This Week in Google 264 (Transcript)
Leo LaPorte: It’s time for TWiG, This Week in Google. Jeff and Gina are here. Yes, it’s true. Amazon, not Google, bought twitch.tv for $1B. Jeff and I and Gina too. We’ll try to figure out why next on TWiG.
Net casts you love, from people you trust. This is TWiT! Bandwidth for This Week in Google is provided by CacheFly, cachefly.com.
This is TWiG, This Week in Google, episode 264. Recorded August 27, 2014
This Week in Google is brought to you by Casper, an online retailer of premium mattresses for a fraction of the price. Because everyone deserves a great night’s sleep. Get $50 off any mattress purchase by visiting capsersleep.com/twig and entering the promo code TWIG. And by Landtronics, maker of the X-Printer Server. Print from any Android phone, tablet, Chrome Book, or Kindle Fire to virtually any printer. For more information, visit xprintserver.com/twit and enter the code TWIT to receive free shipping on your order. It’s time for TWiG, This Week in Google. The Google verse and all of that stuff, Facebook. I got schooled in Facebook; we’re going to talk about it in a second. But first ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jeffrey Jarvis, professor of journalism at City University of New York. He’s in his office right now in Times Square. He is the author of such great books as Public Parts, What Would Google Do?, Gutenberg the Geek, blogs at buzzmachine.com. And he’s the closest thing to a public intellectual in the United States we have.
Jeff Jarvis: Don’t put a target on my back. There’s no such thing as a public intellectual.
Leo: There is in France.
Jeff: Well yea, it’s France.
Leo: We don’t really have that concept here.
Jeff: I never fully understood what that means.
Leo: It means… well first let me introduce Gina and then I’ll tell you what that means. Gina Trapani, she’s a public nerd.
Gina Trapani: Yea, not a public intellectual.
Leo: No, you’re brilliant, you are an intellectual.
Gina: I’m a public symbolton. It’s okay.
Leo: Public nerd, public geek. She founded Life Hacker, okay. You could after that, retire. But no then she went on to do such things as Think Up, thinkup.com. And who could ever forget the Google Wave Bible?
Gina: Aww, you can’t. I really want to raise that part of your brain, Leo.
Jeff: Do you have a box of them at home, Gina?
Leo: The Google Wave book has the right to be forgotten.
Gina: When I was setting up my standing desk, I use the box of books that never sold as my footrest. So they actually did come in handy.
Jeff: In the movie, page one, David Carr and Brian Stelder and company about the New York Times. You see the copy of What Would Google Do? which David Carr uses only as a wrist rest for his laptop.
Leo: Oh that’s so mean. That’s almost intentional dig. But that’s what happens when you’re a public intellectual. So a public intellectual goes back; we’ve had them in the days of Dick Havoc, where there were actually places…
Jeff: That’s the worst.
Leo: I love Dick Havoc. Where there were places you could go on mainstream media and just be smart. Gorvidal is a public intellectual. Mailer, Normal Mailer was a public intellectual. Carson would interview people like that sometimes. So a public intellectual is somebody who is a well-known persona but not because they’re in movies. But because they’re a writer, a thinker, they have big things to say. And I think you count.
Gina: I co-sign, I agree.
Jeff: No you’re putting a target on me. Please, no.
Leo: By the way, is that the new thing, I co-sign? I like it.
Gina: Plus one, I co-sign.
Leo: So we had Robert Scoble on, boy it’s great to have Robert on. I love having people on TWiT who are polarizing. Dvorak; those are the people who are really successful. You love them or hate them but it gets people going. And Robert and I had a fairly heated conversation back and forth for 45 minutes on Facebook. He said in one year from now, you will come back to me, he said you were right, Robert. Facebook is killing it. They are the social platform. I said what are you talking about? It’s getting worse by the moment. He says you’re doing it wrong. But my position is well you shouldn’t have to do anything. Anyway, we’re going to have Robert come back and do an hour-long special on how to cultivate your Facebook feed.
Jeff: I like that being in the timeline of life. So that a year from now when he says Facebook is over... I love Robert, I think he’s wonderful. But the bipolar nature of his technology; love and hates.
Leo: I agree. The Robert Scoble seal of approval does not carry much weight.
Jeff: It tends to lose its glue after a while.
Leo: But I think he was making some interesting points.
Jeff: Yes he does.
Leo: As he often does. Chiefly, if you really care enough to put the energy into it, you can make Facebook something you’ll enjoy. So I have been trying to do it. It ain’t easy.
Jeff: Well of course the big fight these days about Facebook is that number one, primarily you don’t know to whom you’re publishing. Same with Google Plus, but that gets left out of the discussion. That’s the primary issue. And then the second complaint is that the Fergusons don’t bubble up. And Q has an article today, I didn’t put it in, but the echo chamber argument. People don’t feel right having harsh political opinions on Facebook. So I don’t walk to my neighbor’s house to borrow a cup of sugar and say by the way Barrack Obama is great. You’re wrong to think he’s awful.
Leo: As soon as I saw that study, I thought oh this is the filter bubble back and Jeff’s going to have something to say about it. This is Claire Kane Miller who by the way gets things wrong more often than right. She writes for the New York Times. As soon as I started, I thought I don’t know what it is…
Jeff: The internet it seems is contributing to the polarization of America. As people surround themselves with people who think like them and hesitate to say anything different. Now my response to this on Twitter was, if this is such an echo chamber, how come all I see is arguments?
Leo: That’s a good point. We’ve talked about this before.
Jeff: If this is an echo chamber, all we’d say is co-sign, plus one that! Couldn’t have said it better myself! Right? How often do you see that? You don’t! Because people are arguing their faces off on this stupid thing we call a net.
Leo: This goes back to the book Eli Paraser wrote called the Filter Bubble where he said what happens in these networks is; I don’t think this is a poor thesis that is that, you cultivate your feeds. That’s the whole point of Twitter and Facebook and everything else, that you cultivate your feeds that only include people you agree with. You cultivate your news; you watch Fox news because you agree with them.
Jeff: It’s not just about agreement or disagreement, it’s also about relevance. I’ve debated Eli in public about this. Number one is that it’s a hell of a lot more filter bubble to have one editor of the New York Times to select what you care about. That’s a far worse filter bubble. And number two, I do see lots of things from all over creation. I see them on Twitter, I see them on TV, I see them, I get bombarded with all kinds of stuff. And argue that these services shouldn’t give me higher relevance is ridiculous.
Leo: And you also make the point that from time in memorial we have surrounded ourselves with friends, loved ones, colleagues, who agree with us. Here in Northern California, we’ve pretty much pushed Republicans to the sea.
Jeff: To the South.
Gina: I think that you don’t see people agreeing with one another as much as you see them debate. But there’s a lot of liking and favoriting. There’s a lot of at-a-boys and at-a-girls that are little more silent. I think liking and silent…
Jeff: I don’t get much of that, Gina. Nobody’s at-a-boying me.
Leo: I think more to the point, and you do this in life, you try to arrange things in such a way that you’re surrounded by people who share your world view. Do you not?
Gina: Yea, you do. Although, it’s interesting. Because of Facebook, I am connected to distant family members or my wife is connected to coworkers. And you get kind of a glimpse of their internal life in a way that you might not with a distant family member or an acquaintance. So there are certainly like family members or coworkers whose political views or religious views are so different than my own; and I think in those circumstances there are certain topics I don’t bring up in the holidays because I see the monologue or the dialogue on Facebook going on the rest of the year. I don’t engage in it because I don’t want to make enemies or whatever. But that was what I thought of when I read this article. Yea, there are times when I just avoid certain topics with certain folks because I know it’s only going to get weird and bad.
Jeff: Facebook is more than the Thanksgiving table. Twitter is more. They’re different contexts for interactions.
Leo: Certainly more than you would get in life than normally. You get dissenting points of view. More than you would get in the New York Times. Or Fox News, or MSNBC. You get other points of view and I’ve certainly been exposed to both Israel Gaza for instance. Q did a study in 2004 that you couldn’t really replicate today because everyone’s online. But there was some portion of people that get their news offline, TV and such, some of it their news online. Those who got their news online were more exposed to their opponents’ arguments than those who got their news offline, at the time.
Leo: I think it’s true. I do think it’s true. I think I’m much more tolerant of opposing viewpoints than I used to be, to be honest. Because of this.
Jeff: Yea. I work in magnificent school, CUNY is a temple university because it represents New York. And New York represents the world. And we value that tremendously. I get perspective from my students, which is really important. But I also get perspective from my friends online. I get people like Raffed Ali; the public picture of he and his brother going to school in a horse cart back in India in the day. And I just begged him for more because it was a glimpse of a different life. And he has a different perspective on the world and I have tons of friends like that online and I just value. I’m not arguing with them, I’m not going to say well you have a dumb life. Because they don’t. I’m going to savor these glimpses into their lives. Friends of mine online who are from Turkey or from Iraq, and that kind of diversity, I have far more of that than I ever could have had living in my little suburb.
Leo: So let’s throw out both the New York Times article and the Q study.
Jeff: And while you’re at it, throw out Scoble with the bath water, will you? John’s joking, Robert. John’s joking.
Leo: That is one place, Facebook particularly is one place where I see dissenting views. I follow people because I know them or because they’re family members. Not because they agree with me. Twitter maybe also.
Jeff: I see more of the I did this and I did that.
Leo: I see that, too. But I have a few friends whose political viewpoints differ greatly from mine. And I see a lot of their posts. Google Plus, I pretty much tend to see people who agree with me.
Jeff: But you could also kill those who don’t.
Leo: That’s maybe part of it. On the other hand, Google Plus really lends itself to discussion more I think.
Jeff: It really does. That’s important to us. What we’re seeing is the form matters. There was a, sorry the lights just went off. Hold on a second.
Leo: Jeff is plagued by the flinty parsimony of the University. The lights will turn off if Jeff doesn’t move enough.
Jeff: Your tax dollars at work, man.
Leo: By the way, I like that phrase. I just made that up. Flinty parsimony.
Jeff: I like that. It’s a flavor of ice cream.
Leo: I should write that down. I’m going to use that somewhere. Maybe the title of this show.
Gina: Parsimony, mmm.
Leo: You must have been watching the Simpsons marathon. Mmm, parsimony.
Jeff: This is what happens when you play games for 20 hours. Odd things start to amuse you.
Leo: At least my brain still works. I wasn’t sure.
Jeff: So there was a famous study done at the NIH, actually done by the father of my college girlfriend, John Calhoun. Growing rats into an environment. Remember that one?
Leo: No, tell me more.
Jeff: They overcrowded and then what happened.
Leo: Yea, that’s very famous.
Jeff: There were bridges, and some rats staked out the good spots. And they overcrowded the spots. And so there’s always been debates about Calhoun’s study. And I just read yesterday in a lecture about it now. And I was having thoughts about the rat study while done online. Because one of the studies about the rates was not so much they were over crowded but that they were over stimulated with interaction. And it struck me; the odd thing is online especially on Twitter, we all act like a bunch of angry rats. But the truth is that we’ve all the space in the world. We have unlimited virtual space. There is no reason we should feel overcrowded and get grumpy. We should just be able to walk around anything that displeases us. We should all be in harmony and happiness because we can ignore anything we want. Why don’t we? I don’t have an answer to that.
