This Week in Tech 512 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech! Great panel for you! Iain Thomson from The Register, Serenity Caldwell from iMore, Mathew Ingram from Fortune. We're going to talk about all the announcements that Google made at IO, what Apple might talk about at WWDC, and the lady who brought in an Apple One computer for recycling. It's all coming up next, on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT: This Week in Tech, episode 512, recorded Sunday, May 31, 2015.
The Wombat Test
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It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news proudly live and in living color, Iain Thomson is here from the Register. Good to see you.
Iain Thomson: Good to see you too.
Leo: I should warn you that he just tweeted on another This Week in Tech Show; we'll try to keep it clean, but after a tough week... Has it been a tough week for you?
Iain: You weren't at Google IO, were you? It was a tough week. It really was a tough week. That and a bunch of other stuff. Saturday morning, right. I turned all the alarms off; I'm going to sleep in until 11:00, and then at 8:30 rolled over into a puddle of cat vomit.
Leo: That's a tough week. I still have a scar. We have kittens; I have a scar on my back. You can't get sick from a kitty scratch, can you? There's not something called "Cat Scratch Fever" is there?
Iain: There is. If you start biting during the show, I'm out of here.
Leo: Also with us from Fortune, I'm happy to say, formerly of Giga Olm, the famous Mathew Ingram from... during the week you join us in your office. Today, you're relaxed.
Mathew Ingram: I'm at a friend's house, actually.
Leo: Nice. That looks comfy. I want to thank you both for being here. I appreciate that. Serenity Caldwell is stuck in traffic. She'll be with us. She's in Boston. Stuck in traffic in Boston means she could be with us some time in the next few weeks. We'll get her here in a bit. If you think you had a bad week, I've got to think the project manager for Apple's photos app had a bad week.
Iain: Everyone on Flicker as well. I got the feeling that Google over-sold the photo thing, but it's certainly really interesting what they're doing with it.
Leo: I don't know if they over sold it. Have you played with it?
Iain: I have played with it. I took it immediately off my phone once I read the terms and conditions.
Leo: Terms shmerms. What do they say? They own all our pictures? Who cares.
Mathew: That's pretty standard though.
Iain: I know it's ass covering, but at the same time, it's like, "Right. I'm going to test this out in the office privately with a couple of photos I really couldn't give a monkey about." It looks pretty good. It looks better than what Apple has got at the moment certainly.
Leo: It's ironic. It's the same name.
Iain: There's only so many things you can call pictures of people.
Mathew: Apple only has themselves to blame. Let's face it. This is a company with 800 billion dollars and they haven't been able to figure out how to get a cloud service working properly. Their photo thing has gone through multiple revisions, and it's like punching yourself in the face repeatedly every time you try to use it. It just makes me want to throw my computer out the window.
Leo: Unlike you, Iain, I uploaded every photo I have ever taken to this. I have well over 39,000 photos on here now. The categorization alone makes that worthwhile. It did this, here's my son, Henry. I'll choose me instead.
Mathew: With kids we track them from childhood to adulthood with any mistake.
Leo: That's an interesting question. I know Henry is here both as a child and as a 20 year old. Abby is not here as a child and a 20 year old. I have plenty of pictures of both. Then it's places, then it's things including cars, skylines, and stadiums. Let's just see. Cats. How many cat pictures? Lots of cat pictures.
Iain: You do like your cats, don't you?
Leo: They're new. The new thing gets all the pictures. Dogs, there were a few errors. It categorized some cats as dogs. It categorized some stone lions as dogs. I didn't do anything. I uploaded these pictures. There's a stone lion that it thinks is a dog.
Iain: I thought you said stoned lion. What are you doing to these creatures?
Leo: There's three cat pictures that it thought were dogs, but Flicker is doing this too. Obviously there was some massive breakthrough in artificial intelligence and image recognition in the last few years. It seems like everybody does this now. It's still incredibly useful. That is not a dog, that is a lion shaped cat. But still, it's amazing that they could go through 40,000 pictures of mine in less than a day, and fully categorize them without any intervention on my part.
Mathew: They've been doing this for a while. flicker just came up with it recently, but I've had 50,000-60,000 photos--Google Plus photos, which is basically the same thing. Once I turned on Google's personal search, I could go to a Google search box and type in my photos of Caitlin, our oldest daughter. It would pull up every photo I've ever taken. It's amazing.
Leo: I just typed in a search for Paris in the snow. Let's see if it finds anything. I know I have pictures of Paris, yes. It's snowy. You don't find that mind-boggling?
Iain: I think it's great. I just don't have that many photos that I want to put in the cloud. Call me Mr. Paranoid.
Leo: What is Google going to do? Sell my pictures?
Iain: I don't see any point to it. I back all my photos up on a hard drive once a month, put them onto another hard drive and take them to work so I've got dual back up in two locations. I leave it at that. I don't access that many photos unless I know I'm going to need something specific. As long as I've got copies at home and work, I'm not sold on sticking them on the cloud.
Mathew: I'm really glad that I had a Google Plus auto photo backup turned on, so every photo I take on my phone automatically gets uploaded. My backpack got stolen when we were in Italy, so my laptop, iPad, and an external hard drive with every photo I've ever taken. Someone in Amalia has all my photos. I'd much rather Google that, then have to put stuff down. I didn't have to worry so much about not having a laptop, because all the photos I own exist on Google servers. I can reach them wherever, as long as I have an Internet connection.
Iain: Theft is where I'm going to crumble with my approach. It's all well and good, but if somebody does run off with your backpack, you are a bit stuffed. That's a good example of how it works well. That happens a lot in Italy. We just came back from there last summer, and an awful lot of people lost their bags.
Leo: Exactly the same thing happened to Trey. He had Lyca lenses, Sony cameras. He lost...
Mathew: That’s terrible.
Leo: Trey is a Buddhist. He said, "Wow. It just happens. That's life. It's the photo tax. I just bought new gear." I would have been angry.
Mathew: The Cloud certainly made a difference for us, because 5, 6 years ago, everything I owned would have been on that computer, including all my photos. I would have been heartbroken. All these pictures of my kids and stuff, but as it was, now I just get to upgrade my laptop. I couldn't care less.
Leo: What is going on with Cloud storage prices? For Google to offer this, millions of people a terabyte of storage for free, that's not insignificant. How could they do this?
Mathew: I think they know what most people aren't going to use that much. Most people are going to put up a bunch of recent photos, maybe some keepsakes. They're not going to be like us and upload 75 Gigabytes of photos I don't think.
Iain: There are some limits as well. Maximum 16 mega pixel for images, maximum 1080 p for video, and then when they put them on there, they can press them down and muck about. You can't stick roll riles up on there, you can't stick...
Leo: You can, but you'll pay for it.
Iain: Once your Google drive allowance has gone up, yeah. It's ten dollars a month.
Leo: I have a terabyte on Google Drive because of the pixel.
Mathew: I'm kind of a cloud backup, I'm platform agnostic.
Leo: Use the word 'slut.' You know you want to.
Mathew: Or I'm obsessed with redundancies, so I actually pay Amazon and Dropbox and Google.
Leo: Microsoft offers unlimited storage if you're an office 365 subscriber. I have that. Facebook will take every picture. Admittedly crushed into nothingness, but they'll do it. There's no reason to lose a picture ever again. Let's say that.
Mathew: The thing that's great about Google photos--I'm like you. I've got 50,000-60,000 photos; I don't have time to tag all those photos. You can't find the one you want, you remember oh yeah, it was a photo of so-in-so or maybe it was in Paris, or maybe... at least this gives you the ability to go through them without taking hours to find a single photo or tag a photo.
Leo: I just typed Australia. Normally I would go in the Lightroom, I would go through all the photos, and I would create a collection. I didn't have to do any of that. Here's all the photos I took in Australia. By the way, what is that animal? What do you call that?
Iain: Koala? Wombat?
Leo: I think it's a wombat. Here's a test. Wombat. We know there's a wombat picture in here somewhere. Oh my god!
Jason Howell: It passed the wombat test!
Leo: It passed the wombat... I did not expect that.
Mathew: There's the name of the show there.
Iain: The Wombat Test.
Leo: There's more than one wombat picture. It didn't get them all. It's only a moderate wombat test pass, because there's another one, but that's a wombat from behind. You can't expect it to know. That could be a ball of fur. It got the big one.
Mathew: You didn't say "wombat behind." You just said "wombat."
Leo: I'm not going to say "wombat behind," but let's try "Tasmanian devil." You think it'll recognize that?
Mathew: Oh yeah.
Leo: If it did "wombat." Tasmanian devil from behind... uh oh. Did I spell "Tasmanian" wrong? I think I did. Got to spell it right. It did pass the wombat test, but it failed the Tasmanian devil test.
Iain: Hang on. You went all the way to Australia, and you didn't get a picture of a drop bear. What is going on?
Leo: What is a drop bear?
Iain: Drop bear is a terrible beast. They drop out of the trees and attack you. You can only deal with them by smearing marmite on top of your head.
Leo: You are such a liar.
Iain: They always tell Australian tourists, beware the drop bear.
Leo: You know the Tasmanian devil is scary enough, I got to tell you. I don't know why Google didn't know that that was a Tasmanian Devil. Maybe it thought it was a cat. I should look through the cat pictures and see if it's an angry cat.
Mathew: That's a mean looking animal.
Iain: Pretty much everything in Australia is deadly for you. Even the beer.
Mathew: There's spiders that will paralyze you instantly.
Leo: That's great.
Iain: My favorite is the tiny shellfish that's got a stinger in it. Some people have tried to kill themselves from the pain.
Leo: Something to look forward to.
Mathew: Extra feature.
Leo: From the consumer point of view, that was the big announcement of Google IO. Apple's got WWDC coming up. Do you think that they're scrambling to respond to that? They don't care.
Iain: I don't honestly think that Apple gives a monkey about Google. Photo is great. They also announced pay and the fingerprint-sensing thing, which Apple was doing a year ago.
Leo: They're playing catch up in other regards.
Iain: It swings round about on that one.
