This Week in Tech 503 (Transcript)

Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech! Tim Cook is going to give away his fortune, Ellen Pao loses in court, and the FTC should have investigated Google, or not. We'll talk about it next, on TWiT.

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This is TWiT: This Week in Tech, episode 503, recorded Sunday, March 29, 2015.

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It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news. The luck of the draw has given us an all-female panel for this week's TWiT! I'm thrilled to welcome back Jill Duffy from PC Magazine.

Jill Duffy: Hi, Leo.

Leo: Great to see you!

Jill: Great to see you too.

Leo: You're in New York City:

Jill: No. I just moved to Washington DC. I'm looking at the Potomac out my window right now.

Leo: I'm so jealous. Don’t' swim in it. I don't think they've cleaned it up yet. Christina Warren was just in Washington DC for a very important event. Christina Warren is here from Mashable, senior tech analyst. Great to see you, Christina.

Christina Warren: Great to be here, as always.

Leo: And Katie Benner is here. You've seen her on TNT, she was on with Mike Elgan when he filled in for me. She's a columnist at the Bloomberg View.

Katie Benner: It's nice to be here, thank you.

Leo: Nice to see you, Katie. I can't do what I do to Mark Milliam with Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg view doesn't lend itself to that, unfortunately.

Katie: You'll find a way to make fun of it.

Leo: I can guarantee you that. I think that it's appropriate to begin with the Ellen Pao decision. Ellen Pao sued Kleiner Perkins, one of the big venture capitalists. Probably one of the biggest and best known venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, claiming discrimination. A jury trial, which she just lost. We haven't covered it much, frankly. I thought Farhad Manjoo in the New York Times nailed it. He wrote, "Not only have weeks of testimony revealed a collection of boorish, unsavory and at times unwittingly misogynist attitudes at one of the tech industry’s most storied financial institutions, the case has also come to stand for something bigger than itself. It has blown open a conversation about the status of women in an industry that, for all its talk of transparency and progress, has always been buttoned up about its shortcomings." He says, "Thanks to Ms. Pao, and noTWiThstanding the jury’s verdict, the secrets are suddenly out in the open." So not a victory for Ellen Pao, who is interim CEO of Reddit right now. I think even she felt that there was somewhat of a moral victory. Do you agree, Katie?

Katie: Yeah. I think that one of the things that was interesting at this trial is that a lot of other instances have happened in tech where women have felt like they've been harassed or discriminated against, but most of them have settled, including a really horrible harassment case against a different venture called CMEA that happened a year and a half ago. That was settled. Because she decided to take this to trial, it forced people to look at something that they've been trying to avoid for years and years. I think there was a moral victory here, or at least an awakening as to how we should be treating one another in technology.

Leo: Freada Kapor Klein, who was at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, said that, "this trial was a landmark case for women in the workplace, as consequential for corporate gender relations as Anita Hill’s accusations,” which also were fruitless against Clarence Thomas at his hearings to join the Supreme Court.

Jill: One of the things I think is funny about this, is when you get into the specifics of what she said happened, they literally didn't let her sit at the table. That's so ridiculous. They made her sit in the back of the room instead of sitting at the board table with everybody. She was excluded from an event where everybody was going on a ski trip and they just said, "No. We can't have any women." Their excuse was that some of the men are bunking together, so we wouldn't have a female roommate for you, and therefore you can't come. She had criticisms of her work and her performance that were really vague. It's such bologna stuff that's so clear and obvious. I'm glad that it's getting some attention in the media. We should be paying attention to this. I'm sad nothing came out of it from the legal side, but it's really ridiculous stuff.

Leo: I feel like she was very brave. These are hard cases to prove. One of the reasons there's such endemic discrimination in the work place for women when women don't make the same amount as men for the same job, it's because it's so hard to prove.

Christina: Part of the reason it's so hard to prove is that people don't speak up and don't talk about things as they're happening. If anything comes from this case, to Katie's point and to Jill's point too, the fact that we're actually having this conversation is a good thing regardless of the outcome. If she had more proof, or had filed complaints earlier, I'm not saying it would have made a difference, but I think the more people speak up or the more people talk about things like this, whether it's through law suits or just actually getting HR practices to be on the ball, things like this can be better. One of the things that this case highlighted was how poor Kleiner Perkins' HR strategy of any of this stuff was. They didn't have anything to address sexual harassment or gender discrimination. For a firm of its size, and the amount of money they're making—the types of deals they deal with, that's shocking that they didn't have anything like that in place. If anything comes from this, I hope it's A: Women feeling more comfortable speaking up, and B: Feeling more comfortable and speaking up earlier, so there can be documentation of these things going forward. It doesn't have to become a he said/she said scenario.

Katie: While the trial was going on, we saw a lawsuit filed against Facebook, and then a lawsuit filed against TWiTter, which has the potential to become a class action lawsuit, if the plaintiff can find enough people. This exactly speaks to your point, that maybe they will be less afraid to come forward. I think that we've seen in under industries, whether it was the media with Newsweek or Wall Street with Morgan Stanley, once you have these larger class action suits against racial discrimination and gender discrimination, it was much harder for tech companies to brush them aside and say, "this was one woman. Her story is problematic." It's easier to pick apart one person's complaint than it is to pick apart the complaint of 40 people.

Leo: One of the things that's difficult in this, I'll include myself here, men tend to be a little myopic. We don't see it. There's this interesting disconnect between men and women when we talk about this kind of thing. Have you all experienced these kinds of things? Were the things Ellen Pao talked about a surprise to you?

Christina: No.

Leo: I would expect Kleiner Perkins to be a place for Good old boys. It's the Good old boy network!

Jill: It sounds like politics in the 60's, 70's, 80's, and a little bit today. You're literally not allowed in the room, there's no accommodations made for you, you don't have facilities and services for women available at all. We have to push for change in this. It can't just be from women. One of the things I don't like about gender discrimination in the tech industry is that we focus on the women. What do the women need? Why aren't they getting it? Why aren't the more aggressive? Why aren't we promoting them?

Leo: Kind of like blame the victim.

Jill: Exactly. It's victim blaming, and it needs to be more focused on the men. What should men do? What should companies do? Policies need to be in place. I think it's in Sweden or Norway that they have a law that says half of all boards of a certain sized company need to be female by a certain date. So slowly and progressively, they're putting this law into play that is forcing companies to do business differently.

Katie: One thing you might want to read is go online and find a story— an essay that Sue Decker wrote, it was posted on reCode. It was excellent. She talks about that pretty much every woman in the industry she's ever known has dealt with sexual harassment or discrimination. Sometimes when you're working hard, you're willing to put those slights away or put them aside, because you don't understand how grave they are until you look back with the benefit of hindsight and understand that taken all together that they were unfair. The headline is something like, "Sometimes the fish are the last to notice water." You're just swimming in it and you're working all the time, and you don't put it all together until years have gone by. It's a really interesting essay written by a woman who all accounts has achieved so much. Nobody would ever say that she was not successful, and even she is willing to admit that she faced discrimination.

Leo: What I do hope is Ellen Pao doesn't now face discrimination—I don't think she will. I feel like the—even though she lost the case, people have a lot of respect for her courage in bringing it. All you have to do is read into it to see that from her point of view, there was merit in the case.

Christina: I think she's been in a good position at Reddit where she took over as interim CEO. I think they're waiting for this to get resolved to make that permanent or what not, by everyone I've talked to who works at Reddit who is involved there, they went quickly from a toxic situation with their last CEO to a much better one with her at the helm. That's good too. She's had the support of Reddit, which is good. I hope she's not discriminated against, but I think it would be hard for people to do that to her now, because she's willing to be public about it.

Leo: Yes.

Christina: We know who she is, and there's something to be said about when you put yourself out there, having a camera on things makes it uncomfortable, but it also means that people have to be accountable. It's going to be much harder for people to treat her differently and to do this systemic thing that happened in the past, nearly by virtue of the fact that people know who she is now.

Jill: I would be careful of the blowback issue. One of the things that happens is you bring up a case, you get the spotlight put on you, and then you're seen as a trouble maker. No one wants to take you on. They won't explicitly say it's because you're a woman, or it's because of past action, but they don't want to get involved with you anymore. It fit that Ellen Pao is—she knew she would be taking this risk. That's very brave.

Christina: It is very brave. I agree with you completely, I think it is important in her situation. She already had a landing spot, she was in the board at Reddit, she already had the interim CEO stuff, she had her compensation package when she was let go was considerably more than most of us. She's without a doubt, not saying she wasn't extremely brave for bringing this forward, but let's also acknowledge her privilege in having the ability to bring this case forward. I think that says a lot right there that it took someone with the means that she has and with the connections and stature—it took someone with her stature to do this. I don't know if this issue would have gotten as much attention if this were a lesser person, a lesser firm. I think someone else would have just settled for that very reason you pointed out, Jill. They would have been worried about the blowback. She's at least in a position where it's going to be much harder for her personally to face that blowback because of the other things she has going for her.

Leo: There you go. She lost, but she won. There are some people comparing her to Rosa Parks, there's a certain similarity. A lot of kudos and praise to Ellen Pao for fighting that fight. Win or lose, it was very important. We're going to take a break. When we come back, we'll talk about the FTC report on Google. We had a great conversation on Wednesday on TWIG. The Wall Street Journal through Freedom of Information act got FTC report that was submitted but ignored by commissioners. The commissioners decided not to go after Google. This report from the FTC attorneys said you need to go after Google. They're acting monopolistically. We'll talk about that, and a lot more. We'll throw in a little Apple Watch news, because why not? What else is there to talk—are you sick to death of the Apple watch? Let's not talk about it until it comes out? I think that's the sensible thing to do at this point. Who's going to buy one?

Jill: I am.

Katie: Anybody with 10,000 dollars to blow.

Leo: 350 bucks. This is the great part. I suddenly realized the whole strategy. The great thing about drinking a can of coke is you're drinking the same exact can of coke that a billionaire drinks.

Christina: Andy Warhol.

Leo: So if you buy the three now seemingly cheap 350 Apple Watch, you're wearing the same watch, except the outside, as the guy buying the 17,000 Apple watch. I feel like that might be.

