesting, compared to gas?
Leo: Yeah, I don't know if you actually save money because the utilities have wised up. They say, oh you're using a lot of wattage there. I think we're going to have to put you in a new tier.
Leo: I'd like to know more about that, ladies and gentlemen. So we've got three YouTube stars here and me. But I did interview a YouTube star last night. A little group called Pomplamoose and that'll be airing tomorrow, I guess is our Triangulation for the day. And then the man who founded Vonage, Jeff Pulver, an early advocate for voice on the internet will be on Triangulation tomorrow.
Robert: I got to do something even better than the Mercedes last week.
Leo: What's that?
Robert: I interviewed David Hall, the guy who builds the spinning thing on top of the Google self-driving car. The lightar. Every self-driving car uses his product.
Leo: Wow, the lightar king. Where will we find those videos.
Robert: Somewhere on YouTube. YouTube.com/scoblizer.
Leo: You got to work on the plug. These guys got it down. Did you see any shows from this week, we had some good shows, if you missed a little bit of TWiT this week, here's a rundown. The weaponized version.
(Previously on TWiT, Tech News Today: Will consumers understand the distinction? I mean, anonymous sounds anonymous but in fact, what you're doing is you're giving Facebook all the signals it wants. The vocal influencers will understand it and they're the ones who would kill it if you didn't do it right. This Week in Law: We give our data to the third-parties, are real and they are compelling. Because for most people the biggest security risk is not the NSA or the Chinese government or cyber criminals, it's I lost this stuff. This Week in Enterprise Tech: Our second blip is all about a zero day bug found in Internet Explorer. This one actually has the Department of Homeland Security issuing a security alert to stop using IE. All about Android: Those that want to look at every single app we ever featured on the show can go to Wiki.twit.tv, search for the All About Android and you'll find the list in there. TWiT, thousands of hours of high quality dribble. I'm a huge loser, 2011 I came in last. 2013 Aaron Nukem beat me. Who?)
Leo: Poor Ron Richards. What's coming up next week, Mr. Mike Elgan of TNT Fame.
Mike Elgan: Coming up this week, Tech Crunch disrupt it's New York tomorrow, May 5th. We also have a couple of mystery Google announcements to contend with. Google intel will unveil something about Chromebooks in the Chromo S on Tuesday, May 6th and finally, Google has summoned Google Glass users to what they're calling a Glass Explore Celebration on Friday, May 9th at Silican Valley's computer history museum. They accepted only the first 100 people who replied to the invite, the event has some kind of announcement but nobody outside of Google knows what it's all about. That's what's coming up this week, back to you, Leo.
Leo: Thank you Mike Elgan, TNT Monday-Friday 10 AM Pacific.
Robert: I got the invite but by the time I responded it was sold out.
Leo: Bummer. You should get a special Scoblizer exemption.
Robert: I don't care about this stuff anymore.
Leo: You wrote an article saying it's all over for Google Glass.
Robert: It's not over, it's just a deeply flawed product that hasn't gotten fixed. A year ago I overlooked all of those flaws because I thought that they would get fixed in the first year but now I'm waiting.
Leo: Marques did you ever wear Glass?
Marques: Yeah, on occasion. I have it and wear it for once in a while stuff but...
Leo: For like dressy events?
Marques: Like, I almost brought it to the Tesla stuff to get like a perspective of- It's usually for the camera that I'm bringing it. -That I want to get a first-person perspective of something.
Leo: I'll give it that, it's a little less dorky looking than wearing a head strap and a GoPro.
Leo: But just a little. Do you graduate this year, Marques?
Marques: Next year, 2015.
Leo: We'll have a party for you next year. Thanks for joining us everybody, we do This Week in Tech every Sunday afternoon at 3PM Pacific, 6PM Eastern time, 2200 UTC right here on twit.tv. Please watch, but if you can't, on-demand audio and video always available after the fact. Not only on YouTube but wherever podcasts are available, as well as twit.tv. You can download it and watch it to your heart's content. Never any charge. The TWiT T-shirt is-
Brian: The TWiTty shirt.
Leo: Show us the girl's version it looks really good. TdoubleEspring.com/twit and they're only $20. We're so close to our goal of 500, just a few more. How many more days until the thing runs out?
Leo: 12 more days? It's a smexy shirt, you're going to like it. May the Fourth be with you ladies and gentlemen, is this Star Trek Day edition of This Week in Tech?
Brian: On behalf of Spock, Turk, and all of the cling-ons, thank you. May the force be with you.
Leo: So it goes, thank you everybody we'll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can.