This Week in Tech 516
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech! Tom Merritt makes his way back to the TWiT stage. So glad to have him. Baratunde Thurston, Ben Thompson. We're going to talk about the new Twitter, what's going on at Snapchat, we got the latest from E3. I'm telling you, it's a jam packed show. Stay tuned. TWiT is next!
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Leo: This is TWiT: This Week in Tech, episode 515, recorded Sunday, June 21, 2015.
Some Slopes are Slippery
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It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news! We go to Brooklyn, New York, where Baratunde Thurston is dialing in. Hello, Baratunde!
Baratunde Thurston: This is Baratunde from Brooklyn/ LA. Brooklyn this time. Thank you, Leo for having me back.
Leo: Nice to see you on the longest day of the year.
Baratunde: This is the solstice.
Leo: Happy solstice. Look who else is here. He hasn't been back in a year and a half. I'm thrilled to welcome Tom Merritt. It's about time I got off my duffet and invited you back. Hello, Tom.
Tom Merritt: I come to you from LA/LA.
Leo: LA/LA. dailytechnewsshow.com!
Tom: dailytechnewsshow.com. Did I miss anything?
Leo: No. In fact, I'm going to have you do the week ahead a little later.
Tom: Great. I'll try to figure out what to say.
Leo: It's the same stuff as always, that's the funny thing.
Tom: I just go to tech meme and rip it off. Right?
Leo: Exactly. That's what I do. By the beard of Merritt. We're hoping Ben Thompson will join us, of Stratechery fame. It's 6:20 in the morning there. he may still be sawing logs. After a very agressive party-filled father's day. So, by the way...
Baratunde: dad bot org.
Leo: Yeah. Nothing like the dad bot. Do not e-mail me and say, "It's not the longest day of the year, Mr. Laporte. It's always 24 hours. This is just merely the most sunlight of the year." I don't want to hear it. We already got the call.
Baratunde: I want to record a voice memo to sound just like that, and when I e-mail, I'm going to set up a program to e-mail it to you every hour.
Leo: You don't realize the day is always 24 hours. Except we have a leap second. Didn't we have a leap second June, 1st? I believe we did.
Tom: We got a segment and we lost a segment.
Leo: Tom is here to explain.
Tom: I think they add one, right? I think they add one in to catch up and then it throws off some servers that are super accurate. You add a day to February to get yourself back on track.
Leo: It's because the atomic clocks are so accurate, and the earth seems to be slowing down. They were worried that the leap second would cause chaos. It was June 30. It's coming up. It's in a week. June 30. On June 30 at 23:59:59 GMT, the world's clocks will add one extra second. You get one extra second to do anything you want with. That's because the atomic clocks, which are very accurate, don't allow for Earth time, which is off.
Tom: Are you saying Earth isn't perfect?
Leo: The Earth is far from perfect. We do this not infrequently. They're worried that it could cause some issues with some super accurate servers and so forth. That's coming up. Something to look forward to.
Tom: Stock up on your camp food. Make sure you have your 72 hour go bag.
Baratunde: It's a good question to consider. What would you do with an extra second?
Leo: I think Google is splitting it up into tenths of a second things. They're going to spread it out.
Baratunde: Why can't they just do what everybody else is doing?
Tom: They want to have ten times as many problems.
Leo: They're better than all of us. There have been problems in the past. I guess a couple of years ago this happened. Kiwanis Airlines computers broke and for a few hours they were down. They had to check in passengers by hand.
Baratunde: How do you do that?
Leo: No one knows anymore. I showed up with my watch, and they said I don't know what to do with that.
Tom: Delta Airlines, the last time I flew to seattle...
Baratunde: They checked you in by hand?
Tom: They were looking at your boarding pass, checking something off with a pen.
Leo: A little consumer word of warning: If that happens, that means their computers are down. That may be bad for the rest of the flight.
Baratunde: A real test of customer service.
Tom: I lived.
Leo: There have been 25 leap seconds since 2012. Who knew? We do it all the time.
Baratunde: I thought this was once in a lifetime, like a comet situation.
Leo: No. Apparently it happens many times a year. I've been acting like it's a big deal. Somebody under my table.
Baratunde: Sensational media at its best. Way to go, Leo.
Leo: I know. The Linnux Colonel, folks, aren't expecting any major issues. As Torvald said, every time we have a leap second, something bad happens.
Baratunde: It's like Y2K every couple of years. Basically, nothing happens.
Leo: The reason problems happen in this space is because it is obviously rare and special. Testing for it in one circumstance might miss some other situation.
Tom: Network time protocol freezes time during the leap second.
Leo: Right. You can imagine that's not necessarily good. Frozen time. All right. I don't know how I got on that. It wasn't even in our show notes. It just came to my mind. Wow. Mark Merrin, who does a podcast--in fact you all probably listen to it, because it's a great podcast. Very popular. Somebody said he invented Podcatter?
Baratunde: Tom is just trolling you.
Leo: OK. He did not invent podcasting. He's a great comic. He's on IFC, going into his third year now at the Independent Film Channel. Not a big cable channel, but who am I to mock? He got the president to go to his Garage on Thursday and do an interview. Wow.
Baratunde: This is one of those things where it's clear that President Obama is following my lead. Having also gone to Mark Merrin's garage and been an honored guest on that show...
Leo: How was that for you when you were talking to the man who talked to the President?
Baratunde: I feel like I had a deep and prying conversation with the President by the transitive property. That's how it works with WTF.
Leo: Tom will remember this. I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the prince of Wales!
Tom: No, I don't.
Baratunde: I don't think anybody allive knows that song.
Tom: What is that?
Leo: I'm sorry. I don't know.
Baratunde: Why did you try to drag Tom into it?
Leo: I thought he would know! OK.
Tom: How old is the security suite for you, Baratunde, when you showed up?
Baratunde: Here's the thing. I parked my car on a hill, and then I walked up to the door, and knocked on the door. They looked through the peep hole, and i did a facial recognition scan with a built-in verification system based in various quartices of the mind, acknowledged me, and granted me access.
Leo: So when Mark says it's in a garage, is that really a multi-million dollar studio?
Baratunde: It's in a garage, dude. It's in a garage filled with books, with a cat (like a real one), and then there's mugs everywhere. It's a bit disheveled. It is not a crack studio that he's pretending is some earthy grounded, underground.... It feels like a bunker. It feels legitimately underground. It's very cool. It's not a fancy place. It works really well. You feel like you're in someone's garage where they've stored their life.
Leo: He gave a little interview to the New York Times after the event. Apparently it was a little like that scene from ET where they quarantine the house and they've got a tent and a tube all the way out, and the've got Federal agents with guns or if you saw it later without guns, the President's car pulled into the tent, and he emerges invisible to the outside world. Everybody knows...
Baratunde: They have to de-contaminate him so they can...
Leo: Everybody knows where he is. Everybody knows where Mark Merrin's garage is. I think the presumption is, there's going to be a lot of people looking. You cannot see the president. He gets out, emerges, goes down this tunnel into the garage, Merrin said that they talked a little about... they took an obligatory selfie. That's embarassing.
Baratunde: It's pretty good camera quality.
Leo: Do you think the President knew what WTF stands for?
Baratunde: I"m sure he did.
Leo: He wants to be hip, right? He's not running for anything.
Baratunde: He's the coolest president we ever had. He's a pretty smooth opperator in a non-creepy way. Bill Clinton was smooth, but he was also dirt.
Leo: He was a little weird. Clinton did Arsenio, he played the saxaphone.
Baratunde: He looked pretty cool. He was also a constant philanderer, which was less cool.
Leo: Remember that Obama also did Zach Galifinakis podcast. He asked him, "How does it feel to be the last black president?" Obama said, "How about that Hangover 3?"
Baratunde: That was really well-done.
Leo: That was brilliant!
Baratunde: I have some disclosure. I guess it's a disclosure/humblebrag.
Leo: Did you write that joke/
Baratunde: I have interacted with and done some meetings with the public engagement office at the white house on how they think about communicating with the public, and what's fascinating is that this White House came of age in a digital media era. Bush missed it. President Obama has SnapChat, YouTube, Wireless networks. We used to count of official media, the formal credentialed media to relay messages from the executive branch and to interrogate them on our behalf. Now, that is not the case anymore. The White House publishes a bunch of its own stuff. Their primary outlets in all of these social channels, but they also go to niche media and try to get their message out. The first lady has done all this stuff around her "Let's move" initiative, talking to iVillage, and very particular communities. It's the equivalent of doing local press back in the day.
Leo: So they talked to you and said, "What would your advice be?" You're obviously millennial and you're hooked into all of this.
Baratunde: I told him to come on TWiT.
Leo: He didn't listen. Thank you.
Baratunde: Not yet.
Tom: We did one of these meetings, if you remember, Leo, when I was still at TWiT. I went down to Mountainview and met with a representative from the White House earlier obviously, a couple of years ago and I found out about a video on the Internet. You couldn't make it for some reason or something, so I had to head down. It was me, the guy who was doing Ivy, you remember that service that got sued out of existence because they were just re-broadcasting. There were a couple people from YouTube there, a couple Google reps. It was interesting because they were kind of back fighting. They wanted to know what are you concerns, what are the issues that you face getting your message out on the Internet. They were also collecting information for themselves for what Baratunde is talking about.
Leo: Here's a picture of the president talking to Mark. Baratunde, does it look like he cleaned up the studio a little bit?
Baratunde: It actually does. The piles are more orderly in this shot than I remember.
Leo: It's a little tidied there.
Baratunde: It's as cramped as I remember. He didn't overdo it. I think he probably swept and shuffled the papers to get the stacks linedd up a little better.
Tom: Secret Service probably did that when they came through.
Leo: Would you mind if we put this guitar over here, Sir?
Tom: Do you mind if we vacuum up this dust?
Leo: Is this poison? What is this? Of course New York Times e-mailed Mr. Marrin right after the show. You finished speaking with the president a short while ago, how are you feeling? How did it go? Marrin said, "I feel good." They did talk about the Charleston killings, which had happened the day before on Wednesday, so they talked about that. The thing about Marrin is he likes... correct me if I'm wrong, but just from listening to the show, he likes to talk about you as a human.
Baratunde: His is not a topical, current events show. His is an examination of the dark recesses of your soul and it's a mix of a confession booth and a support circle and an interrogation. (And hanging out with a funny person.) All wrapped up in one.
Leo: He's so funny. I think Mark is hysterical.
Baratunde: He's into your story and your traumas if you're willing to share. He identifies a lot with the darkness within. The show should be callled "The darkness within"
Leo: It should be. Although WTF ain't bad either. He mentions in the interview with the New York Times, I didn't know this, he used to be a radio talk show host. A commentator. He said, "I lost interest in politics. I don't follow it anymore. I didn't think of political questions to ask the president. I was going to do it my way. Engage in a personal way." He knows all the tricks. He's the President. I wasn't going to put anything over on him by acting more comfortable than I was. But it was weird. He came over, he made me feel more comfortable quickly. He was engaged, He was looking forward to having a nice chat. I think I steamrolled into the conversation very intensely, very quickly, like I do sometimes when I'm nervous, they asked him how did this happen? We were having this conversation between my producer and the White House and then over the last month or so it became clear it might happen. Then Mark said where am I going to do it? Do I go to the oval office? Do I go to a hotel? They told him no. He wants to come to your garage. That's wild. Big Secret Service. Snpiers on my neighbor's roof. Sniper on my garage roof. LAPD on the perimeter, 40 secret service people. They asked, I was kind of interested in this question, were you given any guidelines or restrictions about what you could discuss with the president. Marrin said, "No." No guidelines, no restrictions, and we had final edit. Wow.
Baratunde: I hope he adds some stuff in that final edit.
Tom: Final doctoring.
Leo: That's impressive. You want to interview Bill Gates, they give you the questions, they approve the questions. They want final edit. That's why I never would interview Bill Gates, I wouldn't put up with that.
Tom: I assume because it's a political public figure that laws are different about that sort of person versus a CEO of a private company.
Leo: You have a godo point. You can't manage it that way, can you?
Baratunde: That's a great question. I wonder. I imagine that maybe they just trusted him ultimately to be respectful even if he wasn't carrying the president's line.
Leo: Tom, that's why you and I didn't get the interview.
Tom: That's my story.
Baratunde: I don't think there's any laws that would prevent a communications department of a public figure from trying to manage an interview and saying you can't ask about that. Elected officials do that all the time.
Leo: I can't wait to hear. It's not out yet.
Baratunde: It'll come out Monday of this week.
Tom: It's an access issue. They're saying we're not going to make you pre-approve questions, because if that got out, it would look bad, so we're willing to take the risk. You're right, Leo. They must have trusted. Well, the situation will be such that we won't run into any hot water, especially if they know that Marrin doesn't talk about politics.
Leo: It was an astute choice, wasn't it?
Baratunde: They partnered pretty heavily. There was a man who was in the public engagement office named Brad Jenkins. He now runs Funny Or Die DC office. He was a big part of connecting the White House to the LA Community, the Hollywood community, especially commedians. The videos that came out for Obamacare that Funny or Die did, they ended up driving enrollment. They wanted to reach that community of Young people who hang out and watch funny videos online, and that's not going to be DriveTime radio, and that's not going to be ABC news or NBC nightly news. I think part of their strategy is that Marrin has an audience that they want this President to be exposed to. Maybe he's doing a closing lap too. "Who haven't I touched?'
