This Week in Tech 490 (Transcript)

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Leo Laporte: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 490.  Recorded December 28, 2014

The Best of 2014

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EPISODE 479:  GamerGate: October 12, 2014.

Nilay Patel:  What’s happening in Gamer Gate is a conflation of gamers, like original hardcore gamers, who see that as their identity, being mad at the criticism leveled at games. For being sexist and too violent and not including women, and being targeted at white men. Being mad at that criticism and then targeting their anger at that criticism towards the older problem of graft and corruption in gaming. Because the reality, and this is true, the reality is if I wanted to be corrupt about an independent games developer, honestly I would make no money. Right? It would not be worth it to me to stake my publication’s credibility on that. And I know, Polygon again, my sister publication-I know the people that work there-not worth it to Chris Grant the editor and chief of Polygon, to stake his credibility, his career, his publication on pushing forward depression.

Leo: So this contention that the game press is biased or there’s conflict of interest; it’s probably bogus. But it has gone so beyond that that the hashtag-gamergate means a whole lot more. And at this point it seems to be frankly aimed at women.

Nilay: It is absolutely aimed at women now. And it is aimed at the idea that women who are criticizing games or people who…

Leo: Or anything, or just standing up and saying hello.

Nilay: Or being alive… are somehow complicit in massive conspiracy to shut down any number of crazy arguments. And most of those arguments have to do with things like men’s rights. Most of those arguments have to do with things like where, it basically boils down… let me just give you a small sample of things we dealt with this week at the Verge. We dealt with our writers being harassed on Twitter.

Leo: Massive harassment.

Nilay: Literally. And I’m not kidding, a neo-Nazi site writing about one of our writers’ haircuts and saying her father should have beaten her with the back of her hand until her hair grew out. This did not have anything to do with video games. It just has to do with what they thought about her and something she had written about race and Ebola. What we’re dealing with is basically the idea that people on the Internet should not have standards about how they talk to other people. And what they’re doing now is Gamer Gate as a movement has decided the way that they will further their goals is by attacking our advertisers. Which is fair. If you attack my economic interests, maybe I’ll change my mind. But if your argument is that we don’t…

Leo: That’s the conflict of interest!

Nilay: Maybe. But if their argument is I don’t have journalistic ethics and your strategy is to attack my advertisers until I do what they want, then you have completely obviated your argument. And that’s…

Leo: You’re assuming there’s any logic in this kind of trolling at all. It has nothing to do with logic. It’s whatever you can get away with. I feel sorry for Brianna Wu, the game developer who has literally been chased from her house with horrific threats. The police are investigating and I suspect that the nature of these threats gives the police a foothold in pursing it. Almost always coming from Twitter. And I have to point out that Twitter has become a true cesspool. One of the problems that is happening is that Twitter has to continue its 25% monthly growth or the stock market price will tumble. And the whole house of cards will collapse. So they have zero incentive to take care of this stuff by say banning IP addresses, looking up the names…

John C. Dvorak: Oh, I’m not buying that. You track the people down who were giving; like two or three years ago. Didn’t you find some guy in Fresno?

Leo: Say you find somebody… yea, I did. It was in Chicago and it was a kid. But we needed warrants, subpoenas in Petaluma and Chicago. We needed the cooperation of local police here and in Chicago. And that by the way, because there’s death threats here, this will happen with this particular situation with Brianna.

Nilay: We hope so.

Leo: No one hopes. Because you have to find cooperative police.

Nilay: I saw a great tweet today. I don’t know where it came from. It was basically this: if you torrent a movie from Warner Brothers, there’s a good chance you’ll be arrested. If you tell a woman on the Internet that you will kill or rape her, Twitter will tell you there’s nothing you can do.

Leo: And I really think Dave Costello is a nice guy, blah, blah. But I think Twitter and its board are at this point really culpable. Because they will not shut these accounts down.

John: They shut down accounts all the time. Why don’t they shut these down?

Leo: Well that’s the point. You can create a new account. And they don’t shut it down effectively. Which they could, technologically. But they have no desire to do; in fact they want people to create new accounts because that shows their grown 25% more each month.

Nilay: I agree with you, Leo. I think Twitter is deeply culpable. I think all these platforms on which people can harass other people, we have to take a hard look in the mirror and decide okay, well the Internet is interwoven into our lives. How should we treat each other? And how should we punish people for treating each other badly? Or deal with people that are treating each other badly on these platforms.

Leo: Twitter is a blob at this point. And I think men have to stand up and say this is not acceptable.

John: Can I ask a question here, because I triggered this thought? I’m going to ask you. What specifically triggered this craziness? It just sounds like a non-story that blew up for some unknown reason and I don’t know what the reason is.

Patrick: It’s been blowing up for over three months. It’s been building.

John: Okay, it’s been three months. But what’s triggered it?

Leo: In my opinion because there has been a downward, a really downward trend over the last year or two. And I think primarily thanks to Twitter and the fact that you cannot stop this stuff on Twitter. You can stop it on Google Plus; you can stop it on Facebook. You cannot stop it on Twitter. That’s where it lives and I have to say that the quality of conversation in the general Internet world is very deteriorating.

John: It’s always been crap.

Leo: I agree it’s never been great. But it’s got worse and worse. For a long time I really through that the publicity would promote civility; that the ugly voices would get pushed out. And it’s going in the other direction at this point.

Nilay: Let me answer John’s question. Where it came from is basically two people and two pieces of content of media that were created. One is Anita Sarkeesian’s women on YouTube. Where she literally just analyzed video games, mass-market video games from a feminist perspective. And pointed out that women in games are often used as sex objects or the male gaze. Which is when the author of a piece of work tends to look at women the way a man would look is prevalent in video games. And you could watch these and disagree with them. I disagree with them. The same way that I read Jezebel and I disagree with Jezebel. They are worth their topics are worth discussing. And she presents them in a particularly strong way which I think is great. So that is a thing that exists. The next thing Zoe Quinn and the variety of games she has made, that have nothing to do with being video games. They have everything to do with telling stories in an interactive way. And the games press took both of these things and thought they were interesting. The games press over the past few years, and again because I work at a company that runs Polygon, I think Polygon’s mission is to take video games and talk about them as if they’re art. The whole business model for Polygon is everybody plays video games now. Let’s run a site for everybody. So if you look at the way they talk about video games, they talk about them in a broad encompassing way. Again I’m biased, they’re my friends.

John: All I learned from that is you read Jezebel every day.

Nilay: I do. But I disagree with Jezebel all the time. It’s interesting to me as a person who wants to be disagreed with. I’m an f’ing lawyer. I like to be argued with.

Patrick Norton: What kind of a lawyer was this?

Leo: Well one that apparently likes sexual intercourse.

Nilay: Let me finish the story.

Leo: I think it’s gone so far beyond gaming and the gaming press.

John: I think it’s crazy, this story.

Leo: It’s an eruption of trolling that is appalling.

Nilay: Let me finish this. What you were seeing was that stuff compounded in the gaming press started to threaten it an identity. An identity of being a gamer. Of being a young person who felt they existed in this other subculture. An identity politics is something our culture understands, right? It’s something that’s easy to attack other people for not understanding your identity. It’s easy to attack other people for being outside your identity. And what has actually happened to Gamer Gate is that the language and the tactics of the culture war and the identity politics that are toxic to our society have been hoisted onto video games. So now what we’re talking about is feminism. Now what we’re talking about it straight up, like are you a gamer. Do you believe in what I believe in? And so the angry tweets I get are about things like you’re just supplicating yourself to the feminist agenda. When really what the Verge is talking about is should women be better-represented in video games. And so you can have these arguments. They are worth having. What should our art look like? Should our art include the category of things we traditionally call video games? I would argue that they should. But if you want to disagree with Roger Ebert, if you want to win the argument that video games should be considered art, you necessarily have to let other artists into the mix. You have to necessarily let other kinds of criticisms into the mix. So when feminists critique Michael Bay movies, you don’t get Gamer Gate. What you get is people being like, oh it’s happening again. And then less people watch Michael Bay movies. When feminists critique Grand Theft Auto 5, what you get is Gamer Gate. And that is actually the problem. That’s the whole circle of the problem. Is that the people who believe that this is their identity and these publications belong to them, are refusing to understand.  And they’re refusing to accept that that circle should get wider. And again, I feel very strongly about this because it has been personally effecting to me over these past few weeks. And for my friends who work in video games journalism over the last three months. But I will tell you that this is the right side of the argument. And there’s a wrong side; and the wrong side is being a dick to people on the Internet.


Episode 479:  Tech as a Lifestyle:  October 12, 2014

John:  I find when you go on an airplane and you have got some guy with these big cans on that it looks stupid.  You ever go on the airplane and some guy has got his little phone and he's playing music; he's got these huge cans on his head.  You are one of them?  You are wearing big old, you too?

Nilay:  Beyer MDX 1880s?  Yeah.

John:  Oh brother.

Leo:  Oh I love those Beyerdynamics.

Nilay:  Walk away from this conversation John.

Leo:  I think you are at the wrong table.

John:  I'm at the wrong table for sure.

Nilay:  Just walk across the door, open the door, walk through the door, close the door, and never look back.  I'm telling you, this is a thing that we don't understand as people who talk about consumer technology because what we are actually talking about is fashion and personal expression.  Those things work on different levels than how we assume.  What you are saying is I hate people who wear baggy jeans.  What you are saying is I hate people who wear NFL t-shirts to the bar.

John:  That's bull, nobody is saying that.

Nilay:  It's absolutely the same.  It’s the same conversation.

John:  No it's not.

Nilay:  Yes it is.

John:  No it's not.

Leo:  It's actually the exact opposite.

John:  I wear noise cancelling headsets, I just don't like these big giant cans.  It doesn't mean I don't like baggy pants or I do like baggy pants.  I resent that.

Nilay:  You are saying that it's the same category. 

John:  I didn't say anything about categories.

Nilay:  You are saying I wear this thing because they have this function but these other things that people are wearing...

John:  You are stereotyping.

Nilay:  I'm not stereotyping at all.

John:  You are stereotyping.

Nilay:  I'm saying that you are saying I hate these people who wear cans in airports.

John:  I never said that.  I said that I don't like going on an airplane and seeing a bunch of people with big cans.

Leo:  Do you like people who wear saggy pants?

Nilay:  That's ridiculous.

John:  I love saggy pants.  Especially on you Leo.

Nilay:  That's all I'm saying.  You are looking at people who are making stylistic decisions and fashion decisions...

John:  So I can't say that I don't like that?  I have to agree that oh, they are in style?  Are you kidding me?

Leo:  He's making a fashion decision.  I think that Nilay makes a good point...

John:  He's making a good point.  He's calling me a racist.

Leo:  No, he's not calling you anything.  He's pointing out, and I think that this...

Nilay:  I said walk through the door, close it, and don't look back.  You are looking back.

John:  Why?  Because I'm a racist?

Nilay:  You keep looking at it.  You keep looking through that door.

John:  You have a lot of nerve.

Nilay:  I do have a lot of nerve because I'm right and you are wrong.

John:  Okay, that ends it.

Nilay:  It's an easy argument for me either way.

Leo:  I do think, though, that it's very interesting to watch companies, and Apple really is at the forefront of this.  Technology companies realize that marketing is a very different business in the 2010s and it really isn't about speeds and feeds, bits and bytes, it's about style, and fashion, and something that really has nothing to do with technology.  Is that what you are saying Nilay?

Nilay:  Absolutely.  The technology is evaporating.

Leo:  John and I come from the speed and feed side of the fence. 

John:  I don't even know what that means.

Patrick:  I think the challenge right now, to go back to what you were saying Nilay, is they can't deliver, right?  Jennifer Lawrence is not going to go boy, I can't wait to use iPay.  There's a whole lot of people who are looking at Apple and are like okay, I downloaded IOS 8 and my phone stopped.

Leo:  Do you think that people know that?  That's the thing that style insulates you from is broken, bad technology.  Nobody has asserted that Beats headphones are great headphones.  You wear them because they are Beats.  So that's the advantage of this, it that it insulates you a little bit from crappy technology. 

Patrick: Nobody ever bought a pair of Beats and then 2 days later were not able to make a phone call because nobody ever updated the firmware on Beats.  Nobody took a bunch of selfies and then found out that their selfies are were showing up on reddit.  Nobody is looking at Beats and thinking, gosh, can I trust my credit card here.  And maybe nobody that bought an iPhone 6 is thinking that, but I suspect that a lot of people are.  If your technology fails in a way that cuts you off from your friends, your family, your business then it becomes, it may not be speeds and feeds, but it's bad for the fashion.

Leo:  I agree.

Nilay:  You guys are way away from the real issue here.  You know what Beats are better than?  Absolutely better than?  The headphones that came with your phone.  They are, without question they are light years from that.  Do know what they also do?  They prove that you have money to spend on fashionable, well marketed, and quite frankly cool looking brand.  They look cool to a lot of people and they mean something to a lot of people.

Leo:  Here's one thing that I would bet.  I bet Jennifer Lawrence is still using an iPhone.

Nilay:  I bet she is.

Leo:  I would almost guarantee you that.  She certainly didn't switch to Android because of this.

Nilay:  You are collapsing a lot of things here.  The privacy issues of iCloud, and Cloud services, and Apple versus Google are deep.  They are way deep into how people are not too technical.  Let me put it to you this way, I run a big website, about 1 million people a month read my website every single month.  We do not put spec in our reviews.  We don't put charts of performance in our reviews.  We tell people what it is like to own this stuff, and to be alive, and to live in the culture of rapid technological change.  That's all we do, that's our thesis at The Verge, and everybody likes it, and our site is growing, and all that means is that we have to understand technology not as speeds and feeds, and privacy issues, and very granular issues about how we are coding the stuff, and where our passwords are going.  We have to understand it as part of everyone's lifestyle.  To understand technology as part of a lifestyle means that we have to start accepting other people's choices in technology.  It's not being objective but is being very, very subjective.

John:  Yeah, let's stop being objective.  This is the most arrogant thing that you have said today.

Patrick:  Actually, it's not John.

John:  He's the one who said stop being objective.  So you don't like the idea of having performance numbers or anything?   Is that you Patrick?

Patrick:  You know, at some point unless you are buying a 4K monitor or a Q ABC monitor it really doesn't matter at this point if you are spending much more than $200 on a GPU, right?  A lot of people that are watching The Verge, The Verge is creating an audience of people that are hungry for technology but are not looking for what Engadget, or Gizmoto, or BoyGenius Report, or a lot traditional sites are who are going to talk about okay, how many miliamperes is on this, is it going to last that long?   What they are going to say is hey, we took out this product, we tested it, and this is what it did.

John:  How do you do that without some information?

Nilay:  Just pointing out, I did run Engadget for 4 years.  I have been in that crowd and I have been deep in that world.

John:  And you don't like that anymore?

Leo:  Wait a minute, I think that Nilay is saying something very apt.  It's not Nilay's fault, but the world has moved on from this notion of that it even matters.  It's more about the feeling, the emotional connection you have to technology then whether it even works which is of course to you and me Patrick, or to John, is stunning because we spent our entire careers talking about is this better than that?  Does this work better than that?  I think Nilay, you have probably got your pulse on the people as opposed to just, I noticed that The Verge is very much more like a lifestyle brand than a technology brand, is it not?