Jill: For the pricing too. If you have a model that's $10,000, suddenly the 350 model doesn't seem expensive.

Leo: The most expensive Android wear watch is 250 or 300, right?

Katie: Apple is trying to build a luxury fashion brand, and this is what you need to do if you are any sort of high-end retail name. The idea is you create out of reach items that are for a select few and you can sell a lot more reasonably priced shoes. So you have a couple of $300,000 pairs, and a bunch that are $600 that are by comparison reasonable and in reach. I'm throwing out these numbers because I was at Barney's the other day, not shopping for myself, but this is the psychology of luxury fashion, so if Apple wants to play that game, there's a reason why they hired the woman from Burberry to do this.

Leo: Isn't it funny? Now that you mention it, that's exactly the same words people say when they look at haute couture when it's fashion week. Who would pay $30,000 for that dress? It's not about that dress.

Christina: No it's not. It's about what comes down the pipe afterwards. It's about getting from that 10,000 point to that 350 or 550 point and on top of that having the accessories, having the bands. My big thing, I'm definitely getting one, and I know what band I want, but I have to make sure that it will look good on the 350 sports watch. If it looks like it will clash, then unfortunately my ass is spending $750 on a watch, which—

Leo: Are you going to get the Milanese Loop? Admit it.

Christina: I want the light pink leather. That's what I want. The Milanese Loop—no.

Leo: Wait a minute. I'm going to get the Milanese Loop. Is it tacky? Should I not get it?

Christina: It's not tacky. It's manly, so for you that would be perfect. For me—

Leo: I don't think I'd wear the light pink.

Christina: Exactly. For me, I'd wear the light pink. That's the band that I want, so it's going to depend whether it clashes with the sports watch. That metal—or if I'm going to have to have the stainless steal. Everyone I talk to says, "Christina come on. You know you're spending $750 on a watch." I'm like, "You're right." The way I'll justify it is, "Well, it's not as much as this." It's the exact same philosophy. It's exactly what they're doing to us. I am a label whore and a consumer and a lover of tech, so I'm all about it.

Katie: So Christina is getting the $10,000 watch.

Leo: I think we've found our edition buyer. I want to say this shirt is salmon, not pink. Salmon.

Jill: Leo, you know I'm big into the fitness devices. I have this new one I want to show you. This is the Vevo Active.

Leo: It's every bit as attractive as the Basis was. You like it.

Jill: It's super thin, though. It doesn't have any heart rate monitoring on the back, and I really like how elegant it is. It's a good example of a watch that isn't too manly. Christina, you reminded me of that when you were talking about the strap options. This one's great. It has GPS, and I haven't charged it since Tuesday. I'm totally impressed with this. It does notifications too.

Leo: Here's her picture, by the way. Jill Duffy on TWiTter. Every watch. Here's your assignment. Actually, somebody gave me this assignment, but I'm passing it on to you. Wear the Apple watch with three or four of the other bands on the same arm so you can compare the steps and the heart rate and all that stuff.

Christina: I want to go to China town—I'm not going to spend $10,000 on the rose-gold Apple watch, I'm just going to China town and getting one of those for $15.

Leo: Somebody is already selling a Chinese knockoff.

Christina: One of our reporters found one at CES. It actually paired with her iPhone. They already had them at CES, she bought one for $30 or something. They're going to be out there. I'm looking forward to the rose-gold ones in China Town.

Leo: I used to go to Canal street. Is that not the place to get $10 anymore?

Christina: They'll be all over the place there too, absolutely.

Jill: It's the edge of China town.

Leo: Our guests today having a fun time. I didn't want to ghettoize you with the Ellen Pao stuff, but we haven't covered it until this point. Jill Duffy from PC magazine, Katie Benner from Bloomberg View, Christina Warren from Mashable. More coming up in a second. If you are saving up for your Apple watch, whether it's 350 or 7000, you want to know about Here's a way you can raise money for your cause by selling your old gadgets. They buy your old iPhone or iPads, even broken iPhones or iPads. Samsung Galaxy phones, Microsoft Surface Tablets, Nokia phones. They buy a broad variety of gadgets, pay top dollar for it, and they make it easy for you. You can go right now and get a 30-day quote. That quote locked in for 30-days. You don't have to decide right now. You can wait until the Galaxy S6 comes out. Take a look at it, and then pull the trigger. That quote is locked in for 30-days, and it's nice. They'll also wipe the data if you forget to do so. You don't have to worry about it. They pay the postage on anything worth more than a dollar. Find all those gadgets that are stuck in drawers and closets and underneath the bed, pile them all up. Get quotes from Gazelle. When you check out, they'll send you a box to ship it all over to them. They'll turn around fast and give you a great price. You can get check, a PayPal credit, or an Amazon gift card. They have now paid out 200,000,000 to hundreds of thousands of customers. Over a million customers. You might wonder what happens to the stuff I sell on Gazelle? Well, they take the best of it, and they sell it to you. Certified pre-owned gadgets. There's two conditions. Certified "like new" and certified "good." If you want to save, get certified good. They work great, they just have incidental signs of wear. Probably like the phone you broke or lost that you're replacing. It's a great way to get a device at a great price. All devices have been put through a rigorous 30-point inspection, they are 100% fully functional, and there's never any risk. They're all backed by a 30-day risk free return policy. to sell or buy. We thank them so much for their support. This Week in Tech. Tim Cook says he's giving away all his money. Don't get in line, it's to charity. Great fortune article. Tim Cook worth 785 million dollars. It's a Reuter’s article that Fortune republished. He said he's going to keep a little bit of it, but to pay for his 10 year old nephew's college education, and the rest goes to charity. That's pretty sweet.

Jill: Kudos. Two thumbs up.

Leo: Bill Gates is doing this. He says he'll give away all of my fortune. Gates has joined with Warren Buffet for the giving pledge where billionaires, particularly in the tech industry, pledge to give away half their worth in their lifetime. Zuckerberg agreed. Cook is not in that group, but he says he plans to do it as well. The real challenge, actually, is how to do it correctly. It's easy to throw money at things. He told Fortune he donated to unspecified causes quietly, but he is trying to develop more systematic approach to philanthropy that goes beyond writing checks. Silicon Valley is not been known for its philanthropy, but I think things are changing now. Steve Jobs was really anti-charity.

Christina: He was. Although his wife has done quite a bit. She's huge with it. His legacy will be tied to him, but his fortune will be going to a lot of philanthropic causes because she's really active.

Leo: Tim is also one of the few CEOs who is openly gay. He came out not so long ago, tweeted on Friday condemning the Indiana religious freedom bill. The religious freedom bill allows Indiana businesses to decline to serve gay and lesbian customers. Cook tweeted Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. To veto the similar.

Jill: In Indiana, they decided to clarify that law, once they realized there was going to be huge blowback from the business community. They have to backtrack somehow and quickly, and it was because of the pressure brought there by tech companies.

Leo: Wasn't Mark Benninghoff of Sale Force—we aren't going to have a sales force conference in Indiana—

Jill: They have a big work force in Indiana, because they bought a company that was based in Indiana.

Katie: He actually does have some clout there, and it's interesting to see the way that he's been willing to wield that. He's been one of the few tech CEOs who has said I think we should be doing more charitable giving. People are very divided on Mark Benninghoff when it comes to his company and his personality, but you have to admit he's been one of the very few to take a stand on social causes, social issues, and philanthropy.

Leo: Wow. I have to say "right on" to that, especially if it carries some weight.

Jill: I want to say something a little controversial about this. I agree with Sales Force, I agree with Tim Cook. I think they are taking a stand for something that aligns with my values. However, I know that business influences state and US law all the time, but it's very disconcerting to me to think about all the times it doesn't align with my values. I'm skeptical about what happens when businesses have so many influences that they do change state and federal law. In this case, like I said, it aligns with my values, I'm happy about these companies pushing back, but it's a tricky topic, I think.

Leo: That's an excellent point, Jill. What if it went the other way, what if they said we're not going to do business in Indiana because they have a gay governor. Didn't Russia say we're not going to buy any more Apple computers?

Christina: That's abrupt. It can go either way, and I think we have to be aware of what that influence means. Jill's point is great. It's a balancing act. We've seen it go the other way for so long, it's refreshing to see it go towards something more progressive and see people speak out. It's important to be aware of that and question what that authority means. Maybe I'm just a bit cynical about it. It is what it is. We might as well embrace it when it's working towards progressive pulls especially in states that have a history of pushing back against anything.

Leo: I'm glad you made that point, Jill. It's one thing for Tim Cook to speak out. That's appropriate. Apple is not closing its Indiana Apple stores. The Supreme Court has said that Corporations can act as individuals in this respect.

Jill: Treated as people, is that the phrase? It happens so often. It’s often invisible and not discussed any more. We know that these big companies have a lot of influence, they have lobbyists in Washington. It's something that should be troubling on some level.

Leo: I wasn't going to talk about the Apple Watch, but 9 to 5 says, "Retail stock will be limited. If you walk into the store, don't count on getting the watch of your dreams." They're saying you'll be able to pre-order April 10, online and in stores. German is saying it would be smart to order online if you can for April 4 delivery. Just a tip, Christina. You want to try it on, don't you?

Christina: Yes. That's the whole thing. That's the problem with this as opposed to some of the other launches. I want to try it on and see if I can get away with the cheaper sports watch frame with a band that I want, or do I need to do what everyone and their brother knows what I'm going to do, including my own mother, and spend the $750. Even my own mother is like, "Christina, what are you talking about? Of course you're getting the Apple Watch."

Leo: You would get the $750 watch with the pink sport band.

Christina: It's 750 with the pink sports band, or 350 with the leather band. I need to make sure the band won't clash with the sports backing, otherwise I'm going full hog and spending $750 and getting the watch and the pink band.

Leo: Dare I say you're over thinking this? Maybe not.

Christina: I'm not.

Jill: This is a point about wearables in general and women's needs. We can do with some Internet shopping, we can do with getting items sent to us and we try them on when we arrive. Often we know the brands and how they fit. There is a concern that we want to try stuff on. We want to make sure a watch isn't too big; we want to make sure the colors are right. I don't know what Apple's return policy is. I don't know if, Christina, you could order the watch you want and swap it out for something different.

