MacBreak Weekly 407 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It’s time for MacBreak Weekly, Andy, Alex and Rene are here. We’re going to talk about Apple settling e-book lawsuit the stories of Apple and maybe Samsung bidding for Nuance-the creators of the Siri text to speech and a whole lot more. It’s a big MacBreak coming up next.
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This is MacBreak Weekly, Episode four hundred seven, recorded June 17th 2014
I’m a Taste Maker
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Leo: It’s time for MacBreak Weekly the show that covers the Apple world. Such a big brave new world, here with us to talk about it, Andy Ihnatko - he of the hat and side burns, this time the hat’s from Colorado University, Boulder. He’s got the Apple 2 look at that behind him, Hey Andy!
Andy Ihantko: Hey, that thing was a mistake (pointing behind to the Apple 2) it was to remove the cassette port from Apple desk-top computers, I mean. I understand that it gets in the way for mobile but, you like to have that expandability.
Alex Lindsay: When I had my Apple 2 I was very disappointed in the fact, that I couldn’t, not get all the lyrics and music from the Police if I just played the tape into them, into the computer. (Leo Laughing)
Leo: That my friends is Alex Lindsay (@) pixelcorps(dot)com for further questioning.
Leo: And, also here Mr Rene Ritchie from imore(dot)com.
Rene:(showing white headphones) I have complete solidarity with you Leo.
Leo: Oh, it’s Beats.
Rene: (Puts on headphones) Now, you won’t look so lonely.
Leo: Those look good, do you think, those are Beats. Do you think that makes you look you with it and hip.
Rene: It doesn’t matter how I look, it matters how people think I look. (Laughter in Studio)
Leo: My actual question on this is did you just buy those?
Rene: I…..we got them for some photography that we were doing. We like having nice looking pictures and, we had the same Beats picture over, and over again so we bought a second set of Beats headphones.
Leo: How much did you pay for these fabulous Beats headphones?
Rene: Eh, and embarrassing amount Leo, a destructive to my soul amount.
Leo: And do they sound really good?
Rene: I have not plugged them in yet.
Leo: (Leo laughing loud)….
Andy: You’re the ultimate Beats user and you’re just buying them for the look.
Rene: I hope so (text drowned in laughter)….I think it looks very futuristic.
Leo: You know it’s so funny to watch the gyrations everybody goes through trying to explain why Apple bought Beats. The latest of course is Bono…..
Alex: Bono said it…..
Leo: Bono said it Apple bought Beats for the personnel, for the people. Of course I’m sure Bono’s friends with Dres and Iovine, so…..
Alex: Yes, could be…..
Rene: He wants to get purchased by Samsung.
Alex: I think the acquisition of 3 point 1……the acquisition of two people for 3.2 billion is….
Leo: It’s a lot of money, I’ll sign for it.(Cross Talk)
Rene: We’ll sign for it.
Alex: Of course we’ll sign for it.
Leo: We’ll buy the company for a hundred million dollars, we’ll pay you 3.2 billion. A billion is not what it used to be and, that’s the truth. There is…..
Rene: It’s an Apple billion.
Leo: It’s an Apple billion, or a Google billion or a FaceBook billion. It’s just not what it used to be. Times did…(Interrupted by Rene)
Rene: What are they going to do, buy SkyBox, instead, I mean it’s a con?
Leo: Yes, you got all this money lying around on the floor, you got to do something with it.
Alex: Buy Nuance.
Andy: I think that’s a scary thing.
Leo: So, that’s the current rumor that Nuance is up on the market and they have gone to hand and, both companies have licensed Nuance technology Samsung and Apple. Apple does not, correct me if I’m wrong, Apple does not do the voice recognition itself in Siri.
Alex: The rumor is not current…..
Leo: We don’t know….
Alex: The rumor is that Apple of course has its own team that does a lot of work on these kinds of things. It, turns out that they have the money to have teams, just doing you know guys doing stuff up and you know, the guys backing them up and, so I think that they, so I think that the concern for Nuance might be you know that you might want to sell while it’s hot, before a of other people write a lot of other soft-ware.
Leo: So here’s the deal with Nuance, Naunce was, had it’s own speech technology, but really it’s as much as……
Alex: I mean they’re the founders.
Leo: Pardon me!
Alex: These guys have actually been……
Leo: Actually the founder of Nuance is now working at Google, but that’s another story.
Alex: But I mean, but I mean these guys, I mean are not the founders, but these….Nuance has been around, it’s not like they came, they’re not like a dot com.
Leo: No (Cross talk) I would beg to differ.
Alex: I used to use Dragon soft-ware…..
Leo: They bought Dragon…..
Alex: Oh, did they buy Dragon….
Leo: They bought out Dragon. So here’s the deal with Nuance, they had a fairly crappy voice…..correct me, Andy’s got the memory for this I think because he’s the historian of the bunch. And, they are in Boston. They had a fairly crappy voice recognition engine, Nuance ended up becoming a holding company acquiring all of the companies in this space, by the way also all the scanning companies in this space.
Rene: Also suing them into liquidation.
Leo: Yes, exactly. Is that right Andy, is that roughly my…….
Andy: Yes, pretty much. There’s a time when there were at least two competing Mac Speech products and, they were both bought I think by Nuance. And, they actually kept their brands open for many, many years, I haven’t checked recently, yes but it was almost like the end of the Godfather where instead of shot gunning every other speech company they simply shot gunned them money and let’s see if that will do the trick.
Leo: And, furthermore the guy who owned Nuance, did have their own voice recognition system, looking into Nuance’s article. It was founded by Visioneer, remember Visioneer in 1992 and the guy who did their original voice recognition I believe is now working at Google. So, let’s look at the history of this,……so
Rene: This is how Google got around all the patent stuff. They sued everyone else for doing this.
Leo: That’s right, that’s right.
Rene: Just like everyone else was doing.
Leo: Right. (Looking at a page) oh, boy is it complicated. The name Nuance, the original Nuance was actually I think a good company. When that guy had left, Scan Soft had bought them in 2005 but where does Scan Soft come, that’s Carswell while voice recognition system, Carswell developed it. He sold that in 1998 to Xerox, which became Xerox Imaging Systems, which became Scan Soft. In 1992 a company called Visioneer, remember the Visioneer scanner,
Alex: Yes, right.
Leo: The paper port, right actually was pretty cool stuff. They sold the hard-ware division to Primax in 1999, acquired Scan Soft in 2001 from Xerox, they formed a company called Scan Soft…..this is so confusing. And, then they acquired Nuance in 2005 taking the Nuance name. The company Nuance is relatively recent, Nuance, it was originally I guess, something else.
Alex: I guess what I always used to use was Dragon, because Dragon is something that I got in 1998…….
Leo: And that was from a different company, right 1998.
Alex: Right. Yes.
Leo: So, they acquired that technology and all the OCR companies.
Rene: They bought Quick Lingo recently.
Leo: Yes, that’s right. So really they combined everything into one big blob, and at least early on Siri was licensed from Naunce, they even said so I think.
Rene: Yes, I don’t think it said so but it was.
Leo: Okay. Is it still?
Rene: It’s hard to tell, I still believe that they are still Naunce as least as of last year at least there was Nuance on Apple servers. But you know like Alex said that they had, have their own speech lab in Boston and it’s been profiled a couple of time and, they’re doing a lot of their own work there and they still have the Siri team there. It’s…I don’t know…. You know originally it was said that Nuance didn’t want to sell, that they had basically had the poisoned pill to stop them from buying them. They were much more interested in licensing their technology but now you have Carl Ikon, you know as principle shareholder of Nuance before it went with Apple.
Leo: But, also look at the two year stock price of Nuance, it’s not good, it’s been kind of going down and, that’s I think an indicator…..
Rene: It all inter space now.
Leo: It’s an indicator that even the stock market didn’t have confidence in Nuance, even with the Siri deal. Samsung uses Nuance as well, its own Samsung speech, remember that Samsung, (laughing), this is one of the reason why I don’t like Samsung phones, when you have Google phone, you should have Google’s voice recognition, ………
Leo: but Samsung overrides that with their own speech recognition, and it’s darn hard to turn that off.
Rene: S voice.
Leo: Truthfully, Google, Google voice recognition I think is the best in this place followed, closely by Siri. So, apparently Nuance is looking to unload for 6.1 billion dollars. I bet you it’s pressure from Carl Ikon. (short pause)
Andy: Yes, also awareness that they……, that at this point, it’s hard for a company like that to keep bumping the fire power of Apple and Google and their ability to improve their own products and fight the patent wars, that they might at some point have a company that is worth a hundred thousand dollars, that they’ll set it out. They may as well sell at this point and cash out.
Leo: Certainly, if Apple paid 3.2 or at least 3 billion for Beats, they can pay six billion for Nuance. That’s the question though how far along Apple’s own efforts are. (Cross talk)
Alex: If, they felt like they needed it.
Leo: That’s the question though how far Apple’s own efforts are.
Alex: Obviously that Samsung has to continue to be competitive as well. You could see why they would want to buy it. And in Apple, I think if Apple feels like they’re really dependent on Nuance, they’re probably going to do a bidding war with Samsung. So, I think we’ll find out.
Leo: So, according, this is according to Forbes article, customers include Samsung, HTC, LG, Nintendo, Panasonic, Intel, AUDI, BMW, Ford, GEM and, Toyota.
Rene: They made sure they were the only option outside of Google.
Leo: But, in response to that I think both Apple, Google and actually include Microsoft in this, started working very hard on this, their own speech recognition technology.
Rene: Google’s has had so Bartel Tell Me.
Leo: It’s up on Tell Me, but it’s also done their own stuff. X-Box One is not Tell Me, I don’t think I think its own internal stuff.
Rene: That’s a smart play right? Google exists in the slack in the market until these giant companies replicate and maybe make them even better your service.
Leo: And, then you sell as fast as you frigging can because your value is going to plummet when you know they stop licensing.
Alex: For Apple you know obviously we were talking about this in the past, you know Apple’s pretty traditionally somewhat resistant to having outside forces provide core technologies.
Leo: Active investor Carl Ikon typically gets involved. This is what Carl Ikon likes (laughing) he likes to get into these situations where you get bidding wars, the price might be over-valued and he might be willing to get out. Yes, I’m sorry….
Alex: Nineteen per cent stake on fifteen.
Leo: Nineteen per cent stake on fifteen is one of his biggest holdings. So, thank god the eye of the four door has turned from animal….and is now (indicating direction by hand)paying attention to Nuance.
Alex: Yes, he is distracted.
Rene: Street value yes.
Leo: I don’t think this impacts anybody at this point. This is almost I would guess a fire sale-Apple, Google and Microsoft.
Alex: I don’t think that it’s a fire sale yet, but it’s definitely like they see the writing on the wall, they see increased competition, you know, with companies in their pockets they just can’t compete with. It definitely seems like the right time for them to find a partner. It’s, a good time for Samsung too, to share that up as well.
Leo: One of the things, one of the advantages of Google has in this respect is that they have a lot of voice samples. They’re not loath as Apple is and Microsoft might be to send in those recording as those voice dictation and all of that stuff back to the home office…..