Leo: Because I think most people’s minds, anyway our minds are interested in dissenting points of view. And maybe we even like a little bit of conflict and argument. I like it. Not in moderation but I enjoy the healthy back and forth.
Gina: I mean I think your experience is sort of defined by who you follow as well. I don’t know that I see a whole lot of debate. And partially that’s just my personality. I don’t love conflict. So you know I was just actually just talking to my coworkers about two people I follow who just got into it. In the middle of the night, and it got weird and mean. And it made me uncomfortable. And I was bummed out. And I know that this is kind of lame, and that conflict shouldn’t bug me so much. But I just don’t see that, that often. When I do see it, it makes me sad and I tend to either unfollow or mute or whatever. But most of the folks that I follow are pretty chill. So I think that Jeff in particular invites debate because he’s a write and because he inserts opinion. And people engage him with that. But I don’t know if everyone uses Twitter in that same way.
Leo: No, in fact I think I’m the same as you, Gina. Mommy and daddy are fighting, oh no! I don’t like conflict. I will go to great lengths to avoid conflicts, even if I’m getting crappy service.
Gina: I enjoy debate but once it gets personal and people start to call names, which happens so quickly it feels like. Particularly on Twitter, it gets bad for me.
Leo: Not just Twitter. It’s the same everywhere. That’s social media. And maybe that’s the flaw. That we’re not getting real conversations; we’re getting flame wars.
Jeff: That goes back to Mike’s point last week about Google Plus. Is that you actually can have conversations there, which requires control. There’s this gap between openness where anything can happen and control where you can have civility.
Leo: Let’s teach our kids to have respectful debates.
Jeff: The answer is not a technological answer. The answer is a matter of societal norms and we’re trying to figure out and get used to this. Back into my techno-panic from years panic when I was doing research. And there was, right after the telegraph started, there were novels about women being seduced by men over the telegraph.
Leo: If only!
Jeff: One of them was a famous novel and…
Leo: I love you, stop. Please kiss me, stop.
Jeff: I think it was Clive Thompson who reviewed one of them recently. And it’s pretty amazing stuff. But society didn’t know what to do. Oh my God, if you think about it, the telegraph was the first opportunity to have a live conversation with someone at distance. You couldn’t have done that before. And that freaked people.
Leo: Well think about it. You never would have a flame war or trolling in person. Face to face, people are more respectful.
Jeff: Here it is, if you want to read. Wired love, a romance of dots and dashes. By Elle Cheva Thare, if you want to look it up, Chad.
Leo: I have it here. It’s a good read, 1880. Wow.
Leo: It’s a romance novel.
Jeff: It’s Clive Thompson who reviewed it and said it was actually surprisingly relevant.
Leo: Collision detection. Wired love, a romance of dots and dashes by Ella Cheva Thare. The old, old story in a new, new way. MDCCLXXX; 1880. Miss Natty Rodgers, telegraph operator; lived as it were in two worlds. The one, her office to proportions. Flinty in its parsimony.
Leo: Oh you remember my speaking of wondering whether a gentleman or lady. Oh yes, Quimby remembered and fidgeted in his chair. He proved to be a gentleman. Oh yes, exactly you know, responded Quimby, looking anything but elated. Must be really romantic and fascinating talking to somebody so far away. A mysterious stranger one has never seen. I should get up a nice little sentimental affair immediately; I know I should! Yes, telegraphy has it’s romantic side. It would be dreadfully dull if it did not. Wow. Very interesting.
Jeff: Love in dots and dashes.
Leo: That is great. So what is this? I’m just reading this Claire Kane Miller and I realized this is a new thing that New York Times started called the Up Shot.
Jeff: It’s their answer to box and 538.
Leo: So it’s the Times but it’s like the snappy.
Jeff: Data, we use data here.
Leo: Yea, an opinion. Like you don’t want me to recline in my airline seat, well you can pay me by Josh Barr. That’s right above Claire Kane Miller’s How Social Media Silents Debate and Don’t Get Mad if Burger King Gets Canadian. This is not your father’s New York Times.
Jeff: It’s trying to have that perspectivey thing.
Leo: This is where they put their interactive charts.
Leo: Data-viz. Interesting. So this is to appeal to the internet generation or something?
Leo: It’s web-only, there’s no newspaper version of this?
Jeff: I don’t know if they quote some stuff in the paper or not. I actually never look at the paper. I haven’t the faintest idea.
Leo: This story is quite interesting. Uber’s secret agent. So you see what Uber; and the Verge gets credit by the way for the great big scoop; what Uber has been trying to do to Life. Now Uber and Lift are ride-sharing services. They’re kind of disintermediating taxi cabs. They use apps on your smartphone to order a ride. And you gets all sorts of nice features. Like you can see where the driver is and so forth. Lift is somewhat more down-market. They have pink mustaches on their cars. And the car can be older. Uber, the car has to be newer. Uber has Uber-X which is a little more like Lift. But apparently because this market is a zero-sun market, every ride Lift gets is a ride Uber won’t. And vice versa. Uber’s been resorting to some pretty dirty tactics.
Jeff: Now there’s arguments about this; that whether Uber’s goal was to waste money on Lift. Or if Uber’s goal was to just recruit drivers from Lift.
Leo: I think it’s the latter. They have operation slog. And the idea is that they hired considerable number of street operatives who get paid only on commission, $750 according to the Verge, for every Lift driver they seduce over to the Uber side. And what these guys is they get a burner phone. They’re supposed to move around on different street corners, call for a Lift cab. Get in the cab, and start a conversation with the aim of getting that driver to become an Uber driver. How much better it is, and blah blah blah. The problem is of course is once you’ve done that once, you don’t want somebody else doing the same thing. And you don’t want to get; so apparently there’s a considerable number of cancellations when people realize oh I’ve talked to that guy already.
Gina: Oh, so that’s where the cancellations are happening.
Jeff: That’s the story now.
Leo: CNN had reported that Uber employees had ordered then cancelled more than 5000 Lift rides. And this number from Lift, of course. Lift says Uber’s flat-out lying to their customers. I have to say even if it’s just recruitment, it’s very aggressive.
Jeff: Unfair to those drivers who get cancelled.
Leo: And unfair to the rider who doesn’t get a ride because some…
Jeff: To that matter, demand pricing, if the demand seems unofficially high, it raises the pricing for everybody, doesn’t it?
Leo: I think the Verge has done some very good reporting here. They’ve got the documents, they’ve talked to slog recruit’s. By the way, Uber has responded by reminding slog recruit’s that they have signed an NDA and they are not to speak to the press.
Jeff: It’s also interesting that there is obviously an Edward Snowden of the cab world here.
Leo: There’s a leaker, or two! But these leakers are leaking out the documents and so forth. And this is all over the country. Thousands of them. I think the Verge has nailed them. Even if it’s not cancelling rides. And I believe that is probably just a side effect. Not that anybody minds.
Jeff: Just for a second, just for the sake of argument. If they were try to lose them business. It’s just like click-fraud. I’m going to cost my competitor money. Is that illegal? Under what laws is it illegal?
Leo: It’s anti-competitive.
Jeff: Is that what it would be?
Leo: I’m sure that could be interpreted as some sort of anti-competitive.
Jeff: It’s fraudulent behavior.
Leo: I tell you, it makes me not want to ride either Uber or Lift.
Gina: Why not Lift?
Leo: I don’t know. I feel like Lift is also sort of stirring the pot here.
Gina: How so?
Leo: Because they’re the ones who said, hey 5000 rides cancelled.
Jeff: These guys should be saying our highest priority is that you have a safe ride accommodated to your destination. And that’s what they should be concentrated on. And by concentrating on this who-ha, it makes me wonder who much they really care about customer service. They’re just a volume business like the manufacturer of my light switch.
Leo: Again with the flinty parsimony! For the most part, ambassadors work at events or on college campuses promoting Uber as a cheap and easy way of getting around town; that goal to recruit riders, Uber calls slanging. But since at least mid-summer, some brand ambassadors in New York have been turning their users against Lift. Using Uber-provided phones and credit cards. The contractors hail rides, strike up conversations with the Lift drivers and attempt to sign them up before they arrive at their destination. In other cities, recruiters travel with driver kit’s that include iPhones and everything else a driver needs to get started on Uber. By the way, it’s not illegal although the companies discourage it for drivers to drive for both Lift and Uber, to have both.
Gina: Haven’t these drivers… I feel really conflicted about this whole thing. Because on one hand, being ruthlessly competitive; is it illegal or not? I find the whole thing distasteful.
Leo: It’s illegal to order a pizza, to prank somebody by having a pizza delivered to their house. It’s the same thing.
Gina: The cancellations are horrible, but the actual rides where the Uber folks are paying Lift to give them the ride but having this conversation with them in the car. That doesn’t seem; but I find it distasteful. But as a business owner, it makes me question where are my lines? Uber’s very aggressively trying to recruit drivers. The first question that came into my mind is these drivers are aware that Uber exists, right? They’ve clearly tried Lift. It’s interesting to me and sounds like Uber is giving these Lift drivers the harder sell; that they didn’t know before. I have always felt weary of Uber. Part of it is that they’re getting built into all these different apps, including Google Maps. It feels like there’s this classes thing going on. The Uber helicopters to the Hamptons; it just feels so, I don’t know. It feels sketchy to me.
Jeff: I think it’s a brand issue.
Leo: Well now that it’s out, it’s black mark against Uber for sure.
Gina: Yea. And yet everyone seems to think they’re the best way to get a ride. And you hear the Uber-ization of everything. Uber is this model for what startups should be. Or like certain kinds of innovation should be; and that also makes me nervous.
Leo: There may be a little under current of startups where there’s such drive to succeed and turn and to grow and to appeal to the investors. And make sure they’re happy, that maybe you crossed the line a little bit because of it.
Gina: Yea, growth hacking and stupid back-handing tricks to pump up page views or get users. This is part of it.
Jeff: It’s when we operate by the wrong metrics in what you measure. What we talked about last week.
Leo: Isn’t Uber beloved because they’re modern, they’re cool. They wouldn’t do this kind of stuff. They’re the good guys.
Jeff: They’re empowering you to get a cheap ride. They’re empowering the driver to make a living doing this. They could be so above it. But this is where the metrics come in. But who is judging their success? It’s not riders or drivers at all. It’s investors.
Gina: They deliver kittens, they deliver ice cream. It’s this high end feeling; it feels like a premium service. Like you’re getting treated like a rich and famous person.
Jeff: By the way, when you get in an Uber card, do you get in the front or back?
Leo: The back! Why would you sit in the front? What are you a commie?
Leo: On the Lift I would sit in the front. In the Uber, I’m in back, baby.
Leo: Oh yea.
Gina: Because the brand difference?
Leo: Yea. It’s the difference between a Lincoln Continental and a Toyota Celica. With Lift, I’m getting in the front seat because it’s a lift from my buddy. With Uber, that’s a driver and I’m in a black car.
