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This Week in Tech 458
Leo Laporte: It’s time for TWIT, This Week In Tech. Tim Stevens, Jason Snell joins us, we’ll talk about the FCC’s net neutrality proposal, what they really mean. Google and Apple bury the hatchet in a very surprising move. And this just in, Youtube about to buy Twitch for a billion dollars. It’s all next on TWIT.
Netcasts you love. From people you Trust. This is Twit! Bandwidth for This Week In Tech is provided Cachefly. At C-A-C-H-E-F-L-Y dot com.
Leo: This Is TWIT, This Week In Tech, episode 458. Recorded May 18, 2014
Choose the guy with the helmet
This Week In Tech is brought to you by Lynda.com, learn what you want when you want with access to over 2500 high quality online courses, all for one low monthly price. To try it free for seven days, visit Lynda.com/twit2. That's L-Y-N-D-A dot com slash twit and the number 2. And by Shutterstock.com, with over 35 million high quality stock photos, illustrations, vectors and video clips, Shutterstock helps you take your creative projects to the next level. For 20% your new account, go to Shutterstock.com and use the offer code TWIT514. And by Citrix GoToMeeting with HD faces. The powerfully simple way to meet with co-workers and clients anywhere. Share the same screen and see each other face to face with HD video conferencing. Even present from an iPad. Start your 30 day free trial of Citrix GoToMeeting today, visit GoToMeeting.com, click on the try it free button and use the promo code TWIT. And by Audible.com, sign up for the platinum plan and get two free books. Go to Audible.com/twit2 and don't forget to follow Audible on Twitter, user ID audible_com. It’s time for Twit This Week In Tech, the show that covers the week’s tech news. A great team of professional technology journalists in the studio today to discuss the tech news. Actually one in the studio, the fabulous Jason Snell, executive—
Jason Snell: I'm a team of one.
Leo: Team of one
Leo: Team of just one. But that's okay, Jason is a – what are you, executive director, executive editor?
Jason: Sure, Editorial Director.
Leo: Editorial Director, I know there was Director in there.
Jason: Yeah, I shout action every now and then.
Leo: Hahaha, cut, cut! He of course, for a long time Editor In Chief at Mac World. Are you still Editor In Chief or did you have to give that up?
Jason: Sort of, technically there is no Editor In Chief in Mac World right now so I guess technically it’s me but Dan Miller does a lot of the work for me.
Leo: But you also now cover Windows, which is nice, PC World.
Jason: Right so I'm in charge of PC World and Greenbot which is our Android site and Tech Hive which is covering a whole bunch of different consumer—
Leo: Love Tech Hive. That is my new destination, I know you would develop that. We talked about that not year ago I think.
Jason: Yeah it’s been out a little while.
Leo: You should play Flappy Golf.
Jason: Oh you should play Flappy Golf.
Leo: No, No, No, No! That's Tim Stevens over there. He covers motorsports, drives his own little – I guess the ice racing’s over for the season.
Tim Stevens: Yeah I was starting to say it’s a little bit too warm for that to be lake racing at this point and it’s—
Leo: Not, not good, not good. Well thank you for breaking away from the coverage of the trials for the Indianapolis 500 and joining us this afternoon. I appreciate it.
Tim: Thanks for having me.
Leo: So, gosh the biggest story which just broke and I don't think it’s too much of a surprise, we've heard rumors about it all weekend. Not Apple buying Beats. I don't know what happened to that? That one just disappeared.
Jason: It’s out there.
Leo: Blub, blub, blub. But the—
Leo: Buffering, yes.
Jason: Please wait.
Leo: Buffering, but the real story is 48 and a half billion dollars, AT&T buys DirecTV, the satellite TV provider. They've been kind of partners for a long a long time. That was part of a triple play package before Uverse came along. Why did AT&T buy DirecTV? Anybody? Anybody?
Jason: All the cool kids are doing it.
Leo: Hey everybody’s got somebody.
Jason: Oh I mean AT&T, so they've got their – they're in a weird broadband place right. They've got their Fiber in some places.
Leo: Mostly DSL right?
Jason: Right, but it’s mostly DSL. They don't have a lot of TV except in those – a few Uverse markets.
Leo: Is Uverse Fiber always or can it be DSL as well?
Jason: Well they've kind of rebranded. I got an email the other week saying that Uverse was available to me for the first time and I checked because the Fiber is like right on the other side of the freeway from my house so it’s a mile away but it’s not at my house. So I got all excited, I was like “All right, Fiber in my neighborhood”, and I looked and it was rebranded DSL. That they just decided to call Uverse but was not actually Fiber so—
Leo: Pretty much guaranteeing that you will be unhappy with everything.
Jason: Yeah right, exactly. I used to have that. I had the AT&T DSL and I switched to Comcast only because I needed to be faster. Not that I love Comcast. Anyway, I mean DirecTV does give them access to a whole huge customer base and they, you know they're a TV provider, they're not a very good broadband provider because of the latency in satellite but it gives them another piece of the puzzle which you know I think – all of this mass media consolidation is really puzzling to me. I'm not sure quite what all the financial ins and outs are.
Leo: It feels like you have to have critical mass in some way. Does DirecTV still to the Hughes internet satellite stuff?
Leo: So they still do internet?
Tim: They do.
Jason: Yeah and if you—
Tim: Just upgraded that not too long ago. They're up to, boy a couple megabits down anyway, but still the latency they can't get that down, much under a second. I think around 800 milliseconds, I did test not too long ago. And it is much improved than it used to be you know five or six years ago. But still there's only so much you can do with latency and maybe this partnership with AT&T will give them some more communications options for the upload side of things and to get the latency down. I see this as a content play, you know this gives AT&T a lot of good content partnerships for you know streaming video, video on demand, that kind of thing.
Leo: And it fell more than anything because DirecTV has the NFL Sunday ticket deal. And that is very lucrative. Seventeen weeks a year, that is a very valuable property.
Jason: I don't want to poo-poo the satellite internet too much. Those of us who live in big cities are used to having fast internet or even in suburban areas. But I grew up out in the country in Sonora Northern California and most of the people who I went to high school with who are still there, they are all on satellite broadband because it is faster than any of the other options so it’s, you know they're just adding more pieces to the puzzle. And yeah, the DirecTV deal with the NFL is, assuming that continues long term, maybe there's a way they can parlay that into something they can roll out to other subscribers although Verizon has the deal for the mobile streaming for the NFL so runs up against that.
Leo: That's why I think it’s interesting. And I think that's why it’s an interesting, probably an anti-Verizon move. Well Tim is up in the country but you don't use satellite?
Tim: I actually tried to use satellite when I first moved to this place about two years ago and there was no cable access when I moved here so we did try the new Hughes system which was pretty good but I just couldn't get over the latency that wasn't good enough. Especially for this kind of thing, you know there’d be a two second delay—
Leo: Yeah it’s unusable for Skype, yeah.
Tim: …skype. So when I switched over to Verizon has an LT to the home service that I was using for a little while. That was pretty good except, you may remember we had a couple of instances where it kind of dropped out on us. That's wasn't very much fun. So now I do have cable here, we paid Time Warner to bring it out to the house but, yeah satellite internet has definitely gotten much better in terms of the outright speed but I don't think there's really much they can do – at least with satellite technology when it comes to getting that latency down which is a big issue for online gaming and anything that you need for any kind of responsiveness. But if you're talking about streaming, you know streaming Netflix, that kind of thing. It was actually perfectly fine for that, it was able to get streaming through Netflix with no issue over satellite and I think that's pretty impressive.
Leo: You do have fair use caps and that's a bit of a problem. I can't remember what it was but last time, I checked, it was pretty low. It’s in the hundreds of megabits.
Tim: Not even that, I think they're at a maximum of about 50 gigabytes, which for me I'm capable, before I moved here it was about 500 gigabytes per month so that was obvious a bit of an adjustment to be made to try and make that work. And that was the same for Verizon too. It was about, I think between 30 and 50 gigabytes was the maximum and then it was something like ten dollars per gigabyte, once you get over that. And that gets very expensive very quickly.
Leo: So you just heard the thing that makes this whole net neutrality debate very interesting. You Jason Snell were on DSL but switched to cable because it was faster.
Leo: Tim Stevens out in the country paid Time Warner to bring him cable because it was faster.
Tim: Not that I love Time Warner but yeah, I wrote them a very large check.
Leo: Nobody – and you hate Comcast, you hate Time Warner, I've got Comcast, the same thing.
Jason: Nobody like their cable company.
Leo: Nobody like think cable company. And in most cases they're really the only viable choice. Yes you may – and you know this is where that net neutrality debate comes up, is yes you may have other choices if you're lucky you have DSL choices, you might have satellite choices. Almost everybody has that. But nobody really wants that. Everybody wants cable which gives these cable companies immense power and that's why we’re very nervous about these access lanes. So this was the week, Thursday we finally saw the rules that Tom Wheeler and the FCC have been talking about for several weeks. We've talking about for several weeks. They were as predicted, and by the way they're not implemented, this is merely – they voted to, 3 to 2 it was a close vote, to offer these rules up and give people a chance to comment. Highly recommend that you watch This Week In Law, Denise Howell in a very heated debate. Nilay Patel talking with a regular in This Week In Law whose name is I forgotten. Say again.
Baron is his first name.
Chad: Baron is his first name.
Leo: Baron Zorich or something like that but it was almost a fist fight. I mean it was very heated as one would expect Neli Patel of Vox and The Verge was very concerned about the future of net neutrality. The question is, and this is the one thing that might’ve been changed in the rules thanks to all of the conversations over the last couple of weeks. Tom Wheeler did propose and the FCC did adopt the proposal that perhaps they should look at reclassifying broadband providers as common carrier’s so called Title 2 of the Communications Act of 1996. This is something that a lot of geeks have said is a good idea. The genesis of this is that the open internet rules originally proposed by the FCC were thrown out in court. Verizon sued, the court said “Look, we understand there is a strong compelling argument for open internet but you don't have the jurisdiction” as the FCC under the Telecommunications Act, section 706, which is what the FCC was using as a justification for controlling the internet, isn't it. The court said “You could go the Title 2 route”. The FCC has up to now I think kind of rejected that as a possibility but tis is the first time they've actually raised it and said “In effect to us, what do you think? Should we go Title 2?”. And that was the big debate on This Week In Law, was whether Title 2 was a good idea. It would certainly bring a lot of regulation in. And god knows, nobody wants government regulation on the internet but at the same time—
Jason: Well nobody monopolies controlling the internet either.