Mathew: Ben Thompson and I were talking on Twitter about how Apple... devices are what they're all about, right? So services in a way are a way to get people to buy and use their devices, Google is the exact opposite. It doesn't care about devices. Devices are a way to get people to use Google services. It helps explain why Apple devices are so great and their services are terrible and Google's services are great but their devices aren't so good.
Leo: It also means it's tough to compete with Google. For instance, it's not in Apple's interest to give away cloud storage. That's a profit center. They need to charge for that. But Google, because they make money elsewhere in this nebulous the net will make more money kind of thing, they can and they can put a lot of resources into it. That makes it hard to compete.
Mathew: If you think about it, Apple has 140 billion in cash. That's a mind-boggling amount of money. If you wanted to get smart about a cloud service, you could hire people and buy things and build things if they really wanted to, it's not as if they're resource-constrained.
Iain: It's not in their business-model. There are Apple customers who will pay a price premium for what they consider to be good, even if it isn't very good. They're happy to keep prices high.
Leo: There's an advantage that Google has, and this is where Apple might come a cropper, to use a phrase you might have used Iain, is that Google, because they give away all these services, because they have these photos, are going to be able to do deep data mining in ways that Apple because they are promoting privacy can't. You already see this with Google now. I wonder how soon before I get photographic analytics from Google. 32% of your photos are food. The caloric content of the pictures is hot... Hello, Serenity Caldwell!
Serenity Caldwell: Hi! I made it. It's pouring rain.
Leo: Great to have you. Traffic in Boston being what it is; I'm amazed you're here at all. Thank you.
Serenity: Yes. I'm glad to be here. I think it's really interesting, of course there's the interview with Bradley Horowitz that Steven Leavy did on Medium the day that this was announced at the Keynote, and in that interview, there are a couple of interesting sound bytes, including the fun fact where they're like, "We have no current plans to use all of our analytical data that we're mining from your photos for advertising." We're not ruling it out if say--he used something funny--if say Tesla had a recall and we noticed you had a Tesla in the photos, we'd be able to tell you about that.
Leo: Isn't that good? Or is that not good?
Serenity: It has potential to be good. Here's the thing. People tend to take the argument of Google is evil because they're mining your data, or Google is wonderful because they're trying to make your life easier. It's a company; it's not a person. It doesn't...
Mathew: It could be either one.
Serenity: Exactly. It just depends on what you value from your services.
Mathew: It might even be evil accidentally. It might not set out to be evil.
Serenity: Exactly. I think they actually have... I wrote a not necessarily critical piece earlier this week, just be aware of the potential of what Google could do for your photos. On one hand, it's going to make it much easier to search your photos, because you will be able to get that quick real-time auto face detection and all of that. But Google--
Mathew: We just did that.
Serenity: Exactly. I saw the tail end of that right there. I think that that's cool, I think that's amazing technology, but then you look at the flip side. Currently Google photos don’t analyze who is in the photos, but it could at one point. Down the line it could analyze who is in the photos. It could analyze what place you've been at. Oh, this person. You're intimate with this person in this photo, and you're at this restaurant, and you seem to go there quite often, so I'm going to show you ads in Gmail for a coupon for this restaurant. On one hand, that's awesome because yay. We go to this restaurant a lot and coupons are nice, but on the other hand, you think about that kind of data and their ability to collect that kind of data. They could either do wonderful things with it like offer you coupons and offer you relevant information, or that kind of data could be misused. I don't think even Google is the company or the person that would misuse that data. It's just that if that data is being collected and stored somewhere, heaven forefend that either that data is compromised or someone decides to take a vested interest in like... this data could get me information for millions of customers. I was reading that old article... do you guys remember a couple years back when the New York Times interviewed the former sales director of Target who was talking about how they pre-plan circulars to figure out how people are pregnant before people know or tell anyone else?
Leo: That was a great article, yeah. Target knew someone was pregnant before her parents did because of how she wandered the store.
Serenity: Exactly. Because of the things she was putting in her cart. It had the telling line. We found when we send people circulars that have all baby items in them and they haven't told anybody they're pregnant, but say if we send them this circular and it has random things peppered in it like a lawn mower and beer that they would never buy, they think this is random. Everybody gets this circular. Hey, this is a great coupon for baby items, and I'm going to need this in two months. It's that kind of a thought. There's the level of how much data can we use that we've collected about you without you being, "OK, that's weird."
Leo: I think Google is doing face recognition. I just searched for my son's name. I know it does face recognition, because it matches it to a name because I found all these pictures of Henry as an adult and a kid. I don't think I tagged them in any particular way.
Mathew: I've done the same thing.
Leo: It is doing face matching.
Mathew: It's not just photos. Google Now, the whole promise of Google Now is that they'll know so much about you that they can suggest helpful things, but knowing that much about you means they know a lot of about you. They can also probably suggest not so nice things. Someone seeing that data could suggest not so nice things. I think you're right, Serenity. It may not be actively evil or good, but it definitely has good and evil applications.
Leo: By the way, is that why you didn't give them all your photos, Iain?
Iain: I don't like giving that much information out for free. The Senate is currently debating the Patriot Act this very day. They've come into recess to do it. I'm not worried about Google to be honest. I'm more worried about a lawful request that says we have the right to scoop all that data. Why make it easy for them? That's how I feel.
Leo: I think though that there's a risk... I really like this and I really want this. I want Google Now. I would be thrilled if I had a pair of Google glasses that would pop up people's names and reputation scores as I walked around. This would be valuable to me. There's a risk that by over-stating the risks, we could eliminate a useful thing. There's always been a debate about new technologies. Jack Hardloon's let's destroy those, that debate has always happened. I fear that we won't get some innovations that could be very valuable because of a tenuous or nebulous fear of something that isn't real. A techno-panic.
Serenity: That is the worry. It's the frustrating balance between how much privacy can we potentially compromise at the extent of innovation.
Leo: If you're going to say "what if," there's a burden on you to say how great that possibility is. It's easy to say "what if."
Iain: I deal with security an awful lot on The Register. 2 or 3 years ago, I was being called paranoid for suggesting some of the things that I suggested were going on, and then when certain leaks came out and we realized how deep down that hole we were, I think that let a lot of people to say I'm pulling back from that. That's why Google and others are really having problems with the NSA at the moment.
Leo: Storm troopers aren't knocking on our doors and taking us away in the dead of night to a cell. That hasn't happened yet, has it?
Iain: Yet being the crucial word on that one.
Leo: I can presume all sorts of moral injury.
Iain: Why take the risk?
Leo: I get great stuff out of it. I can type marmot and get wombats or whatever it is.
Serenity: It's more a protection of your personal privacy. You can be willing to give as much as you want to a certain service. Anyone who is active on the Internet signs a contract that they are giving away a certain amount of themselves away. People on Twitter will divulge what cafes I'm at if they follow me intently and they want to find out... if someone wants to find out where you live, they will find out where you live. It's not that hard, ultimately. It's a question of how much of this stuff am I voluntarily giving over for great things.
Mathew: How much you know with what Google is going to do with it. How much is Google disclosing about what they do with the data, what they could do with the data, is it being anonomized... there has to be a certain amount of information they give you so you can make an informed choice about whether to do it or not.
Serenity: I did find it really interesting; something that Apple does really well in this sphere is that they make it really clear that this is exactly what we do with your data when it gets uploaded to iCloud and all of that. This is what we'll never do with your data. That does come at a cost premium because they do charge for it, rather than making the services free with Google. Google I feel like obfuscates that a lot. They've gotten better about it, but when Google photos came out and I was looking at the splash page, this beautiful thing. Here are all the magical things that it can do. You cannot click the terms and conditions; you don't have to check a box to sign up for it. If you have a Google account, you are opted in. That's already yours. If you've uploaded any photos to Google plus, those are already in Google photos. There's no obvious "here's what we do with this, here's what we don't." If it wasn't for that Bradley Horowitz interview, I would still be combing through Google's privacy policies to figure out what was applied to photos, vs. what was applied to Gmail. It's telling that he's saying Google photos is going to be Gmail for your photos. I think Gmail did a lot of wonderful things. I do use Gmail, but there are also downsides to Gmail. We've discovered how deep that advertising rabbit hole goes.
Leo: When the feds come are they going to haul away everybody who uses Google? Everybody from Apple is going to be safe?
Iain: Not at all. It's a question of a fundamental view of your privacy. As someone with a fairly poor memory, I want those glasses that will whisper in your ear the name of someone your talking to. I want all that stuff, that's fine, but I'm not prepared to give up a certain amount to do that. I use Gmail every day. I use it for work and personal business. I share stuff on Twitter. I share stuff on Facebook, but you've got to be aware of what you're sharing and why you're sharing it.
Serenity: Awareness is a key factor.
Leo: I just don't want Alex Jones to determine what kind of features I get in the Internet.
Mathew: None of us want that, Leo.
Leo: Some of us do want that. They're in the chat room right now. Biscuitdev says, "Leo, you sound like a smoker with a craving for ciggies." I'm hooked. I acknowledge it. You do have a choice. You even have a choice not to use the Internet at all if you want to be really private.
Serenity: If you want to be paranoid, absolutely.
Iain: You have to go live on a farm somewhere.
Leo: If you don't want modern conveniences, you have to live on a farm or somewhere disconnected.
Mathew: I know someone who won't upload pictures of their kids to Facebook or Google because they don't want to take the risk of those photos going somewhere they don't want.
Leo: I certainly don't begrudge them that. That's their absolute right. Nobody is suggesting you have to do this.
Iain: If you do it, you've got to be aware of what you're doing and what you're sharing. I stick photos up on Facebook and that sort of thing. You've always got to have in the back of your mind that you're sharing this with everyone, think about what you're doing. Some people feel strongly about it, and I respect that decision totally. For me personally, it's the way I roll.
Serenity: We talk about our tech savvy people. My parents, who are aware of tech and who use tech everyday may not realize if I upload this photo to Google photos, even if I set it to private and I never share it with anyone, there's a small possibility that someone else might see that data. That data might get used for advertising. Being able to tell the public this is what's going on. Not fear mongering, not saying this is the worst thing ever. It's all going to be terrible. This is a thing.