Alex: Right, right.
Leo: and save it. In fact the rumor was that Google for a while offered a free for one service for group one, one group 411. The rumor is that they did to enhance their voice recognition because they killed it after a couple of years.
Rene: I mean Google voice transcriptions.
Leo: That’s right not very good. You Tube, transcriptions too not very good. Ummm, but I’m sure a big database that can get better and better. Yes, in fact when you get a Google voice transcription, at least some of the time they ask you,’How did we do?’ ‘Was that good?’ ‘Would you like to correct anything?’ That would be useful. Apple bought the company that sold Dragon to Nuance, the couple…..this is from the Chat Room, the company Novaris Technologies - Dr James Baker was the founder of Dragon Systems. Dragon was the best in dictations systems I think for a long time.
Rene: Very long time.
Alex: Very long time. I know when I need, for a while for a long time when I couldn’t move my hands to type and so I used it 1998 through 2000 and pretty much to do anything that I had to do on the computer.
Leo: So, this is a UK company that Apple secretly bought. (Laughing)
Rene: Apple buys companies from time to time….
Leo: (In a deep voice) Secretly.
Leo: In fact you sound like Tim Cook. Taking the acquisition took place last year(reading) only announced in April of this year. (reading) The UK based automatic speech recognition company Novaris, that’s really interesting, ummm because that indicates that Apple’s going full speed ahead at doing something.
Rene: And, they’re doing streaming voice with iOS eight. It’s not hard to believe that the hardware up to part, maybe they’ll move into on device. I mean it’s going to be a big part of their future.
Leo: Streaming voice, what do you mean by that?
Rene: So, previously you would say something and then when you stop speaking it would take that what you’ve said and transferred it to the Siri servers for voice to text. Now, as you’re talking it tries to translate the data immediately, you don’t have to wait for it to be finished for the transfer.
Leo: Yet Google’s done that forever, and it’s really much I had to tell you that, the difference in experiences is significant. If, you speak and see it transcribed, as you’re speaking, that’s how Dragon used to work…..
Leo: You get much more, the confidence levels much higher, then and this has happened to me so many times in Siri, you’ll say a whole paragraph and then it will say, ‘Sorry I can’t reach the server,’….
Rene: Purple dot, purple dot, purple dot.
Alex: In the Dragon software is so good in all of the things, in all the editing, and, when you’re editing it’s getting smarter. You know so it’s not like it kind of spits something out and doesn’t really know what happens. Every time you correct, it’s learning more about the way you use, the more you use it the better it gets.
Leo: This is why I considered it a fire sale that the big three Google, Apple and Microsoft all have their own technology. So, how much longer are they going to let Siri exist. (Alex interrupts)
Alex: There are a lot of inconveniences in Dragon software. Every time you change mics it wants you to re-train it, you know. And, I understand that. You get used to Google and Apple and just being able to pick it up and it works and all that.
Leo: Andy, have you ever used a dictation to write your stuff?
Andy: Not really, because I have tried to use to use dictation software, but it seems as though my brain is hard wired to send sound out to my fingers as opposed to my voice. Every time I try to do it I can’t do it, I can’t create the same sort of words with speech as I can with my hands.
Alex: What I find that’s interesting is the voice that I speak with and the voice that I write with are very different. You know it literally sounds like a different person is writing the article. Like when I’m writing blog posts and whatever, if I do a dictation it’s literally different, it’s a whole different cadence than when I’m typing.
Leo: Did you….. Go ahead,(Interrupted by Andy)
Andy: Is it being able to read while you’re writing while you’re writing it. And, you’re sort of ……being your own editor as you’re preparing this draft and, by the time you get midway through you see the form that this is going to take and, where you need to steer the horses to come back to the corral at the end of the column. Whereas, if I am speaking I’m certainly trying to think ahead and, making sure that I’m actually to an actual point. But, it’s hard for me to build that kind of a structure over a thousand words, if I’m just speaking as opposed to using my fingers.
Leo: What was the website…this is so cool, dictation(dot)io. This is another reason why companies like Dragon and others are going to have a problem. This is website, dictation io and, I am now dictating to dictation io, but it doesn’t seem to be hearing…oh yes. It is hearing what I’m saying. Actually, because I’m so far away from the microphone it’s not doing a great job of this. Let me get a little bit closer and talk a little bit louder, this actually doing exactly what you were talking about Rene, it’s streaming the dictation as we go. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to buy anything. It does this on the web as you’re going. And, it puts it into text boxes, it’s fairly easy to go in and edit. That’s one of the things that I didn’t like about Dragon was that got to say STOP, BACK, and you know so forth. This is a fairly easy way to do everything. You know this is doing a terrible job. (Cross talk and presenters laughing). I’ve used it before, you know, I was using it in my office with a microphone, it worked much better.
Alex: Well, you know one of the things is that it’s not, it has to learn how to talk to you, but to do this really well, do full emails and, blog posts you also have to learn how it likes to hear things. Like, the person who’s actually much better….
Leo: The person who is much better at this.
Alex: The person who is much better at this is my father. My father has been dictating to a secretary since the early eighties……
Alex: and, when you listen to him, he can do an entire contractual agreement that’s like 12 pages long with the decisioner going click, this, this, this, period, comma, da, da, da, da, every punctuation, every comma he just visualizes it all and he asks someone to tape and then it gets written out. But when he sits down and does it, like he did a test online without any training he was just perfect.
Leo: Just read back to you what dictation does, ….what you were saying.’ I like about Dragon United States top back, ‘You know this is doing a terrible job reviews before you know I was using this in my office with a microphone, and it works much better when you have to learn how to talk but you…but blog posts but you have to learn how it like to hear things in South Caroline in Michigan 482 a secretary, eighties, you animal and listens, he can do an entire contractual agreement 12 pages long without you know this, this, period, comma, every punctuation, everything but mean went online without any training, or was it just read.’ (Leo reading back from dictation io)
So okay I take it back, this thing sucks. No, no but the fact that without buying any software and without any training……
Alex: we were able to create an enormous amount of gobble de gook.
Leo: No, it worked fine when I did it with a microphone. You know it’s obviously….
Rene: Half a blog post.
Leo: Without, without any training it was able to do nothing useful.
Andy: Imagine trying to type that fast, not many people can keep up with that. (Cross talk) you might think of the keynote…..if I went back to my notes from WWDC, the where there are essentials where I’m trying to write down exactly what someone was saying that’s about what it’s going to look like.
Leo: Andy, are you doing a little freelance advertising in your spare time? (Leo showing an advert)
Words from the advert: This is your land where the sea is up from the waves to ten sometimes eleven meters high. Just walk in through these doors….
Leo: What’s the story here?
More from the advert: Holy Cows….all these famous animals.
Andy: The thing is though that guy is outside…..
Leo: I think this is the Canadian tourism board or something, I think, intentionally they’re duplicating your look.
Andy: I am a taste-maker.
Leo: By the way what the …..maybe we have to ask out resident Canadian what is OUTA OUAIS.
Rene: Outa Ouais, that is like outside Ottawa, you have the Ottawa holiday region, it’s just that whole area because it’s close to the Quebec Ontario border.
Leo: That is kind of like the Nuance version for Andy Ihantko. They kind of got it right. (Andy Laughs)
Rene: It’s cross play Andy.
Alex: I really like that, it’s like Andy Ihantko on Cook.
Leo: But, really seriously who is ……are you…is there a look with the big hat and, the big side burns or did they look at you and say,’ We can’t get Andy.’ But, let’s get some body that looks like Andy.
Alex: But, did Cook’s call you first, that’s what we want to know.
Leo: Did you turn down Outa Ouais?
Andy: I don’t know. This is like when, this is like when Mr. Dreyfuss has to go check with his agent and say now…..was I offered this commercial before someone decided or go with the….you know with the sound alike or did they simply go straight there. Did they figure that they can’t possibly reach Andy Ihnatko’s price, because it’s way above our price range. You know we’ll go to the national ad that’s when we will approach the voice agent.
Leo: I get emails from people all the time, ‘ Hey I saw you in the…’ because it’s always with some heavy middle aged men with grey hair pretty much look the same. So, when I first got this email, I thought oh yes I couldn’t look, and then I played it and my god it did look like you.
Andy: It’s just that if you only see me like once a week, I think the brain is programmed to sort of say,’ Okay, sort of heavy set, side burns, sort of white …hat, that’s good enough, that’s good enough for a match. I have, if you were a long time viewer of my footer stream I have a running joke known as my BFF identification algorithm inside my camera. Sometimes I’ll like be taking pictures of…a guy who looks a lot like a friend I’ve had since junior high school and, it’s not because, and it’s not because they look necessarily like him, but because okay they’re at least if you’re writing a piece of soft-ware to identify some body you’re going to fill them up with your five identification points before you take it to human for confirmation. For me it is side burns in lovely, lovely hat.
Leo: And it might be Andy BFF or BSS and I got this, this doesn’t look right.
Andy: You might want to put that in my dream because…..
Leo: That definitely does not look anything like you. You know I think you’re right. I think the human brain is designed in some people more than others is designed to kind of there you go….
Rene: Just like the hat matching machine.
Leo: No, that’s the ad. Is that real?
Andy: That’s the ad.
Andy: That’s the ad, also if you cover up the eyes with these big sun glasses.
Leo: Okay. The eyes give him away, he doesn’t look…..
Andy: Also, I would, would, have been very, very pleased to have been a member of Possum Lodge but given that I’m not so therefore I don’t have the fishing vest. (Leo having a good laugh)
Leo: Right, we’re going to take a break. We have the question engine up, in fact we have the author of the question engine in the studio.
Leo: That’s pretty cool. You want to give them some prompts?
Alex: Yes, absolutely.
Leo: You know his name.
Alex: Andy Abbotsgunwon.
Leo: Is that Swiss? Yes, but he live in the UK currently.
Alex: Andy is the master mind behind the question system, so between the two of us are there on chat away all day, and then he creates the magic and, so he is visiting so that we have more time to informally chat about it.
Leo: Are you just doing that out of the goodness of your own heart or are they paying you to do this?
Andy Abbotsgunwon: They’re not paying you well apparently.
Alex: A little.
Leo: A little stuff (cross talk) He told me he uses no JS and Java Script which is pretty impressive, so if you want to take a look at the question engine go to twit(dot)tootwit2(slash)mbw407, that’s our show today. And the way it works you can ask a question….
Alex: You can go to an iPad view now, no you don’t.
Leo: I’m going to log in for….(cross talk) it’s got very fancy.
Alex: We’re getting there.
Leo: It doesn’t recognize…..
Unknown Voice: It’s a new website, so it won’t recognize your last path (Cross talk)
Leo: What is the old website? Yes, what is the old website, will look it over.
Alex: It won’t recognize it, just type it over.
Leo: I don’t know I’ve got to re-type it in, re-type it in, it worked just fine, I don’t know what it was.
Andy: If, I send you fifty dollars towards the development of this app will I like be a millionaire in five years? (presenters laughing)
Alex: That’s out hope, that’s our hope.
