This Week in Tech 469 (Transcript)

Leo Laporte: It’s time for TWiT, This Week in Tech. We have a great show for you, a full panel today. John C Dvorak, Lindsey Turrentine, Allyn Malventano from PC Perspective and our friend Mark Milian from Bloomberg Business Week. We’re going to talk about the Google barge, apparently it sunk. Also the SSDs and a whole lot more. Stay tuned, This Week in Tech is next.

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Leo: This is TWIT. This Week in Tech, Episode #469, recorded August 3, 2014

Call of Duty

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It’s time for TWIT, This Week in Tech, the show that covers the week’s tech news. For some reason, there was a mix up on the factory floor and every single one of our hosts is in studio today. I think that’s a blue moon, it happens every once in a while. I’ll start over here with John C. Dvorak. Also known as Brian Wilson in his Beach Boy shirt. Do you have a little box of sand for your bare feet?

John C. Dvorak: I do, they’re sitting in it right now. Move the camera down so you can see them.

Leo: He coming from the No Agenda Show, and Also here from CNET, reviews editor, Lindsey Turrentine. You might see her almost every week.

Lindsey Turrentine: Every Monday

Leo: Every Monday on Tech News Today. It’s good to have you.

Lindsey: Thank you.

Leo: I’ve never met you. Have we met?

Lindsey: This is very strange, no we have not.

Leo: Have we ever worked together?

Lindsey: No

Leo: I can’t believe that

Lindsey: I know

Leo: You’ve been at CNET for how long?

Lindsey: 15 years. They put me in a closet in the back, so I just kind of stay there.

Leo: 15 years?

Lindsey: Yeah

Leo: What was CNET doing in 1999?

Lindsey: CNET was…

Leo: It was a TV network.

Lindsey: …actually CNET launched as a TV network. It was originally a cable…

Leo: I was the third employee. John and I were on their first pilot. Remember that John?

John: Oh yeah

Leo: My hair was like Michael Douglas. It was black

Lindsey: So it 1999…

John: You had a different voice.

Leo: I did. I talked like this.

Lindsey: In ’99 the website had happened and had been going for a few years. It had sort of taken off and the website was originally launched as a pet project of the show. Ok there’s this web thing

Leo: Halsey Minor was very smart. I think he realized that TV wasn’t the end all be all, but was a great vehicle for promoting a website. By 1999 it was apparent you could make money on the web.

Lindsey: Yeah the website just took off and it was growing when I started very quickly.

Leo: In fact, the big money maker, I think has always been the case, is reviews right?

Lindsey: Yeah. Reviews are very important. Everybody knows from an advertising perspective that it’s important to be there whether the review is positive or not.

Leo: Right on

Lindsey: It’s better to be there than to not be there.

Leo: So good to have you, thank you for joining us.

Lindsey: Thank you

Leo: Also a newbie on TWIT, well not also because Lindsey was here once before. It’s so good to have you, not a newbie on the network but a newbie on the show, Allyn Malventano. We have been a huge fan of Allyn for a long time. WE quote you all the time

Allyn Malventano: Thank you.

Leo: He is the SSD expert. A reviewer now, full time, at PC Perspective. Former Navy Chief, that’s how me met. Sub-mariner

Allyn: Yes

Leo: How much time under the ocean?

Allyn: Have I spent?

Leo: Yeah.

Allyn: I did 10 patrols that were 3 months each, so 30 months under the water.

Leo: Holy cow. Do you go squirrely, 3 months without air?

Allyn: They have air. They make it, we got to pull in we need air.

Leo: It’s a tight, closed space.

Allyn: They are 500 feet long.

John: That’s pretty big

Leo: How many men?

Allyn: 120

Leo: In 500 feet, that’s 3.7 feet per person.

John: A lot of people get claustrophobia. You have to get checked out to be a sub guy.

Leo: Did you pass the exam?

Allyn: Yeah, had to pass all of them.

Leo: What do they ask you?

Allyn: Had to pass all the sub stuff

Leo: Have you ever seen that guy naked in the locker room? They ask you stuff like that?

Allyn: No they don’t ask you stuff like that. No.

Leo: What do they ask?

John: That’s the Marines.

Leo: I want to end this line of questioning and move on. Mark Milian is also here from Bloomberg Business Week. We love Mark, he was one of the youngest reporters ever at the Los Angeles Times.

Mark Milian: I don’t know if that’s true

Leo: Well, come on how old were you when you started?

Mark: I started as an intern out of college, junior year of college.

Leo: Yeah, pretty young.

Mark: It’s pretty young

Leo: Pretty young. A superstar because you were young and the Times said what’s this internet thing? What’s going on here? We need a youngster to explain it. Then CNN, and you’ve been with Bloomberg Business Week and had one of those terminal cards for a long time now.

Mark: That’s true, for two years.

Leo: Boy, there are a lot of stories we can kick off with today. I don’t know exactly what I should begin with. I’m going to bring up two stories that I feel like are not true. I’m just curious the way the internet treated it was like, first Facebook went down this week for 20 minutes. A Sargent in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department Tweeted, Facebook is down, this is not an emergency, please stop calling 911 to complain. Everybody loves this story. Who doesn’t love that story? There is the Tweet from Sgt. Brian Brink. Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue, please don’t call us about it being down, we don’t know when FB will be back up! As it turns out, he wasn’t there. He had the day off, he was off duty when he tweeted this. In fact, it looks like he might have been joking.

John: I believe that it probably did happen. There’s enough documentation from people making crazy 911 calls.

Leo: Sure, the LA Sheriff’s Department said it didn’t happen. They are investigating Sgt. Brink, they said he made it up.

Allyn: Maybe he was drunk.

Leo: You don’t see a lot of that. Fortune interviewed him and he said, yes we’ve received several calls from dissatisfied Facebook users. We get phones all the time whether it be Facebook going down, people getting wrong orders at fast-food restaurants or their cable TV went out. The Sheriff’s department is understandably irritated. I think they feel like people are making fun of them too. They went to great pains to say this didn’t happen.

Lindsey: I think, even if it didn’t actually happen. His point is that it could easily happen. People call for all kinds of ridiculous reasons.

Leo: I’m sure he’s heard all sorts of calls. He’s heard them all right?

John: My Comcast is down, call the cops.

Leo: Then the other one, maybe more… my point is look at how the press treated it. You didn’t see any articles or you saw a few articles saying that the LA Sheriff’s Department is not happy about this and they are investigating. Most of the articles were with joy saying see how stupid everybody is. They call 911. It’s link bait.

John: People love it. Yeah link bait, never heard of such a thing.

Leo: We’re getting to you John.

John: What are you going to talk about?

Leo: You know what I’m going to talk about.

John: No I have no idea.

Leo: The JavaScript engine that can write your prose

John: What about it?

Leo: You did a good job. You’ll have a chance to rebut that. I’m going to read three paragraphs and ask our incredibly intelligent audience, which one is real? Only one of the three are real. The other two are computer generated. I don’t know why Phillip Elmer-DeWitt picked you. Do you have a little thing going on with that?

John: He did something interesting about two and half years ago.

Leo: This is revenge coming in here. Go ahead.

John: He wrote, reproduced the phony quote that was going around the net about how I said that the mouse would fail.

Leo: That was phony? I thought that was real.

John: Anyways...

Leo: It’s not real?

John: No it’s not real.

Leo: I always believed it

John: I know you did. I sent him the article with the exact wordage and then he apologized and took it out of something he wrote in one of the magazines and I never heard from him again.

Leo: I see that Tweet all the time. People Tweet it to me

John: Yeah.

Leo: They said you know John didn’t believe the mouse would happen

John: I believed the mouse would eventually still fail.

Leo: It was just a matter of timing.

John: Just got to wait. I can wait it out.

Leo: You’ve got it on video.

John: I’ll wait it out. It’ll keep me alive for years.

Leo: I’ll talk about Phillip Elmer-DeWitt and then we’ll talk about the amazing, physics defying rocket engine. Another story that everybody picked up but I think it’s funny.

John: I get the sense that it’s phony too.

Leo: We’ll talk about that. I want you to rebut this. It does feel a little bit like a hit piece. This is Fortune, Phillip Elmer-DeWitt who has been a columnist, he’s been around for longer than you.

John: He’s really bored if he’s writing about me.

Leo: Output from a clickbait generator is nearly indistinguishable from what passes for tech journalism. That’s a shot right at you.

John: He’ll get it back eventually.

Leo: Can you tell which of these paragraphs is written…

John: I have a long more longevity

Leo: I think he’s in trouble. I would never write this. Can you tell which of these paragraphs is written by a veteran PC magazine columnist, John C. Dvorak, and which by a robot? I’m going to read you three, I won’t tell you the answer. They all sound like you. Number 1.

Allyn: I question whether a robot wrote any of them.

Leo: John, you should read these because it should be in your voice.

John: Give me the URL or something.

Leo: Here’s the computer, you read them in your voice.

John: I’ll read them in my voice

Leo: That way they’ll really sound like you wrote it.

Allyn: Except two will be sarcastic

Leo: Two won’t be real.

John: The House of Jobs was once a mighty innovator reshaping industries. This is nothing I would even come close to writing.

Leo: See he knows

Allyn: First one down

Leo: Don’t prejudice.

John: Ok, The House of Jobs was once a mighty innovator,

Leo: reshaping industries so often it seemed it would never stop. But stop it has. While people like John Gruber want to say this isn’t a big deal for Apple because it’s still going to collect its $650+ for each iPhone other retailers sell, we disagree. Was that John or this one?

John: Before I begin, I’m doing my Jerry Pournelle. Let me start by saying that everything I say is out of love for Apple.

Leo: Sounds like you

John: Yeah it does, sure. I’ve long admired the company, yeah that’s me. I’m eager to cheer it on again. Apple’s board, chock full of environmental activists like Al Gore and Tim Cook, rarely miss a chance to polish their premium brand’s image with the faithful climate change cabal

Leo: That sounds like a line of yours. Faithful climate change

John: I would never say that

Leo: It’s well written.

John: It’s not even close, it’s not well written.

Leo: Third paragraph.

John: I’ve said before that this Apple product won’t get much further than any other computer watch, smart watch, or anything else. I first wrote about this in 2012- an article worth re-reading. You can also reread my recent screed about why Apple should not do a watch. But in less than a month I have changed my mind. Kind of.

Leo: Ok, couple of things wrong with that paragraph. A, you never change your mind. B…

John: I change my mind constantly

Leo: You wouldn’t plug previous columns

John: Two, two of them.

Leo: Twice.

John: I got a double, double plug.

Leo: That is the giveaway

John: That’s the giveaway.

Leo: In fact, that is what Elmer-DeWitt says. Can I call him Elmer?

John: Yeah, his name is Elmer

Leo: That’s what Elmer said. This is a giveaway because he plugged his own column.

John: Twice, let’s get that straight

Leo: Those are well written

Lindsey: He also says that he took those sentences from writers like you. So we don’t know if it’s actually you or writers like you.

John: I don’t believe this is true.

Lindsey: So you could’ve written those kind of.

John: No I have never written any of this stuff. I don’t go out of my way to talk about my love for Apple.

Leo: I’ve never heard you say that phrase.

John: I don’t have a love for Microsoft either by the way.

Leo: That paragraph is from David Pogue, I don’t think it was taken from you.

John: That does sound like David Pogue.

Leo: Give me my laptop.

John: I love Apple

Leo: Actually there is no story here. This is a hit piece on John C Dvorak. What did you do to get in this guy’s cheese?

John: I think he just has a grudge because I corrected him years ago. That’s ok, it doesn’t bother me. It’s publicity and I got two more plugs in for that column. Those old columns

Lindsey: You just doubled your plugs.

Leo: The guy who wrote the Apple clickbait generator is Kirk Lennon. He was influenced by the Macalope that has been on this show several times. Most of the sentences were pulled verbatim from real clickbait articles. Some sentences I adapted. If you want to try this out at home, you can go to the clickbait generator on

John: I could go for that. It might come in handy. Although I think I can do better clickbait naturally. I don’t need a computer to help me.

