This Week in Tech 447 (Transcript)
Leo LaPorte: It’s time for Twit – This Week In Tech! Larry Magid, Farhad Manjoo and Alex Lindsay. We’ll talk about the latest tech news - News from Barcelona, Mobile World congress, how long can Microsoft sell an Android phone, and the world’s largest Pokeman game. It’s all next on TWIT.
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Leo: This is TWIT This Week in Tech, Episode 447 recorded March 2nd 2014
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It’s time TWIT, This Week in Tech, the show that covers the week’s tech news. Welcome to a new panelist on TWIT, I’m very happy to have him. Farhad Manjoo has written for Salon for Sleight for the Wall Street Journal. He’s currently at the New York Times where he’s taken David Poke’s place and is doing great stuff as always – always to me and I was telling you this before the show, one of the most insightful writers in technology today. So good to have you on Farhad.
Farhad Manjoo: Good thanks, good to be here. I’ve been a fan and I’m happy to be here.
Leo: Oh good. You’re travelling. Are you going to some great conference or something exciting?
Farhad: No, my wife is a Doctor and there is a medical conference here in San Diego so I’m just tagging along with her.
Leo: Even better, the Doctors get the best junkets of all. Even better than New York Times columnists.
Farhad: Yes I told her to get some fancy doctor stuff. I don’t know what that is but…
Leo: Samples, just samples. Also with us Larry Magid from CBS news, Larry is a regular on the show and we always welcome him with open arms. Nice to have you.
Larry Magid: Always fun being here.
Leo: connectsafely.org – safekids.com. We’re pleased we’ve roped Alex Lindsay into this, he was wandering through the studios and we said come here.
Alex Lindsay: I wasn’t quite ready. I was just wandering through picking up some stuff.
Leo: It’s great to have you. Alex Lindsay with Pixel Corps.
Alex: The last time I was on TWIT, we were in the old house.
Leo: What! Oh that’s just wrong. Alex is a regular MacBreak Weekly but goodness gracious you should always be on TWIT.
Alex: It’s good to be back.
Leo: I have to say, I'm looking at our great geek audience, and how many of you are here for RSA? Not one. The big security conference was this week in San Francisco and nobody came.
Larry: I was there.
Leo: Did you go, Larry?
Larry: I went for the keynotes, yeah.
Leo: A lot of the security experts said ever since the story that RSA had accepted $10 million from the NSA to compromise it's recommendations for encryption so that the NSA would have back doors into what one would hope would be secure encryption, everybody has kind of turned their back on the RSA.
Farhad: You know what the funniest thing about that story is? Is that it was only, I mean if you're going to sell out the backbone of your company, why would you do it for only $10 million?
Leo: I know! That's nothing!
Larry: The interesting thing about RSA conference is that every single keynoter ranted about the NSA, so it was kind of this, ironically, the place where the NSA got trashed from the stage-
Leo: Did you go to Colbert's keynote, because he closed the thing out.
Larry: No, I didn't go to Colbert, I just went to the first day. I can't imagine what he had to say.
Leo: It's very confused, frankly. I don't know if Steven Colbert is really the right guy. A lot of people said he should have turned it down but he said if the check clears, I'm here. And of course, he plays- I believe he's a liberal comedian playing a conservative commentator on the Colbert Report, and apparently his talk was a mixture of both, it wasn't really clear who he was and so forth.
Leo: I understand the need to boycott it. it really is appalling that they would, for a mere twenty pieces of gold-
Alex: I think essentially, you have to look to NSA and say well played, well played.
Alex: But yeah, I think that we're going to keep on seeing these pieces come out. You know, this was a perfect situation for the NSA as far as what they needed. And being totally tied into what people assume is going to be secure.
Leo: There was a competing conference, TrustyCon. Which I don't know if it really took off, but it was organized by people who said to not go to the RSA conference and don't in any way encourage them. The Metreon, where they were supposed to be, was trying to kick them out because RSA warned the Metreon- That's that big mall next to- We've done stuff at the Metreon.
Alex: And typically, this is actually pretty common, anything that happens in the Moscone Center, they'll pretty much shut down any place that you could have an event anywhere near that. And that's not specific to this, that's specific to any conference. That's part of the not allowing people to set up parallel conferences, which I have attempted to do myself.
Leo: So, according to the Bits blog on the New York Times, there were T-shirts made for folks from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, featuring the NSA logo, except that the eagle was using its talons to plug into the American Telecom Network prominently labeled AT&T. An AT&T executive who was at RSA said, "There are many of us at AT&T who are disturbed by what we've heard about the NSA, but when you see those T-shirts, a conversation becomes impossible!" And he walked away. There's nothing more to say about it I just thought I'd mention that, and I was curious if anybody was here for RSA. You know, in years passed audiences would be jammed with people here for RSA, so I think that's telling. I think that really shows that they've compromised-
Larry: It was easy to get a seat there. There were plenty of empty seats at the keynote.
Leo: Yeah, yeah. That's sad. Breaking news this afternoon from Kara Swisher at Re/Code, Tony Bates, who joined Microsoft when Microsoft acquired Skype a couple of years ago, and Tami Reller who is Executive VP of marketing leaving the company, according to numerous sources close to the situation. When Satya Nadella was picked as CEO, it's not surprising- We even speculated on Windows Weekly that Tony Bates and others who were in the running might in fact, leave the company.
Alex: Well they now know where the glass ceiling is for them. I mean, once you have a young CEO, you know that if your plans where to become a CEO at Microsoft, those are over.
Leo: Well and Tony Bates was the CEO at Skype, so-
Alex: But if his path- He's now at the highest point in his path.
Leo: Absolutely. And I wonder about Stephen Elop. Any thoughts on that Farhad?
Farhad: No, I mean I think the whole Nokia acquisition seems questionable. I think that's like the biggest decision that Nadella will have to make, is what to do with the hardware strategy and I think Nokia plays a big part in that. I think if they keep it around or if they keep it as a big part of it, I think that's a good thing for Stephen Elop. You know, he could be ahead of that strategy, but yeah it all sort of depends on what their bigger strategy is regarding hardware, regarding smartphone hardware. I think that seems still up in the air.
Leo: Well it certainly became a big question this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where Nokia, still not a Microsoft company- We're waiting for regulatory approval from China, but imminently becoming a Microsoft company. They bought the mobile phone business from Nokia. But Nokia announced new phones based on Android.
Leo: The Nokia X, the Nokia X+, and the Nokia XL look just like Windows phones and use Windows Microsoft services. Bing and OneDrive, but they are based on Android. They don't support the Play Store, although I've seen hacks already that allow you to add the Play Store to these phones, they have a special Nokia store.
Farhad: It seems like a great idea.
Larry: It's a great idea, it's brilliant. It's the same thing as Amazon Kindle Fire. Amazon controls the hardware, but more importantly, they control the services, they control the stores and they understand where the money is. And I think that Microsoft realizes that operating systems are really not the future of its business. I mean, they've said it over and over again, its devices and services. If they can get people to use their services instead of Google's services on their devices, then why should they care who wrote the underlying code that's at the bottom of the operating system?
Leo: Isn't there a risk though, Farhad, that this sends a message that Microsoft is not 100% behind Windows phone, that maybe even Microsoft itself will shift to Android?
Farhad: Oh yeah, I mean, I think that's the risk. But I don't think that's a risk, I don't think they should be 100% behind Windows phone. Windows phone is a very long-shot game and sort of doing it this way, sort of getting Microsoft services out to people through other operating systems seems like a much smarter play. It's what every other tech company does, you know? They recognize that Android is going to be around and that iOS is going to be around and instead of trying to defeat those, they get their services on those platforms. If there was an Office for iPad, that would be wonderful for Microsoft-
Leo: And there will be, we know that at some point.
Farhad: Yeah, it seems like there will be at some point, but the fact that it's been years since we had the iPad without Office on it you know, because Microsoft sells operating systems and if it didn't have that strategy we would have Office faster.
Alex: And I also think that the Nokia phones are the incredible hardware being held up until now, being held up by its operating system.
Leo: Who of us hasn't said gee I'd love to get one of those 1020's or those 1520's, if it only ran Android...
Alex: Yeah, and the folks at Android have to be you know, clammoring in.
Leo: I'm going to defend Windows phone though, I mean, Windows phone is a great operating system. It's slick, it's fast, it's easy to use, the only negative as far as I can tell and I don't use a Windows phone for this reason, is it just doesn't have the app availability.
Farhad: I think that if you were about to buy any phone, the Lumia 1020 is a great thing to choose, but it's not so much better that you can sacrifice all of the other apps that you're getting on the other platform.
Farhad: It's just good enough, but then it has this huge shortcoming.
Larry: And Elop made a very big deal at the announcement that Android developers are being wooed, and said they can simply move their products right over the store in most cases.
Leo: Within hours!
Larry: So, clearly that's their strategy. Now they've got an operating system, or platform that supports hundreds of thousands of apps. Which, would take forever on Windows.
Leo: You know who I feel sorry for, and fortunately it's a small group, is the Windows phone developers. Who are now saying well crap. We bet on this platform and Microsoft's basically throwing us to the wolves. But actually, is it Microsoft? That's the question. It's Nokia. Did Satya Nadella wink and nudge when Stephen Elop said, as he must have we're going to do this?
Larry: He's about to become a Microsoft employee, he'd be crazy if he didn't talk to his overlords or his future overlords.
Leo: He's not allowed to, if I'm not mistaken, when an acquisition is in process, he's not allowed to go to the new owner and say what do you want me to do sir?
Farhad: Right. I think this must have been a long enough term project that they might have known about it before you know, but Nadella-
Leo: Right, and well some say that was the threat. That was the threat that Nokia said if you don't buy us, we're going to make an Android phone.
Farhad: Right. I mean, it seems like this is a good way to play it right? If you're Nokia and you want to go into Android, you do it right before the acquisition, so they can't stop you.
Leo: Yeah. And there's plausible deniability.
Leo: Satya can say well I didn't know that, and fire him. The Nokia, according to Stephen Elop speaking at the event at Mobile World Congress, the Nokia X is a feeder system for Lumia. Lumia is the Windows phone version.