Christina: I'm sure they would let me do that. I'm sure it would be fine. But they're supposed to be setting up ways where you can try this on and look at the different bands and materials and go to Burberry and trying on rain jackets. I think that it makes sense to have limited stock, but it's different for some of us, because so much of this really is about the experiential part of this. It doesn't lend itself quite as easily to find online like with a FitBit or something like that.

Leo: Thank goodness for Have you seen this? You can pick the watch you wish. You're thinking aluminum. You want a leather with the classic buckle. That’s pricy, isn't it? Isn't the buckle gold?

Christina: That's not the light pink, that's the salmon color.

Leo: I'm a man; I don't know the difference here.

Christina: That would be my dream pick, but it's only available—

Leo: $7,000 band.

Christina: I know, you can only get the band with the Apple Watch edition.

Leo: Obviously this site sucks, because they don't have the pink buckle.

Christina: Yeah they do. It's right there.

Leo: That's pink? It looks white to me. Little do I now. That's light pink. That's going to look good on your wrist. I think that's nice. Go for that.

Katie: We all support this purchase.

Leo: Do we know? Will all the bands work on all the watches? It's the same attachment thing on all of them.

Christina: They did make that clear. I had to call Apple to confirm that. They'll all work with all of them. Will they all match? Not necessarily. You wouldn't want that Milanese Band with a gold watch, but they will all work together.

Leo: Let me look at the Milanese—oh yeah. You're right. That would be terrible. No good, very bad. Can it look good with the aluminum?

Christina: It would probably look great with the aluminum. I've been debating with my fashion friends on TWiTter about this. It's one of the few times where fashion TWiTter and Tech TWiTter overlap with picking out the right Apple Watch band, but I need to see it in person. That's what it comes down to.

Leo: You can make 15-minute appointments. 15 minutes is only for you buying the steal and aluminum. If you're buying the gold, call your broker; it's some other system. You can make these appointments ahead of time, you can try it as walk-in. There will be limited accessibility. Online, starting April 10. They say the watch edition can last up to 30 minutes. One source told Mark German, "It's not like we'll kick out the sports and stainless steel customers if they're taking too long." I guarantee if you're looking at a $17,000 watch, you can take all the time you want. I'm going to order online for April 24 delivery. There is not the in store pick up that you see with iPads and iPhones. Apparently, according to the 9-5 you won't be able to go to the store to pick it up. That makes change as inventory becomes more available.

Christina: I wonder if they're going to ensure if anybody tries to order the $10,000 watch online.

Leo: I think Tim Cook will come to your house with a brief case.

Christina: All jokes aside, don't you think somebody from FedEx or UPS—you know what I mean? If you've got one of these delivery guys and you've got one of these watch editions—

Leo: How do they do it if you order a tek zelip in the mail? You must be able to, right?

Christina: I don't know.

Jill: You can buy extended insurance on shipping. That's not a problem.

Leo: They make you sign. It's in a plain brown wrapper.

Jill: Didn't that happen when the iPhone 5 came out because they were getting stolen?

Christina: That's what I'm saying. That totally was a real thing that happened, that's what I'm saying. Somebody might have been dumb enough to order a ten thousand dollar watch through the mail. To me, if you've got that much money, go into the store and get your ass kissed. That's part of the fun of spending that much money.

Leo: I think you're right.

Jill: That happened when Google glass came out. You could pick it up at certain locations, but if you just ordered it, would they ship it to you?

Leo: I think that they wanted you to come in and they would fit it to you and have this whole retail experience.

Jill: 1/10 of the price.

Leo: 1500 bucks that's nothing.

Jill: Again, that economic view of something looking less expensive.

Leo: Somebody said this. It was probably Renee Ritchie on MacBreak Weekly, in this market, the high end watch market, you're not—people who are buying that, it isn't about the experience, it isn't about the thing, they want to be cosseted. They want to come in and have a cup of tea. That's part of the process.

Jill: This is part of Apple's strategy at becoming a life style plan. It's not about fashion, it's about the whole experience, and they've been on this track for at least a decade. The apple store is a wonderful example of that. I think the Apple store—I was reading about it recently. It was modeled after nicely designed hotels that have high-end clientele. Whenever you serve to high-end clientele, we love the concierge. That's the best experience of going to a great hotel. You go up to this person, they take care of things for you, they're quick, efficient, and knowledgeable. That's how Apple developed the genius bar. It's taking some idea that has already existed and re purposing it into the tech world, but it's really retail world. It's really the fashion world.

Leo: Don't you feel like Steve Jobs is spinning in his grave? I've been reading the new book about him, Becoming Steve Jobs, which is—I don't know if there's anything new in it, but I like reading about Steve. I feel like he was a hippie.

Christina: He was a hippie who evolved like most hippies did into a yuppie. Isn't that kind of what happened?

Leo: He liked driving an expensive Mercedes, he liked high quality products.

Katie: More than anything, he liked winning. He liked being the biggest company in the world.

Leo: Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm a pie eyed Apple fan boy, but in the early days, when I was really an Apple fan, it was the company for the rest of us and using computing to change the world. Isn't that what he told John Sculley? When he tried to hire him, he said you can continue to sell sugar water to the masses, or you can come here and change the world.

Katie: Sure, but look at Google. Everyone changes when they become huge companies with market caps that all of the large investment firms in the world own pieces of and our retirements are built upon. We need that stock to go up. Once companies get large, that stuff goes away.

Leo: Did you read that book?

Christina: I read it this week.

Leo: You finished it?

Christina: Yeah I did. I took most of the week off for Bob's burger's live, so I read it.

Leo: You took the week off to go down to DC—

Christina: I took 3 days off.

Leo: That's commitment.

Christina: It is commitment. For my husband's belated birthday, so I read it on the Amtrak. It was a good book. You could make the argument that you have a much better shot at changing the world with an iPad than you do with a hobbyist computer kit. If you really think about how Apple has changed the world, a lot of the times it's with these more mass products. It's not going to change the world, but I don't think it has to be either or. You can be both consumer and commercially focused and have an impact to change the way everything is going to work.

Leo: If you're Pebble watch, you've done both.

Christina: That's true; I'm getting one of those too.

Leo: Pebble watch closed its KickStarter campaign for the Pebble Time on Friday. They wanted half a million bucks. They got 20 million in 30 days. 7 days battery life, new interface. Pebble is the only watch that works on both iOS and Android. 20 million dollars, 78,000 backers. The thing that bothers me about this is it turns KickStarter into a store. This is about pre-order, not raise money so we can do something cool.

Christina: It's both. I think that they're a special case. They're the exception that proves the rule. They had the lines ready to go. Go back to the community and let them get in on it early. Be the first people to get the watch. They built their company on KickStarter. VCs turned them down, Eric wasn't able to get VCs interested in them, and then they raised almost 10 million dollars in KickStarter last time. I think they turned it into a store, but at the same time, this is one of the few times where people get mad about how KickStarter is being taken over by the rich and the powerful. I guess that's true, but I've interviewed some of the people who were the first successful KickStarter people more than 4 years ago. The ones who were successful were the ones who had connections in manufacturing and who knew what they were doing, and were basically using the platform as much for marketing as for funding. It's really about being able to do with the money what you want without being beholden to other people. In this case, it does turn it into a store in a sense, but the community is OK with it, because this is the ultimate KickStarter success story. Granted they have funding and they're doing well, but they're going up against behemoths known as Google and Apple. 20 million dollars and 78,000 watches is fantastic. Let's not pretend that that's going to be a dent of what Apple is going to do in their first hour of pre-orders.

Katie: Why do you think it is that we're seeing all these hardware companies trying to put out wristbands? Pebble and shine, FitBit still believes that there's a place in the market for them, and I haven't been able to figure out why that is.

Leo: Jill Duffy is the queen of these things.

Jill: How do you like it?

Leo: It's in the drawer with my Nike fuel band.

Jill: This is where I think these devices are going. Part of what they do well is they allow us to have a generation 1 device in our pockets or on our bodies that's collecting a lot of data from a lot of people that could be used in health and wellness. There are 2 angles in this; one is the mass collection of data. Everybody is scared of that term, but if you think about research trials in medicine and health studies, we're often looking at 1000, 2000 people in a very short amount of time. Maybe a year or two if we're lucky. So you have devices like these that are collecting actual data. It's not self-reported, so you can have user groups in the tens of thousands rather than one or two thousand. Suddenly you have a lot of data to work with in research and medicine, which we've never had before. So when you look at devices like FitBit and things like this, they're pretty limited in what they can do, but we have to remember that these are Generation 1 devices. They're looking at our activity, how much we move and things like that. Let's imagine a generation 2 and generation 3 device that can see exactly what we're eating and how many calories we're burning. Our heart rate, our respiratory rate, our heart rate variability. Now, we have a richer data set that we can use to track people's health and come up with interesting correlations about health and wellness. I think that's where it's eventually going. There's a couple of companies in the health sphere that are doing this. There's a device called the health patch. it's a little patch that you wear on your chest. It measures the same kind of things that FitBits do. How much you walk, it has fall detection, which is really a motion sensor, heart rate, breathing rate, things like that. It also measures stress. Take some of the other data points it has, it puts them into a stress algorithm, and it measures your stress. So what it did, was it allowed hospitals who had patients post-surgery or something like that, they didn't really need to be in the hospital any more, the doctors wanted to send them out, but the hospital wanted to continue monitoring their vital signs. With a health patch, you stick this thing on a person, you send them on their way, and the doctor still gets a notification if something changes that we need to have a medical intervention about.

Leo: Does this tie to a phone? It must be blue toothed to a phone?

Jill: Yeah. It does have Blue Tooth. I think it goes to a mobile phone. It goes to a Hippa compliant network via Wi-Fi to go to the hospital.

Leo: That's the issue, if they have FDA approval. I know that Apple did not get FDA approval for similar capabilities in the Apple watch. I wonder if that's the point of the research kit.

Jill: Remember that this is Generation 1 stuff. This takes years to get all of it right. The tech industry has going for it innovation, the push to do things faster. Anytime I talk to companies that are working in health, they say Oh the FDA. They have really strict rules and regulations in the United States.

Leo: Appropriately so.