Leo: I want that choice too. I don't want the lowest common denominator privacy or the highest common denominator of privacy to determine what I can do. If everybody is rattling the cage, "Oh my god, we've got to protect our privacy." Google has face recognition, but they're never going to implement it because of people like you.
Iain: They will make it an option. The number of people like me compared to--
Leo: They can't make it an option. Then the people who opt in would be stalkers and creeps.
Mathew: They said they didn't do it with Google glass because they were afraid of the repercussions.
Leo: That's what I'm arguing here. The techno-Amish are keeping us from living in the future because you want to live in the past.
Mathew: It's fair to point out that Google isn't just giving millions of people photo storage with terabytes of data out of the goodness of its heart.
Serenity: They're a company. Yeah.
Mathew: They are bringing in that stuff, just like they're giving you voice recognition and automatically recognize your voicemails because they want the data so they can learn more about you and people like you and learn how to do things with that data. Not for bad reasons, but for their own reasons.
Leo: I presume it has to do with advertising.
Serenity: Advertising is part of it. In terms of Google as a company, as a whole, if you look at Google's goals, going back to the very origin of Google, their goal from day one has been to understand humanity and build the biggest database about humanity possible. Then we can learn things about it and build really smart computers. That's where the super paranoid people go off on Skynet. We are teaching computers so many things that if AGI or CSI ever gets flipped on, this will be an interesting progression. In general, I don't think that they're collecting the data for advertising. They have an interest in we want to build a cool database. They're nerds at heart.
Leo: At IO they said something I haven't heard them say in a while, which was the original mission of Google, which was to organize the world's information. They use that phrase at IO. I haven't heard that in a while from Google.
Iain: They used it in the press conference over the photo app. We want to organize your memories, and it does do a good job of it. I think Serenity is right. This database has given them a big advantage in machine learning. The whole Gmail advertising system depends on this, and they've obviously got way ahead of the pack when it comes to deep machine learning.
Mathew: Especially things like Google Now. They use that data to recommend things to you, to be able to understand your behavior. To be able to say to Leo that there's a new wombat calendar out because we know you like wombats. Their ability to offer other services that are useful like that. It's based on the data that they've built up over the last ten years.
Leo: I'm glad to give you and everyone else not participate. Just please don't let your fear of technology keep me from getting some of the cool stuff I want.
Iain: It's not terror. Just as you are happy for me to do this, I'm happy for you to do your stuff as well.
Leo: I'm giving them everything.
Iain: The number of people out there who are holding up information, it's not going to hold up technology.
Mathew: You made a point that I thought was interesting. It's not that Google will do something bad itself deliberately, it's that the data that has accumulated could be used by someone else, say the government to do something bad. Google would have no choice but to give up that information.
Iain: If a law comes in saying that you have to hand this over, you have to comply with the lawful request.
Leo: Is anybody live-blogging the senate's session right now? It would be good to keep an eye on it. June 1 at midnight is sunset for section 215. I think the whole Patriot act is sunsetted in two hours. 5 hours, 11 minutes, and 40 seconds. They're meeting right now. Mitch McConnell is going you got to pass this patriot act.
Iain: Mitch McConnell wants the Patriot Act permanently.
Leo: He wants a permanent Patriot Act. Him I'm afraid of.
Iain: I wouldn't trust him to find his own backside with his own hands, let alone access to my data.
Leo: This is the FF article: "Why Mitch McConnell cannot be allowed to decide the fate of the Patriot Act." You know, I'm no fan of the Rand Paul family, but he's fighting the good fight there. I have to support him for that. We'll try to keep an eye on that if you're watching live. There's five hours left for the senate to do something... it will sunset if they do nothing.
Iain: It might sunset for a day or two, but at the end of the day it doesn't mean that ISIS is swarming into US borders with hate in their hearts. A better piece of legislation would be fine. I think Rand Paul is mad as a sack of badgers most of the time, but on this one he's actually right.
Leo: We'll watch the sun set on section 215. It's going to be a beautiful sunset.
Serenity: Twitter has a live feed. #patriotact. Surprise.
Leo: The world is on Twitter these days. Meanwhile, we got a great panel. This is already fun and it's going to get funner. That's not a word.
Iain: What the hell. You make them up.
Serenity: Apple used it at some point.
Leo: You can say ciggies, I can say funner. Mathew Ingram is here from Fortune magazine, Iain Thomson from The Register, Serenity Caldwell, I didn't give you credit. We'll say Serenity Caldwell from imore.com. Wonderful panel of people talking about the week's news. We'll continue in just a moment. Our show to you today brought to you by Personal Capital. I love Personal Capital. It's important to plan for your future. It's important to save. It's important to invest. I think so many people stick that money somewhere and forget about it. Or worse, they're using a broker, but a broker who doesn't have their best interests at heart. A broker who is working on a commission who is pushing products on you because he'll make more money, or encouraging you to trade more because he makes money every time you trade. That's going to shake years off your retirement. I don't want you to do that. I want you to try Personal Capital right now. Personal Capital is free. It's absolutely secure. They have mobile apps, as you can see for IOS, for Android, for the Amazon Kindle store. They also have watch apps. They have watch for Android wear and now Apple watch that will keep you up-to-date as to what's going on with your investments. Their tools will help you plan for the future. This is completely free. Open your free account, link your investment and bank accounts, in seconds a dashboard of your complete net worth will be there updated in real time, in one secure place. That's part one. You don't have to use this, but part two is-- most people don't use this. They just take the free stuff. They are also an SCC registered financial advisors. They're not brokers. They have reduced sharing responsibility to look out for your best interest. They don't work on commission. They can give you very good advice. They give you a sense of what they can do if you put 100,000 or more in assets to the Personal Capital dashboard, you'll get a free 30-minute review. I did it really straightforward. You talk about your goals, your risk tolerance. When you plan to retire. What you've got for investments now. They're very good. I was very impressed. Take control of your financial future. Personal Capital. Give you total clarity and transparency to make better investment decisions right away. It's free. You even get a free no-obligation portfolio consultation if you link more than 100,000 in assets on the dashboard. personalcapital.com/twit. Try it today. I've been using it for almost 3 years now. personalcapital.com/twit. We thank them for their support of This Week in Tech. What's the hash tag for? Section 215?
Iain: I'm doing Patriot Act at the moment.
Leo: I shall do that.
Iain: What is the opposite of Patriotic? Patriot Act. OK. Funny.
Leo: Like the discussion we just had, there are two sides to this discussion too. President Obama says I don't want it on my watch that there's a terrorist act that we could have found out about but we didn't because we didn't let the NSA do its job. It's not an unreasonable point of view.
Mathew: There's no evidence that they've been able to stop anything, despite all of this data collection. If they had one example, not even a good one that would be great. There's zero.
Iain: In the 9/11 report they said explicitly that all the legal process was there that was needed to get the information to stop the attacks, but it wasn't gelled together and examined in the way which people teased out these little things from that. As you say, Matthew, they haven't been able to give us a single example beyond one taxi driver who gave 3,200 to a terrorist group from this whole thing. Why are we paying for it? Why are we doing it?
Leo: They're the experts. I'm going to play devil's advocate. If they want these tools, do you think that the NSA is evil? I think that they're patriots. They're doing their best to protect us.
Iain: A lot of people at the NSA are patriots. There's a certain kind of mindset, which means if we can grab this data, why not? This data is all out there, so they can ask the telephone companies for it. They could ask Google for it. The point is--
Mathew: It's not targeted in any way. There are ways to collect data that is relevant; there are processes to go through. This is not that. This is collecting everything you say and do and click on and look at, just in case randomly you might be involved in something bad and they can figure that out.
Leo: Matthew, you're a Canadian. You don't care. Are you watching this like a sporting event? Or do you care?
Matthew: I do care. Obviously it affects me secondarily. It affects me when I use services like Google or when I enter the US or when I deal with companies in the US. I'm positive they're grabbing my clicks and my stream and my everything. Either they're getting it directly or they've got a deal with the Canadian version of the NSA to trade data. I know it's happening. It's the indiscriminate nature of it that bothers me. It's not that they're doing it. It's that they're doing it with everyone and all of their data without any kind of targeting. That's what bothers me.
Leo: There you go. We have it on the screen. This is C-span 2. They're voting now whether to limit debate. That's a cloture vote, right? 76 to 17. That has passed. They've got cloture. They've ended debate on it. That means they will get it to a vote on a bill.
Iain: Presumably they'll be voting on USA freedom. Mitch McConnell has got his own--USA Freedom is up for the vote.
Leo: That's the one that was passed in the House of Representatives limiting the mass collection of phone data. The senate could not get cloture. They couldn't get the majority to vote on it last time as they re-convene maybe that's what's going on right now. It's hard to follow. They just stand there a lot and look around.
Iain: We've got this problem in the UK at the moment. Our new prime minister wants to banish all applications with encryptions that can't be unlocked by the government.
Leo: What did Cameron say that was so wild?
Iain: Basically, you cannot use an encryption scheme in the UK that cannot be broken by--
Leo: He said we should no longer tolerate free speech.
Iain: What a delightful quote that was. We've perhaps been too open minded in our acceptance of free speech.
Leo: Let's not be open-minded.
Iain: That's very easy for you to say. If you're part of the people who come to the UK from outside and who make up the UK these days, that's a little insulting. Just a little bit. I hope he's made to eat those words.
Leo: You've got C 51 up north.
Mathew: We sure do.
Leo: Tell us about that.
Mathew: It's trying to do something similar. I'm trying to remember where it is exactly. Fundamentally the intent is the same, to do as much monitoring as possible. Anti-terrorism. The rationale is that we need to do these things in order to stop terrorists. The risk in my mind is that it's a little like asking people to give the police a key in case they want to come and look around your house. Will they do it? Maybe not. Maybe you give up a little freedom each time you do that in return for what? In return for some theoretical potential benefit you might get at some future point.
Serenity: It feels to me a little bit like; say you're in a relationship with a guy or with a girl who is like "I love you. We're such a great couple. We should share each other's location data. We should share each other's passwords. For openness sake. Just in case.