Leo: It takes people to Microsoft's cloud, not Google's cloud. That's one of the big problems, really, is Microsoft wants to be in the cloud platform business, and Google is a direct competitor on cloud. Forget operating systems, the cloud's where it's all going to happen, right? So, "...It gets people to Microsoft's cloud, not Google's cloud," says Elop. "We're deliberately using Android, but substituting Nokia services. This is a gateway to Microsoft." Credible?
Farhad: Slightly credible, I mean there's one question right? Which is, if you get one of these phones and you get a whole bunch of Android's apps on it, you can't then move to a Windows phone because your Android apps won't work on it, but you will be part of all the rest of Microsoft's services.
Leo: Get them hooked on OneDrive the renamed SkyDrive, get them hooked on Bing, get them hooked on Microsoft services, maybe it won't be such a big transition to leave the Android apps and come to Windows phone.
Alex: Well but I think that obviously, the danger here is that it creates so much uncertainty within the market. Between people buying the phone, people developing for Windows, to people buying Android apps on these phones, the question is, is that going to overcome any kind of advantage they were going to get by kind of trying to create some kind of feeder system?
Leo: Paul Thurrott was furious, Paul Thurrott.... He blew his stack on Twitter. But he pointed out that the Lumia 520, which is Nokia's low-cost Windows phone, is pretty much the same specs, the same price, in fact it's even a little less expensive than a Nokia X, so Nokia already has this gateway drug, this entry-level phone.
Farhad: And it's one of their best-selling phones.
Leo: It's a great phone! It's a huge seller worldwide. This is the phone, when you hear Stephen Elop and others say you know Windows phone is outselling iPhone, in Market X, this is the phone they're buying in Russia and India.
Farhad: Right, I think their high-end devices aren't doing well at all, but those low-end devices are doing really well and it's because of all of those countries where the low-end devices sell well, and this is sort of competing well against the cheap Android phones.
Leo: So, question for the panel: Presuming China approves the Nokia acquisition within the next month or so, Nokia becomes part of Microsoft, does Satya Nadella kill the Nokia X? Farhad?
Farhad: No. I don't think she kills the Nokia X specifically, I think that deciding what to do with Nokia generally will be the first decision, but I don't know... I don't think they'll kill this project specifically.
Leo: Is it going to be kinned, Larry Magid, are they going to kin it?
Larry: No, my sense is if they're smart they will embrace it and they will really push a Windows-looking UI, they will early approach Microsoft's services, and they'll think about the potential to actually really build a platform. I think they'd be- He may be stupid and may say hey wait a minute, it's Windows and we're all about Windows, but if he's smart, he'll stick with it. I think it's actually a brilliant move and maybe for legal reasons, Microsoft had nothing to do with it, but I'd like to think they were smart enough to encourage that.
Leo: It's Jiu-Jitsu, do you think that Microsoft then drops Windows phone?
Larry: No, I think they continue Windows phone at the high end, but I think ultimately it's going to wither on the vine.
Leo: That's a mess... Microsoft is already bemoaning the multi OS problem that they're in.
Larry: Yeah, but I think they will keep- They're not going to kill Windows phone.
Leo: So now one more OS. What do you think?
Alex: I think they don't kill it eventually, but they enectually kill one of them. You know? They both arent't going to last forever. They're going to let them both run for a year or two and then they're going to start allowing one of them to not get updated.
Larry: But they're going to add a lot of value to this Android phone, they're going to make this Android phone look just like Amazon did. It's going to look and act different enough that it will still have a unique Microsoft signature or a unique Nokia signature on it.
Farhad: I think that if it starts on their low-end devices, and they see it doing well, they might expand it up the line and if you have a Lumia-type phone that comes in Windows and Android, you might get the Android one because it runs the apps.
Leo: Right. We'll have more from Mobile World Congress Barcelona, in just a bit. We've got Larry Magid here. Oh by the way, I didn't give you my prediction. I predict the day that Stephen Elop walks into the door in Redmond, they kill Nokia X immediately. It's gone, and Microsoft has done it before, the Kin lasted one month, they don't mind. And I think they kill it immediately, while I agree it's an interesting strategy, it's too much of a mess. And what's sad is the damage is done, Windows developers are already going to be very nervous about this. You wrote an article, Larry, on larrysworld.com, Microsoft's bold new Android strategy. It's Nokia's, I'm not sure it's Microsoft's.
Larry: Well, I'm giving them credit.
Leo: We shall see. Alex Lindsay is also here from Pixel Corps, pixelcorps.com, great to have you. And what is this hat, Africa Digital Media- That's your school in Rowanda?
Leo: That's awesome. We'll have some more about that here in a bit. Farhad Manjoo, enjoying the free drinks at a Doctor's conference in San Diego,
Larry: Free drugs, too!
Leo: The Oxycotton table in the back, very popular! (Laughs) But more importantly, he writes for the New York Times, where he is now ‘the guy.’ And Molly Woods joined you, which is awesome! What is Molly going to be doing for you over there?
Farhad: She is going to be doing similar stuff. She’s going to be writing reviews.
Farhad: She’s going to be covering personal tech in the same way.
Leo: The Times went through kind of an audition, kind of reducing Kelly style audition process, where they had people taking Davids… David Poges blog and writing for it. But I’m very pleased with the choices that they’ve made. It’s really good. Times is a, by the way, I should point out, one of the examples Mark Andreessen used just this week, as a traditional property that’s made the transition to digital quite well.
Larry: Yeah, very well.
Farhad: So I have to say, I just started a few weeks ago, and I had this pictures in my mind of people at the New York Times being like Old newspaper people. And I went there and they were very savvy smart digital people talking about, you know, talking about web in a way that I imagined people everywhere else talking. It was just sort of a culture shock, I didn’t expect that they would be, kind of, wedded to print.
Leo: Yeah! Isn’t that exciting! Let’s talk about this Andreessen post on his blog at Andreessen Horowitz. The Future of the New Business: A monumental Twitter Stream all in One Place. That’s the blog post where he mentions the New York Times as getting it right, among others. We’ll talk about that and a lot more news from Barcelona. There’s Bitcoin news, I don’t know what to make of that. Maybe one of you can explain what’s going on at Mount Gox. And a lot more. Our show today brought to you by our friends at stamps.com. I can tell you one thing, you don’t want to be going to the post office right about now, with the new postage rates, of course, and everyone is going into buy stamps. If you do mailing for your business. If you do fulfillment for your business, it’s crazy to bring an armload of packages to the post office. The costs of stamps just went to 49 cents and a lot of people are at the post office to buy new stamps. When you could just be sitting at your desk, printing out postage like crazy on your computer, your printer. I’m not talking a postage meter, I’m not talking special links, I’m talking stamps.com. At stamps.com you actually pay less for postage than you will at the post office. Whether it’s first class mail, priority mail, or priority mail express packages. They have discounts you can’t get at the post office. It’s very easy too. You actually can print, if you want. They have the labels to print stamps or whatever. You don’t have to go to the post office. But you can also print right on the envelopes. So if you do mailers in your business, or invoices, you can print your logo, your return addresses automatically added. The address for the recipient is taken from your Quickbooks. It just spits them out. It couldn’t be easier! And, of course, the postage is printed right on it! The postage is kept up to date. There is no additional charges. You know, sometimes these postage meters actually charge you to update the cost of postage in the postage meter. That’s crazy. If you’re shipping packages, it’ll do the labels. In fact, I’m going to show you how to get the USB scale, you put the package on the scale, it automatically prints the right postage, the right label, it even does things like calculate the cost to do priority express. If it’s international, it’ll even fill out the forms for you. And then you still don’t have to go to the post office with the arm load of packages. The mail carrier comes and gets it. And I don’t know if you know this, I found out when I was mailing some books out, the post office, if it’s more than 13 ounces you’re supposed to bring it in so they can look you in the eye, and see if you look suspicious. Not with stamps.com! Because of the way stamps.com works, they trust you, they come they get it. There’s even a big button on your stamps.com software that says ‘get the mail carrier out here’, even if you missed the pickup. I love it. I want you to try it. Just go to stamps.com and you’ll see a special 80 dollar value. Don’t fall for that, click the microphone in the upper right hand corner. We can make this better. Please use your offer code TWiT, and that $80 special, no risk trial turns into $110 bonus value, you’re going to get 55 dollars in free postage to use over the first few months as a stamps.com customer. We will throw in that digital scale. It’s worth 50 bucks, you do pay shipping and handling. It’s about 5 bucks on that. But they do make it up with a $5 supply kit, and of course, a four week free trial of stamps.com. Please go to stamps.com click the microphone and use the offer code TWiT. And stop going to the post office, start using stamps.com. You’re watching TWiT. This Week in Tech. Samsung scared us a little bit. Their unpacked 5 event, which was earlier this week in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress. Started 7 PM in Barcelona first day of the congress, people are tired, with a chamber music orchestra playing soporific music to the assembled journalists. Farhad, you didn’t go to Barcelona this year.
Farhad: No, I didn’t go.
Leo: I would have been asleep! And the reason I was worried, was because after that horrible Broadway show that they did for the Galaxy S4.
Larry: Yeah, I was there.
Leo: You were there for that one, Larry?
Larry: I was in New York for that. That was bizarre!
Leo: Nightmare! I thought symphony orchestra. I ‘m thinking, Oh boy! Here we go again, I was waiting for them to roll the sets on the stage!
Larry: But they went in the other direction.
Leo: Very tight set!
Leo: They just, yeah! It was simple, they had their executives come out. They showed the Galaxy S5. They didn’t show very much of the Galaxy S5. They showed none of the software features and they were done in 45 minutes!
Larry: And they streamed it, which was nice.
Leo: Yeah, we did out live coverage of that. Actually we had gotten up early in the morning. We were there at 11:30 PM, Mike Allegan and I, covering Nokia event as well. And I thought Steven Alep knocked it out of the park. He was concise. He did it all in 45 minutes. Announced 5 new phones in in 45 minutes! Was able to position…
Larry: And talked about Gear.
Leo: Yeah! And was able to position them well. Samsung did announce new watches, as well. They don’t call them Galaxy’s anymore, just the Gear Neo. Which I guess is basically like the old Gear. There’s the Gear and then the Gear Fit.
Larry: Fitness, which has got to look better than this! This is the…
Leo: You’re wearing a Gear? Oh! You’ve got a Fitbit!
Larry: No, I’m saying compared to. The gear is so much classier than this!
Leo: I thought the Gear Fit was pretty nice!