Leo: The best clickbait is human crafted.

John: Yes, handcrafted clickbait.

Leo: Handcrafted by professionals. We played before the show began, yesterday’s daily show segment on clickbait. Did you see that?

John: Did my name come up in the conversation?

Leo: No

John: Oh man

Leo: It was kind of sad, the correspondent took a Lansing, MI, the last newspaper in Lansing, MI, which happens to be a student run newspaper, all journalism students. He went to them and said, so what makes news? They said it’s got to be useful. He said no you’re all wrong. He then went to a former editor at Gawker and got a little help to make their articles a little more juicy.

John: Punchy

Leo: Punchy.

John: If you want to learn how to do punchy stuff, go to the bottom of almost any webpage nowadays and there is all this crap, what’s the name of the company doing it?

Lindsey: Outbrain

John: Right Outbrain. Go to the bottom, you get these great headlines, you got of picture of some hottie or something, I don’t know if I should see the best butt in the world.

Leo: I click it every time

John: I don’t, I resist those every time. I don’t care who’s got the best butt in the world because they never show it anyway.

Leo: I hate myself

Lindsey: Shouldn’t every headline be bait though? It is bait that is what a headline is. If a really well written headline is clickbait.

Leo: The New York Post famous headlines, because it was a tabloid and you were walking by

John: Yeah, the daily news does those things too.

Mark: There’s two schools of thought there. There’s a bunch of tech blogs that go information heavy on their headlines so that they’re very Tweetable in many cases.

Lindsey: They’re very SEO-able

Mark: Very SEO-able. There’s a Twitter account, Savedyouaclick, it’s got like a 130,000 followers. It basically takes all the clickbait headlines and answers it for you

Leo: In one word usually.

Mark: Retweet AOL country’s top lead singer isn’t Taylor Swift it’s…. and then SavedYouAClick writes Toby Keith.

Leo: Saved you a click. Although I just read an article saying this isn’t so nice for various reasons, Buzzfeed wrote the article of course because they don’t want to save you a click. You’re spoiling our surprises. Anyway, I feel like there is something to be said about the fact that, I agree with you Lindsey that headlines are about driving traffic, but there is a point that it goes so far that it’s really all about driving the traffic.

Lindsey: Right, no. It should be good. It should be solid. It should be well crafted and truthful

Leo: Truthful and accurate

Lindsey: Accurate and heady maybe. It really should make you want to read the article. If it doesn’t than nobody is going to read what you wrote.

Leo: That’s not what people hate about clickbait. What they hate about it is it’s so transparent. For instance, it tells you how to feel. You’re going to burst into tears when you read this article.

Lindsey: It has to pay off. If it says you’re going to burst into tears you have to actually burst in tears.

John: My clickbait has to point to outstanding product. The stuff on the bottom…

Leo: You invented clickbait.

John: I wish. The stuff at the bottom is like junk, it’s junk that makes promises and then the worst ones you click on it and it takes you to some other vague page where you got to click on something else and you’ve got other clickbait on the site.

Leo: Or worse a slideshow, a broken slideshow.

John: I hate those.

Leo: Because they get to load more

John: Slideshows are a plague. I said that being friends with Don Reisinger who has actually perfected the slideshow.

Leo: Did he invent the slideshow?

John: No he didn’t invent it but he’s perfected it.

Lindsey: That might have been like codec.

Leo: I’m sure Ben Franklin invented the slideshow. I don’t want to get this into a bitch fest about how bad web journalism is but it seems to pollute the water.

John: Pollutes the waters, there is no journalism left

Leo: Let’s talk about this amazing physics defying rocket engine

John: Oh dear

Leo: I’m glad I have smart people hear because everybody, every tech blog without exception including Wired which is normally very smart kind of jumped on this because of the word NASA. The idea was that this, it had originally been created in 2001 by a guy who was a little bit like use water to power your car. In fact, raised something like 45 thousand pounds for the British government to devise a device, it was essentially a specially designed tin can, if you feed thousands of watts or microwave power into it, and they bounce around in the can, somehow miraculously the can propels itself. A small amount of power it comes out of the can, it’s kind of a miracle because it defies the conservation of momentum. John Baez has a really good post on this. He’s an actual quantum physicist on Google+, where he says it’s kind of like having the driver in the car push the wheel and making the car go forward. We know, it’s not possible. He says and he believes that this is completely bogus and even the NASA experiment that gives it some credibility, is bogus. The amount of power it’s creating is so small that it could easily simply be a measurement error.

Lindsey: It doesn’t take a lot to move something in space even if it’s tiny.

Leo: It’s not that. If it were possible it would be useful. It’s not possible. It’s a violation of classic physics that just doesn’t work

John: I would advise people to go to YouTube and ask for, yeah YouTube it. Ask for anti-gravity devices and watch some of these great videos that these kids have put together. My favorite one is a recent one where the phone, drops the phone and the thing starts flying around and it’s clearly got some piano wire on there or something, it’s very funny.

Leo: Lisa’s son is eleven and watches a lot of YouTube told me yesterday told me they’ve invented hover boards.

John: That’s an old one

Leo: I said no, I’m sorry Michael, they don’t actually, that’s not possible, and they don’t have hover boards.

Allyn: But it was Doc Brown.

Leo: No it wasn’t from Doc Brown, their YouTube video company made fake, you saw it, the fake hover board where they paint out.

John: Very well done.

Leo: They paint out the bar that’s holding up the hover board. People believe this stuff, what it is, is an argument for critical thinking or better critical thinking

John: Well it’s a fail

Leo: Baez, who is an actually quantum physicists, says that the NASA scientists say test results indicate that the RF resin and cavity thruster design which is unique as an electric propulsion device is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon therefore potentially demonstrating an interaction with a quantum vacuum virtual plasma and everybody picked up that line. It must be the quantum vacuum virtual plasma. Baez says that’s bull, if you’ll forgive. But he says, its grad school bull. Quantum vacuum virtual plasma is something you’d say if you failed a course in quantum field theory and then smoked too much weed. There is no such thing as virtual plasma. If you want to report or make experimental results that seem to violate the known laws of physics fine but it doesn’t help your credibility to make up goofy pseudo explanations. In any event, this is another example of maybe these guys don’t have the scientific knowledge to write the article and so they’re just kind of its NASA so it must be true. This story made the rounds too. Everybody believes it. I don’t think it’s true, I think its BS. There’s a sucker born every minute.

John: Yeah, nothing to say that was the end of that. That really killed the conversation.

Lindsey: It’s not true

Leo: If it’s not true, it’s not true

John: Ok it’s not true

Leo: I don’t think they called 911 and complained Facebook was down.

John: I think they did.

Leo: You think they did?

John: Because they call on dumb stuff

Leo: We all believe people are dumb

John: No, some people are dumb, not people.

Leo: I’m going to take a break because this is a smart crowd and they aren’t fooled by that stuff. Actually we should do a poll on how many people think somebody actually called the LA Sheriff’s Department to complain that Facebook was down. Does that seem credible?

Allyn: I think that might be possible.

Leo: Everybody agrees that happened. Because we all know somebody that would do that.

John: Facebook’s down

Leo: The Sheriff also said that people said my power is out. That’s reasonable, I’d call 911.

John: No you wouldn’t.

Leo: I would call the PGE. 911 is like emergency, there is an emergency. Facebook is down, emergency, emergency.

John: Maybe was somebody wasn’t getting enough likes and it was an emergency to them. Facebook should be banned.

Leo: Do you like my new phone by the way? Have you played with that at all?

John: I don’t know its okay

Leo: $350 for 64 GB

John: You keep saying that.

Leo: Did you guys review it, the OnePlus One?

Lindsey: Got it, yes

Leo: The problem is you can’t buy it

John: Well then what good is it?

Leo: You have to get an invite, that’s what’s weird about it. I feel like there is something we don’t know. There is something missing in this story. Why would a company make a phone and sell it for such a low price? It’s a flagship killer, that’s what they call it and it’s true. In every respect it has top of the line specs and at half the price of every other flagship phone but you have to get an invite or play a contest to get it.

John: Do a contest?

Lindsey: I think that’s savvy marketing

Leo: It is if at some point you sell a lot of phones

John: Don’t you think that price alone would be savvy marketing?

Mark: It’s a Chinese startup and they’re still trying to get penetration.

Leo: So at some point the dam will open up.

John: Does the back come off?

Mark: They’re basically copying the Xiaomi but for the western market.

Leo: This is like the Xiaomi, the big Xiaomi, it’s a very nice phone.

Lindsey: It’s very pretty.

Leo: Don’t take the phone apart.

Allyn: John is just ripping the phone open.

Leo: It comes off but it doesn’t give you access to anything. You can only replace it with a different color back.

Lindsey: But it feels exclusive.

John: Ok let’s take it off.

Allyn: Ryan actually ordered one and reviewed it.

Leo: Jason Howell of All About Android loved it. It feels exclusive, it’s like Gmail. When Gmail was in beta people were selling their Gmail invites on EBay.

John: How do get the back off?

Lindsey: Exactly, it’s beautiful

Leo: Give me the phone back

Lindsey: A few reviewers have given it very positive reviews

Leo: I think it’s excellent. It’s an excellent phone

Lindsey: It’s not really available, there’s a lot of excitement around it and when it does become available to lots of people they will get it.

John: Needless free publicity, this phone should not even be on the show.

Leo: Did you debate at CNET should we review this phone if it’s not widely available?

Lindsey: No, we actually didn’t debate. We’re eager to do it because it is not widely available although it is available right? Somebody has to make a decision whether they’re going to spend some money on it and we’re going to help them make that decision.

John: Stiff ‘em.

Lindsey: Also it’s just interesting. All of these startups out of China are interesting.

John: How do you get the sim card out?

Leo: There’s a sim card slot right there

John: Let’s see, pull it out

Leo: What do you mean pull out my sim card?

John: I want to see it

Leo: Why would I pull out my sim card?

John: I want to see if there’s a sim card in there

Leo: Its’ just like a sim card, I put it in so I know it’s there. Trust me.

John: You know for a fact that you can put one in?

Leo: Yes, because I put one in.

John: You can take it out?

Leo: It’s got my phone number, it’s an AT&T sim you can put a T-Mobile sim in it as well

John: Ok. So it’s GSM?

Leo: It’s GSM that’s right

John: Can I see it again?

Mark: All right guys

Leo: I have a feeling something bad is about to happen. While I let John fiddle with my phone let’s talk about Jira. You know the original name for Godzilla in Japanese was Gojira. I think Atlassian knew that. Jira is one of the world’s most powerful and customizable issue and project management systems used by big companies, NASA uses it, as Chad has told us before, Mojang uses it for Mindcraft. In fact, if you ever file a Mindcraft bug report you’re filing it through Jira. It captures and organizes your work flow so you can prioritize and take action on what’s important while staying up to date with the activity going around. It’s simple enough for a small team and it’s powerful enough for a 100,000 person enterprise. That’s why 25,000 companies use Jira. 70% of the Fortune 100, NASA uses Jira. Jira is incredibly flexible and extendable. Of course there are literally hundreds of add-ons for Jira. Test management, time tracking, and project management. If you’re issues involve code, they tie everything together from initial planning doc, the files, the changes it sets in your code repository right through to deployment. Of course completely integrated, they’ve got rest APIs so if there is not a module for what you want to do on a plugin you can easily build yourself, build one. Flexible and simple, it is amazing. I want you to try it right now for 30 days free. Go to For more information. You’ve heard of Jira, I’m sure you have if you’re on a team, if you’re a programmer or if you’ve shipped products you’ve heard of Jira. Now you can try it for free for 30 days. Monthly plans start at $10/month for up to 10 users so it’s very affordable. consider it. Jira. This is a story that bothered me in some way and what I do every week is I put together stories that bother me and I come to you and I say explain to me. A Houston man is being charged for child pornography in his email, the police say they know about it because Google tipped them off. Now I am not in favor of child pornography and I’m glad they got the guy if that’s what he was doing but is it all troubling that Google apparently according to the police who told this KHOU in Houston. Google spotted three allegedly pornographic images of children in his Gmail and tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Kids.