Leo: Are you saying I shouldn't do that?
Serenity: I think it's different. In some cases it's fine. It's when the person is like intentional. We should share these things, and then two months later, why were you at the grocery store? What were you doing at the grocery store at 3 in the morning? That's what I feel the NSA is sometimes.
Leo: Are you saying the NSA is a bad girlfriend?
Serenity: An obsessive boyfriend or girlfriend, for sure.
Leo: I'm just trying to protect you!
Serenity: Exactly. I'm just looking out for our relationship. I want everything to be kosher and wonderful. It frustrates me. Yes, I think there are potentially valid uses for this data, but like Iain was saying, it's so much data. They have giant data farms that they are putting this data into. It would take months to sort through all of it, even with computers.
Mathew: I'm not convinced they can do the things they say they want to do. I'm not convinced they can find the things they say they want to find.
Serenity: You know what? It's actually funny. If they wanted to develop a smart system for this where they just collected the data that was potentially important, Google would be the company to work with on this. If the headline NSA and Google working together to create smart algorithm, the world would explode. They are the people with the knowledge in this area. They are the company that knows. They did collect a bunch of data, and know they know how to create smart algorithms that target very specific sets of data.
Iain: On the other hand, Google is ultra pissed at the NSA at the moment when they found out they were tapping the inter connects between their data.
Leo: I'm never sure they're not protesting too much. Oh don't do that.
Iain: Every single Google engineer I've spoken to about this is livid.
Leo: They use words we can't use on air.
Mathew: It's interesting, since you mentioned C 51, one of the frightening aspects of that bill, it's similar to what Cameron was talking about. It's restrictions on speech. It's not just trying to track people who might do something bad, it's trying to restrict people's ability to say things that could be interpreted in bad ways. That's a depressing evolution of protection.
Leo: I'm resisting being--this is a paranoid anti-government crazy, and going down that road because I don't... are we in perilous times? More so than always? Has it always been this way? Is there something... are we like Germans in Germany in 1938? What is...? Give me some historic context.
Mathew: What's the rational?
Leo: I wonder how serious a threat this is. How much danger are we in?
Iain: I can say as a foreigner who has come to this country 7 years ago, things have moved in a more scary way than they have in the past. The key concern is not what the government is now and what they're doing now; the fact is storage is cheap and permanent. Yeah, the government now may be fine. 30 years down the line if things get really weird and they've got all this material to go back to, then it's probably not going to be fine. You're taking a gamble as to whether things are going to get better or worse politically.
Mathew: I think that if you're trying to compare it to something historically, you would find a lot of NSA advocates and government security types would argue that the kind of situation of the environment we're in now is not remotely comparable to past wars because we're talking about agencies and entities that you can't put your finger on. They're not armies, they're not typical combatants in a war. You have people who become radicalized and join a shadowy group that's connected to some other shadowy group and then explosions happen and people are killed. That's a difficult thing militarily to protect against or to fight. If there's one rationale that is used is that the threat is everywhere? The potential threat is everywhere, and so we need ears and eyes everywhere and the batman thing where we're listening to every phone conversation that anyone is having in order to protect people.
Leo: Is it not true?
Mathew: I don't think it's true at all.
Iain: I was very nearly killed by an IRA bomb. I was standing in London in 91. Victoria Coach Station, there was a 2 pound bomb which I was standing next to having a cigarette and reading a paper before getting on the train. Five minutes after I left the station, it exploded. One dead, 39 injured. Now, as it turns out, it's possible that bomb was partially funded by people in the US who were giving money to the IRA. Even so, I would love to know people who planted that bomb. I'm not to give up everyone's privacy just for that right. You've got to have...
Leo: So we have to take a few casualties?
Iain: I'm sorry. You really do. Everywhere else in the world has lived with terrorism for a long time. The minute the USA got hit, it seemed to lose its mind over it.
Leo: We did lose our mind. We reacted in a knee jerk fashion.
Serenity: We're very protective over our citizens in the US.
Leo: And patriotic!
Serenity: Yeah. We're protective over our right to freedom; we're protective over our country. We fought hard for this country. Most of the people who have been in active duty may be retired or may have just had recent influence in Iraq, but we still have that undercurrent running through the government. The NSA, all of this, was started with noble intentions in the we' can't ever let this happen again. How were we blindsided? How did we lose? How did we let this giant horrible disaster happen? I feel like you become... this is a weird thing. There was a movie called bright eyes or blue eyes. It's about a woman whose husband or fiancé gets murdered in central park and she gets a gun and gets vigilante over anybody being crazy. Take the batman.
Leo: Every Charles Bronson movie ever.
Serenity: Pretty much. It's that kind of a thing where it starts small. It starts I can't ever let myself be vulnerable again. I can't let myself be hurting again. The next thing you know, you're going around doing vigilante work, or you're collecting so much data that you've turned into somebody you don't recognize anymore.
Mathew: That's the risk. You do a bunch of things that seem rational. You give up tiny bits of your freedom or your privacy or whatever. Before you know it, you've slid down the slippery slope and you can't get back. You are in a place that you don't like.
Iain: It never comes back. The USA freedom act being debated at the moment, this is the first piece of legislation that sought to loosen the amount of surveillance going on since 1978. The world has changed a lot since then. We've had an awful lot of stuff come up. Giving this stuff away is easy. Getting it back is really tough.
Serenity: If you're giving a couple yards here and a couple yards there, sooner or later you realize that you've given a couple thousand meters. Now that the starting line is way over there, and trying to inch back that way is very difficult.
Leo: That may be exactly what's happening right now on the floor of the United States senate. The senators having realized that we over-reacted and went too far are actually considering letting it expire. Isn't that a positive sign?
Iain: It's taken a bloody long time to get it done. They're doing it in a half assed way.
Mathew: Would they have done that at all if they hadn't...?
Leo: Thank God for Snowden. He made a huge difference in this debate. I don't know if this would be going on right now.
Iain: Blackhat four years ago suggested to a former member of the FBI that maybe Echelon was being used to spy on European businesses. Snowden comes out and we were doing a little of that, but our reasons were good. I'm sorry, you've got to have a tight rein on these things, otherwise they can get out of control.
Serenity: 9/10 people can be good patriots and uphold the law. If one person out of those ten, those hundreds, or thousands who has access to that data is not honest, trustworthy, or has bad intentions, that destroys the entire concept.
Leo: Meanwhile, let's look at some shiny new gadgets brought to us by--
Serenity: Lightening the mood
Leo: I feel like there's a little bit distracted to death. There's no accident that we have these incredible services, these spectacles, these gadgets, these toys. It's very tempting to relax and say it's OK because I have the newest Galaxy S 6. What could possibly go wrong?
Mathew: I can search all my photos!
Leo: Yeah. We'll talk a little more about Google IO, there's some Apple news too. WWDC is coming up. June 8 is more than a week away. We'll be covering that live next week. We could talk a little about what's going on in media. We talked before the show. Mathew Ingram knows very well how difficult it is for tech blogs to succeed these days. Was there another casualty this week? Was it all good? Is it all wonderful. A life sentence for Ross Ulbricht. We're going to take a break and talk more about that. We had a good week this week on TWiT. Do you have a promo ready? I would just like you to watch this and see what you missed.
PREVIOUSLY ON TWIT
Leo: That doesn't look at all dorky. You look like Bender.
TWIT LIVE SPECIALS
Man: That's jump. Open Camera design with a fully integrated version in GoPro. An assembler that turns raw footage into VR video.
TECH NEWS TODAY
Mike Elgan: The IRS got hacked. America's tax collection agency disclosed yesterday that hackers gained access to the personal information of more than 100,000 US tax payers.
Aaron Sankin: The main thing that people suspected that hackers are going to do with this information is use it to file fraudulent tax returns.
THE NEW SCREEN SAVERS
Leo: Jim Cutler our great voice over guru.
Jim Cutler: I'm the guy who does netcasts you love. The chatroom wants to know: "are you a fremin? Do you use the spice?"
Jim: I love fremin.
BEFORE YOU BUY
Leo: Lighter than air. It's the new Apple MacBook. I don't need another MacBook, but for traveling, for getting around, this thing is gorgeous and I love the gold.
TWIT: NOW ALSO AVAILABLE IN SEVERAL COLORS OF UNAPOLOGETIC PLASTIC.
Leo: Can you do an intervention on Renee Ritchie? How many bands has Renee bought now?
Serenity: Oh my gosh. I think he has one of every kind of the 42 mm. To be fair, I have one of every color of the sport band. It was for research.
Leo: Those are heterogeneous. I think that's a violation of something. You're wearing brown and green?
Serenity: Green and pink.
Leo: You're a fashion rebel!
Serenity: I stole it from Swatch, really. Yeah.
Leo: You're going to hear from Tim Cook.
Serenity: Probably Johnny.
Matthew: Some Apple guys are going to come by your house.
Leo: We didn't design the most beautiful watch we've ever made so you could ruin it by mixing bands. So starting this week, we're implementing band copy protection, to prevent people from doing that.
Serenity: You know the tactic engine can secretly give you a shock if you use the watch in a way we don't like.
Leo: There's a needle buried deep within the watch with a tiny drop of Strychnine.
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Great panel here, Serenity Caldwell, Iain Thompson, Matthew Ingram. You know what I like about all of you? You all have distinct voices. I don't mean speaking voices, I mean writing voices. Your positions are clear and distinct. I love that. In fact, we kind of live in the age of personality media now than ever before. Even anchors are a little more distinct. Boy, you get on the web and everybody has a distinct, unique style. I love that. I am a little worried. GigaOM wasn't even the first to go under, but GigaOM pulled the plug. We are happy to say that Matthew Ingram and 5 of his colleagues went to Fortune. The rest seemed to have all found jobs elsewhere as well. Now, this week, now Re/code, which you would think of anything, with Walt Mossberg, and Cara Swisher, Liz Gaines, what a great team, Dawn Chimeleski, so many great people there. That was a great blog. Matthew, you may know better than I, the fact that they were sold to Vox Media for stock indicates, does it not, that this was a fire sale. That they needed to sell quick.