Jeff: Uber-X, I’m talking.
Leo: I don’t do Uber-X. I’ve only done Uber a few times. We don’t have Uber or Lift in Petaluma. We have a taxi cab company.
Jeff: It’s very nice.
Leo: A very nice taxi company. And actually I’m starting to like the taxi model.
Gina: I used Uber once in San Francisco. Ron from All About Android called me in Uber or tapped me in Uber to get back after doing All About Android in studio. Here in Brooklyn, I call 7th Avenue Car Service.
Gina: Local business.
Leo: So you don’t use Uber either? You have Uber, you can do it.
Gina: Yea. But even in New York, it’s just old habits.
Jeff: I never use a cab. I haven’t been in a cab in five years here.
Jeff: Maybe that’s admiration and it’s a rare day. I don’t do buses, I just do subways.
Leo: Alright I’m going to take a break. When we come back, you guys can pick. I see a lot of stories, nothing just wows me, but you guys can pick the stories you want to talk about. Of course Google has the change log coming up. We could talk about Amazon getting Twitch, stealing it away from Google. Apparently in a bidding war. Oh this is the slow time. In a week, we’re going to have new iPhones, maybe even new iWatch is the rumor. We’re going to have a new Moto X. I’ve got a conundrum. I’ve had this phone for a whole month. I don’t know what I’m going to do next! No, I have a conundrum because I really like the One Plus actually. But I love the Moto X and I can’t wait to see what they do. And I want the 360 because it’s round. Even if it’s a flat tire round. LG has figured it out; they said we don’t have to have a flat tire round. That makes me mad because I bought a square LG. It’s like c’mon guys. There’s a balancing act between coming out too soon and too late. And then of course the new iPhone which looks very appealing especially. And I think now the rumors are congealing around the idea that there will be not only a 4.7 inch but a 5.5 inch.
Gina: Five five. One plus one size.
Leo: I like it. Big is good.
Jeff: How big is the current iPhone?
Leo: Four inches. And that’s up from 3.5 two years ago.
Gina: My iPhone friends see my phone and they’re just like what is that? Is it a table-top?
Leo: The world is now divided between the smallies and the biggies.
Jeff: But it feels so normal to me now.
Leo: Yes, you get used to big. And nobody anymore jokes about, oh is that side of beef you’re talking into? It doesn’t happen anymore, except for among the iPhone crew.
Jeff: One thing, Gina you were right. The front jeans pocket doesn’t work.
Gina: Yea, it doesn’t work anymore, it’s true.
Leo: But I’ve always kept my phone in my breast pocket.
Jeff: That’s so nerdy.
Leo: It’s like a pocket square. It’s very stylish.
Gina: It’s very Don Draper, yea.
Leo: No, it is not.
Leo: No, sorry Leo.
Leo: I wish it were. I wish I were Don Draper. God, you don’t know how much I wish I were Don Draper. At least I have a great mattress. If Don Draper had a mattress, he would have a Casper! I am not kidding. Let me tell you. I spent a lot of time buying mattresses, I don’t know why. In the last couple of years, I’ve bought several mattresses. I got one that was too firm. And then I got one that was too soft. And now I’ve got one that was just right. And the problem is, you go in the mattress store and you lie in the mattress with the big-eyed person looking at you. And you can’t really tell. Are you supposed to curl up? You can’t tell. You just lie there looking at the ceiling and go I guess I’ll take that one. In my head, I think I like firm. But then, so I got soft. But then I don’t like it too soft. Anyway, Casper is great. One of the reasons Casper is great is first of all they’re very affordable, very well-made. Very nice mattresses. And you have one hundred days to return it. So you have more than three months to see whether you like it. You’re going to get a great night sleep. Show the video. First of all, this is hysterical. Shipping is free. It comes in a box. This is a queen size mattress that is like a college refrigerator size. So you open the box; by the way I didn’t do it right. They say open the box where you want your mattress to be. I opened it in the foyer. But that’s okay. It comes with a little opener; it has Ty-Vek sleeve. You open it up and then it goes fwoof! It plumps. And now you’ve got a really comfortable mattress using just the right combination. Watch this; premium latex and memory foam. Which is just what I want. So it’s soft on top with a firm underneath. I can’t describe it; it’s great. Long-lasting comfort and support. Very affordable. You buy it online, completely risk-free because you have free delivery and painless returns with 100-day period. Casper people have a great sense of humor. They sent me a book in my Casper box. There’s Lisa, she loves it too. They sent me Litton Strakey’s eminent Victorian… in a box. Which will definitely put you out. Thank you, Terry, for that. But it’s really cool. Statistically, they say lying in a bed in a showroom has no correlation to whether it’s the right bed for you. And I will vouch for that. These are made in America. They’re really comfy. They do a great job. They even give you a little good night book that tells you how to live with your Casper. You can put it right on the floor. I liked this so much I got one for Henry for his dorm, not dorm but his house, his college house. And that’s how he’s going to do it, right on the floor. But you can also put it on a box spring or a slatted base. It’s well-made, really nice, and very comfortable. No springs. If you’ve ever slept on a foam mattress, you’ll say where’s the lumps? They’re perfect. But don’t think it’s just a piece of foam. It really isn’t. It’s really nice. And this cover can be unzipped and washed. I am very happy. They have a very nice team there. So I just want you to try Casper mattresses. You’ll find them at caspersleep.com/twig. And save $50 by the way when you use the offer code TWIG. $500 for a twin, $950 for a king. Now compare that to the prices at the mattress store. Plus, 100 days.
Jeff: Plus you don’t have to go through all that mishigash, say is that mattress like that mattress? It’s a whole industry that’s made up trying to fool you.
Leo: Petaluma has like eight mattress stores. And literally they’re twice as expensive as the Casper. These are really nice. I’m very happy. When I showed a picture of the Casper on Twitter, a lot of people said I’ve been thinking about it. Do you like it? And I said yes, I do very much. You should try it. And of course, 100 days to return it if you don’t like it. By the way, for every mattress that you purchase through this show, Casper is going to donate $50 to Child’s Play which is a very nice charity. It helps sick kids.
Leo: Yea, I like that. You know, they’re really nice people. Caspersleep.com/twig. You’ll save $50 and $50 will go to Child’s Play.
Jeff: I’m shopping for one.
Leo: I know that if you get it and then you don’t like it, I’m never going to hear the end of it.
Jeff: Oh no.
Leo: No, I know you, Jeff. And you will like it. I’m not kidding.
Jeff: More than my light switch.
Leo: Well that I don’t like. No flinty parsimony at Casper.
Jeff: No flinty mattresses for me.
Leo: No! So, why don’t we play the trumpets and do the change log? Let’s do it.
[Voice]: The Google change log!
Leo: And now ladies and gentlemen, Gina Trapani.
Gina: We’ve got a few things today. If you’re on iOS, Google has released updates to the docs and sheets app for iOS. And this update lets you open, edit, and save Microsoft Office documents. They’ve also released Google Slides for iOS.
Gina: Yea, big new feature here in sheets and docs is you can edit Microsoft Office documents natively. So you can open anything created in Office and then you can also save those files in their original Office formats. And you can create and edit Google Slides on iOS now with the new slides app. So yea, get those before the new iPhone comes out. Hangouts got a refresh in Gmail. Which adds this new contacts tab. There’s a little tab, it’s not a text label, it’s just and androgynous person icon. But you tap on that icon and it sorts your contacts by whether or not they’re online. So it puts your online contacts on top. And you can also pin certain contacts on top as well.
Leo: I want Hangouts to get better. I feel like it’s so close. It’s just so heavy-weight. I don’t know what’s wrong. But I really want to use the Hangouts. I really want to like it.
Jeff: The Android Hangouts app just drives me nuts because I can’t tell if I’m sending a Hangouts message or an SMS.
Leo: Most of my phone calls are with Hangouts, even at home. Because I can wear my headset and I sit in front of the computer. It’s just easy.
Gina: Yea. Jeff, I think there may be a setting in Hangouts that lets you set different colors or separate different Hangouts. I’ll look into that.
Jeff: Jarvis just complains, Gina solves.
Gina: No, but of course that’s not the fault. Because Google wants all your messages to be seamlessly together. Hangouts is still just a little bit clunky in that area. There’s a big update to a very old app. Do you guys remember Google News and Weather for Android? It came out forever ago.
Leo: Oh yea!
Gina: It hasn’t gotten any love for a really long time. And boom, version 2.0 just dropped adding material design. It’s got the card layout akin to what you see in Google Now. There’s support for local news and weather for multiple locations. New resizable home screen widget. It’s for Android 4.0 and higher, and it’s rolling out gradually. We covered this last night on All About Android and I though why not just Google Now? The difference between News and Weather and Google Now is that News and Weather is actually kind of a full-featured news app with different sections, technology, sports. We get kind of a more conventional, typical newspaper. Whereas Now recommends news based on the things that you search for.
Leo: How many news apps does Google need? I stopped installing this one, and installed Currents. Then they let that one go, and then Newsstand…
Jeff: Newsstand which is okay. It’s not rolled out to me yet. I think it’s for the news junky. But I think it’s kind of a waste. They have this tremendous power of Google News, and they’re not using it.
Leo: I’m going to download News and Weather again. I’m going to install it.
Jeff: I don’t have it yet.
Leo: Oh, I don’t see it in the… so it’s not everywhere yet?
Gina: Yea, it seems to be rolling out gradually, so you may not see it on your phone or tablet right away. I really like Circa. For when I want to browse news. The Guardian app is also great. Material design, maybe it’s just an example of what material design should look like. Speaking of Android, the Google search app for Android updated with navigation cards that look like the ones in Google Maps. So if you search for destinations or directions between two locations in the Google Search app, you’ll get these navigation cards that display a map that outlines the trip with the approximate travel time, distance, suggested and alternative routes, desired mode of transportation, and step-by-step directions. That’s all just in the Google Search results without having to launch Maps. Of course you can just tap on the card to launch Maps if you want to do that. And finally, Google Plus users can now import their videos into their YouTube accounts. So you’ve auto-uploaded videos to Google Plus or you want to back them up to YouTube, or publish them to YouTube; you can go in YouTube and go to the uploads page and click on the import button. And then you’ve got a chooser; you can choose any of your Google Plus videos and bring them onto YouTube. Then you can publish them onto YouTube if you want. So that’s kind of a nice benefit of having Google Plus and YouTube kind of merged. And that’s all I’ve got.
Leo: Oh yea, import video. Neat. I have a lot of video, all of it trivial and dumb. Because it’s camera phone video. But maybe I should put it on YouTube. Why not?
Gina: Why not?
Leo: Okay, that’s the change log. Play the drums!
Jeff: Alright, Leo. Since you’re the master of accents, the thing I wanted you to try out today; did you see how you can fool Google Now into responding to you with a British accent if you use a British accent.
Jeff: I haven’t tried it myself. I want to see if you, the master can make this happen.
Leo: Okay, Google. Wait, everything’s responding now. Stop it! Oh no, stop it. I hate it when that happens! I’m British, what are you going to do now? Alright, oh dear let’s close that. There. Is it in the okay Google that you have to British?