Larry: Yeah it was very nice! I want to get one of those!
Leo: So it’s….
Alex: I mean, in a lot of ways the Gear Fit looks a lot like some of the rumors for where the directions that Apple is going.
Leo: It looks a lot like where it’s going. Doesn’t it?
Leo: With the curved super ambled screen. It’s a fitness watch. Now…
Larry: Here is the old Gear by the way. This is the one they’re replacing, the original.
Leo: This is the ugly old gear.
Larry: Well it’s…by comparison, it’s actually not bad. It still looked better than the fit did, but the new gear is much nicer looking. I don’t have it yet.
Leo: They don’t have the camera anymore on the new gear though.
Larry: No there is a camera. In the old Gear, the camera is in the band.
Leo: It looks like a suction cup coming out of the band.
Larry: Right, and that means you’re locked into this band. You can’t swap out the band because the camera is there.
Larry: The new Gear, I believe the camera is in the watch itself.
Larry: Which means you can swap out the bands.
Alex: How do you see…?
Leo: What you’re shooting?
Alex: Yeah, what you’re shooting!
Leo: You don’t! You just kind of roughly do this!
Larry: Yeah, you wear it like this and you kind of…
Leo: Smile! It also has its own memory, which is nice, so that you can put music on it. 4… What does it say? 4 gigs of memory; So you can put music on it. You don’t have to have the phone if you’re working out with it. This is the Gear Fit the curved. Oh I’m sorry that’s the Wow way. This is the gear Neo.
Larry: Did they announce prices on any of the Gear products?
Leo: They did not. In fact, they did not announce prices on anything! Or Availability on anything.
Larry: Yeah, I want to know what the Gear Fit is going to cost.
Leo: I think they implied it would be less than the old Gear. Did they not?
Larry: Well that was $400.
Leo: Did JK shin say ‘for less’? Something like that.
Larry: Well the fit ought to be less, since it’s not a full-fledged Smartwatch. It should definitely be. It should be $200 or less.
Leo: It’s better looking.
Leo: That’s for sure. And then the S5. And what we’ve also learned, even though they didn’t talk about all the companion software, the touch whiz stuff. That there is even less free space in the galaxy S5 than there was in the Galaxy S4. The S4 came with roughly 9 gigs free, out of 16. If you buy a 16 gig S5, you’ll have 8 gigs free. That only means more croft, to me.
Alex: Now did we talk about the OS on the…
Leo: Yes! The watches are not android they’re Tizen.
Alex: Right. This is there internal developed operating system.
Larry: I mean, my problem with Galaxy Gear is you have to marry it with a Samsung galaxy phone. If I could use Galaxy Gear on my choice of phones I’d be a lot happier with it. I actually wore the Galaxy Gear to CES, and I described it as a thousand dollar pedometer. If that was all I used it for, between the Gear and the phone, you needed to use it, it was a thousand dollar investment.
Leo: Right. Do you like the Pebble better? The Pebble at least, is open, you can use it on any phone.
Larry: Yeah, I do like it better, for that reason. No, I mean, for that reason I like it. If I were going to buy a Smartwatch that’s the one I would buy at this very moment because you can use it for any phone.
Farhad: Would you buy one?
Leo: I bought one, but that’s because it was on kick starter and I didn’t know any better. I buy everything on Kick starter! Kind of a kick starter sucker.
Larry: You can buy a pedometer for 10 bucks, and for my practical purposes that’s all I use this thing for.
Leo: Right. My Pebble is in the drawer. Someday I’ll find it. Chad wants it. Someday I’ll figure out what drawer it’s in. And I’m going to bequest it. It’ll be quested to Chad in my will. And to Chad Johnson, my loyal employee, I give…
Chad: The guy who runs the video switch board, during TWiT. He gets my Pebble…. Which I don’t really want because I think it’s a piece of….
Leo: My old pebble watch. Use it in good health, Chad. Farhad, do you wear any of these watches, or bands or anything.
Farhad: I do not. I had a Fitbit…a couple Fitbits for a while, and I lost each one.
Leo: Me too!
Farhad: Yeah, but I think I liked the Fitbit best of all of them. Mostly because it seemed like the least hassle free, but even that the fact, that after I lost them I didn’t replace them because they just weren’t adding that much to my life.
Larry: I actually found them. The funny thing is I lost this thing for… the problem with the Fitbit is they come with these ridiculous, I don’t know if you can see this, they come with these clasps that break. I swapped out Velcro.
Leo: Oh God. That’s even worse! It looks even more nerdy!
Larry: It works better!
Leo: I’ve used duct tape. So I heard though, that you could send those back and they’ll give you a Nickel. No, wait a minute, if they have Nickel in them, they’ll make your skin itch. And if you sent it to them in 8 weeks, they’ll send you a check.
Larry: But you know it is amazing, you can have an incredibly high tech product, and you can screw it up with an incredibly low tech band.
Larry: You think Apple would not get that wrong.
Leo: Okay, so is Apple going to release one of these things?
Alex: They’ve got a lot of people working there on it. The rumors are they have 50 or 60 people working on it.
Leo: It’d be embarrassing if they don’t.
Alex: Yeah. But you, there have definitely been reports. Apple have worked on things where they spend 100 million dollars or 50 million on R and D and then they throw it away because they decided it’s not what they want. So it’s definitely possible for Apple to work on something they’re going to release. If they can’t find a compelling solution. But they have an awful lot of people working on it.
Larry: Is there such a thing as being too late to the party? Or does Apple get to reinvent the party no matter when they come in?
Alex: They were very late for the phone party, and it seemed to work out okay for them.
Farhad: I think they get to reinvent this. Especially if there is much better and offers, you know, a compelling reason to use it. But that’s the hard part, right? The offering enough here that you want to keep using it all the time. That’s something that I haven’t found with any of these devices. They seem kind of cool, for the first three or four days, and then you get tired of them.
Larry: The other problem I have with them… You know, the other watch I use when I travel
international, I think the battery lasts 10 years, and in the fact that you
have one more thing to manage and keep charging.
Larry: That just somehow doesn’t work for me for a watch. I don’t want to have to manage my watch and remember to plug it in.
Farhad: Yeah, I agree. I mean, just having so many devices to keep charging is the worst thing. A laptop, an IPhone, or a phone. I barely have a tablet charged anymore because it’s just another thing.
Leo: It does mean it’s hard to get home at the end of the day. The get home ritual becomes very much more elaborate. You take everything out of your pockets and you plug it in.
Larry: The other thing that kills me, at least on most of these things, they have proprietary chargers.
Leo: Oh yeah!
Larry: So I haven’t lost the device, but I’ve actually lost the charger, which means I may as well throw away the devices. And if they could only at least come up with a micro USB, or something nonproprietary, that would help. But I can’t manage all of these charging stations and cables. I mean it just too mind boggling.
Alex: I know for me, if it’s not micro USB and it’s not lightening that Apple makes, I pretty much won’t buy it. Those are the only two that I have in my bag now at this point.
Larry: Exactly. Well these have micro USB, but you still need the proprietary charge to get into the watch itself. Same thing with the Samsung Gear, it’s a proprietary cradle that you have to remember to bring with you.
Alex: So you can’t just plug the micro USB in to the charger and it won’t charge it at all?
Larry: No. I’ve lost the cradles too! That’s the problem with these things, companies send me these things and they want them back, and I gladly send them back but I lose all the pieces that go with them.
Leo: Chad made a real point. If I give him the Pebble, I have to give him the charger too. I can’t promise that Chad. I promised Alex the charger. He’s in my will for the…
Alex: I want a MacPro. I was waiting for the MacPro!
Leo: And to Alex Lindsey, I bequeath a Pebble charger, talk to Chad if you want to work together.
Farhad: I think for this internet things would really take off if you had wide spread compatible wireless chargers.
Leo: Do you guys like Chee? Do you like wireless charging like Chee?
Farhad: It’s not great, but it’s okay. I mean, it works when you have it nearby, but if wireless charging worked everywhere. If I had like a wireless charger thing in my car, and in every coffee shop, and you could just put stuff down on the table and it would work. That would be great.
Leo: I think you should just send massive inductive waves through the whole world all the time, and things would just charge.
Leo: That’s what we should do here at the Brick house studios. And we’ll all have cancer in 4 years, but our stuff will be charged.
Larry: Wasn’t it Edison who claimed that Tesla’s technology was going to electrocute all of us?
Leo: Yeah, didn’t he kill an elephant on a Tesla. Who killed the elephant? Tesla killed the elephant.
Alex: Edison killed the elephant with Tesla’s technology. An enormous amount of it.
Leo: I’ll never forgive him for that. Speaking of elephants the self-described conservative think tank, NCPPR, came to the Apple shareholders meeting and demanded that Apple disclose the cost of its sustainability programs. That they be more transparent about their participation on hippy liberal ideology. They didn’t say that, but might as well have.
Alex: That’s what they were thinking.
Leo: Tim Cook said, “If you don’t like it, stop investing in Apple.” He said, “There are many things Apple does because they’re right and just, return investment is not the primary consideration on such issues.”
Alex: Well played.
Leo: I didn’t see this, I don’t know if there is video of it. He says, “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” I think he was pretty angry.
Larry: Good for him.
Leo: Yeah. His body language changed, according to Mac Observers, his face contracted, he spoke in rapid fire sentence. He’s kind of a Southerner, so that’s unusual. He also looked directly at the NCPPR representative and said, “If you want me to do things only for return on investment, you should get out of this stock.” Whew!
Alex: I think Apple needs to say that more often.
Leo: Wow! Get out of my stock.
Farhad: I think you could also make a good argument that it does help the stock. It does help sell their products. These are premium products, you want them, and the kind of people who buy them think about those kind of things. And if you turned out these were like, horribly polluting but you were still paying a premium price for them people would wonder about that.
Leo: I think there is an argument to be made in the opposite direction, in the fact that Apple is pretending to be ecofriendly, when in fact it’s not.
Larry: I agree, yeah. Every republican is complaining there’s probably 10 eco activists standing out in front of front complain apple isn’t doing enough.
Leo: Yeah. Some of those trade organizations are run by Apple. (Laughs) I don’t know. You know, let’s face it. This stuff is crap, it’s ruining the environment. They’re made my slave labor. What are we going to do?