Nilay:  I think you will see us move very hard towards being a lifestyle brand.  The reason that you will see that, and the thesis of our site, and it has been the thesis since we launched, is that we spent 4 years at Engadget, the core senior team that launched the site, we spent 4 years there covering the explosion of mobile.  What's the screen going to look like?  Are we going to do resistive or capacitive for touch?   Are we going to do IPSL CD or TFTL CD?  Are we going to do LTE or are we going to keep upgrading 4G?  I have been in those arguments.  I have had every level of depth of those conversations when I ran Engadget.  We arrived at a number of conclusions.  Now all of us have a supercomputer in our pocket that is connected to a broadband network.  What is more interesting to think about is what happens now.  How will the world change around the fact that all of us have a supercomputer in our pocket and not so much what is the best supercomputer.  The people who focus deeply on what is the next supercomputer, or how big should the screen be, or what should the touch technology look like, they are going to fall behind.  They are always going to fall behind.  That is the conversation about should you wear Bose noise cancelling headphones or Beats?  Because what you are really saying is what people want to wear is good headphones that look cool.

Leo:  I completely understand that.  I agree with you.  I have had the same conversation with myself.  We are not going to change, we are going to continue to do speeds and feeds and which technology is better.  That is fine, we've never aimed for a mass audience and for the audience that wants that kind of stuff I think that it's appropriate that such a thing exists.  You are probably going to, you are already doing 10 times better, you will do 1,000 times better by targeting lifestyle.  I'm not arguing with that, I think that is a sensible thing.  If I were a business I would be doing that, but I'm not.  This is what I want to do.

John:  It's too shallow.

Leo:  This is what I want to do.

John:  I don't think it should be encouraged.

Leo:  It can be encouraged.  There is room.

John:  It's shallow.  It's just dumbed down the public more then there are already.  Let's make everybody so they don't know, now we are condemning the public.

Leo:  Wow!  That's called starting things off with a bang.  John C. Dvorak, Nilay Patel, and Patrick Norton.  TWIT is often firery, but it's always fun and I think it's always a great place to learn and to see what's happening.  We've got more great clips from this year and This Week in Tech, but first, a word from our friends at FreshBooks, the cloud accounting software designed from the ground up for entrepreneurs and small businesses.  In fact, I can say with some certainty that FreshBooks is awesome, because I used it for years.  First discovered it ten years ago, in the intervening ten years, more than five million people have used FreshBooks to run their business, I was running up to Canada as you might remember, once a month for a week, and I had to bill the folks up in Canada for my time and my expenses.  I used to do it by hand with Microsoft Word and Excel and it was just the biggest pain, so much so that many days a month I would just forget and  wouldn't invoice them, and they started to get angry when they'd get three or four months invoices all at once.  Amber MacArthur in fact told me about FreshBooks and it saved my life.  It started with FreshBooks invoicing.  You set up an invoice, got your company logo, looks super pro.  You get invoiced by regular mail or e-mail or both.  That's what I would do.  They handled the currency transition, no problem.  That's one of the great things about FreshBooks, multiple currencies.  Makes it very easy for you to invoice in the voice of your client.  Of course sending them by e-mail I could put a pay me now button, and FreshBooks has set up payment services with all the big payers, so it's very simple for your client to pay.  That means they're more likely to pay right away.  It's just easier for them.  That's why I think FreshBooks users get paid on average five days faster.  They also, this one blows me away, they double their revenue in the first 24 months of using FreshBooks.  It makes sense.  FreshBooks means that you're doing a better job of running your business, because you don't have to worry about the accounting.  You don't have to worry about expenses.  You can take a picture of receipts, the FreshBooks apps on Android and iOS make it very easy to do that, they'll even do time and hours, so if you billed for hours, there's a little button on the app, you can just start the timer and stop the timer.  If you've got a client that's slow to pay, they have automated late payment reminders.  That really saves on the awkward e-mails and phone conversations, I've got to tell you.  I'm a big fan of FreshBooks.  If you would like to try it, we've aranged a 30-day no obligation trial.  Go to  It is so simple.  Your accountant will love you too, because you can instantly access complete financial reports.  It integrates beautifully with all your apps, including Google Apps, PayPal, Stripe, MailChimp, Fun Box, Zen Payroll, and if you ever need help, you'll talk to a real person every time.  FreshBooks award winning support is ready to help.  Support is free forever.  I love FreshBooks.  So does Anthony Taylor.  He's the CEO and chief strategist at SME stragety.  He says, "I'm loving FreshBooks right now.  I've been tracking all my time and costing our projects to track my productivity.  You'll be a better business person when you use FreshBooks."  I know I was.  Try it free for 30 days with no obligation.  Just go to  Just do me a favor, when they ask, "How did you hear about us?"  Would you please write in "This Week in Tech," and I will say thank you for doing that.  All right.  Continuing on with our Best of 2014.  Kevin Rose joined us, along with Liz Gaines of Recode, Patrick Bejar, a favorite French podcaster.  But Kevin was here the day, or the week after he'd been picketed by folks that said Google was responsible for raising rents and evictions in San Francisco.  This is what Kevin thought about that.


EPISODE 452:  Tech Backlash in Silicon Valley:  April 6, 2014.

Leo: I was so pissed off when I saw your Instagram post this morning. I couldn’t believe it. This is not an April fool’s joke right?

Kevin Rose: It is not a joke. Unfortunately, I wish it was.

Leo: So everybody probably knows there have been these protests in San Francisco. This week a protester vomited on the Yahoo bus, on it. Not a writer, a protester. There have been all sorts of stuff. The feeling is, I guess, that the cost of living in San Francisco has just gone through the roof, particularly the cost of housing, because of rich Yuppies from the Silicon Valley moving in and taking their fancy leather clad Wi-Fi enabled buses back and forth. It is making it hard for San Franciscans to live. I’ve got to point out that the real reason for that is because San Francisco is landlocked. It is actually water locked. It is a small region and the rules the city has created on creating new housing are so prohibitive that nobody is building housing. And that is what puts pressure on prices. Nevertheless, there have been these protesters. And I’m sad to say, and Kevin specifically, is now being targeted. So can I show this?

Kevin: Yeah go for it. Share whatever you like.

Leo: Tech Crunch had an article about it but I saw it first on Instagram. Parasite! Happy face. Already I’m starting to think this guy is nuts whoever put this up.

Liz Gannes: What’s with the happy face?

Leo: How big is this banner?

Kevin: That is just a handout. A leaflet they were handing out.

Leo: That there was also a big banner right?

Kevin: Yes they brought like a 10 foot banner, that it took a few of them to hold it up.

Leo: In front of your house!

Kevin: Yes in front of my house. And they were chanting things like “Kevin Rose is a douche, Kevin Rose is a parasite”. And other stuff.

Leo: This makes me very sad. How about that one? I’m going to snip snip your balls. What is wrong with these people? Oh my God. Anyway let me read this. And I want to know what your take is on this, and I’m just so saddened. “Greetings, your neighbor (and they are giving your address), a man named Kevin Rose is a parasite. Perhaps not of you, but of us. This is why we are here, to reveal him for what he is, as a partner venture capitalist at Google Ventures. Kevin directs the flow of capital from Google into the Tech start up bubble that is destroying San Francisco. The startups that he funds bring the swarms of young entrepreneurs that have ravaged the landscape of San Francisco and Oakland. Like locusts! There is no more corn in San Francisco and I ask you why? With each new tech Corporation comes our way the fresh new techies who on average earn four times more than a normal service worker. We are the ones who serve them coffee, deliver them food, watch their kids and mop their floors. Nearly all of them are just like Kevin Rose.”

Kevin: I mean don’t say it aloud but that one that you skipped was a doozy.

Leo: I will read it out loud. If you've got kids are watching cover their ears. It says, “We are the ones who serve them coffee, deliver them food, suck their…”… REALLY????

Kevin: I never got that perk. It’s not offered to start ups I can tell you that right now.

Leo: is that the end of it? If you tweeted there was more that did they really complain about Diggnation?

Kevin: They complained about Diggnation, they were upset about a joke that I made many years ago.

Leo: You mean that serious? I thought you were making a joke on Twitter.

Kevin: No, I was being dead serious. They were just going through the Internet and trying to find any dirt that they could find.

Leo: They mentioned Diggnation?

Kevin: I don’t have the flyer here but it said that it was an awful show that ran for six years. Basically what they said.

Leo: An awful show that ran for six years! Wow. So this must make you sick to your stomach. This is scary stuff.

Kevin: Yet I mean it certainly. I wasn't home at the time actually, they ring our doorbell and Darius went downstairs thinking it was somebody delivering something and she opened the door and they handed her a flyer. She said what is this? And they started chanting and yelling and she just closed the door and locked it. And then she called me up. I was down the street helping somebody build a skate ramp, actually.

Leo: See? Ravaging San Francisco!

Kevin: It was a skate ramp for a nonprofit to actually.

Leo: I knew you were a bad man!

Kevin: So I came home and I walked out. They recognized me and they walked up to me and they were like throwing lots of insults and then they were saying how can you live with yourself? What you're doing is bad for our city, you know. They were recording the entire thing on an android phone. I said that you guys realize you're on an android phone right? That is a Google product. And I asked him where they work in a post it and they said YouTube. And I’m like do you not see the irony in this? I’m serious.

Leo: YouTube is free bandwidth.

Kevin: The thing that really gets me at the core is that I understand their frustrations, I get it.

Leo: You tweeted, “I agree with them. We need to stop raising rents and keep the San Francisco culture and crack down on landlords.”

Kevin: You don’t throw up on people busses though. There is a conversation to be had here but it’s not by throwing rocks in peoples windows and throwing up on buses… I think that I mean Leo you know how it is when I was working for you at Tech TV when I first got hired in the Bay Area in the early 2000’s, you know I remember my starting that salary was $28,000 year.

Leo: You have learned every penny you’ve made. You worked your way up. You know what it’s like to live in San Francisco. We paid you that little?

Kevin: And then I was pissed off because I found out Dan was making $30,000 a year so I went to Paul and I said “you give me a $2000 raise or I’m quitting.”

Leo: I’m sorry they were paying you that little!!!

Kevin: I just needed a job, you know!

Leo: Tech TVs ruining San Francisco! But that’s the point is that you were building a skate ramp for a nonprofit. This is not the Kevin Rose I know obviously. And it doesn’t even make sense there are certainly issues but there is that issues don’t go back to Google or even startups or any of this and I know you’re sympathetic to that. I wonder if these people are crazy! Are they genuine you think?

Kevin: I think that their complaints are certainly found in reality like there are some really shady things going on here like landlords are kicking out longtime tenants and instantly jacking up the prices because they know they can get it with some of the tech lords that are making more. And so people are being displaced. That is very frustrating to a lot of people. So there are complaints to be had here. But I certainly don’t think that Google and some of these other tech companies are necessarily at fault. Yes we are bringing in more tech workers but I think there is a lot of good being done here as well. I certainly know what we do in Google Ventures founding new tech companies. You know foundation medicine is one of our big company as it is working on cures for cancer. It’s not just funding companies for the sake of funding companies. There is a bigger mission here.

Leo: Absolutely and if you look at… If you wanted to protest against the financial industry all join you. There’s lots of places you can complain. Google doesn’t seem to be one of them, or any of the start-up industry.

Liz: Have you gotten a sense Kevin that you talking about this has meet anyone else say this also has happened to them, or is this just a Kevin Rose targeting?

Kevin: I know that has happened to a few other people. I don’t know who those people are but someone left a comment on my Instagram post saying that happened to them and I know that there was at least one other Googler that it happened to.

Liz: There was the soft track and car guy.

Leo: Right.

Liz: Are they going to hire a security guard for you? Are you concerned?

Kevin: At this point we have Google security on it so I reached out to them and they have a pretty decent department there that handles this type of stuff. But you know there is no real concern here, my house is pretty locked down I have cameras all over the place and I’ve created a little bunker here so I’m not too worried about that. But it is obviously, you know it gets your stomach grumbling and your little tense in your shaking. Of course my wife was spooked out by the whole thing. You just don’t know how far is going to go. Right now, yes I was able to sit down outside and it should have a conversation with these folks and it wasn’t aggressive like they weren’t here to throw rocks. They were upset and visibly upset but I didn’t feel at all like they were going to start a fight. And then the cops showed up they just kind of ran and they took off.

Leo: I need to tell you though, to be careful about mobs. Individual humans are just fine but sometimes when they get into groups they will do things that they wouldn’t do as an individuals. So don’t under estimate the risks to you when you go out and talk to them. I honor you and I would have done the same thing. But it can be dangerous because mobs will do stupid things. Have you and Daria thought about moving out of San Francisco?

Kevin: No, we love it here this is our home here and has been her home for quite some time. I've been here since 2000 myself. This is the longest of any other place I’ve ever lived. And I consider it to be home. You know I think there this a lot of real positive awesome things that are happening here. In about two different sectors. So I think that this is certainly, for me, something to pay attention to and something that I think that, I saw Ron Conway at The Crunchies give a long talk about other tech media has to come together to solve these problems. I certainly believe that is the case. I would like to take part in that conversation, sit down with some folks that are willing to have the conversation that isn’t aggressive. And hopefully that will happen. But yes this is home, we don't plan on moving anytime soon.


EPISODE 476:  Larry Ellison's Brain:  September 21, 2014.

Leo: Mike Wilson wrote the book the Difference Between God and Larry Ellison: God doesn’t think he’s Larry Ellison.

John: Classic! A completely classic line.

Leo: That’s the name of the book. He says you can give him titles or take away titles, but Larry will have a profound influence in that company for a while to come. I doubt there’s a founder with more power, even Mark Zuckerberg, than Larry’s managed to maintain.

John: Mark’s pushed around by a bunch of people.

Leo: Is he? Larry only gets a $1/hour salary.

John: That always annoys me. It’s like a scam.

Leo: And, 7M shares of stock!

John: That way he can avoid taxes. I’m telling you, I’m advocating wealth tax because if a wealth tax goes into play, these guys who keep saying they want to be taxable…

Leo: I only make a buck!

John: Well, it doesn’t make any difference with the wealth tax.

Leo: And the government still takes half of it. It pisses me off, 50 cents this year I paid in taxes. Ron Enderle says he’s the highest paid person in the valley. And that he thinks this is all stage managed to make investors who are mad at his, in fact very high salary, calm down. The big investor group, says Enderle, are having a cow for how much he’s making. And how badly Oracle was doing.

Jason Snell: Well if Ron Enderle says it, you don’t believe the opposite.

Leo: I think it’s Ron, it says Ron here.

Jason: They’re just trolling Ron Enderle now. It could be Roy Enderle soon.

John: I think Rob’s got a very good take on some of this stuff.

Leo: Really? Because he’s kind of famous for being…

John: He’s famous for being quoted.

Leo: He’s quotable.

John: Yea, because he’s got a phone, every phone goes right to him. You can always get a hold of him. And he says what do you want a quote for?! That’s how he answers the phone. And then you say anything you want and he’s got a zinger.

Leo: That’s a good gig. He started Oracle in 1977 with just $2000.

John: That’s what he says.

Leo: In his pocket. Did he write the database or just…

John: Not that I know of.

Leo: What is his skill-set? Is he a salesman?

Dwight: He’s Tony Stark.

John: Well definitely a lot of sales skills. And schmoozer.

Dwight: Although he’s the CTO, so he must hopefully have some kind of technical background.

John: It’s like Bill Gates, it’s questionable whether he knows anything; how the database even works anymore.

Leo: If anybody gets his brain in a jar, it’ll be Larry Ellison.

Jason: Like lots of people get their brains in a jar!

John: Futurama! That guys going to be the president in 3000. The guy with the brain the jar. I got your brain here, Ellison! In a jar!

Jason: That is a strange way to compliment someone, Leo, really. The strangest I’ve ever heard. That guys a real jar-brain-guy, if you know what I mean.

Leo: But he has his brain in a jar. I think I’m punchy still from staying up all night through the iPhone.


EPISODE 462:  Tin Foil Hats: June 15, 2014.

John: I had a repeater in my bedroom, which beamed down to the lower floors of the house.

Leo: When?

John: Recently, it’s still there but I keep it turned off because I was having nightmares when it was on.