Andy: Get me the address where I can send the donation to.
Leo: So, you’re taking the investment, this could be the Nuance of the 20 20 deck. Okay, I might copy and paste through.
Andy: I bet in a couple of years you’ll get some dummy to give a couple of hundred million dollars for that and walk away. I have faith in the investment system. (More laughing)
Leo: There’s money floating around everywhere apparently. Good, I’ve logged in and, yes save site, thank-you…do save that site from now on. People save that. If so, to get back to what we were talking about, God you’ve changed all the UI, can’t figure out anything at all.
Alex: Do you want me to get something to answer, I’ll get something to answer.
Leo: Ahhhh, it’s going to have to be dashboard.
Alex: If you want to use the iPad you can.
Leo: So, here is the deal you can ask questions there, if just go, now the login stops some people, but you could do anything.
Alex: You could so social login now.
Leo: Oh so you use a social login now, you use a trash login now.
Alex; Yes currently.
Leo: You just have to remember it.
Alex: But we’ll tighten that up. You know most of the login stuff is mostly to manage…..
Leo: A lot of our people don’t want to….give out their email?
Alex: Yes, you can set up any kind of login, yes but it’s going to be, but you can also use social login so you don’t have to login with us.
Leo: Does that make you all feel better? Well, anyway (Alex Interrupts)
Alex: It’s a standard device against spam and that sort of thing.
Leo: We don’t have an onsite login at this point. But do create a login and, if you don’t want to that’s fine. And, what we just asked you a question there or more just as more important vote up or down on the questions if you choose to. I see there’s an iPad, here which is very nice and clean. I mean easy. So we’ll go through a few of those questions when we come back answering your questions on the question engine and again Twit too, that’s our new shortening engine that we have had delegated which is twit(dot)to(slash)mbw407.
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So, the big, actually there’s many for a slow news week, there’s a lot of new stories. I think that the big story is that Apple has reached a settlement on the e-books lawsuit. They’re going to pay. Was a class action lawsuit, the terms are currently under seal and have to be approved by court but it seems that everybody agrees with Judge Denise Cotez, you know a letter…..
Alex: I think that this was extremely well played by Amazon.
Leo: Yes, yes.
Alex: I mean, this is a true monopoly….(leo talking over alex)
Leo: Before there was Apple there was iBooks there was Amazon….
Alex: There was Amazon.
Leo: We’re talking about e-books specifically, right?
Alex: We’re talking about basically 50 per cent of all books bought, right, or bought through Amazon. And, so Amazon has been increasing their, you know when they started bringing out e-books they just said this is how much, this is how much you will charge for them.
Leo: There are two different ways to do this.
Alex: For 99c……(Leo talking over Alex)
Leo: There is the Amazon way which is….. you know this came from the days when Amazon bought books from a middle-man, from other distributors.
Leo: they paid a certain price for the book and then they as any book store does would set a price in the book store.
Rene: Wholesale retail model.
Leo: Apple decided to do something different, and they set up an agency model where they said that you price the book Mr Publisher we just take 30 per cent, which like Apple’s done in the apps store, and the iTunes store.
Alex: But, actually with iTunes though Apple went….had gone the other way for a long time saying 99 cents, it was buck 99 and, it was whatever those things were, it was always going to be the same. So, so because they didn’t have leverage, they went the other direction, which to me I still feel like what Apple did was go around and sell, I really don’t feel that it was like collusion as much as it was selling a good idea like this is much better deal for you to work with us….(Leo interrupts again)
Leo: I think it mostly came organically from two different directions. One, from the old direction and, the old book store model and one from the modern iTunes(slash) app store model. However, Apple did put one,……there are a couple of things here that got Apple into trouble, they put in a clause which said ‘and but you’ll set the price but you may not be offered at a lower price anywhere else including Amazon.’ That was illegal, one and then they emailed it round about it and Steve Jobs even in the biography said…..
Alex: That’s probably not a good idea.
Leo: publicly, this was all about Amazon, that was a mistake.
Leo: And, that in fact Judge Cotez last year ruled, that Apple had colluded with the publishers to drive up e-book prices. Undermining, Amazon’s pricing model.
Alex: Which now I essentially believe is Amazon’s Model, they don’t have that control but they, they, they don’t have…..,not everything is the same price now. That said Amazons showing what happens when you have 50 per cent. They’re showing a really good lesson of what happens when a company has too much of a market, where they are just telling book publishers we’re not going to supply your book if you don’t meet our demands.
Leo: So, the justice department was one of the suers, so were many states, attorney general. Ummm the justice department said that as long as you put in a monitor, you know that’s fine, we don’t want monetary damages, but you’ve got to put in a monitor and make sure that you don’t put in a monitor that Apple hates with a passion and the fury that burns like the fires.
Rene: An unqualified monitor.
Leo: An unqualified monitor, yes, that’s right. Meanwhile the state’s attorney generals continued the lawsuit and the judge the same judge Denise Cotez says now that Apple and the plaintiffs have reached an agreement in principle, the terms are under seal, they will have to be approved by Judge Cotez. The plaintiffs, this is a class action at this point have been seeking 480 million dollars from Apple, claiming that Apple had over charged or has continued to argue that (A) we don’t violate any trust laws and (B) we don’t want a court appointed monitor (C) we didn’t do anything wrong, this is good for consumers. The justice department has been satisfied that Apple with this monitor that Apple’s not going to do it again.
But, Apple may have settled, you know what is that’s nothing 480 million dollars, that’s nothing.
Rene: That one eight of Beats.
Leo: Yes, so it’s possible that Apple settled for the full amount, probable they settled for something less but…..
Alex: It’s a couple days of earnings, yes….
Leo: I’m glad they’ve settled……
Alex: It’s literally a couple of days, yes a couple of days of band-aid’s off.
Leo: Yes right, but I’m hearing at little bit from Rene and at least a little bit from Alex, yes it’s you two I guess, that you feel that this is an unfair lawsuit.
Alex: Yes, I think there are two different business models, I think that letting them run with those business models is good in the long run for everybody.
Leo: The publishers by the way settled immediately because they had called and emailed each other and you know there was plenty of evidence that they didn’t like that 9 dollar 99 cent price point that was Amazon was enforcing.
Rene: One thing is that I don’t think that it was unfair, I think that the remedy, I think that totally is being in court is a kangaroo court and I think the most favorite nation clause was definitely not right they should have got rid of that. If Apple wants to compete on experience they should compete on experience, maybe it would cost more to Amazon to provide things like in app purchases and stuff and may be Amazon can’t I’m fine with that. But, the monitor especially the person they chose as the monitor and the antics it sounds like,……it made the entire court seem silly. I really think they should have thrown that one away, and started fresh or something.
Leo: Would it have, ……I mean this is what the justice department, would it have been sufficient just to take out that line and said,’Hey you can’t charge less anywhere else,’
Andy: We think so,
Leo: That’s not what the publishers wanted by the way. The publishers wanted to cut off Amazon and they don’t want Apple to do it.
Alex: Right, what Apple doesn’t want is eventually after they tried to cut off Amazon from under their knees, how they cut off, you know that the fear is again that, you kind of, when you’re with Apple and Amazon you’re kind of rocking in the hard place, because Apple (unfinished remark)
Leo: What is best for us as consumers?
Rene: It’s a hard argument because there are dumping laws and dumping can be a problem because it can result in destroying the market, so…….
Leo: We’re seeing that in a way, because Amazon has put every book store out of business, and now the only place that you can get a book, were it to be Amazon…..
Leo: then, it can raise prices up above that ten dollar price point.
Rene: Yes, and the biggest problem though is that they take the value out of the market, so I used write books, I used to publish books, I used to be involved in that industry, and there’s a certain point where you don’t feel like there is enough value to do that, so….
Rene: so you go and do something else, as a consumer I no longer have access to something that I like. I mean no-one likes wooden toys any more, there’s no market for it. Sometimes, as a consumer I blame….(interrupted by Leo)
Leo: I blame them for that too.
Rene: Well, you have to realize to that a fair price is a fair price. It may not be the cheapest price, but it’s a price that sustains the market.
Rene: It kind of gives you more of what you love.
Andy: The point at which Apple’s arguments usually start to make me waiver is when they make, make, try to enforce rules like,’ Yes, but you’re never ever make us pay, an Apple consumer pay more for your product than they pay anywhere else.’ So, it doesn’t even matter if……what, what we forget is that when Amazon decided to make every single book 9.99, it wasn’t necessarily because they wanted to destabilize the publishing, and snap up the entire market. It’s because they felt they were the first people to really go all in into publishing. They could have lost their shirts, if they didn’t do it right. And, this was they felt the way to make sure that we’re going to start convincing people that, here’, here’s a hard-cover book that cost 27 dollars, and you’re buying physical object you can keep and give away, we are only selling you the notional idea of electrons in the shape of a book, we feel as though people aren’t going to go for that unless there’s an economic incentive. So, (sound interference) in a couple of years they filled that market, that’s their prerogative and that’s their risk. So, when Apple does something like when they say that, sure I can do in app purchasing but you know what if you do a subscription, you’re going to have to make sure that even if you sell online, and you’re, on your own terms, you have to offer it at the same price to take the same cut out of it. (Alex trying to talk over Andy)……..
Alex: And, that’s the problem.
Andy: And, that’s the point when things start to getting a bit…..
Alex: I think that the real opportunity that Apple’s lost, I don’t know if it’s regain able at this point, but it could be is that when they came out with iBooks, and you know we never talked about this in the past when I’ve tried to bring out in the past, Apple really lost the opportunity to distinguish their books from Amazon in, in a way that, you know that the e-book is just this….and e-book is the same is – is to movies or you know an e-book is to an iBook could be is to what stage is to movies. Which, is when we started doing movies, we just took movies of people on the stage, video people on the stage, it was kind of like still cameras watching people on the stage. Then you realize when you start doing a lot more than that, and the thing is the future of books is not going to be a bunch of text. The future of books is going to be much more interactive and, it’s going to be a mixture video and audio and all these other things, and iBooks are the beginning of that and Apple has so poorly invested in that platform, and not partnered with people, not wait for them to do it, and waiting for book publishers to be the next generation. There’s been a handful of those, but really waiting for them to do that on their own is I don’t know it’s…..they’re in the box, not going to see anything outside that box, and, and but…..there’s another box there that doesn’t look like a book, e-books are kind of a crappy facsimile that you can insert now and you can carry a bunch of that on your phone and that’s the only real advantage of e-books over the paper version.
Andy: But, don’t you think that’s the exact same problem that’s faced a traditional paper style publishing and soft-ware development. Because, every single time there’s going to be, more opportunities, with more APIs. Every time you start off with an idea, and you think about given all these tools for building soft-ware, what’s the best way to interactively articulate this idea? Whereas book publishing is simple and stream lined, and we can bring a hundred people into this project and they’ll know what to do, or I’ll send them away because it only starts with manuscript, media, attach that manuscript, proof-reading and editing, binding and shipping. Even, if you do it electronically, that’s still a very linear and manageable process. But, the reason why we haven’t seen those sort of evolutions is that it’s difficult when you start off with someone who knows how to write a book about Mac OS or has an idea for a novel or a children’s story and now you’re expecting this person to know how to be typographer or to know how to communicate visually, not only that but know how to be a director of animation because if it is really going to be exploited as an iBook, you have to figure well why should we describe for text when Whinnie the Pooh, makes his way from this scene to this scene!