Alex: It’s dirty business. I think its continually getting better but it’s pretty messy.
Leo: We should call them to task. And I’m glad that Tim cares about this stuff.
Alex: More and more, when you look at a social media, when you look at the decentralized media process, I think that it is more important than ever for companies to have the glow of them, at least, trying to do the right thing, or at least moving in that direction. They can’t just spin it with a handful of media organizations and have it all go in the right direction anymore. They have to actually keep moving down this path, or it will affect their bottom line.
Larry: And there are plenty of people keeping an eye on that. They can’t get away with too much these days. With all the activists groups out there watching them. And I say good for the activist groups. Too bad we don’t have Parnell on this show. He’d probably be…
Leo: Oh he’s…. Yeah! You know! (Laughs) I can channel him! As Robert Heinlein once told me, you guys are full of poop! We love Jerry! We love Jerry. We try not to get too political here, but Jerry would probably have something to say! There is a new book, I don’t know, I haven’t looked at the excerpts of this book. I saw it on Jim Dowripples, The Loop. There’s a new book out, I think by a Wall Street Journal writer, about Apple. I actually like the name. Let me see if I can find this here. Something like Haunted House. Haunted Empire. Apple after Steve Jobs. The author Ukari Kane. Do you know her, Farhad?
Farhad: I don’t know her personally, but she was at the Journal until recently. She left to write this book.
Leo: Dowripple says, “The excerpt is well written, it’s certainly interesting. My only gripe is, it seems a little one sided, and one dimensional. It dehumanizes Tim cook. It focuses on antidotes. They paint him as a harsh, taskmaster.” If you’re the CEO… Go ahead.
Farhad: I didn’t think so. I read that excerpt and I thought it was really interesting. I thought that I learned more about Tim Cook from it. Particularly it sort of filled out the stereo type public image that we have of him that he’s very sober and level headed compared to Steve Jobs but kind of a little bit soul-less. This made him seem less soul-less. One of the things I didn’t know was that one of the first things he did at Apple was to start a charity matching program when he became CEO. That was something that Jobs had long ignored.
Leo: That’s right, more than ignored. He refused to do it. He didn’t want to get involved in corporate giving at all.
Farhad: I thought the overview was really good. I look forward to reading that book.
Leo: Meetings with Cook she writes could be terrifying. He exuded a Zen-like calm and didn’t waste words. Talk about your numbers, put your spread sheet up he’d say as he nursed a Mountain Dew. I like touches like that. Some staffers wondered why he wasn’t bouncing off the walls from the caffeine but Cook turned the spotlight on someone, he hammered them with questions until he was satisfied. Why is that? What do you mean? I don’t understand. Why are you not making it clear? He was known to ask the same question 10 times. He called himself the “Attila the Hun of Inventory”. He was always known as a brilliant operations guy. I read Brad Stone’s book about Amazon – The everything store. It’s very similar stuff claiming Jeff Bezos would brow beat employees and say; “well you know you’re ruining my company”. I’ve heard the same thing from Steve Jobs many times. It seems to me maybe to run a big company like this you have to do that.
Alex: I think you definitely have to create some movement and energy. I think that if you run any company you have to…
Leo: And call people on the carpet. Make them responsible for their stuff. You can’t just say you missed your goals this week, that’s okay. Come back next week. I don’t know. I do that to my employees. Right, Chad? That Pebble Watch is on the line! Just remember if you’re not on time you’re ruining this company! Have I ever said to you that you’re ruining this company?
Chad: No not yet.
Leo: Lisa, have I ever said that to you? Never mind. She could answer yes. As long as we’re talking Jim Dalrymple at the Loop, he has quashed the idea that Apple might have a new Apple T.V. We’ve been talking about it quite a bit. He quotes Salvador Rodriguez in the L.A Times saying that this $25 iTunes gift card being offered right now at Target is part of a promotion that could signal that a new Apple T.V is on its way, to which Dalrymple says “nope”. So there you have it, it’s official.
Larry: The question is simply can Apple do anything that changes the nature of T.V in a way that would we’re all going to say wow.
Leo: I don't think they're talking about televisions. I think they're talking about the new Apple puck. I think we all agree that the television set was somebody's dream.
Farhad: Why would they do a new Apple T.V, because the one they have now is perfect and they can always just update it.
Leo: They need to clean up the UI, because what's happening is you have these channels, and you're getting page after page of channels.
Farhad: That’s just software.
Leo: Yes, that's easy.
Alex: I think they're also – I’m very interested in beyond whatever were using for now for updates or what people are using for hacks, the USB connector to me, is very interesting in the –
Leo: It still does nothing right?
Alex: It still does nothing. And the thing is, I think that there are a lot of opportunities. Whether this Apple TV can handle it or not, we have to remember that number one this TV is basically an IOS box. So I think the idea of opening up games - who cares about the media stuff, but you open up games and games are on the platform where your iPhones are controllers. Apple is like 2 inches away from doing that. I think these are the things that they could still be doing so that they could move forward. I think that also being able to hook up the Webcam to my Apple TV and being able to use my TV is a way to talk to my parents or my kids to talk to my grandparents is very telling. I think Google is way ahead of them on that.
Larry: That’s Microsoft in the sense of the Xbox one.
Alex: And those ones are much more expensive, much more - that process is much more expensive to get into. Having something that is inexpensive, that doesn't do much more than that I think is a much more compelling solution. Obviously there are manufacturers that are building these cameras into their TVs, but I think that right now, in my opinion, there's only one sensor that you want to have on a Webcam. The only people that have figured it out is Logitech.
Larry: What surprised me is that Apple apparently did about $1 billion of business in 2013. So it is more than a hobby. They're actually selling these things.
Alex: They have a whole section of these things now that they've opened up. They've changed their story and it seems like it becomes less of a hobby when you give it a whole section.
Leo: That was the weirdest news story of the week, two weeks ago. Apple adds tabs to website. What does it mean?
Alex: It definitely means that it's a lot more serious than just a hobby.
Leo: I think we are maybe watching Apple just a little too closely when we say look, there's a new tab in the store
Farhad: Isn’t that the new soda that came out before Coke, Tab or am I just…?
Leo: Shop Apple TV, you're going to need more popcorn. Also, apples, offering the $25 gift card as well. I don't know why there's a tab because all they sell is the Apple TV and a cable.
Alex: That’s why it doesn't make any sense of why people pay attention to it because it's - they think that they're going to add more.
Leo: What, what could they add? All right, let's take a break and then come back. Farhad Manjoo is here. He's now in charge of the bits blog. Are you in charge of the bits blog or are you the star of the bits blog?
Farhad: I contribute to the bits blog.
Leo: He’s Mr. Digital at the New York Times. A very, very, good hire if you ask me. Great to have you on after all this time Farhad. As I said before the show I’m a huge fan. You’ve probably been the most quoted on TWIT for years. Anybody who gets into a fight with Frank Shaw gets my vote. Frank Shaw is the head of communications at Microsoft.
Farhad: He's the head PR guy.
Leo: He wrote you a nasty letter. What's that all about?
Farhad: I don't think he had thought it out.
Leo: Apparently he wanted to put it in the commenting system at the Times for your first column, which was a great column in which you'd said - which I agree how to survive in the future of mass extinctions in technology, the best bet is Apple hardware, iPhones iPads and iMacs, Google services; Gmail maps and search and by your media from Amazon; movies, books and music. Which I completely agree with and I've been doing for years. Those seem to be the three and they inter- operate; you're not stuck in anybody's ecosystem. The Amazon movies will work anywhere and you also said drop-box was good, but no Microsoft anywhere and I think Frank…
Farhad: He got a little angry at that.
Leo: Frank said, why, why?
Farhad: The funny thing was his response was, he was saying. I was betting on the big guys.
Leo: We’re just the little guy, the underdog.
Farhad: Yes exactly.
Leo: Little Microsoft, don’t forget us! - If you mom and pop are Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. I love that. I think your column was right on and I just think it's cool that Frank Shaw wrote you letters. Was it like on paper?
Farhad: It was not on paper. I did not get a paper letter. He did call me. I talked to him on the phone first.
Leo: Alright. Welcome to the big leagues. That's when you know when you get on the Microsoft enemies list. Larry Magid has been there for years. Larry talks for CBS news and you can go to Larry's world.com and see all of his stuff. Great to have you Alex Lindsay from the Pixel Corps who's never received a heated know from anyone.
Alex: No comment.
Leo: Because they all love you.
Alex: I spent a long time in the Apple penalty box.
Leo: Did you?
Alex: I did a little back and forth with Steve.
Leo: You’re nothing if you haven't spent time in the penalty box.
Larry: I go back and forth on that box too. It's a rite of passage.
Alex: I haven't been in it for a long time, but it was in the early days.
Leo: I saw you indirectly quoted where was that? Because they said that Steve Jobs is prone to fire people on elevators and as far as I know, you're the one and only source of that anecdote.
Alex: I don't think I was the source of that anecdote.
Leo: Oh no, it wasn't you.
Alex: And the rumor is he only fired one.
Leo: 1 guy.
Alex: There is lots of colorful stories. There's a guy that said he was fired by Steve three times. Someone was following behind him, saying just go back to work. He'll never remember.
Leo: He’s just that way. We're going to get him a Snickers bar. He'll be much better later. Our show today brought to you by Warby Parker. Let me show you my Warbys. You know, if I say to you, you could buy glasses online you'd say that's crazy talk.
Alex: I need to buy glasses. My kids just snapped mine in half.
Leo: Right, I don't want to name names, but there's a big company that really pretty much owns everybody and their monopoly keeps prices high. Warby Parker is about to change all of that. The startup has decided you can buy glasses online you can get away from overpriced bland eyewear for amazing prices if you don't participate in that. This is Warby Parker and their glasses started $95 that includes the prescription lenses and you might say I can't do this at home. How am I going to do this at home? This is how they get around it. This is the Warby Parker try on kit.
Alex: I need this because my kids killed my glasses.
Leo: Go to Warby look at all the glasses. They've got some new ones that are really fantastic.
Larry: Do they have any bifocals or whatever it is?
Leo: Oh , yes, of course . And by the way, $95 includes reflective and antiglare coating a case and a cleaning cloth. It's not some budget thing. So what they do is, this is the free home try on program. Five days to try on five pairs. What you do is go to Warby go through all of their different glasses. They have classes for men and women. Really some nice designer glasses. - look at the new spring 2014, line. There are eight new shapes and six new colors. So I picked a few and I got them, and they come in this nice little case with return postage and everything so you can send it back and then you try them on.