Allyn: Wonder how that worked.

Leo: Yeah. Chris Matyszczyk,

Lindsey: Matyszczyk

Leo: Matysczyk? Doesn’t look like Matyszczyk to me! Ok I’ll take your word for it. People never get that guy’s name right.

Lindsey: No, I think he likes it though.

Leo: I’ve been saying it wrong for 20 years.

Lindsey: I’m pretty sure he enjoys that

Leo: You speak polish obviously.

John: Obviously

Leo: Or Czech whatever it is. Chris contacted Google, they have not responded. He also asked whether it was part of their standard operating policy.

John: Of course it is.

Leo: It’s clearly…

John: Not a coincidence

Leo: This is what bothers me. We know Google is scanning through your email but mechanically looking for keywords. It looks like a human might have looked at it.

Mark: It’s mechanical, they have facial and skin recognition for images

Lindsey: Probably the same way Facebook does when there is nudity

Leo: Ok but are you telling me Gmail is scanning my email for nudity?

John: Yeah, they’re probably stopping a lot with your stuff.

Leo: You wouldn’t on the face of it know that it’s a kid unless they have some magic scanner that says that’s a nude kid.

John: I think they kick it out.

Leo: If there’s nudity they kick it out?

John: Then the people look at it and then go that’s all good stuff.

Allyn: They have a back end to Google and their search engine right? Maybe there’s something that was in there that was flagged for child porn in the past and it crossed over to the email?

Leo: Chad has found an additional story this is a statement from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This is not Google right?

Chad Johnson: No, this is from the Center it says since 2008 we’ve used ‘hashing’ technology to tag known child sexual abuse images and identify them.

Leo: So they gave that to Google?

Mark: I guess they give them the database of troublesome images

Leo: Maybe they’re known images, ok that would do it. That’s what the hashing will do. This is a known image that is circulated and as soon as they get a child porn image they create a hash and then they give it to Google and Google is matching it.

John: Google does have image search

Lindsey: They have safe search, Google already has to weed stuff out.

Leo: I understand the skin search, I understand.

John: Skin search?

Leo: There is a certain percentage of flesh, if it exceeds like 40% of flesh.

John: If the person has a lot of tattoos would that be different?

Leo: Yeah, I understand that but that’s still troubling because you’d have to actually look at it to know if it’s child pornography. So what you’re saying is, it was a known image that they had a hash for. That would make sense.

John: Google hasn’t confirmed that this is a known image.

Leo: Thank you Chad, was that business insider that had that.

John: it makes a lot of sense that Google is looking at everything anyway. I think Google is looking at everything.

Lindsey: If Google put itself in a position to police the world that way I think that you must be right there is some sort of…

Leo: This really relieves me

Lindsey: It probably relieves, I couldn’t imagine that Google would sign itself up for that.

Leo: I don’t want any human at Google looking at my email. That’s fine if a machine scans it I don’t have a problem with that.

John: Google is going to have humans at some point looking at your email.

Leo: We know the NSA is looking at your emails, Snowden revealed that…

John: Google or NSA I don’t see the difference

Leo: You think Google is doing that?

John: Not routinely.

Allyn: I have a counter to that

Leo: Will you counter that because you were probably involved in homeland security when you were in the Navy yeah?

Allyn: My last three years in the Navy was for the NSA.

John: There you go, now we got some. Now Leo you’re on some watch list

Allyn: I’ve never seen anybody just passing around images.

Leo: What were you for NSA? Were you a contractor?

Allyn: Reverse engineer. I reverse engineered malware.

Leo: If you’re in the reverse engineer malware department…

Allyn: There is a lot of departments that walk around the building.

Leo: Hey quick go over to the reverse engineer malware department and show them this picture.

Allyn: No, we don’t have. ..

Leo: I’m glad to have you on. I’m going to change the room around a little bit here. I guess I did know that, I had to know that.

Allyn: I might have not gotten into all the gory details.

Leo: It was classified

Allyn: That’s true

Leo: I knew you were doing IT type stuff for the Navy.

Allyn: My tour in Virginia was Naval Sovereign Defense Operations Command.

Leo: I remember that because I had the coin.

Allyn: I gave you a coin.

John: Virginia is the give away

Allyn: Virginia yes.

Leo: McClain.

Allyn: They do all the network defense, they make sure no other country can hack into the Navy

Leo: Good, Navy was the word I was fixated on

Allyn: After that I did more joint stuff

Leo: So what’s it like in there?

Allyn: Very boring

John: I’m sure

Leo: Reverse engineer malware by de-compiling it?

Allyn: Yeah.

Leo: To what end? So we can make our own?

Allyn: So we can defend against it

Leo: So we can find it, not so we can make our own?

Allyn: No not to make our own

John: Well not in his department.

Allyn: You’re right, I’m sure there are departments where they are making it.

Leo: Well we know that. Well what do you think of the Snowden leak? You must have an opinion on all of this.

Allyn: I have to tread carefully

Leo: I want you to be brutally honest.

Allyn: I think it was last week, you were talking about a different story. A different NSA story last week.

Leo: Well there is a different NSA story pretty much every week.

Allyn: They were going into these, analysts could just go through and they made it sound like there were no rules. There were no laws and people could just do whatever.

Leo: I know there are rules and laws

Allyn: Exactly, that’s my biggest counter to that is there are rules and laws and we were just trained endlessly as analysts. Hey if you see this, if it’s a US person no sorry you’re not keeping that, you’re not supposed to write a report on that. If it happens to be in a database it was by accident basically. We don’t just, there is not enough time.

Leo: I never questioned that, I don’t think Edward Snowden questioned that. Although we know a few things. First of all we know that the intelligence community has basically lied for quite some time to congress. In fact, the latest story is that the CIA was monitoring the congressional committee, investigating it and hacking into its computers and admitted it after lying about it for some time. We now the intelligence community lies to congress so that’s the oversight portion. It’s good to say there’s a rule and I understand there’s a rule and it’s good they train you, that’s really great

Allyn: Oh yeah

Leo: But if at the very top, there is a culture of defying the congressional oversight that is not encouraging.

Allyn: Along those lines, what I have the biggest issue is…

Leo: You wouldn’t deal with that of course?

Allyn: No I was nowhere near that. The big issue was there was an IT person, Snowden right?

Leo: Right

Allyn: That’s what he did in IT. Those guys should not have any kind of access to those databases. Because there is no oversight for them. IF I was did some kind of search on somebody, somebody has oversight over me to do it like a check and balance, or audit and surveillance thing. Any query I did, somebody else above me would see that come across

Leo: Do you think Snowden made it up or do you think those are legitimate documents

Allyn: Well he had access to a lot from what it looks like.

Leo: It’s too much to make up

Allyn: Right, so

Leo: How did he get access?

Allyn: That’s, who knows? That’s what I think there should have been more careful rules in place and that sort of thing. I think they got a little bit lazy on how they were maintaining their IT infrastructure.

Leo: I understand. Its human nature. You find a hot picture let me just...

John: It’s probably going on at Google mail as we speak

Allyn: They’re looking at your email

Leo: Somebody in the chatroom, and I don’t know how they know this. Maybe they could be BS, says that the way Google works is there is a threshold, a score threshold and if your mail exceeds that threshold a human does in fact start looking at it.

John: A score threshold for what?

Leo: That’s what is unclear

John: Images?

Leo: No merely with images but in order to improve their services

John: Oh yeah that’s the reason I knew there was a reason. To give you ads that you want

Leo: That I don’t have a problem with ads. I have a little more of a problem with a government spying on me than a corporation trying to give me better ads.

John: Yeah but are you getting better ads? I’m not getting better ads.

Leo: You’re problem is that it’s not working well?

John: it doesn’t work at all. It’s a scam

Leo: If it worked better?

John: It’s a scam to sucker people into investing.

Leo: If it worked better it’d be ok with you?

John: No I don’t like it.

Lindsey: I have to say…

Leo: The food is terrible here and the portions are so small

John: Exactly, Woody Allen.

Leo: Go ahead on service

Lindsey: Facebook is a little bit different but they do very similar things. I will say this, Facebook ads, I love them. I have discovered multiple services and things that I buy and I have spent money on fruitcakes for cats.

Leo: In your case they are pretty accurate?

Lindsey: They are really accurate and stunningly so. Oh my gosh I must have those earrings. How did they know?

Leo: How did they know?

Lindsey: I don’t know. Some combination of age, profession and what my friends do.

Mark: They’re looking at your browsing history.

Lindsey: They are but I’m not just talking about the ads that follow me around the internet. New things that I’ve never seen before

Allyn: They’re not just looking at your browsing history but also what you’ve liked. What articles somebody else posted and then you like it specifically.

Lindsey: Exactly, and they know what my friends are like and what my friends spend money on.

Leo: Well also they know you and they have your Facebook token and everytime you go to a page with a like button they say oh here comes Lindsey again so they have a pretty good, given that most pages now have like buttons, they have a pretty good idea of where you go and what you do.

Lindsey: What’s interesting about this is that I only like brands that are in the media for professional reasons. I don’t as a rule, I don’t like brands on Facebook because I don’t want them cluttering my feed. It’s not just that, it’s a pretty rich combination of things, I’ve been impressed. It’s kind of creepy how effective it’s been for me.

Leo: This is interesting, I’m looking at my Facebooks ads. There is a pre-order for a $20 thing I can stick to anything and find it with my IOS device. They know I’m a geek.

Allyn: You would use that?

Leo: No I wouldn’t but that’s…

John: It’s not a bad idea if you lose your keys a lot.

Leo: For Snapple, I don’t know why I’m getting an ad for Snapple

John: For Snapple?

Leo: Yeah

John: Interesting

Leo: I don’t drink Snapple, but maybe I should. The Lucile Packard Stanford Children’s center which is a charity. United Way of the Wine country. They think I’m generous.

John: That shows you how screwed up it is.

Leo: The Uptown Night Club.

John: There you go

Mark: I didn’t know you liked to go clubbing.

Leo: Where is the Uptown, oh it’s in Oakland.

Mark: I have an ad for city college of San Francisco and boxer shorts

Leo: Yes so we know, are you wearing briefs or boxers?

Mark: Boxers

Leo: See, they know what underwear you’re wearing.

John: So what, buy more boxers because of this ad.

Leo: Maybe

Mark: It’s pretty good actually.

John: Ok, I give up. I tried my best. Everybody is all in on this. Sure follow me around

Lindsey: We’re just saying that it works not that’s it’s morally

John: You guys are in, you love it.

Leo: He says it doesn’t work and it’s morally

John: I hate it, I just dislike it

Leo: Do you not use Google?

John: I use Google

Leo: Do you take steps to anonymize yourself?

John: Often, not always, I don’t really care but I’ve done it.

Leo: You hate it but you don’t really care.

John: I hate it, I do care

Leo: You hate it on principal?

John: Here’s what the problem is

Leo: You don’t personally care, I understand that.

John: No you don’t. You’re just mocking me because you’re all in on this.

Leo: No I understand

John: I know that you’re mocking me

Leo: I understand that you can hate it on principal but not care that much so you do it.

John: I get it, I’m fine. I’ll shut up

Leo: But you hate it on principal?

John: I hate it. Period

Leo: Period

John: It’s not on principal, off principal. You know anything, I just don’t like the idea of being tracked like a dog.

Leo: This tile sticker we can put it on your forehead, we’d find you everywhere you are.

John: Put it on everything.

Leo: I’m sad about this. The Google barge. We’ll talk about the Google barge I got to take a break.

John: Didn’t you do a commercial a minute ago?

Leo: We do a commercial every few minutes.

John: Ok

Leo: It’s a new thing on Twit

John: I’ve heard that

Leo: We have to stop whenever possible. I can go on, I don’t have to do a commercial.

John: No, do a commercial, is it a good one? Who’s it for?

Leo: It’s for GoTo Meeting. You like GoTo Meeting.

John: Oh yeah they’re good guys.

Leo: Have you ever used GoTo Meeting?

John: Yeah I did as a matter of fact

Leo: When we do meetings, everytime we do a phone conference, instead of doing a phone bridge you can do that, we have phone bridge capability.