Jill: Exactly. But they have to clear those hurdles; they have to clear them well. In my lifetime, we're definitely going to see some wonderful things happening. The second point is if we have lots of data about ourselves, we can have what people are calling more personalized medicine. Often, it's preventative. In the last five years, I've tracked everything I've eaten to get a sense of what I have day by day. The nutritional information that I consume. How much I walk, how much I move. Intervals I do, what my heart rate does, how much sleep I get. Based on that, if I can get personalized information about what to do to say lower the chances that I'm going to develop arthritis in 20 years. That's going to be amazing. It's that preventative stuff that's very personalized because we have specific data about you, rather than data about 2000 people, and we sort of know what happens with 2000 people who follow X, Y, and Z. I think that's why companies like FitBit and Jawbone know that this is going to go somewhere else.

Leo: I agree with you. You nailed it. Currently all health advice is based on a statistical model. Your chances are—once it becomes personalized in that way, it'll become so much more accurate. We've talked about personal cancer drugs for instance. Drugs that analyze the genome of your cancer, instead of mass chemotherapy, targeting the particular area with a drug.

Katie: Will the FitBits and jawbones of the world survive, is my question. I'm curious as to why these companies put out products—

Leo: They're not going to give up and go home.

Katie: What is their plan going forward? What should they be doing now that the Samsungs, the Googles, the Apples of the world are all encroaching on their space? Should they be partnering? I'm genuinely curious, because this is a crowded industry.

Leo: Jill, you're the expert.

Jill: There may be some acquisitions. Some of the companies that are making the smart watches are definitely learning from the companies that are making the health and fitness devices and vice versa. That garment watch I showed you earlier, it does notifications. It works with iOS, it works with Android. You can get whatever notifications you want from your phone to your wrist. Garment knows people want that. People are interested in it. Garment has been doing this for a long time with Runner's watches. They're a very established company in the sense of knowing how to do the technology for measuring step count. Your pace, your speed, and your mileage when you run your bicycle or do any number of activities. I think right now we're still in the point where it's seen as a hobby. When that starts to change, that's when the market is going to shake up with acquisitions or companies starting to partner with insurance companies and health care companies and places like that.

Leo: I feel like, to answer your question, Katie. It's always foolish in technology to go, Oh here comes Apple, or Samsung, or Google, we might as well give up. You don't know where the winner is going to come from. You're asking a very important question, which is where to focus to attempt to become that way. The fact that there's a diversity of choices—I don't think it will come from a company like Garment, because they've been around too long. I think it's going to be an innovation out of nowhere. Who knows? That's what's exciting about covering technology. Garment is now doing an interesting thing. Because they're a GPS—this is where they have a disadvantage. They have a business. We'll put the GPS in the watch. Apple says we need to tie the GPS to the phone. Runners don't want to carry a phone. But that's one small group, runners.

Christina: That's one niche. I love my FitBit. I have to wonder if I'm going to use my FitBit after I get my Apple watch. If I'm going to be honest, I probably won't.

Leo: It can be smarter because it's tied to a huge computer in your pocket.

Christina: I've got my FitBit and my phone with me anyway, so it's doing the wireless syncing anyway. I wear a pebble and I like it, it doesn't do all the health and fitness stuff I want it to, but If I can get everything in my FitBit in my Apple watch, I don't know why I would bother wearing the FitBit as well. If I was just doing a dedicated run and I didn't want to have a phone with me, but otherwise, I think a lot of people, the activity market disappears if you buy into the idea that most of us will be wearing smart watches. That may or may not be true. I do wonder, those worlds are blurring so much. Outside of certain niches, it does become a thing where they overlap to the point that you don't need both.

Leo: Wouldn't it be smart, and wouldn't it preserve you if you worked with Health kit? So now, you're going to be a specific sensor for a larger system of sensors. You still can survive as an individual. Maybe that's the way.

Jill: Apple health is not great. Let's acknowledge that first of all. It's not great, it's difficult to use. It's confusing. FitBit does integrate with a lot of other devices and apps. Right now for me, that's part of the decision on why someone might want to buy. The other thing of course is price. If you already have a Smartphone, which most people do, you can spend 350 to 10,000 on an Apple watch, or maybe if all you want is something that's going to track your runs and walking every day, you can find something that's 99 dollars, that's a more attractive option. It reminds me—before the show started, Leo, you were talking about Meerkat. Oh, it doesn't have all the features, you can't save your videos locally, I think what Meerkat is doing is they're offering one set of options. There are people who say, the kind of live streaming that I'm doing; I don't want to save those videos. I see this as an ephemeral experience; I see this as a here and now quick and dirty, thrill of the moment. I don't want those other features. I like when the landscape of a particular tech device or service plays out like that, where people have lots of options and not everybody is offering the same exact feature package.

Leo: It's funny you should say that, because one of the things we were talking about, we just concluded an interview with its founder Ben Ruben, that's exactly what he said. There are all these verticals. We're in one vertical. The stream, the name for it, but that's just one of many. He welcomed a variety of apps in this domain of live streaming, because there's different ways to do it. You're right. Some people don't want it to be preserved. Watch that interview. It was great, with Ben Ruben. That'll be on tomorrow's triangulation. Talking Barbie in just a second. We're having a lot of fun. The panel today, Jill Duffy from PC Magazine. Katie Benner from Bloomberg View, and Christina Warren from Mashable. Great to have all three of you on. Our show to you today brought to you by GoToMeeting from Citrix. The powerfully simple way to meet coworkers and clients from the convenience of your computer or your Smartphone or your tablet. It's like Meerkat for business. Share the same screen; see each other face to face with HD video conferencing. You don't need to travel any more to hold a meeting. You can use your iPad; you can use your computer to meet clients and coworkers online. It's so great to start a meeting. It's so easy, you have the capability, you can share your screen, you can hear the audio from the computer, the microphone on the tablet, if you want to see each other. HD quality. It's flexible, it's easy, and you don't have to make a client jump through hoops. They click the link, software downloads in 30 seconds, and suddenly, they're seeing your PowerPoint presentations. A great way to get work done. I want you to try it today for 30 days free. All you have to do is visit and click the try it free button. If I have my choice, I would only have GoToMeeting. It's so much easier, it's so fast. You get the job done. Click the try it free button. 30-days free. GoToMeeting. Citrix. So a couple weeks ago, actually a few months ago, I interviewed a guy named Warren Jacob. He is at Toy Talk, and they have a really interesting iPad app. Their experience has been that toddlers are interacting with their iPad in a very interesting way. These apps have onscreen characters who ask open-ended questions of the toddler, and the toddler responds, and the conversation continues. They have parental permission to put these on their website at Here's an example of a character.

TOYTALK: it feels so good to sing sometimes, doesn't it? Come on. You listened patiently to me, now you sing something.

Leo: That's a loch ness monster character on the screen that is asking the child to sing. Listen to what happens. These are recordings— I talked to parents who use this software on their iPad, their kid goes off in a corner and talks to the iPad. Here's another one.

TOYTALK: You can also fall out of love, like it is a nest or the mouth of a jungle predator, and she says I am having to think of ways to keep our love from falling out of her heart. It's all very confusing, zoo keeper. Please, tell me what I must do so that nobody falls out of love.

Leo: For a five year old.

CHILD: You must be very kind to her and bring her gifts now and then. Remember her important dates.

Leo: The reason I bring this up, New York Times Article today in the Sunday Times article Toy Talk is creating a Barbie that will talk back to kids. There's R N Jacob right there. What they're saying is that kids—not high school kids, younger kids, are used to talking to their gadgets and them talking back. This is part of how they have grown up. For them, the idea of a Barbie that can talk back, this is not a pull the string feed me Barbie, this is a Barbie that will have a conversation like Siri. It will analyze the speech and produce relevant responses. Hello Barbie is a Wi-Fi enabled Barbie which comes out this fall.

Christina: I love it and I hate it. On the one hand I like it, it makes sense for the way kids play with toys. They talk to them and they have these conversations and to be able to have a toy and have this interactivity where you can get intelligent things back, I would have loved this as a kid. The thing that concerns me, and I know this is a weird thing, but in their privacy policy, basically because they record the data, the parents have permission to go back and look at everything the kid has told the toy.

Leo: That's where we get these recordings from is the parents.

Christina: Exactly. There's something creepy to me if I'm a kid and I'm talking to a toy that my parents could be spying on me and listening to what I'm saying. On the one hand, I understand. You want things for safety and precaution, on the other hand, sometimes kids talk to their toys about things they don't want to talk to their parents about. I'm thinking back to me, if I were a little girl. Would I have wanted my parents to know everything I did with my Barbie dolls. To be perfectly honest, no, I wouldn't have wanted them to know.

Leo: Didn't you have conversations with your Barbie dolls? You would talk to them, Barbie would talk to Ken.

Christina: I would create entire soap operas. I would recreate the Young and the Restless or Melrose Place with my Barbie dolls all the time. I would like recreate like the end of episodes of Melrose Place with my Barbie dolls. We would have full conversations, and love triangles, and the whole works. I don't know if I would have wanted my parents to know that what I was doing at 9 years old was, you know, making my Barbie dolls have sex with each other and steal each other's boyfriends. I don't know if I would want that to be, I'm just being honest, I don't know if I would be comfortable with that.

Katie: I'm glad that they know now. 

Christina: Well, see, they don't care now, but at the time...

Leo: At the time they would have freaked out.

Christina: Exactly. I was just a healthy expression of me living out my goal of being a TV writer or something. I don't know. I love it, but I am a little concerned with the privacy policy, which I know that they are doing for the right reasons, but I am kind of concerned that the parents can kind of listen to everything that their kids are doing with their toys. To me, I don't know, that's my only qualm with it.

Leo: Can I just say that as a parent we would often just sneak into the room and listen?

Christina: That's a good point.

Leo: We just didn't have the capabilities that modern technology gives us to bug our children 24/7. Here is Hello Barbie. Now one thing; Barbie has been in trouble before for saying things like "Math is Hard". Let's hope that they have gotten beyond that.

(Video Plays)

Katie: Wow, so this Barbie is working for the New York City Tourism Board.

Christina: Seriously.

Leo: So this is not appropriate for every kid, but there are kids who have difficulty communicating...