Alex: They’re not prescription there they’re just for trying on.
Farhad: And then they build the glasses for you.
Alex: A little small.
Leo: Mr. Johnson. I wish to speak to you about your - oh that's not work. I like these. Those are good. I look like an intellectual. Smart fellow. Anyway you try them on. I don't know. 20 IQ just by wearing them.
Larry: You can upload your prescription, and then they build them for you?
Leo: Yes. You pick the glasses you want and you pack it back up, send it back to them. Returns are fine, even after you do this for 30 days, you can return anything you want. A very nice selection. They partner with profits like Vision Spring to give pairs to people in need, which is nice. When you buy glasses for every pair of glasses you buy from Warby Parker, they are going to give another pair to somebody who needs them. It's great. They have a place you can take photos, and share them with people and say, what do you think? Here is a special frame box with a prepaid shipping label and everything. It's all absolutely free so I want you to visit WarbyParker.com. I've been trying to get the monocle. The monocle, I think, is out of stock. They sell monocles and I really want that. We've been trying right?
Larry: You know it’s interesting Leo and not to hone in on your advertising but this notion of disrupting and different industries are being disrupted, and there are so many industries that are just having to change.
Leo: Yes, so let's dis-intermediate let's break this monopoly. Half 1 million glasses have now been distributed to people in need. Thanks to Warby, which is really a wonderful idea buy a pair give a pair. I invite you to go to warbyparker.com. They do have storefronts in New York, LA, and Boston, so you can go see the glasses if you like in person, but frankly I think the whole idea of the free home try on - to me I want to buy everything online. I don't want to buy anything - I don't want to get out of my chair. This is a great idea. A great little start up – WarbyParker.com. Do we have a deal? Let me go back to the ad here.
Alex: I hope we have a deal because I'd like to go on the site and try these try-ons.
Leo: Go to warbyparker.com/twit. Ah, you get three day shipping free on your frames. So give them a try. I think you'll like them. Mark Andreessen, who I don't normally think of as a media critic… He's a guy who created Netscape before he was a graduate student at University of Illinois Urbana, the national Center for supercomputing applications wrote Mosaic. I remember the day because Mosaic was the first browser to support animated gifts.
Larry: I remember when I first saw it I was blown away by it. I had just written a book called Larry Magid's guide to the new digital highway with exciting products like Thorse and CompuServe and the internet which was all eunuchs and to see the graphical interface…
Leo: It was mind boggling. Remember the backgrounds were all grey, which was weird right! I don’t know why – I guess easier on the eye and I remember very well the first time I saw the first animated image I ever saw. It was a compass and the needle was turning. I’d been used to static text and all of a sudden I’m looking at a web page and the needle is turning. That’s bizarre but it blew me away. Anyway Mark then starts, very famously starts Netscape, the big IPO in 97 I think; which was the beginning of the internet. Bubble made a little money. He’s now a venture capitalist at Andreesen and Horowitz and a very out-spoken one. He’s been engaged in a Twitter debate 140 characters at a time over the future of journalism.
Alex: That’s a lot of twittering.
Leo: But its really good and he engaged a lot of people. It was really – P m a r c a is his… I’m not sure what the P stands for. Maybe his first name is Paul really. P Marca anyway. He finally wrote a blog post thank goodness on the future of the news business; A monumental Twitter stream all in one place. He talks about – and I think he’s right, he says “I’m more bullish about the future of the news industry over the next 20 years than most anyone else I know. You will see it grow 10-100 times what it is today. People have been bemoaning the future of journalism. This to me is really good news and while I don’t think he is necessarily a brilliant media analyst I think he’s right on in almost everything he says. He says distribution thanks to the internet is going from locked down to completely open. Anyone can create and distribute, there is no monetary premium for distribution anymore. That was the thing that kept a lot of publishers out of business. Formerly separated industries are colliding on the internet. Its newspaper versus magazine versus broadcast T.V versus cable T.V versus wire service. They all compete and those 2 factors drive down prices; at the same time market size is exploding. And this is the one that people might disagree with but I agree with it 100%, we are essentially a news operation. More people are consuming news now that they were before.
Larry: Leo you are actually one of the poster children. I’ve had conversations with media executives from great big networks who were absolutely amazed how you were able to build your own network without having to sign up with one of the big ones. So just like you were saying earlier the brand can be the individual of the small business, you no longer need – I happen to be associated with CBS which is one of the big networks but you don’t absolutely need that to have an audience anymore.
Leo: No, and this came up before the show. I was talking with Farhad saying I can’t remember where I read your stuff but I read it. So I remember your name and read your stuff and it’s – Don’t tell the Times this but where it is on the web is secondary to the actual content.
Farhad: It’s because I can put all my stuff on Twitter and Facebook and that I think is sort of the key advantage for people like me. But it’s also I think a big question that Mark didn’t address (and I mostly agree with what he says) I am more bullish now on the media than I’ve ever been. It’s always been this kind of doom and gloom business and I think for the first time it doesn’t feel that way. But I do worry about the power of Facebook and the power of Twitter, mostly the power of Facebook because it can sort of kill entire industries by its self. Everybody that I know who works in web publishing, they get a huge percentage of their traffic from Facebook and if that turns off - which you know Facebook has been known to do various changes to its - and that affects their business profoundly.
Leo: Just ask Up Worthy
Farhad: Yes exactly.
Leo: Although I can’t say I’m crying over the loss of traffic to Up Worthy. In fact you can blame Up Worthy because they carefully crafted what they were doing to precisely gain Facebook don’t you think?
Farhad: Yes I think so. They like a lot of people determined that they could crack the code and they did. They cracked the code and then Facebook changed the code. I think that is the danger there for all these sites.
Alex: I think in the end what really matters is creating great content. I mean, you can definitely try to engineer ways to get better search results on Google or get better search results on Facebook, but in the end I think most of the upstart organizations that have not been part of the main stream media that are doing well, what they do more than anything else is consistently create great content and find ways to interact with their readers, with their viewers, with their followers.
Larry: I agree.
Farhad: I think they create great content and also are doing the other thing that Mark focused a lot on is experimentation in the business model. So in the past there was just basically one way to pay for media and now there is a whole bunch of different ways beyond advertising.
Leo: I think that is the thing that is really the most interesting in this post. I agree. He says advertising and of course, we’re ad supported so I agree with that, but he also points out subscriptions, a paid tier of premium content on top of free ads supported content, conferences and events, that’s what TechCrunch does so well. Cross media. He says “Tina Brown was right but too early, with Talk News is the key source of material for books, TV and film”. Which also happen to be growth businesses. In other words you could take advantage of other businesses need for your content. Crowd funding is huge right now. I look at Patriot just raised 21 million dollars. This is a crowd form of funding platform for podcasts and other similar audio content. Bitcoin for micro payments. And then he also points out philanthropy and of course that is Pro Publica and First Look Media . Throwing 250 million dollars into his start up, although I’m not sure that is philanthropy. But that may be.
No, I think he wants to make money from that.
Leo: And Jeff Bezos is definitely not charity to buy the Washington Post. On the other hand Pro Publica clearly is philanthropic in nature. It is exciting. He points out a number of very successful people and companies that are doing it right in non-tech. The Atlantic, Buzz Fee, The Guardian for sure. Politico, Search Engine Land, The Verge, Vice, Wire Cutter, Wired, Talk and as he mentions his own investments. And then he also mentions The New York Times. “It’s great to see the Times is evidently tracked the code in the transition from print to digital have extremely hard effort”. So, I think that it is very interesting blog post. And the issue is, and the Chat Room has raised this, is that it’s not the distribution doesn’t exist or the means of funding , but the issue is quality. And I agree with you Farhad, the risk is that companies like FaceBook become so powerful in determining what is news that they can undermine the quality equation. I think Google is safe because Google is algorithmic, and when you say it is content Google absolutely surfaces content. But we don’t know what FaceBook and Mark are pointing to.
Alex: Again what you see people do is that they will try to manipulate Google’s algorithms and over time Google will figure it out. You cannot build a business around manipulating algorithms, you can build a business… I think we have found that was a problem for bankers too.
Farhad: The difference between Google and FaceBook is that Google is very transparent. They have this whole arm that talks to web masters about what works, what doesn’t, what not to do, what can do, and FaceBook is very opaque. They just change the news algorithm willy nilly and they don’t really talk to publishers as much about what not to do and what you should be doing.
Leo: Look at Mac cuts at Google who spends a lot of energy saying, “Here’s what to do”.
Larry: I actually experimented and actually promoted a couple of my posts paying the $7 and as far I could tell it had absolutely no impact on the number of people who liked it or commented on it.
Leo: You talking about FaceBook likes?
Larry: You know anybody can pay $7 to have a post promoted. Do I tried a couple of times to see what happened and had zero impact as far as I could tell.
Leo: There was a great YouTube video, I wish he’d written it because we could then talk about it, but you have to watch it. So he did a really interesting experiment where he bought FaceBook likes, you know spent that money, and then created a number of fake FaceBook pages that nobody would ever really like. And then tried buying likes and so forth but the key find I think when you can buy likes from FaceBook, you can buy FaceBook from third parties. If you buy likes through third parties you’re going to illegal click farms. Basically they hire people in mostly poor nations to click likes, right? And you could buy a thousand, five thousand; they are very cheap. He then says he used FaceBook’s own algorithm. Here he is: Derrick Moeller. He used FaceBook’s own algorithm and what he found was that he actually… oh there it is: VirtualBagels Ltd, it’s fake. And he had 4,000 likes on something that doesn’t even exist because he bought them. He played around with not buying likes and what he found out is that buying likes is actually a very bad idea and it hurts everybody because what happens is that FaceBook’s news algorithm surfaces posts based on engagement. If you were going to put it in a capsule it is engagement. And of course these fake likes, and it’s, by the way, percentage engagement related to the number of likes, so these fake likes builds up your likes but you generate zero engagement. So as a result posts from those pages never surface. And here’s the real risk. As a real page these click farms, in order to look like they are not click farms, have to go around randomly liking other pages. So he found that even when he didn't buy likes he got a lot of likes from click farms and those phony spurious likes hurt his engagement, hurt his posts. So it’s ruining the FaceBook eco system. That you could buy likes at all has ruined the ecosystem by creating this whole market of third party click farms. Not sure it is FaceBook’s fault but it is definitely a problem.