John: You do?

Leo: Sure we do

John: This place has phone bridge capability?

Absolutely. Here’s the thing, every once in a while you’re in a meeting and somebody says let me show you and then because we’re in GoTo Meeting all of a sudden we can see their screen. In fact they say will you hand me the screen? I didn’t know what. Then I realized we’re in GoTo meeting I can click this button and now he’s got control of the screen. Then we turn on the cameras and we’re seeing each other. It’s really kind of amazing. It’s a great way to make meetings effective.

John: Do you have a special offer or anything that you can help people out with?

Leo: I do. 30 days free how about that? Try it for free. If you don’t believe me visit click the try it free button, just use TWIT as the promo code. It is the number one most popular online meeting service and that’s because it’s easy, its fast and I want you to try it today Just use TWIT as the promo code. See that was easy. Click the orange button and try it for free.

John: The other guys have all gone out of business. There was one that just sucked. Was it Web X?

Leo: Web X. Yeah.

John: I remember them. It was terrible.

Leo: Web X, did you use that in the Navy? Or the NSA? What does the NSA use for conferencing?

John: He can’t say

Allyn: I can neither confirm nor deny.

John: Watching him it might be Web X

Allyn: Everything you do at the level, it’s all of the shelf stuff but it’s all on a secret or higher network.

Leo: There’s a computer over here with orange plugs that you use for that kind of stuff?

Allyn: No, it’s at your desk but it does have orange plugs. Good call.

Leo: I knew that, I remember when I was at…

John: That’s suspicious

Allyn: It is, how did you know that? We want to know.

Leo: Did I say orange plugs? Is it on a separate network?

Allyn: Totally.

Leo: So the spy stuff doesn’t get mixed in with the GoTo?

Allyn: Well it goes over the internet at some point but it goes through insane crypto to get there.

Leo: That’s kind of cool. I could work for them

John: Yeah you could, I think you are.

Leo: If they asked me. I went to see...

John: Can I ask you a question? Someone in the chatroom brought this up.

Leo: Yes, please.

John: Whatever happened to Stickam?

Leo: So we used Stickam when we first started.

John: I remember

Leo: They went out of business

John: Why? How? How could you go out of business in this day and age?

Leo: Because it’s very expensive to do what Stickam and Ustream and Justin TV do which is to give you unlimited free bandwidth. There it is, thank you and farewell. Looks like a yellow storm trooper helmet. They went out of business because it’s very expensive.

John: How can these other guys stay in business? Ustream was in business before they were.

Leo: It’s a better ran business. Ustream probably put Stickam out of business really. Twitch TV which is another example of a very expensive business just sold to Google for a billion dollars. So they made a pretty good exit out of that.

Lindsey: They have a built in audience for very specific types of activities. That makes a ton of sense for Google. They bring an entire new young audience engaged in gaming.

Leo: What are the biggest stuff, content on YouTube right now? It’s this kind of content.

Lindsey: It’s my son watching people play MIndcraft.

Leo: Yes

Lindsey: That is what it is

Leo: How old is your son?

Lindsey: He is 11

Leo: 11. Michael 11, that is all he does. He doesn’t watch TV

Lindsey: Actually my daughter who is 8 might watch more of it. She loves to watch other kids play.

Leo: Do either of your kids watch TV-TV?

Lindsey: No they don’t like it.

Leo: This is got to be driving television and the ad executives nuts.

John: I don’t understand how they’re not having meetings 24/7.

Leo: It must drive them crazy.

Lindsey: That’s why Google bought, it makes sense.

Leo: you know what drives execs crazy? YouTube. They know they’ve got this captive audience and they cannot figure out for the life of them what to do with it. They can’t figure out how to monetize it, I believe.

Lindsey: They will

Leo: This is the dirty little secret of YouTube is that they are not getting much money for those ads because those ads aren’t worth much. Your 11 year old doesn’t see them. Your 11 year old clicks the video, if there is pre-roll he goes off and does something else.

Lindsey: Actually no, my 11 year old, I believe that children and this is scary are the most susceptible to advertising.

Leo: I agree

Lindsey: They will watch anything that moves so if the ad is clever in any way they’ll watch it. They’ll be like wow that was funny.

Leo: I’d be freaked out if I were on a television network

Lindsey: It’s all in the creative

Leo: You know that everybody growing up now just doesn’t watch TV.

John: They’re watching all this stuff

Leo: They’re watching YouTube and Twitch like nuts, like crazy

Lindsey: Advertisers will figure it out, if there is a way the advertising industry will figure it out.

John: They’re going to figure out that a lot of this is a waste of their money, they haven’t figured that part out yet.

Leo: That’s what I kind of feel like YouTube, I know you say the kids are being influenced. Maybe they are, maybe the young ones are.

Lindsey: I hope they’re not. I don’t want my child influenced.

Leo: Do you see banner?

Lindsey: No it’s the pre-roll.

Leo: Even the pre-roll don’t you just hover over the skip ad until

Mark: 5, 4,3,2,1…

Leo: I actually

Mark: I do that

Leo: …avert my eyes. I don’t want to see the ad.

Lindsey: We’re all adults. The kids will be drawn into the pre-roll

Leo: That’s interesting

John: I’m not sure of this

Leo: Maybe what they’re thinking is right now it’s not worth much but it’s going to be.

Lindsey: I think so and I think they’re testing ways in which they can make the advertising powerful enough to be content on its own which is always the deal in advertising right?

Leo: It’s tricky though because those of us who still watch TV because we DVR everything and we skip them. This generation, your kids, will totally…

John: This new thing with Comcast will not let you skip ads.

Leo: I know I hate the on demand stuff that is why I TiVo it. Because you can skip ads.

John: You got the middle man, that’s not a bad idea.

Leo: Took the Comcast out of the equation there.

John: That’s the way to go.

Leo: Can’t stop you from skipping in TiVo which is why they put replay out of business and I’m sure they would love to put TiVo out of business. What was I going to talk about?

Lindsey: Google Barge

Leo: So the barge is dead. That’s sad, they’re selling it for scrap

John: It looks like scrap.

Leo: They spent millions. First of all the barge itself, they estimate it’s about $4 million. Who knew that a barge was worth? It’s a rusty hulk that just floats it doesn’t have much.

John: What was it going to be?

Mark: It was like a showroom.

John: Yeah a showroom.

Mark: For Google Glass

Lindsey: Like an Apple store on the water

John: A mobile Apple store.

Leo: They put 63 shipping containers on it which they then hallowed out. Turned into a high tech showroom of some kind. There are several of these barges, we have one in San Francisco which has not yet been sold for scrap

John: Maybe they should turn it over to the homeless

Leo: Portland, Maine had one that was built in New London, CT. Where all the submarines are built

Allyn: So do we know anybody that has been on that thing?

Leo: No. Do you?

Lindsey: No, Daniel Terdiman at CNET is the one who broke the story originally and found it in the bay in San Francisco. He’s never been on it to my knowledge, he’s walked around it.

John: Maybe the whole story is just a fraud

Leo: No Google admits it.

John: For publicity they can say whatever they want

Leo: They were going to float it down to NY City from Portland, Maine but the problem with the San Francisco one is they didn’t have any permits. The permits you need to…

John: How dumb are they? Seriously?>

Leo: It’s not how dumb, it’s how much money they have. They have silly money.

John: They have silly money and nobody thinks that you need permits to do this sort of thing?

Leo: They didn’t care

Mark: Is it partially related to the threats to start ferrying employees from San Francisco down and San Francisco wouldn’t let them...

John: Put them in the barge

Leo: Get in slaves

Mark: They paid like $5/bus to do the Google busses.

Leo: Tomorrow, on Triangulation Kevin Rose will be here. Who is the poster child for the gentrification of San Francisco.

John: Not because he wanted to be

Leo: They protested at his home, they named him. They called him out and said it’s your fault Kevin Rose

John: You might as well blame him

Leo: We’ll ask him about this tomorrow. He works at Google.

Mark: He’s probably been on that barge.

Leo: It was probably his idea

John: I’ll bet $10 he hasn’t been on the barge.

Leo: I’m going to ask him tomorrow

Lindsey: I kind of wonder what the sale of the barge has to do with Google’s plans to sell hardware. They obviously had some plans.

Leo: Now you’re connected the dots

John: They’re selling plenty of hardware

Leo: They’ve backed off a little bit. The Glass has not been successful. They never went…

Lindsey: They’ve got Diane von Furstenberg making the Google Glass frames.

John: Who the hell is going to wear this stuff? This is just asking for trouble to wear those things.

Leo: Sitting right in the front row, he’s wearing the Glass.

John: Good seeing you.

Mark: They’re all about Smart Home now and probably a boat is not the best place to sell home appliances.

Leo: Unless it’s for house boats.

Allyn: they bought Nest right?

Leo: They bought Nest and they clearly have some hardware ambitions.

Lindsey: They do but I think their hardware ambitions are all as a showcase for their software and services.

Leo: Right, well I’m wearing an Android Wear Watch and it’s not made by Google.

John: let me see the watch.

Leo: Oh God. Is there any way to turn this into a Russian watch because if there is he’s going to figure it out? Its’ not locked it’s tied to that phone so please don’t

John: Oh it’s tied to the phone.

Leo: Of course it is. I kind of like it. It’s not…

John: What happened to the other watch you had?

Leo: The Basis, the Pebble? Chad is wearing the Pebble. He likes it, but I think he would like and Android Wear wouldn’t you Chad? Really deep down in your heart of hearts.

John: 6 pm

Lindsey: He’s probably waiting for Moto 360

Leo: Isn’t that cool, you can see stuff like that. I can see the Giants score. It’s a little useful, it’s not a lot useful. It’s not something you’d run out and say you’ve got to have this.

Lindsey: Once Google perfects the Google Now and all the Google cards and all the information.

Leo: The challenge for Google is to really make that useful it has to get creepy. A little bit. As people…

Lindsey: Creepy?

Leo: Its people like John who want to make sure that they get up in arms saying how Google has really crossed the line now

John: I don’t say stuff like that

Leo: Really well that machine did maybe the JavaScript John.

John: No I see what you’re saying

Leo: You know what I’m saying, you got to be careful because the press and more importantly the general public might come to the conclusion that Google is finally become creepy.

John: Finally?

Leo: I don’t think they’re creepy yet.

Allyn: Google Now is kind of creepy

Lindsey: This happened to me the other day I bought movie tickets online and I had not anyway combined formally said Google when I buy movie tickets I get an email confirmation, I want to know about it.

Leo: Except it sees it in your Gmail.

Lindsey: It sees it in my Gmail and I get a Google Now alert that says leave now for your movie. I had already left so it wasn’t that great but if I had it on a watch that would be much handier.

Leo: Exactly.

John: When I open an email it says, I got the first part of that sentence.

Leo: The problem with the watch is they have really small screens so you get a little bit of the now.

Lindsey: It has to talk to you.

But it does very much, that’s exactly the use case. That’s what I mean that it has to get more creepy and it has to get more predictive about what you’re doing. It has to be more aware of what you might be doing and then has to tell you stuff that going to be useful before you knew it. That’s even what Eric Schmidt said all along. Really for us to succeed we can’t be reactive we have to be proactive. We have to come up with what you want before you know what you want. That’s going to be creepy or not?

Lindsey: Or wonderful or creepily wonderful

Leo: You know why I think this is ok? I would propose this Lindsey, it’s ok because it’s useful

Lindsey: It’s useful and it’s not,

John: Time consuming

Lindsey: There is nothing that is going to hurt me in any way but it is a slippery slope

John: It could hurt you

Leo: I think that….

John: Shorts out on your wrist and catches on fire.

Leo: Larry paid you to say this

John: You never know what could happen

Leo: The problem is when we announce that we’re going to do stuff people see that first and they decide it’s creepy. When you experience the value of it first, before we announce then you don’t get that creep reaction. You’ve seen the value and you’re willing to trade a certain amount of protection for a certain amount of value.

John: I love you.

Leo: You think I’m a Google apologist?