Katie: This could be successful and I'm sure that there will be kids that love it, but it kind of falls into that uncanny valley territory where things are just a little off but you don't know why. We had Simon Says, was that what that thing was called?

Leo: Yeah.

Katie: We've had toys that talked before, and at the end of the day for most kids, the great thing about being a kid is that your imagination is really rich and so your playtime is much more interesting and exciting with inanimate stuffed animals and stuff. My mom runs a daycare center, so I've watched little kids a lot and the way that they play. They will play with the machine for a while, and it's great, but the most interesting conversations that they have, the ones where you see them really engrossed, is when they are using their imaginations to make up scenarios that they control and that they have fun with, whether it is alone, or with friends, or with toys. 

Leo: Let me quote Natasha Singer's article in the New York Times, "A recent study conducted by researchers at Georgetown compared 2 groups of toddlers. One group played with plush toys that had been preprogrammed to say the child's name and to say that they had the favorite food and song as the child. The other played with plush toys that called each child pal." Hey, Pally. "And they liked different things. With the same toy character onscreen, it presented math skills. So they had the character onscreen presenting math skills like arranging cups. The first group of toddlers, the ones addressed by name, performed better than those addressed as pal."

Christina: That's hilarious. My sister used to think that Mr. Rogers was talking directly to her.

Leo: Yeah.

Christina: She thought that he was this television friend. She thought that he was talking directly to her through the television.

Leo: That was, I think, one of the secrets to his success. He looked right at the camera and said hey friend, how are you today?

Christina: She literally thought that he was this television friend that was talking directly to her. I think it was probably once she discovered that reruns were a thing that she figured out the reality.

Leo: Wait a minute. He said the same thing last week.

Christina: Right, right. I was never under any illusions that it was not television, but I did think that Big Bird was human because he slept in a bed. So that was my thing. Of course if he is sleeping in a bed then he must be a real human. But no, I think that there is something to be said for having this personalization. I think what Katie said was great. My mom is a child psychologist. She's retired now. Yeah, the way that kids play with things, and I've observed a little bit of that. They tend to be a lot more verbal and get a lot more of their playthings done when they create the stories. But when it comes to learning things that's there I think that it is different. When you can customize it and personalize it more the kid might be more engaged, and be more willing to go through the exercises, and retain what is happening if they feel like they are part of it rather than just hiya sonny, hiya pal.

Leo: Pal is not a good choice.

Christina: Pal is not.

Leo: Hey Pally, how ya doin? A couple of weeks ago the campaign for A Commercial Free Childhood, an advocacy group in Boston asked Mattel to shelve talking Barbie saying that the voice recordings amounted to eavesdropping and could be used to exploit the intimate feelings of children. "Whatever the child says will be manipulated and used to insinuate these dolls further into girl’s lives." said Susan Linn, the group's director. Anyway, what hath technology wrought? At least Barbie can be a computer engineer. Don't get us started.

Christina: That book was terrible.

Leo: I know, but it was fun to laugh at. Alright, Google says that it is not giving up on Google Glass. Eric Schmidt says the demise of Glass has been greatly exaggerated. 

Christina: He is so full of it.

Leo: Do you think?

Christina: Yes I do, completely. If it comes out again they are not calling it Google Glass, for one reason and one reason only, Glassholes.

Leo: Glassholes.

Christina: The branding alone, and I'm not saying that they won't come out with something new in that space that evolves from it, but you can almost guarantee that it will have brand new branding because the current branding is just toxic. The branding is just toxic.

Leo: They brought in Tony Fidel to oversee it. Fidel is, of course, the guy who designed the iPod, went on to design the Nest Thermostat. His company was acquired by Google. He is now overseeing strategy for Glass. That indicates that Glass is not dead.

Christina: No, I'm sure that a lot of people are looking into VR and kind of augmented reality. I mean, if they weren't looking into the space it would be surprising. But I think that the idea that Glass the way that it has been presented will continue on that level, I have to think that Tony probably took, and I've talked to him a couple of times, but I have to think that he took a look at the whole scenario and said, okay we are starting over. We are starting over from the drawing board because this doesn't work from a perspective where people are not embracing this, it doesn't look good, it creeps people out, we attracted the wrong type of early adopters; let's try a completely different approach.

Jill: To me Glass is not a consumer experience; Glass is a brilliant and wonderful industrial device. So when you have it being used on oil rigs or in hospitals, or places where people have a limited amount of availability to use their hands it's so brilliant.

Leo: Isn't HoloLens better than Glass, though, the Microsoft augmented reality?

Christina: Ah maybe. It could be.

Leo: I feel like that is the one that I want. So Glass is, let's face it, all Glass is is a monitor over your eyebrow.

Christina: Right, but it could be awesome in industrial situations and medicine, but in that case you have a lot of people who are doing that. Epson is doing some amazing things with that sort of stuff. There are a lot of health care companies involved.

Leo: But with augmented reality I can look through, I can add a user interface or instructions to what I am actually looking at. So if I am on an oil rig and I am trying to learn how to do something, it can actually show me with a little arrow turn this know, push this button. I feel like augmented reality is what Glass should end up being. 

Katie: Sure, those products are still nacient. What people want is yet to be seen. The thing that is so funny about the Google announcement is that consumers have already voted that they don't want it.

Leo: Yeah, that's pretty obvious.

Katie: It's over.

Leo: And everybody that I know who spent the money on Glass has put it in a drawer anyway.

Jill: One of the things that I am interested in that I think that Apple Watch will be able to do is the sense of adding tactile experiences into our smart devices. So if your Apple Watch could, through a series of taps and suggested motions give you directions so that we are not only relying only on our eyes or only on our ears, I think that is the more interesting use here.

Leo: I think that it is going to do that.

Jill: It's a little bit less invasive, too. People don't want to wear Glass on their face, and you don't want to be staring at a phone all of the time and you don't want to have, you know, headphones on all the time. I think that there are more ways to incorporate smart information that we are just not quite taking advantage of yet.

Leo: It's a specialized use, but it was a real eye opener when I was wearing Android Wear while we were in London and I had asked my phone for directions somewhere and the Wear watch takes over and shows you, even buzzes when it's time to turn. So it shows you where you are and says turn left here. That is incredible.

Christina: Yeah, I think that is actually one of the great use cases for a watch. That's how I've actually gotten people excited, it's funny that you say that, about the idea of the Apple Watch or smart watches in general is when I tell them about how I use my Pebble the same way for directions, finding nearby train stops or buzzing when to turn. I think the Glass actually, that was my favorite part of using Glass, was any of the direction things, kind of the overlay. So we will see.

Leo: We are going to take a break. When we come back I still want to do the FTC story about Google and we have to talk about F8, Facebook's developer conference, which I don't know, felt like kind of a dud. Maybe you found some wonderful things, little gems in there. Christina Warren from Mashable is here, Katie Bennet from Bloomberg View, and from PCMagazine, Jill Duffy, great to have all 3 of you here today. I have been playing with my littleBits, and I have got to say that it's fabulous. So glad to see littleBits again. We were talking about it during the holidays. It's a perfect Christmas gift for people with kids. You know, one of the things that I think that is so important as consumers of electronics and consumers of technology is to kind of get kids turned on to the idea that they can do it too. That they can be makers. But sometimes, especially for little fingers, things like soldering can be a little scary. LittleBits is so cool, it's taking electronics design and creating out of the hands of experts and giving it to everyone. For kids, even for parents, kids at heart, for coders, hardware hackers, with littleBits you can do anything. You can get your dog to send a text or make a robotic snack server. The nice thing is that it is so simple, there is no soldering involved. This is a littleBits kit. The last time we had them on I actually made a littleBits, oh we've got a good one this time, look at all of the littleBits here. These all snap together magnetically so there is no soldering involved. There are over 60 components to do a huge variety of projects. The littleBits kid will come, of course, with instructions and a project guide. Connect battery and cable to the blue module, turn it on, pink modules affect modules after them, green modules do something in physical world, and then give you some great projects. If you have been thinking I want to get an electronics thing. I remember Heath Kit, I'm an old guy, and I remember Heath Kit. I just think that teaching kids how this stuff works, put it together, to teach them the things about logic, about mechanical interaction, is so great. They enjoy it, it's better than a Lego or an Erector set. It's building something that really works. There are a variety of littleBits kits; there is the base kit or the deluxe kit. This must be the deluxe kit, it's so great. It's a great way to get started. The Space Kit was developed in partnership with NASA, so they've got earth and space science. There is an Arduino Coding Kit that lets you code the Arduino so if you want a child to get started in programming. I will tell you, programming is so abstract that it's great to have a physical output. It is a great way to learn. For the tinkerer the Deluxe Kit includes 18 modules that snap together with billions of circuits possible. No wiring, no soldering, you can make it in seconds. There is a Synth Kit if you are into music. It's a modular, I love this idea, a modular analog synthesizer, osculates, filter, envelope, keyboard, micro secret See, if you have a kid who is as interested in music as Henry is, and he has used logic, this is the best way to teach him what this stuff is actually doing. LittleBits is now offering customers $20 off of their first kit. Go to littlebits, l-i-t-t-l-e-b-i-t-s, littleBits, no cutesy spelling on this, .com/twit, you will get free shipping in the US as well. After you make something send an Instagram off to littleBits. I know that we would love to see it just @mr_laporte and I will pass it along. I would love to see your littleBits creation. LittleBits is so cool. I don't know you guys are young; maybe you had something like this when you were younger. I would have loved this. Isn't this awesome? It's like chemistry set. It's so fun. Have you played with this Christina?

Christina: I have not, but I love it. I love the fact that they have the Arduino Kit, that's just awesome. I would have gone crazy for this as a kid.

Leo: If you want to see more there is, where you can see what people are creating. There are some great tips. I remember when this started, it was a Kickstarter. I invested in the very beginning, and it was just getting started, and this is like so much stuff now. It's such a rich experience. They say for ages 8 to infinity, but I think that if you are an adult and you have a younger smart kid this would be fine for a 6 year old even. This is just incredible. This is the Deluxe Kit, 18 bits modules, 5 million combinations, 15 projects, and a great way to start. $20 off at I think that this is so cool.