Leo: That's the real problem.
Jason: And I think it would be fair to say nobody really wants the internet to be in a position in the US where it is a common carrier issue where there’s no choice. But that's where we are, is there's – in most markets there's no choice, no legitimate choice for broadband internet and I don't consider the AT&T DSL that runs to my house legitimate competition for Comcast and in a situation like that that's when you have to pull out the common carrier rules, which are pretty serious because that's a lot of regulation and it’s kind of scary to go that down that path. But I don't know what other choice we have left in an environment where almost nobody has decent competition for broadband.
Leo: That's the real problem and you can talk about the open market, the value of the open market but if—
Jason: There isn't one.
Leo: … you don't have competition there isn't an open market. Maybe the FCC should act to encourage competition. One of the things Title 2 would allow it to do for instance is tell the cable companies “You need to open up your network for access to other internet service providers” just as DSL is open.
Jason: Right, I used to actually get – I didn't actually have AT&T DSL at the end, I had DSL Extreme, which is a reseller so there's a wholesale price.
Leo: There's a whole line on AT&T’s copy.
Jason: Right, so they buy internet form AT&T basically wholesale and then resell it with – so instead of getting it with your ISP, you get web host and email and access to this and access to that. The idea would that those would be differentiating features. The bare internet would just be something everybody could resell with their own stuff on top of it and have competition.
Leo: In this case one of the wonderful feature that would differentiate is, and by the way we don't charge for access to our subscribers.
Leo: You have a fastlane access to everybody on the internet. And what we try to get by the way and Dane wasn't able to make it but we were going to get Dane Jasper who is the Founder and CEO of Sonic Net, which is one of the foremost internet service providers in the country. And a very outspoken advocate of open internet and would love access. They're running Fiber in a lot of places.
Jason: They're trying to compete as much as they can. They're doing a lot of double DSL too, which held the line for a while against cable where you essentially—
Leo: We have that product, we have fusion.
Jason: …you bonded DSL, yeah , and it’s still not as fast as cable but it’s faster.
Leo: It’s in our basement.
Jason: They want to compete. You know and competition’s good, unfortunately we don't have a lot so either they need to do something to allow competition or we're going to be in common carrier land I would hope because those are the only real options. Otherwise our internet is going to be pretty poor.
Leo: I like Mike Elgan’s article in Computer World this week, he said “FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is the Michaelangelo of lobbyists and his proposal for net neutrality is his Sistine Chapel” he calls him the lobbyist in charge. And this really what's happened, I mean this guy worked for more than a decade at National Cable Telecommunications Association, eventually becoming its president. He worked at the wireless industry as well, he’s in the hall of fame of both the wireless and the cable industry for his tireless efforts on behalf of those industries. So it’s hard to believe that he would himself lobby for regulating these industries and AT&T filed a brief this week saying that for instance Title 2 was a terrible idea, it would make it impossible for internet service providers to do their job. And this is where I don't want to get too much into this battle, I think the battle Baron and Nilay’s debate on TWIL is a very good example of how people who share our interest on open internet disagree over what the right path is. I know when we had John Perry Barlow on, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, he said the debates on the board even at the EFF, at the board level are intense because you know there's a strong prejudice against government regulation of the internet but at the same time it’s not clear what the path is to keep the internet open and we all agree we need an open internet.
Tim: And I've been concerned over what Title would mean for Google Fiber as they're trying to spread it and give more access to that. I mean that would almost certainly slow down that effort, whereas we want Google Fiber to spread throughout the US very quickly. More regulation would slow them down and it may even stop that effort altogether, which would be very, very disappointing and very frustrating because that is part of what it going to build some competition in those limited markets where it’s available. And you know competition is good in general and it helps to build innovation, and it helps to build services to get better. But like I said Jason, there really is no effective competition in most of these markets. And that right now, it just means that these guys are able to charge what they want to and not innovate at all and consumers are kind of left stuck.
Leo: I almost want to burn the house down. I think sometimes what happens with activists is they say “Great, let’s screw the internet up because that’ll force us to find an alternative. One of the real good alternatives is never going to happen unless things go vastly wrong, which is for community municipal internet to spring out for communities to take over those broadband lines using imminent domains saying we're going to run these as utilities. This is like gas, electric and water. And we're going to provide that, let companies come in and ride on top of it and offer you choice. Create competition in their communities, eliminate this whole thing”. And I feel like if we just let Tom Wheeler screw the internet up, maybe we have a chance at that.
Jason: Unfortunately, you know most of these small governments just don't have – this is a highly technical – Well it’s so technical and do they have the budgets to even try it. And you know I have friend who live in Alameda here in the Bay Area and they used to have their own cable and internet company and I think they handed it all back to Comcast because you know a little city under financial straining trying to manage their own, you know be their own ISP and run cable to people’s houses is asking a lot. I mean that's the hard thing, is that infrastructure is hard and it’s expensive and you want people – you know companies investing in the infrastructure to be able to get a return but you also want to have competition. And a lot of these issues become less, you know the great panacea here is net neutrality right? Net neutrality is like well you can charge and you can have stupid services that you trying to foist upon me but at least you can't mess up my internet. The internet is the internet. And that's the thing that's frustrating about all this net neutrality talk is when the internet isn't the internet anymore. It’s playing favorites and cutting back from deals and making certain sites faster and certain sites slower. And that's when it all gets messed up.
Tim: And it’s obvious happening now, I mean it’s so blatantly apparent that Netflix is being capped on many, many service providers. And that right there is as ugly an omen as you need for what's going to come in the future. If something doesn't change and unfortunately so I’ll need to find out exactly what that change needs to be. It’s so difficult to find out as you said, after there's so many conflicts and so many challenges. But yeah, something obviously needs to change. Where at a point now where maybe legislation is the only thing that's going to keep things somewhat clean. But yeah, the choice of the lesser of two evils and I honestly don't know which is the lesser at this point myself.
Leo: Yeah it’s frustrating for me because I feel like there's so much innovation that happens on the internet and companies like mine wouldn't exist if I didn't have free and easy access to every one of the people who want to listen. If I were put on the slow lane, you know we wouldn't be able to offer you live broadcast because you would be able to watch them in any reasonable way. Here’s from Techdirt, a graph the cable industry offered, proffered you know implying that they were increasing their investments in infrastructure. This is, well it turns out a little bit of a misleading graph. You know it says in 1996 they invested 5 billion, in 2013 210 billion. What this graph doesn't tell you, this is cumulative investment. So the 210 billion is over those 20 years and in fact if you look at actual investment, well the tale is not quite so encouraging. After doing big build-outs, spending upwards of 20 billion dollars in 2000 and 2001, some significant drop in investment over the last few years.
Jason: I'm curious if the investment the last few years includes the money they paid Verizon to stop building out FiOs to decrease competition.
Leo: So that's interesting. So wait a minute, I want to hear because in know Verizon was building out FiOS, at great cost, about five thousand dollars a subscriber and then they decided to stop. Why did they stop?
Jason: Well, apparently there was a deal that they cut with the cable companies to just back off and not do it, yeah. We call that collusion, I think.
Jason: No, no it was just good business. I'm sure.
Leo: Well and you know you can't expect these companies not to act in their own interest, that’s what – they're publicly held companies, they have a fiduciary responsibility to stakeholders to squeeze their as dry as they possibly can. That's why we have to take our own future into our own hands and do something about it. We can't expect them, and it’s foolish to expect them to do anything but act in their own interest.
Jason: It is a funny conversation that we're having now where were all really getting up and in about asking for free market competition. I mean this is not like we’re asking for some crazy like internet communism where the people own the internet and there's nothing – you know nobody can profit from it. We're just saying “Hey, can we have the big companies fight each other over us instead of just cutting deals and each having their own little monopolies in their own markets.” That's what’s hurting the customers.
Leo: All we want is a free market.
Leo: Is that too much to ask?
Jason: Fight it out. I want Verizon and Comcast to fight it out for my business, that's what I want.
Leo: That's all, instead of having these local monopolies, which they all have. Well I'm glad actually Tim you got cable finally in there because you really looked much better.
Leo: At least for the time being. That's the other problem, is all these companies are—
Tim: Thank you, I've been getting to the Gym too you know Leo.
Leo: Yeah, well that too, yeah that too. You do look like you've been working out. All of these companies are in the same business as the companies that they're – you know Skype competes directly with Voip offerings of Comcast and Verizon and Time Warner. Netflix competes directly with the cable offerings of Comcast, so that's the worst thing is that these companies can act anti-competitively. Now Tom Wheeler says “I'm not going to let that happen”, and I trust him, I really do. All right were going to continue on in just a little bit. Good panel here, Jason Snell, Tim Stevens. Glad you're here. And a great studio audience, thank you all for joining us. It’s nice to have an audience.
Jason: Handsome group.
Leo: Handsome group. Last week they were all wearing shorts. It was a little too much. I couldn't take it. Fortunately we got long pants right? All right. [chuckles] no I'm just kidding, wear short if you want. Strip down if you feel more comfortable. Our show today brought to you by Lynda.com. I love Lynda Wyman, you know Lynda Wyman I'm sure.
Leo: Gosh I've known her for years. She was a regular on the screen savers.
Jason: She used to write for us at Mac World.
Leo: Yeah that's right.
Jason: All the time.