Matthew: I don't know if we can jump to that conclusion. I don't know that it is fair to say that it was a fire sale. I have heard reports from people close to the company that they had lots of money left. I don't think that they had to sell, or certainly had to sell right now, but it feels to me that they felt that eventually they were going to have to do something. That they were going to have to sell, or they were going to have to partner up with somebody, because it's harder and harder to make a go of it as a small entity. So my analogy is kind of the barbell effect. You have to be either super small and hyper targeted and focused, and I think that you are a good example of how that can work. Or you have to be huge, and massive, and have immense reach, and billions of paid views. That's the kind of game that we are talking about. They were not either of those things. So they were sort of focused, but with 45 people that’s a fair number. GigaOM was in that same category in that valley of death in the middle. Where you are not big enough to have scale but you are too big to be kind of hyper targeted and focused. That's what it feels like to me. So they saw the writing on the wall and decided, you know Vox is great, Jim Bankoff is a smart guy, they are sort of simpatico in a lot of ways and they have got a bunch of money because they just did a huge round.
Leo: Cara said, and she is very honest, that's one of the things that we like about Cara, we have got to get her back on soon.
Matthew: Sometimes too honest.
Leo: Yeah, she told the New York Times, "Everybody is bigger than us." By the way, we are smaller than you Cara. "It's not a secret that being a smaller fish is really hard." That's kind of implying that there were some difficulties at Re/code.
Matthew: My sense was that one of those difficulties was if you are an independent entity like them you have to have your own back end, you have to build your own stuff, you have to do all of your own ad sales, you have to do all of that stuff yourself. That adds a huge amount of just cost, and it's time consuming, it's much easier to use the resources of a larger entity. I think that was an appeal for them.
Iain: I was just going to day that when the news came out I was a bit shocked because Cara in particular, and Ian Freed, Walt Mossberg, great journalists all. They've got 44 employees on a count of 1.5 billion uniques a month, that's an awful lot of staff. The key to any kind of publishing operation is you have got to keep the cost low so that you can stay profitable. They had more staff than we do, and we still manage to turn a profit. There was a lot of spend going on and not a lot of return coming in. I don't understand quite where they screwed it up.
Leo: What about how some people were saying that the journalist brand by itself is not that valuable. Mossberg minus the Wall Street Journal is not as valuable. David Pope minus the New York Times is not as valuable.
Matthew: Bob Lepses had a newsletter posting in which he talked about that. Dan Lyons and Steve Jobs said the same thing.
Leo: Dan Lyons said that on Facebook, yeah.
Matthew: They were both basically making the same point, which is that it's not enough to just be a star. You have to be associated with a big entity in some way. Bob compared it to musicians trying to go out on their own and do their own albums. It's just a lot of work. I think that you can do it. There are examples of some people who have done it. John Gruber is a great example of someone who has been able to make it on his own.
Leo: But that's one guy.
Matthew: Right, he's one guy.
Serenity: That is the one example there. That's the problem. Yeah.
Matthew: A single guy. Even Andrew Sullivan, you could argue...
Leo: He didn't even make it. He shut down.
Matthew: But he also had 8, or 9, or 10 people. That's a large amount of costs. If it would have been him and one other person. Ben Thompson who does Stratechery runs the whole thing from his house in Taipei, and so for him getting 3,000 people to pay $100 a year, boom, that's a great business for him. That wasn't what Walt and Cara were trying to do. They were trying to build, and it wasn't what GigaOM was trying to do, rightly or wrongly; they were trying to build something large. In order to build something large, that game has changed a lot. You have to be larger than large. Buzzfeed is getting 200 million unique visitors or something. That's not a game that you can play without a lot of money.
Serenity: I really think that it starts falling into 2 camps where previously if you wanted to have a big website and you wanted to have a lot of following and a lot of page views you would throw a little bit of money at it, you would get a couple of crack talent, and you would just keeping on shoving people into the machine. It would be like, alright, the more content we turn out the more page views we are going to get, right? Right. It used to be that web companies didn't feel like they had to pay that much money for it. Now that the web has become more competitive they see that and they are like, oh, if we are going to launch a new website we need to pour in millions and millions of dollars to make sure that we launch. Think about The Daily. It is a great example of this. The Daily launched with 2 office, and a bunch of staff, and a huge video team. They launched huge at scale.
Leo: With Rupert Murdock's money.
Serenity: Exactly. They launched with Murdock's backing, and in order to that...
Leo: They hired 100 journalists.
Matthew: And $160 million.
Leo: And one year later...
Iain: It all went toast.
Serenity: Because ultimately, ultimately the model of throwing a bunch of money at the wall and then just being like we are the 100 monkeys typing on 100 typewriters, we will have internet gold. It doesn't quite work like that anymore. It really doesn't.
Leo: I've started this discussion with the word voices. Unique, strong, personal voices seem very important.
Iain: The structure of journalism doesn't really benefit that as much as it used to. Back in the old days of print if you got an exclusive the only place that you could read it was on your newspaper or your news site the next day. Right now, when Re/code, or when GigaOM, or anyone else breaks a big story, yeah, you will get the highly sighted tag that nobody reads on the Google News rankings that brings in a quarter of your readership, but at the same time everyone and his dog will write a quick pracy. If you are lucky they will link into you. So there is no real benefit. It's just the journalism which gets in hits, and the actual...
Matthew: I think that is where the hardest model of all is to do news. Even if it is tech news or something else news, it's going to be out there. Is your version of that news going to really be that dramatically different?
Leo: It's a commodity is what you are saying.
Leo: It's a commoditized product.
Matthew: What does seem to work, and certainly what worked for Andrew Sullivan, he raised almost a million dollars. Ben Thompson at Stratechery can seem to make this work. It's analysis. Ben is not doing news. He is telling people what to think about all of the news that has been flowing over them for the past 24 - 48 hours. What is important. What matters.
Leo: This is an analogy to a transition that happened when the internet happened 20 years ago. The fact became devalued. In preinternet going to the library and ascertaining a fact took some labor. That gave that fact some value. What did we teach kids in school? To memorize facts. There was some value. It's completely devalued now. If you want to know when somebody is born it's 3 seconds away thanks to Google. What has not become devalued, in fact, what has gained value in the devaluation of fact, is curation, analysis, context; all of the things that the human brain can add to fact. This is just a special example of that.
Matthew: Right, I think that it is also, it's not just as you said the voices, it's trust. Craig Nemark says trust is the new black, and I think that in a lot of ways he's right. You can get any amount of information you want about anything more than you could ever want so quickly. You want someone that you trust to say don't pay attention to any of that, pay attention to this. This is the important thing.
Serenity: It's reliable.
Leo: That was the insight that created TWiT 10 years ago. I'm not going to get into the business of reporting because that's commoditized. What am I going to do that is going to be any different than 100 better reporters on the ground at Silicon Valley? What we can add is trustworthy analysis, and understanding, and context, and I have to say that personality is a very big part of that, too.
Matthew: Sure it is.
Iain: Publications can differenciate themselves on a new perspective in the way that they approach the news certainly. If you want sort of a straight read go to AP. If you want something with a bit of character then go somewhere else. As long as the basic facts are right and the approach is right that's fine. What worried me, I was less worried about Re/code and more worried about GigaOM because you had a bunch of really good journalists there.
Leo: You guys are too smart.
Iain: Yeah, and for some reason it didn't work and they pulled the funding out of it.
Serenity: Well it was too big.
Matthew: I would say if there was a mistake, and I wasn't involved in the business side, I don't have the details about those aspects. What it feels like to me is that GigaOM tried to get too big too quickly and that opened up a gap, obviously a financial gap. I don't feel like Re/code was there, but I certainly feel like they could have gotten there. If you want to be a certain size or you are trying to get to a certain size, but that doesn't match up with what you are bringing in then eventually you are just going to run out of room.
Serenity: You are going to burn, yeah. I was just going to say that we ran into the same thing at IDG with MacWorld, and TechHive, and PCWorld where at a certain point you can't run old media business on new media. You can't say I want a staff of 40-100 reporters who are full time with benefits and everything else. Which is not to say that people shouldn't be full time, but that you figure out, okay, how many full time people can we reasonably pay and do excellent reporting, who are all smart, wonderful, talented people. Now let's run the site with the bare minimum of that running reasonable hours, see what we can do, and then when there is improvement build upon that. The problem is that the big companies, or the companies that are used to old media, companies like IDG for example, they look at, oh, well, in order for us to get page views quickly so that we can pay off our advertising and all of that we need all of the content. In order to have all of the content we need writers. In order to have writers we have to have a huge staff and we need to make sure that everybody is talking to each other, so we are going to get a big office. It has to be in New York or San Francisco because that's where all of the news is. It's like, this is the internet, this is the age of instant communication. You don't need to be in San Francisco or New York anymore. It helps, but yeah.
Matthew: That's a great point. I think that for entities like the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or any sort of large magazine, Jesus, Fourteen, Fortune, and Time Inc. are facing the same problem; there is this feeling that you need to figure out how to support the cost base that you have. So we have all of these reporters, and we have all of these offices, and we have all of this stuff, we have to find out a way to pay for all of that digitally. That's the wrong way of looking at the problem. You can't find a way to support that old cost structure because the model you use with print advertising is going away. What's replacing it is 10 times smaller. It's an order of magnitude smaller. You can't just say well we need to find a way to replace. You have to rethink the whole way that you do what you do and the whole structure that you have built up over time. It doesn't make financial sense anymore.
Leo: That makes me feel damn lucky. That's all that I can say. I don't know how we are surviving.
Iain: I think with a digital publication everyone has to work. You can't afford to have large accounts departments or human resources departments. Everyone has to either write, sell, manage, or edit. It's as simple as that.
Matthew: You have to be very focused about what you want to do. You can't just say we want to be a really great site with lots of news about stuff. You have to be very, very focused because the days of a mass media entity, and you went to that entity to get everything from sports, to business, to gardening columns, to comics, to whatever, that's just gone. It's not going to come back. It doesn't matter how good you are.