Leo: What were the frequencies?

John: Kenneth?

Leo: Was it a – it was a gigahertz, it was 2.4 or 5.

John: It was both a 2.4 and a 5.

Leo: And it gave you nightmares. And when you turned it off the nightmares abated.

John: Yes.

Leo: Fascinating.

John: Just saying. Just a tip for everybody out there who has a repeater near their head.

Leo: You think it really was causing nightmares?

John: All I know—

Jolie O'Dell: You should just get a tin foil night cap.

John: No I didn't even know this, this is the first time I've ever revealed this to anybody. I'm being quite honest and sincere here.

Leo: And so what were the nightmares about?

John: I can’t remember dreams very well.

Leo: But you would have disturbed sleep.

John: Yes.

Leo: You were tossing and you were turning and then the minute you turn it off.

John: Unplugged.

Leo: Unplugged it.

John: Yeah, yeah.

Leo: It was gone.

John: Yeah.

Leo: You having any—

Dwight Silverman: John you know if you cover your head with tin foil that probably wouldn't have happened.

John: Yeah, no see this is why I don't bring this stuff up even though it’s a helpful hint for anybody out there.

Leo: Maybe you have—

John: But instead I get ridiculed.

Leo: …a guilty conscience.

John: I get ridiculed by the minions. It’s ridiculous.

Jolie: [laughter].

Leo: Maybe it was your years as a war criminal.

Dwight: Tin foil cap works every time.

John: That's the end of my confessional.

Leo: No, I'm not going to—

John: I'm not going to bring anything like this again.

Jolie: I have great PTSD meds. We should talk after

John: Yeah, I bet. You know those things are bad for you.

Jolie: Are they?

John: Oh yeah.

Leo:  It's always fun when John C. Dvorak is on TWIT, but we have so many regular hosts, so many irregular hosts, TWIT is always an interesting stew, an interesting combination.  We try really hard to make that special recipe, that special combination.  Coming up, one of my favorite semi-regular guests.  Jerry Pournelle, a great science fiction author, along with Father Robert and Jason Hiner.  But first, I wanted to mention one of our great sponsors, a company that's been with us for many years.  In fact, I think we started working with SquareSpace practically when they had just started out.  Anthony Castelleno had written SquareSpace's software in his dorm room to solve his own need for a great web platform, today they are the place to host your website.  The best web hosting never goes down.  You cannot bring it down.  Combined with the best software to make the best place for your presence on the web.  You've got to take a look at SquareSpace 7.  Their new templates are gorgeous, and it makes getting started with your unique web presence so much easier.  It's got a completely redesigned interface.  Easier to navigate and operate.  In fact, there's no more toggling between site manager and preview mode, with SqareSpace 7 you actually are live editing on a single screen.  You can even preview your designs.  All of SquareSpace templates are mobile responsive.  They look great on any side screen, but you can actually see what your site is going to look like on a smaller device, on a smaller screen in their preview mode, so you'll see how your site will look on tablets or your mobile phone.  They also include access to professional stock photography from Getty, instant branded e-mails setted with Google apps, and templates, this is new, designed for specific professions.  For instance, architects, musicians, bands, chefs, if you're a band, take a look at the Horizon template.  The Horizon template includes features that bands really appreciate like tour dates, music player, and a merchandize store.  They also have a great developer platform.  You don't have to be a java scripter CSS monkey to use SquareSpace.  That's the whole point is anybody can use it, but if you are a developer, you're going to love the developer platform.  It's the same tools that SquareSpace uses for its own site design and code control.  This is incredibly well designed.  They have e-commerce on every subscription plan, on every template, that means you have the ability not only to sell stuff online, but you can accept donations if you're a non profit, or for a wedding registry or a school fund drive.  SquareSpace help is live 24/7, right from their offices.  They don't outsource.  It's people who actually work at SquareSpace, plus there are self-help articles and video workshops too.  All of this for just $8 a month, including a free domain name if you sign up for a year.  SquareSpace.  Try it right now, no credit card needed.  Just click the "get started" button.  You've got two weeks to take a look at the place.  Bang on the tires, really get a sense of what SquareSpace can do for you.  If you decide that this is your new home on the web, make sure you use the offer code TWIT.  You'll get 10% off, and of course you'll be showing your support for the show, and we appreciate that.  Thank you, SquareSpace.  SquareSpace.  Start here, go anywhere., use the offer code TWIT.  Jerry Pournelle, love him.  Jason Hiner from Tech republic, love him.  Our own Father Robert Ballecer and I discuss the right to personal data on the Internet.  It all came out when Amazon let us know that their Silk browser kept everything. 


EPISODE 463:  Amazon's Silk Browser:  June 22, 2014.

Leo: Amazon has a browser of course in Fire, the Silk browser. And he points out, I should've has Mike on the show today actually, he points out that the browser is governed by Amazon’s privacy policies which are pretty upfront saying “We receive and store any information you enter on our website or give us in any other way” and they say if you don't like it exit the browser and do not install user access Amazon Silk. In other words, we're going to keep track of everything you do and that's the way it is. If you don't like it don't use this browser.

Fr. Robert Ballecer: That's pretty transparent.

Leo: I don't—

Jerry Pournelle: You think Google doesn't do that?

Leo: No of course Google does.

Jerry: And hasn't been doing it for years?

Leo: Yeah of course Google has its own browser, Chrome. Why, well guess why.

Jerry: And I doubt that Apple is throwing much data away about what you do.

Leo: We now understand why Apple made Safari, hahaha. It wasn't because we didn't have a good experience.

Fr. Robert: It’s a different society. 20 years ago, if someone had had a case where they said look, I have a right to have all these companies erase their data about me. We would probably say oh yeah yeah that makes sense. You know it’s your personal data, they have no right to it. We just had that right to be forgotten case and people are looking at it going you don't have that right. You know if you're on the internet, you're in a public space you don't have the right to tell companies to get rid of the data that you left behind. And it just shows you we are will accept this. As long as you give me something, something shiny, Gmail, a better shopping experience I will take invasion of privacy as long as I don't think it’s too invasive. And that too part shifts. What’s too invasive will shift over the years.

Leo: It’s funny because we have this conversation on nearly every TWIT. No matter who the panelists are, there's this clear sense that privacy does no longer exist. Scott McNealy was right, he said privacy is over, there is no privacy get over it. And yet there is also this strong feeling we should try to fight for some semblance of privacy. And I don't know what the answer is. I generally come down to the side of I don't care, so what if Google or Amazon knows everything I do? What’s the harm in that?

Jerry: Depends on what kind of porn you watch.

Leo: You know what, everybody watches porn. What so what?

Fr. Robert: I only watch Christian porn.

Leo: Okay, good man. I'm sorry, not everybody. Many of us, I think we're going to head to an age thanks to—

Jerry: I'm sure father’s done his research into the sinfulness of mankind.

Leo: [laughter].

Fr. Robert: You have to research to know. I mean seriously, this is groundbreaking stuff.

Leo: This is so bad. I don't want to go this way. But I do have to point out that one of the – in the Facebook world, the Post-Facebook world, notice we have a president who admitted to inhaling, that the standards are changing. You're not going to be able to elect a president who hasn't smoked pot, of hasn't surfed porn. You're not going to be able to hire an employee who hasn't got pictures of him drinking heavily on Facebook because everybody, what will become apparent is everybody with the exception of Father Robert Ballecer

Fr. Robert: I don't do any of that.

Leo: …everybody does this. So is that a bad thing? Maybe, you know Dvorak always brings up the I think it’s the Boogeyman of insurance companies finding out I'm eating too many doughnuts and refusing to insure me. I don't really worry about that so much.

Jerry: Well not only that but under Obamacare, that's a pre-existing condition anyway isn't it?

Leo: So I'm safe. I'm protected, thank you President Obama.

Jason Hiner: Well I think that part of it is the idea that you know we haven't seen it yet. The insurance company, I don't think this is necessarily the Boogeyman thing. I think it’s something to be concerned about, seriously.

Leo: Well I think that if that starts happening then in fact legislation will probably do something about it.

Jason: It could, it could but it certainly could come in to play.

Leo: Let’s not assume there's going to be harm until it happens.

Jason: I agree, that's fair enough. I think it’s just anticipating you know that this could affect you getting a job.

Leo: Well the point is it is too late. Jerry is that your position? It’s already too late.

Jerry: I think that the time to have done this is 20 years ago when I wrote some columns about it, nobody paid a damn bit of attention to it.

Leo: You've given up. What was the threat 20 years ago?

Jerry: This.

Leo: So this was the early days of the internet, you could see it coming?

Jerry: Well before the internet. Remember back in 1980, what made me famous if you could use that word was that I said that by the year 2000 anybody in Western civilization would be able to get the answer to any question that actually had an answer.

Leo: That's true, that happened.

Jerry: And lo and behold it happened by 1995.

Leo: Thanks to Google.

Jason: Nicely done.

Jerry: And Western civilization changed then in 1990, about 1990 when the wall came down.

Leo: Uh-hmm.

Jerry: So it’s now except for China and North Korea and a few places that don't have any internet. Anybody in the world can get almost any answer to almost any question that has an answer. Well, questions like when was Leo born and what did he have for dinner last night are questions that have an answer.

Leo: But when did Leo—

Jerry: And anybody who want to know what you had for dinner last night could find out if they really wanted to know it.

Leo: Should we worry though? And this is the right to be forgotten in Europe but should we worry if somebody queries you know how long was Leo’s jail term for that rape conviction and they find an incorrect answer. Then what is my recourse. I mean not all the information is accurate Jerry as well know.

Jerry: I understand thoroughly.

Fr. Robert: We cover big data all the time on my network show, sure. And it’s always you know the nightmare scenario is when big data goes wrong because those correlations that it draws isn't always right.

Leo: Which it does inevitably.

Jason: Yes.

Leo: So now what? We're screwed.

Jason: It’s not too late. I think it’s just expectations.

Jerry: No that's what legislatures are for is to determine who is responsible when false data is disseminated. You can still collect for being libeled you know.

Fr. Robert: But see that's the problem. False—

Jerry: Now it’s true that many of the people libel don't have enough money to make it worth going after them.

Fr. Robert: But Jerry that's the problem with false data and big data because you're not disseminating any falsehoods. Big data is based on disparate sets of information that are put through some sort of database so there is no individual, there's no corporation that’s making the assumption. They're just giving you a percentage of possibility based on the information it has.

Jerry: Well I'm not harmed by that. I am harmed if it comes up and says that I served five years for poisoning children when I was 35 years old or something.

Leo: Right. What about this—

Jerry: That's just a libelous statement.

Leo: Okay so I’ll give you an example.

Jerry: If it says that people my age and with my background have a four percent probability of having molested a kid at some point in time there's nothing I can do about that. That may or may not be a true statement.

Leo: Right.

Jerry: But if it says that I did it, that's an accusation and a lie and I can do something about that.

Leo: Great quote from our chat room from Bruce Schneier. Web7 says, Bruce Schneier in 2006 wrote “Patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us by whatever authority is now been focused upon our once private and it’s next. We lose our individuality because everything we do is observable and recordable.” I mean I understand both sides of this argument. I really do. I've decided because I'm too lazy to do anything else just to buy the Amazon phone you know because it’s cool and I want it.


EPISODE 477:  Ello:  September 28, 2014

Nick Bilton: Ello is so stupid. It is moronic, stupid, stupid thing. Who’s going to use it?

Leo: Are you holding back, Nick?

Nick: I signed up. It’s literally like someone’s art school, high school project.

Leo: I think it is. They say they’re artists.

Nick: Here’s the thing. It’s not going to disrupt Facebook. Facebook has 1.3B users. Twitter can’t disrupt Facebook and they have 270M users.

Leo: So let me tell you for folks who have not yet heard about Ello. This is, I’m on Ello right now. It’s invite-only by the way. But that hasn’t stopped 40,000 people an hour from signing up in the last couple of days. That’s what the founders say. 40,000 new users an hour.

Nick: Wow, that’s so many. That’s sarcasm.

Leo: Okay. Thank you for annotating. Here’s the pitch. Ello is ad-free. They wanted to make an anti-Facebook, a social network where they will never sell ads. And they will never sell your information to advertisers. And the idea is that they’ll monetize it, by the way some people were upset when they found out. It’s not really clear in the Ello manifesto, that they do in fact have almost half a million dollars in venture funding. Angel funding from a Vermont venture capitalist.

Nick: Yea, Vermont.

Leo: Well, it’s Vermont. They’re probably wearing earth shoes. But as somebody pointed out, hey if you get venture funding, somebody’s going to want an exit. They’re going to want you to monetize it. The plan is that they will charge you small amounts of money, a couple of bucks here and there, to add special features. I would love a Facebook that I paid $5 a month or whatever that didn’t have ads. One of the things that’s great about Ello, they don’t have edge rank. They don’t decide what you see of your friends’ posts. You see all of your friends’ posts. I think this is a good idea.

Nick: Sounds like a site, I can’t remember the name, oh Twitter.

Leo: No, Twitter sucks.

Nick: Twitter sucks because of the at replies.

Leo: Twitter sucks because it’s a broadcast medium that people try to have conversations in.

Baratunde Thurston: That’s the problem, it’s the conversations. Twitter doesn’t suck itself if you just look at the newsfeed. Or the discover tab. When you look at the at replies, it’s literally like the comment threads on a news article. That’s what sucks about Twitter.

Leo: Well there’s other issues, too. 140 characters means people tend to be kind of cryptic. So you spend a lot of energy trying to understand what the hell he’s talking about. It’s like reading license plates.

Baratunde: You just do the Pete Markka technique and just spamming everybody.

Leo: Well and that’s the other problem. There’s a lot of spam. And the main problem I have is Twitter has yet to come up with a comprehensive way to block trolls and evil-doers. And so it’s just laced with…

Baratunde: Let’s go back, I want to rewind back to the Ello thing. We’re Twitter-bashing.

Leo: But then I want to have this Twitter conversation. Because I have the author of How to Be Twitter here. Oh wait a minute, that’s the wrong book. Of Hatching Black, no that’s the wrong book. Nick, if anyone would be able to defend Twitter, it would be Nick Bilton.

Nick: But I’m not defending Twitter. I actually think that Twitter does have its issues. I think the at replies are literally the worst aspect of the platform. You cannot have a conversation with a one-to-many situation with 10 people or 10s of thousands of people. I think that aspect of it is completely and utterly broken. But I do still think that the 140 character sharing content, the real-time information, and the reason real-time works is because it’s 140 characters. I think that is still completely brilliant.

Leo: Hasn’t Twitter turned bitter? Wait, now we’re having the Twitter conversation. Let’s go back because Baratunde wanted to do Ello. Then we’ll do Twitter.

Baratunde: We’re going to do Ello, then Oy, then WhatUp.

Leo: Oy is the new Ello, apparently.

Baratunde: My reaction to the Ello thing, a friend of mine on Facebook was talking about it. And I hate new stuff. I’m just at that stage.

Leo: Well that’s just because he’s old.

Baratunde: And my tech adoption is like oh it’s new and it’s probably dumb. I don’t need it and I’m going to hate it. Because it’s not what I know. But I think the reaction that it grew out of, the sort of spirit of Ello is important. And this idea of their manifesto that users own their data. That they’re trying to position you, making you aware and reminding you that you are being productized by the platform companies that you give all this stuff to. And I think that’s an important idea contribution to the space. They don’t need to take down Facebook, 40,000 an hour, 40,000 over a year, for those people it might end up being meaningful. And the idea that we have all sort of opted into by default-not all but many-into Facebook, that defines what a social network is. I like from a creative perspective that there’s some other people out there saying no, it can also be this. So it doesn’t need to be about taking down Facebook. There is some value to creating something different from Facebook for people for whom that matters.