Leo: Wrote these great books on Web Design and Development. She created a company, Lynda.com that teaches people how to use software. How to program, how to become better photographers, how to use Photoshop better. Lynda.com is a great resource for anybody who wants to learn and now they have over 2,400 courses in pretty much every category. 510 courses on Web Design, 514 courses on Photography, 534 courses on Business. Things like creating a resume and negotiating a deal. And tens of thousands of video tutorials. The way it works is great too because you get unlimited access for a low monthly fee. You can have any course you want. You can jump right in at the beginning or because they have transcripts of every course you could search for the subject matter or the tip that you're interested in and go right there. There's new courses all the time. They just released a course on, aw this is a good one, on how to prepare and print 3D models using Photoshop. How to master the fundamentals of Photography. Some of my best friends Bert Monroy, Ben Long teaching courses at Lynda.com. You can learn about Web Design and Development, everything from Wordpress to Jquery. Do you use Windows, they've got a Windows 8 1 course. Windows 8 1 update 1 course. They've got Microsoft Creative Cloud, Final Cut, Logic Pro. Lynda.com, currently 2,577 courses, more added every single week for every level, beginner, intermediate, advanced and these are high quality well professionally produced videos with the top professionals in their field who are passionate about teaching. Whether you have 15 minutes or 15 hours, each course is structured so you can learn at the pace and the style that you want. Lynda.com also offers certificates of completion so when you finish a course, you can add it to your LinkedIn profile. People will know “Hey this person knows Final Cut or Premier or Photoshop”. It only is $25 a month for access to the entire Lynda.com course library. For 37.50 a month you get the premium plan and that includes all the exercise files so you could follow along with the instructors. But right now for seven days, if you go to Lynda.com/twit2, you can access the entire library. L-Y-N-D-A dot com slash twit2, the entire library free for your use for seven days. How much can you learn in a week. Take the Lynda.com challenge. Lynda L-Y-N-D-A dot com slash twit2. We thank them for their support of This Week In Tech. Let’s see here. Should we talk about Google. Actually some good news. I mentioned this I think this week on MacBreak Weekly after the Apple Samsung trial finally ground to a close. Samsung won a little more than a hundred million dollars. Or Apple won a little more than a hundred million dollars. Samsung won a little more than a hundred thousand dollars. Their awards are getting smaller but the cost of the company’s getting greater with discovery of these secret documents having have to be released to the public. And I just feel like this is a war that nobody wins. It’s bad for PR, it’s bad for the companies. And I think maybe they're starting to realize that because Apple and Google have decided to throw in the towel. Apple and Motorola were suing each other for patents. They decided not only to drop those suits, but not to license. Just to say okay use it. You think I'm right? You think that Apple is finally realizing that these lawsuits, win or lose are bad for business?
Jason: Well, first I want to say that it’s not bad for everybody. My sister-in-law actually works at the law firm—
Leo: Is she a lawyer?
Jason: …that Samsung was using.
Leo: That’s the—
Jason: They're doing fine, they're doing fine. It’s good for them but yeah you know I think you know a lot of the criticism – I wrote a thing about a bunch of people about that book haunted empire which says how Apple lost its way. One of the questions was inconsistent on whether the point was that it lost its way because it was trying to do what Steve Jobs wanted to do. Or that it was trying to be like different from the Steve Jobs game plan. I'm excited about the idea that in some cases Tim Cook is sort of unwinding some of the things that Steve did—
Leo: That's what I feel like what's going on.
Jason: Because Steve Jobs did a lot of things that were great. He did a lot of things that were like questionable.
Leo: He was vindictive.
Jason: I think going nuclear on the patent thing was probably a mistake and he just couldn't help himself and I feel like this is a sign of—
Leo: It was personal.
Jason: …of Tim Cook kind of saying “Let’s back off, this is crazy. Let’s go un-nuclear.”
Leo: That's my take exactly. You know the book that actually that's most [?] is dog fight, which is how Apple and Google fought for years for this and it talks about that. And really that's kind of the thing – on of the takeaways from Dog Fight is a that Apple knew that I didn't invent Slide to Unlock. This was an anti-competitive move as much as a Global Nuclear war.
Jason: Sure, we think this is cool and we can stop you from using something cool.
Jason: So you're product won’t be as good.
Leo: Whether it’s right or not, we think we can stop you and win this case. So I think this is the right thing. I agree with you, I think maybe Tim Cook’s saying “Yeah, we honored Steve’s memory but I think it’s time maybe to move on.”
Jason: All of the secret stuff comes out in court and these documents. We see Apple’s behind the scene stuff. I mean, I don't see this how this helps Apple. And even when Apple wins the case right, it’s a couple hundred million which for Apple honestly, they've got that in their couch cushions.
Leo: Well even when they won a billion, but now it seems like the awards are diminishing. We agree Tim?
Tim: Yeah I definitely agree, essentially in a case like this where we had kind of a split verdict basically where they both won it. And obvious Apple won a lot more than Samsung did but it think at this point, consumers see when they see that, they just saw both companies won something so therefore both companies are more of less as right or as wrong. So therefore there was no clear victory in the public’s eye. And they both lost because you know here they are dragging themselves through the mud and dragging each other through the mud and I don't think anybody really cares anymore. I don't think anybody really that excited about the case anymore. And I think the fact of it is really that is kind of shows that Apple is really, you know feeling somewhat – I'm trying to think of a good way to say it. Basically they're still kind of bitter about how things went a long time ago. The origins of the smart phone, the launch of the iPhone and what happened 4, 5, 6, 7 years ago and really nobody cares about that anymore. The industry’s moved forward and so these lawsuits I think are a bit of an anachronism at this point. I think that it’s good that they're going to be dialing them down. And I hope they do.
Leo: Here’ll be the real test because Mike, you remember a few years ago, the Nortel patents were sold and Google bid on them but lost to a consortium of companies including Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, the Blackberry folks, Sony Ericson, it’s called Rock Star and they have four thousand patents which they've weaponized basically. And now this will be the test, this is the proof’s in the pudding. And the problem it it’s not just Apple, it’s Microsoft, it’s RIM, it’s Sony Ericson, but if these guys put down their weapons and stopped going out because Rock Star really was created to sue, to get license fees for everything including LTE, 3G.
Tim: Yeah there's been a whole industry that's come up out of this. You know there's a whole industry of people buying up patents and building up these war chests just in case something bad happens. And you know if the main protagonist in these legal battles start to back off and start to put down their weapons, does that mean that this industry goes out of business? And if it does, are they going to go quietly in the night or are they you know lob their last Hail Mary charge and try to sue everybody and keep this fight going on? I'm curious to see how that pans out too.
Leo: Yeah, I’d have to think Google is a chief target of Rockstar but in the statement that Apple and Google released over the Apple Motorola lawsuits, there is this sentence “Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform”, maybe this means that they are going to kind of recognize that these patent lawsuits are good for nobody, they just slow down innovation. They're only good for your sister.
Jason: Yeah, yeah you’re exactly right. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel and we're all hoping it is the end of the tunnel and not that on rushing train with a nuclear warhead strapped to it that we've been watching approach up to now.
Leo: Hey, speaking of which, whatever happened – I really thought we were going to be running this tape from last week’s show in which I said I thought I was going to be eating my hat. I said the Apple Beats thing was a bogus rumor, it was never going to happen.
Chad: You want us to play the tapes?
Leo: Play the tape.
Leo: It was a rumor created by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine in an attempt to sell headphones and stock or whatever and to drum up, gin up some interest in a company that is actually failing. FAILING. FAILING.
Leo: That's what I think.
John: You actually took a good—
Leo: I went too far?
John: Yeah, way too far.
Leo: Well I don't think anything happened.
Jason: Please wait, it’s still buffering, it’s still loading.
Leo: Is it dead or is it? See I think it was a bogus, I fell like it was a bogus rumor. Maybe they're negotiating something. Maybe they want to put Beats headphones in the next iPhone but I don't think Apple wanted to buy Beats for 3.2 billion dollars. That makes absolutely no sense. I think it was a bogus – you look like—
Jason: I don't know, I mean in can see reasons why they would do it. I mean they've got the money for it. I don't know it’s unreasonable.
Leo: I think the entire tech journalism industry got sucked into this ridiculous rumor and just said huh and they just bought into it. Hook, line and sinker. Tim, you think I'm right or is – you know I could be wrong tomorrow. They could make the announcement tomorrow.
Tim: I think that the truth lies somewhere in between. I do think that probably the acquisition is likely but I was very nauseous at the way that the tech industry – or the tech journalism industry in general reported on it. I mean it was pretty much – it’s confirmed even it was basically, it was far from confirmed you know. I don't think we’ll hear anything about until WWDC, if we hear about it at all. But yeah, I think it’s probably happening. The question is, why is it happening and that's you know a broader question with some perhaps unsavory implications there. You know it depends whether they're trying to buy a culture or they're trying to buy a technology. And if it’s a technology, great and if trying to buy, if it’s more of a cultural attitude change that they're trying to acquire here, that's a little bit more of a concerning acquisition. But you know, it remains to be seen what the intent is here, but if we can be we will see you know Beats earbuds in the next gen iPhone, who knows.
Leo: Peter Kafka at Recode says “Oh it turns out it might not happen until next week.” I think—
Jason: Well I've seen a couple—
Leo: …day 53, Beats held hostage. I think this is never going to consummate. I just can't believe people even consider this as a real story.
Tim: I wonder if that tweet actually affected the deal somehow. I mean presumably you know—
Leo: Dr. Dre’s video that he says “I'm the first rap hip-hop billionare” that he pulled down immediately.
Jason: I hope he hasn't started buying stuff, that would be—
Leo: He did, he bought Tom Brady’s house for 40 million dollars.
Jason: Oh, come on Dr. Dre. Hold it together.
Leo: It’s in LA. It has a moat around it. We were thinking of building a moat around the Twit Brickhouse Studios. I think that would be good.
Jason: I mean if you can have a moat why not?
Leo: Lower the port, Sir Jason Snell is here.
Jason: The city of Petaluma might have some issues.
Jason: I love it.
Leo: Boiling oil on the roof in case revision 3 exalts us. Google Glass, worth 152 dollars according to HIS. That's the materials list.
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Leo: Fifteen hundred dollars if you've got the money to buy them now. Now you can. Are you running out to buy glass?
Jason: No, I think it’s funny that first they did that one day sale. It was like “Anybody can buy it if you want just for this day” and then they're like “Yeah, actually just, we still have some so you can still – you can just.”
Leo: Google.com/glass. You can become an explorer.
Jason: Yeah, it’s still the developer edition. I think that's the issue here. There would probably be a consumer issue version. I mean skepticism about glass aside, I'm not sure any regular person should buy the developer edition of the glass.
Leo: It doesn't seem like a good idea. Let’s see, I could choose some sunglasses, I could choose my color. I could get Tangerine. I can't add it to the cart. What going on, I have to – oh it’s already in my cart. Apparently I've already gone through this process.
Tim: Already on the way to your home.
Leo: Already – oh damn, let’s see I first have to agree to the terms of sale. Click buy with Google, see they didn't even ask who I am.
Tim: It knows.
Leo: It knows. I apparently am buying two of them now. Hahaha. Again, I'm starting to feel like an old man but this is another dumb idea. Who wants Glass? Anybody wearing Glass here? Any of Glass Explorers in our audience?
Tim: I was.
Leo: You were? What happened to your Glass? It was.