Serenity: Google ruined it.
Leo: Google ruins everything! Dammit, that's the plotline of this show.
Serenity: No, no, it's entirely true, though. What Matthew is saying is 100% correct.
Leo: You know, if there weren't Google then somebody else would have come along. It was the internet that ruined everything.
Matthew: The internet removes inefficiency. You know what? Human beings are hugely inefficient. How do you make things more efficient? You remove the human beings. So if you can remove human beings from your process...
Leo: By the way, that's what happened to GigaOM. Don't you think? They have removed the humans and now the brand was bought by Knowingly, which is what they call a demand media company, which basically is machine generated stories that are clickbait. That's kind of removing the humans, isn't it?
Matthew: It is a little bit. Even when I wrote about demand media I thought it made a lot of sense. I don't want to do it.
Leo: They are gaming the internet. So what you do with demand media is you look to see what search terms get a lot of results. You can do this automatically. Then you generate cheap 500 word articles. Let's say people are searching for Elvis belt buckles. You just make damn sure that you have an article about Elvis belt buckles, however stupid, tawdry, poorly written; it doesn't matter because you put ads on that page and you will get links. That's demand media.
Matthew: You know what, that model is not that different from what some websites are doing.
Leo: It's not that different than Buzzfeed, Vice, and all of the others really. Huffington Post invented that.
Matthew: That's one model, right? If you want to try and make the internet work for you that's one model. It's not for everyone. It's certainly not for me. But that is one way to approach it. The other way is to just go to the complete opposite end of the spectrum, which is to be as targeted as you can on a specific user base or community that you connect with. That's one way...
Leo: That's what TWiT does. We are made with humans.
Matthew: Yeah. And I don't want to flatter you unnecessarily, but I think that TWiT does a great job of doing that, connecting with readers, and viewers, and users who care about specific things, and telling them the things that they want to know, and having a back and forth with them. That is very, very difficult to replace. You can't do that with an algorithm. It just doesn't work. It doesn't work without humans.
Serenity: Algorithms are also dependent, when we talk about the age of sort of the disconnected web, where everybody is going to different places for things, Google, and DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo, and any search engine is a major component to that. You saw demands take a huge dump a couple of years back when Google decided that we are going to change our algorithm and we are going to completely mess up everything.
Leo: Talk about complete power.
Matthew: That's the Facebook risk, too, right? You hook to Facebook, and they are your best pal, then they decide they actually want to target some other kind of content, then your content disappears and you are left holding the bag.
Iain: It's the devil's bargain I think.
Leo: It's historically inevitable. There is always going to be a 10% of humans, whose only real interest is making money, who figure out who to game a system. Whether it's tulip bulbs, or the internet, or whatever, how can I game that system and make a ton of money? I don't really care, you know, about the product that I am making. Then there is always the other 10% that is doing this kind of handcrafted artisanal media where we don't really care about the money, we care about creating the best possible product.
Matthew: I think that was one thing, I'm actually kind of sad, that Andrew Sullivan quit, because he did show that you can do it. It was working. The Daily Dish was making a million dollars. That is not an insignificant amount of money.
Leo: For one person that is great. For two people that is great.
Matthew: He felt burnt out and so on, but I still think that he was doing exactly the same thing, I wrote a column about him and Amanda Palmer, who was Kickstartering a record. I was saying fundamentally they are doing the same thing. One is doing it with music and one is doing it with what Andrew was doing, opinion, but both of them were connecting with a community of readers and listeners, and that's all that they cared about, right?
Leo: What probably happened, I don't know, but I would guess that Andrew made enough money that he could stop. Then he said, good, I've got a pile of money here, I'm tired, I want to do something else. And he just stopped. That's one thing that does happen that is very different if you are not a big business and you are not building, you know, a legacy. You just stop. I'm done.
Matthew: I will say that I don't know what Karen Waltz, what their motivations were, but it is hard work doing what they tried to do since all things destarted. That stuff is really, really hard. Especially when you are a small company. I certainly don't blame them for deciding that they would like somebody else to do all of that hard work and they could go back to doing what you do.
Leo: Now, the rumor was that Comcast, which was an investor in both Vox, the purchaser, and Re/code, the seller, pushed them together in order to later devour them both.
Matthew: It certainly seems plausible to me. I mean, Comcast, at least reportedly, has talked to Vox about acquiring the whole thing.
Leo: Is this what happens is just the consolidation of the media? It seems to happen to every business at every time, that you get something new, an innovation like the internet, that creates an environment where many minnows can blossom. Then a bigger fish came and ate all of the minnow. Then a bigger fish ate that one, and a bigger fish at that one, and ultimately it consolidates back to the way that it was.
Iain: Occasionally one of the big fish chokes on its own food and dies, and everyone eats the remains. The whole thing cycles around again, yes.
Leo: The circle of life.
Iain: Try to dignify that one, okay? It's a song for a bunch of kids. I've got to say, I'm worried by the thought of Comcast taking that over. I'm equally worried by Verizon's investments in the media field. Particularly as Verizon apparently tried settling a magazine last year which said that you can write about anything apart from Net Neutrality and government snooping. So, you know, it's tricky. I don't trust Comcast further than I can throw them, but I say give them the benefit of the doubt so far.
Leo: This, and we will have to ask our historian of journalism, Jeff Jarvis, at some point. This sounds like the history of media for 200 years. I don't think that the Hearst empire was in any way pure or objective.
Iain: And totally partisan.
Leo: Totally partisan.
Matthew: Not at all.
Leo: So this is nothing new.
Matthew: It's interesting to think about, you know I work for a unit of Time Inc. now, Time Inc. was based on a magazine that Henry Booth Luce started when he was in his 20's I'm pretty sure. He started it with much the same attitude that Buzzfeed started with. He aggregated the heck out of everything, he took stories from people and rewrote them so that they were funnier, or shorter, or whatever, and then he built this giant media empire that now is the thing that everyone else is trying to destabilize. There are patterns that repeat themselves.
Leo: Isn't that interesting how that happens? We are going to take a break and then we are going to come back. I want to talk a little bit, you saw the picture of the Google giant 16 camera virtual reality array. We heard a lot about Cardboard. I want to talk a little about it. Get back to the shiny stuff in just a second. What I love is having a panel of smart people and we can talk. This is one thing you can't do on mainstream media. For 15-20 minutes on a completely philosophical subject that no one cares about. That's TWiT.
Iain: Hey, you've got enough people watching at the moment that somebody cares.
Leo: That's our mission statement. We talk obsessively about stuff you couldn't care less about. Our show today is brought to you by Dropbox for Business. If you are in business you know your employees are using Dropbox. We did a little survey, it was so funny, everybody in the office was using their personal Dropbox account to share stuff, to work together, to collaborate. Which is great, I'm not knocking it, they love Dropbox, it works great for them. But I was thrilled when we could sign up for Dropbox for Business and kind of get that all consolidated. It's the same experience, the same UI that our employees already love. We don't have to train them, we don't have to persuade them to use it. They saw, okay, yeah. They each get a terabyte of data, so they are like, oh, I don't have to pay for it? Yeah. But as the employer you control it. The IT professionals have admin controls like remote wipe. If somebody leaves the company they don't leave with all of your goodies. I saw that, who was it, was suing, it was Jawbone that was suing Fitbit because Fitbit was hiring away employees and they were like, hey, before you leave could you just put a thumb drive in and download all of the data to bring along with you? Oh sure, no problem.
Iain: They like wearing orange if they are doing that.
Leo: So this is beautiful, you get great sharing and information controls, complete audit logs, you know that only the right people are getting the sensitive company information. Your employees are happy, and of course it integrates with third party security and admin solutions, SIE, MDLP, and eDiscovery. They know that you really want stuff to be private so of course Dropbox for Business uses encryption for file data in transit and at rest plus segmentation and hashing to anatomize files. There are additional security features like single sign on and two step verification, all of which mean this is a solution that you will love. 4 million businesses are now converting from those personal Dropbox accounts to Dropbox for Business. We did, and I highly recommend that you give it a try. Take advantage of what your employees already know and love, they love Dropbox. Who doesn't? Sign up for Dropbox for Business at dropbox.com/twit for a free 14 day trial. Dropbox for Business, dropbox.com/twit. We thank them so much for their support.
So what is the name of this, I want this camera?
Leo: Jump. I just gotta jump. They should have David Lee Roth come out and sing. I'm just saying.
Iain: Oh god.
Matthew: At least at the after party.
Iain: He can't even jump himself anymore for Christ sake.
Leo: You've got to jump. Jump everybody! This is 16 GoPro. First of all they are going to publish a model for this so that anybody can open source plan. So anybody can build this. Their Dropboxes will sell this. So I figured if you got 16 Dropboxes you spent $6,000 or $7,000. What did I say, Dropbox? GoPro, obviously. $6,000 or $7,000, but you know that's not a lot.
Iain: They said you could actually build the array for it for Cardboard. They are obsessed, but they do love it.
Leo: It's awesome. YouTube supports it, so you will be able to record these videos. You will even be able to do it live. So here is my pledge to you; as soon as we can we are going to build one of these suckers and we are going to put it in the studio so that you can wear your Gear VR or your Cardboard. I don't think that it's how most people will watch the show, but you can watch live that way. You can look around. It will be like be like being in the studio except without the great free prizes.
Iain: It also means that the bottle of whiskey that I've got stashed down there will show up.
Leo: This is just coolness, funness that I don't see any value to Google for, but maybe this is the next big thing on YouTube.
Iain: I think that this is a considerable amount of value because they can use the stuff like this for both virtual reality and augmented reality systems that happen to tie themselves to one platform. With the VR Goggles coming out...
Leo: So Oculus Rift doesn't own the market anymore.
Iain: Google isn't interested in owning the market. What is it is interested in is providing the content for it, making it with other people, and hosting the content so that YouTube gets even more hits and more business.
Leo: I've been skeptical on VR, but I have to say that the idea, especially for live, that you could be at the Academy Awards, and look around, and see, oh, that's George Clooney, I'm sitting next to George Clooney. That would be pretty cool.