Leo: A drinker bot? What does it do? It's a robotic drink mixer. What? What?

Katie: For all of your Shirley Temples.

Leo: Oh my goodness. Sometimes I love the creativity of human beings, I gotta say. Just fabulous. Did any of you watch Zuckerberg or any of the others at F8? We got up early, streamed it on Wednesday and Thursday, and I just felt like there was nothing new.

Katie: I don't think that there was any good platform stuff. Did any of you think that was interesting at all?

Leo: Say again Katie?

Katie: The Internet of Things Platform things that they are doing with Parse. Is that something that you guys find interesting? That was such a huge trend. It fits in naturally with what Facebook does.

Leo: Well, it is interesting. They have acquired Oculus Rift. The Internet of Things is more of the same kind of, it almost feels like this is more kind of like Moonshot things.

Christina: Yeah, I mean, I love Parse, and I think that was interesting as a way to extend that.

Leo: What is Parse?

Christina: Parse is kind of their application, kind of a services streamer that lets people automate a lot of web apps and take care of a lot of details. They bought them a couple of years ago, and tons of applications that aren't based in Facebook use Parse for kind of the backend stuff. So by adding in this kind of Internet of Things stuff it could kind of be a way to maybe help people build more IOT style support into their apps. I think that was interesting. I don't know how they turn that into anything in their core business, but that was interesting.

Leo: It does feel like Facebook is, just like Google is, trying to reinvent itself constantly. You have to in this day and age. There is always the risk that they are going to be MySpaced. If that is all they did, right?

Christina: That's true, that's true. It was interesting to me comparing this F8 to last F8, like how much things that they announced last year didn't work. Remember AppLinks, we thought that was going to be real great. They sold it like in a thousand apps. So that was a complete fail. I thought that their new app platform thing that they were going to be doing for mobile apps could be disruptive, but yeah, I mean, it's kind of nothing that interesting I guess to regular consumers.

Leo: Which is worse? Announcing a bunch of stuff that doesn't happen or doesn't go anywhere, or just kind of saying, well, try Parse.

Christina: It's true.

Leo: So one of the things that they are changing, they are going to try to make Messenger; I think this is a total nonstarter; they are going to try to make Messenger a platform. They want developers to write apps that integrate with Facebook Messenger. They showed a couple of dumb apps that allow you to do kind of weird things in Facebook Messenger. It just is not compelling to me. I wonder why anyone would even develop, they have do have 40 developers who have apps, like they showed JibJab, so you could make a little JibJab video and send it through Messenger. I can't imagine why anybody would spend any energy building on Facebook's platform at this point. Yet they are doing just fine. It's not like Facebook is in trouble or anything. Their stock price continues to go up. Nothing! This is exactly my reaction to F8. How about Oculus Rift? Is this in good hands? Are they a good steward of virtual reality?

Christina: Yeah, I think that they bought it with the understanding that this is going to be a long term play. They are still showing off the same Crescent Bay demo that they have been showing off all year. They are kind of talking about future scenarios and situations. They picked a good company, a company that for, at least right now, doesn't have any reason to get involved to stop them from doing anything moving forward. I think that we are just so early with all of this VR stuff that we don't know what the scenario is going to be. We didn't really get any new Oculus news, but I definitely feel that a year in Facebook has basically given them the money they need and the resources to do what they were already doing. But other than that they have stayed out of it. As a fan of Oculus I think that has been the best case scenario. I think that has been good.

Leo: They demonstrated a kind of 360 degree immersive video that I guess we were going through Chincway Terra in Italy. It requires 24 cameras. So this not something that I am going to do on my smartphone. And it doesn't work with Oculus Rift. Sometimes I feel like they are just throwing stuff against the wall. I really don't get it. Although Instagram has a new app called Layout that does exactly what a dozen apps before it. 

Christina: Including one called Layout. He's not happy. I'm like are you new? I feel for him, but at the same time I'm like are you new? This is what they do.

Leo: He's been Sherlocked.

Christina: Precisely, precisely. This is not unique to Facebook, Sherlocked is exactly what it is. I think that the reason that Facebook said they did it was interesting. They said that 1 out of every 6 user’s uses a layout tool app to make photo collages, that is a huge percentage. Absolutely Facebook needed to completely bring that in house and at least have an option because if that many of your users are using a collage tool. I'm curious why they didn't just build it into the app itself and make it a separate app. I'm going to guess that even though Facebook and Instagram are fond of doing the separate app philosophy I would be surprised that if at some point they didn't just decide to merge the layout feature directly into Instagram itself. If that many of your users are first starting out with a collage tool, to me that indicates that that is probably an area where you can slip that into the main app and you wouldn't have people getting upset. You may have even increased usage at that point.

Leo: The experience of taking a picture not in Instagram, but starting outside of Instagram, going from one app into Instagram is not a great experience. It's just too fussy. Speaking of Oculus Rift, HTC has said we are going to invite people to join our developer program and get a developer edition for free. Rift was charging $300 for its developer edition. A lot of people saw Vibe at Mobile World Congress and raved about it. I guess the key at this point is that you are in a race to create content for these things.

Christina: Right, which is the hard thing, right? That's going to be the challenge. At this point I think that Oculus has sucked most of the energy out of the room, so that's probably what HTC has to do to get people interested. They need to give those things away to developers because otherwise why would they want to bother when already the Oculus ecosystem was fragmented when you talk about the difference between Oculus Rift and the Samsung Oculus based platforms, which are different. It's already getting sort of fragmented, so I'm not surprised at all that HTC was like please, sign up and we will give you one of these. 

Leo: Sony has the best name, Project Morpheus. It's definitely the best name. It's the Matrix. They have been giving kits out since last year. Sony has said, it's interesting, they told Polygon about a year ago, "We don't want people to think how can I port this game to virtual reality or VR; we want people to think what new thing can we do with this tech?" To that end, as we mentioned, we talked to Ben Ruben at Meerkat. He didn't want to go into details, but he was very excited about this idea of live streaming virtual reality. The way Meerkat kind of is is that it takes people into real life in a very interesting way, but it's a very constrained little peephole into their live. Wouldn't it be amazing if it could be a VR experience? I would go for that. So one of the things that people do a lot with Meerkat, I've done it quite a bit, is you Meerkat while you are driving. It would be so cool if you could be in the passenger seat looking around talking to somebody while they are Meerkating? That would be interesting. You would look like a dork and you would have to have a giant camera, I don't know what those camera rigs look like, but...

Jill: This is sort of a larger issue, but there is an analogy about technology development, the rollout of electricity to different countries. In the United States when electricity was first being brought to people's houses it was called like your light bill. It was technology for powering lights. That's what we used it for. We made it very, very cheap and very accessible to get electricity into people's homes and businesses. So that allowed people to experiment with other ways to use electricity. Of course, from there the whole 20th Century happened. So the same analogy is being made with the internet. So countries that have fiber optic and really fast speed internet available to people's homes allows them to tinker and think about what they could do with this access that maybe we are not imagining right now? There is a lot of critics in the United States that say the caps that we have on internet speed are ridiculous and it's preventing innovation from happening. So it just kind of reminds me when you are talking about trying to think and experiment with Oculus Rift in a new way. What else can we do with VR that we haven't done yet? It's kind of similar to that. We need to give people unfeathered mega access and let them play in a sandbox.

Leo: They never show, and I was a little mad a Facebook, by the way they completely wasted their second day keynote which could have been about Oculus Rift, but instead the chief scientist did a lot of optical illusions that everyone in the world has seen a hundred times. But what they could have done, and what I would have liked to have seen, was the camera. What do you need? Forget the headset, that is what you use to consume it. What does it take to make it? That's what you have got to get people doing is make doing innovative things with making it. Is it a giant thing? Is it a little thing? Have they talked about that? If I could buy a little camera that I put right here that would allow you to be in the studio with us I would be very interested in doing that for instance. There it is. Is that it? What are you showing me?

Jason Howell: It's a rig that you can get where you can have like 16 go pros or something that you can use.

Leo: Okay, that's not going to work.

Christina: That's crazy.

Leo: I wish that they could talk about the creation tools. It's so funny that in the developer kit they give you the consumer tool but not the creation tool. I don't think that creating software is really the solution. Oculus Rift camera, let me Google that. Alright, let's see. I guess you don't need a big elaborate camera. Here is a stereo camera. I guess all you need, its $159, so you would only need 2 cameras, right? But then if I turn my head how does that work? This isn't going to do it. Alright Chris, I've given you my Oculus Rift development kit, it is now your job to figure out how we can create immersive VR experiences here in the studio. Okay? He's 17. Get to work kid. Cameras? Ah, cameras shammeras. If Thomas Edison had said I need a light bulb would he have invented the photograph? He needed a filament.

Jason: He needed 12 Go Pros.

Leo: 12 Go Pros. I've got 3, we can get you started anyway. Yahoo and Microsoft are in a 10 year deal for Microsoft Bing to be the Yahoo search engine. That deal is, let's see, the search partnership took place in 2010, but it did allow them to renegotiate in 2015 after 5 years. The negotiations are going on, and I don't know if they are going well. They have decided to extend them for 30 days. This is because both companies are publicly held, so they have to file with the FCC. On Friday they mutually agreed to extend the deadline to a 60 day period filing February 23rd. Not clear what is going on there. I can't imagine Yahoo would abandon Bing. They don't have anything to replace it. Actually, let's take a break and then we will talk about the FTC and Google. Is Google a monopoly? Should the FTC have pursued them for antitrust? They decided not to, but some say after they read these documents they should have. We will talk about it. Our guests, great to have them, Katie Benner from Bloomberg View, which is, you said, like commentary.

Katie: Exactly, it's Bloomberg news commentary section for all columnists.

Leo: This is good. I like it. You should get people to go read more of this.

Katie: Oh no, you are going to get more people to go read more of this. 

Leo: This is good stuff. This is good stuff. Why are they segregating it?

Katie: Well, because they want to keep the news and commentary separate just like the New York Times does or the Wall Street Journal. They have the opinion section, the opinion pages, so people don't confuse it with news. That's all.

Leo: Well I'm going to forget the other guys, I'm going to read this one. I like the layout, this is the new Bloomberg layout.