Tim: That was – it’s complicated but that was part of the in gadget thing so now it’s I think sitting in a closet somewhere at AOL. But yeah I – glass.
Leo: In the divorce, they kept the Glass?
Tim: Yeah, I got the condo though so that's something, right.
Leo: Oh man.
Tim: And the dogs.
Leo: You got the dogs?
Tim: I got the dogs.
Tim: Yeah it’s a great product and if you got a lot of disposable income and you want to feel something futuristic, glass is pretty cool but it just don't see it as a consumer product yet. And I think that'll change in the not too distant future. I wouldn't be surprised if I see a lot of cool stuff at IO here at the end of June. But the version that we're seeing now, yeah like you guys just mentioned that's a developer edition. It’s not really ready for prime time. They're still pretty fragile. The battery life still isn't great. There’s still not a ton of functionality. But again, if you got 1500 dollars to burn in a product and you want to really feel something that's significantly different from any of the pieces of technology that you've bought a long time, you can blow your money in worse ways I suppose.
Leo: It’s cool, you'll get punched in the nose in San Francisco but it’s cool.
Tim: That too.
Leo: All right, word coming from a variety of a big acquisition in the tech industry. Don't show that! I was going to tease people.
Leo: No spoilers. When we come back, we’ll talk about it. This is Twit with Jason Snell, Tim Steven, I'm Leo Laporte. Our show today brought to you by Shutterstock.com. Shutterstock, I love going to Shutterstock and seeing what the count is, of the number of images, royalty free images on Shutterstock. I goes up all the time. The total now, 37,129,198 royalty free stock images. This week they added more than a quarter a million alone. And these are high quality photos, illustrations, vectors and video clips. Most of them shot by professional photographers, created by professional artists. Each of them reviewed for content and quality. And you know when you have that many images, it’s important that you have a good search engine, and Shutterstock has the best I've ever used. Search for nouns like babies, but then you can search for adjectives like dogs, okay. I said babies.
Chad: You said nouns and I was going for the nouns. Say happy dog.
Leo: …but dogs is fine. Now search for sleeping or happy. All right we're out.
Tim: …baby dogs.
Leo: Chad and I are out of this thing.
Chad: A little bit, a tiny bit.
Leo: Happy, these are all happy dogs. Can you find sad dogs?
Chad: Why would you want to do that?
Leo: Well maybe you're writing a blog post about an unhappy—
Jason: Sometimes dogs are sad.
Jason: Assets are very sad.
Leo: Oh my god those are the saddest dogs I've ever seen. There was a dog with a bindle, he’s running away from home. Oh my god.
Chad: A heart pillow.
Leo: As well. It’s a little doggie with a heart. All right, see this is really beautiful. So if you've got an idea – yeah we have a sad dog because I accidentally told the groomer to shave Ozzie and he’s an unhappy Ozzie I got to tell you. So if you are a blogger, if you are a journalist, if you need images this is a great place to go. By the way, you can create an account, you don't have to give them a credit card. Do all the searches you want, you can even store search results in a light box, share them with colleagues and clients or just keep the images around for inspiration. You don't have to pay till you buy. And you can buy individual image pack. But I have and I like the monthly subscription. We have the 25 images a day, that's the standard subscription. Great for a publication. You could download any image at any size and pay one price. Great search tools, light boxes. Oh I know what I didn't mention, they have great apps too. An Webby Award winning iPad app, now on Android as well. And those apps are just beautiful images, you can just browse and look at and I love that too. Another way if you're on a sales call, you could show a client some ideas for images. Multi-lingual customer support in more than a dozen countries. Full-time customer service throughout the week. Shutterstock, I got to tell you it’s the best. Try it right now, sign up for a free account, you don't need a credit card but if you decide to buy do me a favor, use the offer code TWIT514 and new accounts will get 20% off on any package. That's why the subscription is such a deal. 20% off but you have to use the offer code TWIT 514, since we're in May 2014. That's TWIT – that's a happy dog. They have video with alpha channels.
Jason: Man it like teleported.
Jason: What the heck was that?
Leo: Yeah video so – that's kind of fun because we can use that in our green screen. You just do that right from the site right Chad?
Chad: Yeah. I went to their footage area and they have a lot of green screen, pre-made great green screens.
Leo: There's a little puppy on my desk.
Chad: And you can make them grow. Oh my gosh.
Leo: Tim, Tim, come back Tim! [laughter]
Tim: That's was scary.
Leo: For those of you listening at home, you're not missing anything.
Chad: Watch the video. And then we can make him disappear.
Leo: Amazing. Shuterstock.com, use the offer code TWIT514. So this just coming across the wire, this is hot news. Youtube, according to Variety, set to buy Twitch for one billion dollars.
Jason: The going rate for everything.
Leo: It’s a billion for anything now.
Jason: Doctor Evil has set his price.
Tim: …smaller forms of currency.
Leo: That's a good deal actually. Twitch TV which is created by Justin TV is a network, I watch it all the time, that has a video game play. And they have some real stars on there who are doing a great job. In fact, that's the number one category on Youtube itself right? PewDiePie and people like that.
Chad: You know it’s funny and I've come to the realization – and sorry I'm—
Leo: That's Chad Johnson who is a Youtube expert because he’s under 25.
Chad: Right, I've come to the realization that Youtube might be the best place – the only content that really survives on Youtube might be gaming. And just why iJustine and everyone has a gaming channel.
Leo: Oh that's interesting, everybody’s moving to gaming.
Chad: And the reason is because it’s so monetizable because you can do – the only real way to make a good salary on Youtube is to not only do, you know like not, you can't make a good salary off of one video a week. The best way to do it is three videos a day because—
Leo: Oh my god.
Chad: …no matter what video you put out, you're going to get a certain amount of views. So if you do one video a week, you'll get a hundred thousand views, but if you do seven videos a week, you'll also get one hundred thousand views on those videos but now that's a hundred thousand times seven. And that's the only way to get the ad revenue to a point where you can actually make money. And the only content that is—
Leo: That's how it is in life. The harder – if you work really hard—
Chad: But the only content that you can really pump out that fast is video game content.
Leo: Is crap, oh I mean video game content.
Chad: Well, I mean there's people who do great and there is people who are very entertaining.
Leo: It’s trash content though, it’s very – think you're right, you think that's the future of Youtube. You know Twitch.tv was clearly Youtube’s biggest competititor in any space right. I mean there was no question about that.
Jason: It’s wired into Xbox and Playstation.
Leo: It’s so great on the Xbox. In fact Xbox launched Titanfall on the Twitch channel. So yeah, it makes a lot of sense.
Jason: I know what my kids are doing this summer. I'm just going to have them make Minecraft vidoes the whole summer.
Leo: That's the way to make some money. Forget a job.
Leo: You know I wouldn't be surprised frankly if Microsoft was in the bidding of this. In fact this might’ve been a miss on their part.
Tim: A pretty big miss, yeah I mean that's definitely a big opportunity with next generation consoles and streaming video right from the system. And yeah I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft was definitely in the game.
Leo: Or Sony right? That seems like they should, you know – now, according to this story Youtube is preparing for US regulator to challenge the deal. Youtube’s number one for internet video but Twitch is right up there and I think that it’s probably the case that if you have both of them there's not much competition. The start-up, going for a billion raised 35 million in funding. So a big payday for their venture capital partners. So let’s see, in March of this year Twitch represented 1.35% of all downstream bandwidth. Tripling, tripling since last fall so big growth curve. Again this is from Variety. Not confirmed yet by other sources but Todd Spangler’s pretty well connected I believe.
Jason: No it’s a big deal.
Tim: Did Dr. Dre tweeted about it yet?
Leo: Not yet.
Jason: It’s a big deal. My kids—
Leo: Justin Kan, I am the first internet billionaire.
Jason: My kids don't watch TV, they watch Minecraft videos on Youtube.
Leo: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Jason: That's what they do. That's their programming of choice.
Leo: Yeah you know—
Jason: They've ripped through the entire Twit Minecraft show archive.
Leo: Have they, they watch Chad?
Jason: Oh my god, they watch Chad, absolutely. They know who Chad is.
Leo: Right on Chad.
Jason: But they can't stop, there are only so many of those videos and there are thousands more videos to watch and so—
Leo: How old are they.
Jason: 12 and 9.
Leo: Yeah, Michael’s 11 and that's all he watches, is video game videos. Day in, day out all the time. He rarely watches TV. I can't think of him watching TV at all.
Jason: Yeah so we watch—
Leo: We try to get him to watch Cosmos.
Jason: We watch Gilligan’s Island and stuff like that to waste away hours as children. Well it’s Minecraft videos now. That's what it is. And other video game video when they get older.
Leo: Actually, wow okay there you go. I think that's a good move on Youtube’s part and I think they caught Microsoft asleep at the switch again on that one. Let’s see, a lot of acquisition, this is acquisition week.
Tim: And what’s up with the Sunday night stuff? I mean we have—
Leo: Why are they doing this on Sundays, yeah?
Tim: …and now it’s got to be Sundays, we got to be writing up acquisition stories too.
Leo: Yeah it’s crazy. Google acquired Word Lens, they did this during the week, thank you Google. This was a really cool app that was really kind of had a lot of profile on the iPhone. They didn't have an Android version. But I remember when it came out on the iPhone, it lets you hold up the camera, point it at a foreign language sign—
Jason: Totally works.
Leo: …and it would translate it. It was the coolest thing ever.
Jason: It’s like science fiction, it’s amazing.
Leo: And it had been feature actually in Apple’s ads. Well I guess you won’t see anymore Apple ads because Google has purchased Quest visual, the company behind Word Lens. They say they're going to fold it into Google Translate, which, Google Translate is a good product.
Leo: I think that is a killer product.
Tim: Google Glass too is a natural—
Leo: And in fact I think translate, is it built in it? Word Lens should be in there, absolutely. It was featured it Apple’s latest iPhone ad. Also listed on the ads microsite.
Jason: This stuff can get overhyped but Word Lens for me it meant the hype, you hold your phone up, your camera to a sign. I did this in Montreal with French signs, I did this in Barcelona with Spanish and Catalan signs.
Leo: It’s amazing.
Jason: And it tries to match the font and—
Leo: I know, it looks like the same sign suddenly in English.
Jason: …except translated into English, yeah.
Leo: Wild. I understand why Apple put it in the ads. It’s one of the things you show people when you see this is where technology is heading. It is like the Babel fish that you stick in your ear. And Google Translate you know actually speaks so remember in Italy for instance, you could say something to it, say you know can you ask where the museum is, it will say “Dov'è il museo” or whatever il museo.