Leo: He's not running. I can' understand as a candidate you might be reaching out to young people. When he did the two Ferns interview he was promoting his... Obamacare. I've seen youth get out the vote stuff with MTV and thinks like that. He's got no axe to grind here.
Tom: Maybe he's just a fan.
Leo: Maybe he's a fan. I like that. Let's just say that.
Baratunde: He's in his senior spring. He's checking off his bucket list. You know what? I want to be on WTF. I can do that as the president. He should do other stuff. sky diving.
Leo: Does it say anything about...?
Baratunde: Hike the Appalachian trail.
Leo: I'm going to carry a wallet with money! Does it say anything about podcasts that... this is a bit deal for podcasts, right?
Baratunde: You got cereal and this. Did the President kill Eddie?
Leo: I think podcasts are going through a Rennaissance right now. That's what I think. Let's take a break. I want a love letter--sort of--more like a break up letter from Taylor Swift to Apple and a lot more coming up. Tom Merritt is here. It's great to have him from the Daily Tech News Show: DTNS. dailytechnewsshow.com. Baratunde, last time you were on with Bilton, you said I'm doing Snapchat all the time. You still are.
Baratunde: The story that's up now, and by the time most of your people hear this, it will be gone because that's the nature of SnapChat, I'll probably archive this one on my YouTube channel or on my website.
Leo: You can?
Baratunde: You can export the stories you make, not the messages as easily. It will create an MP4 file of the link of a full play of the story, as if the user had depressed their thumb with the whole thing. I created art. I created psychadellic SnapChat art last night, and it's pretty amazing. In fact, I'm going to try and get a screen shot you can show. You can show it right now.
Leo: Ooooh. I hate I have to keep my thumb on the thing. Wait a minute.
Baratunde: Do what you were doing before, hold it down, look at that. Now tap with your index finger somewhere else on the screen. No. Keep your finger depressed, now tap elsewhere while that finger is depressed with another finger.
Leo: You think this is a good medium, huh? Wow.
Baratunde: Look at that.
Leo: Let's play the music. I'd be kind of glad that does disappear after a day.
Baratunde: To answer your question, I had my phone, I threw it at my Monitor for Apple TV, and I was curious what would happen if I tried to make a Snapchat of what my camera saw, which was what my camera was seeing. I created this Hall of mirrors effected. Fractal effect basically, because there's a latency between each image. The longer you focus on what you're focusing on what you're focusing on, it creates this tunnel effect. I played around with filters and rotation, angles, things like that.
Leo: I think Katie Couric already did that. I may be wrong. I think I saw her. This is kind of cool, but this isn't typical of what you do, right?
Baratunde: I had some time last night and I was just messing around. I don't know if that's a one trick thing, but I'd love to see other people play with mirror effects and...
Leo: Dollar bill!
Baratunde: Yeah. I made it rain, and then I took the money away.
Leo: That is crazy. I can't watch that again, that's it.
Baratunde: You can. You have to scroll down. Whatever you just did, don't do that.
Leo: I don't understand. You young people. You and your crazy snapchat.
Baratunde: I got NIck to thank for this. I haven't been on TWiT without him for a long time. I feel like I'm cheating on Nick Bilton right now.
Leo: Was there a reason we didn't get Nick on here?
Baratunde: Personal animosity is the reason behind it.
Leo: We should... I feel like you've got to mix it up sometimes. Baratunde doesn't have to go with Bilton.
Baratunde: I'm my own man.
Tom: How could you have any Baratunde if you don't have any Bilton?
Leo: You've got to have you're Bilton! Our show today brought to you by FreshBooks! By the way, John really liked that, Tom. Anytime you do a little Pink Floyd in there. He's going to happy. This episode brought to you by FreshBooks. If you run your own small business, anywhere you charge for your time and expertise that means you're busy (I hope) you're working hard, and the last thing you want to do is come the end of the month, open word or excel and make invoices. FreshBooks makes it easy. It's the super-simple cloud accounting solution designed just exactly for small business owners like you. You can create and send invoices easy as pie. Beautiful professional-looking invoices. You can also use their phone app to capture and manage expenses, keep track of hours, get it right into the invoices. It's so easy to ues. Looks so good. FreshBooks has done some studies of FreshBooks users. They found out that FreshBooks users save around 16 hours a month on administrative tasks. That's like two work days a month! More importantly, you get paid on an average of 5 days faster. That's because that invoice has a pay button that you can use, your client can use to pay you. They want to pay you. If they don't, FreshBooks will send additional reminders, which is nice. Because you can accept credit cards and all the online payment systems, it makes it easier for them to pay you. If you ever need help, the FreshBooks support rockstars are there at the offices ready to help you. They're fantastic. I used it for a long time. I really loved it, and I want you to try it for free for 30 days. Join the five million folks over the last ten years who have used FreshBooks. Go to freshbooks.com/twit and if they ask you how you heard about it, just say TWiT in the form there. Start your 30-day free trial today. We thank them so much. freshbooks.com for supporting this episode of TWiT. freshbooks.com. Your 30-day trial awaits.
Leo: Yeah. You use them?
Baratunde: Here's a segway, Leo, from that to one of the stories for the day that I think is pretty perfect. You talk about FreshBooks facilitating faster payments. Clients want to pay you, this makes it easier, unless of course that client is Apple and you are a musician.
Leo: In that case, you can wait 90 days.
Baratunde: Exactly. It's like the anti-FreshBooks.
Leo: Taylor Swift, on her Tumblog, writes to Apple, love Taylor. But like many Taylor Swift songs, this is really about breaking up. I'll write this to explain why I'm holding back my album. She's getting good at this. Remember Taylor held back 1989 from Spotify because they wouldn't let her take it off the free tier. I'm holding back my album 1989 from the new streaming service Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music. This is kind of weird. And creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company, the truly ingenious minds, they've created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries. I'm sure you are aware she goes on to write, that Apple Music will be offering a free 3-month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. That starts, by the way, at the end of the month. This month. It should be any day now, right? June 29?
Baratunde: It's very close to when we get that extra second. You could spend it on Apple music.
Leo: So the problem is Apple is going to give you a free trial for three months for both the mac on IOS when you get 8.4, not on Android, but Windows I guess will also get a free trial. Apple has said that they will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, she says, disapointing, and completely unlike this historic progressive and generous company. This is not about me. She obviously understands that people are going to say, "Oh Taylor, you're reach." She says no. These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child she writes. She says I'm on my fifth album, I can support myself, my band my crew, my entire management team just by playing live shows. But, she makes this as an excellent point. This is about the new artists or band that has just released their first single that won't be paid. Imagine you just come out with your hit single and for three months people can listen to it for free on...
Baratunde: I don't know what the curve looks like for music. Is there a power curve basically? A play volume? It spikes in the first few weeks or months and then it tapers off as people discover other artists. You're probably not missing out in a year's period, you may be missing out on more than a quarter of the compensation. That first quarter of release may represent a half of your plays for that year on this platform. I like the Dear John letter that Taylor Swift wrote Apple. It felt a little political. It felt like a politician goes into a small town or company. The good people of Iowa are always hard-working, ingenious minds. You've contributed so much to the American economy, and they follow that with ripping them a bit. The case for the new musicians I felt was strong and unique. It wasn't the way Metallica was back in the day when they were like, "You're stealing our money!" It was hard to feel sympathy for someone you assume is very highly compensated. I felt like she was taking a hit on behalf of people who don't have a voice. It was a political move. I like it.
Tom: She's not trying to engender any bad blood with that roll. She's saying you're not out of the woods.
Leo: She's saying you're a little too cautious about that really. Come on. You don't have to kiss Apple's ass.
Baratunde: I think if you recognize as an artist the relationship you have based on the phone you're using, she probably wrote that on an Apple device. She is grateful that iTunes has changed the whole game and allowed someone like her to rise. Them and Google together changed the whole relationship. But Apple takes credit for it. Her other big point was that you're asking the weakest among us to subsidise your product launch. The US treasury has 50 billion dollars on hand. Apple has 160 billion dollars. You think they can't afford to offer the artists on whose back this service depends? Without musicians Apple Music is just an empty vessel. She's like if you want this product to succeed so much, you invest in it. Don't force your suppliers, the heart of your product, to make that investment without even asking.
Tom: Here's my guess about what happened here though. Instead of giving the 70% that Spotify will take, Apple agreed to more. Some people say 71.5, I guess in Europe it's 73. My guess is that Apple agreed to that in exchange for the 3 month free exclusve. That will ballance it out. We'll give you a larger amount over time if we can juice up the stats at the beginning with three months free and the labels agreed to that. This isn't about Apple vs. the artist, this was about the labels once again selling out their artist's interests, because they know they'll get their money down the line, even if it hurts some individual artists along the way.
Baratunde: I wonder if, because artists are rarely at the table. They're represented by publishers who have the rights to these songs and buy the music labels who have other rights. Maybe it's the case of the labels not fighting hard enough. Maybe they were totally whipped by Apple. They knew they were going to lose at any rate. How do you tell, it's a very awkward conversation to be like, "We're going to ask your artists to pay for this." You're saying that from a throne you're sitting in which is made of solid gold.
Leo: At the end of her letter, she says, we don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with your music for no compensation.
Tom: We do, with two year contracts.
Leo: All right, obviously she's right, but for years now, artists have accepted that you're not going to make much money on radio play. As a performer, you make zero. Only the publisher/songwriter gets any money. You're not going to make a lot of money with the other streaming music services like Pandora/Spotify but if you're a new artist, and that's how your music gets out, she herself says I make my money touring. Isn't that really just the fact of life these days?
Tom: Tech Crunch had a great point, which is that the company that gets this will start selling Merch and concert tickets through their streaming service cutting in the artist where they make their actual money, and no one will care so much about all these individaul streams which are miniscule.
Baratunde: That's been happening since Yahoo music service built on Rhapsody a few years ago. Spotify you can follow an artist and get notifications. I assume that it's not an affiliate link deal if you buy a ticket based on that click, because they're the ones who are responsible for you discovering that.
Leo: Apple has given away free songs every week for a long time, and they don't pay the artist for those as far as I know. When you get chosen to give away a free song, congratulations. Same thing with Amazon with their free app every day. You don't get any money.
Baratunde: They should force downloads of artist's entire album onto your Apple device. Call it the U2 strategy.
Leo: Didn't they pay U2 more than 100 million dollars for the right to put Songs of Innocence on my phone? I think they did. They paid a lot of money.
Tom: That's why I'm convinced that Apple has the money to give the labels. It was the labels saying, OK. We'll give you three months free if you give us more over time going forward and Apple agreed to it. No one was considering individual artists at that point.
Leo: That's right. Taylor wasn't asked. Her label did this.
Tom: Taylor has got her own label, so she can just pull out and go no. This doesn't go forward.
Leo: Is that it? She's not on a label.
Tom: She's on a label, but it's a label that is independant of these other...
Leo: So maybe she's just pissed off Apple didn't talk to her.
Baratunde: I'm sure Apple wanted to talk to Taylor Swift.
Tom: Just not the current Apple. She's saying I wish you would give us better royalties.
Leo: She says it's not too late. Reconsider.
Tom: She's got a blank space. She'll write their name.
Baratunde: I got word from Mr. Nick Bilton. He is a new father.
Leo: I know. Congratulations, Nick. He was amazing. He found a wife and a child within the space of a month or two.
Baratunde: He found the wife a bit earlier than that.
Leo: I've been watching his adorable baby pictures. Thanks for checking. I would have said it without asking him ahead of time. I appreciate your...
Baratunde: I've been burned by sharing other people's details without checking first. As my own reach gets larger that's more painful to people who I didn't ask.
Leo: You forget that when you see something on Facebook that it's not public. I always assume it's public. Yes. Congratulations. Do you remember the name of his baby?
Baratunde: I do. I don't know if that's public, so I'm not going to say.
Leo: OK. Aren't we careful here? So, I think we can safely say we're all sympathetic with Taylor's point of view and absolutely if you're a new artist and you're losing three months of sales that could be a significant ding. I think you're also right, Tom. This was a deal the labels made. Apple didn't do this unilaterally.
Tom: It becomes a bad deal for all the indie labels, all the individual artists who weren't at that table.
Baratunde: These British labels are complaining about the same thing that Taylor Swift is compalining about.
Tom: Apple Music is not going to have a full catalogue because of that.
Leo: Are labels saying that they're not going to have 1989 beyond that?
Tom: Some of the smaller indie labels aren't going to be in the service either.
Leo: Isn't it the case though, really... I read this somewhere. I would like to give credit. In fact all a matter of time before the labels put all these servers out of business. Spotify has never made any money. Even though they're getting funding like crazy, it's really up to the labels, and the labels don't want this. Or do they?
Tom: They don't want it too fast. They don't want it to undermine the current business model before they've figured out how to move the money.
Leo: But that's why Apple is doing this, right? They saw 14% decline in sales last year.
Baratunde: I rarely buy anymore.
Leo: You don't need to! You can listen to spotify and have every song!
Baratunde: It's all in the cloud. Stream of Life, man.
Leo: I actually bought for the 18th time, another collection of the Beatles. They deserve the money. They need it, poor guys. There's a little metal green Apple with a USB key in it. It's got flak versions of the 2009 remastered. Then you have to re-envode that for streaming.