Shouldn’t we find a way to actually show that happening? And, if we’re going to show that happening, why don’t we give the reader a level of control over what happens. May be he doesn’t want Pooh to go to the new location in this new scene.
I think the limitation is not so much a failure of Apple as God, it’s just so exhausting, why simply can I not start with, ‘Once upon a time’ and with the end, email my manuscript, and that’ll be the end.
Alex: But, that’d be……that’s good in the short term, but, but, again I do think that the future, when you look at how…….where animations tools have come and a lot of other pieces, and I’m not talking about recreating the story line, but I’m talking about adding all these elements, the book elements, or whatever the first app that came out was a big step in that direction of what you could do. They did it with hard code, and the issue is that iBooks platform has all the tools to do it. It’s just that they didn’t develop iBooks, and they also didn’t see the market. It’s something that Apple doesn’t do. I mean Apple doesn’t see the market, but, if they took the 840 million dollars they spent here and seeded the market with 840 million dollars or a billion dollars a quarter they just make just great books, that, that explain and show people how they got done, and how they got put together. And, really looked at like we’re actually going to build the market that makes all the e-books that Amazon is selling, look absurdly you know, old.
You know Apple would do a lot better than just trying to compete head to head because their platform isn’t Amazon.
Rene: I think they started the original iBooks came out they were much better than Amazon. They forced Amazon came out with the new Kindle format and then they made the iBooks author, that was sort of enough to encourage Mike Madison to sell push box press to FaceBook, hasn’t really anything with it. And, then they sort of stopped, they went for the iPad and then they went for the iStore.
Alex: The rumor is that they were horribly disappointed with what the text book guys came out with. So what was actually produced, so what was actually produced by the book publishers, in Apple’s estimation, what I’ve heard through the grapevine not directly was they’re pretty upset about, you know they felt like they got screwed.
Rene: I think that’s true when you look at something like Vicky Merlie has done with the CSS animation and, transform book, when you look at other companies like Chris Harris and the Line and the Loop Magazine App that companies use, he’s building a building platform to make this easy and Marqauno’s store’s house. He’s like you don’t have to be a typesetter, you don’t have to be a layout person, you don’t need book design, we’ll do, we’ll take all the burden of the design away from you and you just do picture based story telling. And, I think that’s where we are going to see the next generation of these Indie apps, again it’s filipe to slag until Apple and Amazon realize there’s a lot of opportunity there.
Leo: Yes. The good news is that in a digital world, it’s very fluid. And, you know I don’t think that Amazon could ever achieve a monopoly really. They have had an advantage with Kindle, they put Sony out of the e-book business.
Alex: Oh, I think that they….(Alex Laughing) I think that Amazon may put out the publishing business out business, but again what does…
Leo: But, that’s another matter entirely, this is e-books that I’m talking about.
Alex: But, the methodology that we’re talking about that’s where it is exactly.
Leo: You were a big fan of the Apple iBooks, you know tools.
Alex: I think I was a fan of where I could go,(cross talk)…..
Leo: This is the problem. You can create these tools, but you can’t force them to use them.
Alex: But, a lot of people a lot of the times, what a lot of companies do, we work with a lot of those companies is that they put something out and then they spend literally millions of dollars working with people to build the first ones to improve and, show you how it’s done. I still think Apple spent….., they felt they just were threw out, but what they needed to was to retraining, no big talks and they needed to build examples….
Leo: Is it e-books authors, iBooks author proprietary? Can it create an iBook for other platform?
Andy: It’s e pub with its own little secret sauce in it that makes it difficult to transcode in it from one place to another.
Leo: That’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to use it.
Alex: I guess that the issue is that it’s…..the problem is that it’s the chicken and egg kind of thing, like what you need to do is like creating those titles. And again you know, it’s a problem that we’re going to end up…….with the iBook which wasn’t quite enough to…….
Leo: Why isn’t there an independent group creating a non-proprietary multi-media format for e-books.
Rene: It’s hardly, I mean the reason they’re, that, that iBooks was really good was that it was based on Web-Kit and Web-Kit was good because they went and did things like quad-core animation over to make a lot of the frame-work…..
Rene: PD and HD animation because the Standards Body was taking forever and they said, ‘Well will do it first then you guys can catch up,’ and no-one bothered to catch up and, you could do standards based stuff, but it’s just that there doesn’t seem to be enough money or interest or will power to do it.
Leo: And, Andy you said there is such a thing?
Andy: Yes, there is a standard board for e-pub, if you look at the specs for e-pub three, you’ll see that it really has the ability to encapsulate all kinds of media, multiple kinds of interactive media, very few limitations in terms what you can’t do, unless you’re not willing to invest in the coding to make it happen. The questions is though that the, the, meat of the e-pub is always supposed to be that you can always burn it once and, make it universally available.
Andy: So, it’s hard to develop….it gets back to developing a book as a piece of soft-ware as opposed to a series of pages, digital pages or not. So, if you’re, you, you have to answer the question, ‘What do you do for the person that has the spiffy five hundred dollar nine inch iPad, that has all the Codex built into it, that has the support for all kinds of kit control and HTML five operators. Ummm, and what do you to the kind who has…….dollar Kindle and, what do you do to people that have apps that are even less capable than that. The idea isn’t to have to burn five different copies of this and, make sure that it has the right copy of it so. (Cross Talk with Leo)….It might be as simple as, the old statement that you know it’s a great idea, but lots of people will have to die first. Meaning that whole generation of people who grew up doing nothing but start at page one read through page three hundred and at some stage stop and at some look at pieces of media, those people have to age out of the system and, a new generation that never really go into reading so much as assimilating and experiencing information through Google games and interactivity, that they might simply think that they are the people that might be able to envisualize a story in the terms of there has to be interactive, there has to be multiple passes.
Alex: I think narrative is whole other thing and we can decide with whom. But, you know narrative from a pure….. narrative aside are the biggest sellers I think if I’m correct……(Leo Interrupts)
Leo: If you’re sitting on a beach, do you really want to lie down and read a book from the beginning to the end?
Alex: If you walking, if you’re used to walking into Borders book stores the fictional area is one tenth of the you know the square space, well it was the one-tenth square footage of a book store. So, you know(incomplete sentence)
Leo: So you know non-fiction is some-what replaced by the web. I think a lot of answer to this is the web. (Cross-Talk)
Rene: There was a great talk by Serenity Caldwell from Mac World about how at Singleton two years I think, I’ll put the link in the chat-room, and, explained how hard it was for her to make one book from Mac World available on just two or three different platforms.
Rene: and, it was arduous.
Leo: I mean it’s not arduous to text, it’s not arduous at all, you use Caliber or something like that and, you pump out all the formats. It’s only arduous if you have multimedia.
Rene: She had it in there.
Leo: Okay, yes.
Andy: Yes, and Serenity is a master at building e-books, if you can tweet a question to her she’ll fix things for you. But, the see then that’s the third major issue that we, in movies everyone talking about how it’s impossible for a middle budget movie to be made nowadays. It either has to be made for so little money, that there’s no way not to make a profit or, has to two hundred, three hundred million dollars and, bet on it becoming an international block buster. I think one of the reasons why we such a lush environment for books is that it doesn’t cost that much money to produce a book. It’s not that risky an investment to buy a manuscript, prep it for publication and, then put it out there. I think another difficulty, one of the difficulties we’re facing that once we start looking at as a software project, now well we are saying this is going to cost us the minimum of 700,000 dollars, just to make this as a support, just to make sure that people can actually access and read it. At, that point we can’t really go for the Wes Anderson style like quirky stories or the topics that we don’t think. The non-fiction books for which there is not a wide audience. So, it’s, it’s a problem with lots and lots of different layers. And, I don’t think that it’s necessarily Apple’s problem to fix. I think it’s going to be situations which people like……publishers of like the magazine The Loop or the magazines that are unsatisfied with the product that they’re putting out right now, them themselves now bank rolling the solutions of their own business, much in the way that Muscas has bank rolled the idea that let’s do our own electric car company, let’s do our own space craft company. And, we might succeed and we might fail, there’s ways to do this as individuals, you can’t do as large, large, global industry.
Leo: You know it’s fascinating really because we’re transforming or transitioning from the old way, creating words on page……it’s turbulence. This happens in every sector but it seems like there is a fairly good road map for how this can occur. There will always be this linear page driven text heavy format,…..
Alex: Which, we do like…..(Alex laughing)
Leo: I think so, we do like that, I think so. I really do like that, and I think that is not soft-ware. (Leo holding out his hand) That is a very static format. And, then there is software it could be as simple with what Serenity was doing which is adding images which is much more complex and interactive. But, that become soft-ware. I think what is happening is that we have publishers, plenty of them for plain text. We don’t yet have a model as yet for this more elaborate soft-ware based. I think, think you nailed it, Andy when you said you put it out at the medium and the others who are basically publishers writing a soft-ware platform for people who want to do something that’s more sophisticatedly.
Alex: And, and I think, I don’t think it’s Apple’s problem to solve, I do think that it’s Apple’s opportunity to solve it. (Cross Talk)
Leo: I don’t think so. I think it is because Apple is so proprietary. And, I think that’s bad. (Heated discussion)
Alex: sure I can say it that from Apple’s, Apple from pure Apple’s perspective……(Cross talk by Leo)
Leo: It’s terrible for the consumer. If you were to go to the book store and, they said, ‘You can read this book, but only if you’re white Anglo-Saxon protestant,’ that’s not good.
Alex: But, but, if Apple, if Apple you know created another revolution of how we made books, and how we you and how send, share information you know so on and so forth, it wouldn’t stay proprietary to Apple. What would happen is that other people would you know do something else. It wouldn’t be the iBooks, it would be another interactive medium. But, we would start building other interactive books. And when we start talking about Apple having so much money, that they got to start giving it back to investors which I view as pouring down the drain. The, you know spending two billion dollars a year on pushing both you know various versions of e-learning, you know iBooks and so on and so forth is would be a good investment for Apple given that the entire education system is going to crumble in the next decade. They have to do a lot more positioning.
Leo: I think that everybody is wrong on this frankly. (Laughter in the studio)
Alex: Which gets other people excited. (Cross talk)
Leo: Apple is not the answer. (Short pause)
Andy: Yes, I think that Apple does, is providing a solution like that. But, the solution isn’t iBooks, it’s XCode.(short pause)
Leo: Okay, sure. I’m looking at Serenity, and by the way the Serenity speech thing is for you Rene, the link is on Vimeo (Leo showing a chart on the screen). She has several different Workflows she proposes and their complexity. She is just doing three formats PDF, EPUB and Mobi, which are probably the three that you wouldn’t want to do. And, the complexity with which she is attempting becomes clear when she starts on pages for PDF she goes to Indesign, for EPub she goes to BBEdit to Calibre…..