Jeff: After you say okay Google, ask a question in your normal California accent. And then ask the next question in a British accent. And according to this unless I’m being fooled by this video, it answers back to you in a different voice.
Leo: It doesn’t seem right. How tall is Will Chamberlain?
[Voice]: Will Chamberlain is seven foot, one inch tall.
Leo: How tall is Neville Chamberlain? It won’t know that. I’m sorry, let me do something it can answer. How tall is the queen?
[Voice]: Elizabeth II is five feet, four inches tall.
Leo: Wow, she’s tall. I didn’t think she was that tall. I doubt that works. How could it tell?
Jeff: It could be faked up.
Leo: Hello governor! How tall is Mary Poppins? I’ve better get this corrected before I go to London. They’re going to chase me out of the town. I think you were punked.
Jeff: What’s the weather in London?
Leo: Okay, Google. Where is the nearest place to get bangers and mash? You have to stuff it will talk, I’m sorry. How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?
[Voice]: Golden Gate Bridge has a length of 8,980 feet.
Jeff: How… I can’t do an accent.
Gina: I’m not even going to try, guys.
[Voice]: How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?
Leo: Oh, he asked the same question.
[Voice]: Golden Gate Bridge has a length of 8,980 feet.
[Voice]: Okay, Google. How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?
Gina: Yours is better.
[Voice]: Golden Gate Bridge has a …
Leo: That is bogus, absolutely bogus.
Gina: Yea, your accent was definitely heavier.
Leo: Absolutely bogus. That is edited to change the fact, to change the settings in the middle of that.
Jeff: You just can’t trust anything on the internet.
Jeff: My favorite can’t trust it story of the day. It’s all over in my world. The independent reports that the times of London in its new office has speakers up and they’re going to put in the sound of clicking type writers to motivate the staff. The staff doesn’t even know what a type writer sounds like.
Leo: What’s that noise? Do we have wood peckers?
Jeff: Put in the smell of ink.
Leo: There you go! And sweat. Amazon buys Twitch. We thought, and reported it as if it was true, that Google was going to buy Twitch. No. The stories have varied. Tech Crunch said that Google blinked. That Google somehow didn’t bid enough and Tech Crunch was the one who reported that Google had acquired them. The price is the same. A billion dollars; actually the deal, Amazon says was $970M in cash. Wow. And the rest was in retainer fees to people in the company.
Jeff: Forbes said the reason backed off was because antitrust fears.
Leo: Yes, rightly so. Although well, I don’t know. That may not be fair. I think there’s enough competition in that space. Why would Amazon…
Jeff: But what space is it?
Leo: Well the space of watching people play video games.
Jeff: Yea, I know!
Leo: Antitrust huh? First of all, that makes no sense. I’ve never seen a company yet drop a bid for antitrust. And Google itself-bought Motorola. Companies don’t act in fear of antitrust. They act and then if they get turned down they don’t do it. But T-Mobile and Sprint, Comcast and Time Warner; I don’t think companies act that way. That doesn’t sound right. I mean, really. XM and Sirius; these are all things that you would have thought on the face of it. There’s no way they’re going to get those through.
Leo: And I think you could make a strong case that Twitch is one of many streaming services that’s not.
Jeff: So you think that’s a face-saving rumor because they lost the deal?
Leo: Yea, I think they lost the deal. And it could be the Twitch folks wanted more money or it could be they didn’t want to work for Google. Remember, then they’re just a small part of a bigger operation called YouTube. But Amazon, they probably have the run of the place. In fact, I was wondering, why Amazon?
Gina: Yea. I was also wondering that.
Leo: Amazon is clearly moving towards creating content. They do shows now. In fact, my suspicion is that they would have liked to get the hashets of the world out of the publishing business and just publish direct. Why not control the content? But they don’t really have a platform where… they don’t have a live-streaming platform at all. And so I’m not sure what the overall… it makes so much sense to tie it to YouTube. Where watching people game is a big part of YouTube. A billion dollars is a lot for Amazon. They only have about $5B in cash. So that’s 20% of… yea that’s a lot of money. They say they’re not going to move Twitch to Seattle that they’re going to leave them in San Francisco.
Jeff: What’s to move?
Leo: Yea, it’s not that many employees. I don’t know.
Jeff: I still don’t get it. I know I’m an old fart. I know it. This is making me feel older than any other discussion we have. I just don’t get Twitch.
Leo: You know, I get Twitch much more than I get YouTube. I don’t get YouTube. But I do understand Twitch. Chris, remember this is the guy who spent nine hours last night playing Diablo 3. But I would rather play than watch somebody play. But there are a lot of reasons to watch somebody play. In fact, I often do watch Twitch videos before I buy a game because I want to see what the game looks like.
Jeff: I get that.
Leo: The biggest thing I think that’s happening, and Chad’s probably a better guy to ask than me. But the biggest thing I think’s happening is it’s not much about the game play. The most successful ones are humorous. They’re funny. And the game play is just an excuse; just a stage on which they can perform. Is that right, Chad, do you think?
Chad: Absolutely. None of these people are experts on the game.
Leo: Well some are, but very few.
Chad: Very few.
Leo: You’re not talking thresh here.
Chad: I would say, two or three out of 100.
Leo: The ones I see Michael watching, it’s not even about the game play. He’s not learning game play, it’s humor.
Chad: Absolutely, it’s entertainment.
Leo: It’s like red versus blue. It’s like machinema.
Jeff: It was not worth the trouble. But the joke I wanted to do was to make one of me playing solitaire.
Chad: And there’s people that are so entertaining that they can do that.
Leo: That’s exactly right.
Chad: They play Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood iPad game, and it’s hilarious. Every moment of it.
Leo: If you’re funny…
Gina: Well, there’s a lot of comedic material there. They’re just using the game as a rip off.
Leo: That’s right, it’s a stage.
Gina: But they’re talking about the game and they’re making fun of the game.
Leo: And they make the people do stupid things.
Chad: If you think about it, I mean the biggest game currently on Twitch right now is League of Legends. That is not a funny game. There is nothing built into that game to make it funny or entertaining.
Leo: Well let’s really drive Jeff batty. Let’s just watch a little Twitch TV now, what do you say? Who’s the best League of Legends… that’s the biggest game right now; 26,000 people right now. Ladies and gentlemen, you may hear some profanity here, because most of this stuff is fairly profane.
Jeff: Is that life?
Leo: First, let’s have pancakes. And this by the way is where the money comes from. Amazon may just see this as an ad platform they don’t have. And there you go. By the way, there’s no skip button on this.
Chad: No it’s a 30-second pre-roll that you can’t skip.
Leo: You know what’s really bad, they started the game and then they went to the ad.
Chad: They let you know you can watch the stream, but after this ad is done.
Leo: Pancakes. Okay here we go, let’s listen and watch. This is 26,000 people; more people are watching this than are watching us.
Leo: So he’s got some rap music; that’s not part of the game.
Leo: So this guy’s not even saying funny things.
Chad: I’m not sure if this is perhaps a tournament and he’s not saying anything because he’s truly trying to play.
Leo: This is Night Blue 3 playing.
Chad: I mean I would say the same; not getting much out of that TP.
Leo: He sounds like he’s 12.
Chad: Probably is.
Leo: So this is a guy who’s actually playing. And people are watching this because they’re learning about League of Legends.
Chad: Yea, he’s also saying game-specific; like AD as in AD Carry which is a specific type. He’s farming so he’s trying to get the minions to get more gold so he can level up his character label.
Leo: Why would you do this, Chad instead of just play the game?
Chad: Lots of people who are watching this can’t afford the same type of perks he has.
Leo: So you’re watching a high-level player.
Chad: Right. And he’s very skilled. It’s like watching sports.
Leo: So League of Legends may not be a very good example.
Chad: It’s very true. It’s hard to parse everything into Twitch into one stream. And on top of that, one 30-second stream.
Leo: Let’s watch Rabbit Bong play. So she’s cute.
Leo: Does that help?
Chad: She also has a face cam which is known to draw more people.
Leo: There’s a chat room here, on the left.
Chad: Yep, she’s streaming that.
Leo: And she’s wearing a low-cut jumper. You’re right, Jeff. I’m too old.
Chad: You’ve also gone into the deep end and you’re expecting to watch 30 seconds worth and understand the whole community.
Jeff: That’s like the argument about Christianity.
Leo: I’m in too deep. Well I’m just looking for something. Let’s look at some of the most popular channels.
Jeff: I know I’m the weird one here. I’m not criticizing. I don’t get it!
Leo: Well you want to know. Mind craft might be more appropriate. Right, Chad? Do you see more humor in Mind Craft?
Chad: There can be. But humor is very good. That’s always going to happen. But streams, you have so much time to fill.
Leo: There’s a lot of dead time. And some of the viewership is just on in the background? Or are people just actually watching it, glued to it?
Chad: Most of it is in the background.
Jeff: It says the funniest Twitch user is Wshand.
Leo: You ever hear of him, Chad?
Chad: He may not be live right now.
Jeff: Oh you can’t watch it…?
Leo: Yea, you can. It doesn’t have to be streaming. Let’s search for Wshand. Wshand dice.
Jeff: No sleep is always good for some late-night laughs that is Reddit.
Leo: Okay, well I think we’ve done enough.
Jeff: Well you haven’t made me laugh!
Leo: Okay, but there is a guy, get this…
Gina: Be entertaining!
Leo: There is a guy on Twitch that streams the Oregon Trail. Now that’s got to be; nobody’s trying to get better at the Oregon Trail unless he’s in fourth grade.
Chad: One of my favorites is man versus game, who’s like he’s going through basically every game in his childhood. And he has to beat it, then he moves onto the next game.
Leo: I like that idea.
Chad: Another one of my favorites is Sevenist, who does Mind Craft stuff. The thing is, is that you’re mentioning people and I’m just like I don’t know. Because I know the people that I like.
Leo: You know the YouTube people. Or do you watch Twitch?
Chad: I watch Twitch. I stream on Twitch once a week.
Leo: You do? What do you stream, Mind Craft?
Chad: Yea, Mind Craft. I’ve been doing the Sims 3, a lot. Modded Mind Craft is normally what I do. From 7pm to 10pm. Yea, it’s a three-hour…
Leo: So you’re playing it anyway, why not just stream it?
Chad: Yea, well… there’s definitely a very different atmosphere when you’re streaming it.
Leo: Here’s Monotone Tim playing Roller Coaster 2.
Chad: You probably just; did you just click into this highlight? Yea, so he’ll have like 15 minutes or so of prep time so that people can tell he’s live. And then they’ll join the chat room. So he’s probably playing something…
Leo: This is the highlight?
Chad: Yea, it’s VOD, it’s a video on demand of what happened in the past. So you’ll probably want to skip ahead.
Leo: Because it’s saying hold on. There we go.
[Voice]: Even elementary school teachers and what not. They had to know, like I am the world’s most gifted fourth grader.
Leo: Yea, you know what. I’m old too, Jeff.
Gina: I’m laughing at Leo, not at Twitch.
Leo: I’m old, too.
Gina Trapani: Not a TWiT show... This is terrible. This is like old people trying to understand this newfangled gaming screen thing.