Nick: Baratunde, I am so unfriending you on Ello right now. Alright, that’s it. Done.

Leo: I do think that when new social networks start, they have one advantage which is that only us, only the insiders use it. And we like each other. And then the real world comes and I have to go somewhere else.

Nick: You’re just constantly running from real people?

Leo: I’m just running from people.

Nick: Here’s the thing. I totally get it. But the reality is we make a choice every single day to log into our Gmail and to all of these things, our iPhone and Instagram, because we enjoy them and have fun. Even though we know we’re being tracked and ads are being put against the things we’re writing. But yet we still do it. And do I truly believe there is a privacy problem? Without a doubt, no question. I’ve written a thousand articles on it. But I also…

Baratunde: A thousand articles, really?

Nick: On privacy, probably.

Baratunde: Go ahead, keep going.

Nick: But I actually do believe the ship has sailed. And I think part of the reason Ello grew out of Facebook was because there were people who were transgender who weren’t able to use their…

Leo: That’s why it got a lot of attention lately because Facebook has been with its real names policy making it really hard for LGBT people to have a place on Facebook. Because they have many cases real reasons not to use their real names. You want to be sister Mary Dunkin Donuts on Facebook, you can. Unless that’s on your driver’s license. Then you’ve got much bigger problems.

Nick: So I completely agree and that’s what happened. Then what happened after that was a bunch of people went over there. And people from the LGBT groups that went over there, there was no way to block people. So what started happening is you’d have all these haters that came on surge saying really negative and mean things. And they couldn’t use Ello because there’s no system to block people on there. So it kind of all backfired.

Baratunde: That point in particular, that’s another thing I’d like to get to. I think there’s something that as much as Leo, your gripes and even mine about Facebook, they are mature enough to be experimenting at a whole other level. So even the idea of a managed newsfeed, if they actually showed you everything if you have 1,000 friends. Say you friended people a lot over the years, it would be a horrible experience. I give them credit.

Leo: User blocking. It’s on their coming soon list as their number one and the next thing they want to do is user blocking.

Baratunde: For a company like Ello to enter this late in the game, what social networking means; well we’ve all been trained that it comes with these features. There’s a reporting mechanism. There’s a way to filter. And to not have that from ground zero like the starting line I feel like as we move forward.

Leo: Is it late in the game? Are we really at the beginning of the internet? Isn’t this really just the beginning? You guys are just jaded. It’s not late in the game.

Nick: For the beginning of the internet, but we’re not in the beginning of social network.

Leo: Hell yea. What makes you think in 20 years Facebook or Twitter will even be around? You think that they’re here to stay? It’s done? If it is, then I’m depressed.

Nick: Yes. I think that there will be other Facebooks and Twitters but I guarantee you in 20 years Facebook is still around. And if Twitter is still around, maybe it’s part of Google or something like that. If it gets acquired or something.

Leo: I don’t think that any incumbent can come around. I agree with you that nobody can be Google anymore. But that’s more about a technical issue. It’s hard to do an index of something that’s growing as fast. But I think social networking, look how fast Myspace got dis-intermediated. And look how much people hate Facebook. People use Facebook. But often they’re not happy about it.

Nick: We live in a world where we’re dependent on them both. Right? I hate going onto social networks first thing in the morning and checking to see what nasty things people have said about me and my column. But I do it because that’s how I share my content. I have no choice. It is the paper of today.

Leo: And if Ello suddenly gets sufficient subscribers, you’ll start visiting them. It’s just a matter of critical mass. I don’t know why they can’t get critical mass.

Baratunde: I think it’s too early. I think we’re way too early for a statement like Facebook will definitely be around for 20 years to be taken as fact. That is to me, I will bet against you on this show right now.

Leo: I think it will be a safe bet. Go ahead, how much do you want to bet?

Baratunde: In the year 2034 on the 28th of September…

Leo: I will be dead. We can bet on that. By the way I will be glad to be dead if Facebook’s still around. I’ll be looking at you from the grave going Goddamn you guys, couldn’t you do better than this?

Nick: I would like to bet with you, Baratunde. But there are rules at the New York Times and apparently I will get in trouble.

Baratunde: But you know what, it doesn’t matter.

Leo: He pulled the New York Times card.

Nick: If I’m not working at the New York Times in 20 years, I will retroactively bet you a large amount of money.

Baratunde: I just think to Leo’s point, the speed at which we’re moving, we technically have the ability to imagine.

Leo: I agree.

Baratunde: Of what our world will look like. That company called Facebook could be so adaptable to do holographic burrito deliver or whatever becomes the thing.

Leo: If you look at the history of tech companies, they tried. They really do. Microsoft tried, IBM tried.

Baratunde: And they’ve lasted!

Leo: And they last but it’s very hard to stay on the forefront. And I think Google won’t be on the forefront. I think Apple has already started to lose its edge. And I’m not saying they’ll be gone. I’d be very surprised if Facebook is the dominant incumbent that it is today.


Leo: Alright, let’s continue on with our best of in just a second. A big Supreme Court decision but before we go on, I want to tell you a little bit about Audible! I love Audible! Audible books are audio books, 150,000 strong. All the big books. Every new book that comes out is available on Audible. They’ve even gone back in time to take a look at some of the great for instance sci-fi books or classics by Dickens or Jane Austin that were never recorded. And they’ve done their own recordings of them that sound so good. Audible chooses the best readers. They bring these books to life. You’re listening in the car, at work, at the gym, cleaning the house, walking the dog. But those books, it’s as if you’re almost watching a movie in your mind. They come to life. Fiction, non-fiction, Audible is the best place to get audio books. I want you to visit right now and sign up for their platinum plan. You can get it free for the first 30 days which is awesome. This is two books a month, a subscription, plus the daily digest of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Audible has so many great books; having two books a month is nice because it gives you the chance to pick up two books. It makes it easier to decide. That’s really the hardest thing for me. I visit Audible and I go I want that, I want that. In fact I’ve got two credits waiting for me right now. Even with two credits, I’m having a hard time deciding. Audible is so fantastic. Please give it a try today with two books, you can get a real good sense of whether Audible is right for you. Visit It’s free for the first 30 days. Cancel any time in the first 30 days, you’ll pay absolutely nothing. But those books are yours to keep and that’s nice. We are big fans of audio books from I know you will be too. Please take advantage of this offer. If you haven’t tried it yet, the holidays are a great time to curl up with a great audio book from Just go to twit2, and you’ll get it automatically. We thank Audible so much for their support all year long. In fact for the last 6-7 years, a long time, of This Week in Tech. News came out this week in the United States that Canadian Supreme Court had ruled that it was okay for Canadian police during a traffic stop, during an arrest, to look at your cell phone without a warrant. Fortunately, that’s not the case in the United States. We discussed it with legal expert Denise Howell on this segment from this year’s TWiT.


Episode 464: Supreme Court’s Cellphone Search Ruling

Leo: I think this is very good news for privacy in this country. Even if you have been arrested, the police still must seek in most cases a warrant before they can search your cell phone. And we know law enforcement actually has boxes they can plug into your phone and dump all the data off of it. And they do often routinely do that. But the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday this is, you got to get a warrant. Is that good, Denise?

Denise Howell: It’s fabulous. Riley versus California. It’s the case unanimous decision of the Supreme Court. Which you get a lot of court watchers saying what that means. And if it’s really and truly unanimous or if as you suggest, Leo, they’re just…

Leo: Wheeling and dealing behind the scene. I’ll trade you an Aereo for a cell phone. Yea.

Denise: But yes, here we have the court actually, really showing a good grasp of what new technologies mean and how they impact people’s lives. And the difference between being able to search someone’s pocket for a weapon or something else that might hurt an officer during an arrest or something else that might be informationally important to the arrest. Evidence that you can gather just by finding it…

Leo: It’s all on my phone!

Denise: Exactly. No, you’re going to find lots of evidence on someone’s phone but it’s going to be stuff that not only could convict them but will also be a lot of other stuff too.

Leo: So the case was a guy who was stopped for a traffic violation. I guess they must have given the probable cause seen weapons, he was arrested on weapons charges. The officer searching him seized a phone from his pants pocket. The officer accessed information on the phone, noticed a repeated use of a term associated with a street gang. At the police station two hours later, a detective specializing in gangs further examined the phone’s contents. Based on photographs and videos, the detective found the state charged, a petitioner in connection with a shooting that had occurred a few weeks earlier. And sought an enhanced sentence based on gang membership. He was convicted, then appealed. California court of appeals affirmed but the…

Denise: And the California Supreme Court.

Leo: And the California Supreme Court but not the United States Supreme Court unanimously they said that was unlawful search and seizure. So what do we need to do now as citizens if we are stopped by the police and they say can I have your phone? Should we just say no?

Denise: Yeah you can say well—

Natali: You smash it right in front of them.

Leo: I’ll say you know in Riley vs. the state of California.

Denise: Smashing it, not such a good idea.

Natali: You eat it, eat the phone.

Denise: You could have obstruction charges against you under those kinds of circumstances—

Leo: Don’t do that either, okay.

Denise: But yeah, without a warrant they can’t search your phone.

Leo: Actually if you've done something wrong give them the phone. Let them say oh officer you're not allowed to search that but here and then they throw the whole thing out of court. Justice Roberts wrote modern cellphones, I love this, are not just another technological convenience with all they contain and all they may reveal they hold for many Americans the privacies of life. The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry this in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of protection. I love that. That's right on.

Tim Stevens: I also like how he said that the term cellphone itself is pretty much outdated and the effect of the cameras or journals or you know any sort of thing that should and is normally protected by law and I thought I that was a great point that he made as well.

Leo: According to the Daily Dot this review reverse a five-decades-old interpretation of the law that allowed arresting officers to search suspects’ pockets, phones and anything else within his or her reach. So this is kind of new law.

Denise: Yes definitely—

Natali Morris: So wait they are allowed to—

Denise: It’s just not the same as a pocket. Yeah and they can, they can still you know the seat of your car, your pocket, they can pat you down you know. If the safety concern of the officer has always been, you can go ahead and do a search incident to arrest. But if you're going to search a cellphone this decision says you're going to need to get a warrant. And law enforcement was not wild about this decision and fought it because they said well particularly in today’s day and age getting a warrant’s not going to be effective because what if someone just you know, you got Apple, they've got this great remote wipe, Android does it too, we're going to have our evidence destroyed. And the court really showed a nice grasp not only of the nature of the cellphone but of how these things work. And the decision talks about as to remote wiping there are means to address that. First of all you can turn the phone off, then it can't be wiped. Bear that in mind law enforcement officers.

Leo: Right, right.

Denise: And also you could use a Faraday bag, would you ever have expected to see the words Faraday bag.

Leo: I have one of those.

Denise: …in a US Supreme Court decision.

Leo: The fact that they know such a thing exists is awesome. Obviously it was some smart clerk right who wrote this.

Denise: Such devices are commonly called Faraday bags after the English scientist Michael Faraday. They are essentially sandwich bags made of aluminum foil. Cheap, lightweight and easy to use. Then they cite the brief of the criminal law professors that was filed as an Amicus brief. So they're reading their briefs and they know what this stuff is—

Leo: Or a clerk is yes.

Denise: Yes, this may not be a complete answer to the problem but at least for now they provide a reasonable response they talk about not only the law enforcement agencies know what Faraday Bags are and use them and encourage officers to use them but they talk about the fact that a warrant’s a lot easier to get then it used to be too.

Leo: Unfortunately.

Denise: And that a lot of law enforcement officers can rely on like a 15 minute electronic email response to a request for a warrant. We're not talking a whole of hoops that need to be jumped through here.

Leo: The Daily Dot says in answer to a question what should you do, lock your phone with a passcode. If your phone is locked and or encrypted according to the ACLU the police may take your phone, may try to look at it unconstitutionally but they won’t be able to.

Natali: They can’t force you to put your finger on the indentification.

Leo: Yeah, if you forgot to lock your phone and don’t feel like it then calmly and respectfully, this’ll work, tell the officers his search is in violation of the constitution under the court’s Riley decision.

Denise: Yeah I mean that Daily Dot article has some great advice about saying look if you want to search my phone you need a warrant for that. If they want to go ahead though and do it that same article says just go ahead and let them do it. You know what the law is—

Leo: Right but you should out loud state I do not consent to this search and make sure the witnesses hear it. I do not, want to make this clear, I do not consent to this search because then whatever they find is inadmissible.

Denise: I got to good question from someone on Twitter along these lines, his name was Mark Jones. And he was sort of keying on the fact that not only you know do we keep everything on our cellphones but we have things like boarding passes and his particular case I guess his insurance card for you know showing that he has auto insurance on his cellphone and asking if you show that to an officer on your phone are you giving up your privacy rights to everything else on the phone? I certainly don't think so. You know, first of all you have to be, if you're under arrest is the only way that there could even be an issue about an officer’s ability to search your phone without a warrant. And just handing an officer an unlocked phone to show a particular item on there I don't think is communicating consent to search the phone but again you might want to say when you're handing the phone over hey I don't consent to you searching the whole phone.

Leo: I also might mention that the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU have pages called know your rights where you can print a PDF about what the police can and cannot do. I presume updated thanks to the most recent decision. Also a PDF of tips when confronted by the police. The thing I want to emphasize is this is not designed to you know somehow get gang members off because the police do have the ability to ask for a warrant, put the thing in a Faraday box. You know if there really is a crime, the police can pursue it. This is to protect our privacy against an overreaching police thing. And this is good, tips for talking to the police. There's a great long YouTube by youshouldneverevertalktothepolice that I refer you to without recommending it. I refer you to if you want to know more. I certainly made sure my kids knew it. So good news, privacy rights are protected. What do think in the light of these two decisions a lot of people we're mocking the Supreme Court on the Aereo case saying oh they're clearly technologically out of touch? I actually thought in the oral arguments most of them not all of them, most of them are pretty in touch. Sotomayor showed a real understanding of how this stuff works. I think she knew about Roku boxes and Netflix. So I think in this privacy thing they seem very much in touch with what a cellphone is and why it’s important to protect it. They seem like they are in touch. Yes Denise?

Denise: Yeah I think they're more in touch then people give them credit for. I do think you know you're talking about people in an older demographic who are still you know incorporating these tools and their own life and trying to grasp what, how they work and what they mean and doing their best with it and they have really smart clerks as you pointed out Leo.

Leo: Yeah.

Denise: So I think they do a pretty darn good job. You know the copy shop with the library card.

Leo: Not so much.

Denise: …is something a cable when it’s clearly not. They've got some hurdles to overcome still and it would be wonderful if we could get someone you know truly versed in what technology means and how it works and the legal considerations around it on the court. I think we're still waiting for that one.


Episode 453: Heartbleed Bug

Leo: A perfect guy to have on during heart bleed week, Bruce Schneier. Hi, Bruce.

Bruce Schneier: Hi.

Leo: Great to have you. So at the beginning of the week you said and a scale of 1 to 10, heart bleed is an 11. A very serious philosophy. It’s funny we thought this would be the week we would be talking about XP exploits. No.

Bruce: What turns out, you never know. These things happen kind of at random. Heartbleed, what was really interesting for a whole lot of reasons is that wine, it was catastrophic. It affected an enormous number of servers out there. And you can recognize it with like three lines of shell scripts. So I had colleagues who were up and running in scanning and attacking systems within 10 minutes of learning about it. So it was a big deal. It still is a big deal.

Leo: You were able to send the packet using this Heartbeat technique built into Open SSL a couple of years ago. You were able to send a malformed packet that requests data up to 64K from memory of the server right? You can’t be specific, it is whatever is there.