Katie: Exactly, it's very Vergy.

Leo: It was controversial when they did it, but you are not quite as all in as the rest of Bloomberg.

Katie: No, I think that that site has a lot more bells and whistles.

Leo: It's kooky. I'm going to give you some opinion. That's kooky. What they did is so, it feels like it is rendering wrong or something. I don't know, you can't talk, but it feels like stuff is popping out and moving around. When you read an article it feels like stuff, I don't know, it's kooky.

Katie: Commentary is more restrained.

Leo: Yeah, I like the view. So look, there is this blue bar, this blue bar at the top as you scroll down moves across to tell you something, I don't know what, where you are in the article. It's not that helpful because it's an infinite scroll, so as soon as you get to the bottom of the article it resets and starts over again. What?

Katie: You can't see me off camera cracking up.

Leo: Can you talk to your boss?

Katie: I will send you an email address for Art Patterson.

Leo: No, I'm just kidding, it's fine.

Katie: You guys will have a great conversation.

Leo: We are in the midst of a redesign, and I'm very aware of all of the things that you have to figure out and how expensive it is. So I look at other sites with an interest, okay these are the decisions. These are the decisions that we have to make. These are the decisions that they may. Actually it works perfectly well, I just think that it's bold.

Katie: Thank you very much.

Leo: Very bold.

Katie: If you are looking for something to read on Bloomberg View I did just write a column about Google and antitrust. So that's the first thing that you guys can go and look for.

Leo: I'm going to put you on the spot then when we come back from this break. Our show today is brought to you today by my mattress. Do you have the video of me and my mattress? Me and my mattress. Who would have thought that you could buy a mattress online? That seems counter intuitive for so many reasons. One, don't you want to lie on it before you buy it? Two, they are going to ship a mattress? Three, what the heck? Well, Casper has convinced me. I have, and everybody has, gone to a mattress show room and laid on a mattress. Five minutes on a mattress isn't going to do you any good. With Casper you get 100 days. The shipping is free and the return is free. If after a hundred nights, I should say, sleeping on it after 100 nights you don't love your Casper mattress they will take it back no problem no questions asked. But they have done it so well. First of all, they have done it so well. That is a queen sized mattress in a box. I got one for my son because he lives up three stories. He wanted a queen sized mattress. There was no way that they could get a regular sized mattress in that house. He loves his Casper mattress. They make them in the United States. They are premium mattresses for a fraction of the cost. They are really comfy. I have got to tell you, they are latex and memory foam, so it allows you to get both sink and bounce, you get firmness but it conforms to you. It is so soft and comfortable and it's completely risk free to try it.,; don't decide on something that you are going to sleep on for the next ten years after 5 minutes in a show room. Even Ozzie loves our Casper. Go online at and get a Casper mattress, you are going to love it or your money back. $500 for a twin, $950 for a king size, compare that to the price of the mattress store. And I'm going to get you $50 off as an audience member. Just go to and use the promo code TWIT. Casper, this is the kind of thing that I think the internet, it's really interesting to watch how it's changing these businesses that you never thought. You never thought that you can buy glasses online or buy mattresses online, they have solved this, or buy shoes online. I love it;

Leo: So the Wall Street Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act with the FTC and they were curious about the process the FTC has used in investigating the Google. The FTC, and I'm glad that you have written on this Katie so you can tell me. My sense is that the FTC commissioners get reports from a variety of different staff groups, read them all, and then the commissioners decide whether to go forward or not. In this case the commissioners declined to prosecute Google after a few minor changes to how Google does search. But, in this FOIA act, the Wall Street Journal, and by the way, the FTC asked for it back and the Journal said no, we got it now. They went through this and pulled out some smoking guns.

Katie: That they did. That they did. It was clear to the commission that there were certain staffers who believe that Google, not just that Google had a monopoly because monopolies exist in all sorts of businesses, but that they had used that power to hurt other companies and or hurt consumer interests. That would be the antitrust pursuit. As you said, in the end the commission chose not to sue and they worked with Google to change parts of the business so that they wouldn't have to. What I was writing about, what I found interesting, was the idea of the monopoly in technology was really different from monopolies that exist in things like oil, and gas, and money, and sort of these big heavy industries because it's very hard to disrupt Exxon Mobile, it's really hard for a company to have the firepower to upend that business. In technology we see really big companies being upended all of the time. We've seen, in part because you have smart, powerful, quick startups coming in and finding pieces of the business that are weak, and because consumer trends change so fast in the tech world that what was interesting and great at one point just doesn't work anymore. I think that Microsoft is a great example of this. Other people have written about this as well. As long as the PC was kind Microsoft was going to be king too, but now that we are moving to mobile suddenly the operating system and software that Microsoft provides and is known for have just kind of become irrelevant. So that powerful monopoly that Microsoft wielded is not as scary anymore. It wasn't because the government broke up Microsoft and it wasn't because Microsoft changed its business practices. It really was just because Microsoft didn't keep up with technology as much as they should have. I think that people are already starting to wonder is Google going to fall into that category as well. Now that we are moving away from online search and so much is being done in mobile search and being done in apps where is Google in all of this? A couple of advantages that they do have, Android for example, you have companies going in and creating faux versions of Android, even trying to dent that advantage as well.

Leo: What was the smoking gun? Was there anything in your opinion after reading through the report, and the Journal did a weird thing, they only published every other page for some reason, I really don't understand.

Katie: Well they didn't get the whole report. So the complete report wasn't included in the request. There were definitely some things in there that would be deemed harmful to other competitors and this is why Amazon, and Yelp, and TripAdvisor have been so upset. The commission did find that Google suppressed other company's results in Google's own search results. So if information that would come up, if Christina is shopping for something and she Googles in the item and she wants to buy it, maybe the best result may actually be from Amazon, but Google is going to give her a Google shopping result, which probably doesn't benefit the consumer in the long run, so yeah that's true. But then there is the argument to be made, well, if I'm searching on my phone then I'm probably not going to Google what I want to buy on my phone, I'm going to go to my Amazon app, disintermediating Google and then making their monopoly a lot less powerful. If they are abusing that monopoly it doesn't matter because I'm not using them. 

Leo: Jeff Jarvis, we had a long discussion on this on This Week in Google, and Jeff defended Google saying that really this is the Wall Street Journal continuing a vendetta. It's Rupert Murdock's Wall Street Journal continuing a vendetta against Google. Then Danny Sullivan has done a very interesting analysis on Marketingland, his site, in which he said basically, well, here is one quote, and this comes from a sidebar to the main piece on how Google skewed search results, "According to the Journal Google would automatically boost its own sites for certain specialized searches that would otherwise favor rivals." Kind of what you mentioned Katie. "If a comparison shopping site was supposed to rank highly Google shopping was placed above it. When Yelp was deemed relevant to a user's search query Google Local would pop up on top." Danny says that sounds terrible in the face of it unless you understand that many search engines have done to present vertical, and this is the key, vertical search results. He says Google didn't want to give you search results as the result of the search and deemed that things like Yelp, basically you would search for something and you would get a search. To some degree that seems reasonable. On the other hand, the Journal says that Google had a focus group, they call them The Searchers, who were very unhappy with the way that Google was doing things. Marissa Meyer, who was then the Google Vice President used click through rates to determine the rankings of its own specialized search results because they would rank too low.

Christina: I don't know about you guys, but I have found myself, one of the reasons that I think that Google suffers so much on mobile, a, as you said Katie, we want to go to the app rather than through the search box. Part of the reason is that over time, part of the reason is that I've noticed that my Google results have gotten less and less good and a lot of times is because they are customized now to something that they think that I want to like. It becomes kind of this weird circular notion where I am only seeing things that I have searched for before or sites that I have visited before. In other cases it is because it takes so long to find the results that I want versus what they used to do, what they were so good at, and the reason that they disrupted the industry, was that Google was fantastic about showing the actual things that you wanted, and really kind of anticipating that is where you want to go. So, I mean, on the one hand I can definitely understand why their competitors are upset. On the other hand, I almost wonder if by doing this, and putting their own services above others, doesn't that potentially in some ways make people want to use Google less because the results they are getting are actually not matching what they are searching for or they are getting syphoned off into Google Local and some of these other things that probably don't even exist anymore rather than going to Yelp or going to Amazon which is probably what they wanted to do to begin with.

Katie: Of course I think that the comparison with Microsoft here becomes really fascinating here because again Microsoft did so much to enhance and protect a monopoly position that they dropped the ball in terms of innovation and some of the things that they did do in order to stay so powerful made the experience just bad for users. So they really don't have the chance to go anywhere else the minute that there is a Google Docs or the minute Apple's software was kind of okay people started finding other options.

Leo: Isn't this why there is an antitrust investigation? It's not illegal to be a monopoly, it's illegal to use your monopoly power to enter other markets. The reason that this is a legitimate, in my opinion, because Google used its near monopoly on search to get itself into other businesses like Google Local.

Jill: The problem is that do we have a clear and defined idea of what a search engine is having only had search engines for what, maybe 20 years at this point? So what I am saying is that Google's service offers, when you go to it offers you a lot of services. When you use the Chrome web app it offers you a lot of services. I'm sorry, browser, it offers you a lot of services. So when you Google a restaurant, for example, you are going to get a Google Maps restaurant, you are going to get reviews of people who have entered it from their accounts, you are going to get photos of the place from people who have uploaded them from Google. Is that part of a search engine experience? Is that something else? Is what Google offers now something different than a search engine? I think that it gets into this weird area where I almost see these things that Google is offering us as other services and features on top of its site.

Katie: I think that the FTC thing only dealt with traditional online searches you would think. It didn't deal with all of these other areas, it dealt with opening up a web browser and typing something into the search bar.

Jill: But I mean that is exactly what Google is delivering you, right? That is the promise that Google makes is that we are going to follow what you do, we are going to try to offer you tailored results, and we are going to give you a complex, rich, and in context experience for what it is that you are looking for. So that is why you get the maps, and the photos, and the business listing. It's going to show you that business listing instead of Yelp's because it's Google and it wants to offer you that. It sounds kind of tricky to me because I don't know if that is what a search engine offers or if that is something new. Like is that a feature on top of a search engine or does Google by offering these features now enter into a new category in a way?