Jeff Jarvis: It’s terrible. I mean this is making me feel old and out of it, I'm not making fun of people doing it, I just feel like... I'm old.
Leo: Alright. One more. This is from Gomer in our chat room. He says, "This video, if you watch this, this is why TWiT is worth one billion dollars. Day seven, fish versus fish in street fighter." Oh. But first an ad about something.
Gina: It feels like watching the director's commentary on a movie.
Leo: Not even that good, because it’s not even a movie you know or a director you care about.
Gina: It’s a viewer's commentary on a movie.
Chad: The way you're setting it up though, is basically setting up to fail. I mean, you don't go in and expect to watch...
Leo: Good. I want it to fail.
Chad: Thirty seconds worth of it.
Leo: I'll take half a billion for TWiT and I think it’s twice as valuable. Alright, here we go. Fish versus fish, playing street fighter.
Chad: You know TWit’s place, oh c'mon.
Leo: So these are actual fish... This is pretty funny. So these are... This is a fish tank in the upper left hand corner and on the fish tank, they have created a grid for the different moves, forwards, backwards... And then strikes, and so basically what you're seeing on the right is the actual street fighters fighting, according to random fish swimming around. And of course, not much is happening because the fish aren't really very aggressive. Oh! Oh! Oh! He actually won. But how long can you watch this?
Jeff: It’s funny...
Leo: No it’s good, I got it, it’s funny, that's good. And I'm done, because I don't think it’s going to be any different for the next four hours.
Gina: I want to do a video of gamer kids watching TWiG.
Leo: Yeah, they would really... "What are they talking about? Oh they're so stupid. Then what happened?"
Gina: "When are they going to be funny?"
Leo: "Is there gonna be a joke?"
Gina: "This is entertainment?" I'm just kidding.
Leo: I've wasted thirty seven years of my life, trying to learn how to do broadcasting and these kids... These kids today...
Jeff: They don't know professionals when they see them.
Leo: Okay, well, there you go. I think it makes sense if Amazon can put ads on it. I mean they can monetize it. It’s just a strange business.
Jeff: I think what's interesting on a bigger scale, it’s the coincidence of stories. But I've long felt that the real fight here is not Google versus Facebook or Google versus Microsoft. It’s Google versus Amazon. And we see...
Leo: That's interesting. Wow.
Jeff: And so we see this week, so fine. Google lost, and Amazon got it. We've seen that with other companies, where they say, "Oh, I got ya." Fine. We also see... Amazon entering the ad business and trying to get more serious about that, which maybe you're right Leo, it indicates something about...
Leo: It’s all about the ads.
Jeff: It is. Content and adds. And audience and adds. Google bought Zinc, a pretty high end, very high end special effects, in the Cloud company.
Leo: Well that makes sense. They need to buy more of this stuff for Chromebooks.
Jeff: Right, and they're going to move... Also they're going to move, it’s now served on the Amazon Cloud, not on... I was going to get a broom. A big broom and move it over there. It’s because I moved over so I didn't get the sunlight coming... Never mind.
Leo: It’s alright.
Leo: So Zinc's stuff has been used in Looper and Star Trek: Into Darkness...
Jeff: Yeah, so imagine if you could take that kind of functionality and bring it down to cloud based stuff for you or me. That's pretty powerful.
Leo: It ran on Amazon web services, obviously it wouldn't be running on Google services. Um. So it could just merely be that Google wants a proof of concept, see you can do this on our cloud. But i bet you it has to do with Chromebooks and the ability to do more with Chrome OS.
Jeff: The more they move high end activities to the cloud...
Leo: Well that's one of the main reasons you buy a computer is to edit video. You can't do that on a Chromebook... Or can you?
Jeff: Can you?
Leo: Wouldn't that be something? Alright. Your turn Gina. What story do you like on all of this? Cyanogen joining up with Google, Amazon, and HTC folks to build something unnamed... They're building something really cool, but we don't know what.
Jeff: But we don't know what.
Leo: That's good.
Gina: Okay... Yeah, that's pretty good. That's pretty good. We could do the Aspira story.
Leo: That's kind of... Yeah... Daspara, just a little recap that was the first Kickstarter project that I ever donated to. They were formed a few years ago, it was a bunch of college kids who said we can do a better facebook, and it will be and this is the key, distributed. It’s going to be a federated system where everybody can run a node, everyone who wants to can run a node and they're all federated together. They did in fact, do it, I guess. I mean that's surprised the... One, I thought it was long gone... But apparently...
Gina: No, it exists, there are nodes.
Leo: It exists and it’s being used by terrorists.
Gina: Right, I mean this goes back to our conversation we had last week, where Twitter was removing links to the ISIS video, the beheading video, because they have that sort of centralized control. But Deaspira, because it’s a federated network, ISIS said okay, we're going to distribute this video here. And there isn't one central controlling body that can remove all the links.
Leo: And in fact if you go to join Diaspora, the first thing they say is you can't join here. YOu have to find a pod or set up your own pod.
Gina: Not a node, a pod.
Leo: And if you have a pod or join another pod, then they will federate. And these are all the Deaspira hosted pods. THere's actually a pretty goodly list.
Gina: Yeah, there was this great conversation on Twitter and I wish I could find it and it was between Dave Morin and Chris Mancina, and a few of the people talking about like, the dream of the federated network, and the federated protocol, and how email is really the only federated network that we have.
Leo: What is federated, what does that mean?
Gina: Meaning that there's no central one body that owns it and controls it, right, that like... So with email, everybody sets up their own separate email server or maybe someone provides it for you, like Google or Microsoft or Yahoo or whatever, but they can all talk to one another, we all receive messages, basically the same way, using the standard protocol. And it’s not controlled, once an email is sent it’s not like any one person can delete the email from everywhere. It’s a network of nodes that send messages to and from one another, they can all understand one another and it works. Right? Unlike Twitter or Facebook where there's a central, it’s one company and whatever.
Leo: This was Evan Prodromou goal with Statusnet. In fact we ran the Statusnet server, it was a Twitter federated... Ah, Federated Twitter. We ran the Twit Army for a while. And you could post something on TWiT Army and would then go to Status.net and other places... So it’s... I think it’s a great idea, because it’s decentralized. Anyway the problem with Diaspora is it’s open source, so anybody can host a pod. Including the bad guys, whoever that might be.
Gina: Right ,that's a feature or a bug, depending on how you look at it, right?
Leo: It’s like saying, "Hey, Linus Torvalds, there's terrorists using Linux, you got to stop them!" You can't stop it. There's nothing you can do about it.
Jeff: But it goes back to the discussion we had last week, does openness necessarily breed bad behavior.
Leo: No, it breeds all behavior. Some of it will be bad, some of it will be good. Humans are humans. Until we perfect humanity we're not going to be able to say...
Jeff: But in other systems in society, we manage to deal with worms, so I don't go on the street and start yelling at somebody.
Leo: But that's what makes somebody a terrorist, is they don't care.
Jeff: But terrorists couldn't... Disrupt normal everyday life...
Leo: That's what they do.
Jeff: Real life, the way they can online.
Leo: Yeah, they do. That's their whole point.
Jeff: I'm trying to say, is there a step change here? That says that, um... It’s absolutely uncontrollable or will we develop norms and mechanisms to... Affect bad behavior more?
Leo: Yeah but norms only work to the point that somebody is willing to obey them. And people who, like terrorists, who have a strong mission, to the point they're willing to violate norms. Norms aren't going to protect you against terrorists.
Jeff: Leo, if I go in the streets of New York and I started screaming, and I would never do this but for a sake of example, a racist word. I would get shouted down, stared down, attacked, accused, people would stand up for right behavior again being produced.
Leo: Unless you were holding a gun while you did it. Then norms wouldn't help. Then you would have to have the police come and get you.
Jeff: Right. I wasn't saying that openness breeds terrorism, I said it breeds bad behavior. So, I'm asking the question whether that is a necessary condition. Because on the street, we have an open street and I have free speech in this country, and if I went out there spewing this, and as long as I didn't need my meds and I were just a hateful person, people would yell at me and scream...
Leo: They do that on Twitter too, but that doesn't stop you. I mean, they... If you're a troll or a bad person in comments or whatever, people will yell back at you.
Jeff: No, what we said was, what we say is don't feed the troll, ignore the troll, block the troll, let the troll keep on doing whatever the troll wants to do. So what would the metaphor in Times Square be? We would all just walk around the person screaming the horrid word, but I don't think that's happening here.
Leo: I think that’s what actually happens.
Jeff: Not in New York, no. I was walking across 44th St. today, some bozo is all unhappy and can't turn right, light turns, he's still trying to come into the intersection. I stand right in front of this ass, I point at him, I point at the traffic light, like the A-hole New Yorker that I am, and say TOUGH! Because he was violating the law. By God, I stood up for that, he was getting in the way...
Leo: You're lucky you didn't get run over...
Jeff: That's true too. But you know, I had my norm moment right there.
Leo: I think the world is the world and open, closed, whatever, if you have gathering places for people whether virtual or real, you're going to have bad behavior. The problem is that the norms have to be backed up by more than just good will, because goodwill isn't going to stop somebody who's actively negative, right?
Jeff: You can have criminals in either case, but what I'm trying to ask is...
Leo: You have that middle ground guy who's not a criminal but just wants to act out.
Jeff: Bad behavior. Does it breed bad behavior?
Leo: People walk around in New York City naked, and nobody stops them.
Jeff: Or just insulting people out of nowhere.
Leo: there's lots of people that do that, right?
Jeff: You're fat. You're really ugly. You're fat. Right? that wouldn't happen, unless there weren't meds needed in New York City, but it happens all over online.
Leo: Because there's no friction, right.
Jeff: Right, there's no friction. Our response is... There's no consequences.
Leo: Because you cannot enforce the friction. It’s a big difference. If you say to me I'm fat on Times Square, and I yell back at you I'm right there. It doesn’t matter if I yell at you on Twitter.
Jeff: So, ergo, we are stuck with bad behavior. We're stuck with one of two extremes, either you're open and have bad behavior. Or you're controlled, whether it’s by Facebook control or Mike Elgin's control on Google+ and that's the only way you're going to have good behavior. Is that what we're stuck with? I hope not. I pray not. Because I like openness.
Leo: I feel like the world is full of bad behavior, Jeff, all the time, and if you wish you could watch television news every night and get your stress level elevated.
Jeff: No, that's because television news oversimplifies isolated situations.
Leo: So does Twitter.
Jeff: I'm not so sure it’s over-amplified.
Leo: It’s amplified. Any broadcast medium is an amplifier. I don't know. I... No, I think... You're saying, "This is why we can't have nice things."
Jeff: Right, which is the title of a book coming out, right, I think?
Leo: Yeah, it just came out. Which is pretty much the same premise. I think we can have nice things, it’s just people are people. They're going to be bad, they're going to be assholes. There always will be.
Jeff: We deal with it better in real life, and so my question is will we come up with ways to deal with it better, additionally or is that impossible.
Leo: No, I'm sure we will. But, there's no way we can eliminate it. There will be... Bad behavior.