John: You’re just an apologist.

Leo: I apologize. I didn’t…

John: You love this, everything is great.

Mark: They could also use some help with how they are announcing this.

Leo: Like what?

Mark: Like for example a direct quote from this past Google IO. Over the summer, Sundar Pichai said we want to know when you’re at home with your kids.

Leo: I think this is the problem. They’ve used it so they get the value of it. This is exactly what he was articulating. The problem is until you’ve used it, it seems creepy. So I agree with you. They are not very good at expressing it because it is creepy until you’ve used it.

Mark: They should follow the Apple, well Google is better at this than Apple is, but when Apple does something along these lines they say it’s magic. We don’t know how it works, you don’t know how it works.

Leo: It’s magic. Isn’t that good? Now I understand why they say that. Who could resent magic?

John: This thing does have settings but you can’t change the language.

Allyn: it follows the language on the phone so you have to change the phone.

Leo: Ix-nay on the anguage-ay.

John: That would make sense

Leo: You’re never coming back Mr. NSA analyst.

Allyn: Sorry

John: I like this thing

Leo: Congratulations to

John: It’s a little clunky

Leo: It is a little clunky but I’m waiting for maybe the Moto 360 will be round that will be more desirable.

Lindsey: everybody is waiting for that

Leo: What about this HP watch that came out of left field? HP announced and I don’t know when it will be good, a smart watch that they had Michael Bastian, do you know who that is? You’re fashion forward.

Lindsey: Not that fashion forward, no but I think it’s ugly.

Allyn: That article title looks good but it doesn’t actually look good

Lindsey: Yeah it’s not that attractive it’s like I’m looking forward to the Moto 360.

Leo: The HP calculator watch.

John: I actually have an original Fairchild watch.

Leo: There you go, that’s it Chad you found it. Allyn tell me the truth, you wore that watch for years?

Allyn: The HP calculator watch? No.

Leo: Casio?

Allyn: I wore a Casio calculator watch.

Lindsey: That was the superior one.

Leo: The one with the stylus?

Allyn: The one with the address book in it but not the stylus no.

Leo: You didn’t go that far back, you’re too young. In my day the watch because the buttons were so small.

Allyn: I was so small then my fingers were small enough I could use the watch

Leo: I find this very interesting, HP out of nowhere, this isn’t an Android wear watch. It will support Android and iOS.

Mark: Interesting

Leo: It will have an app that you can install. They’re doing their own software and we know how well HP does software so it’s going to be exciting.

Lindsey: I think everybody has to try it. Every single manufacturer has to get something to get in the game because if it does take off they have to be…

Leo: That’s true

Lindsey: It’s an insurance policy.

Leo: if it’s the next new thing

John: Paranoia

Lindsey: It’s never been the successful the next new thing. How many times has the industry tried smart watches?

Leo: Microsoft with the spot watch remember that?

Lindsey: Yes

Leo: I had a watch that you had to hold up to the screen

John: That was great yeah

Leo: And it would put your calendar,

Allyn: I had that one

Leo: The Timex one?

Allyn: That was Timex?

John: Yeah Timex-Microsoft

Leo: it would program by blinking on the screen

Mark: Misfit chime the wristband thing uses that technology with your phone

Leo: It does?

John: How can you use that technology now a days with the LCDs?

Leo: That’s what happened to the Timex watch

Lindsey: It flashes intentionally

Leo: They needed to see RT to work on the Timex watch I guess they’ve licked that so to speak.

Allyn: I just wish there was more customization with what the Google Now stuff shows on the phone. For example, Ryan Trout, my editor-in-chief, he’s dealing with emails for other people and the website.

Leo: So he gets a lot of crap

Allyn: He says hey Allyn you have a flight tomorrow because it came up on his watch as if it was him. His watch thinks he’s flying

Leo: That’s Ryan’s fault because he’s having everything channeled to his personal email. He needs to…

Allyn: No, it’s two separate email accounts. He has the hone pulling from both

Lindsey: You can choose which ones

Allyn: Somehow it gets mixed up for him

John: For the price, look at this it’s a piece of cheese

Leo: It’s $200. It’s not that expensive.

John: 200 is a lot to pay for a bunch of plastic.

Leo: Oh but, let me tell you. This is a 22mm watch band. This is a standard watch band, I can get alligator or crocodile or snake skin. Now how much would you pay?

John: But for $200 you get the crap.

Leo: You get a rubber band.

John: Geez, I don’t think it’s that useful

Allyn: That’s upside down

Leo: That’s because John probably …

John: I didn’t do anything, you blame me for everything

Allyn: That would be a good one John if you got the watch band attached upside down.

John: Someway that you couldn’t even wear it that would be great

Leo: Apple has officially closed its deal for Beat’s Music. Are you excited?

Allyn: Are they selling them themselves now? What are they doing? Like on their website?

Mark: Yeah they’re selling them on the Apple store now.

Lindsey: And all the employees are Apple employees now.

Allyn: Well…

Lindsey: Except the ones that aren’t

Allyn: Except for the sales people

Leo: And the HR

Lindsey: What’s it like 200 people? 200 jobs being shuttered

Leo: That’s not that many and there is a dispute over really that many jobs were lost and so forth. Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will offices in Cupertino which they’ll never visit.

John: Why should they?

Leo: Why should they they’ve got a business to run. The biggest changes is that iRadio will be run by a Beats guy. Former Beats executive. I’m trying to find his name, I can’t find it off the top of my head.

Lindsey: It seems like that would be a good thing.

Leo: Yeah, iRadio is an example of a great service that could use a little bit of the Beat’s glitter because nobody even knows it’s there

Lindsey: Even though it’s built right in.

Leo: I know

Lindsey: It’s kind of funny

Leo: Apple says it actually has a significant number of users. I think the number was five or 6 million. It was a lot of users. You don't hear a lot about iRadio.

Allyn: I personally use Pandora a lot but my wife used iRadio all the time.

Leo: It is actually really good. And it’s free. I think it’s free.

Mark: If you have iTunes.

Leo: So for $25 a year. That is nothing compared to Spotify.

Mark: It is cheaper than Pandora's subscription.

Leo: They still have that Beats streaming and I don’t know if the plan is to fold it in.

 Mark: Sounds like they are going to keep it around. They like the product, says this guy Ian Rogers who is running Beats music. This was a long time coming that they needed this subscription service. They resisted for a long time.

Leo: Steve did not believe that people wanted it. I think that is really what held it up.

Mark: Steve also didn't believe that people wanted a 7 inch iPad. Or a video iPod.

Lindsay: Or larger iPhone.

Leo: We will never read books on a tablet, he said. Beats announced someone saying that Amazon prime has free music. And yes Amazon prime has like 2 million songs compared with the 20 million songs on Beats.

Allyn: I’ve never even fired up that music. I have Prime, but I’ve never used the music.

 Leo: It doesn’t have anything you want. It’s kind of like Netflix for music. It is free, but it doesn’t have anything you want. I'm worried about RadioShack and I'll tell you why. I wish they were a sponsor. We tried to get RadioShack to buy ads some years ago.

John: That is actually not a bad idea.

Leo: I wish they had because they are basically headed for…

John: I don’t know. I don’t how good an ad would do.

Lindsey: So if they had advertised here everything would be different?

Allyn: They had an ad campaign recently about light, update your store. What was that? They wanted their store back or something?

Leo: That was a great ad. That was probably the last money that they had.

Mark: They only call themselves the shack now right?

Leo: That was a part of that same…

John: It's because they’re falling apart I think.

Leo: They lost almost $100 million last quarter, they have 62 million in cash left. They are burning money very rapidly. In fact according to CNN Money and Fortune, they don’t have enough money to close their 1100 stores.

John: That is weird.

Leo: Thinks are so dire that RadioShack actually doesn’t have enough money to close the 1100 locations they say they need to shut down.

John: Will be need to abandon them.

Leo: You can’t. You have employees and you have to give them severance.

John: Will they can’t. With 62 million in the bank.

Leo: Credit ratings, agencies and the companies lenders seem to be in agreement that RadioShack’s days are numbered.

Mark: RadioShack has a market value of $58.5 million? Despite having 61.8 million in cash? Their market value is lower than the money they actually have.

John: What is their book value?

Mark: I don’t know. I can’t find it.

Leo: The problem of course is…

Mark: The share price is $6.11.

John: I’m asking for the book value. The thing may be worth more dead than alive. It is possible.

Leo: There are 4000 stores total and RadioShack is having a hard time, giving the low amount of money they have left, coming up with a turnaround plan.

Allyn: I think part of the problem is that it’s RadioShack.

Leo: What?

Allyn: The back one third to one half of the store. Here is the thing. I dabble a lot in electronics, I do simple stuff, I put stuff together and I don’t go to RadioShack.

Leo: Then you are the problem!

John: I want to know where he goes.

Allyn: Online! I order the parts online.

Leo: The great thing about RadioShack is that every small town in America had one.

Allyn: Right. But the problem for me is that if I want something specific, chances are it is not in the back third to one half of the store.

Leo: So that is why my position was, come on twit. Advertise to geeks like Allen and say look, your town needs a store where you can buy a Arduino, Raspberry Pi, iodes and resistors and circuits. They should have had a maker shop in the back, a hacker space, they should have reached out to the geek community and embraced it.

Lindsay: They tried.

Leo: No they haven’t.

John: They should have hired you to give them advice.

Leo: They started selling remote control vehicles, speakers, and cell phones. That is the front third of the store. And they couldn’t get consumers in.

Lindsey: They tried a little bit late. They have been advertising and Make magazine, I’ve seen it. They realized it, but it was really only in the last year.

Leo: If they had bought into Twit when we pitched it to them 2 years ago we could’ve saved that company. Just remember that.

John: There you have it.

Leo: Seriously, maybe not totally. But reaching out to the geeks is the right thing to do. Tech TV did the same thing. Instead of saying lets embrace the geeks, we want to be more general and reach a broader audience. And it failed. Because it didn’t appeal to anybody. In a world where you’ve got Amazon and all these online retailers, the only way you are going to beat them is by providing something that they don’t offer which is service. A human being, and a human face. If they had reached out to geeks and said this is it.

John: I don't think they could’ve afforded to do it. I think what he is discussing is getting specific piles of transistors for whatever you are building and they wouldn’t have been able to carry that much SKU.

Allyn: Here is a perfect example. So just within the last couple of weeks we put together a little box with a bunch of variable resistors built into it that goes out and controls all of our light panels in our studio. We made our own remote panel control. So I needed these very specific parts. We can’t find them.

John: Go to Lashers.

Leo: How does Lashers survive?

John: They have a big, they have everything, but they have it behind the counter so if you want some transistors or whatever, you tell them and they go in the back and find it. It is like a car parts place.

Allyn: I would've went to that place.

John: You can go to a car parts place and ask for some…

Allyn: I would’ve gone there.

Leo: You would’ve loved it. You would’ve haunted it. That is what people do at Lasher’s. They go on Saturday morning and go hang out.

John: You know who I saw there when I went to Lasher’s to pick something up? Cliff stole was there. While you are in the Bay area you should go and check it out just to see what a place should be like.

Leo: This Astronomer at Berkeley who wrote the Cuckoo’s Nest and was a regular on Tech TV doing a column about how horrible technology was.

John: Know he was a technology hater. A genuine one. Not me. I’m different.

Leo: Not like you. He was real. He was the real deal.

John: His whole goal in life was to get people out of the house. Get away from the computer screen and go take a walk.

Leo: He actually… you know what we should see if we could get him for our New Year’s show. He built a Mac-quarium, it was very cool. He is a great guy.

Lindsey: For a big store like Lasher’s to survive, does it have to be in a market like Berkeley where you have people with a lab? They are doing all sorts of things that require that kind of inventory?

John: And you have to have the personnel that understands it.

Leo: I don’t know. I just feel like it is a sad day. Because RadioShack was, for many people their first computer with the Tandy.

John: This is where I think they really dropped the ball. They had it. They had a major platform all to themselves. That they could have taken much further. And then they bailed.