Larry: I had noticed, I mean I’ve never been able to quite predict what will surface. I mean I’ll post something and one day I’ll get hundreds of likes and comments and I’ll post something the next day and I’ll only get 10 or 20 and I have not quite figured out what it is that causes it.
Leo: FaceBook needs a Mac cuts. Somebody who will step forward and say, “Here is how we are doing it.”
Farhad: I think people, I know lots of people who don’t understand this very basic thing about FaceBook which is that when you post something, not everyone who is your friend sees it. Like people don’t understand that there is this algorithm that filters it.
Leo: I don’t think anybody, except people that watch these kind of shows, knows that. Your family doesn’t. Your Mom assumes that if I posted it, Farhad saw it. But not at all. Farhad saw a lot of buzz worthy and up-worthy posts instead. Apple is retiring Snow Leopard from support leaving one in five Macs vulnerable. Apple joining Microsoft, what a world we live in. April 8th Microsoft is abandoning Windows XP guaranteeing Windows XP users will become a hive, a hot bed, of illegal activity and now Snow Leopard, which is frankly not that old - 41/2 years old, is being abandoned.
Farhad: This is right. They’re not joining Microsoft, Microsoft let XP run for what, twelve years?
Leo: Fifteen years.
Farhad: Fifteen years. I think this is a big difference between them. Between Apple and Microsoft. Apple just doesn’t…. after five years you’re done?
Leo: I guess Apple’s response would be, “But we give you the operating system for free” or practically. Why wouldn’t you upgrade except that a lot of the older hardware can’t.
Alex: It’s older hardware and some old versions of Photoshop and lots of little bits of pieces that people hang on to because some piece of software wasn’t upgraded to the next version that they used.
Leo: The other difference is that Microsoft tells you, they give you a date. Apple doesn’t tell anything.
Larry: And also Apple has no qualms of breaking the apps, They’ll break apps with a system upgrade all the time. They’ve been doing it for years. I still can run Physicalc with 8.1. Physicalc was written in 1981.
Leo: Has 65 KB!!
Larry: And I can still run it if I want to. In a Dos Box! Not that I want to.
Farhad: I generally think Apple’s approach is better in these cases. I mean the fact that they don’t have to worry about compatibility as much is pretty good for them. But this is a security update, this latest thing, it’s pretty bad to have one. So they should’ve at least had a fix just for that part of it. Perhaps not any other upgrades. But just that part of it seems like something wise to do.
Leo: Was this the “goto fail” that they didn’t patch?
Farhad: I think so, yeah.
Leo: Oh boy. That’s a pretty bad one. We’ve talked about that many times over the last couple of weeks. That’s the flaw that means that Safari doesn’t really pay any attention to certificates. It just says, “yeah, whoever you say you are, I’m sure I could trust you”.
Alex: I have to admit that we keep most of our computers about one version behind on Apple. Not two, but one. Most of our computers will be at 10.8 until Apple goes to the next version and then we’ll slowly move to 10.9.
Leo: I suppose this is silly, but Snow Leopard was the last one to have Rosetta so if you still have a power Mac…
Alex: It also means that if you had the old version of Photoshop that you don’t want to upgrade and you don’t want to move to these other things, that was the last one that you could run it on. I was literally talking to a guy who was using an old version of Photoshop. Because Photoshop, from 99% of the users I would say, they haven’t released an upgrade that the users needed, other than operating system upgrades, for at least a decade.
Larry; Same with Microsoft Office. I’m actually using, I think, a 2007 version. I actually down graded because I like it better than the 2013 version. I can’t remember why.
Leo: I could tell you why. One word. The ribbon.
Larry: No I think you have to go back to 2003 when they gave you the dreaded ribbon. I hate the ribbon and to this day I still have to go to a help system to figure out things that I could do without any problems on the older version.
Alex: I really thought it was all downhill after Word 5.1 but when they moved to 6 I was okay.
Leo: Actually the creator of the ribbon, Julie Larson Green, who was briefly running Windows 8 after the departure of Steven Sinofsky, has a new job at Microsoft. You’ll be glad to know. Her new title sounds to me like it is completely made up. Chief Experience Officer of Microsoft My Life and Work Team. Okay, so that is her punishment for inflicting us with the ribbon. We’re going to talk about the massive 1.1 million player Pokemon game in just a little bit. But first… I know that is a tease that is going to keep everyone staying tuned! But first let’s hear from Go to meeting; our friends at Citrix make simply the best online meeting software ever. We use it all the time, in fact, even if it is just a conference call we also fire up Gotomeeting because maybe we want to share a screen, maybe you want to turn on the camera to see the other person. It’s so important to build a strong relationship, whether it is with your clients or your team. It is key. You need a meeting, collaborate with coworkers and clients on a regular basics to brainstorm and develop quality ideas and solutions. Just to work better. We love Gotomeeting with HD from Citrix. It just works. It is so easy, you sign up on your computer or your mobile device, you’ll be launching your first meeting in seconds. You can share the screen so that when you collaborate you’ll able on the same page, literally. Turn on the web cam to see each other face to face. it is as good as a meeting in person, better in some ways. You can even present from an iPad. I mean it really is awesome. Start your free 30 day trial right now. Gotomeeting.com to the try it free click the button and our promo code is twit 30 days free. Just try it right now. promo code twit.
Alex: I think we have Gotomeeting running almost all day.
Leo: A lot of groups that are not in the same room, you just keep it running because you don’t have to pay for so many meetings.
Alex: We have six different accounts and we use it for, we might have it on for an event where we just hang out. We’ll have two or three different loops of different people on different sets of meetings. We’ll have 20 or 30 different people across all these loops to keep the event going. It is great.
Leo: It would be really fun to see the “behind the scenes” of how you do all that stuff.
Alex: I’m going to be showing it at NAB.
Leo: You’re allowed to go public?
Alex: I’m allowed to talk about it at NAB so I’m going to do a hang out talk on Sunday at NAB and it’s going to be for someone to really off all the details and talk about what we are doing.
Leo: You can talk about the hang outs you’ve been doing?
Alex: Yeah, we do a lot of high profile hang outs.
Leo: Like, okay, if there is a high profile hang out Alex Lindsey is in the room?
Alex: Well, I don’t know if it’s all of them. But we do an awful lot of them.
Leo: Was that Peter Jackson that time you were talking about?
Alex: Yeah, we did one that included Peter Jackson. The thing is that hang outs obviously are extremely easy. You open up the computer… and that is what we have. Farhad is on hang out right now. What is great about hang outs is that it is so easy. You can do it from everything. But obviously when you start turning it into a event, you might want to have a little more hardware.
Leo: If for instance, you had the leader of the free world on the hang out…
Alex: You might want to have more than a webcam!
Leo: Anybody that has Nukes and the codes, you wouldn’t really want to screw it up. I can’t wait. This is at NAB that you’re going to do that?
Leo: Yeah. We’re going to talk about really approaching and how to approach hang outs, this is really for media folks. Again, the great thing about hang outs is that they are easy. You can do it at home. But what we’re going to be talking about is if you’re a media organization and you want to take full advantage from, and you feel like you’ve been limited in one way or another and you’re trying to figure out how to make them all work as best possible. We’ll talk a little bit about why to do hang outs, a little bit about the structure. We’ve done over 700 hang outs in the last two years. A lot of them can be as simple as we log in and make sure everyone gets in there and has a good hang out, to all kinds of crazy things. So, we’ll be talking about it at NAB.
Leo: Can’t wait. Will you stream that?
Leo: Will you record it?
Alex: No, but maybe I’ll talk about it here.
Leo: You better go to NAB then folks. Hey if you missed any of our shows this week, it was a pretty good week for Twit. Maybe we should just run a minute long recap of what you might have missed this week on Twit. We were having so much fun the other day. You build a million dollar studio and that’s what you get to do!
Alex: That was great! A good moment.
Leo: Do we have a “What’s coming up this week”? Mike Elgan, in the
TNT studio, what’s next?
Mike Elgan: The big news maker this week is SXSW interactive which starts Friday, March 7th in Austin, Texas. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: That was short! Did Mike leave for SXSW right after he recored that? Are you going to SXSW, Farhad?
Farhad: No I’m not.
Leo: Are you going, Larry?
Larry: No, not going. I’m going to Washington, DC.
Leo: Are you going, Alex?
Alex: First time in a long time, I’m not. I’m scheduled to be in Rwanda right now.
Leo: Is it over for SXSW? Aubrey Sabala, Aubs, we love Aubs. She was a producer of the Diggnation events. Amazing events at SXSW. She said, “You’re going to SXSW? Sucker”. Wow!
Farhad: Funny. I went last year and I thought it was really good. I liked it. It seemed, you know a lot of last year was kind of uber and other transportation things, there were lots of new transportation systems. It felt a little bit like the future of the city. How it would work when we weren’t able to hail everything. I thought that was really cool to get a lot of tech people in one place and figure out those kind of options.
Larry: I think these shows have their ebbs and flows. You know, even CES has good years and bad years. I don’t know, I don’t know if you can judge it from just one or two years. Give it time.
Leo: Drew Olanoff, who’s been on Twit many times tweeted, “As soon as bad marketers and PR people saw SXSW as a short cut to growing an app at all, it went downhill”. It’s true now that a lot of people go to SXSW hoping that the magic that happened for Foursquare and Twitter and others will happen.
Alex: Kind of like Burning Man.
Leo: I think it is a great party.
Alex: I think that SXSW is gone is kind of like saying no one goes to that restaurant anymore because it is too busy or too popular! I think that it’s pretty popular. It’s going to be popular. I mean obviously, it’s got to find its way because now it is a much bigger operation. Anyone that has been there during the insanity knows that it is definitely grown up a lot since the early nineties I think when I first saw it.
Leo: Conferences have a role but they just have to redefine themselves. CES is still big, NAB is still big but it feels like is that it doesn’t feel like news happens at conferences. You’d be crazy if you were a company that can have a press conference on your own, to tie it to a conference which surprises me that Samsung did. Or Nokia.