Gina: It’s distancing. It’s the separation, it’s the distancing. It’s the lack of face-to-face, right? Like, my wife is at her scariest when we're in the car. She gets upset... Road rage, I mean things come out of her mouth... She scares me! Seventeen years we've been married, she scares me, just in the car... And she'll say it, this is the place...
Leo: It's safer, it's safer.
Gina: Because it’s safer, and no one ever hears what she's saying, the windows are up. I mean, I say to her, why don't you while we're sitting next to the other car, why don't you roll down your window and say that to them? She'll say, nope. I just got to get this out. And it’s like that, on Twitter and online. There's no consequence.
Leo: But yeah, you know there may be people, in fact I guess there probably are, that think that one of us might be a horrible person online, and would like to shut us down.
Jeff: Ohhh Yeah.
Jeff: I just saw it two seconds ago. Somebody did a ridiculous thing against me, I'm not going to give them the attention, and out of nowhere somebody at an organization I respect said, "Oh boy, isn't that fun!" He knows better, it’s stupid. But that’s the... Our norm right now, is to, not just to not create fiction, it’s to grease the skins. Why... Yeah, exactly. So why does digital... What I'm hoping the answer is, is the same with the telegraph, damn it. People who had sex fantasies with dots and dashes, and then we figured it out and got used to it, we figured out our norms. The same with cameras and the same with everything else. My hope is it'll be the same with online. I believe it will be what I'm reaching for, is assurance that there's a path of stability even with openness.
Leo: Yeah. But you know there/s always going to be people who call in the swat squad on somebody, right?
Jeff: Yeah, oh yeah. We'll never have complete harmony. We'll never have complete... But I don't want it that way.
Leo: Life is full of irritants. If you don't want that, you should get a vat for yourself and a feed tube.
Gina: You know, I often think about this from the tech perspective, you know if email is the one true open social network, anybody can send me a message if they have my email address, however. And they can say whatever they want, however they want, but I have even a client that helps me control that experience. I have spam filters and other filters that I've set up and other whatevers scanning, and still stuff gets through. Sure. But, this is the point that...
Leo: And no norms are protecting you, that's just open.
Jeff: Because I hardly ever get the kinds of insults in email that I do get on Twitter. There's an obvious reason for that, because on Twitter, I'm showing off for people.
Leo: Twitter is public.
Jeff: But I got an email just last week, after the show last week, somebody saying to me in the second and first line of the email, "I think you're a dick." And I did email them back, I said, "Why would you think that I would read past that?" And I didn't.
Leo: See, why do you even respond? Why do you even respond to that?
Jeff: I don't know. But I said, "Save your keystrokes and bile."
Leo: But my response to that is the delete key.
Jeff: But that's... There's... then you created no friction to bad behavior.
Jeff: Then how do we ever get good behavior if you don't create friction to bad behavior?
Leo: I can pretty much guarantee you that responding to the guy does not help the situation.
Jeff: I've had cases where I've called people on their behavior and they've apologized... Because what I'm trying to do, I'm trying to argue, listen. If the person is a true dick then there's no curing them. If they need their meds, that's for doctors to do. But if what I'm saying, is if otherwise nice and intelligent people are acting like dicks online, and are encouraged to do so, and there's no friction against that, in fact there's greasing of their behavior in that case that's when...
Gina: There's a positive feedback loop, right. There's actually a positive feedback loop, right, where we do get rewarded, especially in the informative sort of sphere where snark and you know, quips and criticism actually kind of gets you more attention.
Leo: I guess it’s true that the nature of Twitter promotes that kind of thing. That's probably true.
Jeff: All I'm trying to ask is, is that necessary? Is that the end? Is there no hope, other than Twitter deciding that it has to proof things, and it starts killing stuff. Which I'm not arguing for.
Leo: We've all called for Twitter to have better tools. Not just tools to mute, but tools to block, ban...
Jeff: Which Gina's trying to create, Gina's suggestion for this is trying to create a level of friction. Make it so... Or put it a different way. Gina is trying to suggest a way to disconnect the circuit of the feedback loop for some people, if they get less attention, if they know they get less attention, maybe they'll do it less.
Leo: In the real world, I will confront somebody but in the digital world I will not. I just delete it. It’s easy enough to delete it. I don't have a lot of it, but there's... By the way, I don't always do that. I often... That's my policy. I often get, you know, steam comes out of my ears and I respond. It’s almost always a mistake. So, I know what... For me, I'm not saying for anybody else, but for me the right thing to do is to hit the delete key or the block key.
Jeff: All I'm saying is, as a society, we're building a society online and as a result of that are we building a better society. And I wish we would.
Leo: I like it. You're right. But meanwhile, Diaspora there's nothing you can do if terrorists want to use it, you're stuck.
Jeff: In their case, they're going to the proprietors and notifying them, and asking them to take it down.
Leo: But what you could do is just start your own pod. The ISIS pod. And run a server and then, you know, you could try to shut people down, but... That's part of the problem, by the way, it’s whack-a-mole. It’s very hard on the internet to shut down speech.
Jeff: And ISIS is the ultimate troll.
Leo: Yeah, I mean, talk about a troll.
Jeff: There is no stability there, that's the point.
Leo: So societal norms are not an issue there.
Jeff: No... So that rests out on the... We can't rule over everything. That's the problem with technopanic.
Leo: There's lots of middle ground where you could have some effect.
Jeff: So I guess my use case here, is people who would never do this otherwise. Who are decent, smart, civilized people. Who either say something snarky or to me, just as bad. They, "I don't do that, myself." But they yell, "Fight, fight!" and they encourage and think it’s funny. They don't think of feelings or the impact on another human being. How do we appeal to that human nature, of those people?
Leo: Just channel the Dalai Lama. Whatever he would do. What about that? I mean, seriously, instead of yelling back at them...
Gina: You're asking how to encourage thoughtfulness given a tool that's built to be instantaneous, off the cuff, the first thing that came to mind, right? There's like a conflict between building a super usable, easy product, especially with Twitter. 140 characters, direct link SMS, whatever. And asking smart people to think before they, you know, react to something. It’s tough. Part of what we're trying to think of is, trying to get people to think about... You know what the results of their actions are.
Leo: That's what you're doing. I didn't think about that.
Gina: Mindfulness and thoughtfulness isn't really an easy sell. Right?
Leo: But you're doing it in such a gentle, nice way. I didn't even think about that.
Jeff: You're creating a positive feedback loop.
Leo: We're sitting next to someone who is actually doing something about it.
Gina: I hope so. If we can make it a fun enough... What we're trying to do is package the broccoli in a Snickers bar. But I want to make it kind of a fun, delightful experience but the core of it is, hey. Think about what's going on here, and what you're, you know...
Leo: Is that really what the purpose of Think Up was?
Gina: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Making your time online more meaningful. We all spend our time online, spend our attention in certain ways, right? And are they making our lives better, are they making other people's lives better? Are we using these platforms in the best way we can? And absolutely it was that, from the very beginning.
Jeff: Give us kind of the story behind, on some of the insights that you offer and how you think that that is... I know it is. But I want to hear your rationale, your logical steps on when you chose what insights to create.
Leo: Yeah, we can look at my Think Up if you want, I've got it up here.
Gina: Yeah, sure. I mean it’s incredibly...
Leo: So you reward me for certain Tweets, you say this got a lot of retweets and favorites. I want to do more of that behavior.
Gina: Yeah, we definately... First, this is extremely difficult to quantify. It’s extremely difficult to quantify thoughtfulness and meaningfulness, right, because that's such a subjective thing. Part of what we do with Thinkup is let you know how are people reacting to this. Are they liking it? Are they amplifying it? Are they replying to it? Where were you a year ago?
Jeff: If you're saying, "Hey, Jarvis." A lot of people were retweeting that, saying are you sure you like that?
Gina: Yeah, and that's part of the challenge, right? If you mention, you know, you've got me tweets...
Leo: Oh, dear.
Gina: Well, in that case you retweeted someone and you got their message out to a bunch more people because you got a bigger audience than that person.
Leo: No, no, you see what happened there? He followed me, I don't have any control over that.
Jeff: Oh. I didn't even... I saw it go by, okay?
Leo: He followed me. What can I do? I'm lovable.
Jeff: Right, so when it says that I replied to Henry Blodgett ten times last week, it’s saying that we had a real conversation, and that's a good thing.
Gina: Yes, yes. And again, this is the really hard problem and just even kind of wording our headlines and commentary about whatever happened, the point is to sort of bring a kind of thoughtfulness to it. What do people react to, you know. Who's following you, that kind of thing.
Jeff: Because I've for the last week, I've... As I said last week, I wasn't going off Twitter but I've really tried to pull back and I'm doing the Dr. Strangelove thing. On certain conversations. I might have a smart assed line, I might have something to say and I just say, "Nope. Not going to do it." I got a lot of replies to one I sent in to laptop user... As a laptop using, six foot four inch frequent flier I sit in trapped solidarity of victims of seat back recliners. So you know what I have to say about that topic, and it caused a discussion. There were a few trollish comments, but most of all it was an honest...
Leo: That's one way to foster the kind of behavior you want online is to reward the good behavior. Not merely to punish the bad behavior. But... Have a wonderful conversation, and people look at that and go, "Oh look. If you don't just snark at him, you can actually have a good conversation." That's one way.
Jeff: So Facebook gets crap for trying to have a pleasant environment. They might do it clumsily, they might do it badly, but it is truly a social environment, a Thanksgiving table. That's what they're trying to be. That's where the PEW study was off, I think. And you can say it’s too controlled, Mom never lets us really talk, she always gets mad if we start to argue about anything, we can't talk politics at home, it’s no fun here. You can say all that stuff and it can be perfectly legitimate and plane as Facebook, but that's what Facebook is. It’s not an open platform.
Leo: This Tweet got twenty two replies. Wow. Casper Mattress - $900, Packers blanket - $50, fort made from Casper Mattress box - priceless. Credit to that to Lisa. That's her joke. But that's her son in the Casper box.
Jeff: I love Ozzy's cute look.
Leo: He's going... Errrrr? Let's take... This is a good conversation, as always. This show is full of them. And I'm full of it, so. Thank you. Let’s take a break, we're going to have to get your pics... What do you think of Tent, by the way? Is that anything interesting? Have you seen that, Gina?
Gina: What's Tent?
Leo: Tent.io. I think this is more of the stuff Kevin Marks was talking about, which is getting your data localized and this is kind of what you were talking about, federating communications. A protocol for personal data and communications, so you can federate your social media. Federate your blog posts, things like that. I think there's... You know, there maybe... Maybe there is a technological solution we can find, somewhere out there.
Gina: Yeah but the user experience has to be...
Leo: Yeah, this is... Can you run MongoDB on your... PHP 5.4 Apache stack?
Gina: Yeah. Just, you know...
Leo: No sweat, no sweat.
Gina: And then you're good to go. Just SSH into the server, and start it up and you'd be good.
Leo: I wish the world were full of people who knew how to do that. That would be a good world.
Gina: It'd be a different world.