Mark: Also they were selling things that you can easily find anywhere else at the time. Like in the 90s if you needed a co-ax cable you couldn’t get it anywhere else. But now you can get it at Best Buy.

Leo: I still go to Radio Shack for certain things. If I need a Lithium 3032 battery, there are certain things that I still go to RadioShack for. I think it is a loss that you cannot.

John: Do the ad. You’ve been putting off the ad for too long.

Leo: You know what I love?

John: Audible.

Leo: Yes! You could tell by the Look in my eyes that I was getting ready to talk about the world’s best bookstore?

 John: I think it is the only bookstore.

Leo: There were others. I think there still are.

John: The ones that advertise on your show, stay in business.

Leo: Exactly. I’m not going to say anything, but.

John: There was an old saying in PC Magazine that said anyone that advertised next to a Dvorak column always stayed in business. Always successful.

Leo: So I am listening to Graham Nash’s new book called Wild Tales. He is, I love him. Crosby, Stills, and Nash? Have you heard of them? A rock 'n roll life. He narrates it. I love this kind of stuff. Audible knows what you have listened to and I hope this is okay with you John, they suggest other books that you may like. Because I listened to Keith Richards, my life, which is awesome.

John: As long as they are not spying on your email to get these recommendations.

Leo: No they are not. They just see what I buy. We are going to have Kevin Rose on Monday on Triangulation and the following Monday we have Andy Weir who wrote one of my absolute favorite audible books, the Martian. Have any of you read the Martian?

Lindsey: Yes.

Leo: See, I knew I liked you. It is Robinson Crusoe on Mars. He gets left behind on Mars and has to survive like a year and a half with what he has on hand. It would be a wonderful graduate, college course. Here is the stuff you have on Mars, can you live a year and a half? What would you do to solve it? It is an education listening to it but is also human. It is beautiful, you cry at the end. I want to you why you cry. It could be good, it could be bad. You will want to read this. And Andy Weir will be our guest, I am really thrilled to talk to him a week from Monday. So may be this would be a good time to download and listen to the Martian. I’ll tell you what, I can get you two books for free. I highly recommend the Martian. You know, we’ve interviewed Daniel Suarez on Triangulation and his books are really good. What do you listen to? I know that John loved the Confessions of an Economic Hit Man You still recommend that? You still stand by that?

John: It is an outstanding product.

Leo: Another great audible book by John Perkins, the true story of the highly paid professionals who go out to countries that are in economic dire straits with bags of money. Trillions of dollars. Get them to do things that maybe are not in their best interests, but are in the best interests of major multinational conglomerates. And you think this is true?

John: I’m telling you. Just read or listen to the book on audible. It’s fairly hard not to believe it.

Leo: If you like politics, if you like fiction, if you like science fiction, audible is a great place. 150,000 volumes. I just want to tell you I am also an intellectual I listen to literature. I am not the ignorant fellow that you presume I am. Have you read this? The Gold Finch.

Lindsey: It is very good.

Leo: It is one of my favorite authors. She wrote The Secret History, which is also brilliant.

Lindsey: I had a hilarious conversation with a friend of mine. I was in the middle of reading it, I was about halfway through and I asked my friend what he was reading and he said, I’m reading this great book called The Gold Finch and he starts to describe it and he said, have you read it? And I said no because I am really bad at remembering the names of the books that I’m reading. And he keeps going and I said, “Oh I’m reading that right now. At this moment.” It was pretty funny.

Leo: It is so good. If you like literature. Maybe not for you, John.

John: I like comic books.

Lindsey: Do you like mysteries?

John: Yeah I like mysteries.

Lindsay: You might like it.

John: Okay. I’ll check it out. My thing is I like audible when you are driving around, but generally speaking when I’m reading I read off the Kindle.

Leo: So you know what I am doing with this? I am doing whisper sync. On some books after you buy the audible book. For a reduced price you get the Kindle book. And then you go back and forth. So I will listen, and read on my iPad when I’m laying down. And actually you can have the audible going.

John: You don’t use a Kindle?

Leo: I just use my iPad.

John: Kindle is the best.

Leo: I like the Kindle. I just don’t want a different device for everything.

John: Why not?

Allyn: Which reader is it that is highlighting the words?

Leo: Well the Kindle will do it, now the Kindle app on iOS android will do it is well. You download the audiobook, you download the physical book. If you stop reading, it knows where you left off. I just love this. So if you are a person who likes to read books too, Audible is still a great thing. Because in the car or at the gem you can’t read. I know you are a gym rat, John.

John: I am.

Leo: Pump iron like nobody’s business. One thing you can’t do when you’re lifting heavy metal is hold the book. It would be hard. But if you have audible, it is awesome. We interviewed a really great guy on triangulation, Mark Miodownik. He is a science guy. He has a book called Stuff Matters, exploring the marvelous materials that shape our man-made world. Why is glass see-through? Did you ever think about that? What makes elastic stretchy? Why can you bend a paperclip? These are things that I wonder all the time.

John: I can imagine.

Leo: Well Mark explains it. He is funny, he is just great. I love Mark. The point is that there are books in every area. This is a bookshelf just waiting for you. I want you to go to and what we are going to do is we are going to give you a month free and the platinum account. That is the two books a month account. Two credits a month. You will also get the daily digest of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. You’ve got it for 30 days and you pay nothing. If you cancel after the first 30 days that’s it. You still get to keep the books. And you will them nothing. I think you are going to stick around. Audible is a really fabulous resource. Even if you still like reading paper books, having audible when you’re in the car, at the jam or when you are walking the dog it is awesome. Two free books waiting for you.

Leo: Twitter had a pretty good quarter. Although, maybe it shouldn’t have. So Wall Street was very happy to hear that not only were Twitter’s profits good, and I think twitter controls that, they can make as much money as they want or don’t want. They just put more ads in the stream. They blew away expectations but the most important thing from the point of view of Wall Street is that users were up. They had been going down for a few quarters and people were concerned that Twitter might be over. Some of the increase may be had to do with the World Cup, that was probably the most tweeted event of all time. Dick Costolo said in his analyst call said he thinks new users are coming to twitter because their on boarding process is better. that is where they welcome you, they give you a little tour and some champagne. Welcome to Twitter.

Lindsey: They are doing a better job explaining what it is, and who is there.

Leo: I think that they needed to do that early on and didn’t do a good job of it. And now it is so widely used that if you don’t know what Twitter is…

Lindsey: Here is the problem. I always say that twitters problem is social anxiety. A lot of people signed up for twitter and they do one of two things. They either just follow a bunch of people and then they lurk. Or if they try to participate and because it is hard to build up followers, they are anxious. They throw things out to the universe and nobody answers and so then they filled down. So I think what twitter is trying to do, is build up a sword of stronger lurker culture. Which is probably what they need to be successful. People use Twitter more as something that they absorb.

Leo: So don’t feel bad that you have 100 followers, or 12. Because that is why you are there. You are there to read the feeds of others.

Lindsey: You are there to find out what is going on.

Leo: Twitter is really not for you, it is for Justin Bieber. That’s what they should say.

John: They should say that, yeah.

Leo: If you are a believer, it is for you. But not if you are just a normal person.

John: By the way, I need more followers. The real Dvorak.

Leo: He’s got that anxiety thing.

John: I get no respect.

Leo: So here is the trouble in paradise. And I think this is fair. Wall Street Journal pointed this out. Despite the fact that they are gaining in new users, most people never go to the website, they use the twitter app. About 40 million active users don’t, they don't see twitter ads at all. Now that is only 14% of the total. So it isn’t anywhere near the majority. But that number may be going up. And that is something that Twitter needs to watch. That is why they killed the third-party apps, or tried to. I never go to twitter, I rarely go to twitter site. And I know that I don’t see any ads. Are they going to have to put it in the stream in order to monetize?

Lindsey: I think they are probably exploring this really actively right now. Just like nature abhors a vacuum, the advertising industry abhors a missed opportunity. And so somehow, you’ve got to bet that Twitter is having back and forth conversations about all of these things.

Leo: Isn’t there a tension between the advertising industry that would like to put ads in every freaking where they can? And the businesses and the users who say well, come on, knock it off. We don’t want to see ads. Twitter has to balance those interests. They can’t just say advertisers let’s put this in the stream. That could really chase away people.

Lindsey: They are trying, they have an ad product where they basically work with publishers to share the revenue for the single ad. So it is kind of a twofer.

Leo: So two publishers are in one ad?

 Lindsey: A broadcaster has a tweet lined up that includes an ad and they share that revenue. It is called Twitter Amplify. So Twitter is working on a way to get a little bit of revenue from somebody else’s advertising and it seems like that might be a model for getting revenue.

Leo: And why would the networks go along with that? Why would they share their revenue?

Lindsey: Will probably because the people paying for that ads are very interested in social exposure but they want to do it in partnership with people who they think will get attention on social media.

Leo: I understand the advertisers, but why would the Wall Street Journal share revenue with twitter?

Lindsey: Because they want the revenue experience stream to do it with twitter it has to show the money.

Leo: I want to thank the guy who tweeted, who said “I’m not watching right now. I’m watching a movie but I will watch later.” Thank you Paul. I appreciate it. This is why Twitter is so great. That kind of direct conversation. So, John. Really, are you being facetious that you want more followers? Or do you really see any value in having followers?

John: I’m below 100,000 and now everyone mocks me. For having such a low number, even though it is a reasonable amount.

Leo: You know who’s terrified? If you are a Hollywood star and you have 50,000 followers.

Mark: They pay for them just like they pay for converse representatives.

John: I don’t like the idea of paying for anything, but I would like to have… yes, I could use some more followers.

Leo: Paula Dean in the chat room, not that Paula Dean, says “One revenue service that twitter has not mind is when we show tweets, or news organizations show tweets, they don’t pay twitter for that right? Twitter could go to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. They’ve already started doing that thing where you should embed it right?

Mark: Yes. And I think those are counted in the off-site numbers that they were talking about.

Leo: Would Bloomberg be upset if they put an ad in there?

Mark: I don’t think it is in the terms right now that they can do that.

John: You know what I would like to do? I would like to learn the German accent.

Leo: John comes here and he thinks of things…

Mark: You can learn anything on YouTube.

John: That is what I thought. But I couldn’t get the Christopher Walken down.

Leo: Next time Kevin Pollack is here we will have him do master classes.

John: That would be great. He could do it.

Leo: If anybody can teach you how to do Pollack, he could. That is a good show. Pollack teaches Dvorak Walken.

John: That would be good.

Would that be a recurring show?

John: Yes, because I would never get it.

Allyn: It could be weekly.

Leo: And we thought when we started this show that there really wouldn’t be a lot of legs, but teaching Dvorak German walken. Kevin is a nice guy, he sent me an email the other day. My personal close friend Kevin Pollack. Twitter also is doing…

John: What is the story about Microsoft in China?

Leo: No, China is investigating Microsoft for antitrust.

John: Does anybody know anything about this story?

Mark: China is investigating everybody.

Leo: It is called a shakedown. Have you ever heard of it?

Mark: They raided several offices that Microsoft owns in China. Qualcomm is under the same pressure right now in China. China also appears to be tilting their smart phone market in favor of local companies so that Lenovo and Xiaomi are benefiting from some moves that are hurting Apple and Samsung. For example the Chinese government told the carriers to stop subsidizing so much of the phones cost. Over here you can go to the Verizon store and get an iPhone for $200 but it actually caused $650 to the carrier. They subsidize the cost to lower the price for you. China is telling their state owned cellular carriers not to do so much of that.

John: So you have to pay too much for the phone.

Mark: So the iPhone becomes now $700.

Leo: Do you feel that Microsoft has become a target of late because last week the China government said you cannot buy Windows 8 for government work? Because we believe the NSA, through Microsoft, is spying. That seems targeted. It seems like Microsoft is at target of China.

Mark: Microsoft has long been a target of China. Some of the Chinese government divisions were pirating Word and Windows. It has been a problem for Microsoft for a long time. on Microsoft last earning call they said China is still a trouble spot and we don't see it improving anytime soon.

Lindsay: Hasn’t China been targeting Apple too in similar kinds of conversations? If you are a large company and you are in China, China has it’s eye on you.