Tom: You use real networks?
Leo: Sure. There it is. That's the real thing. It's actually pretty good. They're not on any streaming service, right? I had to upload it to Amazon so I could hear it on my echo. Upload it to Google so I could listen to it. Otherwise you can't stream the Beatles, unless you own the Beatles. They're the only artists...
Tom: I use Google Music All Access, which lets me stream the Beatles music I own.
Leo: You have to own it, exactly.
Baratunde: Does someone from Google come to your house to inspect your record collection?
Tom: My wife. She works there.
Leo: Literally someone from Google inspects his collection. Regularly. What's interesting is.. I use Google Access. I like it. It's tied to your Google account so only you can use it. There are draconian limits which I wasn't aware of to how many times you can re-download your own music. I think you can only do it a couple times a year. There's all sorts of issues with Google Music. I love the idea, because my collection is in Google Music with 30 million other songs, so as you say, Tom, I can' supplement the Beatles and so forth. Double Twist has just launched a solution to get around this called Cloud player. I tried to download it this morning. The idea is if your music is on Dropbox, you can stream it to double twist on Android. I guess... does it also use Google Drive? Yes. Dropbox one drive or Google Drive. So it literally bypasses all of Google's restrictions about how many times you can download your music, who owns it, you can only authorize five devices with Google. All of that is bypassed by tumbletwist. You've got to wonder what Google is going to do in response.
Baratunde: Block them from Google search results, which is a nice segway, Am I right?
Leo: Gosh Baratunde. You're doing my job! Thank you. Keep it moving. Go ahead, I don't know where you're going with this though.
Baratunde: I don't going to the Revenge porn being stricken from Google search results.
Leo: You have to ask for it.
Baratunde: You have to request it. Just like the right to be forgotten implementation over in Europe.
Leo: I didn't know this, but according to USA today, they've always done that with Bank account and social security. If your search is turning up your social, you can ask them to take it down.
Baratunde: I didn't know that either. I was curious why that wasn't a bigger deal. Finding someone's signature and their social, you can open up everything in their name and there are people who have scanned it and it ended up online forms by accident.
Tom: Child pornography has had that policy as well.
Leo: That would make sense. If your ex is putting up nude pictures of you as revenge, you can fill out a form which is not yet available but will be soon, saying I didn't give permission for this imagery to be on the Internet, would you please take down the search results? I think that's a good thing. If it's not on Google it doesn't exist.
Baratunde: I like the idea that you have... for such a long time, there was a hands-off outside the realm of morality and ethics attitude about the power of this technology to do great harm. Oh, we're just an algorithm. Just doing what the machines tell us to do. That's how you end up with some pretty bad outcomes from time to time. For Google to be saying this information is our job. I'm paraphrasing. Their mission is to organize the world's information, but it's to organize the world's valuable information and this information has no value. It only has harm attached to it. It's not a good look for them to be connected to a place where you can go find ways to hurt people and destroy their reputations.
Leo: Don't you think it opens up the door to the right to be forgotten in a broader way? OK. That's harmful, but what about that article about me that said I bribed a judge 20 years ago? Shouldn't I be able to take that down too? Not that I did.
Tom: I think that puts the argument where it's supposed to be, which is saying what is the line between what should be allowed and what shouldn't be allowed? Just like freedom of expression says you can't yell "Fire" in a crowded theatre, there is a line where you can't say everything. We try to make it as abundant as possible. I think Google is saying Revenge Porn is on that side of the line. There is no value to it. The right to be forgotten... sometimes there is value to that because it's actual facts. It's not necessarily libel or slander, it's just old. I'm sympathetic to the argument saying that you should have a higher burden of proof that something like that should be removed from search results.
Baratunde: What Tom said. Everything. Cosigned.
Leo: Apparently Jackie Speer from California is about to introduce legislation from California that would make it illegal. It's not illegal, revenge porn. John Olliver, this is going to carry a lot of weight. John Olliver will do it Sunday on Last Week Tonight. Who woke up? Mr. Ben Thompson from Stratechery joins us. Hi, Ben!
Ben Thompson: Hi. I'm here. Can you hear me?
Leo: Were you asleep?
Ben: I had a time zone malfunction.
Leo: No problem. We're always grateful that you tune it at six in the morning anyway.
Ben: Someone should make an Apple Watch or something. There's no daylight saving's time here. I think I remarked previously, I got it right the last time I was on. I went to bed, set my alarm for 6:45 and woke up at 6:45 to 67 Skype messages asking where I was.
Leo: I'm sorry.
Ben: It's my fault. I apologize.
Leo: We're thrilled to have you.
Ben: I would love jumping in on the conversation. I think the one point I would make is in tech and around some of these issues in particular, the slippery slope argument gets a little over sold. I say this as someone who takes it very seriously. My background in University is not tech, it was political science. The concept of slippery slope and the first amendment, I certainly understand real well and it rings true. That said, I feel like the argument of this is a step down a slippery slope is taken so far to the extreme. The reality is everything is on the slope. It's insulting to suggest that no one has the judgment to figure out where and when we can go. You literally get arguments of people arguing that private corporations should not put some sort of limit on agregious, awful behavior or speech in the name of a slippery slope argument that one is nonsensical if you actually back up and think about it, two is insulting, and three private corporations aren't covered by the first amendment anyway. Good on Google for doing this. Good on the taking it a little easy on the slippery slope argument.
Leo: I'm not making the slippery slope argument really. I will take the point of view to give you more to push against. You can certainly make the case that if there's editorial discretion of any kind, if it's not completely algorithmic, that changes the whole complexion of the matter. Where does that end? Where does editorial discretion end? Shouldn't it be entirely algorithmic and there should be no human intervention at all? In other words, address revenge porn at the source. Why does Google have to change its algorithm? Go to the sites where it's up and as they did recently, throw them in jail.
Baratunde: Google is a point of leverage and can actually make a difference. If we didn't act except at the root source of every problem, we wouldn't do anything. We wouldn't have energy if we felt that way. We'd fly to the sun to get it. We have to have intermediate methods of getting things done and Google represents a major gateway. They made a call that says, "Look. We're not the cause of the problem, but we contribute by creating a market for this." We search as a market. People look up and focus on information, and if this is what they find on someone, which is only an act of malice, not the fact based journalistic stuff that Tom was talking about earlier, then it has no value. For Google to be like, "We didn't start the fire" does that mean you don't help put it out?
Tom: I think there's also an argument to be made--hi Ben. I'm Tom. Nice to meet you.
Leo: Tom Merritt, Ben Thompson.
Tom: I think there's also an argument to be made too that this is Google admitting that their algorithm isn't perfect. If their algorithm was perfect, it would be able to tell that this was valueless content and kick it out, but it can't. You have to put a human patch on it for the time being.
Baratunde: The idea that the best world is one that doesn't require human intervention... the Skynet world. No. We've seen that documentary so many times before, and I don't know that that's the highest level of creative achievement is when there are no people required. That shouldn't be the goal.
Leo: You guys are pushing me in the opposite direction now. The more I hear this, the more I don't like this idea. I feel like if you're going to say that I'm going to make a search engine, what you should do is make a search engine that indexes what's on the net, regardless of content because that's what's on the net. Your job is to reflect what's on the net and give the best results, not to editorialize and then if you don't like something that's on the net, you should go to where it is on the net, not take the search engine to task.
Ben: There's two issues, Leo. For the record, I'm very sympathetic. I had a similar position recently. I get it.
Leo: Look. There's plenty of stuff I would love to take down on the net. Everybody knows that. I'm arguing against my own interest. I think it's in all of our interest that Google be an independent agregator, a reflection of what's on the net. Not with any human editorial intervention, because editorial intervention always introduces bias.
Ben: The problem, Leo, is who writes the algorithm?
Leo: Ben you go. I think that's an interesting point, Baratunde. You do get the next one.
Ben: Maybe we're on the same point. Who writes the algorithm?
Baratunde: Exactly. Other algorithms.
Ben: The truth is, one, humans write algorithms. There is going to be some level of bias in them. Two, Google has already made this decision to sensor some sort of content. They have a long-standing policy to not show child pornography for example. They also don't show certain piracy results. Some of them because they have to, some of them because they choose not to. There's a whole list of stuff. They choose not to feature sites that link to themselves and have all that sorts of stuff. The reality is that the search algorithm itself is a human endeavor. We can't pretend that it is inherently objective when it's not. More broadly, we need to deal with the world as it is, not with a theoretical world where there's an impartial computer answering our questions. The reality is that in a world of infinite information, the point that organizes that information for better or worse has unbelievable power and leverage and frankly, in Google's interest, if they don't take the responsibility they shouldn't be surprised if governments take the responsibility for them.
Leo: I agree with that, but that's a politically realistic point of view. I disagree. I think an algorithm can be completely objective. In fact page rank edits fundamental root is it takes no account of the content at all. If people are linking to this page, it's highly ranked. The higher the rank of the pages that are linking to the page, the higher the rank of the page. If you just do that, that's purely algorithmic without human intervention, and it is completely objective and there is no editorializing.
Baratunde: The editorializing happened when page rank equaled important. The world rank is a human value that says a page is important because of this algorithmic definition of inbound/outbound links, etc. The pure doesn't belong in this discussion. There's no idea of purity here. Someone created that. It's like saying an academic test measures intelligence. It measures a certain type of intelligence. Page rank measures a certain type of importance, but it could be argued that there are other relevant factors for the position of a web page and the result for a certain term that page rank doesn't capture at all. Page rank is very limited human value imposed from the source. The code itself has values imposed on it by a thinking person.
Leo: It may not be perfect, but it's better than having a human decide.
Ben: If you're going to say it's not perfect, but it's better than having a human decide, what I would say it's better to have a human decide to not include revenge porn then to not. The fact of the matter is once you've established it's not perfect, then youre making judgment calls. Once you're making judgment calls...
Leo: I agree with you. Revenge porn is obviously wrong. This is the slippery slope argument you hate so much. As soon as you abandon the completely computer based algorithm and start saying, "Except, this isn't so good" that's very risky, because that's a judgment call.
Ben: The problem is that argument only holds moral water if you start with the assumption that the original judgment is perfect.
Leo: It is perfect if it merely reflects...
Ben: No. It's perfect according to certain parameters.
Baratunde: Achieving perfection is impossible.
Leo: I think page rank is pretty amazing.
Baratunde: I'm not telling you what you think, but I can't imagine a world where you think that they happen to stumble into the absolute across all time, best and most perfect way to determine the page results.
Leo: Maybe there's a better way to do it. I would say...
Baratunde: It can't be perfect. If there's something better, then this is not perfect.
Leo: I would say what's absolutely imperfect is imposing a moral judgment or moral compass, because that changes. That is highly subjective, whereas you can pick an algorithm... there is some method that I'm using. The point of page rank is to determine which pages are the most important, which pages are the least important and give them an order according to your search term. We want to perfect that and make it better and better, but when you say except let's take these results out and these results out, now your search algorithm isn't showing an accurate picture of the web. If the web is full of crap, which it is by the way, who is going to decide what to take out?
Tom: That started the moment that they pulled out Linkfarms. That's not a valuable result. Page rank was making a mistake by ranking those, so we have to tweak. Then they pulled out bank account numbers and child pornography and now revenge porn. Really, the conversatino to me isn't about whether there should be human intervention in the algorithm, because there has been all the way back to the beginning, the question is are they intervening in the right places. Leo, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said are you making a moral judgment? Is revenge porn or child pornography a moral judgment or a class that they say if we had the perfect algorithm it would eliminate that on its own?
Leo: Look. Algorithms are made of people like everything else. There is the goal that you're trying to achieve with the algorithm. One would be to try to accurately reflect, however we do it, the actual state of the net. That to me seems the right and good way to create a search engine. The other would be to say let's show the results on the net of stuff we don't disagree with. Whatever that is that you don't disagree with, the fact that we can all agree that revenge porn is bad doesn't mean that it should be abandoned. Just because we all agree about it, we might all agree that African American people are all bad, and that has happened. Should the algorithm be adjusted? No. It should not be based on that kind of judgment. What you're trying to do is mathematically, accurately reflect that data pool that is the net, however creepy it is. Let's have an accurate search result. That's all I'm saying.
Ben: We haven't had that for years.
Leo: Let's aim at that, right?
Baratunde: There's a world where, there was a great Ted Talk that came out this year about our whole perception of anything that is imperfect/incomplete. We don't see infrared without extra tools. The idea that we could accurately reflect the net, the words "accurate" and "net" are both very subjective and hard to wrap some comprehensive case around. A "pure" search engine can exist, to Tom's point, it would actually be a pile of crap.
Leo: Yes, because that's what's on the net. But then we should fix what's on the net, not their search algorithms.
Baratunde: It's not just because of what's on the net. It's because people would intervene to manipulate and the top result would be coupons. Porn sites, and discount codes.
Leo: Let's fix the net!
Baratunde: I would vote that we move on the subject.
Leo: We've all made our points. Exactly right.
Tom: You can find it all on Bing.
Leo: You pushed me into it. I wasn't going to push so hard, it is all on Bing.
Ben: I think you pushed hard enough that you ended up in an absurd place, and I think you know that.
Leo: I disagree entirely. I think what you really---
Baratunde: You, Leo, accurately reflected the Internet.