Rene: This is two years ago. I don’t know anyone who has done any favors simplifying it.
Leo: Yes, this is, this is, these are her criteria for doing it. This is a bitch, I don’t want to use more than four apps to generate my book. (Alex Laughing)
But, I think the solu….., I think this is a do it yourself thing. I mean I think the solution is probably that somebody provides this as a service. Ummm, I don’t know, it just feels like this is going to be complicated. But, I do think that any proprietary solution or solution attempts to own it as iBooks and Amazon both
seem to be wanting to do, it’s not going to be doing that yet.
Rene: I’d like a proprietary interface and, then an opened format. That always ends up being a good result. It’s a wonderful way to make it, but the format to be standard.
Leo: That’s perfect. Ummm, ddddmm so enough on the e-books. (Laughter) We’re boring everybody. Let’s talk about the Tim Cook profile in the New York Times and then the Jonathon Ive profile in the New York Times. The Times getting some interesting……now you, when I mentioned this profile you said that the Tim Cook profile was mostly a piece of fiction.
Rene: No….it was…now what’s the best way to say it. I think that the Jonathan Ive quote is great, you the Robert Igor quotes, you know those are all good. I think the premise of the article, I don’t know what went into it, I did complain about it at Twitter and privately, but, you read the article and the crux of the article is the Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs which is fine.
Leo: Well, that’s obvious, tell us something we don’t know.
Rene: That’s ironical, but at the very end, there’s a couple of developers saying I can’t believe Tim Cook announced Health Kit with any new hard-ware. Steve Jobs would never do that. When in fact at WWDC 2011 no new hard-ware, pass book no new hard-ware, home kit he did it all the time. And, I think when you get something that substantial wrong in an article. When, you disprove your own thesis that botchedly,……. And he must be aware that he is creating it for this….(Leo interrupts)
Leo: Botchedly, is a good word.
Rene: Yes, I think the entire thing becomes actually less value able than it had been before.
Leo: The Joni Ives quote was. ‘For all of us to be patient it was hard for Steve, it is hard for Tim,’ is that the quote you’re talking about.
Rene: Yes. There is one right above in the paragraph above line two I think where he says he doesn’t think that the design philosophy has changed very much at Apple, it’s just matured so to speak.
Leo: Because he leads it. (Laughing)
Rene: Well, if Tim Cook, people say that Tim Cook’s no Steve Jobs but Steve Jobs was no Tim Cook. He was smart enough to hire Tim Cook and, like wise Tim Cook is smart enough to compliment his skills.
Leo: Yes. Did we learn anything, I mean there were facts in here that I didn’t know about Tim Cook, I don’t know how germane they’re….
Andy: The cross breeding was interesting.
Leo: Yes, yes, the cross breeding was interesting. But, you know one of the things that I think…..that happened between Steve Jobs and Apple was the beatification of Steve Jobs and the cult of the personality that surrounded him. It seems like Tim Cook is actively trying to avoid that. That is both a benefit, that is certainly an ego boost, but it’s also detriment because it also makes it harder for you to be a human.
Andy: Well, I think that’s one of the differences in management, excuse me in leadership style, as evidenced through the public statements. I mean, WWDC I mean everybody was talking about Craig Federighi, almost nobody was talking about Tim Cook because he basically there to hand, he was, he was essentially the MC and not the main presenter. And, he was never, never, never, never hand things off to other people and, basically said, ’I’m here to represent the Apple logo, but I’m going to hand-off for every technology, for every product we’re talking about during this keynote, I’m going to let the manager who’s responsible for that product, that product space, do the entire thing. Which, is certainly not unheard for during the Steve Jobs era, but you don’t……every moment that Steve Jobs spent off the stage, it was notable for whatever reason, it feels as though he’s going back to get some water and close a deal. So, that’s why he said, ‘I’ll be off the stage for fifteen minutes.’
Leo: Mr. Cook is amassing a creative brain trust according to Bono the lead singer of the band U2-cult of personality 9(Leo singing the last two words). He befriended Mr. Jobs and he worked closely with the team on developing that black and red U2 branded iPod.
Rene: Should be red and black.
Leo: I doubt that he did more than that. And, it had all our songs on it for a great price. Mr. Cook is not saying, ’I’m here to replace him, said Bono, I’ll try to replace with five people, Steve Jobs with five people, it explains the acquisition of Beats,’ says Bono. Okay.
Andy: I keep trying to figure out why we’re still keep having these…..not us on this panel (cross talk)
Leo: Well, in general the world will not let this rest, yes.
Alex: It’s a big purchase and no-one understands it.
Leo: It’s not just Beats, but Steve Jobs typical…….
Andy: He has this job now for what six years now, and it’s really like I don’t know it’s, it’s……at some point after the Red Sox replaced a manager, you’ve got to talk about the Red Sox as though they’re an ongoing concern and not only limping along as the last Don Zimmer thirty years ago.
Leo: That’s the concept, by the way the late Pop-Eye, by the way I’m sorry to lose you, that’s the consequences of beatification, right? Like if you have a saint leading a company that’s very hard for a mortal man to take over.
Leo: Unless he is the pope. (laughter)
Andy: It also becomes a situation when I see that phrase I can’t believe that this is not something that Steve Jobs would have done. It’s not that I it is something that I disregard before or after that, but I suddenly start to look at the prism of some-one who has a nostalgic view of Apple as opposed to seeing a modern and dynamic company that changes from quarter to quarter a year, every year.
Leo: My observation is that this is not the same Apple, but if you leave out the names.
Andy: The same things would have been, if Steve Jobs had beaten cancer, been into remission Apple of 2015, 2014 would still be a different Apple from what it was since 2009 so. It’s a discussion that is, it’s nice to have a few beers, and retire after a movie and talk about this. But, I get a little bit frustrated that I don’t known when people are going to be willing to completely move on and, treat Apple as though again as they’re not, they’re not what they’re 2009, they are what they are in 2014. Change is as integral to the concept of life, if you….(Cross Talk)
Leo: No, I agree. What we are trying to figure out is who is this Tim Cook. What is it that the Tim Cook Apple going to be?
Rene: The thing that now impresses me is that, we talked about this two years and the general main stream I think didn’t understand how value able Tim Cook was to Apple until more recently. I don’t know if they understand it still, but I think a lot of these articles you Matt Tran did an article, Jason Snell did this on Gruger, they all had great articles on this. That….people keep talking about Apple under Steve Jobs, but if you start to do the math on Apple without Tim Cook; that is not a good thing.
Rene: Tim Cook did an incredibly, incredibly contributed to the success of Apple in the modern age in innumerable ways.
Leo: I think Tim Cook is somewhat of a cypher and I think that a lot of this ink is not really about Steve Jobs any-more but who is Tim Cook and what does a Tim Cook led Apple look like. And, with all due respect, we’ve yet to see that, Apple has not released any new products. They keep saying new categories, new products. We learned a little at WWDC about some new soft-ware that might come out this fall. But, I don’t think that we still really know the Appl….the Tim Cook Apple is going to do, because, the because the iPhone Five S that was Steve’s last product.
Rene: John Gruber had a great a piece on this called Only Apple, where he sort of lynched into Tim Cook said which only Apple knew this and he went through the thought exercise could only Apple do this? And what he came to is you know back in 2007they had to stop working on os ten in order to get iOS….in order to get the iPhone out of the gate. This year Tim Cook’s Apple came out with Mavericks, sorry….. with Yosemite, with iOS eight, with Swift, with, all the new developer tools, all at once. And you know it goes back to when Scott Forestall left, and I drew this analogy that, you know when Steve Cook, you know when Steve Jobs came back to Apple he put the products into categories, professional, consumer professional lap-top and desk top. That’s exactly what Tim Cook did with Apple internally. He turned Apple’s corporation into an Apple product, and we’re now seeing the result of that I think, it’s incredibly impressive as a product. That’s probably even better than a watch at this point, because it can create things like a watch in the future.
Andy: It also feels like setting Tim Cook up for failure, because everything he does in the future is, of course, going to build upon iPhone, iPad, the iOS, and the Mac OS. And of those things were things that were created under various Steve Jobs 10 years. And so anything that succeeds will be seen as, well yeah he had iOS he had this multitouch technology, he had this amazingly successful product. The fact that he articulated it into the form of a watch or moved into TV, big deal. That’s something he inherited from the previous administration. If he does something that fails, then that is not something that he inherited from Steve Jobs.
Leo: By the way, where all assuming there’s a watch. Nobody has said there is a watch. There’s no watch! That’s made up. It’s mythical It’s a unicorn! There may not be a watch.
Alex: We just had this conversation I thought, about Beats.
Andy: I’m sorry; I was using that as an example of something that is unique. Something that we weren’t talking about six years ago, but we’re talking about right now. I’m saying . . .
Leo: I understand. We’re talking about it, but I’m again pointing out, that Apple has yet to do anything to illustrate what the Tim Cook era is going to deliver, except for WWDC.
Andy: Are you looking for like when a new director takes over the Star Wars franchise?
Leo: You wait for the movie.
Andy: There were six Star Wars movies that were made before this guy came along, and now there’s going to be another one that comes afterward. And now whatever happens between the end of the previous movie and this new movie is what this director changed.
Leo: We know that there’s going to be a new movie out. But Apple has not announced any new products. I’m just saying. We don’t know.
Andy: That would have been revolutionary. Then I think that I would be totally on the bandwagon of, “Oh my God this is a sea change in the character of Apple. They’re willing to show off at WWDC.” Or if they were to do a Google Glass style “We think this is a really great idea. We don’t know the best way to do it, but here’s what we’re playing with right now.” And then show up, “This is alpha hardware. This is something we just built for ourselves to show you what our thinking is on this.”
Leo: I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t do that. I’m just pointing out that everything we say about what Apple is, is all projection of our own hopes, dreams, fears and fantasies.
Rene: But it’s important to remember that Tim Cook was responsible for a lot of the products that we attribute to Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs didn’t handcraft them all by himself. In the famous line is, “Wow, how did Apple make an iPad?” And it’s Steve Jobs. But how do they make it for $500? Well, that’s Tim Cook. He was integral to almost all of the major modern products they launched.
Rene: He hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s still there.
Leo: So people act like I want him to release something. I’m just pointing out that are projecting. Are we not?
Alex: No I want him to release something.
Andy: That’s absolutely my point. It seems unfair to be saying that, “Well we’re going to judge Tim Cook because we haven’t seen what he’s done. We haven’t seen things that we feel are indicative of a new Apple.” But what we’re saying is that, “Here’s the thing that Apple would have to do for me to recognize that as major major change.” When in truth it could be something as simple as Mac OS and iOS working together as though they were made by the same company. That could be just as revolutionary as the iPad, as the iPhone. To me it really is the booster rocket that I think has the potential to take Apple into a higher orbit. But the fact that it’s not something I would’ve predicted a year ago as an exciting new direction for Apple, that doesn’t negate the value of that development.
Leo: I guess the problem is we have to do a show every week. Frankly.
Rene: We can do it about iOS, Leo.