Matthew: When I was in Italy there was a guy who had an Oculus and they had a film of the Cirque Du Soleil. It was as though you were sitting on the front of the stage so you could turn to your left and right and see other performers in the show who were talking to you, or gesturing towards you while you were watching the show. It was incredibly powerful. People would pay money to do that.
Leo: We were talking, I think that we will probably partner with our neighbors here, Pixel Corps, Alex Lindsay's group. I was talking with the Pixel Corps group, and they said, here is what we want to do, plays. Fictional plays. This is actually a big trend in Broadway, like Tina and Tony's Wedding, where you are in an immersive environment, or you are going through a house and it's all around you.
Matthew: It's all around you.
Leo: You could do this with VR. You have to fix it so that you could tune the audio so that when you look at somebody you hear them louder than those other people. You could be immersed, surrounded by actors improving or doing a script, and you could look around. It would be like being in MASH or something. it would be so cool.
Serenity: Is it The Diamond Age?
Leo: Excuse me?
Serenity: Is it like Neil Stevenson's The Diamond Age, where there are actors?
Serenity: Yeah, that's my first thought.
Leo: Frankly, anything that moves us closer to Neil Stevenson's universe, I'm all in.
Iain: I'm a cynic about this. I think that the first two applications that they will drive will be gaming and porn. Gaming because people will spend that amount, and then when the cost level comes down the porn industry is going to get into it.
Leo: Oculus has said that it's going to be $1,500 for the gaming computer that you would have to have plus the Rift when it's available next year.
Iain: That's an excellent price point.
Leo: It's not bad. If you are a serious gamer it's nothing.
Iain: Nobody spends money like the gamers. They are hardcore about having the best rigs, the best, yeah, I see that there is a game in the back.
Leo: Chris, would you want, Chris has my Oculus Rift. I gave him the developer edition. So I am a believer now in that. I was saying no, augmented reality is where it's at, but there are places where an immersive experience would be great.
Matthew: I think that augmented is going to be much more broadly sort of desirable. I think that there may be people like me who I can't watch a lot of Oculus Rift without feeling motion sickness.
Leo: Me too.
Matthew: Particularly things that are moving quickly. So that is going to reduce probably my desire to do it. But AR for sure. I would buy Google Glasses that would tell me all of the things that are around me as I am wondering around a new city for sure.
Iain: That the thing, you can wonder around in an AR rig, whereas you can't wonder around in virtual reality.
Serenity: No, it's stationary. I think that there are two separate applications.
Matthew: Let's face it, you have a ski mask on your face.
Matthew: You are not going to go anywhere with a ski mask on your face.
Serenity: It looks ridiculous. It looks absolutely ridiculous, but again, there are useful applications. I think that the big sort of unexplored one is teaching and remote learning.
Serenity: You look at how colleges are getting more and more expensive, and you look at the sheer number of online classes being available, just imagine someone putting one of these rigs in the back of their classroom or even in the middle of their classroom.
Matthew: Imagine surgery.
Serenity: Oh my gosh!
Matthew: Medical training. You could be operating.
Leo: I just read an article, it was on Selfless or one of the security blogs, about apparently the tele surgery software that they are using is hackable. You could do a man in the middle attack and take over a surgery. This scares me a little bit, it should scare you a lot. I don't know how widespread tele surgery is, but let's lock that down shall we?
Iain: Yeah, particularly when vasectomies are involved.
Leo: Yeah. Google also has Project Sole. This was interesting. This was like radar or something. They showed as an example that you can turn your fingers like you are twisting a knob and an actual virtual knob will twist. Did you play with this Jason? Jason Howell was at Google IO.
Jason Howell: Yeah, I did.
Leo: Did it kind of live up to the promise?
Jason: I would say based on the examples that they had set up on the floor, it was interesting, it was hard to get a sense of how accurate things were when I was playing around with it. But it was obvious that it was doing what it promised in the sense that it, you know, things moved when you were moving your fingers, and your could do different motions and kind of create a wave and stuff. So yeah.
Matthew: For scrolling, even for swiping, like Minority Report style.
Matthew: Swiping through pages that you are looking at on a heads up display.
Iain: The demo was really, really impressive, but Google is really good at doing impressive demos. Particularly the atop group.
Serenity: Oh, no question.
Iain: They were talking about the Tango Mobile Phone, and they've been talking about it for 2 years now, and show me the damn hardware. This looked great, but show me working in a consumer sense that my mother can use? I'm sold.
Matthew: I actually saw an article about the guy that developed the UI in Minority Report and also did some consulting for Iron Man, the sort of heads up displays and screens moving around. He is designing real interfaces now, so presumably we will see a lot of that type of stuff coming to market.
Leo: This seems exhausting. Going like this all day, I don't want to do that.
Leo: That's why I like Google, because you just do a little thing like this.
Serenity: I wonder how much or how little gestures will, especially frontward gestures, I have to wonder if it's not necessarily something like a glove or something where you put on with your hands where you can have them in your lap and it's almost like you are typing but instead you are like flipping.
Leo: No, do you remember Bewitched? I want to go with my nose.
Serenity: Just with your nose. I could use that with the Apple Watch honestly. There have been times where I'm like I want to scroll this, but I don't want to use the secondary hand. I can't just say Siri scroll.
Iain: Well, Google showed off with the Android Wear thing, they showed a wrist movement where you flick your wrist like that.
Matthew: You can do that on Urbane.
Iain: One of our readers said that I have trying this and my wrist hasn't been this sore since I was a teenager.
Leo: Well don't do it a lot.
Serenity: Oh boy.
Leo: It's not that hard, you can just go like that. You don't have to make a big jerk out of yourself. This is the Urbane. All of the LG watches have got 5.1, even the original LG watch which they shipped to Google IO last year. I have to say, I have an Apple Watch, partly because I don't want to have to use an iPhone, I really think Android Wear is pretty nice. Everybody mocks me for this watch saying that it's ugly.
Serenity: I really like Android Wear, it's just sad that, unfortunately I tried on the Urbane a couple of weeks ago when I was hanging out with my Android friends.
Leo: It's pretty big. You probably couldn't wear it.
Serenity: No, every single Android Wear watch is like this around me. I wrote an article about this where I was like unfortunately I like a lot of things about Android Wear, I think that it's actually doing some really smart things in wearables, and I'm excited for the way that the Apple Watch and Android Wear are going to kind of push each other up forward. I'm waiting for Android Wear to actually have sized that are wearable by women or by men with small wrists because right now even the smallest available does not even remotely fit my wrist. Like this is the 38 mm Apple Watch, and even that one is just barely the right size. Like there is my wrist, and there is 38, 42, the Moto 360, and the Urbane. That's going up my wrist, but if you scroll down there is actually, there is the Urbane on my wrist.
Leo: Did you say that my wrist hasn't been that sore since I was a teenager?
Iain: One of our readers said that.
Leo: It just sunk in. I'm sorry, I'm very slow.
Iain: Too much of a clean mind.
Leo: It took me like 8 minutes to get that joke.
Iain: I can sympathize with you Serenity. I've got fairly slim wrists as well, and I tried that original LG, and it was like having a brick on your wrist.
Leo: I just think that it's about time that the computer industry recognized that most of its users are overweight. Screw you, thin people.
Iain: I'm still not sold on the smart watch as a mass consumer item. They are cute.
Leo: No, they are not a mass consumer item, although Apple seems to be selling 30,000 a week, which makes it a pretty good consumer item.
Iain: Yeah, but once the Fanboys run out of cash, and the people who are taking a slightly more reasonable approach at this look at it, and go salt that for a game of soldiers...
Leo: How many Apple Watches in the audience? 2?
Iain: Okay, how many other smart watches?
Leo: How many other smart watches? 2? How many people are not wearing a watch at all? Most. One guy has got a Timex. Or is that a fancy watch there? It's a fancy watch. He doesn't want to get robbed by the guy behind him. I feel bad for the lady who dropped off an Apple One at the recycling center. A $200,000 Apple One at the recycling center. They are looking for you.
Iain: They were honest about it.
Serenity: That article make me really sad, though, because from the sounds of it she dropped it off because her husband died prematurely and she just wanted to excavate. I can totally see, you know, if god forbid my father died my mother going nope, it's all going away because I just don't want to look at it because it's going to hurt too much. She probably didn't even think about it, she was probably like, oh, these were his things, these were the things that he love, and I just can't look at it right now.
Leo: A serious kudos to CleanBayArea, because they found it and sold it for $200,000. This is not some made up number. They actually sold it to a collector for $200,000. They want to give her a check for half, which is actually, I think, very generous. Finder’s keeper’s loser’s weepers.
Iain: It's incredibly generous. You think that all it took was one rogue employee to say, oh, right, okay, that's obviously useless. I will take that away, and I'm off to the Bahamas for the next 2 weeks.
Serenity: Yeah, exactly.
Iain: Very honest of them. More power to them.
Leo: Pat on the back to CleanBayArea, and if you ever want to give away something that is really, really valuable; just give it to them and they will sell it and send you half. I'm sure that we have an Apple One in the basement somewhere. We have everything else. Do we John?
Leo: Come on! Don't give up! We can make one.
Matthew: He sold it already.
Leo: We have so many old junky things there.
Iain: I still can't bare to throw away my old Zenix 81, even though it is...
Leo: That's a great computer. Did you build it yourself as a child?
Iain: No, I'm ashamed to say that we bought the premade version. Zenix 81 was so many people's introduction to computers.
Leo: It was a kit, right, originally?
Iain: You could buy it over here as a kit. In the UK they sold it as a base unit. Timex sold it over here.
Leo: Timex sold it over here. Was Acorn?
Iain: No, that was the BBC Model Micro. This was Sinclair.
Leo: Sinclair, that's right.
Matthew: Sinclair, right.
Iain: And you had this idea like, you don't need anything like an instruction manual, you just give them a book of Basic. People want to learn how to program in Basic. We were forced to. So, you know.
Leo: That was a great computer. I'm jealous that you have one. I would love to have one if you ever...
Iain: It's in a storage unit back at home at the moment.