Jason: Doesn't do the hand gestures though.
Leo: No you have to do those yourself . Before we went to Italy we watched Youtube videos on Italian hand gestures to make sure we did the right ones.
Jason: Right, right.
Leo: You don't want to do the wrong ones. Eric Schmitz in trouble with the governor – oh I guess I did this last week. Didn't I do this last week? The governor’s office in New York apparently Eric is Executive Chairman of Google is on a commission appointed by the Governor of New York City to offer thoughts on the use of technology in schools. And I guess the consumer watch dog, the group consumer watch dog feels like he might just say “Get Chromebooks”. That's the end of it. I think if you get somebody of Eric Schmitz’ stature on your commission you should take it. And presumably he would have enough class to acknowledge that there's other choices besides Chromebooks. Norway says iCloud is illegal.
Jason: Well somebody has to say it.
Leo: It’s about time. Broken yes, illegal, well Norway’s consumer council says that Apple’s iCloud ULA is convoluted and unclear. Like it’s worse than anybody else’s? The iCloud agreement is particularly bad says the consumer council. More than 8,600 words. It’s also unreasonable and unilateral in its terms. Apple, for instance reserves the right to change the agreement without notice. That's in violation of the marketing act. Finn Myrstad, the head of digital services at the consumer council said “Cloud storage servers, services rely on users’ trust and confidence. The terms of iCloud undermine this.” I think they’d have the same problems with a lot of these terms. The EU has also ruled that Google is going to have to enforce something the right to be forgotten. In a kind of stunning misunderstanding of how technology works. The EU says that Google, if somebody doesn't like something that the Google Search shows up, they've the right to go to Google and get it taken down. The European violation – I guess the European privacy laws but it seems like Google is saying “Hey look, we're an index of what's on the internet. You're going to have to go to the site that publishes this information to take it down.” The European Union says “Well you don't have to take it down at the site just take it out of the search index, nobody will find it anyway.”
Jason: The laws are different in the US than in Europe but I find this really offensive because I've gotten notes from people who we've written things about embarrassing things they said or did in the past and are like “Hey, I want you to take…” the good ones are “Wow I was a kid, that was five years ago. It’s why I'm really embarrassed. Can you take that down?” I usually will obscure their name or something just to be nice. But there are other people who are like their lawyer sends a note saying you need to take this down which is totally not something we actually need to do. And that's what troubles me about this, is that somebody who’s using reputation.com or something like that is going to want to get some bad review or something about a legal case disappeared from the internet. And it might still be on my server and my reporting on it is completely legitimate but they've gone to the search engines and gotten my url blocked because they feel bad about it which doesn't seem like an acceptable – it doesn't work right? I mean like you said, this is not how the internet works.
Leo: It’s not how it works. The case came about because the guy in Spain wanted Google’s reference to a legal notice that appeared in an Barcelona newspaper about his home’s repossession and auction in 1998 eliminated. Not that the repossession and auction didn't happen, but they've been resolved for a number of years and it’s entirely irrelevant so he asked that the notices be removed from Google’s index as well as from the newspapers website. Google responded with a list of things that people have asked Google to remove.
Jason: Gallbladder, appendix.
Leo: An individual who tried to kill his family asked that a link to the new article about the event be removed. An actor who wants articles about his affair he had with a teenager to be removed. A convicted cyber stalker mentioned in an article about cyber stalking laws requested that links to that article be removed. A physician requested that links to a review site about him that were apparently not very complementary be removed.
Jason: Put it down the memory hole right of 1984.
Leo: Hey, a former politician requested links to a news article about his misbehavior when he was previously in office be removed because he wants to run again.
Jason: These facts, they are very troubling and they get in the way of—
Tim: And there are other implications too, I mean there's a DJ in the UK named Tiger Tim Stevens, if you Google Tim Stevens you'll find some stuff about men and some stuff about him. You know could I file a request to Google to take the stuff about him just so my results show up in a better position in the search results. How would Google know which results to block and which to not? I think that's an interesting implication here that I don't know that was considered by the court or not.
Leo: Apparently Google’s going to comply. They say this is logistically complicated, not least because of the many languages involved and the need for review in request. As soon as we thought through exactly how this will work, which may take several weeks, we’ll let our user know. Apparently the thought is they’ll implement some sort of automated system.
Jason: So is the internet going to become like Snapchat in Europe? No sorry the internet expires after ten years, sorry.
Leo: Well maybe that's a good idea. Just anything that's that old just remove it. I don't know, the problem is that these people aren't asking for stuff to be removed that's false or malicious or libelous, they just don't like it.
Jason: I get the impulse, and a lot of it is innocent right? A lot of it is, I did something stupid ten years ago and I don't want it to stick with me forever.
Leo: Yeah and I think as a site that's reasonable for you to honor that request.
Jason: Right, right but to go to Google and have them make it just disappear while the content still exists on the internet potentially that's bizarre. And also, I worry about this being misused right, where people are hiding legitimate things that people should probably know because it’s bad for them, it’s bad for their reputation even though it’s true.
Leo: You hit the nail in the head, it’s 1984.
Jason: It’s not like there aren't teenagers today who are going to regret things they put on the internet—
Leo: Well that's the thing, I have some sympathy for that.
Jason: Yeah, totally.
Leo: There’s stuff online about me I wish I could have taken down.
Jason: Oh my god, there are posts on [?] Star Trek, don’t look them up that I wrote in college that are – I disavow all knowledge of those reviews of Star Trek The Next Generation. I have nothing to do with them.
Leo: There's a really bad series of fiction I wrote for Atari Magazine. Everytime I mention it somebody dredges it up and pastes a link in the chat room. Google, stop it.
Tim: I'm going to go do that right now actually.
Jason: I have a right to be forgotten.
Leo: I have a right for my bad writing to be forgotten.
Jason: No, there's serious issues here where people have been involved in things maybe as minors or a long time ago. I totally get that but it just seems so bizarre that this would be like this. Somebody – you calling up the sarger post?
Leo: What? What? Somebody in the chat room put the link in?
Leo: Great thanks.
Jason: Anyway, it’s weird that the government is the one that's telling us to prevent this.
Leo: Oh somebody in the chat room said could you elaborate on more of the things you'd like to have removed. Let’s have a better list.
Chad: Hey, I just did a little searching on the terms of service story. I have the last one, the word count on the Google Drive terms of service is 2,000. So iCloud one I think is about five times larger so that is a pretty legitimate complaint.
Leo: Nobody – who is going to read an 8,000 word terms of service?
Tim: Or even 2,000 for that matter.
Leo: You can have it mailed to you. I love that, that was the new thing Apple does. Would you like to read this or would you like do you want to have us mail it to you? Oh yeah I’ll read that in my leisure time later, it’d be some light reading.
Jason: You know the ugly truth about a lot of those terms of service documents is that nobody reads them and in fact the lawyers often will take terms of service from some comparable site and just copy and paste it and do a search and replace. And so you end up with some – if you really carefully read them, some of the weirdest contradictory nonsensical stuff because the lawyers don't even want to work on them.
Leo: So Roscoe has now posted that stupid article. Thank you Roscoe.
Jason: Yup, that's it, magazines.
Leo: I want the right to be forgotten. Our show today, don't forget this brought to you by our friends at Citrix and the great GoToMeeting. Not all meeting can be planned in advanced. Things come up last minute, last minute opportunities, work emergencies, great ideas to discuss. But nowadays everybody in the office is spread out. People are on the go. You've got offices in many cases all over the world. It’s impossible to get everyone in the same room. But with GoToMeeting you can get everyone in a meeting instantly. It’s a powerfully easy and simple way to meet and collaborate online whenever you need to, wherever you are. You can even video conference with GoToMeeting over an iPad. You can present from an iPad. They've got iPad, iPhone and Android apps with their face-to-face webcam sharing, that's really great. They've got beautiful HD webcams. You can have them kind of as a frame around the document you're all looking at, the presentation or the spreadsheet or the – I mean it’s just really great. It saves you time and money and lets you work smarter because you pay one low flat rate for a month of use as many calls as you want and as many meetings as you want for as long as want. I know people who use GoToMeeting who just keep it on all day long. Try it free for the next thirty days, just visit GoToMeeting.com, click the try it free button and use the promo code TWIT. We use GoToMeeting all the time here and love it. I want you to try it free for thirty day. Just make sure you use the offer code TWIT. By the way, the attendees do not have to sign up for GotoMeeting. They can be on Macs, PCs, iPads, iPhones, Android. They don't have to sign up.
Jason: I hurt my back and was lying flat when I was supposed to be in a meeting and I just opened it on my iPad and it was multi-video plus the presentation all there. It was kind of – an all I had to do was tap a link. It was amazing.
Leo: It spoils you a little bit because then you go “Why am I going to work?” I should be flat on my back all the time.
Jason: All the time.
Leo: All the time. GotoMeeting.com, use the offer code TWIT. I love this because Moto – this is a little bit of a Sophie’s question. A little philosophical question. Should your driverless car kill you to save two other people?
Jason: This is like the Asimov’s law of robots applied to cars.
Leo: A front, this popular science, a front tire blows, your autonomous SUV swerves but rather than veering left into the opposing lane of traffic, that would be dumb, the robotic vehicle steers right. Breaks engage, the system tries to correct itself but there's too much momentum. Like a cornball stunt in a bad action movie you are over the cliff in free fall. Your robot, the one you pay good money for has chosen to kill you rather than potentially kill others in the other lane.
Jason: I want my robot to deploy the parachute out of the back.
Leo: Who did it? Did the robot itself? No. The programmer who wrote it? Perhaps. The Executive who told the program this is the policy? Maybe it’s in the law. As Patrick Lynn asked in Wired, when faced with the choice of hitting two cars or no cars, any robot’s going to do the right thing. And it might kill you.
Jason: Robots are all going to kill us all anyways so.
Tim: The self-driving cars right now at least are really just trying to avoid accidents general cost.
Leo: The general.
Tim: Whether or not it saves you, or kills 20 other people they're not making those hard decisions yet. But you can certainly imagine a future where, with vehicle-to-vehicle communications, each car will know how many occupants are in it and they can communicate that information back and forth, in theory. So if indeed, there were an unavoidable accident, you could imagine a sort of negotiation bartering going on between the two cars so it can be decided upon which one had to go through with the impact.