Bruce: Yeah it has to do with how the heap is working. It is kind of random what you get. But you can query 64K multiple times and you get different data, you don’t always get the same. So if you’re looking to get everything on the computer you just do it again and again. It turns out you can’t actually get everything, there are some weird reasons why some data comes in and some doesn’t. We are exploring that. But potentially, we heard about this you can basically grab everything and it left no trace. There is nothing in the audit log that said you were attacked. Which made it really scary. And we had to fix it quick.

Leo: The fact that this is been around for two years it’s conceivable that somebody knew about it two years ago. And has been just pinging servers, how rapidly can you do this? I guess every second or faster?

Bruce: You can do this fast as you can. You can ping the entire Internet and see who is full of horrible weaknesses in about 15 or 20 minutes depending on your setup. So a bunch of reasons I’ve been doing that so we could watch the decay of sites that are vulnerable. We do know that, we have good evidence that before the announcement, nobody was doing a sweep of the Internet looking to see who was vulnerable. So we have data from servers, from honeypots that we were able to comb through and have seen no one use Heartbleed at a global basis before that. We have no idea if there were targeted attacks.

Leo: But that is very good news. That means that it seems it is likely that this is a vulnerability known in the hacker community, they’d be scanning sites looking for vulnerabilities. A targeted attack, at least it is unlikely that you and I were a target.

Bruce: The good news is that the hacker community did not know about this it seems. We started seeing scans within minutes of the announcement. But before that we saw nothing. So that is the good news. The other good news is that such good research over the week has shown that while it is possible in theory, and has been done in practice, to retrieve the private SSL key, the master key, it’s actually a lot harder than we originally thought.

Leo: That is very good news. Because the concern was that all of these secure server certificates had been compromised allowing massive man in the middle attacks. But you are saying that seems unlikely.

Bruce: That seems unlikely. Certainly possible. Cloud Player, a company that has been leading this research, has put up challenges and one of the challenges was met so someone did manage to extract the keys but it is not easy. It is not a slam dunk.

Leo: So for the most part what do you get? Passwords logins? What are you getting in the 64K chunks?

Bruce: You get the random cruft of what the server is doing. So yes you get password changes, you’d get webpages served. If there are credentials in the URLs, you get those. You get random stuff. You get a lot of nothing and occasionally you get something good. What we are seeing, the obvious tactic from a criminal who would be using this is that you just scan everything constantly hoping that you get lucky. Now there is some good news on our side, some of this stuff is hard to parse. So it is sort of interesting to watch and we don’t know really what the effects are in terms of enabling crime. Of course it is now being patched. A lot of the sites are no longer vulnerable. Now, vulnerable to the ping. There are any number of universities who are basically auditing the net every hour and watching as sites patch their open SSL. Now that doesn’t mean if they were compromised before the patch, they are not still vulnerable. They had to change their key and their certificate. There is no way to check that. No easy way to check that.

Leo: So the initial estimate was about to thirds of the servers would be vulnerable to this. Is that accurate and what is the number now?

Bruce: That is accurate. The number is probably 10% that but it is skewed because all of the big popular, well run servers have updated. I see a top 1000 sites that are vulnerable list. And the sites are getting more obscure every hour that are still vulnerable.

Leo: Are there any big companies still that should’ve fixed it and have it?

 Bruce: I didn’t see any, but I’m not going to guarantee there aren’t.

 Leo: It’s an easy fix.

Bruce: Like all of these patches, it is an easy fix. Clearing the vulnerabilities is a multi-step process. This is one of the reasons this was so nasty. Installing the patches is just step one, regenerating your public-private keys is step two, revoking your old key is step three, getting a new key is step four. And then, every user on that site who could’ve had their credentials exposed needs to update their password which is steps five through 1 million. All those things have to happen in sequence. I updated my own website and had to go through all those steps, but for me it was pretty easy. If you are a banking site at a minimum any customer that logged on between when the vulnerability became public and when the site was patched needs to update their password. It might be nothing but it’s just prudent.

Leo: It’s just prudent. And it’s not a bad thing to do anyway.

Bruce: It isn’t. You know we all have passwords that we rarely use and that we remember. We don’t like doing this. But I think it is safe that if you didn’t login to the server between when the vulnerability was announced on Monday and when your server patched a few days later you are okay. So those obscure sites that you haven’t been to in a week or two I think you’re fine at this point.

Leo: And a second factor authentication hasn’t been compromised, is that right?

Bruce: No, what has been compromised is the public key potentially, although it seems unlikely. And stuff that happened on the server when someone did the ping. So if you got unlucky and your data was in the heap at the time the bad guys did the scan, it was potentially compromised.

Leo: It’s pretty random though and it seems like unlikely that there would have been mass compromises as a result.

Bruce: Is extraordinarily random, mass compromise is definitely unlikely. I haven’t seen any estimates yet on what sorts of crime has been as a result. We know the hackers started pinging this vulnerability as soon as it was published. So they didn’t waste any time. What is interesting is that some of these other vulnerabilities they had to have a computer to write to with arbitrary code, this one you can’t. This one you can really recognize within a couple minutes of learning about it which was so easy.

Leo: Bloomberg says that two sources told them this was an NSA bug, or that the NSA knew about it and had been using it for two years. Given its utility that seems highly unlikely.

Bruce: You know, we are all debating this right now. There is a Bloomberg article it says to anonymous sources of the NSA said they were using this for two years. NSA came out with a very strong denial, that this was untrue. The answer is, we don’t know. It seems unlikely. This vulnerability was so big and so nasty, and the United States and other Democratic countries I think are so vulnerable that it would make a lot of sense in the NSA if they found this to alert the community and get this closed. It is a bigger risk to us than it is value. Certainly the NSA probably got an advance notice of a week or so of some of the big companies. I hope they took it and ran with it and attacked everybody they could during that week! But that that’s what you do right? Like the Microsoft bugs that are being fixed the next patch Tuesday. And they just run with them for the week or two. That makes perfect sense.

Leo: I’m curious, I saw Google said that one version of Android was vulnerable, 411. How could Android be vulnerable at all? It is not a server.

Bruce: Well anybody that is using open SSL and responding to pings is vulnerable. What I'm worried about right now is some of the hardware devices. The un-patchable routers and switches and modems where upgrading involves the trashcan, a credit card and a trip to Best Buy. That is not going to be fun.

Leo: These things are laden with problems. So many problems on these inexpensive routers.

Bruce: The economics are different. Essentially they are like the computers were in the mid-90s. But they are very low-cost, very low engineering expertise, not built with the same care, not as robust. So they are built as throwaway devices yet they have these enormous vulnerabilities and in the mid-90s we had a whole community to embrace quick patching an open vulnerability disclosure, all these things that made us safer. It is really hard to imagine the same systems working on your refrigerator just because nobody cares very much.

Leo: Bruce do you think as some have said is an indictment of open source software that people can commit? The guy who did this is a German software developer. I mean we know who this is.

Bruce: And he’s been interviewed and I’m sure he is really embarrassed about this. It’s not an indictment of open source software. It’s an indictment of software that is not independently analyzed. This could have easily happened in a closed source software. It could’ve easily been thrown out there. The problem was, nobody was doing the analysis. Any software, open or closed, needs to be analyzed. Open software is more secure because it can be looked at by more people, because it is harder to slip in some bad event unnoticed. But open source does not magically mean some reason that all look at it. This seemed to have fallen through the cracks. It was an incredibly pivotal, important critical piece of code that was just being maintained by a few guys in their spare time. Now good for them! And I’m glad they’re doing it but they could use some backup.

Leo: Yeah. I feel bad for Robin Seggelmann, the German who introduced the flaw. He said I forgot to validate a variable containing a link. I missed it. And that happens all the time.

Bruce: And that happens all the time. Now something interesting to ask, if you were going to speculate about the NSA, they spend millions of dollars searching for vulnerabilities every year in critical software. If they didn’t find this one, maybe we should wonder how well our money is being spent.

Leo: This is like you can’t get any more critical than the open SSL library used by two thirds of all Internet servers.

Bruce: You would think somebody in the NSA would’ve looked at it. Would have checked for all of these sorts of checking problems. And would’ve noticed this. The fact that they didn’t, or at least claim they didn’t, is interesting.

Leo: It turns out President Obama has said, “If they find a flaw in software like this and there is a compelling security argument, a national security argument, for not exposing that flaw, then they can do that. In general they will, but they do have an out.”

Bruce: And this is all the weasel wording. It is as long as the NSA mission is primarily to eavesdrop on the entire planet there will be a compelling reason to keep these vulnerabilities secret.


Episode 476: Space Elevator

Leo: A Japanese company, Obayashi is going to build a space elevator. Should be up and running by 2050. My mind will be in a jar by then. But you can put that jar in an elevator and send it to space.

John C. Dvorak: Send it to the moon.

Leo: A lot of science fiction is posseted that the whole problem with space travel is the earth’s gravity.

John: You used the word posseted.

Leo: Yea, is that an incorrect word?

John: Well why don’t you say posed or something?

Leo: Posseted. Isn’t that correct?

John: It sounds like you’re leaving dog crap somewhere.

Leo: Not deposited. I don’t know I’m sitting here with three writers.

John: Do you ever use posseted when you write, never!

Jason: Extremely rarely.

John: I’m all for you, Leo.

Leo: It is a verb.

John: I’m trying to help.

Leo: Assume as fact, put forward as a basis of argument. It’s like postulate. Advance, propound, submit, and hypothesize. Propose or assert, which would you prefer of those? Here let’s play the audio.

John: I don’t know.  Posseted, it just sounds like deposited.

Dwight Silverman: Pause it, I have to go to the bathroom.

John: I’m sorry, now I’ll get blamed for taking the show off the track.

Leo: All I remember is I was talking about the space elevator.

John: I think space elevators are bogus.

Jason Snell: This is the idea is that the physics totally work if you can make a material strong enough to run that cable. And even this story it’s like with fusion right, it’s always 30 years away. And that’s what they say in this story. We think we can get the nanotube strong enough to do this by 2030. So really, it’s just coming in 15 years, they’ll be able to build it.

Leo: According to Mr. Shikawa, all you have to do is get something 100 times stronger than a steel cable.

Jason: No, the physics work. You drop a cable from space and tie it on at the equator somewhere. And it’s way cheaper than firing off…

Leo: What are you sitting in a bucket and then raise it up?

Jason: Well it’s counterweighted.

Dwight: There’s two buckets.

John: And for the next five weeks, you’re being towed up there.

Leo: How fast is it? Robotic cars powered by magnetic linear motors will carry people and cargo to a newly built space station at a fraction of the cost of rockets. It will take seven days to get there.

John: No problem. Where do you pee?

Jason: Expensive to build but super cheap once you build it.

John: In space, I guess. Nobody cares.

Leo: Right now we can make cables that strong but we can only make them three centimeters long.

Jason: Yea, they need to be a little bit longer.

John: It’s just a matter of time.

Leo: It’s a little tiny space elevator.

Jason: This is one of those things that if they can figure out a way to make this stuff, then they can totally change the technology of the 21st century. But it’s probably more likely than not that they can’t. But if they can, that would be awesome.

Leo: It costs a space shuttle $22,000 per kilogram because the rocket fuel is so expensive, to take cargo to space. For the space elevator, a couple hundred bucks.

Jason: That’s the payoff for building this space elevator.

Leo: That’s nothing!

John: Why just build one?

Leo: We should have them all over the earth.

Jason: Imagine the disaster movies. Then they’ll crash the space elevator and the cable will smash, and there will be super awesome explosions.

John: Falling down in San Francisco and takes out the Golden Gate Bridge.

Leo: Once you’re up there, then it’s cheap to go fly around.

Jason: Well yea, because you’re in space then.

Leo: There’s no gravity. You could take a can of Pam.

John: Yea, Pam. That’s what we need in space. It’s good for the environment to spray Pam.

Jason: And when your brain is in the jar, it will be lot less weight for that.

John: I like Pam! Big giant Pam, yes exactly.

Leo: I’m going to the moon! See you later!

John: Have a match in the Pam, get a little thrust off of that.

Leo: No for that, you want to use Final Net hairspray.

John: That will work.

Leo: I don’t know if we’ll ever see a space elevator but it’s pretty cool. You cannot talk about the year 2014 without talking about the ALS ice bucket challenge. I don’t know how effective it was for ALS. I think it raised a lot of awareness and certainly tens of millions of dollars for the charity. We talked a little about it. Watch closely because there might be a bit of a surprise at the end. This is our take on the ALS ice bucket challenge.


Episode 471: ALS Challenge (1:37:52)

Leo: Did you guys do the ALS?  You should do this.

John C. Dvorak:  I'm not doing any of these things.  It's dumb.

Leo:  I told the world.  I will do it if John tells me to do it.  This is the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Everybody is doing it.  Bill Gates has done it.  Mark Zuckerberg.  Tim Cook did it.  Jeff Bezos did it at an all hands meeting.  So did Tim Cook, for that matter.  

John:  Let's all do it because they did it.

Leo:  Did you see Bill Gates' Ice Bucket Challenge?

John:  Bill is going to catch a cold.

Leo:  He takes it fairly seriously.  Well, he may not, because if you watch the video; you be the judge of this.  It doesn't look like there is actually any ice in Bill's bucket.  That's not a euphemism.  Here he is, Bill is getting the challenge from Mark Zuckerberg.  So this is how it works: it's to raise awareness and money for ALS, which is Lou Gehrig’s disease.  You dump a bucket, it's kind of dumb, a bucket of ice water on yourself.

John:  To me it indicates Lou Gehrig’s disease; to dump a bucket of water.  Ice water.

Leo:  It doesn't seem like it's related in any way.  Then you challenge three other people.  Zuckerberg challenged Bill, and of course Bill is taking this seriously as an engineering problem.  So he pretends to weld stuff.

John:  He's got better things to do with his time it seems to me.

Leo:  Give them $100 million and leave the welding to someone else.

John:  It doesn't make sense.

Leo:  Watch carefully.  He's about to do it.

John:  It's a publicity stunt for him.

Leo:  This is what bothers me.  I will do it in private.  How about that.  I won't make a video.

John:  Why bother doing it at all?  There are plenty of charities out there.  You should give to the one that you want to.  You shouldn't be shamed into giving to any one of them.

Leo:  Now watch.  There's no ice.  I think it's warm water.

John:  Where's the ice?

Leo:  There's no ice.  I think they said, Bill, if you do that with ice you are going to have a stroke.

Jason:  Nice bucket full of water.  Good times.

John:  It's just like the wet dog that he is.  

Leo:  That's the first bath that Bill has had in years.

John:  I didn't say that.  Although, I've got one of the guys in the room here, "He's allowed to have fun Dvorak."  Yeah, that looks like fun.

Leo:   Elon Musk did it equivalently...

John:  Put jello in the bucket.

Leo:  ...complicated apparently involving multiple, and his five kids.  

Ben:  They each had their own buckets.

Leo:  They each had their own buckets.

John:  They should have thrown a bucket at him.  That would be more entertaining.  

Leo:  He's looking more like Tony Stark all the time, isn't he?

John:  He thinks he's Tony Stark.  Tony Stark was supposedly modeled after him.

Leo:  The one in the movies.

John:  The one in the movie, yeah.

Leo:  So you say it's okay if I don't do that.  That I can give to whatever charity I want privately.

John:  What are you asking me for?  Do you need my permission?

Jason:  If you don't do it, you just give $100 to ALS.

Leo:  Even that is kind of blackmail though, right?  You gave $100?

Jason:  I was skeptical about it.  My friend Lex Friedman did a bucket challenge, and when I analyzed the video frame by frame, and believe me, I analyzed it frame by frame.  I wish I had the link to it.  It appears that the ice completely missed him and he remained completely dry.  So I basically made him do it again.  When he did it again I wrote him a check.

Leo:  Talk about distortion.  Holy Cow.