Leo: If you die tell your wife to bring it here and I will take it. We have some boxes. Yeah, look at that. Manufactured in Scotland. That makes it really great.
Iain: Worst keyboard that I have ever used.
Leo: Well, it was just a membrane, right.
Iain: And without the 16k RAM pack it was very limited use, but it was, yeah.
Leo: They sold 1.5 million.
Iain: It was 50 Quid.
Leo: That's how many iWatches are sold every month.
Iain: Yeah, it was 50 Pounds, you couldn't buy a Chromebook for that these days. But, as I said, you did have to learn Basic to use it, so mixed blessing.
Leo: You stored stuff via an External cassette tape.
Iain: Ah yeah, you try to tell young people today what you used to do, fiddle around with the tone control to try and get the program on board.
Leo: That's what it sounded like.
Iain: Made piracy really easy apparantly.
Leo: I've heard, yes. I wouldn't know. 1981. So yeah, I got my first computer a couple of years before that. I remember when these first came out. They were really awesome.
Matthew: I had an Atari 1040.
Iain: Oh, good bit there.
Leo: I had an Atari 400 as my first computer. Membrane keyboard also. I got tired of banging on that, so I got the 800, which had a real keyboard. You know what kids today have? LittleBits. Look at this. I am so jealous. Kids today, you have got it made. LittleBits makes these incredibly easy to use electronics kits with modular building blocks. You can get your dog to text or make a robotic snack server. Modules range from a very simple like power sensors and LEDs. What’s great about this, they are very complex programmable units, and so far there are already over 60 modules. What's great, there is no soldering, they just snap together like magnets. They do all sorts of cool stuff. The kit I have here is the deluxe kit. That's 18 modules, 5,000,000 circuit combinations, there are 15 projects in the box. They have really good documentation that will help you put that all together. This is the new one, though. I really, oh man, if you are a parent and you are trying to get your kid interested in a technology, but you want them to understand how it works this is so great. The base and the deluxe kits are great ways for getting kids started. This is the space kit.
Leo: Yes, developed in partnership with NASA. You can do Earth and space science.
Iain: Kids today are so lucky!
Matthew: Can you explore space?
Leo: I felt bad because we had chemistry sets. So we could blow stuff up. But this is the new chemistry set. They have an Arguino coding kit. It introduces kids to programming. There is a synth kit for musicians which included a modular analog synthesizer. Every littleBits kit comes with this great manual which really makes it fun and easy for kids to do it. The truth is that if you get this, as a parent you are going to have to figure it out.
Leo: So believe me, you will not be frustrated. What did I build, a little tickler, a little kitty tickler.
Iain: Oh, okay.
Leo: Kitty, for my kitty cat. It had a feather that went around. What were you thinking?
Iain: Nothing at all.
Leo: Nothing apparently at all. Does it mean something different in Great Britain? I'm sure that it does. So you get a buzzer, a light wire, RGB servo motors, that's what I had the kitty tickler on, a buzzer, and an inverter. You learn logic, too, right, logic gates. Here is a latch, an inverter, a fork, oh man this is so cool. There is a tickle machine. See, you didn't believe me. Oh look, remember when you went into the back of the magazine and you get a buzzer for a handshake? Well now you can make an actual buzzer with real electricity kits.
Iain: Oh great, because that is something that we really want to make happen again.
Leo: Here is an auto greeter. It waves a hand. Why spend energy waving your hand as you pass through the rabble? You could use the auto. Trunk, crane, oh I love littleBits. They are just getting better, and better, and better, and better. We want you to give it a try. They are offering new customers $20 off of their first kit when you go to littlebits, l-i, not lilbits, I know I say it that way, but it's littlebits, l-i-t-t-l-ebits.com/twit. Free shipping in the United States. LittleBits, I love these guys, littlebits.com/twit, making kids’ lives a little bit better with littleBits.
Serenity: They are so delightful.
Leo: Go ahead Serenity.
Serenity: I was going to say, I don't know if anyone else saw that Marvel is doing a contest for girls I think 14-17 for like make a micro architect project. You submit it and you have the potential to go meet imagineers. You also get to teach people your age how to build that project in a local area school. I was just thinking about that. That would actually be a really good pairing. Get your kid a littleBits set and then see if they want to do this contest. I think that it really, really cool that we are encouraging kids and young girls to do micro building.
Leo: I'm starting to get bullish on this idea that maybe there will actually be women involved in technology, and someday, in some distant future, there will actually be women involved in this. You know, we are making such an effort at this point that they may even be in the majority. Is there any person at all who thinks that is a bad idea? That is a great idea.
Iain: I was sold on that. The first software programmer was a woman, Grace Hopper.
Serenity: Susan Care?
Iain: The history of technology was littered with great women.
Serenity: Susan Care, we love Susan. She is great. She did the icons for the original Mac. I know Matthew Ingram, you have got to get out of here. It is so great to have you always on the show. Any thought, I had mentioned that Ross Albrect life without parole for creating the Silk Road.
Matthew: That just seems outrageous to me. I know he did lots of bad things. I read a horrifying discussion that he had with someone about, you know, putting a hit on a couple of people.
Leo: Yeah, but he wanted to pay in Bitcoin, so how serious could he have been?
Matthew: So obviously that is not the kind of thing that we want to encourage, but it feels to me as though he is being asked to pay the price for a whole bunch of other people who did things.
Leo: He just did the back end, right?
Matthew: Right. He basically built a platform. So it's a little like trying to go after Craig Newmark because somebody hired a hitman on Craigslist. That's what it feels like to me.
Iain: An example is being made of him certainly. Life without parole is just ridiculous. If you look at the sentences that are handed out for fraud or that sort of thing that hurt much more people...
Leo: Of course, so many people who run our banks, Goldman Sacs, Leeman Brothers, those guys are in jail and will be in jail forever, right? Oh no, no? They are still running those banks? Never mind.
Iain: Slap on the wrist time. If you read the judge's summing up, it was utterly partisan.
Leo: The minimum that he could have given him was 20 years. There were 197 letters on his behalf from friends and family saying we understand he is going to serve time, give him 20 years, give him the minimum. They gave him instead life without parole and a $180 million fine. I think, you know, working for cigarettes, it's going to be hard for him to pay that off.
Iain: It's going to be very hard and he is going to be a very, very old man when he gets out. I think for the actual crime that he committed, yes a crime, but way out of proportion.
Leo: Way out of proportion. Matthew, thank you so much for being here.
Matthew: Great. Thanks for having me.
Leo: We loved having you on. Fortune.com. He is @mathewi on the Twitter, and he is always just a beacon of sensible common sense and intelligence. It's always nice to have you on. We will see you soon.
Leo: Thanks to Iain Thomson, who is actually quite the opposite. He is acidic, acid tongued. No, I love Iain too. He is fun to read, always smart, you will find him at theregister.co.uk. I'm glad that you have been coming up here a lot. I appreciate it. I thank you.
Iain: No, it's always good fun. I was just down the road, so fair enough.
Leo: We love having you here. When you pass away, and that Sinclair, you can always, you know, we will give you a tax deduction.
Iain: There are a couple of people that you might have to fight for it, but hey, we can put it on, live fight, here is the prize, here is a thing of oil. Go for it.
Leo: Do I have to say Zedix, though? Do I have to?
Iain: I'm sorry, if you are going to own a British PC you have to talk British. It's just the way that it is. It's the rules.
Leo: I can talk British governor. Thank you also to the great Serenity Caldwell. Yes, I know, she does do roller derby, but she is also a brilliant writer and you can catch her work at imore.com. She is the one who discovered the Apple Watch doesn't work if you have a sleeve with a tattoo.
Serenity: It works, it just doesn't work for very specific tactics.
Leo: You just can't do the heart rate.
Serenity: Well, my boyfriend has a sleeve and it works fine. It's just dark, solid colors. So if you have black right here it's not going to work. But everything else is fine.
Leo: When is your next derby match?
Serenity: the next one is in July. I just got back from a practice.
Leo: What's the name of the team?
Serenity: I skate for the Cosmonoties as part of the Boston Derby Dames. Also, the Boston Massacre and the Boston B Party are our travel teams. They have a game next weekend.
Leo: Nice, thank you Serenity. Great to have you here. Thank you to everyone joining us. As you have probably noticed we are still doing live behind the scenes broadcasts. I think that we will probably do that. What we have decided to do is give every host the choice of whether they want to record their stream or record them off of the stream and have the produced versions off of the stream. Most hosts want to do that. I'm going to continue to do that. We are working on solutions to our chatroom, many of the mods want to move on. I don't blame them, it's really been kind of a battle zone. But we are not planning on killing chat, we are just going to find a way to make it a little bit easier, safer, and a better experience for those people who have to keep an eye on things. We know how important our community is, and I'm not willing to give it up. Not for nothing. So we will be live again next week. If you want to watch you can, 3:00 pm Pacific, 6:00 pm Eastern Time, that's 2200 UTC at live.twit.tv. If you like to be in studio we would love having you. We had a great audience of people here this week. We really appreciate you being here. Just email us if you can at email@example.com. We will put you on the list, we will make sure that we have a chair for you, and of course lovely parting gifts for each and every one of you just for coming to the show. Well, I know, it's a rubber band, but it's imprinted, right? It says TWiT on it. Tickets@twit.tv. If you want to watch our on demand video it's always available wherever you get your podcasts, on our website at twit.tv. The new website will launch, I hope, between now and the next show. Sometime this week. So if you see a sudden change in how the website looks thanks to FourKitchens, the great designers there, and we will kind of give you a tour at some point of how it works and all of their features. What we are really excited about showing you is the new website comes with a public API, which we will publish and let you write your own stuff if you wish so that you can scrape our content. The API is very rich, lots of detail, it's what the website uses, the website is a consumer of the API, but it's also what our new apps will use. We are talking to app developers about creating apps for IOS, Android, Windows, that means Windows 10, Xbox One, and Windows Phone, as well as all of the other platforms. That API is going to make that not only a lot easier, but a lot better. The apps should be really, really synched, so we are excited about that. Thanks for being here, we will see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can. Thanks everybody.