Leo Laporte: Don't hit me, don't hit me!
Jason Snell: Finally a use for that 'baby on board' sign...
Leo: Imagine this one, Noah Goodall, research scientist at the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research says, "Imagine your autonomous vehicle is facing an imminent crash. It can either hit a motorcyclist who is wearing a helmet, or one who is not..." It should hit the one with the helmet. Or should it make that decision?
Tim: Is it illegal to not wear a helmet, maybe?
Leo: You probably would want to program the car to hit the person who is best likely to survive the collision.
Jason: It's hard to actually imagine that situation panning out in the real world. As a person who rides a motorcycle, it's hard to imagine.
Leo: Do you write that algorithm in or do you just say try to avoid hitting anything and if you hit something, then there you go.
Jason: That's the thing, these systems are very much being trained manually. It's not like there's some sort of neural network where they're just sort of throwing them on the road and figuring it out. Developers are going instance by instance, situation by situation. Saying, okay you see this bicycle on the side of the road, therefor, you need to move to the left you know, 18" or 36"- Whatever the state regulation is to give him that additional amount of room before you pass him. That's something that is explicitly hard coated by an engineer at this point. So the engineer would have to go in and say, is this guy wearing a helmet, yes or no? And you could imagine a million different permutations that would come into play before they would actually think to write that one thing. So, I would say we may someday get to a point where a car is actually making those decisions but I think we're a long, long way before we get there.
Leo: One thing Patrick Lin poses in his Wired magazine article is a random number generator to randomly pick-
Tim: I was going to say roll DND dice, yeah.
Leo: A 20 sided dice, yeah.
Tim: 2D10 and see what happens.
Leo: I think it's an interesting question. I don't know what the answer is but we're actually going to talk about this tomorrow-
Tim: I can't wait for the science fiction short story about that topic.
Leo: It's very much a science fiction short story, isn't it?
Tim: That's the kind of future moral premise.
Jason: Starring a guy named McKinty.
Leo: Yeah. I'm actually really excited about this, but tomorrow on Triangulation we're going to interview a guy named James Barrat who wrote a book called Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era. We've had a couple of interviews on our interview show Triangulation about the idea that if we make smart machines- Well one guy said, it's okay if we make smart machines, just make sure they don't replicate. And that's what Barrat says is inevitably, they're going to start making themselves and you're going to create, not just artificial intelligence, but artificial super intelligence. And at that point, unless you explicitly program into each and every one of them respect for human life, they're just going to go, oh screw those guys. We're just going to run right over them. So that'll be a fun interview. You did a thing on Volvo's self-driving car, Tim.
Jason: Yeah, I was in Sweden this week actually. Volvo has a new program called Drive Me. They're one of the first to actually say when they're going to be selling self-driving cars and it's 2017.
Jason: They're going to have 100 self-driving cars on the road in their hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. I went out there this week to get a sneak preview of their technology. It was for a couple of reasons. 1) They're saying specifically 2017 is when we're going to be selling these cars. Whereas Google is saying, we want to have some out there by 2017, but that's probably not realistic.
Leo: Are the laws in Sweden such that they can do this?
Jason: They are and they're working very closely with the government of Gothenburg. Because right now it's limited to that town and limited to specific roads. Volvo's system is a little bit primitive to some of the things that are out there, so they had to work with the local government to make sure that the lanes on the roads are painted correctly, for example. And they need to have a vehicle to infrastructure a communications system so that the city can say there's a right lane closure at mile marker whatever on the highway, that kind of thing, a bunch of things need to be in place.
Leo: This is a fun assignment I'm kind of jealous you got to go to Gothenburg.
Jason: Yeah, it's pretty cool. The other cool thing about the Volvo system is it's built on technology that they already have on their cars. You know, if you look on the Google car, it's got laser scanners on the roof and a bunch of other stuff too. Same thing with Ford and Audi and all of the others, but Volvo actually has got laser scanners built into their cars today and some other simple stuff like that. So it's actually based on technology they've already got out there so they really just need to work on the artificial intelligence piece of the puzzle, that's all that is missing right now. The cost, in theory should be very low to add this to Volvo cars. Whereas, if you look at the systems that Mercedes, Audi, Nissan and everybody else are building on, they add a lot of sensors onto the cars that aren't there now. And as of now, those are quite expensive.
Leo: Don't merge on the freeway! You're merging on the freeway in this video! Oh wait, he's got his hands on the wheel.
Jason: Yeah, so the way it works now is you have to go to the roads that are designated, hit a button on the steering wheel, and then at that point-
Leo: Well I do that all the time, that's like my cruise control. I have cruise control on my car that will slow down to a stop so sometimes I will do that just for fun, although it is a little nerve racking. It doesn't do it very smoothly, I have to say, it's not as smoothly as I would do it. So these guys don't have lightar like the Google cars do?
Jason: They do, but it's basically in a pod behind the mirror.
Leo: This is where Ford got it's Bliss system. They briefly owned Volvo and got the Bliss system from it.
Jason: Yeah, in fact I spoke with some Volvo engineers and they keep having problems with people poaching. They keep having people getting hired away. But yeah, Volvo is the only company to have said it's going to be 2017, it's going to be low-cost, and the other thing is Volvo is the only one that said, we will take liability in any crash that occurs while the car is in self-driving mode. Everybody else is just kind of shrugging their shoulders at this point about liability questions and Volvo said, for us to actually make this a compelling option for people to want to buy, if we don't take liability that's kind of a cop-out so therefor they say that if the car crashes while in self-driving mode it will be Volvo's fault and they will pay for any damages and take care of all the insurance stuff too. But that should mean that the insurance on this car will be a lot lower.
Leo: I think car manufacturers will have to do that. If they don't it's just too risky. So did you feel confident? I mean you're driving on the highway.
Jason: Yeah. We were going 70 km/hr I definitely felt fine.
Leo: Oh oh! Did you see that? That car was going to merge into your lane right in front of you!
Jason: Yeah. See that was a case where-
Leo: He grabbed the wheel.
Jason: -It doesn't look to the right or to the left lane, it's a limitation that hasn't been programmed in yet. They've still got a couple years to figure things out, lane changes and emergency lane changes are not in the system yet. So that was a case where we needed to take over the car and is one of the limitations right now. Hopefully they'll have that fixed by 2017, I think they will.
Leo: I feel fairly confident, I think this is one of the ways that this is kind of sneaking into our consciousness anyway. I mean, the Ford cars can park themselves. I feel fairly confident while using my cruise control and it keeps the appropriate distance between me and vehicles ahead, but this is interesting. Now, you can only drive these cars in Gothenburg, Sweden. It's kind of a limitation.
Jason: Right now they worked with a bunch of other cities and I spoke with their director who is working on government partnerships and he said they really want to be in LA and they really want to be in Shanghai as well. So they're working with the governments in those two areas and they really want to be spreading out pretty quickly. Like you mentioned, people think that we're going to someday wake up and suddenly our cars are going to be driving themselves but it's very much more of an evolutionary thing where we've got adaptive cruise control now then we'll have this Volvo system where it can cruise itself on the highways and we'll have a system more like what Google is working on where you plug in the address and the car would take itself there regardless whether you're paying attention or not. So it's going to be a natural evolution where our cars are just going to get smarter and smarter and smarter then they'll kill us all.
Leo: Unless you're wearing a helmet, then they'll kill the other guy. Makes me very nervous. Adobe's creative cloud and we have talked before- In fact, a couple of weeks ago Brian Brushwood and I were talking on this show saying the idea that is commonly heard that the cloud is unreliable was kind of old fashioned and we can just accept it now that the cloud is there and we're all using it, it's safe. Except that if you had been tied to Adobe's creative cloud for the last 24 hours you might have been pretty sad, it was down for almost a day.
Tim: Well you know 99% up time means it's down for 3 1/2 days a year.
Tim: Right, 99%... So 99.9 still, it's down for more than 1/3 of a day.
Leo: An 18 hour outage affecting users throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. Now that doesn't just mean you can't update your PhotoShop, it also means that some of your photos and stuff might not be available as well, because people are encouraged to use Adobe to store their data. I'm not sure if that includes that or not. It wouldn't be a big deal if you couldn't update or buy PhotoShop for a day. Might be a bigger deal if you're a photographer doing an assignment and you can't get to your photos. I guess we shouldn't all trust the cloud.
Jason: This keeps happening, how many times has Google services gone down and we can't get to Google Drive or... Even Gmail, itself going down is a huge issue. I think this is just going to be a fact of life going forward. A very ugly fact of life.
Tim: I mean you want things to be robust in a situation whether either you're not on the internet or if something goes down- Yeah, email not coming in makes sense because you need a connection to do that. But viewing an existing email or working on a document that's local or working on a photo in PhotoShop... You want some resilience for this stuff when it goes down so it isn't just like, oh sorry. You can't do anything, go take a walk. Although that might not be so bad to have to go outside and get a breath of fresh air but like when I was using Chromebooks like a year ago, this was my experience too is some stuff just didn't work if you weren't on the internet which is frustrating and that's because some cloud services haven't really prioritized getting it right offline. They've only prioritized assuming you've got a good solid and fast internet connection.
Leo: That explains this clip. George R. R. Martin, the creator of the Game of Thrones books...
Tim: This is the best. This is the best.
Leo: Do you have my audio?
(Conan O'Brian: They're massive tombs and apparently you write them all on a computer but unlike most authors, you aren't worried about a computer virus. An author who writes a 1000 page book, their greatest fear is a virus invades and destroys a chunk of their book. You don't worry about that. Why?
George R. R. Martin: I have a secret weapon. I actually have two computers. I have the computers that I browse the internet with and I get my email on and I do my taxes on that computer. Then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine, not connected to the internet. You remember DOS?
Conan: A DOS machine? How old is this program? Yes.
George: I use Wordstar 4.0 as my Word processing system.
Conan: Did you make this computer out of wood? Did you carve it? I'm curious why you decided to stick with this old program.
George: I actually like it, it does everything I want a Word processing program to do, and it doesn't do anything else. I don't want any help, you know. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lowercase letter and it becomes a capitol. I don't want a capitol. If I wanted a capitol I would've typed a capitol, I know how to work the shift key. Stop fixing it.
Conan: You yell at computers a lot. What about spell check? I bet you hate spell check.
George: I hate spell check. Especially when you have the realm of Orbitor.
Leo: I love that, he uses DOS and Wordstar 4 to write the Game of Thrones novels.