Leo: Let's take a break. There's lots more to talk about, including an article on the Wall Street Journal that said, Apple should abandon the Mac. I'd like to know if you agree. Especially you, Ben. Our Show to you today brought to you by Gazelle. Is this Gazelle time? I think it is, isn't it? A great way if you are into gadgets to get new gadgets without breaking the bank. When you're done with a phone or a tablet or a computer or a screen you just got to throw it in a pile somewhere or stick it in a drawer? That would be like taking 100 bills and saying I don't need this anymore and putting it in the drawer. Instead, go to Gazelle.com at least. Do yourself a favor, get a quote. How much is that old iPhone 5 worth? Then, when you see it's worth a hundred bucks, maybe you won't throw it in the drawer. Maybe you'll send it to Gazelle. The point is you can get that quote at no obligation, no cost to you. 175 dollars. OK. Now we're talking. It's good for 30-days, so you don't have to decide right away. In fact, if there's a new thing coming and you want to get it, it's a great idea to go to Gazelle and get that quote so you can lock it in. Then when you get the new thing in, transfer the data off the old thing and send it to Gazelle. They pay the postage on anything worth more than $1. You might ask, I know many have, “Well, what happens to the goods - the stuff that Gazelle gets?” Well, the stuff that's in the best shape they actually will turn around and sell pre-owned, certified from Gazelle. Devices are available from Gazelle in two conditions, certified like new - nothing more to say about that. They're as good as new. Certified good, they show some gentle signs of wear but you're going to get even more savings.
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I don't know what sick game Christopher Mims is up to in the Wall Street Journal. What sick game? “Why Apple Should Kill Off the Mac.” Actually, I guess from a purely business point of view, it might make sense to - I mean, the Mac is such a small part of their business. They make so much money on the iPhone, it might make sense to kill off the computer that really put Apple on the map after the Apple 2.
Baratunde: Unless they put it on the Apple Maps, which in that case it might be hard to find.
Leo: What is the - is this guy nuts? Ben, you do a lot of this kind of analysis. Is anybody really - I hope nobody's taking this seriously.
Ben: You know, I resent that comment that I do a lot of this kind of analysis.
Leo: No, but you do - no, not this kind. But you look at numbers, you understand what the business is and you've said some interesting, maybe even provocative things. Google, for instance, no longer the top of their game. Do you think this is a reasonable strategy for Apple?
Ben: Well, for the record, I think the issue with Google is the advertising market shifting to - or the addition of branded advertising. They're not strong. But that aside, no. It's a ridiculous article.
Leo: Thank you.
Ben: As far as I can ascertain, Mims' argument is that Apple needs more focus. But the - it's just a - I don't know. It's just a really poorly thought-out idea for lots of reasons. I mean, the most obvious one is, one - well, from a business perspective it's still a very successful, large and profitable business. I mean, anything compared to the iPhone is small. The Mac compared to any other PC manufacturer is very, very strong and very, very good.
Leo: Oh, it is.
Ben: And very, very profitable relative to anyone else. Two, it kind of raised the question like, “Well, how are you going to make apps for the iPhone and iPad?” Mims' answer in a followup comment was, “Well, you'll have a really decked-out iPad.” I was like, well, why don't you just change the name then and call it a Mac?
Leo: It'll be called a Mac, yes.
Ben: Then the third point, though, is the big reason why iOS was able to start afresh, was able to have a simpler approach, is because it didn't need to do everything because there was already something that did everything and that was the Mac. The iPad and the iPhone - particularly at the beginning before we knew what these categories were, made sense in a world where there already is a fully-capable, fully thought-out tool on one side and we can distill the essence into a new product on the other. And that need hasn't gone away. I mean, we're all sitting on Macs right now because to record a podcast on an iPad, while theoretically possible, doesn't make sense. I'm not sure - you probably couldn't do a multi-headed recording, that's for sure. Maybe you could but the reality is that -
Leo: Let me mention that this is being recorded on a Windows 7 machine and will be edited on a Windows 8 machine, but continue.
Ben: Fair enough, but I mean the - so then the question is, should Apple use Windows?
Leo: Yes! Why - it's a waste of energy to have both Mac and Windows, let's just pick one.
Ben: Well, I mean, that's fine. You could argue that.
Leo: I'm just being stupid. I'm just being dumb.
Ben: I would say that's a pretty slope to a bad idea, but …
Leo: See, some slopes are slippery.
Tom: They should standardize on Arch.
Ben: I don't know, I just don't know how much there is to say about this.
Leo: It's just goofy. I wanted to make sure -
Tom: There is a point, if I could try to make an attempt to draw a point out of here. I think his major - and honestly, I think he's trying to write an article that people will click and read.
Leo: Yes, it's clickbait.
Tom: But his major premise here is that the PC market is dying and I think it's taken - I think he exaggerates that too much. If Apple should focus, they should get rid of the iPod, which is definitely a dying market before they get rid of PCs.
Leo: You're right, kill the iPod.
Tom: But do you think Apple has lost focus? I mean, you could argue that the Apple Watch should be gotten rid of.
Leo: I think in a way, the underlying truth of what he's saying is that Apple is no longer a technology company, they're a fashion company and that the technology is secondary.
Baratunde: I didn't get that from it. What I got was the loss of focus argument and I read it during the Gazelle ad, sorry Gazelle. I was Googling real fast.
Leo: That's why we do the ads, to give you a chance to -
Baratunde: Google gave me a very relevant search result despite being imperfect. The idea that the loss of focus and the fact that they're trying to do TVs, watches, pads and phones, and this desktop device that's a representation of their revenue of like 9%, which he argues they don't need and it kind of redirects all the labor going into that 9% to some of these other areas they want to master. I would just be happy if they didn't change all of our connecting ports all the damn time for no particular reason and make obsolete all of my accessories. That would be really nice if they would do that. I don't want them to shut down a whole business unit, just have a bit more mercy when you're jumping from USB-whatever to the new thing that makes me feel like an idiot.
Leo: Tom, do you do the movie drafts still?
Leo: Who do you have in the summer movie draft? Do you have Jurassic - whatever it is?
Tom: No, that was Milango[?] and Kristy Kate has Jurassic World. Team DTNS was favored to win because we did a buy-late strategy where we bought like seven movies and we thought we'd just win in bulk and then Jurassic World came along and screwed everything up.
Leo: Half a billion dollars just over the weekend?
Baratunde: I've got a good one for you. Speaking of slippery slope, that phrase comes up in a new movie called Dope. It is - it hasn't been marketed like this, I don't think, but I think it's a movie that this audience, the TWiT audience especially would love. It is a very geeky, techy movie under the guise of these high schoolers who are obsessed with 1990s hip-hop who find themselves in some tricky situations that they have to get themselves out of. It's very fun, very sharp satire, but it's one of the best uses of tech in a very pop culture movie. It's not like a deep dive into any aspect of tech, it's not about technology but it integrates it so naturally and it's about how young people are using it that I just - when I saw it, I was like, “Yo, TWiT would love this, I have to mention it.” So I have no relationship to the movie except that I saw it and love it. You should see Dope.
Leo: 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Baratunde: It's killing - it deserves all the percents that it's got, yes. That should be their motto, “All the percents.”
Leo: Present-day in LA - see, the problem is, they're billing it as a teen movie, like a high school movie. But you think it's better than that.
Baratunde: I mean, it's about teenagers but it scales much, much farther. It's basically a music movie because the soundtrack is just killer. It is a coming of age - this is about a kid trying to get into college and you know, some obstacles that present themselves. It's about geeks versus popular kids which I don't know, I just suspect we as a community, I feel some affinity toward. I'm just taking a crazy guess. So I wouldn't say it's a - but it's not a kid's movie by any shot. It's a movie for grown people.
Leo: I'll have to see it. I don't even know about it.
Baratunde: Now you do. That's why I'm here.
Leo: Sara told me about Straight Out Of Compton, too, like I'm going to get really hip and with it, and down with the kids in the 'hood.
Baratunde: As long as you don't say that again, you stand a chance.
Tom: You're on fleek, Leo.
Leo: What, I don't understand. So but the other movie's coming out this weekend, the Pixar movie Inside Out. I hear that's pretty good, too. Do you have that, Tom?
Tom: I don't, but I watched it.
Tom: And it's not Up tearjerker level, but it's near that and sort of like - it's more positive because it's about a child growing up so nobody dies. Spoiler alert.
Leo: I don't know how we got into movies. Oh, I was wondering if you still did the movie draft, I always enjoyed that. Do you do that with Scott?
Tom: Yes, Scott, Brian, Justin, Brian [?], a guy from Queens, Andrew Zarian, they're all in it.
Leo: Wow, that's a cast of thousands.
Tom: Inside Out is Brian and Justin's movie.
Leo: Where would we catch the summer movie draft updates?
Tom: You can find the statistics at draft.diamondclub.tv.
Leo: Who's playing music - is that you, Baratunde? Are you watching the Dope trailer in the background there?
Baratunde: Sorry, I didn't know that audio was going to come out through the monitor.
Leo: Am I boring you?
Baratunde: No, I was just trying to share the URL with the chat room.
Leo: Oh, thank you. Let's see what else here. You might know a little bit of this, Tom, and I don't know if you want to recuse yourself because of course, Arlene, your wife, works at the YouTube space in Los Angeles. YouTube is building a Twitch killer, we hear. The YouTube Gaming service. They tried to buy Twitch, lost out to Amazon which paid a lot for the service. YouTube’s Twitch killer - in fact, here's some pictures of it from Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica.
So is this Let's Play videos, is that - it seems like that's what this is.
Tom: Yes, it's interesting. My wife doesn't work on this particular project. Lamar Wilson was at the launch of it and we had him on Daily Tech News Show to talk about it. Basically, YouTube is leveraging - trying to leverage their advantage of having lots of gameplay footage archived, right? Because Twitch doesn't have an archive.
Leo: That's where it started, right? Yes.
Tom: And they have livestreaming for YouTube that is powered through Hangouts but you can also go directly, you don't have to use Hangouts to stream. So they're creating an app - it's in beta now. You have to be invited in but it's going to launch later this summer, that will allow you to not only livestream your games but automatically archive them and then the app, as a viewer, will let you just drill down by the player you're going to see - all the Trumps videos, if he's on there, you can find him. You can go by game, if you want to see all the Hearthstone videos or by publisher, if you're into the publisher, so they get some branded money that way.
Leo: Donald Trump has Let's Play videos?
Tom: Different Trump.
Baratunde: Yes, I don't - I've never actually done a full session on Twitch. I did visit a friend in Chicago and his young kid showed me Minecraft up close in person for the first time. It was exciting. I felt hip and cool on what the kids are into, very much on fleek like Leo Laporte. But I did think this article was worth reading. One, it looked like the best-looking interface, maybe, that Google's every made. It is so not -
Tom: It's seriously better than the YouTube interface.
Baratunde: Yes, YouTube is pretty garbage, actually. And I have lots of love for YouTube, now I feel like I have to tail a swift apology. But this looks so much better than anything YouTube has ever done and I was into it for that reason. Then, yes, the thing you were talking about, Tom, the way they mined their archives to just populate the system was something only Google could do because they've been taxing information for so long. That was just a very - I don't even know if they thought that when they started - you know, when they acquired YouTube in the beginning, like eight years from now - however many years it's been, we'll be able to launch a service based on what people have already shared with us and re-contextualize it. That's pretty intelligent.
Leo: It reminds me a little, though, of Apple Music trying to take it away from Spotify. You have an incumbent that is very strong.
Ben: Well, it's actually worse than Spotify. At the end of the day, Spotify - well, one, Spotify doesn't have that many users in the grand scheme of things, 7 million or so.
Leo: Which has more? I mean, Spotify says they've got about 75 million.
Baratunde: I think it's just 25 paying.
Ben: The issue with Spotify, though, is in any sort of content, you have two sides. You have the content production and you have the content consumption. Apple will have the same production side as Spotify. I think I missed the Apple Music discussion, sorry, but the whole point why Apple's hands are relatively tied here is because music is utterly and completely controlled by the labels. The positive side of that is that Apple immediately has the same library that Spotify does. So the production side is the same and then they can do battle for the consumption side and again, Apple has big advantages here.
They have a built-in - they're default. But Spotify has a big advantage, too. They have a freeware that Apple doesn't and actually, the real kind of important player in the room is YouTube, which is where, speaking of all the kids. That's where they're getting their music.
Leo: All - both my 20 and 23-year-old, that's all they do is listen to YouTube.
Baratunde: Unless they're on my Snapchat channel, of course.
Leo: Yes. Snapatunde and YouTube, that's all they do.
Ben: So the issue with YouTube Gaming and Twitch is that Twitch has a two-sided network going on. They have the people who are doing the playing and the people who are doing the watching. And it's much harder to break into a two-sided network because you need to get both sides to switch at the same time. A nice interface will help, but it's only going to get you so far. So that's why there's been talk about them paying some players, doing some various stuff to get people to switch over which they'll need to do. Frankly, the big screw up was not buying Twitch. It wasn't that expensive, it was like $900 million or something and frankly, this gets to a bigger problem with Google which is, they probably have the worst case of not-invented-here syndrome of anyone in the Valley. They bought YouTube and look how well that turned out for them, but for some reason the lesson they took away was, “We shouldn't do big acquisitions, we should just copy the weeder and try to build it ourselves,” which hasn't succeeded at all.