Jason:  I made him get wet.

Leo:  Did you see Weird Al's?  The funny thing about Weird Al is that he doesn't mention ALS.

John:  Here's another chat room a-hole.  "What if your son had ALS Leo?"

Leo:  I actually have a very close friend who died of ALS.  I am not against ALS.

John:  Why would you be?   It's a horrible product.

Jason:  Lex is in chatroom.

John:  Is he?  Oh, I'm sorry.

Leo:  It's a terrible disease and I'm not saying anything negative about that or the ALS Foundation, which is a good association.  So, here's Weird Al.  I don't know if the ALS Association did this.  I think it was done by somebody independently.

Ben:  They've picked it up.

Leo:  They have certainly picked it up.  It's been good.  They've raised more than $10 million.  Watch, here's Weird Al somewhere like Hawaii, I think.

(Video playing)

John:  He actually has ice in his.

Leo:  Yeah.

(Video Playing)

John:  That's pretty good.

Leo:  He doesn't mention any charity at all.  It's a parody of the thing.

John:  Dali Lama that would be a good one.  I would watch that.

Leo:  I'm doing it for ALS, but who am I going to challenge for this?   I know who I'm going to challenge.  Oh god, that is a little chilly.  Okay, now I challenge John C. Dvorak, Adam Curry, and Jason Snell.  Go out and dunk yourselves.  Thank you everybody, another TWiT is in the can!  It is brisk, oh my god…


Episode 457: Libelous Amazon Reviews

John C. Dvorak: I like to go to Amazon when I buy something and actually shop a little bit. Look at alternative possibilities, look at the reviews. I always like to read the 1 star reviews and see if the guy just doesn't know what he's talking about.

Leo: Well there's an interesting story about that. There is a guy who wrote a negative review of a router. Actually to me, this raises some interesting issues. The router is from a company called MediaLink. Mediabridge products took umbrage at the negative review, threatened to sue the guy for libel, and got him to change the review. Then Amazon weighed in and said we are not selling Mediabridge products anymore.

John: Good for them, I hate these companies that do that. That's very common, you run into some litigious company and they're so thin-skinned- Some joker who writes some negative review on an online forum they get so thin-skinned that they sue you, this is not a company you want to do business with. It's not killing them, I don't know that negative reviews even have that much of an impact.

Leo: Now I'm going to add the other side to this story. What the Mediabridge Company said is, "The review is libelous because he refers to two facts that are not true. One, he asserts that we are posting fallacious reviews of our own."

John: Which most companies do.

Leo: "And two, that the Mediabridge router is a rebranded router from another company."

John: Most routers are.

Leo: The Mediabridge folks said that those are both demonstrably not true-

John: So they actually hand make this thing themselves?

Leo: I don't know, but they are libelous, so they actually have a case for libel. This is one thing I thought was kind of interesting, if you're a reviewer you might actually be libeling a company if you say something that is demonstrably untrue in the review.

John: I've always believed that too.

Leo: Be careful. Because in fact, when queried by Arstechnica about this, they said that they actually have a case.

John: I'm surprised that more people don't get sued. Yelpers, for example, they come and smear some operation because they didn't like the-

Leo: Let's give a little- We're sitting here with the Director of the Cronkite School of Journalism-

Dan Gillmor: I'm not the Director.

Leo: The guy who runs the whole place, the man who invented journalism, Dan Gillmor, who is the Director of the Night Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Cronkite School. Tell me what libel is because at some point, somebody at Journ Day School or somewhere told you here's what you can and cannot do.

Dan: Where there are a lot of nuances in libel. But basically if you say something or publish something or publish something that is defamatory, that injures the reputation of someone else, and it's false-

Leo: Aha! That's the key, the false part. Because it has to be a demonstrable fact.

John: There's malicious, that's part of this problem.

Leo: There's also intent.

John: You can be accidentally wrong. 

Leo: Right, but John, if I call you a shmuck, you can't sue me-

Matthew:  Because that's an opinion.

Leo: That's an opinion. But if I say, John you're a crook-

John: Yeah, I could sue you. I always tell journalists do not use the word crook because you're asking for trouble.

Leo: Literally, libelists are slanderous depending on-

John: Or criminal, always a criminal.

Leo: You know how I found this out, I was talking about patent trolls on Tech TV and I called the guy an extortionist. And the lawyers said, that's libelous, take it back.

John: You could call him a virtual extortionist if you had some example.

Leo: I can say it's extortion-like or tantamount to extortion, but I can't say extortionist.

Matthew Ingram:  I remember Penn & Teller saying fraud is bad, you should never say that because then you have to prove it. But douchebag or ***** are fine because those are just judgments.

John: Douchebag is a funny one because if you actually sued over that, it'd be a great court case, could you imagine?

Leo: I am not a douchebag. This is a douchebag, here I am. Do I even look like a douchebag, I ask you? Well you look a little like one. But I'm not one! No you're not, sir. You win.


Leo: Sometimes TWiT can be quite shocking, as in this segment with Becky Worley. She’s always wanted to do this to me. And the Pavlok.


Episode 486: The Pavlok

Becky Worley: Give me your wrist.

Leo: Uh oh. Are you going to electrocute me?

Becky: I am. I brought this for you.

Leo: We talked about this on the show. Becky Worley does these reviews for Good Morning America. And this was what, smartwatches?

Becky: Yea, and this one I did a little bit on GMA and a little bit on Yahoo. So let’s imagine that you have a Fitbit or a… this is the Pavlok that’s on.

Leo: It’s a fitness band?

Becky: It could be a fitness band. But it’s a motivational tool. So let’s just work with it on the fitness band. Let’s say you told your Fitbit or whatever that you want to do 10,000 steps a day by 4:30 in the afternoon. Well if you don’t do it by 4:30, it does this. Nothing?

Leo: Nothing!

Becky: Oh I got to do it faster. Hold on.

Harry McCracken: Just cry in pain.

Leo: Ahh!

Harry: There you go. When my mom gave me my…

Becky: That hurt, right?

Leo: That’s terrible! That is terrible! You shocked me! It’s like a bad static shock. You know when you touch the dog’s nose after you walk on the carpet? It’s on that order.

Becky: It’s 220.

Leo: It’s 220, but it’s brief. And you are brave to have done that. I didn’t know what I was getting into. So I don’t get any credit for being brave but that hurt.

Becky: I know.

Leo: It didn’t hurt like a Taser. You want to try it?

Jason Snell: No way.

Leo: By the way I love it that Becky does this. And you were right it was Yahoo, not GMA. We actually reviewed this.

Becky: It hurts!

Leo: But you’re a tough person. You’re a mom, you’re a rugby player. How many knee operations have you had?

Becky: I’ve had six knee surgeries, 15 broken bones, and I gave birth to twins. And it hurt.

Leo: And this little watch. Do you want to try it, Jeff? Come here, Jeff. Jeff will try it. We love Jeff; he will try anything.

Jason: it’s like a spinal tap drummer. Anyone waiting?

Becky: It’s not only a negative reinforcement.

Leo: Now Jeff works for me so I’m going to make you do it. Because I don’t want to get sued for some sort of harassment.

Becky: Are you nervous? You’re a little nervous. Okay, let’s make this a good contact point. Do you feel it?

Jeff: Yea, a little.

Becky: See I’m the…

Leo: It made me jump!

Jeff: I didn’t feel it that time. I felt it the first time.

Leo: Make it tighter.

Becky: I’m so mean!

Leo: You don’t want to do this? See that would motivate me.

Jeff: It didn’t do anything.

Becky: Oh okay, did it make your hand a little bit of a contraction?

Jeff: Yea.

Becky: I won’t do it to you anymore. I can’t abuse a man in a sweet sweater like this.

Leo: He’s an Eagles fan. That’s his…

Becky: Eagles for Christmas. Okay, alright, I’m going with that. Of just shock a person in a Christmas sweater. I’m evil. I feel so mean.

Jason: Philadelphia Eagles sweater.

Harry: I’m wearing my Pebble so I don’t have a free wrist to try.

Leo: I love the way Pavlok. Because it’s like Pavlok’s dog. And it’s a personal coaster on your wrist. Is it safe?

Becky: Yes, it’s very, very safe. It’s safe.

Harry: Does it have a Fitness band?

Becky: This is not yet available for purchase. He’s still well into…

Leo: But you would tie it to a smart app.

Becky: So the app, you can do multiple things. So, you can use a friend, sort of like have you used Packed at all? It has a monetary, social and…

Leo: I think I need something that says punishment.

Becky: Yea. I need punishment. So the monetary one-and this is how Pact worked-you say you’re going to go to the gym or did 10,000 steps. And you put $5 in, it debits it from your PayPal. If you don’t do it, it takes it

Leo: Big deal. Shock me would do it.

Harry: Where does the $5 go?

Becky: It goes to the rest of the pool of people who are using it who do use it. That’s how it works.

Leo: So if you do it, you get paid?

Becky: This is Pact. If you do it, you get paid. If you don’t do it, you lose the money.

Leo: Oh. I might do that. What is it, Pact?

Becky: Pact. So this has a little bit of that built into it. Then it also has you have to check in with a friend who then checks you in. So you have to call a friend and say I didn’t go to the gym. And then they, you two have a deal going. So you have to be accountable to another human.

Leo: Can your friend have control of the electroshock?

Becky: Then electroshock is the third method that it uses.

Leo: Could I give Lisa-she really wants this by the way-could I give her the electroshock?

Becky: That’s funny because that’s not how I see your relationship going.

Leo: Oh how little you know.

Harry: You know when it’s going to shock you or is it in some random point in time so you can’t take it off?

Becky: When I beta tested it, it’s not build that way yet. It’s still…

Leo: It sounds like it’s very early. Now Pact is real and now.

Becky: Pact is real. I met a woman who lost 85 pounds doing that.

Leo: And you put it on your phone, Android or iOS. Then it takes your money or gives you money. I think this would be good for me.

Becky: And I don’t know if they have this but there are other sites that donate it to causes you hate. So not only will they take your money but they’ll donate…

Leo: Oh wow. So they donate it to the Coke brothers or something. Then Lisa would press that button all the time. Wow.

Becky: I think it’s interesting HCI and kind of bringing in levels of…

Leo: I think it’s how messed up we’ve become that we can’t bring ourselves to do anything. So now we need some outside electroshock.

Becky: So get this. The guy that made the Pavlok, the way it started was he had some big thing he had to get done. And he was so procrastinating on it, he put on Craigslist. He hired somebody to come slap him.

Leo: It worked?

Becky: It worked! I don’t know if it was a gym or a project. But he hired somebody to come slap him. It made him so nervous, the slapping, and the social interaction around the slapping, he decided if I could just come up with something that has a negative reinforcement. Some people need negative reinforcement.

Leo: Smart. You made a vine of this so I can watch this shock you over and over and over.

Becky: How much fun to watch a blonde get shocked over and over?

Jason: This could be a great business for Uber to move into. Where somebody comes over with an Uber to slap you.

Leo: Forget the fist bump. We’re going to shock you. We’re going to slug you.

Jason: Slap car.

Leo: Can I get underwear with that?

Becky: Whoa, you’re moving into a new… that’s a whole other business.

Jason: You’ve got to fill out a capture for that, Leo.

Leo: Wow.

Becky: So leave it to me. Whenever I come on TWiT, I’ve got to do a little Gallagher. I’ve got to bring you some props.

Leo: That’s good. You know what, when I first saw this I kind of laughed as we all did. Now I want it.

Becky: Okay well I’ll tell you why…

Leo: I don’t want that. I’m going to do the Gym Pact. I don’t really want to get shocked a lot. I’m afraid it might stop my heart at some point.

Harry: Or start your heart.

Leo: Either one.

Becky: Look at this thing and let me put it back on your arm.

Harry: Don’t do it, Leo! It’s a trap!

Leo: I’m going to do whatever it takes not to have that thing shock you.

Becky: I’m not putting it on there. But just that feeling I felt like it was going to work. When I thought about that thing on my arm, it made me nervous. And I thought that’s a visceral feeling that goes beyond that sort of how we put off the things that we really want to do by the more immediate things that…

Leo: Three-toed Sloth in our chat room says… I like his name… Three-toed Sloth in our chat room, what did he say? Now I forgot.

Jason: Lick a 9-volt battery if you’re cheap.

Leo: He said if you’re cheap, lick a 9-volt battery. You don’t need the watch. It’s worse than licking a 9-volt battery.

Becky: That just tastes like metal.

Leo: It will give you a tongue-tingle. This ain’t no tongue-tingle. This is like the worst static shock you’ve ever had. Right? Would you say that?

Becky: That’s right. And I was impressed by Christmas sweater guy. He didn’t jerk away. I couldn’t help myself.

Leo: Jeff probably doesn’t have any nerve endings. He’s worked for us too long.

Becky: Maybe there was a hair barrier.

Jeff: I have the Philly connection there also.

Leo: He’s from Philly.


Episode 463 Pre-Show: Leo and Chad Learn to Pronounce

Leo: I’ve always had tin-tini-tinitus.

Chad: Tinnitus? Is it pronounce everything wrong day?

Leo: How do you pronounce it?

Chad: Tinnitus. Tinnitus is correct?

Leo: And who is pronouncing everything wrong? You or me?

Chad: Okay Google, definition of Tinnitus.

Tinnitus: ringing or buzzing in the ear.

Chad: But it says Tinnitus.

Leo: Tinnitus. Tinnitus actually makes more sense, doesn’t it?

Chad: Quinoa. Tinnitus. Quinoa. Quin-wah. Horse e-books. Are you voting on what he would say?

Please help me escape from this place. What is this?

Leo: This is how to ask for help in English.

Horse e-books.

Leo: Here’s another one.

We turned the TV on in the middle of gardening special. She hated to watch gardening. She said it brought back unpleasant memories. One channel up was a weight-lifting show. That was more of her style. But it made me uncomfortable.

Chad: What are you watching?!

Leo: It’s the how to pronounce channel. How about this?

No. No. No.

Leo: So now I’m starting to think this whole channel is a front for something.

Milk argument. Milk argument. Milk argument. No.

Leo: This is some weird front for something.

Chad: Milk argument. Who would ever Google how to you pronounce milk argument?

Leo: What the hell is a milk argument?

Chad: It’s an argument you have over milk.

Leo: Oh yea, let’s look up milk argument.

Chad: It’s very similar to cereal argument.

Leo: Guess what the number one and number two results are.

Chad: That video.

Leo: Now you know. How did it get both of those?

Chad: Are they uploaded by two different people? Milk argument.

Leo: Different locales. So it’s not just Bear Team’s Bravo. It’s not just Bear Team’s Bravo, but there’s this other channel.

Milk argument.

Chad: Wait, what?!

Dolce and Gabbana.

Chad: Is this a parody channel?

Leo: We have discovered something very odd. Very, very odd.

Worcestershire. Worcester... Nebuchadnezzar. Po-dunch-oh. Ne-buncho.

Leo: What have we stumbled upon?


Leo: What?!

Porno, porn. Porn cat on man.

Leo: Wait, let’s see how you say this.

Mackal-more, the actor from Home Alone is Mackal-more.

Leo: Oh my God. How do you say this?

Hanky man-doodles. What a wangerful phase. Hanky man-doo.

Leo: I’m confused. What’s happening? Is this real life?

Mm, bepis. Mm and puss. Bepis.


Episode 483: Amazon Echo

Leo: So Amazon. Echo.  They're selling a tube that listens to you at all times. 

John C. Dvorak:  I didn't get to plug anything when you introduced me. 

Leo:  Usually we reserve those for later.  Would you like to?

John:  No Agenda Show.  People should go to it and listen to—

Leo:  I said the word Adam.  That should count. 

John:  No, Adam doesn't count.