Jason: I totally get that. I do all of my writing in a basic text center that I've been using since my programming days. It's got no smarts at all but it's got a lot of macros that I use and I've been using this program for probably-
Leo: What do you use, Brief? What do you use?
Jason: Edit Plus is what it's called. It's just a really basic text center.
Tim: I write most of my things in BB Edit, which I've been using since the early '90s.
Leo: Real writers don't use Word processors apparently. Fascinating.
Tim: Wordstar 4, wow. That's the one where you have to do CTRL, CTRL, CTRL, DEL-
Leo: Dot keys, CTRL+KS.
Tim: KS, yes.
Leo: I still remember it.
Tim: Yeah, two keys to save something.
Leo: Yeah, CTRL+KS. That just shows you, you use it long enough- And that's probably why he doesn't want to give it up. -They're channeled into your brain and your fingers.
Tim: Well and I think that speaks to something too about how if you're in the march for Word- If you can afford to have a writing computer like George, why not?
Leo: Here it is.
Chad: This is technically Wordstar 3.0, it isn't 4.0 but just-
Tim: I feel like I'm in the realm of Westeros.
Leo: Yeah. You know, Neal Stevenson writes long hand with a fountain pen. This is a little bit more modern.
Jason: I think they had support for the tilde key in 4.0 or something like that.
Leo: Name a file to edit.
Tim: Well you know this happens, we upgrade our systems for all sorts of reasons and all of our other software comes along for the ride, even if you don't want it to. You upgrade your OS, then you have to upgrade your Word processor and you don't like it as much. That's sort of too bad. Writing is apparently so important to George R. R. Martin that he's managed to have his computer, that he fashioned out of wood, work just fine. And good for him.
Leo: If you want to read The Game of Thrones, I'm going to tell you how you can on audible.com. How about that for a segue? Audible.com our great audio book- I know you're an Audible fan Jason Snell. Tim Stevens, living up there in the snow you probably love audio books as well.
Jason: Especially for traveling, it's great to have a couple audio books. Also, for the international flights if you want to close your eyes and get a little rest it's great to listen to a book.
Leo: I love audible.com, I just started a 43-hour book about the Beatles and it's only the first volume. It's called Tune In, the first volume of the All These Years trilogy by Mark Lewisohn and I have to say- I've read every Beatles biography there is. -I'm a fan and with this one already I've heard stuff that I've never heard before that was more authoritative, really great stuff. What Audible does basically, is there are 150,000 titles and pretty much every book that comes out comes out on Audible as well. Same time as the hard cover as well, so you don't have to be left behind. All of the big best seller's- Audible has also been going back through the catalog and creating, for the first time in many cases, audio books of some of the greatest science fiction and the classics. There's the Wind in the Willows, narrated by Shelly Frasier, that's great. That's fun. One of the greatest books ever, that's funny because this and Alice in Wonderland were some of John Lennon's favorite books as a kid. He read them over and over again, I know that now. Anne Hathaway reading The Wizard of Oz, Terry Pratchett's latest Disc World came out and of course Terry, suffering from Alzheimer's is writing with great effort and yet, has managed to write another novel. Everybody has told me it's a really great story and I love the Disc World stories. And yes, The Song of Ice and Fire is also on Audible. Although, those books tend to be two credits because they tend to be so long. Tell you what, let me give you two credits and you figure out what you want to do. Visit audible.com/twit2, you'll be signing up for the platinum account which is two books a month account. There's a new Sookie Stackhouse, I thought that was- These are the books that were originally the basis for True Blood. This is the problem, you'll go to Audible and then find all these great things that you'll want to read. Audible.com/twit2, you'll get two books and you'll also get the New York Times or Wallstreet Journal Digest. It's a nice way while in the car to catch up on what's going on in the world around us. Ah, the new Freakanomics from the Freakanomics guy is the new Think Like a Freak. Retrain your brain, I love Freakanomics. You ever read that? That's such a great book, and is probably the one I would recommend if you're going to pick one of these, just fascinating stuff.
Tim: Can I plug a book, Leo?
Leo: Yeah, what are you listening to?
Tim: Ancillary Justice, it's sci-fi and just won the Nebula award for the best sci-fi novel of the year. It's her first novel and it is shocking how good it is for a first novel, especially. It's kind of weird wide-screen sort of almost space opera but there are all sorts of questions of identity and politics and gender, it's just really great and it's up for the Hugo and if it wins that it will have won every sci-fi novel award this year.
Leo: Holy cow, for a first novel... Wow, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. That could be one of your two books, that's one credit.
Tim: Only 14 hours long.
Leo: Yeah, nothing. That's a trip to China and back, let me just add that to my wish list. That's the beauty of it. Every time I meet somebody who is an Audible listener, this happens. I've still got The Martian on my list, we were talking about that with Brian Brushwood a couple of weeks ago.
Tim: Yeah, it's a good one.
Leo: You've read it?
Tim: Oh yeah.
Leo: I'm keeping up with the audibles, audible.com/twit2. Cancel anytime within the first 30 days you'll pay nothing, the books are yours to keep forever but I don't think you're going to cancel. Listen to it in the car, at the gym, doing housework, I have Audible on all the time. I now have bluetooth speakers now in almost every room of the house so I can listen to Audible when I'm taking a bath or whatever really, I love it. Audible.com/twit2, get two books today. Did you miss anything this week? You know, we were talking about that debate on This Week in Law, and that is a show to watch. Here are some of the highlights of this week on TWiT.
(Previously on TWiT. Tech News Tonight: We may all remember today as the day that the Federal Communications Commission changed the internet as we know it. The FCC voted in favor of a preliminary proposal to allow internet fast lanes with a 3 - 2 vote. This Week in Law: The FCC would have to completely change the presumption of regulation that was put in place not by the Bush Administration, but by Bill Clinton's FCC. The argument is, this is too messy and the government sucks. The government has to act here because the nature of this utility is too important to leave alone and to leave unregulated and the market, whether or not you agree with me, the market is not competitive. This week in Enterprise Tech: Neo City wants to remind the FCC why a fast lane for the internet is a bad, bad, bad idea so they're throttling all of the FCC's IP addresses to modem speeds. TWiT: Great tech news and analysis every day.)
Leo: And of course, we'll be covering the FCC story big time. Also, a big story from Microsoft coming up this week, let's see what Mike Elgan's planning for the week ahead.
Mike Elgan: Coming up in the week ahead, Microsoft's planning a Surface related announcement for Tuesday May 20th at a special event in New York City. It's probably a new Surface Mini Tablet. Plus, AT&T intends to launch its high-quality Voice Over LTE with HD voice service Friday May 23rd. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's being rolled out in only 4 Mid Western states exclusively for owners of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, the rest of us will have to wait. And Apple is expected to finalize a $3.2 billion deal to acquire Beats Electronics sometime this week. That's what's coming up in the week ahead, back to you Leo.
Leo: No, it's not going to happen.
Tim: I think those five people who can get the Voice Over LTE feature know each other so they can actually use it between one another.
Leo: On the Galaxy S4 mini, why even bother? Not the Galaxy S4, the big seller. The mini.
Tim: That is a soft launch.
Leo: Very soft.
Jason: They obviously don't have a huge amount of confidence in this service because they didn't want to roll it out wide scale.
Leo: Just going to have a couple of people try it just to see what happens. I'm not sure yet if we're going to do live coverage at the Microsoft event yet or not. I have to say at this point, another Surface is not exactly an earth-shattering announcement.
Tim: I'll be live blogging so...
Leo: You're going to go? It's in New York.
Tim: Yep. Taking the train down. I feel they are making some progress and they're fixing some of the issues they had with it and it is seemingly getting better.
Leo: By the way, Samsung is not rebranding Heathrow Terminal 5, Terminal Samsung Galaxy S5.
Tim: It's just an ad campaign.
Leo: The Verge reported it as a story and then Heathrow was like, "What? I don't think so." Then Samsung is all, "It's just a little marketing ploy."
Tim: A paste in the chat room: Somebody who follows John Grouper posted a picture of what the ads look like and it's hilarious because of the way the text reads. It says, Samsung Welcome to Terminal Samsung Galaxy S5 Samsung Galaxy S5.
Tim: Beautiful, that's brilliant.
Leo: That's good. Terminal 5 is a hell on wheels.
Tim: It's a terrible place, I was just in Terminal 5 a week ago.
Leo: If you can avoid Heathrow in any respect, do. But especially Terminal 5. I don't think renaming it anything-
Tim: It's a long metal tube that you have to walk through.
Leo: Yeah. Let's see... IBM has discovered a new class of ultra-tough, self-healing, durable, recyclable plastics. That's what Terminator is going to be made of in the future.
Tim: ...Speaking of killer robots.
Leo: Yeah, this will be fun.
Tim: Good God, we're putting together all of the pieces of our own annihilation.
Jason: Robopocalypse coming true. It's a book you can get on Audible, by the way.
Leo: Robopocalypse, you like that?
Leo: You guys love your sci-fi. The FDA has approved the first prosthetic arm wired to muscles. The company was actually created by the guy who invented the Segway and he got $40 million from DARPA to invent it, the DEKA Arm System. This is pretty amazing, it uses electronic signals from the wearers muscle to induce up to 10 different movements in the prosthetic. That is truly amazing. Is that Dean? I think that's Dean Kamen demonstrating how to squish an egg with your robotic hand. So we are, in fact putting all of the pieces together bit by bit.
Tim: I think they'll keep us around once they're smarter than us I think they'll keep us around for entertainment value. Like that crazy old uncle that you keep up in the attic. Okay, maybe not. I like to dream.
Jason: Maybe this will make our lives so incredibly easy that we'll forget to make better robots and we'll forget to reproduce them and just kind of die out naturally.
Leo: So there is a Twitter account that has only Tweeted 4 times, created in 2009. A Dr. Frank Furter. Perhaps you remember Rocky Horror Picture Show? In 2009 he Tweeted, "So come up to the lab..." Then he Tweeted, "And see what's on the slab..." And then he Tweeted, "I see you shiver with antici-" Five years later, the fourth Tweet, "-pation." That's patience.
Leo: It's all about timing. Oh my God. Do you still have that screen capture of Twitter in 2008? When I, my friends, I, Leo Laporte was the number one most followed person on the Twitter.
Tim: Don't we have a right to forget that?
Leo: This, I don't want you to ever forget, so I'm going to keep showing it. I'm reading it to the Google index.