They should have bought Twitch.
Baratunde: The social networks are tearing up the charts, what are you talking about, Ben?
Ben: And they should have bought Twitter five or six years ago.
Leo: They should still buy Twitter. I think why not now?
Ben: Well, because when and if they do, they're paying 10x what they would have had to pay a few years ago.
Leo: They should have bought it when it was cheaper, but they could afford Twitter.
Ben: For a product that frankly hasn't evolved since they were thinking about buying it the first time, so I'm not sure what they're paying for. The - but this is a consistent problem for Google and something that Facebook, to its credit, has learned about and done differently is that appreciating, like, the - actually, for a big company, whichever your big breakthrough product, the best way you should [?] a big breakthrough product is to use the profits from the first one to buy it.
This whole bias towards, “We have to invent it,” and its not-invented-here syndrome is debilitating and it's a problem for Google. You're seeing it play out right here.
Leo: Excellent point. So really what we're saying is, Google Gaming is compared to Twitch as maybe Yahoo Video would be compared to YouTube. It's like it's too late. All the creators are at Twitch.
Ben: Or the better example is Google Video compared to YouTube.
Leo: That was a non-starter, wasn't it?
Ben: And Google, to their credit, figured out that wasn't -
Leo: They recognized it.
Ben: Exactly, so they went and bought YouTube.
Leo: And killed Google Video.
Ben: To their credit.
Tom: The question is whether livestreaming e-sports is solidified at Twitch. If it is, then Ben's absolutely right and what YouTube is gambling on is, “We are the hard drive that Twitch streamers store to. We have PewdiePie and a few other people. If we can pay the publishers in the e-sports organizations and wrench them away, maybe we have a shot.” It's still a tall ask, though. Ben's absolutely right.
Ben: Right, they may succeed. You're right. The point is, though, I don't think that changes the fact they were wrong to not pay $1.2 billion for Twitch or however much it would have taken.
Leo: What is Amazon going to do with Twitch? Is that a sensible acquisition for Amazon?
Ben: From what I know of what I've heard, it was less a - Amazon has a - apparently, a lot of this is Amazon [?]. Let's say Amazon has a grand strategic plan and like, “Hey, [?] on ESPN $900 billion, sure, we'll buy that.” So I think as I understand it, that was the primary driver. That said, you know, now they're - to Tom's point, certainly if Twitch needs help building up their infrastructure and hard drive capability, you could hardly ask for a better partner.
Tom: I'm surprised we haven't seen more along those lines already, but I'm sure we will.
Baratunde: Do you think this whole concept of watching people play video games, which I just don't do. I've got -
Leo: You're too old.
Baratunde: I've got time allocated to other places.
Leo: No, no. You're too old, man.
Baratunde: But is it - it doesn't seem like it's a mature market at all, just based on how young the whole idea of it is. So the idea of Twitch -
Leo: Doesn't everybody want Millenials? Isn't that where all the Millenials are?
Baratunde: I'm not saying yes or no to that but I just think the idea that Twitch somehow has locked it up just doesn't seem sound to me because of how young the whole industry is.
Tom: You're asking if Twitch is MySpace or Facebook, where in that timeline?
Baratunde: Yes, you know, the challenge that Google will have with luring the game broadcasters over feels real and very different from the one that Apple has of luring musicians over because to your point, Ben, it's the same players on one side and they're much more portable. But I just - I suspect that the streaming/gaming/e-sports universe is so young that in 15 years, you could be like, “What was Twitch?”
Leo: Yes, you might be right because if I think about all the 12-year-olds I know, every one of them wants to do YouTube Minecraft videos, not Twitch. YouTube Minecraft videos.
Baratunde: They might also - I mean, ESPN could come and buy the whole thing and be like, “We have all the sports.” They'll change their name to All the Sports.
Leo: Did you guys follow E3 this week? I feel like E3 is not where a lot of news gets made, it's where a lot of games - cut scenes for games coming out in eight months get seen.
Tom: It was this year for sure. We didn't have any big hardware announcements. In fact, everybody thought we were going to get more hardware announcements around the virtual reality sets. Oculus made their announcement last week and Project Morpheus, they didn't say a whole lot about in the Sony announcement. The biggest announcement to me is not what everybody else thinks is the biggest announcement but it was the project - Sony's PlayStation Vue television service came to LA and San Francisco, so I can finally sign up for it.
Leo: Can you see it? Are you watching it?
Tom: Yes, yes. It's an interesting interface. It misses all the ABC/Disney channels but otherwise, it looks like a regular cable service with lots of cable channels and it works really well.
Leo: In fact - of course, Apple's going to get all the Disney stuff.
Tom: Well, Sling TV has a bunch of the ABC/Disney stuff so if you bundle those two together - the problem is, Sling TV isn't on Sony PlayStation 4, so you have to have two devices.
Leo: So Sony, it's interesting to kind of beat Apple to the punch with this live streaming thing. Apple didn't release the new Apple TV at WWDC as everybody thought and come E3 a week later, Sony steals the attention. How about Steam VR? I thought a lot of people were very interested in this - a combination between HTC's Vive VR headset and Steam. People I've talked to who've tried all the different VR headsets are saying this is the one. Any thoughts about that? Tom, have you tried the Steam?
Tom: I haven't tried the Vive but you're right. Everybody I know who's tried it said it's great. Everybody likes the new Oculus as well. The Vive is going to beat the Oculus to market if they hit their date and that might give them a little bit of an advantage there. They didn't make any big announcements. The biggest announcements around the Steam VR was that Microsoft said they would support it and of course, Valve didn't really say much about it and it ended up being more about, “Well, it'll work on Windows machines.” It's what it sounds like.
Leo: Microsoft showed, once again, they've done it now three times, a look at their augmented reality HoloLens glasses and again, the complaints that it's just a little slot you're looking through. In fact, some people were a little upset at the Microsoft video that they showed at the Xbox One press conference because it implied that you had a much bigger field of view. They showed a guy looking at a table and his Minecraft castle is emerging from the table. They didn't show it the way the guy is seeing it, which is like looking through a cereal box.
Tom: Some of the people who played that Minecraft thing said it was still pretty cool even with the limited field of view.
Leo: It seems cool.
Tom: It got mixed reviews. The other thing about E3 was the Fallout Shelter app for iOS.
Leo: That is an awesome app. Bethesda's not dumb because of course, they're marketing Fallout 4 which comes out not for a month or so, right? August, I think. Or is it not till next year, I can't - see, this is the problem with E3. You look at this stuff and it's like, “Oh, I got to wait eight months for this?” Fallout 4 and the Pip Boy addition -
Tom: November 10.
Leo: November, which -
Ben: I don't know. I think this is a little - the conversation is a little dismissive for an industry that is, I think, $92 billion, larger than movies and music combined, I believe, or at least it's supposed to be.
Ben: And we don't have a problem with movies showing trailers a year in advance, we all went bananas about the Star Wars trailer. So I guess - for my estimation, it seemed to be a pretty positive E3 by and large, and the hardware is what it is. It's going to come out every five to seven years. I think what's interesting is the - is that. I think people in tech just never have taken gaming probably as seriously as they should and everyone, including me at some point, has been like cross-eyeing its doom in the face of phones, all that sort of stuff. The reality is, it provides particularly this high-end sort of gaming that again, we're probably all too old to figure out the 47 buttons that you need to do it, it provides a very differentiated experience that people are demonstrating they are willing to pay for it, just like people are willing to pay for movies and willing to pay for high-quality TV.
I think once you view it through that lens, the entire industry and conference starts to make a lot more sense.
Tom: Yes, there were some big game announcements. You're absolutely right, Ben. If there was a criticism, it was that we saw a lot of sequels and especially under Sony, a lot of those big names -
Leo: It's like a movie industry, just like the movie industry.
Tom: But yes, it is very similar. I think, though, you should play Fallout Shelter on iOS. It's awesome. Because I think you might agree that was the biggest thing to come out of E3.
Leo: What about Cuphead? Come on, you've got to love Cuphead, too.
Tom: Cuphead looks pretty -
Leo: Cuphead looks awesome, it's like -
Baratunde: I've never played the Fallout Shelter game, will I have to have played it on a console to have iOS available?
Leo: No, it's iPad. The whole idea is, it's kind of a sim for your Fallout Shelter and it's the prequel to Fallout 4 because the whole point of Fallout 4 is you've been in a fallout shelter for 100 years and you come out, you emerge into this dystopian world. But at least until that happens in November, we can manage our fallout shelter by - I love that. Bethesda's really got a style.
Baratunde: It's like a disaster prep app, I like that. Is there like a hurricane sandbag tossing app as well that we can download?
Leo: By the way, I'm told now - “I'm sorry, Leo, it's 200 years you're stuck in the fallout shelter, not 100 years. Get that straight.” So here you go. You're playing this like crazy, Tom?
Tom: I played it all weekend, it's ridiculous.
Leo: I have to say, I've had it on my iPad for a while and it's really fun. Unfortunately, I now have to log into Game Center to get my game, so I'll just - I don't remember the code for my phone. Let's take a break. We're going to talk about the future of Twitter. It's a little bit up in the air, little bit, little teeny-weeny bit up in the air. But first, a word from Personal Capital.
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Moving on, Twitter, new CEO. Well, Jack Dorsey's in right now and his beard, in charge of Twitter at the moment. Dick Costolo will - actually, not at the moment. Dick Costolo will be stepping down at the end of the month. He will still be on the board with Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams, those will be fun meetings.
Baratunde: It's the CEO club.
Leo: It's the club, all the guys. If you've read Nick's book, they don't all get along, do they?
Baratunde: When they're on the board, maybe they do. They equalize it at that point.
Leo: They have a couple of whiskeys, a vodka drink, they have a whiskey drink. They're going to - you know, some of this comes from Chris Sacca, right? He's an investor in Twitter and he wrote a kindly but strongly-worded memorandum about what should happen. Twitter is responding to market pressures because the market's been slowly beheading people at the C-level in the Twitter boardrooms and finally got to Dick Costolo. Everybody liked - do you like Dick? You must have known him, Baratunde.
Baratunde: I don't know him, I know of him.
Leo: Yes, everybody loves him. He's funny.
Baratunde: I'm excited to have a comedian as the CEO of a major Silicon Valley -
Leo: About time.
Baratunde: But I guess there's no more clowns in charge now. But I think he did good and I liked his tone. When he came out publicly and said, “We're doing a bad job as Twitter at dealing with harassment -”
Leo: And it's my fault! I loved it that he said that.
Baratunde: I see that. Again, whether it's business or political leaders, people usually try to dodge, they have scapegoats, they have excuses, they blame the machines and I just think he owned it and that was really great. His Q&A in the articles you're starting to talk about, he also - I tend to believe him. He's like, “Look, I've been here six years. We want to keep this thing going. I'm not dead yet.” He had kind of a Monty Python moment in the interview thing. “I'll still be very much involved, still on the board and let's see what comes next.” I like the hints of what's coming next and I've got to share a very strange, personal connection to the story.
No, I'm not the CEO.
Leo: I know where you're going with this because even Jason loved this. Jason Calacanis wrote an article on what he would do and for reasons I don't understand, you decided to record it.
Baratunde: So he wrote this essay, Jason said, “What I would do if I was CEO of Twitter, a seven-part plan.” I got an email - he sends this out in his email newsletter, which I rarely open email newsletters but it was like 1 in the morning, I thought, why not? I saw - I shared it. I liked it so much that I shared it out on Twitter and someone responded to me and Jason, saying basically, “It's too long. Jason, please make an audiobook version.” So now it's maybe 1:20 a.m., and I decide what better to do with my time than to record out loud this article, offering audio commentary along the way, basically offering an audio annotated version of me dramatically reenacting this essay on the hypothetical CEO of Twitter.
Then that hit another link in the chain, a man named Marc Egland created an app on Product Hunt to support the idea of getting audio version of tech essays you want to read. So if you visit baratun.de, you can sign up to kind of be a -
Leo: I'll do this.
Baratunde: You'll hear readings that I might do of other articles out there and not just me -
Leo: Can I do one?
Baratunde: Of course you can. I think we can turn this into a thing and I know so many people who want to.
Leo: Did you do some comedy? I mean, what did you do with this? Did you read it straight? Did you read it in Jason's -
Baratunde: Like I said, I gave - I didn't do his voice but I did mock him a bit for some of the commentary that he had in there. He just drops first names of CEOs like 101 Club. I don't know who you're talking about, buddy. So I would think of them as audio annotations, it was like MST3K.5.
Leo: Are you hearing this? I think I'm playing it a little bit.
I want this new baratun.de to take off. Baratun.de.
Baratunde: So yes, big love to Marc Egland. He actually launched all his without talking to me initially and then he messaged me like, “Dude, I pulled it, are you cool with this?” I had to kind of think about it. I think, you know, the service's name will likely change but I'm happy to co-incubate the concept and I like reading. I have a Frederick Douglas talk - I did my Fast Company article plugging all my SoundCloud stuff to again, see the service and where this goes. I know so many people who Instapaper long reads and never get to them, so it would be nice to kind of take it - and speech-to-text - I'm sorry, text-to-speech isn't sexy.
I use it a lot because my eyes are all messed up from the surgery and those voices, even the ones that you download that are like a gig on your phone, they're nothing like what you can get from an impassioned, actual human voice.