Leo: And we did. We’ve talked a lot about iOS 8 and Yosemite.
Rene: It got updated today.
Rene: Beta 2 for both of them came out today.
Leo: Tell me about the changes what’s new?
Rene: I only just installed it. I’ve only had time to play with it, but according to the inter-webs, things are working better and they’ve added additional functionality. I’m going to have to dig into it more.
Alex: One of the questions from The Question Engine was, What’s new in OS X Yosemite Beta 2?
Leo: I’ll tell you what. Let’s stop, and when we come back we’ll start answering questions from The Question Engine.
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That’s making me hungry. That Park Slope tavern, that looked good.
All right, time for The Question Engine. Do you want to emcee this, or shall I?
Alex: Either way. Are you ready?
Leo: I should have given out the URL again. twit.tv/ - it’s going to be the same from now on, because we control this. So it will be mbw and the show number. In this case 407. Twit.tv/mbw407.
Alex: Do you like the new design?
Leo: I really like the new design.
Alex: It’s getting pretty. See, and you can see question number one.
Leo: Question 1. Why is Leo so grumpy today?
Alex: We already answered that one.
Leo: I ain’t grumpy. I ain’t grumpy. The problem is, there are some people who watch the show who think we should just be cheerleaders, and everything Apple does is wonderful and gorgeous, but that’s not the show. That’s some other show you’re thinking of. We just want to talk honestly about what we think is going on in the world. And yes, I represent the user, not Apple.
Is this in order? So the number one question comes from Steve Kellner in Southern California. What’s the number there? How many up votes?
Leo: Wow. Will Apple revamped iTunes in the fall? The UI is so dated. Why are you so grumpy Steve? It’s true. It was really a collection of Apple scripts for so long. They’re just ignoring it, because somewhere, somebody is writing a beautiful Swift- based, elegant, fast version of iTunes. Yes?
Alex: That’s our dream. I think one of the problems is that it also does a lot of things, so it’s complicated to fix it and still achieve all the things that they’re trying to do. So I think that’s probably why it’s taking so long.
Rene: The biggest problem is that has to be transportable to Windows, so they put everything that they ever have to use for any iPod or iPhone or iPad user on Windows, bundling that out. And then make it easy to cross develop for. And that is a horrible noose around iTunes’ neck.
Andy: That’s why I wonder if the next real revolution for iTunes is for them to unbundle the hardware support features, to make the best app they possibly can to support your iPhone in your iPad on your Mac and on your Windows device and then make the music management, the play list management, and the jukebox features a totally separate app. So that they can really leverage the advantages that they have in the Mac OS. It really is clumsy. One of the reasons why I do so much of my music management now directly on the device, is because it’s no longer any fun whatsoever to manipulate playlists and tailor my music on iTunes. So that’s the real tragedy here.
Leo: And now, ladies and gentlemen, from MacWorld UK, iTunes 12!
Rene: They are going to have to redesign it, right? That’s something they’re going to have to do.
Leo: Is this leak accurate? Or is this from Yosemite? The ITunes 12 preview.
Rene: They have a new icon that we haven’t seen yet, a red one. But you just have to think that Yosemite is such a big redesign that they are going to have to give it a coat of paint at the very least to iTunes or it won’t match.
(All speaking at once)
Andy: On top of everything else, now that everything in Yosemite is widget-ized, you feel as though you have to reconsider if iTunes role is simply to provide a deck of playback controls into the notification bar or into other apps, or if you really do have to make this as much of a system wide music and playlist manager as the photos app is, for instance, for iOS.
Leo: Thank you, Steve. Question 2, with 19 up votes, comes from the UK. London, Andreas Lindstrom. What do you think Johnny Ive talked about when he hinted that they’re working with new types of materials, in that New York Times bits blog interview?
Leo: They’re working with liquid metal.
Rene: Anyway, he loves materials, that’s his big thing.
Alex: I think it’s basically ways to
Alex: Sapphire, curved glass.
Andy: I think if Apple does do something that translates to an actual watch, as opposed to a fitness band, I think we’re going to learn a lot about what is driving Apple design right now. What materials fascinate them, at this point, that they haven’t really worked with yet?
Alex: As you get into wearables, wearables are so challenging. I think you’re going to end up with a lot of innovation in the way we build things. Because it’s not going to be something you can just clump some raw material together and make it work.
Andy: Especially if you want it to be as good for women as it is for men.
Leo: Unobtainium is very good for women and men.
Rene: Adamantium, too.
Andy: They need to figure out a plasticized Dragon tears. They’re having yield problems. They lose about 100 engineers for every gram that they can harvest. But they’re working on it.
Rene: I forgot Leo. One thing I did notice on iOS 8 Beta 2 is that the podcast out, at least in this beta, is default. It’s no longer from the App Store. So that should benefit all of us.
Leo: You don’t have to download it? It’s just on there?
Rene: That’s right.
Leo: That’s good. That answers Chris Pitchman’s question. What’s new in iOS Beta2? It’s so new. First of all some of us don’t know what it is because we’re not signing NDAs. Other of us signed NDAs and can’t speak.
Rene: The NDA is different this year. You just can’t do screenshots or videos or reviews.
Leo: So you can speak? And, finally, anybody who has it just got it.
Rene: Right now Twitter is flooded with people announcing new features that Apple announced two weeks ago.
Andy: It’s fun to watch everybody try to be the first to break a story. Jason Snell tweeted like “Am I the first to say that the energy saver icon is now an LED mode instead of a compact fluorescent?”
Leo: Well, finally. It’s about time.
Andy: See? That’s a Tim Cook innovation.
Leo: According to the release notes, Safari will now block ads from automatically redirecting to the App Store without user interaction.
Rene: Yes that is true.
Rene: It was horrible. There would be ads, and they would sneak into Google, which everyone uses across the internet. And you would go to a webpage on a mobile browser and it would immediately shoot you to the App Store. And as a publisher, we couldn’t stop it either because we had no way of knowing which ads had it in which didn’t. It was a huge thing. And I hope Google and Chrome do this immediately.
Leo: Well that just fixes a bug, it sounds like.
Rene: Well, they were exploiting the way URLs work in the system.
Leo: No URL should automatically launch ever.
Leo: Ever. That’s a hazard in many many ways. In fact, I’m surprised. Chrome does that? Chrome does that on iOS?
Rene: I don’t know. I want this feature everywhere
Leo: I think that was a bug on Safari.
Rene: It might’ve been. But also, there are a lot of people who do launch pop-ups and start embedding URLs and there are a lot of ways that you can game systems.
Leo: App Store purchases. Apps in the App Store purchase tab. This is all from Mac rumors. They’re working as fast as they can. Apps in the App Store purchase tab once again sorted by purchase date. Quick type keyboard now available on the iPad. Brightness, toggle, messaging. Is it is it more stable? That’s the question. I guess you really won’t know that until you use it for a while. Was Beta 1 kind of Rocky?
Rene: Stay away. Well, iOS 7, as much as people complained, most of it was a paint job. It was a new design. Things worked very similarly. Now with extensibility and with all the other features, the underlying stuff has changed a lot. Apps had very unpredictable behavior. Your favorite apps might not have worked the way you wanted them to. And I don’t ever think it’s classy to complain about bugs in a Beta, but when they don’t say put Beta software on your primary phone, they really do mean that.
Leo: How about this one? This, I think is interesting, but maybe you all have heard of this before. There is a new home data section within the privacy settings. Applications that have requested access to home data? Is that the home automation stuff?
Rene: The Home Kit.
Leo: Interesting, that’s interesting. So it sounds much like Health Kit, a repository of -
Alex: You can decide what you’re sharing your data with. Do these apps have access to your cellular, or that type of thing?
Rene: Your buzz saw can also access…
Leo: Let’s not do that. I have a robotic lawn more sitting on my lawn right now. That seems dangerous. That seems like a bad idea.
Alex: When I was a kid we had a field in the back that they would cut with the whirly. And the whirly was this big thing you put on the back of a tractor and we all had to go inside when the whirly was running, because it would throw rocks a good solid 200 meters.
Leo: And if you go anywhere near the whirly, it would cut up whatever party body part was extended.
Alex: You would be amazed at what could do with your brush. That’s all I’m saying.
Leo: With what?
Alex: Your brush.
Leo: Oh, I thought you meant like hairbrush. I thought you were throwing objects at the whirly.
Alex: No, you would be going along, you’d hit brush and small animals and all kinds of things.
Leo: Okay, so now “What is new”, Ben asks, “in Yosemite Beta 2?” I guess it’s too early to really talk about that.
Rene: The problem I’m having is that people are announcing things that aren’t new as new. So it’s hard to sit through.
Leo: Just give us some time.
Rene: Photo Booth is back, if you are worried about Photo Booth.
Leo: Oh hallelujah. It would be crazy to take Photo Booth out. That is the one thing that everybody, when they’re demoing a Mac, immediately launches. From Nathan, Houston Texas, Would you recommend Swift as a first language for an aspiring programmer?
Andy: No. I think if you’ve never programmed before, I think you start with the Ruby, because it’s an interactive language. There are tutorials that can actually have you typing live code and executing it as you go. It’s simpler and once you spend two or three months learning Ruby, not only will you have a useful language under your belt, but also you will have learned about object-oriented program, you will learn about the data structures you need to know and you will also have learned about the idea of I’ve got this task that I want to turn into a program, how do I break that down into the modules and steps?
Leo: Ruby or Python I think.
Alex: Machine language. It’s all about machine language.
Leo: You know, Assembly is not hard to learn. And it does teach you…
Alex: You learn a lot about structure.
Andy: Get eight toggle switches, hook them up by USB and just click click click click click send, click click click send.
Leo: Swift has this wonderful Playground feature which is really an advanced debugger which lets you scroll through your program, find a point, change a variable, see the result. Especially for graphical programming, it’s great. My reason for not recommending it, is it’s beta which means stuffs going to change. It’s not a finished spec, but also it’s not cross-platform. And, to me, if you really want to start to learn programming, you should learn on something that’s going to work everywhere in a similar way.
Andy: But I really like that it’s mature.
Leo: Mature. You’re right, Andy.
Alex: The advantage of the Playground is really the feedback, because in what I do, a lot of times with 3-D, everything is about how many iterations, how many times you get to see what you did over and over and over again and it really changes the way that you look at every at every variable, because you have enough iterations, enough samples, to really build a picture.
Leo: Right. Anthony Perry. “Will we see a refreshed iMac?” Someday? Yes. Tomorrow? No.
Andy: They had a major redesign just last year and Apple doesn’t think the iMac is important enough to freshen it every single year like an iPhone or an iPad. I think it’s going to be at least a year until we see a real new iMac.
Leo: Same question for the Mac Mini. Dale, in Seattle. “Is the Mac Mini dead?”
Rene: No. You will see a speed bump and maybe a price jump for the iMac though and the Mac Mini will go to Haswell.
Leo: They can do both of those without an announcement. They can do both those by just changing the store.
Andy: I’m keen to see if Apple’s going to bother to redesign the case though? Or if they’re just going to maintain it. What can we do the square box with rounded edges? People are not buying this as a sexy product. They’re hiding it in closets anyway. But we’ll definitely make it with new hardware.