Leo: It'd be different, but I like those people. It’s how i got into this, you know. I really just like geeks. And I feel comfortable with geeks, and I want to talk SSH and lap stacks. What else do I want to talk about? This. Look at this little box; this little box could change your world. This can mean that your printer, no matter what, even a USB printer that's not on the network, suddenly is not only a network printer, but a Google Cloud print compatible network printer. You could print to your, you know five year old USB printer that never even heard the word, Wifi, from any Android Phone, tablet ,chromebook, kindle fire... This is the Lantronix XPrintServer. What it does, it will take any printer, almost any printer, about four thousand top brand printers, and turn it into a network printer, that is compatible with Google, for cloud print and Android printing. It’s very easy too, there's no software to install anywhere. There's no upgrade. You just take it out of the box, plug it in, and you're printing. There is a web interface, if you want to do advanced configuration but I can almost promise you you won't need to. One XPrint server can support multiple printers and virtually unlimited Android Devices. It’s $149.95, and they also make an air print version. But this is the cloud print version, and it supports up to ten network printers, and eight USB printers, all at the same time. It’s got one USB port, but you just put a hub on there and you can plug eight printers in there. If you want to know more, XPrintserver.com/twit, and if you use the offer code TWiG, you'll get free shipping on your order. The folks at Lantronix have been selling a lot of these because they're such a great idea and if you compare it with other print servers it’s a very affordable price, and the idea that it gives you Google cloud print, and I don't know if you've ever used Google cloud print, but it means I can print to my computer at home, anywhere I am if I can get online. XPrintserver.com/twit, and the offer code is TWiT, from Lantronix. The XPrint server. Really cool stuff.
Jeff: Let me add something to that, Leo, if I may because I have my cloud life, and I use cloud print and I bought a new printer because I wanted other functionality like scanning to my google docs. Thirty six forty, but it goes to sleep and so even for a certified google cloud print printer, I need the Lantronix because it'll wake it up, when I'm off somewhere a week, not printing.
Leo: Oh that's interesting!
Jeff: Even with the cloud printer, Lantronix is helpful because it always awake for me, on my network at home.
Leo: That's awesome. And having a network printer is so nice, because it means you don't have to put it next to the computer. You can put it in a closet or somewhere.
Leo: Before we get to the Tip, Tool, and Pick of the week, did you see this? Recode is now saying we're going to do native advertising?
Jeff: My Tweet was Et tu, Recode?
Leo: Does this mean that they're struggling, or does it just... What does it mean?
Jeff: It probably means that advertisers were saying, why don't we play along. Why don't you do this too?
Leo: From the day I started doing whatever I do, people have come along and said hey, would you mind if we did a show about our product? And I've always said, no. What are you, crazy? We do adds, if you want to buy an ad you can buy an ad. But I'm not going to do content that looks like it’s editorial but it’s advertisement, advertorial, that's what they used to call it.
Jeff: I'm sure that the two of them will make sure it’s labeled well, and all that.
Leo: It is.
Jeff: I don't know if we talked about this... I guess we talked about it last week, but Ethan Zuckerman, brilliant guy at MIT Media Lab, and one of the founders of... Oh, crap... Old.... Um... Homepage maker company... It'll occur to me in a minute.
Jeff: No, no no. Earlier than that.
Leo: Oh, Tripod!
Jeff: Tripod, thank you, very much. Who needs memory when you have Google and Leo, and a chat room? So Ethan wrote a piece in the Atlantic, two weeks ago I think it was, saying that accepting advertising on the web, was the web's original sin. Usually it’s said that the original sin of the web was giving away content for free, so here's a sin matching a sin. And I disagreed with Ethan, respectfully because he's brilliant. And it’s a really smart piece, and I wrote a blog post in response, but here's the nub of my view of this is we haven't begun to innovate with advertising, at all. The only innovations we've seen so far are basically computerizing the processes we already have of buying mass advertising message opportunities, and creating popups which by the way, Ethan is responsible for having helped create popups.
Leo: Oh yeah, he wrote that article, yeah.
Jeff: And he's sorry. And so, it’s going to sound odd coming from a journalism proof, but we need to innovate in advertising. We need to find truly new ways for companies to market and hope that, by the way, media is part of that new method. And advertising agencies aren't going to do it, because they sell the old stuff. And advertisers aren't going to do it, and media companies aren't going to do it, but we have to rethink advertising because if it doesn't work and it collapses and dies, then media goes with it and we need it’s support. So I was sad, thats why I was sad to see Recode take a jump on the bandwagon and I'm not blaming them for it. I bet the advertisers forced them to and they said we've got an RFP here and we want you to run these things and they probably had a staff meeting and said, "Let's figure out how to do it as best we can." But it’s an old advertorial, stupid, lets fool the reader model and we've got to move past that. Where are the innovators in advertising? I don't see them yet.
Leo: So here's what recode does. Normally there's a black banner on the content, but sponsored content will have a blue banner that says, "Sponsored Content" And what Mossberg says in his article about this is, "Hey, don't ignore those. Those are going to be great articles, full of good material, just written by a sponsor."
Gina: Just not one of our journalists.
Leo: And they're also saying, "We're not going to try to trick you. We're going to make it very clear that it’s sponsored content."
Jeff: And we're not going to have our journalists write them. Which some places...
Leo: Both things are very important. But your point about Forbes, and you never know whether you're going to re-share a link that you see from Forbes on Twitter, because you never know if it’s real journalism or sponsored content. That's going to be true on Record, unless they've got some way of indicating on Twitter... And what, so it devalues their links.
Jeff: In a link, if you link to something on Twitter, you say, "I saw this on Forbes." Twitter is going to truncate, even if you put a clue in the URL as New York Times does, it says paypost.com, it gets truncated, it’s gone.
Leo: Right. If I ever... I will shut this place down if we ever have... Can't survive without doing that. That's not ever going to happen. Ever. Gina Trapani! You... Must have a tip for us.
Gina: I do. This was for fellow Chrome Cast lovers, such as myself. I still, been living in New York eight months now, I still haven't unpacked any other. It’s still just the Chrome Cast plugged into my TV. Two new Apps on Android and IOS added Chromecast support. Watch ABC, which surprised me, like does the official ABC app really want you to get that? They do now!
Leo: They used to not like...
Gina: They used to go out of their way to block it, so when Google TV came out, it’s like, hey. Watch your web browser on TV. ABC.com would detect are you on Google TV and block the content, it would say, "Not Supported on Your Device." Now we've seen a total one eighty, you can cast Bachelors in Paradise, right to your Chrome Cast...
Leo: Wait a minute, I'm not going to let you skim by that.
Jeff: Gina, we find out about your TV tastes every week and it becomes shocking.
Gina: I'm proud of my diversity. Kardashians, MMA, Bachelor, oh yeah. Listen.
Jeff: What's your worst TV confession?
Gina: I think the Bachelor...
Leo: We just heard it.
Gina: Whole franchise is just...
Leo: Or the day she watched all of the Kardashian...
Gina: The Kardashians I'll actually defend.
Leo: Binge watched the Kardashians. That's as bad as...
Jeff: Watching five minutes is bad enough.
Leo: We found out when Steve Palmer left Microsoft, he binge watched a hundred episodes of The Good Wife in two weeks!
Gina: The Good Wife is a great show though.
Leo: I know, but two weeks? A hundred episodes?
Gina: That's a lot. That's a lot.
Leo: I don't feel so bad about playing Diablo for nine hours last night.
Gina: Listen, once the baby goes to sleep, I get to do whatever I want. And if it’s the Bachelor in Paradise, that's what it is.
Leo: You earned it, baby.
Jeff: What is something you watch with your wife? Not to bring her into this area...
Gina: Oh no. She judges me so hard.
Gina: Oh yes. She can't even... She... I have to sort of do it around her schedule. Right now there's very little TV on. She and I are watching Orphan Black together, but when I get the TV alone or the tablet or the phone, I'm sneaking Kardashians and The Bachelor, yeah. She actually... She questions being in my presence during that... So...
Gina: She's not very judgey but, in this case she makes an exception.
Gina: Well, it’s justified.
Leo: It’s justified. It’s justified. So thank you, what was the tip? I forgot. Oh, Chrome Cast, watch it... Oh you said another one, what else?
Leo: Oh, I love NPR1!
Gina: Much better suited to public intellectuals, NPR1 also now has Chromacast support.
Leo: So the Bachelor or NPR. What's your...
Gina: The Bachelor or NPR? It’s the whole spectrum, guys.
Jeff: I think one of the most important moments in the history of TV's switch to digital, is when ABC decided to stream Desperate Housewives the morning after, and that was saying to every single affiliate, "Ah, to heck with you, every man for himself."
Jeff: And we've got to go with this new thing, sorry but we're screwing you. And so, you know, TV networks are highly pragmatic. And thats why I think that's really interesting that you pointed that out, Gina, that ABC wasn't playing along before. The fact that they are now, says a lot about over the top.
Gina: It does, now let me just say the experience isn't great. You still have to sign in with your cable provider, you still have to go through the ads, which I'm actually fond of the ads. But you know it’s not your Netflix or your Google, even, but it’s something, right. So there you go. Baby steps. Chromecast.
Leo: Jeff, do you have a number for us?
Jeff: Yeah it was kind of a quiet week, but the one I came up with was Google's mobile search revenue last year was eight billion dollars, and you know the rest of media all say that you can't make any money on mobile, but somehow Google does.
Leo: Eight billion compared to how much they make on the rest of it.
Jeff: I think it’s like, thirty billion last year?
Leo: So that's like a third.
Jeff: It’s a good chunk. They figure out how to make it work.
Leo: It has to, otherwise... Mobile is where everyone is going. Desktop advertising doesn't matter. So... Both Facebook and Google seem to have licked it.
Jeff: Yeah. We have in the media. I still hear media companies say, "I don't know what to do."
Leo: My tool is a tool you all know, but it’s dropped its price considerably. We thought it might when we heard that Google was dropping the cost of Google Drive, and Microsoft dropping the cost of Microsoft One Drive, and Flicker offering a terabyte of storage for free. Drop Box, which is of course solely in the business of storage, is now a terabyte for it’s ten dollars a month. It used to be a hundred megabytes. In fact, when I saw what Google Drive was also comparable price, when I saw they did that I thought that kills DropBox. Well, they're hanging in there, but as Paul Therrot pointed out, today on Windows Weekly, it’s tough for DropBox because that's their business; for Google and Microsoft it’s just a sideline.
Jeff: But Leo, I was thinking about this. I wonder how many people hit what was it, a hundred megs before?
Leo: Oh, yeah. Nobody needs all that storage.
Jeff: Thats the thing. I'm not sure that they're, you know... What's the incremental bit of those that did the upsell?
Leo: Not a hundred megs, by the way, a hundred gigs.
Jeff: A hundred gigs. So how many people are they losing who're doing the... What's the opposite of the upsell, an up buy? Above the hundred...
Leo: Maybe people weren't moving over because after all, dropbox is tied into things like to do text and other apps, on your phone, in ways that these other solutions aren't. But new buyers are going to be less likely to go to DropBox when they've already got a terabyte from Google Drive, or somebody like that. I think the falling price of hard drives is part of the engine of this.