Leo: I think there really is something to be said for reading Jason out loud. He just -
Baratunde: He gives you a lot of material.
Leo: No, I would be mad at this guy, because you should have registered baratun.de.
Baratunde: So there's a history there and this is why I'm actually very happy with Marc. I used to own that domain name when Bit.ly started offering custom short URLs, I created baratun.de as my short URL for anything I wanted to do. I lapsed and let the domain name expire, some German spam, harassing horrible company got it. I was like, “Well, I don't care.” But once you lose something, you can justify like, “I didn't care about that anyway.” Then he basically brought it back into orbit so it's family again. Again, he's Marc Egland and I think people should check it out. I hope he continues to run with it.
Tom: Instead of Autotune the News, it's Baratun the News.
Baratunde: Oh, Tom Merritt!
Leo: Merritt! Baratun the News!
Baratunde: That is the jam.
Baratunde: I really like that.
Leo: Tom's a wordsmith. Baratun the News!
Baratunde: You know, back to Twitter, though. I mean, the substance of what they're starting to talk about with this idea of - what are they calling it, Lightning? The idea of packaging up live events, Twitter is where so many of us go - the whole idea of tweeting about your sandwich really is not what it's been about for a very long time although it's still easily mocked for all that. But when the NBA Finals are happening, when there's a shooting -
Leo: You go to Twitter.
Baratunde: When the World Cup is up or the Super Bowl, you want to go to that water cooler and they're basically saying that they're going to take an editorial role in packaging up that event from Vine, Periscope and Twitter, and creating a stream almost like a Snapchat story. This was my first though when I started reading about it, that will be viable whether you're logged in or not, it'll work in the Twitter app or the website and can be embedded, ultimately, in other people's sites. They'll leave that publishing tool open so that folks can make their own.
I love this. It basically takes Storify, turns it up 5000 notches and you have a different window into an experience that only a tool like Twitter could be mining in a way that Google mined its videos on YouTube to create this game streaming service.
Leo: Credit to Matt Honan for the scoop in Buzzfeed of Lightning, which is not out yet but makes a lot of sense. Anybody who's been following Twitter realized that's where Twitter's strength is. You think this is the right thing for Twitter to do, Ben?
Ben: It's the right thing to do but it's the wrong timing and the wrong delivery. I agree with your comments that - Costolo deserves credit for his comments about, you know, how Twitter's handled abuse. I would ask why it took so long.
Leo: And whether they've done enough, even yet.
Ben: Yes, I mean, the current tool is pretty rough that they released.
Leo: There's still a lot of abuse on Twitter.
Ben: The big problem for Twitter though, I mean, not to say that's not a problem. But the big problem for Dick Costolo specifically and I actually wrote - I don't like doing this, but I wrote a piece at the beginning of May saying Twitter needed to change its leadership and the reason I said it needed to do that was because Dick Costolo lost credibility and he lost credibility long since with third-party developers. That's well documented.
Leo: That's not Dick's fault. They lost them long before Dick came along, didn't they?
Ben: No, Dick's been in charge since 2010.
Leo: So he's the guy who stripped away the third-party apps? Seems like that was Twitter's strategy for some time. Maybe not.
Ben: It changed under him. Too, you say that Wall Street's been chasing other executives. Wall Street hasn't been causing the carousel of executives that has happened under Costolo, most damagingly when it comes to the head of product which has been cycled through regularly. They hired someone last year who had tweeted 72 times ever, format of Google Maps. Finally, I think they found someone good with Kevin Weil because he'd been doing a good job, but the reality is there had been a loss of credibility when it comes to just the day-to-day management of the company and I think you saw that reflected in Twitter. All this turmoil.
I mean, Twitter has had a history of turmoil and to some degree, you know, Costolo has settled that down but the fact of the matter is, there was wholesale changes to just the executive suite every year still. The third thing, though, the most damaging one at least for him specifically was with the last earnings report, they lost credibility Wall Street. They had sold this story that, “Our slow user numbers are okay because we're building revenue like crazy,” but then the revenue slowed. Once - the problem is, you can do a pivot and turnaround as a public company - sorry, that's the most recent analysis on the blog. I can send you a link.
Leo: I should just subscribe, that's what it is. I should just pay for the newsletter. It's only $100 a year for crying out loud, Leo. Don't be so cheap.
Ben: The problem though is -
Leo: I'll do it right now.
Ben: Costolo was in charge. They weren't going to have the room and freedom to do the sort of innovations and product changes that they need to do and so my problem with - the weird thing though is this is all a timing thing. When it comes to building technology, we all know it takes years before you actually see the finished product and it come out. So the stuff that's happening - so the problem is though - that works for the other side. The problems that Costolo had with the last earnings report over the last several months, those seeds were sown a couple years ago and he's just reaping them now.
Now, it may be the case that Twitter's already turned the corner and that they turned the corner under Dick Costolo and in that respect, it's not fair that he has to go now when Twitter is now making the sorts of changes and releasing products they need to do. Unfortunately, life isn't fair. He's reaping kind of the, you know, perception matters and the perception is that Twitter is struggling now. Again, even if the struggles now are manifestations of struggles from two years ago internally, I think it was right for him to go and my problem with this Lightning release now is it's not even going to be ready for a few months. So why not hold off on it, let the new CEO come in, whoever it may be, and then release all these new products like, “Wow, that's fantastic!”
Of course, we're all going to know those new products came before the new CEO came on board but like, the story you tell matters. The perception matters and I would have loved to have seen them usher in the new CEO with this sense of momentum and things going forward, and extend the grace period that any new CEO gets by a few months, by a few quarters. So I'm a little, like - I think in general, there's lots of stuff going in the right direction for Twitter but as usual, it's just kind of a jumbled mess.
Leo: I now have the entire -
Ben: Sorry for that monologue.
Leo: No, that's good. I think you make, actually, an excellent point. I didn't realize that Costolo had been running the place since 2010.
Ben: Yes, he came on as COO in 2009 and took over as CEO in 2010.
Leo: So it's entirely his doing to abandon the third-party developers, the developers that made Twitter the success they were, and pull it back in? I understand why they did, they wanted to monetize the website and monetize their own apps.
Tom: You see a lot of other companies doing the same thing, so there's no guarantee other executives wouldn't have done the same thing but yes, that's really interesting insights, Ben, because from the outside, it always looks like Twitter's fairly stable. It's not burning up the charts but it's got, you know, some monthly active users. It seems to be finding interesting ways to make revenue and then you hear about all these things going on inside which are just utter turmoil. I think if you get the right person in charge that can actually stabilize that personality aspect of running the business, Twitter is in really good health otherwise, no?
Ben: Yes, I mean, to a degree they are. Again, their revenue continues to grow even with the shortfall last quarter. It continues to grow very, very well and they're a $2 billion company. The struggle - the challenge for Twitter is, there's a question as to what's the ceiling on that in particular because their user growth numbers have stalled or slowed down significantly and the concern for that is they are close to - at least according to Chris Sacca's post, last we know publicly is 700 million, Chris Sacca said close to 1 billion abandoned accounts. The reason why that's so challenging is usually, the struggle for a company is to make themselves - make users aware of their product and get them to try it. Twitter doesn't have that problem. Everyone knows about Twitter and by the numbers, everyone has tried Twitter and the vast majority of people have decided, “It's not for me.”
The challenge is, it's much harder to get someone to give you a second chance than it is for them to give you a first chance and that's why Twitter spends a lot of time talking about logged out users and all the other users we reach because there is real concern they may have missed the boat when it comes to getting everyone on the service regularly.
Baratunde: But they - if Twitter is becoming more of - the direction they're going in with the Lightning thing and actually - honestly, with what Jason proposed they focus on in his piece I most identified with which was video and more of a broadcast service, Twitter is full of lurkers and basically, there's a read-only mode that the majority of people engage with. So they don't need people to come back as users in the same way that a TV network just - they need viewers, more so, if they're really becoming a window on what's happening right now or your window in the key events and trends of the world. So that relationship is not the Facebook user uploading all their baby photos and personal information to be shared with a close network, it is the television viewer, the filmgoer -
Leo: That's an excellent point. Those billion people might come back as viewers, as consumers and not as creators. You don't care if they're creators.
Ben: The problem is, those viewers not logged in are worth a fraction of what they are if they're logged in because they can't be tracked and served.
Leo: They're seeing the ads -
Ben: It's fine. It's perfectly fine business, the problem is, it's a business that doesn't justify their current valuation. Their current valuation is based on the idea they'll have a large base of users that are logged in, that they understand - Twitter has a very fascinating insight on to its logged in users because it understands your interests, which is even more compelling than the people I know or the number of babies I have. The problem is, that's what their valuation has primarily been based on and the reality is they may be more of a broadcast network, which is a fine business but that's the business Yahoo is in and last time I checked, Yahoo wasn't worth $25 billion.
Tom: Although it's also the business YouTube is in, so it sounds to me like Twitter just needs to get on figuring out how to get people to login for reasons other than posting.
Baratunde: And maybe the answer is that Google absorbs its users and you're always logged in because you're always logged into Google. Google Now actually becomes Google Now, which is Twitter, and whatever they're calling Google Now becomes some smart recommendation thing. But this is happening right now, check it out.
Leo: You know that if Google bought Twitter, it would be gone in five months. No?
Ben: First off, Yahoo is worth more $25 billion but that's because of Alibaba, that's not because of Yahoo's business. But two, you guys just said the point. YouTube, Google, the whole point of Google+ and why Google+ was much more of a success than people realize is the big, over-arching thing was the architectural changes to Google's sites to make them all share a common login and make sure we're all logged in all the time.
Leo: And share data, yes.
Ben: Actually, it turns out five years ago, most people weren't logged in most of the time. Now, they all are and so Google is building that profile of you that is super-duper valuable. So it's not like YouTube for that reason alone.
Leo: Very interesting. Boy, I'm glad I just paid $100 to get Stratechery. Seriously, great insights.
Baratunde: I should explain, especially to my fellow guests and hosts, I have sunglasses on now -
Leo: Because of the PRK.
Baratunde: Because I'm cool, you know? Then second, because of the surgery. I had to turn on my monitor to get some light and that was causing discomfort.
Leo: You had me at cool.
Baratunde: I'm trying to pull off a Terminator kind of look since we were talking about the future so much.
Tom: It's cool and also, bionic eyes.
Baratunde: They are basically the same term.
Leo: Speaking of Jason Calacanis, he's actually - I'm going on vacation for three weeks - what? I know.
Baratunde: That's awesome.
Leo: Next week, Becky Worley will host. Ian Thompson and David Prager will join her. For the 4th of July weekend, July 5, Jason Calacanis will host. We don't know who he's going to invite, I hope it's not that Ross fellow but we know he will be here hosting the show. Kevin Rose will be doing it on July 12, you can ask him about his move to New York City. He's now CEO of HODINKEE.
Baratunde: What? Why do all his businesses have these weird names?
Leo: HODINKEE is a watch website. Kevin Rose is all in on designer watches now, his whole company, North and everything, merged with HODINKEE. I know, it's a strange name.
Baratunde: I guess that's what happens when you sell your company and make it all -
Leo: You know, HODINKEE - don't - we mock it, we mock the name but it is actually the number one online wristwatch magazine in the world. But you remember the name, HODINKEE. Kevin explained it to me and I don't even. I can't even understand.
Baratunde: He can explain it further when he's hosting. He'll have the first story, why is it called this?
Leo: He's moving, though, moving to New York. He's going to be in your neck of the woods. You've got to chill with Kevin, he's great.
Baratunde: Yes and I'll be happy to. I've never met Kevin, actually.
Leo: You'll love him, you'll love him. If you missed anything -
Baratunde: [crosstalk] - neighborhood, our prices are too high already.
Leo: Out there in Brooklyn is crazy. Actually, Kevin's going to do the same thing to New York that he did to San Francisco.
Baratunde: Don't bring those people with him.
Leo: He's going to ruin the place.
Baratunde: New York - we already have the Russian billionaires. I think New York can absorb Kevin Rose probably better than the Bay Area did.
Leo: Well, we shall see. It's a real challenge. He's throwing down the gauntlet, all right. Kevin could ruin San Franscisco, he's ready for the new challenge. No, of course not.
Hey, our show today brought to you by Harry's. I'm going to talk about shaving in a second. Before we do that, though, Tom Merritt has the week ahead.
Tom: Okay, on June 23, Blackberry earnings, also that day, O'Reilly Solid kicks off, the Redhead Summit kicks off that same day in Boston. June 26 at IPO for alarm.com and then looking ahead to July 8, this is for you high-tech Ag pilot, the Ag Tech Summit in Salinas, California.
Leo: Holy cow. Dailytechnewshow.com, that's where you'll see it all.
Baratunde: That was awesome.
Leo: It's amazing. It's like falling off a bike, isn't it? You get all scraped up.
Tom: You got to put that Bactine stuff on it.
Leo: Terrible. Here's what you missed, if you missed anything, this week on TwiT.
Voiceover: Previously on TwiT.
Male: I'm not a 48-year-old man so I'm not on Twitch, but -
Leo: I'm telling you, Leo plays Cupboy. It's going to be huge. It's the new MMORPG for people over 50.
Voiceover: This Week in Law.
Female: One of the original patent trolls appears to be going out of business, deciding to stop pursuing these kinds of cases.