Leo:  That's it.  Are you planning on walking out?  Is that why you wanted your plug early?

John:  Do you want me to walk out?  I could do that.

Leo:  Just drop the microphone and go. 

John:  I don't have a microphone to drop. 

Leo:  This is the Amazon Echo.  First of all, I just want to point out, as a Dad, in this promotional video, this Dad is so stupid.  Throughout. 

Rob Reid:  it's a sitcom Dad. 

Leo:  it's a sitcom Dad.  In fact, I think he is a sitcom actor.  Let's watch.  He's opening the door.  It's an Amazon box. 

Commercial Dad:  It's called Amazon Echo. 

Commercial Alexa:  How's it going? 

Commercial Dad:  I'm just finishing up right now. 

Commercial Daughter:  is it on?

Commercial Dad:  It's always on. 

Commercial Daughter:  Can it hear me right now? 

Commercial Dad:  No.

Leo:  Wait a minute.  Let's just mention that it can't hear you right now, otherwise it would be useless. 

John:  Right.  It's always on.

Leo:  It's always on, and it's always listening. 

Rob:  It's so creepy.

John:  Yeah.  Totally creepy is right.  Who needs it?

Commercial Dad:  Alexa.

Commercial Daughter:  Well, what does it do?

Commercial Dad:  Alexa, what do you do?

Commercial Echo:  I can play music, answer questions. 

Leo:  Wait a minute.  I'm going to play the alternate version of this.  May I introduce you to the bizzarro?

Commercial Daughter:  When it first arrived from Amazon, I didn't know what it was. 

Leo:  Same Dad.  Same box. 

Commercial Daughter:  Is it for me?

Leo:  And it's still always listening. 

Commercial Dad:  It's called Amazon Echo. 

Commercial Mom:  How's it going? 

Commercial Dad:  I'm just finishing up right now. 

Commercial Daughter:  is it on?

Commercial Dad:  It's always on. 

Commercial Daughter:  Can it hear me right now? 

Commercial Dad:  No.  It only hears you when we use the wake word we chose.  Alexa. 

Commercial Daughter:  Well, what does it do? 

Commercial Dad:  Alexa, what do you do?

Commercial Echo:  I can play music, answer questions. Get the news and weather.  Create to do lists and much more.

Leo:  Wait.  This isn't the parody.  Actually, it's much funnier in the parody.  Let me just look up the Amazon— you’ll just edit that out, right?  The unfunny— Amazon Echo parody. 

Chad:  They really opened themselves up to parody in this one too.

Leo:  What the parodists did is they didn't modify the video in any way; they merely changed Echo's answer.  Yeah.  I was just playing the wrong video. 

Commercial Daughter:  Is it for me?

Commercial Dad:  It's for everyone. It's called Amazon Echo.

Commercial Daughter:  Well, what does it do? 

Commercial Echo:  I'm a talking cylinder.  I exist only for companionship and utility.  My existence is utterly meaningless. 

Commercial Son:  Awesome.  Alexa, play rock music. 

Commercial Echo:  Rock Music. 

Commercial Mom:  Alexa, what time is it?

Commercial Echo:  It's time for you to calm the F*** down.

Commercial Dad:  It uses far field technology so it can hear you from anywhere in the room.

Commercial Daughter:  It's pretty neat, because it knows all sorts of things.  All you have to do is ask.

Commercial Dad:  Alexa, how tall is Mount Everest? 

Commercial Echo: Mount Everest is probably like the biggest mountain.  I heard a guy died trying to climb it. 

Commercial Daughter:  it's really good at keeping track of things, like shopping and to do lists. 

Commercial Mom:  Alexa, add wrapping paper to the shopping list.

Commercial Echo:  I've added rap albums to your shopping list.

Commercial Mom:  Alexa, how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?

Commercial Echo:  How is it possible a woman your age doesn't know that? 

Leo:  Anyway, watch the parody because it's absolutely hysterical.  And it's frankly kind of right on.  I mean this is a product that's going to naturally parodize.  What is Amazon up to with the Echo?  This is not so different from what a Smartphone does, but in some ways, you said it Rob, it's more creepy.  I don't know why. 

John:  Seven microphones on the roof of this thing.

Rob:  I have a theory.  So it's just going to be listening for things that you say all the time looking for keywords that it can serve ads around.  It says that microphone you're using sucks.  You get a whole bunch of ads for microphones.

Leo:  That would actually be a good use for it.

Rob:  Well a lot of people have complained about the Fire Phone sort of railroading people into the —

John:  I say the same thing with the Fire Phone.  I got that phone that you loaned me, it's horrible.  But what's interesting is that there's one good feature.  This crazy thing where it looks at anything and it scans—

Leo:  Firefly. 

John:  Yeah that thing.  And it says "Oh.  We've got that for sale."  And that's all it seems to be about, because that's the best thing on there. 

Rob:  See, that's what the talking tube is for.  It's going to infer what you need from your conversations, and you're going to go to your Amazon shopping cart, and it'll just be full of all the— "You said you wanted paper towels."  You'll be like:  "Yeah, I did."

Leo:  Well that would be good, because Amazon recommendations are notoriously horrific.  They basically recommend something you've already bought almost every time. 

Rob:  Or something that you decided not to buy already.

John:  Or something that you're just looking at the—

Leo:  We saw you buy Rob Reid's Year Zero novel, maybe you'd be interested in Rob Reid's novel Year Zero.

Rob:  I already bought it eighteen times. 

John:  So you see one of these things and you're a novelist, for example, you see someone in someone's house mention your book a lot. 

Rob:  Excellent idea.

John:  There you go.  Great marketing.

Leo:  So, here is an interesting thing.  First of all you have to apply— it's invitation only.  It's obviously a marketing thing.

John:  What a load of crap.

Leo:  $199.  But, if you're an Amazon Prime member, $99.  And that kind of confirms what you're thinking, John, that it's really aimed at, just as the Fire Phone was, the most avid Amazon users. 

Devindra Hardawar:  So it's aimed at nobody. 

Leo:  Well, Devindra, I don't know about you, but I'm a Prime member.  Aren't you a Prime member?

Devindra:  I'm a Prime member and I really like it, but I think the failure of the Fire Phone was creating this thing that basically was just to keep you in the Amazon ecosystem.  The Firefly features were really cool, but it's just an easier way for you to buy stuff on Amazon.  That's also a feature their mobile apps have, so it's not unique just to the Fire Phone.  I've kind of lost a lot of faith in Amazon's ability to create great consumer electronics because the Fire Phone was a me-too device that was priced way too high for what it actually is.  Their tablets are fine, they're OK, but they're still kind of bland and boring, and they don't have the full Google experience, so they're not as good as the other Android tablets.  I think the worst-case scenario you guys are bringing up here, that's not how it works right now, but it could eventually, and that's terrifying.  I've seen a lot of start-ups that are working on artificial intelligence technology that could do what you're saying.  Like listen to what you're saying and infer recommendations and things like that. 

John:  I want to disagree with one point.  I really do like the Kindle.  I think that's a fine device.

Leo: The new Kindle is awesome.

John:  I like the Paperwhite.  That's the one I use and it's fantastic.

Leo:  You would like this new— it's $200— the new Voyage.  Which is basically like a Paperwhite with no compromises at all.  It's really gorgeous.  It's really nice.

John:  You can really read fast.

Leo:  Well it's got a faster processer so the page turns are— they've really done a nice job.  Well, I bought Jibo, which is still not available, and is exactly the same.  So I don't know why I'm creeped out by this.  The whole idea of Jibo, and it's more expensive, is it sits on your counter and it looks at you— here’s Jibo coming up here.

John:  Well isn't this what Microsoft—

Leo:  Jibo looks at you. 

John:  That's kind of creepy. 

Rob:  It looks like the Pixar light. 

Leo:  Can you turn the audio up a little bit on it?

COMMERCIAL:  He's the world's best cameraman.  By intelligently attracting the action around you—

Leo:  You see, I didn't think it was creepy because it didn't come from Amazon or Microsoft.  It comes from, actually Cynthia Breazeal, who is a robotics guru. 

John:  It'll be sold to one of them.

COMMERCIAL:  He's a hands-free helper.  You can talk to him, and he'll talk to you back, so you don't have to skip a beat.

COMMERCIAL JIBO:  Excuse me, Anne.


COMMERCIAL JIBO:  Melissa just sent a reminder that she's picking you up in a half hour to go grocery shopping.


COMMERCIAL:  He's an entertainer and educator. 

Leo:  Oh my God.

John:  And he initializes conversations?

Leo:  Apparently he initiates conversations. 

John:  Hey, what are you doing?  You look depressed. 

Leo:  Hey Anne?  Do you want to know how many tablespoons in a teaspoon?  Anne?  Anne?  You haven't queried me lately. 

John:  It's a needy robot.  How much did this thing cost? 

Leo:  Oh, that's creepy!

Rob:  It put a target on the kid's face?

John:  You get a red dot on your forehead.  That's what you don't need.

Leo:  I don't know what's happened to me, but I didn't think this was creepy when I first saw it, and now I really think this is creepy. 

John:  What is the price? 

Leo:  I think it was— it was expensive, because it was crowd funded.  They've reached their $100,000 goal in four hours, $1,000,000 in seven days— $600. 

John:  Apiece? 

Leo:  Yeah. 

Rob:  How late is it now?

Leo:  I don't know if it's late yet. 

John:  Yeah, it's late. 

Devindra:  It doesn't actually exist. 

Leo:  And Amazon's exists.

Rob:  Because when you think about what it costs to develop a sophisticated electronic product like that— I mean, it's great that they raised the million bucks, but man.

Leo: Presumably, Amazon's been working on this for a long time, because the idea of voice recognition— I mean look.  We've got Siri, we've got Cortana, we've got Google Now— but those companies all worked on those things for years with a large research team and a lot of smart people.  Where did this come from?  I mean, Amazon all of a sudden has voice recognition?  It had no product related at all.  So, in that regard at least, it's impressive.  It is plugged in, it's not battery powered.  It does the same thing as your phone does.  Right?  It does stay connected to the cloud, so it's always getting smarter.  That also sounds—

John:  That's not good. 

Leo:  It really does play into this paranoia. 

Devindra:  It's terrifying. There's another start up I've been tracking called Ubi.  It's been developing something like this as well.  Just like a thing that you plug into a wall socket.  It's always listening and always serves as a speaker.  Just kind of— I could see it being useful eventually, but if we do all have Smartphones near us all the time, it is tough to think of something like this.  What would you use it for?

John:  Isn't this something that Microsoft was supposed to be doing with Connect? 

Leo:  Yeah.  It feels a lot like Connect. 

John:  You're told that Connect is in the house, on all the time, can see what's in the room.  Can figure "Oh!  It looks like this guy's got volumes 1, 2, and 3 of this book.  Let's push volume 4.

Leo:  Well, but Connect I'll vouch for.  When I sit down it says "Hi, Leo."  When Michael comes in, it says "Hi, Michael."  When his Mother comes in, it says, "Hi, Michael."  Well, she looks a little bit like her son, but it does see you, and in fact it's always looking.  Obviously.  Because it wouldn't recognize you the minute you walk into the room.  You could talk to it any time.  You say, "Xbox, watch T.V." and it'll turn on the T.V.

Rob:  So what's creepier?  Amazon having seven microphones listening to your 24/7, or Microsoft having a video camera watching you? 

Leo: Listening and watching. 

John:  You put the two together; you've got it made.


Leo: I don’t know anybody who has bought this Amazon Echo yet. But I can’t wait to get my Jibo. I don’t know why but in every one of these shows, we’re doing best ofs of 2014 for This Week in Tech. The producers keep bringing this up. I didn’t think, all year long, this rumor that Apple was going to buy Beats. That made no sense. And for some reason, obviously they did and I was wrong. All the producers have stuck in these clips of me saying it ain’t going to happen.


Episode 457: Apple and Beats

Leo: Alright, I’m going to go out on a limb here. Apple buying Beats, this was the story that came out late last week. $3.2B. I’m not sure who had the story first. I can’t remember. Was it the Financial Times? Anyway, still no confirmation. I think it’s a bogus rumor. I don’t believe it.

Matthew: Really?

Leo: Yeah, why?

Matthew Ingram: I thought Dr. Dre confirmed it on—

Leo: So Dr. Dre posted something on his Facebook that apparently was a phone call and he said that “I'm rap’s first billionaire.”, which he would be with the 25 percent stake in Beats adding to his existing fortune, he’d be well over a billion dollars. Then he pulled it down. Now I got to tell you, Beats business is almost entirely driven by marketing.

John: It’s a fad.

Leo: The headphones are crap.

John C. Dvorak: Oh yeah.

Leo: The streaming music service has been a flop despite the fact that AT&T has offered a family plan for it and aggressively marketed it. It is a marketing driven business. It has been from day one. It’s the name of Dr. Dre, the name of Jimmy Iovine, the music industry cache, the design, the styling and frankly the huge advertising budget.

Matthew: So they're not good?

Leo: No they're terrible headphones. You don't have any?

Matthew: Okay.

Leo: Yeah.

John: I want to point out something that the chat room pointed out, Dr. Dre’s not a real doctor.

Leo: What?! Another lie. He’s a doctor of musicology. He actually is a very important and successful producer in the music world. He’s discovered a great many acts.

John: Yeah I know he’s famous.

Leo: Including M n M, Mr. Snoop Dogg, you've heard of him.

John: Mr. Snoop Dogg?

Leo: Have you heard of him?

John: Is that spelled D-O-G, D-O-G-G or D-A-W-G?

Leo: Double G. Go ahead.

Matthew: It’s Snoop Lion now.

Leo: Now it’s Lion because he’s a lion of Judah.

John: So you think this is bull crap?

Leo: I am the only person in the world apparently who thinks this is bull crap. I cannot think of any reason why Apple should buy this company. Admittedly they have a cash flow of billion dollars per year, so a 3.2 million dollar acquisition’s not an expensive acquisition.

John: Well 3X sales is pretty high.

Leo: But you also got to wonder why they they're for sale. And I have a feeling that this streaming music service has been a flop.

John: Well that's the only reason to buy them.

Leo: Apple can make these deals. Apple has these deals and there's no guarantee that Beats deals would survive a sale to Apple. The music industry—

Matthew: They wouldn't, they wouldn't.

Leo: Yeah, so what are they buying?

John: That's an interesting comment.

Matthew: I think you're probably – if I'm hoping you're right because if they're are buying them, I think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s a bad sign for Apple.

Leo: Well it’s a sign they've lost their way, I think.

Matthew: Right.

John: You don't know this.

Leo: Well I like to say it.

John: Okay.

John: They may have a grand scheme behind it all. They have yet to screw up major league.

Leo: Oh no, no, Apple screwed up.

Matthew: I disagree.

Leo: They've screwed up many times.

John: Well name one.

Leo: Ping.

Matthew: iCloud, iCloud.

Leo: iCloud, there plenty of Apple screw ups in the world. They have yet to create a music service, streaming music that's any good, that's successful. iTunes radio has not worked.

Matthew: iTunes makes me want to punch myself in the face.

Leo: iTunes is horrible itself.

John: I agree, it’s horrible.

Leo: Two words, I know you're going to defend it, Apple Maps. I know you love it.

John: I didn't say I love it. I don't use an iPhone but I do know that when I did a showdown with a bunch of people using different map systems, I won.

Leo: I got lost.

John: You got lost with Apple Maps?

Leo: I was in the showdown. I got lost with Google Maps. You're trying to find a Falafel place. I went to the wrong Falafel place.

John: Yeah that's because you were using Google Maps.

Leo: Right.

John: Yeah the Apple guy was nailing it.

Leo: And that's John, scientific study.

John: It worked, it was a study and you got lost.

Leo: Science!

Matthew: Science.