Leo: Well, it's old fashioned to think of a search engine as something that you merely type a phrase into and it gives you a list of sites that match the phrase. That is kind of our old fashioned notion of what Google is, and I think that what you are saying, quite rightly, is that Google wants to be more useful than this.

Katie: The FTC has closed its investigation. It is after the fact. This is over. Google is found not to be, you know, trust busting. They were found innocent.

Leo: I've argued this, and of course this is pie in the sky, but I do wish that there were a search, and part of the problem is that Google is a monopoly. It's not like you are going to go use something else.

Katie: Of course it is.

Leo: And I guess that you could use Bing.

Katie: This is not illegal.

Leo: But it's not illegal, right. But I kind of wish that there was some holy priesthood search engine that didn't have all of these side business, didn't have YouTube...

Christina: DuckDuckGo.

Leo: But DuckDuckGo uses Google's results.

Christina: Yes it does.

Jill: But it strips all of that other stuff out.

Christina: They have some of their own crawling, even though it is minor. 

Leo: They have not yet done their own business of crawling, and that is what they need. If they would do that and say, look, we are just going to hue to the one thing, which is to provide you results that will be useful to you, and we are not in any other business so we cannot help our other businesses, I would like that. I would switch to that.

Christina: I think that the problem is, though, that it almost is the last technology, that was the old pyridine, like the web 1.0, web 2.0 search pyridine, whereas Google is actually frankly moving now, and where search is going in the future, is that people are using their mobile devices and it becomes about being anticipatory, which is why Google needs to do more of these customized things and they need to learn more about us because they need to know if you are in this area and I am searching for Starbucks, you should show me the Starbucks closest to where I am, not their website or something else. If you are looking for an airline or time or something for takeoff and landing you should be searching for that day, not for just general information. I think that I am with you, but I almost wonder if going that direction is going in the past and kind of away from how most of us are going to be using search in the future.

Leo: No, I agree, and Google now makes it much more useful, and that is a much different beast than a search engine. Google's response to this by the way, one of the accusations from the Wall Street Journal was of course this happened because since Obama took office employees of Google have visited the White House 230 times. In comparison Comcast has only visited twice.

Katie: If you dig way, way down into that story, and this is why it is so important to read to the very end, the Journal does acknowledge that a lot of those visits were so that employees could help set up President Obama's, you know, Q&A that went over Google Hangouts. These were not policy people.

Leo: 5 of them, according to Google, were a Google engineer on leave helping to fix technical issues with's website.

Katie: Right, and a lot of those people were people who were actually going in and out to apply for jobs at the White House. So you have to get really far down in the story before it comes clear maybe why there were so many more visits in that year than previously.

Leo: Over a dozen visits were for production crews covering the YouTube interviews with the president following the State of the Union.

Katie: Right, exactly.

Leo: By the way, that was Alex Lindsey and his group from PixelCore. I love the picture that they put in the Google blog, this is their policy blog, "Really Rupert?" Then they have got a baby laughing.

Christina: I love that they are responding with GIFs analysis.

Leo: Animated GIFs, that is the solution.

Christina: I love it. What's interesting to me, and obviously this case was already decided, but to me what was more bothersome than even some of the monopolistic practice stuff which obviously we know that they have, but the fact that the argument was, and there seemed to be proof of this, that they were kind of holding Amazon ransom to a certain extent saying that you have to pay us this amount of money for ads if we are going to show your search results on our pages at all. That's actually a lot more bothersome than any of the other stuff, because then I am thinking, okay, take away the sanctity of search out of it, you are now basically saying to one of your pseudo competitors in some ways, but also one of your biggest customers, the only way you will continue to kind of show the results where they should be shown is if they continue to pay you. That is the Microsoft stuff right there. That is some pure Microsoft from the 90s sort of stuff right there. So on the one hand I am like well-played, somebody read Bill's handbook, on the other hand I am like, wow, that's don't be evil, my ass. Come on.

Leo: I have to say that Google wields such power in our society. Go ahead, I'm sorry.

Katie: Those are the things that people are going to start scrutinizing. The FTC stuff is closed just like Christina said, there are interesting tidbits, and there are interesting insights into Google's practices that will probably be put under the spotlight maybe more than they were before.

Leo: Rightly so. Google wields a lot of power. I think we need to keep them honest. You know who else we need to keep honest? Radio Shack. Radio Shack is, of course, going out of business, and in their bankruptcy sale they are offering 10's of millions of email and home addresses to the highest bidder. Did you ever join the Radio Shack battery club? Remember when you bought something from Radio Shack and they asked you for your phone number? Well, now you know where it is going. 13 million email addresses, 65 million customer names and physical addresses, and they are trying to sell it off as part of their assets. AT&T is complaining, not because AT&T is in favor of privacy, but because they say that is our data.

Christina: They are like, no, you can't resell this, we get to profit from it, not you. That's my favorite part.

Leo: It's important to know because we often point to privacy policies. Radio Shack did have a privacy policy in place, but most of the time these privacy policies do not survive the sale or liquidation of a company.

Christina: They do not. Absolutely. This is one reason why I would refuse to give the Radio Shack people my name, or my zip code, or sign up to buy the $5 insurance plan on my $25 Ethernet to USB adaptor. I would say no, I'm not going to buy that, and they would look at me funny. I think this is also one reason why none of us are upset that they are going out of business because this is the first thing that they will do.

Leo: Wow. In the past the FTC, again, has said that if something like this is happening in a liquidation that data should be sold with a larger group of assets not just parceled out to the highest bidder by themselves. The privacy policy should be maintained and the buyer should be in the general line of business. This is an example of why you might want to be a little careful about the information that you give out. We are out of time, but what a great time we had. I want to thank you all three for being here. Jill Duffy,, anything that you want to plug?

Jill: I still have my column Get Organized every Monday. The one coming out tomorrow is about freeing up some space on your iPhone.

Leo: That's easier said than done.

Jill: You know what, the gist of my column is that it really is for everybody. I'm not talking about high tech stuff where you have to do any scripting or, you know, unlock an Android phone. It's really basic tips. I want it to be understandable for the people who don't really dig into their technology that much. They are just ordinary people. They want to use their phones. They want them to work. So I try to write simple, clear tips for people that everybody can understand.

Leo: We all need that. That's a great service., thank you for being here Jill.

Jill: Thank you Leo.

Leo: Katie Benner, she writes at the much lovelier, a very well designed site. Thank you for being here Katie. Anything that you want to plug?

Katie: I am a columnist at Bloomberg View and I write a couple of times a week, but I also have a daily newsletter where I round up all of the tech news of the day and I do my take on what is important and what you should be looking for. 

Leo: I need to get that. Where do I get that?

Katie: I will shoot you an email the minute that we are off the air.

Leo: Plug it on the air! What are you talking about. Plug it.

Katie: We are redesigning the whole thing.

Leo:  Oh, you don't want anybody to know about it yet? Oh.

Katie: But if you want to subscribe there is an RSS. You can just go to my site or you can email me at, and I will send you the tiny letter you need to subscribe.

Leo: Nice, thank you.

Katie: Yeah, it's that easy.

Leo: That sounds great. Christina Warren, always a pleasure, from The kind of the Meerkat. You were saying that's not you?

Christina: That's not me.

Leo: Who is that, that's Pete Cashmore?

Christina: That's Pete Cashmore, that's our very pretty CEO.

Leo: He is too damn good looking.

Christina: He really is. He really is. It's not fair. It's not fair.

Leo: The chiseled cheekbones.

Christina: Yes, it's ridiculous how good looking he is.

Leo: The fashionista. He's shy, that's what cracks me up.

Christina: He's shy, he's so shy. Which is why it is so funny that he has become such a Meerkat whore, because he's the shyest person in the world. So it's really bizarre.

Leo: He still sounds like a Scotsman, right?

Christina: He does. 

Leo: Good, as long as he doesn't lose that. I love Pete. He was on the show a couple of times, and he was just too shy. He didn't want to do it. He said I don't want to be in public. But we think that he is just the greatest. Give him my regards. Thank you all 3, we appreciate your being here. We had a good day, a good week, nay, a good week on TWiT, and if you missed any of it here is some of what you missed.

(Video Plays): Previously on TWiT. You hear the whoop whoop? Whoop whoop. Triangulation. I am becoming increasingly convinced that the notion now is corporate life cycle. The corporation is built for a certain technology, and pyridine, and the rest of it. I'm with you, times change, and they change faster now than they ever have before. All About Android. You brought in a pretty fine piece of hardware if I do say so myself, the HTC One M9. This is a phenomenal, fantastic phone. It is going to be one of the top 5 phones this year, no doubt about it, except for the camera. Before You Buy. We put an uncrashable Parrot Bebop in the hands of our own Leo Laporte. It's very easy to use, and that is a good thing since the last one I lost in the sky. No, come back drone! It did it again. Land, land, land. Giz Whiz. What the heck is this? You don't know what this is? No. That goes into his mouth. What? And that is going to be a guide to shave the perfect goatee. That's pretty good. TWiT, friends don't let friends miss TWiT.

Leo: We cover everything on TWiT. If you missed any of that, well, just tune in this week because it's going to be another great week, especially tomorrow on Triangulation with Ben Ruben, the founder of Meerkat. We do This Week in Tech on Sunday afternoons 3 pm Pacific, 6 pm Eastern Time, that's 2200 UTC at If you can't be here live, and we love it if you can, but if you can't you can always email us. I'm sorry, email, why would you email? I'm sorry. We will send you a copy? No. Just go to, that's where it is. You don't have to email. Just download a copy there or wherever podcasts are stored. We also have great TWiT apps on all of the devices, all of the mobile devices, on Android, IOS, Windows Phone, even Roku. If you want to be in studio we would love that. We have changed our policy just a little bit. We do require that you email us now at We appreciate if you let us know ahead of time, that way we will make sure that we always have a place for you to sit. We are going to have to start turning away walk ins I'm afraid, so email us for tickets at Thanks for being here. We will see you next time. Don't forget, April 19th, the 10th Anniversary of TWiT with all of the original members of the TWiT cast. It's going to be a lot of fun. See you next time! Another TWiT is in the can.

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