Peter Lee: This reflects patent reform occurring in the courts and patent reform occurring in Congress.
Voiceover: Security Now.
Steve Gibson: Last Pass' network breach - you know, of course, the press went crazy.
Leo: Is there a better solution? Does this mean that we shouldn't be using Last Pass?
Steve Gibson: I'm not leaving, I'm staying with them.
Voiceover: Android App Arena.
Jason: This week's big app isn't just a game, it's a movie and a music video starring David Hasselhoff. As Kung Fury, you travel back in time to battle it out with Kung Fuhrer, a.k.a., Adolf Hitler. But I implore fans of this era of gaming to play Kung Fury for five minutes without breaking a smile.
Voiceover: TWiT for Justice.
Leo: Here it comes, oh my, it's a giant carrot. If you remember Cab Calloway, you'll love Cuphead.
I can't wait to get this game. Is it really - is David Hasselhoff in Kung Fury?
Jason: He wrote the theme song and sings it. It's super authentic, total '80s shtick. It's awesome.
Leo: Wow, can't wait to see that.
Our show today brought to you by Harry's, the best shave experience you'll ever have. Guys, I know no one really enjoys shaving, certainly not Jack Dorsey, but maybe if Jack Dorsey had found Harry's, it would be a whole different world today. Harry's is amazing. These guys - actually, one of them was the cofounder of Warby Parker. There's a great article about Harry's in Business Insider, I'll have to see if I can find it, where they talk about -
So what they wanted to do, you know, razor blades direct, but they wanted to do it right. They did some investigation and found out that there are really only two factories in the whole world that make the best razor blades and they bought one of them. That's what venture money will help you do, they bought the factory and now, because they're selling direct to you from the factory, you get a great blade designed for performance, for sharpness, for durability, and you get it at a great price, about $4 a blade for the Gilette Fusion. Half that for a Harry's blade and it's better, plus Harry's will give you a great - it's too late for Father's Day, but if you forgot Father's Day, man, quickly go to harrys.com, get that Winston set. You can get it monogrammed with dad's initials or the Truman, $15 for the Truman and you get three blades, a razor handle, the incredible Harry's shave cream or foam gel. You get the travel holder for the Harry's which don't undersell that, that's really valuable. You can take $5 off when you use the offer code TWIT5, so now we're talking $10. You don't have to tell dad that you only paid $10.
You get a great razor, great handle and then every month or every other month, you get blades from Harry's. It's just a more efficient company, which means you get a better price, a better blade and of course, Harry's guarantees your satisfaction. I shave every morning with my Harry's, I love them. In fact, I think we have three or four Harry's in the house because you know what? She likes them too. Harrys.com with the offer code TWIT5 to get $5 off your first purchase. TWIT5 at harrys.com.
Everybody sent me the Harry's article, I'm trying to remember where I saw that. They sent me links and stuff, oh well. Great story. They spent $100 million on the factory.
All right -
Ben: I think, though, you made the kind of VC offhanded remark. It's interesting because I know you know this, Leo, but I think in general there tends to be this perception that oh, it's not fair, they have VC money, blah blah blah. There's this idea that it's this candy jar that you get to just dip into and there's no consequences for it. I mean, the VC money has to be earned back.
Leo: Anybody who has seen Silicon Valley - do you get Silicon Valley in Taipei?
Ben: I don't.
Leo: We all know, if you've watched that HBO show which has now concluded its second season, we know the consequences of venture money.
Ben: You're seeing it in Twitter right now, people are like, “Why doesn't Twitter do this? Why don't they go public? Why are investors so mean?” The reason Twitter is a public company is because they had a ton of venture money that paid for Twitter to dink around for a few years to figure out what they wanted to do with this great product they had and that venture company needs an exit. So they went public and now they have to deal with Wall Street.
Like, all this is interconnected and so it's just - I just find it funny. On one hand, people will say, “Oh, they have venture money, it's so easy for them.” Again, I'm not saying you were saying that but people do have that sort of attitude. Then the flipside will be like, “Oh, why are investors so mean to Twitter? Just let them be a little business.” All this stuff is interconnected. You don't get one without the other.
Leo: There's reasons why you might want to go out and raise $125 million. One of them would be that you see the best way to make your business work is to buy the factory. There's reasons why you don't. I don't want anybody to tell me what to do so we're very content to grow TWiT at a slow pace and spend only the money we have. Sure, we could grow at a much faster pace, we could be like Revision 3 which had the - you know, an exit and everything, and the investors got paid back. But I kind of prefer this model and Tom, you've got a great model. We should mention DTNS at Patreon, it's patreon.com/acedtech.
Tom: Yes, you can go to dailytechnewshow.com/support as well and it takes you to all different - we take Bitcoin and stuff like that.
Leo: You've done really well. I think you're one of the real success stories there. You're sitting on $16 a month now.
Tom: I feel like people who say, “Oh, they've got VC money,” are just people saying they wish they had VC money.
Leo: I wish I had the money, I just don't want the VCs.
Tom: Right, exactly. That's the tradeoff, right? Patreon, Kickstarter and all of these companies are providing a really interesting experiment in, you know, how far can we go down the idea of cutting out business models? I think it's very similar to branded content as well where people are trying to figure out, can we actually pay to make credible content directly on the advertisers? It's similar to ad reads like you've done for years in TwiT. These are all just different ways of figuring out, how can we fund what we're doing?
So yes, I'm lucky enough that it's worked out well for me on Patreon.
Leo: Where do you come down on somebody like Pebble Watch? So Pebble went to Kickstarter the first time and they had one of the most successful Kickstarters of all time, created the company, really. But then after the company had a going concern, they went back to Twitter to raise money again, this time $20 million to create Pebble Time. Is that kosher?
Tom: At least they were transparent about it. They said, “We don't need to do this but this is where we started, so we wanted to give people a chance to preorder,” essentially.
Leo: But that's what Kickstarter says exactly what they are not. They are not a store.
Tom: Right, no, I know. Pebble had to be very careful about how they worded that but I think Pebble was honestly trying to honor their roots and you see a lot of - there was a video game announced at E3 - Shenmue 3 where they're using Kickstarter as sort of the launch pad for it to kind of collect some money at the beginning but they certainly aren't getting all the money they would need to make it. They are - they wouldn't have to do it that way, it's just another way to get the word out and build a list of the most passionate fans.
Leo: I actually had a good conversation with Chris Hardric. I was on the Nerdist on Thursday, I think that show comes out in a few weeks. We talked about Veronica Mars and that's an example of really, the production company that made the original Veronica Mars said, “Nobody wants this, we're not going to make it.” Then the guy behind it said, “Well, what if I went to Kickstarter and demonstrated - look, it's not going to raise enough money to make it but if I demonstrated a real interest, people shelling out actual money, would you make it then?” He did - I don't remember what he raised for Veronica Mars, a lot of money. It wasn't enough so Fox or whoever put more in and it was a flop.
So I don't know - what do you get out of that?
Baratunde: That was the people's flop. The people supported that flop.
Ben: I mean, I think it's fine. I mean, it's - when you ask if it's not kosher, it's not kosher according to Kickstarter's own definition of what their site is about. To take this full circle, Kickstarter has $10 million in venture capital, so if turns out this is the best way to build a business around it, I'm sure they'll be happy to make it kosher.
Leo: They'll do it. Rob Thomas raised, it turned out, $5.7 million to make the Veronica Mars movie and that's about what it made, so there you go.
Tom: It broke even-ish. But not every one of these is going to work, right? We look at an individual case and we always want to be judgmental, but you need a lot of these kinds of flops to be able to find out what works and what doesn't.
Leo: So did anybody get the Pebble Time? Anybody seen it yet?
Tom: [?] has it, he loves it.
Leo: He loves it?
Tom: Yes, he's got the Apple Watch and the Time.
Leo: He prefers it to the Apple Watch?
Tom: I don't want to put words in his mouth there, but I know he loves the Time.
Leo: I've got the Apple Watch. I've got the Android Wear watch. I don't have the Time. I backed the original Pebble, gave it to you, Chris - no, I gave it to Chad. That's right. Chris, you had it and now you've got an Apple Watch.
Baratunde: You should put tracking pixels of some kind, Leo, in all the devices you have seeded into the world over the years. I think it's a pretty significant path that you've created for that technology.
Leo: Johnny Appleseed for devices. I think the Apple Watch is dopey. It doesn't do anything for me at this point.
Tom: I wore it for a month, then gave it to my producer Jenny Josephson to wear for a month to see if I'd miss it and I kind of forgot I gave it to her.
Leo: But you're not a watch-wearer.
Tom: I'm not, that's a good point. I wasn't wearing a watch before that.
Leo: So I don't know if it means anything. I guess - I don't know.
Tom: It certainly didn't turn me into a watch-wearer at that point.
Leo: Not that compelling.
Ben: I'm interested in that point because I have it and like it, and I've worn it every day since I bought it. I have. But I was a watch-wearer before so to me, it's a watch that does more. It shows the time and it also shows for me, whatever it is, the temperature. I like the notifications but you know, I had already taken the step to kind of curb the notifications on my phone long before then so it was never - I didn't get the overwhelming notification issue that some people complained about.
But I mean, I frankly think that's how Apple should have marketed it, it's a watch that does more and then over time, let the additional functionality reveal itself. Which, I mean, I think the most compelling functionality anyway is the way which it lets you interact with your world, right? I mean, you can kind of see with Apple Pay but imagine if your car started with your watch, or your house unlocked with your watch and I think that's a realistic, long-term vision but there's no need to sell it that way now.
It's like with the iPhone. The iPhone was a phone that did more and Apple didn't need to sell it in 2007 as the most important computer in life and we'll actually have articles in the Wall Street Journal that Apple should discontinue the Mac. They didn't need to say that in 2007 even if that was the future and it just feels like the company got a little ahead of itself and the apps are all terrible because of the hybrid app thing. Why - be a little patient and wait for the apps to be ready. Watch without apps is I think what they should have done. I think it would have really crystallized what the watch is and what it's not in a way that would have been beneficial to the product.
Baratunde: 2007, Ben, I don't know if you remember. It was a simpler time. It was a more innocent time for our industry, for our nation, and so we've got to keep that in mind. The idea that they would launch it without apps the way they did the phone, I don't know if they could afford that again. They launched that phone without basic phone stuff, too, and they launched it without basic computer stuff like cut/paste and they were cut a lot of slack for that.
But seeing how much they learned and earned from having an app marketplace, it feels like they wouldn't want to repeat that probation period of just native apps because it would just be a watch.
Leo: And you had a pretty credible competitor in Pebble and Android Wear.
Ben: But credible in what respect? Credible in as they exist but no one is actually wearing any of this stuff. The reality is, let's play it out. They launch without an App Store and every review is like - instead of saying it's slow and frustrating because all the built-in apps are speedy and snappy. There's - it's great. Do you need it? Of course you don't need it, nobody needs a watch. But boy, it's really handy to have this extra stuff on your wrist when you need to see it. Look down, see the temperature, see my next appointment, you know, and then the apps are banned. “Won't it be great once they have apps?” IT gets a ding because it's not there but it's an optimistic ding, like, “Imagine how great it's going to be when they arrive.”
Instead, they launched these hybrid half-assed apps - I'm sorry, I don't know if you can say that on the show.
Leo: No, it's true though. You can say it if it's true.
Ben: But the net result is to make it a worse experience and to make it a perception of the watch worse than it ought to be. Frankly, I think it's troubling. What makes Apple great is its ability to focus on delivering the best possible experience at the expense of features. Then what they do is they iterate. They iterate, they iterate. This is what Apple does. Every product they launch launches with missing something important but what is there works perfectly. That's not what happened with the Watch. What is there does not work perfectly because the apps stink and they stink because - [crosstalk]
Leo: Do you think they were afraid that people would look at the watch and say, “It just doesn't do enough?”
Ben: Since when is Apple afraid? Like, that's what worries me. Sure, let people say that and deliver something that is great, that works great which again, I think the watch works great except for the apps. All the other stuff works very well. Deliver that and let people be frustrated that it's not good enough yet -
Leo: I'd argue they have trouble with the UI as well. I feel like the UI is not good, the stem, the button, the twiddle and the fiddle.
Tom: It takes a lot of learning to catch on.
Ben: Once the whole app part is gone, though, the UI simplifies considerable because you don't have - because a big problem is almost these two modes, right? There's the app mode and then there's the watch face mode. Once there's only one mode, all that stuff gets a lot simpler and so it actually solves multiple problems with it. I agree with you that especially in the beginning, it's confusing, which again I think begs the question, why make it confusing so we can deliver half-assed apps when we know we can deliver full apps in six months?
Leo: Also, there's a consideration - I don't think they're going to update the hardware yearly as they have with the phone and pad. I feel like this is - there's a risk to coming out with another one in the Spring and they're probably much more likely to go a two-year or three-year cycle, right?
Ben: I mean, Mark Erdmann released a report this week, you know, giving details about the next one that's supposed to come next year. I would expect them - I see your point but I think it will be -
Leo: That's risky, especially if you sold $17 thousand. That's risky.
Ben: If you bought a $17 thousand watch, you're going to afford to buy another one next year. The reality is -
Baratunde: Unless that was your kid's college tuition.
Leo: Oh, man. That's a harsh thing to say, wow.