Jeff: What's a hard drive? I wouldn't know, myself.
Leo: Shut up. But that's because you have hard drives in the sky. Your stuff is still on hard drives, Jeff.
Jeff: I do, I do. I just read... Have you heard about, um... Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
Leo: The book.
Jeff: The book.
Leo: I just ordered it on audible, I can't wait. Is it good?
Jeff: I listened to it on Audible, and the performance is great. The book, you're going to love it. One of the little... It’s not very sci fi ish, but one of the little sci fi tricks is that the computers in it are organic.
Jeff: It really starts to make you think of interesting ways that we presume that there's these hard elements making things, and then just kind of throw away. I'm not spoiling anything.
Leo: It’s a techno thriller, Gina.
Gina: Oh, this looks amazing. I'm reading the Amazon listing here, this sounds great.
Jeff: Even though it’s somewhat dystopian about public and privacy and data and all that kind of stuff, I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s wonderfully written. Just word choices and turns of phrase that are just delightful throughout the entire... You know, it is what it is. The characters are good, and the writing and the performance in the audio book is excellent.
Leo: And the hero's named Leo, so I'm going to like that. He's a... And whatever it is... An unhinged, trustafarian. What's a trustafarian?
Jeff: Trust fund.
Leo: Oh, trustafarian. I get it! He's a flinty trustafarian! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shefford. I saw the New York Times article review which said it’s probably the book of the summer, so I immediately got it on Audible so it’s probably my next Audible book. And that was not an Audible add, nor was it native advertising. Somebody said Leo, you do native advertising every time you do an Audible add, because you have books. That's not. That's different, that's an add in which content has been inserted. Not content which an ad has been inserted, it’s exactly the opposite of native advertising.
Jeff: In some fairness, radio host read spots are in a sense what native advertising wants to be, because they want to be in the voice. But a good radio pro, like you, changes your voice, "Now it’s time to talk about..."
Leo: Yeah, you know it’s an add.
Jeff: You're saying it outright, and you're giving every possible signal that you can.
Leo: And I do have to do the ads, because there's no one else to do them for me.
Jeff: The only issue is, is anyone confused. No one, if you sat down and quizzed anyone who watches the show or listens to the show, even listens without the visual cues that you have on the screen, I don't think you would have anyone who'd be confused about whether or not this has turned into This Week in Mattresses.
Leo: And one of the things we do is we make sure that people like Jeff and Gina, the co-hosts who are on all of our shows, are never asked to read ads. The ads are read by staff, staff announcers.
Jeff: And I actually kind of violate the rule when I toss in and say something about the Print Server.
Leo: I'm not going to stop you.
Jeff: It’s not my rule!
Leo: I ain't going to stop you. But we never, ever would require you or ask you to. Furthermore, we often ask our hosts whether they'd be okay with that add. We actually, I say often because I realized that we never asked you if you had a problem with Casper Mattresses, but I don't think you do.
Jeff: I think you're the one that has a problem with sleep.
Leo: I do! Two thirty AM...
Jeff: You stayed up... Because you're dreading going home to your pillow?
Leo: It’s because I have such an uncomfortable buckwheat pillow waiting for me! No I was using the buckwheat pillow during my nine hour marathon.
Jeff: I don't want to know what you were doing with it.
Leo: I'm kind of with you, in fact, when we first started doing adds in this network, a lot of people outside of the US who were not used to that kind of host read add, were kind of upset. Because hosts in for instance, the UK, never read adds.
Jeff: Because most of the stations there are government run...
Leo: So they don't have ads at all. Frankly, but... It’s because... There's no one else. I had to read the add. And none of our advertisers have radio ads, or TV ads. I just had to read the add.
Jeff: It would so not work on this network, to throw on a thirty.
Leo: Yeah, I feel like it'd be more of an interruption than what we do, even though it'd be quicker.
Jeff: I can see it being an interruption. Do you get requests to use advertisers thirties?
Leo: I'd be glad to if they asked me to. Nobody has ever asked. Of course they far prefer the native advertising.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah.
Leo: Now I'm feeling guilty!
Leo: I just want to be able to pay the rent! Dinner and go shopping. I just want to live!
Gina: Play a little video games.
Leo: Play video games. Hey, at sixty dollars, those are expensive video games!
Jeff: You've got to pay your Comcast bill.
Leo: I just paid two, not one, but two college tuitions.
Leo: That's fun. That's fun. That's going to go on for three more years.
Jeff: You thought it was going to be syncopated, didn’t you?
Leo: It should have been syncopated, but Abbey took time off and now I'm screwed. They're actually now in the same year. They’re both sophomores.
Jeff: And the cost goes up too. Looking at prices, there was some school that some time ago, and I forget what one it was, that if you got accepted they froze the tuition.
Leo: I like that!
Jeff: That would have been cool.
Leo: Four years, and out! That school is now out of business, ladies and gentlemen. Jeff Jarvis is a professor at a school that teaches people how to be good citizens, a city university of New York, he has offices there on Times Square. And we are really glad to have him as part of the show. The last public intellectual.
Jeff: No, don't say that! I make no such claims!
Leo: He writes books, ladies and gentlemen!
Jeff: I'm a schmuck and a slob!
Leo: He blogs, he meets with presidents, world leaders. He goes to the World Economic Forum in Davos. What more could you ask for? Gina Trapani and I are public geeks. I'm proud to be a public geek.
Gina: You should be. You are a public geek. You're amazing, Leo. See I have to sit in front of my webcam like a couple of hours a week, but you're just out there all the time.
Leo: You know what, the best part about my job is, I get to talk with people like you, and so it’s not hard. It’s fun. It’s like sitting down, I arrange my life so that I would get to sit down and talk to really great people about really interesting stuff for hours a day.
Gina: Have a good chat.
Leo: Wow, how did that happen?
Gina: It’s good. We're pretty lucky.
Leo: Yeah, we are. Gina Trapani of course, is at Think Up, and you must go and get your free trial at ThinkUp.com. It makes you a better Tweeter.
Gina: Yeah! We're doing our job, it does, sure!
Leo: I had no idea that that was kind of the thinking, but you're absolutely right, it does.
Jeff: I get it fully now.
Gina: It’s a disconnect between what Analytics are and what they should do, and we're definitely struggling with it. We're trying our best and it’s just in the beginning stages, but yeah. That's the idea.
Leo: But of course, it’s Emil/Gina Trapani, of course it is going to be a good thing. Would you get Emil on the show sometime?
Gina: He would love... Yes, absolutely, he would love that.
Jeff: We tweeted about that this week, that people were saying that Emil you should be on more shows and he mentioned TWiG and how we'd like to disagree with them. I'm going to disagree with you Emil. So stop that.
Leo: Chad Makin, no... Next week, let’s see if we can get Emil on.
Gina: I'd like to have him on, and I didn't really push for it because he's my business partner and I didn't want to overrun the joint...
Leo: I've known Emil for ages, as I think most people in the business have. I met him first when he was working for SixApart. And, I was a big... I used Vox, their kind of consumer version but I also used the, in fact, before it even came out... Their blog platform which is escaping me now... Typepad. And they lived in Petaluma, you know. They were local.
Jeff: You know I just thought of a Christmas present you can get Emil now. A love story in dots and dashes.
Leo: Ben and Nina Trot. There's the names. They lived in Petaluma.
Gina: That's funny, that's so funny.
Leo: And I was an early beta user of Typepad. I loved Typepad.
Gina: Wow. We'll get Email on, I'd love to have him on. It'll be a lot of fun.
Leo: Alright, thanks Gina, thanks Jeff. Thanks to all of you for joining us. We do This Week in Google, it’s my last show of the week. This is my Friday night!
Gina: Good for you!
Leo: Yeah, 1pm Pacific!
Gina: Play video games.
Leo: You got it, baby. I've got the mattress in front of the TV, the joystick's all fired up! I got my big gulp! The hot pockets, I'm ready to...
Jeff: I have a question. You get home after twenty three hours straight of game playing, what does Lisa say?
Leo: She was fast asleep. We haven't spoken since then.
Jeff: What did she say today?
Leo: I didn't get home, I was at home, I was in my office playing. I was home.
Jeff: You go upstairs, the next day, she says, "Where were you?"
Leo: No, she knows what I was doing.
Jeff: Did she laugh?
Leo: She came about nine o'clock and she said, "So are you going to play this all evening?" I said yeah, if you want to watch something we can watch something. She said, it’s fine, I just wanted to check in. What did you do, we have like eighteen TV's, it’s not like...
Jeff: I know, but does she think you're nuts?
Leo: Do you think I'm nuts?
Jeff: That's love.
Leo: She loves me, and she knows. I don't do this all the time, I'm not like a hardcore gamer. Once in a while, maybe like once a year or once every two years there’s a really good game... It turns out, this game I played all the way through on the PC, but I really like it on the console... The last one was Bioshock Infinite. It’s only once in a while. Most games I don't... I get them and I don't like them that much and I play a little, like Watchdogs I thought was going to be great. So I'm not a big time gamer, but every once in a while... I don't know if it has to do with my life situation, or the game, I think it’s more the game. I just get into a game and I play it all the way to the end and I'm done. And my thumbs stop working, and then I'm done. And I don't play any more until next time. I should stream it on TWiT.
Gina: You should! That's what I thought you were going to say you did!
Leo: It’s built into the XBox One, I could!
Jeff: You should have, Jesus, Leo!
Leo: Okay, I'll do that tonight.
Gina: Next time. You've still got some in you?
Leo: I'm not done yet. Diablo just took over, there's a big twist in this game and the big twist just happened, and now I'm going to play. And I'm going to try to be funny while I'm playing. Do voices.
Jeff: Now watch, Gina, I think we just unemployed ourselves.
Gina: I was going to say...
Leo: I kick myself every moment, because we do this little moment when the last one I really liked was Skyrim. I love Skyrim. We broadcasted it live, Brian Brushwood inspired me because he does the same thing. If I had just known that this was going to be the next big thing, I would have fired you all and done just that!
Gina: Hire a couple of gamers with some personalities, who're good looking.
Leo: Talking about intellectual stuff. Nobody wants that!
Jeff: I think that was the most oxymoronic thing you've ever said, Gina. It was a triple oxymoron, gamers with personalities, who're good looking.
Gina: Oh, man, shots fired! That's not good!
Leo: And he wonders why people are mean to him on Twitter!
Jeff: I'm sorry. I feel left out people, I'm sad.
Leo: Actually you know what happens at eleven PM tonight? Bioshock comes out, the original Bioshock on the iPad. I might be doing that instead. Ladies and gentlemen, we do this show in between video games. One PM Pacific, Four PM Eastern time. 2000 UTC, every Wednesday on TWiT, I hope you'll watch live if you can. On demand audio and video made available after the fact, twit.tv/twig. And in all podcast platforms, stitcher and iTunes and all that stuff. Somebody said, "But you never mention instacast or downcast or..." Yeah. All of them. all of those. And I encourage you to subscribe, because this is our big thinkers show. It’s a show where we learn, we discuss, we talk! Thank you for joining us, we'll see you next time, on TWiG.