Mark: Yeah, China is. The geopolitical tensions with the US right now are pretty bad so the American tech companies are getting punished just like Walmart and everybody else is having trouble over there.

Leo: Is it that they really fear that they are being spied on or is that just a lever in some sort of deeper negotiations going on? What is it that China wants?

Mark: Part of it has to do with the fact that our government is blocking out a lot of Chinese companies from getting deals. ZTE, Lenovo, trying to sell networking equipment to carriers.

Leo: Congress in their congressional report said that businesses should not buy ZTE or Huawei because of Chinese government spying. Payback. What do you think Mr. NSA analyst?

Allyn: Well, we have had routers come from overseas with buying firmware in them.

Leo: But we do the same thing apparently. According to Snowden documents we are pretty good at putting that kind of stuff in routers.

John: I think we are probably better.

Leo: Who’s better? Who’s better at converting routers, that’s the question.

Allyn: I haven’t heard of us going that far. I’ve never heard of that.

John: That is how good we are.

Allyn: Yeah, if it was actually happening.

Leo: Actually DefCon and Black Hat is coming up this week.

John: Are you going?

Leo: No. I’ve never been.

John: It's actually kind of cool. You would enjoy it because everyone would know you.

Leo: They would hack me..

John: They would probably hack your phone.

Leo: Yeah, I put a lot of sexy texts to my phone and just wait for it show up on the wall of shame.

Allyn: It would be there in 5 minutes probably.

Leo: Father Robert Ballaster said, they wouldn’t hack a priest would they?

Lindsey: Especially hack a priest?

Leo: He’s going to be down there. He’s going to cover for us. He goes every year. He loves Black Hat. He doesn’t just go to Defcon, which is the kind of people’s conference. Black hat is the one where the big shots go. Where you learn how to do stuff. So we expect there will be a lot of announcements in the next couple of weeks over security. One already kind of leaked out, we We don’t know the details but the exploit is called bad USB. Somebody has got to know the technology behind this and I want to know what it is so get ready, Allyn, you are teed up, how can this work and is it a widespread problem? I know that Steve will be talking about this on security.

Allyn: This is a different layer. This is not an auto run.

Leo: This is a hardware layer. We are not talking about AutoRun. We are talking about something that is actually much more nefarious but before we do that though I do want to mention our John, do you have a square space site for Dvorak?

John: You should know. is square space.

Leo: and they don’t even pay you to do that today?

John: They don’t.

Leo: You do it because you love it. Is that my phone? You started music?

John: I didn’t do anything. Is that what you listen to?

Leo: That is good stuff. Is this George Bush rap?

Allyn: Is that your ring tone?

Lindsey: You are going to have to pay royalties any second now.

John: I don’t think it is a real song.

Leo: Did you just start that?

John: I didn’t do anything. It is still locked.

Leo: How did you get that to play?

John: I don’t know. Somebody hacked the phone. We have an NSA guy on here.

Leo: The only guy on a Windows box.

John: I can’t stop him.

Leo: We’ve got George Bush rapping on the show and you can’t stop him. Here, I’ll turn it off. That is weird. Why is he saying duty? That is Jonothan Colton. I am going to keep the phone over here from no one. Holy cow, John. So you like squarespace because No Agenda is a hugely popular show. The kids love it. Many 11-year-olds don’t watch TV, they listen to No Agenda.

John: We have a wide demo.

Allyn: I watch it.

Leo: Which is amazing, since it’s an audio program.

 John: We have a lot of commuters that listen to the show because it is long. It is six hours a week.

Leo: And that is one show.

John: Could be, but no. Twice weekly. Now on Thursdays.

 Leo: So you want a site that when you are doing the show, people can rush to that site and flooded. Hundreds of thousands of people can visit it and the last thing you want is that it goes down.

John: It can’t. Because it is squarespace.

Leo: You think we are making this up. But no, this is true. We have tried and tried. Everybody go to Everybody go there. The listening audience, the viewing audience and I guarantee you that I can bring any site down except a squarespace site. And that is because squarespace really is committed to not only great up time, that great response time. The squarespace pages pop up, because the hosting at squarespace is tightly integrated with the software. They do stuff behind the scenes, they explained it to me once and it went over my head but it is very sophisticated, involving virtual servers, and Java. It is amazing. You don’t even know. That is the beauty of it. All squarespace templates are modern, mobile response design and you get the benefit of the latest and greatest state of the art web technologies and you don't have to be in HTML or JavaScript or CSS guru. You can just point and click your way to a beautiful website that matches your aesthetic, your sensibilities. Whether you are a photographer, an artists, whether you are selling online, whether you are a blogger. You just want a great site. Visit and you can take a look. Even try it for two weeks, use all the features absolutely free. All you have to do is name a site, give them an email address and a password and you are in. You can import all the content from your existing site, change the templates that will, they do have a developer’s platform if you are JavaScript guru you can do anything with squarespace. But you don't have to be, and that is beautiful. Their newly redesigned customer help site will help you. There is George Bush. What do George Bush and Katy Perry have in common?

Mark: Duty.

John: He waited the whole show to get one in!

Leo: That is the name of the show right there.

John: He nailed it. Home run.

Leo: Home run! Thank you Mark. So, it starts at eight dollars a month. I was telling about the new help site. They have self-help articles, video workshops, webinars, so that you can get really good at this if you want to spend the time. Eight dollars a month for the basic plan and that includes a free domain name when you sign up for a year. They have mobile apps that are beautiful. If you are a photographer they have a portfolio app that will pull the photos from your website and display them on an iPad or an iPhone for your client. This is really actually pretty awesome. I can just go on and on. Why don’t you go to and click on the get started button and try it. All I ask is that when you decide to buy, use the offer code twit because you are going to get 10% off. That way they will know that you heard about it from this week in Tech. If they had a code for the no agenda show I would give it to you. But, they don’t. Why don’t you? Oh that’s right you don’t do ads. Because you are pure.

John: As the driven snow.

Leo: and use the offer code twit. So, we will find out more at Black Hat they are going to give a presentation on bad USB.

Allyn: Do you want the 30 second version?

Leo: s This comes from security research labs in Berlin. So if you could do it with a German accent I would appreciate it.

Allyn: I do not have the special German accent.

Leo: Carston Knoll, chief scientist says, “If you put anything into your USB slot you could be in trouble.” So what exactly is happening?

Allyn: So, like any device that you have in your possession connected to your computer directly, you can update the firmware.

Leo: Now see this is interesting. A thumb drive has firmware. Not just firmware, but programmable firmware. This was my question. Why is it programmable?

John: That is what I was going to ask. That makes no sense to me that it would be programmable.

Leo: Why isn’t it locked down?

Allyn: It is locked down by obscurity. Historically. Usually you plug in the USB drive and you would need some kind of special tool in order to rewrite that firmware. Just like any other work firmware programming software. So if you have access to that firmware you can write other code, you can make it appear as other devices, and you can make it appear as keyboard.

John: It just can’t do it through the regular USB port. It has to have something electronically to…

Leo: That is what is interesting. It is a specific controller that is created by a company called Fizon which does in fact have EE prom on it. Electronically erasable programming.

John: Which you can only do by plugging into the USB port.

Allyn: No, you’ve got to have hardware in your programmer.

Leo: I think it is light and then you have to have…

Allyn: No, not those.

Leo: It is electronically erasable.

Allyn: It is done through the port. If the device could be reprogrammed that way. I don’t know if it is the case withthis, but it would be Theoretically possible to make their code a firmware re-programmer. And you could have it running on the host operating system and then could reprogram.

Leo: That is some of the things that we are going to learn at the Black Hat presentation. But I think part of the question is, obviously this is always been the case. This would be nothing new that a manufacturer of a thumb drive can put malware on a thumb drive.

John: They could. And it has actually been done.

Leo: Oh yes. Anybody who is making hardware can put malware on there. And we have seen that happen. We’ve seen it happen by accident even.

Mark: The theory was that that is how stock net made its way to the Uranian Nuclear Facility.

John: That is the ticket. It was an accident.

Leo: I think everybody agrees that it was government written. Probably Israeli and US government had something to do with it. I’m not saying he did. I’m not saying he didn’t.

Allyn: How is the guy defending against it?

Leo: He knew how to reverse engineer that malware that is for sure. These other very sophisticated malware attacks I think are probably governmental. In this case I think this was actually brilliant idea. Iran was enriching uranium to make atomic bombs and StocksNet attacked the centrifuges and brought them down. And the theory being that if we can break centrifuges and have them overspin this could cripple their ability to enrich the uranium. That sounds like the kind of warfare that I like. That is good. Nobody gets hurt.

Allyn: That’s the future of warfare right?

Mark: But according to the american government that is an act of war.

Leo: If they did it to us. But we can do it to them. And you know everybody is going to do it to everybody. We have the same kinds of rules though. What are the rules of this stuff?

Allyn: I can’t quote them directly but we have those kinds of rules like we are not authorized to just go and invade.

Leo: No, you give it to the CIA. NSA is not allowed to. But you give it to the CIA and they would do it.

Allyn: What?

Leo: You’ve heard of that. Of course that is how it is all done. Is this compartmentalized. You are just a lowly analyst with reverse engineering the malware, you hand off to somebody else and may take it and weaponizes it. Then they handed off to somebody else who gives it to Iran who then…. it is all compartmentalized and nobody knows who’s doing it.

Allyn: But they still have to follow the rules.

Leo: But they are all following the rules.

John: You are pretty cynical it seems to me, Leo.

Leo: Me?

John: Yes.

Leo: Okay. Who put the USB stick in the centrifuge?

John: Let's get back to this USB stick. It was you, Leo.

Leo: I would’ve done it.

Allyn: First you know about the orange cables. Now you know about the centrifuge.

Leo: And I have some unexplained travel in that time frame.

John: Let’s get back to this USB story. So what are we going to do about these things?

Leo: Nothing. We are screwed.

Allyn: Game over man.

Leo: Well that is what we are going to find out. We haven’t really seen the details because he is going to present it at the show. But it sounds as if a significant number of USB sticks have read programmable firmware. That is bad. The answer would be to only buy USB sticks that had ROM. If there is such a thing.

Allyn: I have a feeling that a lot of them are reprogrammable.

Leo: Why is that?

Allyn: What’s funny is the first thing that comes to mind for me is that what you would think is the most secure is probably the most reprogrammable. Like Iron Key.

Leo: What?

Allyn: Iron key released firmware’s. I don’t know what the level.

Leo: That is bad. You can firmware update your USB key that is bad.

Lindsay: This is what is scary. The quote from this says there is no way to get the firmware without the help of the firmware and if you ask the infected firmware…

John: That is lying firmware.

Leo: Are you hacked?

John: No, I’m not hacked. I’m good.

Allyn: Actually that is very similar.

Leo: But there are rules.

Allyn: That is along the lines of how people used to have DirecTV. If you had hacked your card, you would reprogram your card in such a way that it reported back to the box.

Leo: Those were the good old days. Remember? They would send a code down and you would reprogram your card.

John: And then they toast the card. I remember when I had DirecTV and they were going to go to new cards. They sent you a new card and said you have to put this new card in with the next week. But before you do, type in something. And then it would toast the card that was in there and you had this burned card.

Leo: Because they didn’t want to passing the card around. Here is what they say they are going to do at Black hat next week. They are going to take a brand name USB stick and they are going to transform it into a computer keyboard. So you plug in the stick and it opens a command window on the computer, you enter the command that causes it to download and install malicious malware. So you plug it in, and all of a sudden a command line opens up. And that will allow them to use your access code.

Allyn: It is using your credentials. You were logged in when you put the USB in.

Leo: That is why you should be a limited user. Then they will transform a brand-name USB stick into a network card. Once acted the network card causes the computer to use a domain system server that is malicious. So when you enter in you get the bad guy. That is a malware attack that is easy to do. Then they will program a brand-name USB stick to surreptitiously inject the pay load into a legitimate installation file. Files loaded onto the drive when attached to one computer, tampering only happens after it is plugged into a different computer that has no operating system on it. So you could use a trusted computer, verify that this is a legitimate one to install, unplugit because it has been verified. When in fact it is not. That is how they will transform an android phone into a malicious card. Just for fun.