Ben: Who is buying a $17 thousand Apple Watch with their kid's college tuition? I'm not sure that's a problem. The reality is, I calculated this out before but I can't remember what it was. It's $17 thousand divided by 350 equals 40 - so the $17 thousand watches is 48 times the entry level watch. Last I checked, there are a lot of people in the world making more than 48 times the amount of money I make. So on a relative basis, the people buying a $17 thousand watch are actually spending less than I am buying - actually, I bought the stainless steel one.
Leo: Well, that's interesting. One of the things they said in one of the earnings calls last year about the iPad is we just didn't know what the update cycle would be for people. We were guessing because it was a new product and I think they're doing the same thing with the watch. They don't know when the market's - you know, am I willing to buy a new watch every year? We don't know that.
Ben: That's a very fair question and it's the reason why, you know, I think particularly in the short term, the impact of the watch and their financial results will be modest. I think that's a great point. I mean, I would expect their [?] - I mean, we were supporting the iPad all the way back multiple generations. I would expect they'd do the same for the watch. Then again, you'd expect the watch - any product in its first few years, that's when it gets better the most. Yes, it'll be interesting.
I mean, yes.
Leo: We're going to move on because we're almost out of time. I just want to quickly - a few things to get in here. FCC levying its biggest fine ever on AT&T, $100 million for misleading people saying you have an unlimited data plan when in fact, it was going to be throttled. It really comes down to, if you ask me, what's your definition of unlimited?
Baratunde: Without limit.
Leo: But what kind of limit?
Tom: The FCC is proposing the fine. AT&T has got 30 days to respond to it and what they're saying is, you weren't clear on the implications of the throttling.
Leo: There was a limit on speed but not a limit on data.
Baratunde: They don't communicate that at the point of sale. I actually got a text message last week for the first time - my iPhone is powered by AT&T, the iPad is on Verizon as a backup thing. But this - a text message came in on une 14, 11:46 a.m., and AT&T free message, so they didn't charge me for this rebuke. “Your data has reached 75% of the 5-gigabyte management threshold. The network management,” which is nothing I've ever heard of before, “If you exceed 5 gigabytes this month, you may experience reduced data speeds at times and in areas that are experiencing network congestion, WiFi helps you avoid reduced speeds,” a.k.a., get off our network.
Leo: “Get off our network, Baratunde!” Snapatunde!
Baratunde: I'm grandfathered into an unlimited from back in the day.
Leo: They want to get you off of that, man.
Baratunde: I'm down to 10 gigs a month. This last month, I was at 13.
Leo: They keep offering me that 10 gig deal and say, “Hey, you could save a couple hundred bucks a year if you would just switch off this unlimited plan,” and I say, “No way, especially since you're going to be paying a big fine.”
Tom: Is this a big fine for AT&T, though?
Leo: $100 million, I don't know.
Tom: It's a big fine in the FCC's history but how much of a percentage of AT&T -
Leo: How many Apple Watches is that? Huge loss for free speech in Europe, Mike Masden at Techdirt writing about the European Court of Human Rights, Delphi vs. Estonia. Delphi is a news site in Estonia, Russian/Estonian news site in which commenter's were saying bad things. The court said that even if a website took down comments after people complained, it could still be held liable because it should have anticipated bad comments.
Tom: Yes, T2D2 who runs our chat room is Estonian and he made a point of emailing us at Daily Tech News Show and saying, “This is only the European Court determining whether the Estonian court applied its own rules properly, this only applies to Estonia.” So it has a more limited impact than you might think and Estonian laws are different than the rest of Europe on this sort of thing. The comments were deemed by the courts in Estonia to be unlawful because they were vicious -
Leo: They were hate speech, basically.
Tom: Yes and because of the way in which the comment section was set up, essentially - there's still some troubling things about how the Estonian courts determined this, saying that Delphi should have known ahead of time people were going to make these types of comments.
Leo: That's good to know that it really only applies to Estonia. It's the European Court ruling on Estonian Law, essentially.
Leo: Okay, that's good to know. Here's another one that's not clear. Windows 10 will be free not only to Windows 7 and 8 users but to anybody who signed up for the beta program which, by the way, is still open if you go to insider.window.com or microsoft.com.
This is so confusing, Gabe All saying - you know, I'm going to have to ask Paul Thurott and Mary Joe Foley what the hell this means because we've seen this before with Microsoft implying that pirates, for instance, would get to upgrade to Windows 10 and no longer be pirates. They clarified later, no, that's not the case. So I don't know but if this is true, it's basically saying anybody who wants to can get Windows 10 for free and a real Windows 10 - you know, like you install it, you get updates, you're licensed.
Ben: The reality is, it doesn't really matter. Something like 90% or 85% revenue comes from Windows that's installed on new PCs so the upgrade revenue stream has always been a relatively meaningless one and over the last few releases, they've been moving in this general direction. It's just another sign of how the world has shifted previously under Microsoft's feet and now they're a little more - much more aware that it's happening and moving forward.
I think the other thing that's interesting is - I mean, Microsoft did another reorg[?] this week which really undid Balmer's reorg[?] at the end of his time there, which was - I wrote at the time, it was disastrous even then. It's a very smart method but I think what's most interesting is Windows is in its own kind of corner and all the hardware is stuck there, including Xbox, and I think the way -
Leo: Terry Meyers, who created Windows 10, is running the whole division now.
Ben: Right but I think the way to think about it is, Microsoft has placed their bets on the Cloud. That's one division and Cloud enterprise, and kind of apps and productivity - that's not the name of it but that's the other division. Those are the ones that matter and everything else is in this Windows division. I don't think that - I think that there's a clear delineation between future and past in this reorganization and I think that's interesting.
Leo: It is. Boy, is it a change. Steven [?] who was a Microsoft employee went to run Nokia and was acquired with the Nokia acquisition, now out. Mark Penn, the pollster who was fired from Hilary Clinton's campaign last time around and was the guy who created the Screwgled campaign for Microsoft, out. He was in charge of vision, I think, at Microsoft, which sounds like they just got to put him in a room and say, “Go think about things.”
Qi Lu ascending, he was the search genius who came from Yahoo to Microsoft and he now is in charge of apps. So yes, it is a shakeup but it's Satya Nadella finishing as kind of the transition.
Ben: Right, I think so.
Leo: I'm sorry, Tom?
Tom: I was just going to mention that WinBeta article you have in the lineup has a tweet from Gabe All that says they can upgrade from a Windows 7 or 8.1 system, or from a system they clean-installed with Rego, ISO[?] as long as they're using a registered MSA.
Leo: But that means - a registered MSA is what, a Microsoft account?
Tom: Right and so that's where you've got to talk to Paul and Mary Joe, you're absolutely right.
Leo: What the hell does that mean? We might even have to talk to Gabe.
Hey, we launched our new website this week. Enjoying the new TwiT? I think we'll probably have to do a special where we describe some of the features and so forth. One of the first things people told us is, “We don't like the way your download button works.” So we worked very quickly - that's the new Screen Savers, I don't know what's going on there. We worked very quickly to make the download button more like how you'd expect it. In fact, if you're - it comes from the fact that the mind type coming from Cachefly, our provider, tells your browser, “Stream it as you download it,” and most people did not want that.
There is a new - HTML-5 has a new download attribute which we're using so if you're using Chrome and you hit one of the buttons, it will just start downloading as you'd expect. If you're using Safari or Firefox, one of the browsers, it doesn't support that new HTML-5 command. Just right-click and download as you used to do on the old site. We're working with Cachefly on a new way of doing this and I think we'll be able to make this work for everybody but we do appreciate hearing from you about the new site. We're getting a lot of comments.
If you want to understand what we were trying to accomplish, click the yellow button at the top where it says, “Learn More,” and there's kind of a description of the planning and what went into this. It's really much more than you see. It's an API driven by Druple that will be - already 30 people have asked to get a key to the developer's API which excites me, it means people are going to start looking at making apps. You could make your own website, everything you need is there.
We also know that the Codey and Plex apps have stopped working. They were relying on a feed that was never an official feed that came from our old Druple site. When we took the Druple site offline, that stopped working. If you are one of the developers of the Codey, or XPMC or Plex app, contact me. There's a much better way to do it. We've got an API now and you can actually do a really nice app a lot more easily than using the old RSS feeds. We'd like to help you and make that work again. But please, let us know, firstname.lastname@example.org if you find a bug or just email me, email@example.com. I appreciate hearing from you.
Tom Merritt, so great to have you back. Love seeing you, everybody in the chat room was so happy. Please come back soon.
Tom: Well, thank Lisa for inviting me and thanks for having me on. It was god talking tech, man.
Leo: dailytechnewshow.com, don't forget /support if you want to help out in the production of it. You're getting close to video, I want to see that. I want to see them push you into video.
Tom: That's cruel of you but yes, that is where we'd like - we chose our own path.
Leo: We should suffer together.
Tom: Looking forward to it. We had a great crew over there and thanks to everybody who supports us there as well.
Leo: You're doing great, great to see the beard of Merritt. Thank you so much, Baratunde. You're looking so hip, so cool, sunglasses become you, my friend.
Baratunde: Thank you, man. Eye surgery is the greatest and it's really nice to be back. I feel like this was a really intellectual, industry-deep show. I've never been on with Ben before, an honor to share with you. I believe I've been on with Tom way in the past, glad to see you doing so well.
Leo: Tell us about Cultivated Wit.
Baratunde: Cultivated Wit, that's the company I co-founded after leaving The Onion a few years ago. We are where comedy meets technology and the principle thing wee up to is our comedy Hackting event series and universe. We take hackathons, we add comedians and designers to them, and people intentionally come up with useful, useless and hilarious things. We're coming to LA next. We just wrapped in New York City with the winners of an app called Got This Thing. It's a calendar app, what they call a no-ductivity ap and it allows users to have an instant excuse to not help your friend by auto-filling your calendar with real events from your local area.
Leo: Then just share it with them and say, “You see I'm busy, I'm very busy.”
Baratunde: You can put it up that they're all sold out, they can't tag along, so, “Sorry, I got this thing.” But our next comedy hack day is coming up in Los Angeles. Actually, Tom, it'd be great to get you involved. Location to be determined the weekend of August 21. We have Michael Ian Black as one of our judges, the last time around, Anil Dash, Kristina Warren from Mashab.le and Aparna Narncherla. The community's growing, the apps are getting better, the laughs are getting laugh-ier so please check us out at cultivatedwit.com and enjoy the comedy hackting. This is the last plug for baratun.de that Marc Egland put together, the audio service that reads tech essays so you don't have to that I'm helping temporarily seed by using my name.
Leo: Is he looking for more readers? I'd love to do that.
Baratunde: I'm sure we are. I'll put someone in touch with your people, send you an email. You're not on Facebook. So thank you for the volunteering to join the movement for sound, that's the sound plan.
Leo: Don't forget Snapatunde if you're on Snapchat, all the kids are doing it.
Baratunde: Crazy stories, I'm loving that platform. It's playful. It's goofy and my Snap part for those of you listening live won't be up for another two hours. I like supporting it and putting it on probably my YouTube channel. I'm Baratunde everywhere except Snapchat where I'm Snapatunde.
Leo: And -
Ben: The feeling is likewise and obviously, anyone whose background includes The Onion - I'm from Madison, Wisconsin so I feel Onion pride very deeply. It was great to meet you and was thrilled to be on with you as well.
Leo: The Onion pride.
Ben: Tom and Leo, of course, as well.
Leo: Yes, we love you, Ben. Ben's insights, as you can tell, are deep, profound and must-read at Stratechery.com. There's a lot of free stuff there but do as I just did literally moments ago and pay $100 to get it all year long. Get the newsletter because it's such great insights. You do a great job, Ben. It's great to see you again, thanks for spending your early morning hours with us. I didn't realize it was Dragon Boat Festival weekend.
Ben: It was, yes. Saturday was Dragon Boat Festival so there are still the races and stuff like that - what it entails for me is mostly eating a tremendous amount of food which is always a plus.
Leo: Great, love it. Thank you, Ben. Thank you, Baratunde. Thank you, Tom. Thank you all for being here. We do TWiT Sunday afternoons, 3 p.m. Pacific, 6 p.m. Eastern time, 2200 UTC. Would you tune in live, watch us, join us in the chat room? We love having you but if you can't, we always make on-demand audio/video of all of our shows available at TwiT.tv, the website but also, wherever you get your podcasts, your podcast app on your phone, iTunes, Xbox Music, all those places. Please subscribe and that way you'll get each and every week.
Thanks for being here, thanks to our producer Jason Howell for putting together a great show. Our bookers, Tanya Hall. Tomorrow - who is on Triangulation tomorrow? I feel like it might be a great show, I should quickly check. I'll be back tomorrow morning at 11, we've got iOS Today of course at 12:30 and Triangulation tomorrow - if I could quickly open the document - will be Jackie McNish, author of Losing the Signal. iJustine will be joining us at the end of July and then you are doing, while I'm gone, a Triangulation, Jason, about music recording with Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick.
Jason: Yes, they do Pensado's Place, a pretty fantastic show but Dave Pensado's a Grammy award-winning mixing engineer. I'm really looking forward to it.
Leo: We're getting each of our cohosts here to do a Triangulation while I'm gone, Tanya, Jason and Padre will all host. Thanks for being here, we'll see you next week. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye, everybody!