Alex: If Leo would just buy one, the rest of us could -
Leo: I’m so happy with the Mac Pro, I’m not buying anything. Love it. With the 4K display.
Rene: That’s why we don’t have the new one.
Leo: That’s it. Sorry. How about an Apple TV? A new Apple TV set-top box?
Alex: Absolutely this year.
Leo: This year?
Leo: Soon? Fall? Last question. From Mr. Joshua, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Andy, we appreciated your pieces on Android last year. Does the new direction and philosophy for Apple mean that you might be switching back to iPhone in the fall?
Andy: Stronger than might. I think that if Apple produces a large screen iPhone . . . It’s like I said right after the keynote, I will be almost out of reasons keep on using Android. There are still some things that Android does that are exceptional that I haven’t seen in iOS8, but in terms of a phone that lets me customize it, that has apps that work together, that has a screen that’s flexible for movie viewing and reading stuff for a long-term, it really is as though they took that series of articles I wrote last year, put them on the whiteboard and said, “Okay that’s our goal for iOS 8. Get this one user back.”
Leo: That’s what they did, of course.
Andy: We want his $200.
Leo: It’s not going to be 5.5 inches, it’s not going to be 6 inches, it’s going to be 4.7, right?
Rene: 4.7 and 5.5.
Leo: And 5.5!
Rene: If they can get the panels in time.
Leo: It would be really interesting, something that big.
Rene: Which one would you go for, Andy? 4.7 or 5.5?
Andy: I’d have to feel them both. 4.7, I think is a current real sweet spot. The current iPhone 5 screen, it really does seem too small. But, a 5.5, depending on how it feels in my hand. I don’t wear it on my wrist, I don’t carry a little makeup purse so I can have something to throw it in. As long as it fits in a shirt pocket without a good chance of tumbling out or tearing my sleeve, I think I would go for the larger one.
Leo: This is the Moto X. To me, this is the phone you’ve got to beat. And that’s 4.7. It just fits the hand naturally.
Andy: And this is the Nexus5. It’s a little bit larger than that. I like the 5 inch screen, because a lot of what I use my phone for is, it sits there on my dashboard of my car. I don’t need a center console TV screen to do it. It’s a nice display that doesn’t require me to be squinting.
Leo: Here’s an iPhone 5, Alex’s iPhone 5S.
Alex: Is that a 5S?
Alex: No that’s a 5.
Leo: A 5, okay. Compare it to the 4.7. See, it’s not much bigger than the Moto X. Just a little bit bigger.
Rene: I think people forget, like this is the Nexus five and the Lumia 1020 and they have the same screen size, but a Lumia 1020 feels much bigger and way heavier in my hand. And it’s amazing how the entire package influences, not just the screen size.
Alex: I have an HTC One, which I like. But for a lot of things, like working out and other things that I do, it’s too big.
Leo: The new one is 5?
Rene: They have that new little one or whatever?
Leo: Oh, you have the mini?
Alex: No,I have the big one.
Leo: Yeah the HTC. The M8. That’s normally what I carry. I think that’s 5.
Alex: Well, it’s just too much for a lot of things that I do.
Leo: Thank you for your questions, everyone. We have our picks of the week coming up in just a little bit.
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Andy Ihnatko, your pick of the week.
Andy: This is an unusual pick for me. Usually I pick something that I’ve used and tested and really recommend. This time I’m recommending something that I hope a friend of mine buys so that I can play with it and see if it works. Because this sounds like the coolest thing ever. It’s called the Mellow Sous Vide cooker.
Leo: Oh I guess I know who will buy that.
Leo: Mr. Sous Vide, sitting next to me.
Andy: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. You know what a sous vide cooker is. Again, it’s an immersion cooker. There is a heater and a pump in a vessel of water. You put the food in a bag and it circulates heated water around it, so it cooks chicken for like nine hours, but cooks it at a safe lower temperature so it’s all moist and delicious. And basically, if you have a friend who has one of the sous vide cookers, it’s like having a friend with a Tesla. Every conversation goes around to, “Oh well last week I decided to sous vide a side of beef. It took 1100 hrs.” This one is a little bit different. This is like a crock pot/sous vide.
Leo: It’s beautiful!
Andy: What it is, is, it not only does it have a heater and a circulator, but it has a chiller in it. So what you can do is, you can basically prepare your food, put them in the bags, put it in the water and then leave for work. The cooker will basically keep the raw materials at refrigerated temperature until you’ve told it to start. “This is a chicken breast with vegetables. I want to eat at 6 PM.” So it will keep it refrigerated in the water all day long, until it’s time to start it cooking. And so if you tell it that you want dinner to be ready at 6:00, dinner will be ready at 6:00. It will start the cooking process at the right time so that the food will be cooked and ready to eat at 6:00. The key to this is that it’s heated in a very low temperature, very slow.
Leo: Alex does this all the time.
Alex: I’ve learned that it does annoy people of talk about it all the time. I’ve slowed down a little bit.
Leo: A lot of the Sous Vide cookers that we’ve talked about before are things you put in a pot. This is an all-in-one unit - looks kind of like a water dispenser.
Alex: This once much prettier than mine.
Leo: It’s also controllable by the iPhone.
Alex: Well, that is the big thing. Being able to tell it what time you want it to be ready.
Leo: And the refrigeration! How much is this?
Andy: Retail price is $500. If you preorder it, it’s $400.
Leo: That’s not bad.
Alex: But it’s controlled by iPhone. If this one of was available when I bought mine, I would’ve bought it.
Leo: I’m ordering it right now.
Alex: I’m going to order one, too.
Leo: you too?
Alex: Of course. I was going to get another one anyway, because we have a party you have one set of meat at one temperature and then you want to have another set of meat at another temperature. So I was already ready to invest in more Sous Vides. At least one more.
Andy: For me, it’s different, because there’s a reason I keep frozen dinners in the freezer. I try not to eat frozen dinners every single night, but the day goes in such a way where you’re just working working working and you realize oh it’s 8 o’clock and I haven’t had dinner yet. I don’t want to then spend an hour cooking, I just want to go downstairs where somebody has prepared me a dinner and I can have it in three minutes. If I had one of these, I feel as though before I start working for the day I could just dump whatever I want to have for dinner in seven hours in there and just simply wait for a voice to come from my phone that is similar to my mom’s voice saying, “Andy! Dinner! Come and get it!”
Leo: Sous Vide’s ready!
Andy: I want that experience from when I was a kid, where I could just do whatever I want and just be told that dinner is ready.
Leo: This is very intriguing.
Rene: Only sous vide bacon.
Alex: I wanted tell you, as soon as you start sous vide-ing your eggs… It is so good. I use these little cocktail glasses. Remember those cocktail glasses I brought to your Fourth of July?
Leo: I loved those!
Alex: So I use those, and then I take a little soft-boiled thing and I pop it in there and I put a little salt on it.
Leo: If you’re making meat or fish, you would maybe grill it real quickly just to give it a little crust.
Alex: At the very end. Now what I’ll do, is I usually use my Big Green Egg and sear it on outside.
Andy: Rich Siegel, of Bare Bones Software, he’s the one who told me about Mellow. At the end of the conversation, he was excited about this kick starter product, exactly what you’re talking about. It’s essentially a blowtorch designed to do nothing but sear things. He just did a demo where they’ve got this big butane torch and their essentially painting a caramelized crust onto the stage.
Leo: Once you go down this road of buying expensive kitchen gadgets, it really never ends.
Rene: Yesterday, (?) was tweeting out his Rocket pizza oven which cooks an entire pizza in like 45 seconds.
Leo: They’re just really is no limit to what you might do. Well now I pre-ordered it. I blame you, Andy.
Rene: Me, too.
Leo: You too?
Andy: See, my sous vide party worked. Everyone wants one.
Leo: Sous vide party!
Andy: My trick has worked. I now have a friend who definitely has one of those things coming. You can tell me about how well it works.
Leo: A seems like $400 is not horrible. I like that it refrigerates, because then it’s safe to leave your meat in there.
Rene: And waking up to eggs, Leo.
Leo: Waking up to soft-boiled eggs. Are they really better than if you did them in a little pot? With boiling water?
Alex: It’s just that you don’t have to think about it. What happens with the eggs is I just throw them in, then I go back to whatever I was doing, then I come back 15 minutes later 20 minutes later and their perfect every time.
Leo: What about the chemicals in the plastic in the bag? Because you’re putting them in a vacuum sealed bag, right? Is it going to leech BPH out of there or something?
Alex: Well technically they say it’s not BPH, but there are a lot of things in plastic. We eat so much stuff that’s in plastic, I’m not sure if it makes much difference.
Leo: I’m not sure if I want to add more plastic to my diet.
Alex: I just don’t think I’m adding a significant amount of plastic. I put plastic in my eyes every morning.
Leo: We’re all going to get cancer, it’s just a matter of when. Is that which are saying?
Alex: Well we’re all going to die somehow.
Andy: You may as well enjoy a nice soft-boiled egg before you get cancer and die.
Rene: And sous vide the bacon to go with it.
Leo: Can you sous vide bacon? I don’t think it would work.
Alex: I don’t think it would work.
Leo: I don’t think it would be very good.
Andy: It wouldn’t crisp up, right?
Leo: All right. Thank you, Andy for spending my money. And apparently Rene’s as well. Rene, what would you like us to spend money on?
Rene: So, I have a pick and I have an anti-pick. Which is the only way I can term it. So, my pick of the week is Launch Center Pro, which is one of my favorite iOS apps. It’s now available for the iPhone and the iPad. But a big update. And one of the primary things in this update is if it supports “if this then that”.
Rene: It’s basically an action launcher. Because in the days before extensibility, there was no way to do interact communications. They made it with a lot of really smart things, with URL schemes and x-callback-urls. And they’re adapting for the future of extensibility. But in the meantime, you can use this now to trigger all sorts of really really clever procedures you have stored. And if you are a high order bit geek, then that is an incredibly attractive proposition for you. So it’s not a brand-new app, but is a brand-new update. It’s free to everyone who already has it, and if you don’t have it, you can get it for IPhone and iPad.
Leo: Awesome stuff!
Rene: Really productive. My anti-pick is this thing called Slingshot, which Facebook introduced right before the show, that I spent a few minutes looking at.
Leo: Oh, it came out!
Rene: Yeah. It’s basically snapped chat, but if Leo sends me a picture, I have to send back a picture to Leo before I can look at the picture Leo sent me.
Rene: Which sounds like the worst possible app I can imagine.
Leo: Why is Facebook having so much trouble? They created Poke to duplicate Snapchat chat, right? Or no?
Rene: They did. I mean, they have some of them best… I mean, they have Mike Matas - he did the photo app and the camera app on the original iPhone. He did Delicious Library, he’s creating Paper. He didn’t do this app. But I don’t understand. It’s like Facebook figures out which app we don’t want, and then rushes them through the pipeline.