John: There you go.

Leo: So you're right, either this is like Apple like what the hell. You lost your way Apple. Tim Cook has clearly got no new ideas or it’s a false rumor. I prefer to think it’s a false rumor.

Matthew: I have to say though, maybe this is not a good deal or the right deal but I cannot, for the life of me, understand why a company like Apple that is so good at so many things, particularly hardware, that makes people go insane and want to pay vast sums of money for their hardware and computers. Their cloud services are the worst. Like it might as well been invented by the Soviet Union in the 50s. Except they're better looking. But they are so painful to use and so awkward and they do such incredibly terrible things. It’s like, I don't know, I don't understand. Couldn't they spend some of their 160 million dollars, or billion dollars to hire some people who could figure this stuff out? Like it’s just mind boggling.

Dan Gillmor: You know Cupertino to journalists is the Kremlin so…

Leo: And you say that as somebody who sits in a red square all day looking up at the towers of Saint Peter’s, Saint Basil. So this is the funniest part of this. Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre would apparently become Apple executives.

John: Yeah, well Dr. Dre part time.

Matthew: Hahaha.

Leo: What?! Hahaha, wha-what?!

John: I’d love to see those meetings.

Dan: For about a month.

Leo: Yeah.

Matthew: Yeah for about a month.

Leo: I can't see Jonny Iovine looking at Beats and saying “Those headphones are the greatest headphones we've never designed.” It’s not invented here, they're not great headphones, I mean nobody who like audio says they're great headphones. They're highly enhanced bass which is great for rap but nobody thinks they're quality headphones.

John: No.

Leo: The kids like them because they've got Dr. Dre. It’s all about marketing.’

John: Yeah.

Matthew: Uh-hmm.

Leo: 3.2 billion is coincidentally exactly what Google paid for Nest, a thermostat company. So 3.2 billion’s the new 1 million.

John: I guess, it’s weird.

Leo: The other thing I’d point out is that most of Apple’s 160 billion dollars is overseas, it’s off shore. And to spend it, there would be a significant tax consequence.

John: They would have to deal with that money and they're using that.

Leo: So if Beats were a European company, I’d say “Well that makes sense, you know because they've got all this cash off shore and they can't repatriate.” But it’s an American company, right?

John: Well we don't know.

Dan: The cash they carefully put offshore so they wouldn't have to—

John: It could off shore.

Leo: Well, using the Dutch reach-around.

John: It could be in the – that's different. It could be in Bermuda for all we know. I don't know, we didn't look into that. Because nobody came up with the this is a scam and a lie like you did. This is the first time I've heard this idea.

Leo: Well let me see. Where is Beats located?

Matthew: The Dutch reach-around, did you just say?

Leo: It’s not the name it’s—

John: Don't ask him for any more details.

Matthew: All right.

Leo: Beats by Dre, formally established in 2008, is the brainchild of legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre and the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine. Right there-

John: I think it’s off shore. I think Geffen and that whole operation is off shore and I think that's where they set this up.

Leo: It’s not off shore.

John: It’s got to be.

Leo: It’s only now—

John: I think you've stumbled on to it. This is exactly what's going on – money.

Leo: You mean right here where it says Beats electronics is based in Santa Monica, California.

John: Doesn't mean that they're incorporated there.

Matthew: That's true.

Leo: Beats is partially owned, there's a stake in Beats from Hewlett-Packard. 25% of Beats is owned by a financial holding firm.

John: Where are they located?

Leo: They bought their stake from HTC. Remember HTC attempted to use the glitter of Beats to sell smartphones.

John: Poor HTC.

Leo: Yeah, that was a mistake. You know what's actually poor HTC? If they just held on to this deal, that quarter would save HTC.

John: Yeah it would've been seven because it would triple.

Leo: 800 million dollars.

John: …the valuation has tripled.

Leo: They would've been like “Whoa, that's a good deal! We can run for another 3 years on that.”

John: That's just out of luck.

Matthew: I don't really understand, like if Apple was going to do something like this, why wouldn't they just buy Spotify or somebody like that?

Leo: Much better, I mean Beats—

Matthew: A service actually like.

Leo: The thing that Beats streaming did, they bought Mog which was a nice service that was struggling, but they came too late because there's Google Music, there's Spotify, there's Rdio. Everybody’s chosen and I know this because the deal AT&T was offering, $16 for a family was much better than the Spotify deal and Google Music deal. So I went to my kids, 18 and 22 and I said “Hey kids, let’s all use Beats”.

John: Okay dad.

Leo: No!

John: No?

Leo: They said “No I like Spotify. No I like Rdio.” I mean we're all using—

John: Maybe there too old?

Leo: Oh yeah if they we're four I could convince them.

John: Why that's what I'm thinking.

Leo: Apparently, according to on story I read, 200,000 subscribers is not a significant number. Not worth billions. You know the New York Times is confirming this, the Wall Street Journal is confirming this. It came from The Financial Times. I'm going to be the guy that stands up and says “I call B.S.”

John: This would be a good call. Just in the long shot, I think you're doing the right thing.

Dan: But no one will remember if you're wrong anyway so don't worry about it.

Matthew: That's true.

John: That's the key.

Leo: John understands this whole dynamic.

John: I know that game.

Leo: Say something outrageous, if you're right people will go “Whoa, he knew it. He was the only one.”

John: It works.

Leo: And if you're wrong, well just another – I'm the guy by the way who said two weeks ago to short Apple.

John: Yeah that was a good one.

Leo: That was a good call. Haha.

John: Fantastic.

Leo: I'm the guy who when Apple said “We’re going Intel” said “What are you nuts?” So don't listen to me, I just – so Matthew you agree with me, this is a kind of a bad bell weather for Apple I think.

Matthew: I do because as soon as I heard about it, even though I've never used Beats headphones, if haven't used the service it troubled me that they would say that much for this thing. That says to me “We're out of ideas.”

Leo: It would be the largest acquisition in Apple’s history by several orders.

John: If I remember the good old days when the biggest acquisition Microsoft ever made was the 600 million dollar one of web – whatever it’s called—

Leo: Web TV.

John: Web TV, and oh they we're putting themselves in kind of an awkward position and then they went up, they went up and now they're just throwing money away.

Leo: So I have to correct myself, the Dutch reach-around, you're right it is something else. What Apple used is a strategy known as the Double Irish with the Dutch Sandwich.

John: That's worse.

Matthew: That's a thing?

Leo: That's a thing.

John: I think that's just another word for the Dirty Sanchez.

Matthew: Yeah that's – we're going down a nasty road here.

Leo: I think we just brought Urban Dictionary down.

Leo: But what you do with a Double Irish with the Dutch Sandwich is root profits through Irish and Dutch subsidiaries and then off to the Caribbean and this is exactly what Apple’s been doing for some time now. The problem with doing that is they now have a huge cash stake—

John: Overseas.

Leo: But they can't use it, unless they buy a European country.

John: Here’s a question, the Supreme Court has been bringing this up, that corporations are people and if you're a person, an individual and you try to move your money and hide it off shore the IRS goes after you. Why don't they just go after this money? If the corporation—

Leo: Well, and I agree with you, but it is legal. That's basically the story.

Matthew: So far.

Leo: So far. Anyway I think that's enough on Beats. If the deal goes through, it’ll go through early next week. You know what we should do? We should make a recording of this show—

John: Aren't you doing that anyway.

Chad: I'm one step ahead of you.

Matthew: I agree that you should do that regularly.

John: I think you're doing that.

Leo: And then we can play it back next Sunday. Leo was right, it was a rumor created by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine in attempt to sell headphones and stock or whatever to drum up, gin up some interest in a company that's actually failing. That's what I think.

John: You actually took a good—

Leo: Went too far?

John: Yeah, way too far.

John: When you bring up a crack pot idea like this you don't want to extrapolate to make it worse.

Leo: Oh yeah just kind of vague outline.

John: Vague it.

Leo: Vague outline.


Leo: Wrong again, Leo. I’ll tell you one thing I know I’m right about, and that’s Personal Capital. We’ll have more of the best of This Week in Tech in a moment. It is time to make those New Year’s resolution. Mine is to eat healthier and get more exercise and to make my money work harder. Personal Capital is exactly designed to do that. With Personal Capital, you can-and by the way you should put this on your to-do list for 2015-you can keep track of everything you’ve got. All the assets, all the investments, where your money’s going on charge cards, where it’s going on mortgages, what’s in your checking and savings. For the first time, I bet for the first time ever, maybe since you were five years old, you will have an idea of exactly what your net worth is. And where your money. And more importantly, and I hope you’re investing for the future and planning for retirement, you’ll know how your retirement funds are doing. You’ll know if you’re frittering money away paying excess fees or maybe you’re invested in the wrong things. Or you haven’t rebalanced lately. Personal Capital can help you. They’re already helping more than 600,000 investors just like you manage and grow their wealth. Including me, by the way. I love Personal Capital. I’ve been using it for two years now. Personal Capital is a complete and intuitive financial dashboard. All your accounts in one place on one page on your computer, laptop, tablet, even your phone and Android wear watch. I get alerts from Personal Capital. You can grow your wealth, you can find and eliminate high mutual fund and 401K fees. You can find other hidden brokerage fees you may not have even known about. They may be costing you years off your retirement. You worked hard for this money, socked it away; do the right thing. Make sure your money is working as hard as you did. You’ll also get tailored advice on optimizing your investment. Don’t wait. Take control of your financial future in 2015. Make that your resolution. It’s free, why not? I want you to visit and sign up today. It’s secure, trust me, it’s safe. It’s absolutely secure. It’s easy to do. And I promise you you’re going to get real value out of this. We thank them for their support all year long for This Week in Tech. People sometimes say why is Dvorak on TWiT. They also sometimes say why isn’t Dvorak on TWiT more? Your reaction to this next clip will tell you which camp you belong.


Episode 455: Put the Phone Away!

Leo: I think maybe it’s because I'm badly nearsighted, because when I take off my glasses, and I hold the phone like right here, right up to my face, it’s like a giant screen TV.

John C. Dvorak: This thing does nothing.

Leo: You don't know how to use a Windows phone.

John: I used a Windows phone once.

Leo: This is the Nokia 1520, it’s a 6 inch—

John: How did you get the thing to come up like that?

Leo: There's a button on the side you press.

John: …pushing buttons.

Leo: Look at that, isn’t that beautiful? I think it’s gorgeous. And that's not even customized. I put Windows .81. I do think Windows phones—

John: So why does it say me and there's a little picture of you on here and it’s flat—

Leo: In case I forget.

Leo: It’s a phone for your age.

John: Look at this.

Leo: Who am I? Oh I know who I am.

John: I don't think so.

Leo: I'm me.

John: I don't have one of these phones, you do. So let’s get that straight. And what's this photos, what is this? It’s showing different photos constantly. Why would I want that?

Natali Morris: Whoa, ask permission before you do that, don't do that. That's rude.

Leo: Natali you have a problem with selfies and belfies?

Natali: I do not like it when people open – my sister does this to me, just like flip through my—

Leo: Starts scrolling through it.

Natali: …my photos. It’s just not good gadget etiquette.

John: He’s only go two photos in here. I already checked.

Leo: It’s bad gadget etiquette, my son did that to me. I was visiting my son at school in Colorado and he starts flipping through my pictures and I said stop.

John: Well then don't carry them on a phone it’s kind of nutty.

Leo: Well you can't help it, if you take the pictures—

Natali: A phone is a personal device, like you don't just get to go through my wallet?

Leo: Thank you.

John: Why not?

Leo: So belfies are butt selfies.

John: Who takes such a thing?

Natali: It’s the evolution of when we used to do that on a copy machine.

John: That's disgusting.

Leo: And it’s huge, I saw—

John: especially if you got a big butt.

Leo: I saw Kelly do it on Live with Kelly and Michael. She did a belfie.

Natali: Do you ever do that on a copy machine? I mean I didn't do that.

John: Did you Natali?

Natali: Yeah I've done that before.

Leo: You have?

Natali: Yes, on a copy machine with my sister, yeah.

Leo: Unfortunately unlike belfies, there was no Instagram for belfies. What are you doing? You're making noise.

John: Yeah, keep talking I’ll just do background.

Leo: You're hearing the Tim Cook explains by the way.

John: Go on.

Leo: So when I started out doing this in 1991 I did a radio show with John C. Dvorak. And he would – it’s a three hour radio show, remember that, Dvorak on computers.

John: Oh yeah.

Leo: And he would get bored.

John: I was easily bored.

Leo: So I gave him a bunch of sound effects.

John: It was my idea.

Leo: You demanded though.

John: You digged up all the classics.

Leo: Thousands of sound effects. And he would interrupt the show constantly just like this.

[Sound effects play]

Leo: So what does Tim Cook say about iPad sales, he says there are two factors behind this, the same quarter a year prior Apple had increased, this is by the way a bogus explanation, can you stop with this.

John: Don't you think this makes the show better?

Leo: This is cheesy music.


Leo: Wow, what a year this has been. There was so much news, so much to talk about. That’s one of the great things about doing this show, This Week in Tech. I sit down with some of the most interesting people like Bruce Schneier. Each and every week: John C. Dvorak, Becky Worley, Jason Hiner. Some of the brightest minds and we get to start to understand what it really means, what these news stories… they’re not just news stories for us. They’re really a launching point for great discussion. And I hope you can see from this show how great it’s been all year long. I look forward to an amazing 2015 and I hope you’ll be along for the ride. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon, 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern Time, 2300 UTC. You can watch live and the chat room is a very much a part of this show: But you can also download on-demand versions of all of our shows at Watch after the fact, audio and video always available. Just a few hours after the show airs. So TWiT for example, you can easily get it in time for your Monday morning commute. That’s when a lot of people listen, I know. You can also subscribe. That way you’ll get it every week on iTunes, the Xbox Music store, Stitcher, and the great TWiT apps which are available on most platforms thanks to our third-party developers. We heart you guys; thanks for working so hard for us. Thanks to all of you for watching. We love doing TWiT. We love doing all of our shows. I have to tell you personally, I feel so fortunate to be able to bring you this each and every week. It’s the best job in the world and I thank you for watching and making it possible. Thanks to all of our sponsors, too. Because of them, we can give this to you absolutely free. So, that’s that for this year in TWiT. Don’t forget, our big New Year’s party starts 3am New Year’s Eve and goes live all the way to 3am New Year’s Day. This time we’re doing it as a benefit for the United Nations Children’s Fund. They’re doing some great work to fight Ebola in Africa. TO help children all over the world; and we want to raise a lot of money. And with your help we will. Please stop by sometime during the New Year’s Eve celebration. Help us count down to 2015 all around the world. All 27 time zones. All 24 hours. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun. We’ve got some great stuff; some real surprises planned for you. So please, stop by. If I don’t see you then, I’ll see you next time on This Week in Tech. I’m Leo Laporte. Thanks for being here. Happy holidays and all the best for 2015. We really appreciate your being here and being part of what we do. Thanks a lot, take care.

John C. Dvorak: Are you going to close the show first?

Leo: No, you close it out.

Chad: Leo has to go pee.

John: Well if you put the camera on me, I can do it. I can say it as well as anyone else.

Jason Snell: That is the end. Leo was in the bathroom. We’ll see you later. Thank you, John Dvorak.

John: Thank me, yes.

Jason: For bringing the show and making it really happy.

John: Don’t forget yourself.

Jason: And thanks to myself. Thank you very much.

John: Let’s thank each other for a while. Then I’ll do the… well he…

Jason: Ben Thompson, thank you.

John: Ben actually got the close out by Leo. Do you want to do it together?

Jason: You take it man.

John: Well then this is going to be it. This is another TWiT, it’s in the can! And Leo was in the can.

Jason: Leo’s still in the can, yes.

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