Larry: It’s interesting because I watch the Samsung press conference here in Barcelona and when they announced Galaxy Gear I happened to be in EFA in Berlin and I watched it in the auditorium, it was a much better experience watching it at home. First of all, I can record it. Second of all, I can go on the radio immediately in my broadcast studio and report on it. I can blog about it. I was much more efficient, I probably scooped people in the room… I wasn’t able to get the preview like they got the day before, but I probably scooped people in the room because I was in a much better position to report on it, watching it remotely, than I would have if I were actually in the room.
Leo: Nevertheless the social element is huge.
Leo: It’s just a luxury for a lot of us.
Alex: I think that one of the things…
Leo: I love to go. I just can’t justify it.
Alex: One of the things that we see bubbling up is…because what we do beyond hang outs is just interactive events. So you have to tie a bunch of different locations together. So one of the things that we’re seeing a lot of people asking is about us trying to figure out how to have a conference that has a center, has a heart, but then has small conferences that are occurring all at the same time, all over the world. So we’re starting to see more people trying, you know, we’ve been trying to figure that out. And we’ve got a lot of infrastructure that we’ve built up around that, but it’s one of those things that it’s very hard to do well. You want to have a social area. You want to have a South by South West, but what you want to do is have a South by South West happening in Austin. Have a small version happening in New York, and another smaller version happening in LA. And to figure out ways people can kind of experience all that in a way that you have the real space interactivity with people that you might actually see tomorrow, as opposed to not.
Leo: You know who has already solved that? Twitch.tv. (Laughs) Has anybody played Pokémon? Anybody played Pokémon red? Chad what game? Is this Nintendo DS?
Chad: No this is original black and white Gameboy.
Leo: Gameboy. Okay.
Chad: Yep, this is the Nintendo that I owned and did Pokémon on.
Leo: Some brilliant hacker…
Chad: a hacker?!
Leo: Well this is a hack.
Chad: Not… It’s a port. It’s a simple port.
Leo: They figured out how to create an IRC channel where…
Chad: No! He, okay. He’s using Twitches embedded IRC.
Chad: And it’s just the normal….You go to his thing.
Leo: And he’s somehow tied this IRC channel.
Leo: To a….
Leo:… Game of Pokémon red being played on a computer, obviously, not on a game boy.
Leo: And initially the way they did it was pure anarchy, everybody in the chat room, and there are a lot of people.
Chad: And that’s what’s going on now.
Leo: …Could tell Pokémon how to play.
Chad: Yeah, so basically anytime that the immolator could receive a key command it would look to see what the next one…
Leo: You see people typing, A,A,A, Down, down, down, up, up, up, left, left, left.
Chad: Right. …What the next in the chat would be. So you can see just scrolling past there, right. And it could be start, select… So you could type this into IRC, A, B, Start, Select, Up, Down, Left, Right. Any of those. And so…
Leo: Let’s tell you 1.1 million people played this game.
Chad: And look at the names….
Leo: All over the world.
Alex: It was great.
Chad: And a huge community exploded around this, there’s specific…
Leo: How long did this go on? Three weeks?
Chad: Uhh, 15 days.
Leo: 15 days. Did you know about this when it was going on?
Chad: Oh absolutely! I was there at the end! I was cheering on the Lord like…
Leo: After 15 days Twitch beat Pokémon red!
Chad: A random assortment of ups and downs, A, B, selects, and starts, actually beat the game of Pokémon. Yeah. It was pretty awesome event.
Alex: Is that kind of related to a million monkeys typing.
Leo: That’s what I think!
Alex: They wrote Hamlet!
Leo: So they modified the anarchy mode because it just became impossible, because people were just all over the place. They created democracy mode where somehow the game would look at a majority post.
Chad: So if you look up here, you can see people writing in democracy and anarchy. Up at the very top right now they’re in anarchy mode. See how anarchy is bold? That little line with the arrow needs to make it sway all the way over to the other dotted line called democracy. Enough to vote…
Leo: Okay, so you don’t have democracy unless everybody votes for it.
Chad: Unless everyone votes for it. If you’re stuck and everyone is getting super frustrated, you can all vote for a democracy.
Leo: That’s a good way to do it! We should run the country like that!
Chad: Sure! Everything is anarchy until everyone gets frustrated enough that they vote for democracy.
Leo: That would work!
Alex: That actually would work!
Leo: You are seeing the future of the United States Government in this game.
Alex: It’s be like, let’s have anarchy, now people are robbing my house, uhh, let’s have democracy!
Leo: Democracy please!
Farhad: So how did it work when it was democracy? What is democracy?
Chad: So in democracy it would take a vote for 20 seconds. And then whatever won during that 20 second vote that would be the key press that happened.
Leo; So let’s go to the end here, because I presume that the only way this ended was when democracy took over.
Chad: No! Anarchy! Anarchy won!
Leo: Anarchy won?!
Chad: The whole time. The thing is you needed a huge majority of votes for democracy. And lots of people love anarchy. And you’ll have people that, while you’re walking around in the cave, they’ll say start, so that you get to the start menu and then basically everyone’s presses are ridiculous. And they’re not going to do anything to the game.
Leo: This is the same as the Pokémon card game.
Chad: This is Jesus Bird that’s out right now, by the way. They had nick names for all of the animals. They had… these animals, Pokémon had become memes. And everyone, now I wish they had actually captured the chat room, because the chat room was just exploding. There’d be silly things where people would hit start, and then save the game. And everyone would just cheer and be like, “You’ve got to save the game!” everyone was excited that we saved the game.
Leo: It’s over! We won!
Chad: Yeah, and everyone really, really freaked out.
Leo: 1.165 million uniques. This is not…
Alex: It’s incredible.
Leo: This is uniques. 122 million commands. But that, the number of people watching dwarfs that, 9 million people watched! 9 million people watched uniques!
Larry: Where did they watch it?
Leo: Did you get to play, Chad?
Chad: I mean, yeah, you know what’s funny I don’t think I ever entered a command. I would enter in like, ‘Oh my God, you know, this is going crazy!” I don’t know if I ever entered in a single command. I hope I did.
Leo: A peak number of simultaneous viewers, 121 thousand. People watched twitch play Pokémon for over 1 billion minutes. Twitch had to make changes to its server configuration just to handle the views.
Alex: As a company that does a lot of streaming I was like so what CDN did they use for that? We don’t know what they stream to?
Leo: Well, you know, twitch is Justin.tv. I think they’ve learned…
Alex: Oh okay.
Leo: …A lot about scaling. We’re on justintad.tv. They’ve learned a lot about scaling over time.
Alex: Justin.tv can handle it.
Leo: They know what they’re doing.
Leo: Wow! I didn’t realize, I didn’t realize anarchy mode won!
Chad: Yeah, yeah! It was really, I never actually saw it get into democracy mode. I think what happened. And this is, unfortunately, round about news, I heard this through a friend, through a friend, that they were in a position that they were stuck, and that’s when they enabled democracy mode, but before that they didn’t need to.
Leo: I think it’s better if anarchy wins.
Leo: Yeah, by the way, you will soon…
Farhad: So in anarchy, was it just, were there a bunch of commands, I guess they were just wasted, right?
Leo: Oh yeah! Most of them.
Farhad: I see, okay.
Leo: Yeah, it wasn’t chronological or anything. You’d have to hit it at the right time, right?
Chad: Yeah, you’d have to hit it at the right time.
Leo: Right when the immolator was looking for….
Chad: A command, it had to come at that exact moment.
Leo: But even when you’re watching anarchy you see there is generally consensus. People are trying to win.
Chad: Well in that moment they were. There were nights that they were stuck in a cave for 24 hours. There was moments that there were trolls. You know.
Leo: Can we do this? Is that online, or do you have to? Some guys did it right?
Chad: So they’re going to release a new something, actually today, so we should actually check that out. I haven’t even seen…
Leo: Boy if I were…Twitch is not public, but if it were I would buy stock in that company. They have nailed it. We’ve been trying to figure out how to do gaming my whole life. How to do gaming television and never figured it out, and they nailed it. They nailed it! By the way, according to ABC, Xbox1 is going to get Twitch viewing soon. So that’s exciting. Previously you could spectate on twitch streams and record game clips, but the founder of twitch, Emmitt Shear, says full integration on the Xbox 1.
Chad: So looks like they have now upgraded games. And there is a new version of Pokémon being played at the moment. I have to get through this add to show you, but, so you can kind of now understand what is going on. This ad is basically finished, so people in the chat are saying what they want to do. So now we’ve upgraded Pokémon, we’re on 13 hours, 7 minutes.
Leo: So this is early on.
Chad: Yeah, this is early in the game. And so over here people are saying like, who won? And there’s the straw pull, left right…
Leo: So there’s the chat itself, that’s nice.
Chad: Right. And there’s enough people talking that you kind of get a sense of community.
Leo: So how long did you watch this for Chad?
Chad: Total? I mean, probably an hour or two.
Leo: Oh okay.
Chad: I mean over the whole time. You’d tune in and watch 20 minutes of it and kind of figure out where they were.
Leo: This is a cultural phenomenon and it kind of makes me feel older and…. Alright, moving on.
Alex: You know, but I think this goes back into what we were just talking about. Is that people do what to do things that are global, that are connected.
Leo: They do! Even if it’s just playing Pokémon.