Leo: They’re just brilliant! In fact, they’ve done the same thing with the news feed, where it’s just like crap now. Okay, well thank you. Don’t buy Slingshot. Well it’s free, I’m sure.
Rene: It’s free, but it takes your sanity. It costs you your sanity.
Leo: Your attention is not free, my friend. Mr. Alex Lindsey, what have you got?
Alex: I don’t think I’ve recommended this before. People keep on asking about it, because they hear me talking about a little bit. So this is what I travel with. My recommendation is for the Seagate, this is the Thunderbolt adapter. This thing is awesome.
Leo: Is it Thunderbolt 1 or 2?
Alex: Thunderbolt 1. What it’s designed for, Seagate makes these little drives that you put onto it, they’re completely useless, as far as I’m concerned, but the adapter by itself is like 100 bucks. What you do is you take this little SSD, because all it is is a SATA connection, so it doesn’t really matter what it is. You take this SSD, any SSD, and then you slide it on. Now you have a whatever size your SSD is, 120, 256, 480, whatever gigabite hard drive. What I do is, it doesn’t fit perfectly because it had a hard drive, so I take old hotel keys, which I have a lot of, and I tape them, see right here?
Leo: Just the right size!
Alex: I had to figure out something to do with all those hotel keys. It turns out they’re great as shims. Then you pop it on. If you’re going to leave it on, a lot of times I put a little gaff tape on the outside here and then I name it whatever I want. The big thing is, is that it does get a little extra attention by TSA, I will admit it. Taped things that look technology.
Leo: Yeah, it looks like a bomb.
Alex: But, the cool thing is, that you hook up your Thunderbolt, and you transfer an entire 256 Gig drive to another 256 Gig drive in like eight minutes. So it’s a superfast way to backup stuff, download it. Most importantly for me, because I travel a lot, is most of the places that I work I can at least find someone that sells SSDs. So what I do is, if I want to really fast drive to edit from, and so on and so forth, on the road, I can throw all my footage on here. It’s really really fast and when it fills up, I just go to a store and I buy another SSD and I slide this one out and I put another one in. And it’s just the cheapest, fastest way to have a really fast solution that’s in your backpack that you can edit on the road and do all kinds of things that normally would require a lot of local hard drive space. And so I use it to kind of swap SSDs all the time.
Leo: So now all you need is a computer that can use Thunderbolt.
Alex: Yes, which is all my computers. But I will say one thing about that. I’m told, by relatively good sources, that these SSD’s are only rated for about 150 insertions. So they aren’t really built to do what I’m doing. Other than what I’m showing to you on TV, and I’m shortening its life right now, it’s not like I pull these out and put them on all the time. I really tape them up and use them and then when I need to, I pop them out. Even then, I think it would last as long as a spinning drive would last anyway. So anyway, that’s just the one disclaimer at the end of that.
Leo: So it’s just like a physical limitation of connectors.
Alex: Yes, connectors aren’t really built for that. These connectors here just aren’t really built to be slid in and out, they were designed to be inserted and left. So anyway that’s it. I hope somebody finds that useful.
Leo: Did I mention Reeder 2 recently? I think I mentioned it last week, but I don’t know if I showed it. Reeder 2 for the Macintosh. It’s a really good feed reader and version 2 just came out. I’m not sure, but I think it’s five bucks, 10 bucks. I will not let RSS die. If you’re still looking for a great RSS reader, the good news is - Thank you, Feedly, for keeping Google Reader alive. Because I attached my Google Reader account to Feedly, I can now easily login, look at Apple stories, scan through stories very quickly. It has nice sharing capabilities that support all of the different sharing services you might use. I use Pinboard, Delicious, Twitter, Facebook. Mail a link, message a link, copy a link and put it in some other application. Thank God there is still a good RSS reader out there. You can add a feed bin, feed wrangler, fever, account. You can connect it to your Pocket, Readability, those different services. You can add any of these services. Quite a few services to it. I just like it. Reeder 2 came out. You played with it, right? I think we talked about it last week.
Unknown: Last week Rene brought up UnRead.
Leo: That was for iOS. And I love UnRead for iOS. And I mentioned Reeder, but I didn’t show it to you. Here it is, if you want to take a look. I have been using it pretty much nonstop to prepare for shows now and it’s a really great reader. And you can also subscribe to podcasts if you should so choose.
Rene: One of the nice things about RSS is that in the new iOS 8 and in Yosemite 2, Apple killed RSS reader and Safari a while ago, but they’ve now brought it back. They brought back a version of it that’s actually very clever.
Leo: What does that mean? I think it’s encouraging, but I’m not sure why they decided to do that.
Rene: Why they killed it? Or why they brought it back?
Leo: Why they brought it back. I understand why they killed it. Everyone’s killing RSS. RSS is dead, right?
Rene: I think because the framework that they created that lets you do those Read later stuff inside Safari is a better mechanism than the original RSS tabs, where now you can sort of put it in your reading list. It’s a really good mental fit for that.
Leo: I agree with that. Basically, it used to be an RSS reader. Now, you just use the RSS feeds to save stuff till you read it later.
Alex: I have to admit that Flip Board really kind of replaced that for me.
Leo: Flip Board, Twitter, a lot of things replaced RSS.
Alex: Flipboard more than anything else.
Leo: But this is the difference. This is the use case. So I have my Apple section here and I’ve added all this – actually I have to update this - but I’ve added all the difference sources: Apple and Sutter, ars Technica, Mac Central, imore.com, 9tofivemac – all of them. And then I go to the Apple stories, and these are the UnRead stories and I can so quickly scan through those stories. If I want to get the full story, I just click the link and it’s got a built-in browser so I can see the link and then I can share very easily. So this this fits what I do, which is go through a lot of news sources.
Leo: Triage, right, trying to find stuff. But if you have an area of interest, you create a folder with ten websites that you like.
Alex: This is how I researched shows for years.
Leo: FlipBoard’s a little more random. It’s fun.
Alex: I think that specific groups, Mac News, that type of thing, you don’t have as much control I will say. You don’t have quite the same flow.
Leo: It’s more comfortable. It’s more like reading a magazine.
Alex: It’s easier to do while I’m standing in the airport.
Andy: I like the ability to target a specific news source, which is something that FlipBoard doesn’t let me do. I want to go to “What new notes has Apple posted today?” Am I up to date on that? As opposed to every other piece of Apple news from every other blog that FlipBoard is assembling from. If the fact that I don’t happen to have seen a tech note from someone from Apple, does that mean there’s one there or does that mean that I haven’t seen it?
Leo: Thank you everybody. We’re out of time. I want to thank you, Alex Lindsey, for being in studio with us next week.
Alex: And by the way, Thursday we’re trying this whole Final Cut virtual user group. It’s bitly.com/FC/vug-1. The event page is actually on our question system because we’re going to be – so, basically what we’ve got is great experts, Steve and Mark are going to be up here. We’re going to bring a couple guys up from LA. Basically, we’re going to be there for people to ask questions. So if you have questions about Final Cut 10, this is a Final Cut 10 virtual user group. This is a place for you to ask it. So, it’s an experiment. We’d love to have people come check it out. Let us know what you think of it. The idea is a user group where, instead of you being a fly on the wall watching a user group from the back, it’s all of us just talking and answering questions that are coming in from the question system. So we hope to keep on building on that, but if you’re interested, it’s bitly.com/fcvug-1.
Alex: Sal Gutsman.
Leo: Very nicely done. Thank you so much for doing it. We really appreciate it.
Thanks to Rene Ritchie, imore.com. Good to have you here.
Rene: Can I mention something really quickly?
Rene: Starting tomorrow on Debug, we’re going to have a multipart series. It might be two or three parts, but Guy English and I got a chance to sit down with Nitin Ganatra, who started Apple on DTS then went to system seven then worked on the early versions of OS X and finally worked on the supersecret iPhone project. And retired as director of iOS apps at Apple.
Rene: So he has some fantastic stories.
Leo: imore.com/debug. Tomorrow. And by the way, speaking of tomorrow, I didn’t mention this, but we’re going to find out what Amazon has up its sleeve. We’re going to be doing our broadcast at 1030 in the morning Pacific time, that’s 2:30 PM Eastern time, 1730 UTC. Matthew Ingram will join me, and Mike Elgan. If any of you guys want to stop by and talk about it that would be great. This Amazon announcement is apparently a 3-D phone on AT&T.
Rene: That would work great in Canada.
Leo: I think AT&T is not yet in Canada, but stay tuned. This may be gobbling everybody else up. And thank you very much Andy Ihnatko, for being here from the Chicago Sun times and, what is the name of that province? Wawanawa?
Andy: I expect to find out. During commercial break, I was checking my email and I’m apparently now a semi-finalist in the Amtrak residency program. So if I do get that maybe I’ll use my free Amtrak trip to go check that out and ask for my royalty.
Leo: So what are they doing? They’re putting writers in residence on trains?
Andy: Apparently. I applied a couple months as ago when they tweeted this out. So if you are a writer, you can apply. If I get to ride Amtrak, it may not necessarily be writing about the experience, but I’ll be blogging about what I’m going to be doing and the projects that I’m working on. So I wrote a nice little application and I said, “Here’s the sort of trip I’d like to take and here’s what I’d like to do with it”, and I don’t exactly have Justin Bieber’s social media numbers, but apparently I’m high enough to qualify for whatever they’re hoping to do with it. I’m a big fan of Amtrak and I’ve been blogging about them and tweeting about it since way before Twitter stuff like that. In all sincerity I do hope I get this, because would be fun to do. I’ve always wanted to do an overnight. I’ve always wanted to do sleeper car service on Amtrak, where you have this little room, you can be what you can be with people out there, but when you don’t want to be with people anymore,you can just be in this little room and close the door and you have a bed.
Leo: So this is a sleeper? You’re not going to be sitting up all night?
Andy: I don’t know. This is the sort of thing I was talking about. This is the sort of experience I would love to do. I basically want to be Michael Palin, only American and not quite so distinguished or intelligent.
Leo: I think it sounds mahvelous, my friend! Mahvelous!
Andy: Only a semifinalist.
Leo: Can we vote? Can we support you by going to some site and saying, “Yes, pick Andy?”
Andy: I’m hoping that will happen. Again, I was just checking my email during the break and that really got my attention immediately. So now I have to click a link and basically say yes continue to consider me for this, for residency. Believe me; if there is a social media component, I am absolutely not above exploiting the massive and influential TWiT audience to get me into that train ride to Manitoba or whatever.
Leo: So we will be once again be broadcasting live with Amazon’s announcement 1030 Pacific, I’m sorry that’s 130 Eastern time, got that wrong. 1730 UTC. Tomorrow. A little program note. If you missed marketing Mavericks this morning, with Tonya Hall, what an interesting show! She had Arthur Chu. The guy who gamed Jeopordy. The subject of the show was Building a Personal Brand after Reality TV. So, she’s got a bunch of reality TV stars, including Arthur Chu, on the show this morning. It was really fascinating. I highly recommend it. Twit.tv/MM. It’s up now if you want to watch that. Thanks for joining us.
But now I must say, get back to work, unless you want to stay around for Security Now. But otherwise, break time is over!