Tim: There it is.
Leo: Leo Laporte with 32,000 followers. Close behind, he only had 106 followers to go, Kevin Rose. Then the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Then Jason Calicanas, Robert Scoble, Veronica Belmont, and Alex Albrecht. There was a heavy tech TV in pass here.
Jason: Merlin Man...
Leo: Merlin Man, CNN Breaking News, and Mike Arrington. The top ten Twitter users.
Tim: Whatever happened to CNN Breaking News? What happened to them?
Leo: I don't know. Whatever happened to them? By the way Veronica Belmont interviewed Ann Leckie on Sword and Laser. I did not see that episode but that's a scoop, that's great and I'm sure she was fascinating. She must be young, right? Her first novel...
Tim: I think maybe she's middle aged.
Leo: She's been saving up.
Tim: She has been saving up. But yeah, great stuff.
Leo: That's the novel that she's had in the drawer.
Tim: Yeah, she's going to win all of the awards, she's already won almost all of the awards.
Leo: Microsoft is going to sell Xbox One without Kinect. And it's interesting, the reaction of the community because in many respects people were disappointed that Microsoft was going to have a $400 version of Xbox One. Them thinking that they couldn't compete against Playstation- Which it outsold Microsoft 4 to 1.
Tim: Are we defining community as the people that already bought it with it? $400 more?
Leo: Yeah, that's me. No, I'm glad I have it. And I guess part of the disappointment is the platform was really exciting as, once again Microsoft instead of going all in has gone back down and said, well we want to sell more Xbox's. It's true, they need to sell more Xbox One's but cutting $100 off, I don't know... Is that going to make the difference?
Tim: Well maybe it's a psychological thing. I mean, I bought a used Xbox 360 a couple of years ago and immediately, I spent $100 more for the Kinect. It's like, they get you in the door and then you realize you really want the Kinect after all. I think the big story is they changed Xbox Live Gold so it's no longer- It used to be where you had to subscribe to Xbox Live in order to stream movies on Netflix on the Xbox. Whereas, with Playstation's subscription program is about getting free games and stuff. The new Xbox Live program is much more like the Playstation Plus program where you're getting some free games and it's for online gaming, but all of your other media stuff, you don't need a subscription anymore.
Leo: I agree. It was crazy because you were already paying like $8/month for Netflix and then you have to pay Microsoft $99 for a year of Xbox Gold so you can watch-
Tim: Just to turn on the internet for Netflix, yeah.
Leo: Yeah. So it's about time.
Tim: It's a much better announcement I think.
Jason: Just like the same discounts that Sony is giving on the Playstation Plus network, you can get about 10% off of a lot of new games when they come out if you're a Playstation Plus subscriber, which is a nice incentive too. Usually it's like $5 or something like that but if you've got an Xbox One and a Playstation 4, and if the game is $5 cheaper on the Playstation 4, I think that's enough to sway a lot of people to go that way. Which on the other end, the Playstation 4 in general has been doing better when it comes to graphics in this generation. With the last generation, I was definitely an Xbox 360 fan, I bought every game on there that I could. But in this generation, every game that is on both platforms I've bought on the Playstation 4 because the graphics are always slightly higher, it renders it a higher resolution-
Leo: Do you notice a difference Tim, really?
Jason: I can't say that I do-
Leo: Well I don't either. That's my point is, yes the numbers on the page are different but it doesn't really look that much different.
Jason: I don't think it does but it's like if you've got the car with 500 horsepower, the car with 525 horsepower, you probably won't notice the difference but given the choice you're probably going to go with the car with a bit more horsepower and it's pretty much what it's boiling down to. I think these consoles are very very close, but ultimately the Playstation 4 has been getting slightly better ports of all of these games so far. And you know, getting rid of Kinect, in theory, should be able to open up a little bit more horsepower on the Xbox One and maybe that will help but Microsoft needs a lot of help in this generation and I don't think $100 off is really going to help it. They've back-tracked on so many things so far on the Xbox One and it just seems like the vision for that console just wasn't quite right, for whatever reason so that's not really a good place to be.
Leo: I'm surprised anybody's buying either platform because neither one is downward compatible with previous games so if you want to play any of the current games, you play them on an Xbox 360. But I bought the one for the Kinect simply because I can talk to the TV, I can say, Xbox pause. It's a universal remote and it's infrared controls all of the devices. So I could also say, Xbox watch PBS. And it will turn on the TV, turn on the AV receiver, turn on the TiVo, everything comes to the right channel and it works really nicely. By the way, thank you for the recommendation, I did get that TiVo Romeo and I'm thrilled with it, it's a much better set-top box.
Tim: It's really nice.
Leo: And since I live in an area where ComCast allows us to use our cable card for Xfinity On Demand, we really don't lose anything. Except those inane e-hostesses screaming at us while we're trying to find our On Demand shows, I don't miss that. I like the Kinect, and somebody's asking in the chat room what game requires- There's a few stupid games, but it's not about the games to me it's about... When you sit down, it sees you and logs you in. It recognizes you and if somebody else were to come in, it sees them and logs them in, you swap off the controller, and it'll know who is using which controller. There's a lot of things that Kinect did that I thought were very sophisticated.
Jason: I think part of the disappointment also is that those things may not get developed further now because if indeed, we see the vast majority of people buying the system without Kinect, and indeed, the vast majority will buy the system without Kinect, then what kind of investment will the Microsoft developers make? And of course, game developers are going to stop supporting it. Not that they've been supporting it much to begin with but really they'll have zero incentive to do so. It'll be a lot like the last Kinect where there were a lot of party games and sports games and that kind of thing, but really not much else worth writing on about.
Leo: Titan Fall wasn't enough to sell Xbox One, that's the real truth. Hey I want to wrap it up but thank you so much Jason Snell for making your way up the road a bit to see us, we love having you in here. Tech Hive and of course, The Incomparables on the 5by5 network. Anything else you're up to?
Tim: Well go to theincomparable.com and that's my little podcast network of my own, we've got a bunch of different shows. We've got a DND show, we've got a-
Leo: Wait a minute, so it's not a 5by5 show, it's your own network?
Tim: The main podcast is on 5by5 but we've got some spin-off's that are on the incomparable.com.
Leo: You've got a bonus track, you've got Knot Playing-
Tim: Knot Playing with Lex and Dan where two guys who have not seen movies they really should have seen watch it for the first time. Total Party Kill is our DND podcast and we're doing these TV flashcasts where we watch Game of Thrones this season and we're going on right afterwards and doing our little recap.
Leo: So I'll be watching that tonight.
Tim: And that's with Monte Ashley who used to be the Television Without Pity recapper, until they shut that site down so he didn't have anything to do so we did a podcast.
Leo: Good for you, theincomparable.com. I think a really hot category is just explaining what happened on Mad Men or Game of Thrones. I mean, these shows are so complex, they're so deep, and there's so much going on- And I think the writers of these shows like Matthew Winger, putting so much into these shows that I miss, so I go back and read the recaps.
Tim: The DVR thing has eliminated the ability to do water cooler conversations so instead, I think we turned into whether it's podcasts or websites that talk about the episodes. So when I finish watching an episode of Orphan Black or Game of Thrones, I will look for Alan Sepinwall's recap on Hit Fix-
Leo: It's not just a synopsis, it's like an analysis.
Tim: It's like a review and an analysis. The synopsis is less exciting but it really is like you're having a conversation. Did you notice this, what did you think about that? And that's what we're trying to do with the TV pod casts is the same thing.
Leo: It was really fun watching people fall apart over True Detective. Because it had so much import and so much deep mystery and the turnout was meaningless, they just threw it all away at the end. It was like, whaaaat?
Tim: See and I watched that without the flashback because I watched it about a month after it aired and it was fine, it didn't bother me. It was fine.
Leo: People were going on and on.
Tim: We can't do that like the next day anymore because no one has seen it, it's all on the DVR.
Jason: I still haven't seen it yet, so thanks for spoiling everything.
Leo: Hey it's great to have you Tim Stevens, I appreciate your time and I love what you're doing on CNET, that Volvo story was incredible and I hope you do more of it.
Jason: Thank you.
Leo: This seems like a great beat for you and a great beat for all of us because technology happening in the automotive area is about to explode.
Jason: Yeah, I'll be doing something hopefully soon for the BMW i8 as well as the BMW m3 and there will be a couple of motorcycles I'm going to be testing in the coming month, so yeah there's lots of exciting auto content coming and I'm also going to be at the Microsoft event on Tuesday, so I look forward to that.
Leo: Great, maybe we can get you to call in afterwards, I know you've been doing a lot of TNT, it'd be great to find out more. Whoah, the i8 has swan doors?
Jason: Yeah, it's a pretty hot machine and I'm really eager to finally get a chance to try it out.
Leo: It's a plug-in hybrid that looks like a Lotus or a Ferrari.
Jason: The closer you get to it, the more ridiculous it gets. It's got these kind of fins in the back that kind of channel the air around the rear of the car. It's got lots of LED lighting and carbon fiber everywhere, it's a very interesting car. High-performance plug in hybrid is a bit of a rare bird these days so I'm really curious to see how it drives.
Leo: Yeah, me too. I can't wait to see your review. Thank you for being here, both of you and thank you for joining us all of you at home. We do TWiT 3 pm Pacific, 6 pm Eastern time, 2200 UTC on Sundays at twit.tv. If you can watch live, we appreciate it. We get a lot of great feedback from the chat room, it's one of the best ways to do the show. When I don't have the chat room I feel lonely and sad.
Leo: So thank you for being here. We have one day left- Already the chat room paying off. -We have one day left on our Tee Spring T-shirt. We love these new T-shirts. Teespring.com/twit and this is the black T-shirt but there's also a spaghetti strap shirt for the ladies and a women's T as well. There are really some nice looking varieties. A lot of people have been wearing the white tank top around and I particularly like that one for summertime. The TWiT Spring T, just one day left to buy it if you go to teespring.com/twit. We like to do these one month only things and each of them is almost a collectible, it's like a limited edition so thank you Dunce for reminding me about that. Thanks to everybody in our studio today and if you want to join us in the audience, we welcome you. All you have to do is email tickets at twit.tv and we'll put out a chair for you, make sure there's something lovely underneath each and every chair. Watch I love it because every time I say that they look. It's called the floor, if it weren't there, you'd fall right through.
Jason: I think I'm going to check mine. Nothing...
Leo: Thanks for joining us, we'll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can.