John: Just go back to writable DVDs. Let’s give up on this stuff.

Leo: So, this is really interesting. We will know more about it. I’m sure Steve Gibson will talk about after the black hat. Because I think he wanted to hear the presentation before he said anything. Apparently, it says that according to ArsTechnica that the vast majority of USB devices will accept any firmware update they are offered. There is no check, they are writable.

Allyn: You need the right tool though that is the thing. You have to have the right software or hardware.

Leo: That is some protection. Right?

Allyn: Well it is security through obscurity which…

John: So let’s fire up the tools and buy a few copies.

Leo: my question is, is it cheaper to use ROMs that are not programmable? Why don’t they use non-programmable will read only memories? Why are they using erasable memories?

Allyn: Imagine you are halfway through production of this whole batch…

John: No I think you are right. I think you really have to do that. because there are too many updates, upgrades and the USB 2.0 are in flux.

Leo: Who upgrades their flash drive?

John: At the manufacturer. And then they are cranking them out. I think it makes logical sense.

Leo: Then we are screwed.

John: Yeah. That's what I said. Go back to a writable DVD.

Leo: We no longer use USB keys is that the…

John: Go back to CD Roms.

Leo: Like that is going to happen.

John: I don’t know. I use them.

Leo: Let’s quickly see here. We had a good week. I want to cheer people up and see a little bit of the fun that you missed because you weren’t here this week. So, again the program on Monday we will be talking to Kevin Rose on Triangulation 11:00 AM Pacific, 2:00 PM Eastern, 1800 UTC. That’ll be a good show tomorrow on Twit. One last story. A super break through. this one I believe. Stanford is going to triple your battery life. A lithium anode battery that might give vehicles a 300 mile driving range, triple a cell phone’s effective life. Wouldn’t this be good news?

Lindsey: It would be huge news. And if it is true, and I assume it is, assuming that the technology can be brought down to a small size pretty quickly it is going to be really important for the entire wearable proposition. One of the problems with wearables is that you have to charge them every night or every couple of nights and that is just annoying when you are talking about something that you want to wear on your body. So, I think it is huge.

Leo: Of course USA Today, doing the deep research they found a 92 year old professor of Material Science at the University of Texas named Goodenough, said it might be expensive.

Lindsey: It is always expensive at first.

Leo: Actually John Goodenough is just anybody. He invented Lithium ion.

John: I am in agreement with the chatroom here. Another battery promise. There are about 2 a week. They are a dime a dozen.

Leo: Remember super capacitors?

John: That was going to be a big one.

Leo: I still think these technologies exist, they just haven’t been able to make them.

Allyn: The capacitors exist?

Leo: Yeah. I have an electric drill, it’ll charge in 30 seconds. It is amazing. And you know what, John? A tank full of gas can explode and blow up the driver as well. Anything with enough energy to power a 2-ton piece of metal at 60 mph is going to have some kill capacity.

Lindsey: And wasn’t lithium-ion a little expensive and crazy at first?

Leo: It was.

John: Where is this super capacitor commercial?

Leo: My drill is not a bad thing to have.

John: Can you imagine how much electricity has to be store in a super cap in a car? To get the same equivalency that you have in a gasoline engine?

Leo: That is true. The promise of a super capacitor is that they charge right away.

Allyn: And they self-discharge, is the catch.

Leo: Here is another catch. You can’t just plug them into the wall at 120 volts and super charge it. You have to have a lot of voltage and amperage in there. A lot of watts to do that in 30 seconds.

Allyn: You’ve got to charge that a certain way.

Leo: Anyway, I hope we have better batteries, don’t you? It’ll happen. It has to.

Lindsey: You’ve got a lot of people thinking about it.

Allyn: In ten years from now you think all of us are just going to be on the same old lithium?

Leo: What is wrong with this? Because somebody called me on the radio show today and said in the next 15 years I’m thinking about getting into technology. What is the technology that you would do now that will be the next big thing? I said it is pretty hard because if you thought 15 years ago and I was smart I might’ve said you should write a chat app because you could make 6 billion dollars when you sell it to Facebook. What would you say 15 years from now? Is it battery technology? Solar charging?

Allyn: Renewable energy in general.

Leo: Renewable energy, sure.

Lindsey: I also think smart things with voice.

Leo: I mentioned voice. The ability to talk to anything is important.

John: I think if kids want to get involved in something, go into MEM’s.

Leo: You were the guy that explained MEM’s to me. I had never heard of it before. Apparantly they are everywhere. They are not molecular size. But they are very small.

John: The Kindle is an example.

Leo: The Kindle has MEM’s?

John: Well that is how it works.

Leo: Interesting.

John: It is actually physically there.

Leo: Is an etch of sketch made of MEM’s?

John: I think if it was electronic and you had a battery in there, it would be.

Leo: An electronic etch of sketch.

Lindsey: I have one on my desk at work. That thing gets so much play time. I have it on the far side of my desk and people just pick it up.

Leo: You know what would be cool? You could have it be a screen. Has somebody built that? Alright friends. This has been a fun show, but with all good things we must call it a day. Did I do everything Chad? I didn’t mention the teeshirt. We do these tshirts for 30 days only because we want to create some sort of perceived value. Some crazy demand that wouldn’t exist otherwise. It is a psychological trick. I’m the first to admit it. But it is also true. In 30 days you will never be able to get this teeshirt again. This is the commemorative. You wouldn’t believe how many people.

John: Is that the one you finally chose?

Leo: This one won by 30 votes and there were thousands of votes.

John: What came in second?

Leo: Do you know what came in second Lisa?

John: It probably wasn’t steam punk.

Leo: No, steam punk was losing I think. It was the lowest. Anyway, you can get it right now. It benefits The Brick House. It is our commemorative 3rd Anniversary shirt. We have it is a variety of colors and sizes. Well two. Black and white. That is a variety. And a variety of genders too as well. Male and Female. We’ve sold 421 towards our goal of 300. So I think we are well on our way. But if you want it, waste no time. Mark it is great to see you. Thank you for being here and coming all the way out.

Mark: My pleasure.

Leo: Mark Millian is at Bloomberg Business Week where he covers international business, right?


Leo: Global tech. This China story is right up your alley.

Mark: Oh yeah. We’ve been hammering away on that one.

Leo: Really. I still kind of wonder how you resolve this. It is very hard. What we didn’t talk about is that the judge said that Microsoft has to Irish server. That has a huge global impact too. A Canadian judge did something similar. Making judgements in a nation where it reaches out into another nation. It is a big problem.

Mark: Microsoft fought that one, but lost.

Leo: It is good to have you. Allyn Malventano, never been on Twit before and you did yeoman job. Actually you did the job of a Navy Chief.

Allyn: Thank you.

Leo: I’m really glad to have you here. congratulations again on your new wife and new town of Florence, KY.

Allyn: Thank you.

Leo: You can catch Allyn on the PC Perspective PodCast but also writing every day for I really wish, I heard you talking about it on the PodCast but your SSD directory is so useful. What do I do with that? I recommend it all the time.

Allyn: I need to update that thing. It turned into an octopus. It was insane trying to update that thing.

Leo: Because you were one of the early guys to do review and rate different SSD’s and you came up with the fact there were really differences in the quality.

Allyn: There were differences and part of the reason I haven’t updated what used to the the SSD decoder, that used to just be my own personal spreadsheet but just to try to keep track because there were so many manufacturers and they all had different controllers and you didn’t know what controller was in what drive. They perform similar across whatever brand that was for the model.

Leo: But do you not recommend it anymore?

Allyn: Well everything is dated in there now. And the number of controllers and number of manufacturers is not unwieldy anymore. It used to be Sanforce was in like 15 different brands. It was kind of a race and everybody wanted to make an SSD.

Leo: Does it matter which SSD you buy now?

Allyn: Sure it does. There are still difference. But the number of controllers is now…

John: What is the best one to buy right now? Period.

Leo: Yeah, which one is the best?

Allyn: There has to be two answers there. Because there is the one that is the best cost per gig. Which I believe is the Crucial either the MX100 or the M550. They are insanely low cost per gig. Forty cents a gig.

John: And the second half of the answer.

Allyn: The second half of the answer I would say is the most nimble performer which right now is Samsung. The 850 Pro. The flash memory is made on the same die. 32 layers high. But usually when you make a chip it is all flat.

Leo: How much is that? $699 for a terabyte? That’s not bad.

Allyn: So that just launched and the pricing is still kind of premium. But that is a very good performer.

Leo: How about Evo from Samsung? Do you like that?

Allyn: The Evo is the previous generation and I have a suspicion that they are going to make an 850 Evo as well. And once that happens the cost per gig is going to start dropping as well. It is just a matter of time.

Leo: Everybody should have an SSD drive in their computer. At least as their boot drive. It makes such a huge difference.

Mark: It is night and day.

Leo: These new PC express that Apple has been using is really fast. Thank you Allyn. I’m glad we could talk about that. And I want to thank you Lindsey Turrentine for being here from CNet. Reviews Editor there. Anything you want to plug? Besides your regular Monday appearance on TNT?

Lindsey: Well that is obvious. That is a given. What do I want to plug? CNet’s IOS app just got updated yesterday and it is fantastic. I’m actually thrilled with it.

Leo: We are really starting to think that the way people will listen to PodCasts is on mobile apps. And I think that is probably true for a lot of content. Right?

Lindsey: I think so too. I think it has taken the whole industry awhile to sort out what is the best way for a media app to work. We finally decided to create a situation where you can toggle between the programming that we do or you could just go to the latest. And we have so much content and you can go back.

Leo: We have all this back catalog but we also want to highlight the current, featured stuff. NPR, their new app is simple. It has no controls at all. You can go next.

Lindsey: That is basically how ours works. It is either featured or next. Latest.

Leo: A lot of companies have started to look at simplified. Because people just want to get right into it.

Lindsey: Of course it is important to me if you want to find out about a specific product you can dig down pretty easy or you can scan codes. If you are in the store, you can just scan a code.

Leo: I thinking about that too. I think that is the current thinking in general. There has got to be two interfaces. Simple and deep.

Lindsey: That is up. And we’re also doing some fun stuff in Kentucky.

Leo: That is Tech Republic.

Lindsey: No. Well there is Tech Republic but we also have CNet itself. we built a 12,000 square foot review faculty in Louisville and we do smart home reviews there. And we are working on some other exciting stuff later in the year.

Leo: Does Kentucky have an unusually low tax rate or something?

Lindsey: It is a great place to hire because there are a lot of educational facilities.

Leo: I love Louisville. I want to move to Louisville.

John: Okay.

Leo: You want to go too John?

John: No, I want you to move there!

Lindsey: So that is really fun.

John: Why didn’t you get the place in New York City like you promised?

Leo: We’re talking with Kuney. We’ve got to figure out the technology. But we’re talking with Jeff Jarvis and his dean there at the Journalism School. We’re talking about building a studio in the Journalism School. That would give us a Times Square Studio. What did you want, an apartment? John C Dvorak, who are you? What do you do? You would be?

John: twice a week. I get a lot of people say they heard about it on Twit but they never would go there.

Leo: Can I tell you the honest truth? I know you don’t believe this. But I have never heard it. I know you don’t believe it.

John: It is because you bring up references that indicate that you heard something.

Leo: This is why I don’t listen because you believe there is no such thing as a coincidence. John C. Dvorak, We do Twit every Sunday afternoon 3:00 Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern, 2200 UTC right here on If you watch live we love it. See you in the chat room, we talk, we do all that stuff. But if you can’t audio and video always available after the fact. Just go to or iTunes, Xbox, wherever you find audio and video programming of a certain quality. You can also use our apps. We don’t do them ourselves, we have these great third quality developers. There are twit apps for IOS for Android, there is a great app for Windows Phone, even things like Roku and Samsung. So thank you. Please watch, we appreciate it. Subscribe if you can. We’ll see you next week. Another Twit is in the can!

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