Alex: And when we talk about the future of media I think it’s just finding ways, as simple as the IRC chat that we have here. That is the key I think, is figure out ways to incorporate the viewer ship so it’s not just…
Leo: I agree. There’s something going on, I don’t know what it is but there is something going on. We’re going to take a quick break. I know the Oscars are coming up so we’re going to wrap this thing up in just a little bit. A couple of quick stories and then we’ll move on. Our show today brought to you by our friends at Squarespace. I’m proud of you guys, Squarespace has now been voted one of New York Cities best places to work by Cranes New York Business. That’s actually two years in a row now. And they are looking for new employees. If you are a passionate designer or engineer, and you really want to participate in changing the web, making the web a better place. Squarespace will actually fly you or your spouse… And your spouse, not or your spouse. They’ll fly your wife out! No, they’ll fly you and your wife, or you and your husband. Or your partner to New York City for a weekend. On them! And you can interview and check out squarespace in person. March 15th is the deadline for this. And obviously you have to be a passionate designer, talented engineer. Not just anybody can work at squarespace. Visit beapartofit.squarespace.com. What is squarespace? The best hosting, the best software, they are constantly improving their platform. New features, new designs, better support. This is why the cloud is great, you don’t have to download anything. Your site is always secure because they keep it up to date for you. Your start with 25 gorgeous templates and a logo creator toolnow, which lets a smaller creator or business created their own logo. The best support, 24/ 7. Live chat and email support from the squarespace headquarters in New York. Plus a completely redesigned help site with self-help articles and video workshops. They’ve got Ecommerce at all plan levels. That means for the 8 dollar a month plan you can accept donations or cash wedding registry’s, it’s great for a school fund drive. And when you sign up for a year you get the domain name for free too. Great apps. The blog app lets you post and approve comments. The metric app lets you keep track of all your stats, including social media follows. You’ve got to try squarespace. Two week trial is easy. Just go to squarespace.com, click the button that says ‘get started’ and you’re going! You don’t need a credit card, you don’t need anything! But if you do decide to buy, please use TWiT as the offer code and we’ll get you 10% off. You’ve got to try it! If you’re ready to start your site, your blog, your portfolio, or maybe you’re ready to get a hosting site that actually works. Squarespace.com is making the web a better place.
Alex: I always know when we go to take someone down, we talk about someone one the web….
Leo: You can never take a site down!
Alex: You can’t take their site down.
Leo: You cannot take a squarespace site town. I’m proud of that. Real quickly SanDisk introducing a micro SD card with 128 gigs. You know I always thought it’d be amazing you could hold the world in the palm of your hands. We’re getting there!
Leo: This is not an SD card, this is a Micro SD. That little tiny thing you could swallow! It’s not much better than a hit of acid and its 128 gigs!
Larry: And you know what’s amazing, if you have an Android, a lot of Android phones will take that, which means you could now have 128 gigs plus 16 smartphone.
Leo: They announced this at mobile world congress. The sad thing is even Android phones, really don’t do a great job with external memory like this. You can store some data on there, maybe you can put an app on there. I wish it were better.
Alex: It’s great if you have Gopro!
Leo; Great for go pros!
Alex: It’s a lot of video, that’s all I’ve got to say.
Leo: Great for Gopros! California court has ruled it’s Okay to look at the map on your cell phone!
Alex: Thank goodness!
Leo: Just try to watch the road too folks! District court of appeals reversed the case of a Fresno man in 2012 he got a ticket for looking at a map while stuck in traffic. He wasn’t moving. He looked at his map on his iPhone 4. They gave him a $165 ticket. He appealed it and here it is three years later, or two years later…
Alex: And $10,000 dollars later.
Leo: Yeah I imagine. He actually said…it’s interesting because his son was hit by a driver who was chatting on a cellphone. So he’s very much a hands free guy. He understands the dangers here. And he says if you drive erratically you should be arrested, but you should be able to look at maps while you’re stopped. So I’m not sure I want to…
Farhard: Isn’t this kind of, it’s going to be difficult for the cops to tell, because you might be looking at, you might be texting and then you can claim you’re looking at your map.
Leo: The SHP agrees with you Farhad. But the court said, look! “Good news. Briggs can get his $165 fine back.”
Larry: But you know, is there a law against looking at the built in GPS in your car if you happen to have a GPS?
Larry: A Magellan.
Larry: In fact, I have a… my Prius has a built in GPS, which I never use because it is much more difficult to use than either an Android or an IOS phone GPS. So I would argue that you’re safer using a smartphone with a good UI, especially if you’ve got Theory or google voice, google now, than you are with a lot of built in ones that are supposedly designed by automatic engineers.
Larry: But incompetent ones, that actually make them more dangerous.
Alex: I don’t even understand how to use my…
Leo: Car UIs are awful! Let’s face it.
Alex: We have one in our CRV and my wife, she really knows how to use it. But I get in there and I’m just like, ah take out my Google maps.
Larry: When you buy a car today that technology in that car are probably five years old and the maps are ancient.
Leo: Inevitably, right. Great article in the Guardian and I’m not going to have time to go through it, but meet the seven people in the world who hold the key to worldwide internet security. They say the reality is closer to the office than the Matrix. In El Segundo CA, about a mile from LAX international airport. The key holders, not Gozer, but the Key holders meet four times a year, twice in the East Coast and Twice in the West coast. Yeah Harold Ramies, We all have to watch Ghost Busters one more time.
Alex: My daughter that it was amazing!
Leo: How old is she?
Alex: She’s four.
Leo: And she loves the Ghostbusters? She’s a good kid!
Alex: I guess it was when the ghost came out of the trash can. That’s all she can talk about now. ‘The ghost came out of the trash can!”
Leo: (laughs) They control the DNS system obviously. And the master key is a part of a new global, they’re actually, it’s a traditional metal key, to a safety deposit box, which contains a smart card, which activates a machine that creates a new master key. This is ridiculous! But the idea is that each time they meat, they verify that the DNS is authentic. That it’s not been hacked. This prevents, I guess hacking. I don’t know! 14 key holders. Then there is backup key holders, this is all part of Icann.
Larry: How do you become one of those key holders?
Leo: Who are these guys?
Larry: I want to be a key holder.
Alex: I think they’re all part of the illuminati myself.
Leo: I want to be a key holder says Larry Magen, Why can’t I do it?
Leo: The key holders, I guess are security experts. All have long back grounds in internet security and have worked for international institutions. Chosen for Geographical spread, as well as there…
Leo: I have some spread but it’s not geographical. As well as their experience. No one country is allowed to have too many key holders. And they go to the ceremony at their own, or their employers expense.
Alex: I think there’s a whole, like Divenci code thing…
Leo: This is awesome! I don’t know what it is but it’s awesome!
We think of the internet as being so decentralized and sort of that there’s no hierarchy, but these are the guys. This is hierarchy of the internet. DNS.
Leo: Great article, and you can watch the video of them getting together and exchanging the keys.
Leo: They say it’s a tightly scripted series of more than 100 actions, all recorded to the minute, using GMT for consistency. Keycards, safe combinations, secure cages, you’ve got to watch this, it’s just, it’s got to be a movie! This is total…
Larry: Steven king could have written this!
Leo: Yeah. All but one of the twenty one key holders has been with Icann since the first ceremony. The one who’s gone, Vince Serf, father of the internet, he’s retired, but he was one of the key holders for long time. That is just crazy stuff! Great article!
Alex: By the way, did you see the article in GQ about Uber. The guy who I guess was, it was talking about Uber.
Larry: Yeah I read that!
Alex: Well he was just talking about, one of a writer for GQ.
Leo: Oh he said it was Sexy!
Alex: Well he went out for a week, but the thing that never occurred to me was he said there’s heat map that they see, that the driver sees of where the heavy Uber users are. So that they can make sure that they’re close. I like that level of control. So they don’t know exactly where you are, but they know there’s a lot of heavy users in…
Leo: So stick around, right?
Larry: It’s the fact you’re there.
Farhad: I think they start looking based, they start looking at that heat map that is activated right when you open the app, even before you request anything.
Leo: Oh so that’s interesting! So before you request anything they know you’re just looking.
Alex: And they know that those people are in that area. So because I was in Santa Monica and I couldn’t figure out… last week or whatever, couldn’t figure out how there were so many Ubers right where I was. Because this doesn’t seem like a place where people would be picking up cars.
Leo: UBER cabs confession! Micky Ramkin was in the March GQ. It’s sexy (picture. ……Laughing) that is dedication. Farhad Manjoo, it is so good to have you, you have got to come back! He is, of course, at the New York Times, but he has always been one of the great analysts, writers. A tech writer who is actually understands tech what a concept. Nice to have you, Farhad.
Farhad: It was fun to be here. It was good to be here.
Leo: Come back soon. The next time you are in town come up here and we will buy you a Scotch. Larry Magid and, the same to you. Larry you come here anytime you want.Magid is at the CBS News at of course Larry’s World. You were telling us something that is going on at Larry’s World what was that.
Larry Magid: Well it may have been Safe Internet a couple of weeks ago in Washington DC went really well, and you know doing a lot of work around trying to get kids to be digitally literate.
Leo: Did you go to Congress and tell them that we need………….
Larry: We actually had Senator Chuck Schumer speak at our event.
Leo: He is good.
Larry: I am headed out to Washington next week and I will be talking to different folks in Congress.
Leo: If you want to see more about Safer Internet Day it ConnectSafety.org. This is a great site for lots of information, including don’t forget safety tips and advice for parents who want to keep their kids a little bit safer. So it is great for parents, Sky’s on there. Good for everybody who wants to keep safe online. Thank-you Larry Great to have you.
Leo: Alex Lindsay jumped in here, we were going to have Christina Warren but her connection was failing at Cable Vision.
Alex; My connection was okay, it was a bit choppy.
Leo: So your connection was good great to have you anything you want to plug.
Alex: No just that you can find Alex Lindsay on twitter and on Gplus.
Leo: Thank-you for saving my MACPRO. I gave him my MACPRO so he could bench mark it, because he was curious as to how fast it was, any bench marks?
Alex: No we had to give it back to you, (both Leo and Alex talking over each other) both of us we installed stuff on it, but we have not really pushed it yet, I think it needs more ram there.
Leo: Twelve gigs are not enough huh?
Alex: It will be once we get it up there.
Leo: I has six gigs and you figured it out and you said it was haunted, and I was having all sorts of problems, it turn out that one of the ram sticks had been scrapped during installation. It’s Keith Eggels.
Alex; Keith was our guy he found it. He was digging around and he found it.
Leo: Yes and he pulled it out and see the scratch and I sent a picture to Apple and they said Oh yes and as soon as we get some more MAC PROS in stock sometime next year you are going to get a new ram module. I just said,”No.” I will just buy another at World Computing.
Alex: Once we get it back we will throw……….
Leo: Is sixteen enough? All right put it in I will bring it over.
Alex; Yes sixteen is enough.
Leo: Thanks for joining us we do TWIT every Sunday Afternoon 6.00pm Pacific time and 23.00 UTC, right before the end of the day. Stop by and say hi in the live show in the chat room, we love seeing you, but if you cannot then on demand audio and video, always available, after the fact the TWIT.tv and all of our shows and subscribe to your favorite pod catcher, you will be able to see it each and every week. Thanks for being here, I really appreciate it. We will see you next week, on another TWIT!