This Week in Tech 519
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech. Big show for you. Christina Warren is here. Alex Lindsay, Rafe Needleman, and I'm back. We're going to talk about Google. Did you notice on Friday, just a little bit of an increase in the stock price. We'll also talk about their new beacon technology. We'll talk about the planet Pluto, 600 bod modems, and a whole lot more. You stay tuned. TWiT is next.
NETCASTS YOU LOVE FROM PEOPLE YOU TRUST. THIS IS TWIT! Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by CacheFly at cachefly.com.
Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 519, recorded Sunday, July 19, 2015.
Bad News Drones
This Week in Tech is brought to you by lynda.com: the online learning platform with over 3,000 on demand video courses to help you strengthen your business, technology, and creative skills. For a free ten-day trial visit lynda.com/twit2. That's lynda.com/twit2.
And by Gazelle: the fast and simple way to sell your used gadgets. Find out what your used iPhone, iPad, or other Apple product is worth at gazelle.com.
And by FreshBooks, the simple cloud accounting and invoicing solution that helps millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners save time billing and get paid faster. Try it for free at freshbooks.com/twit.
And by Citrix GoToMeeting: The powerfully simple way to meet with coworkers and clients from the convenience of your computer, Smartphone, or tablet. Share the same screen and see each other face to face with HD video conferencing. For a 30-day free trial, visit gotomeeting.com today.
It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the latest tech news. I'm so glad to be back, but I wanted to thank the folks who filled in for me. Becky Worley did a great job. Mike Elgan, who did a great job, and Jason Calacanis. He did a great job, I hear. I haven't seen any of those shows. I probably shouldn't, but I'm glad to be back, but thank you to all three of you for hosting while I've been gone. We've got a great panel for you, starting with Christina Warren from Mashable. Hi, Christina.
Christina Warren: Hey, Leo. What's going on?
Leo: @film_girl. Always good to see you. Also great to see Alex Lindsay. We haven't seen a lot of him on MacBreak Weekly. I'm glad to get him in from the Pixel Corps.
Alex Lindsay: See, first I'm gone, and then I'm everywhere.
Leo: I want you to be everywhere, because you're the greatest. Are you in Pittsburgh right now?
Alex: I'm in Pittsburgh for today.
Leo: He's got the best setup in the middle of nowhere in PA. You look better than I do, and I'm in studio. I don't know how you do it. It's pretty impressive. And, with a brand new job, my buddy Rafe Needleman is here.
Rafe Needleman: Hi, Leo.
Leo: Rafe, of course for many years you were at C Net, and then you went to Evernote for a brief flirtation with the dark side.
Rafe: A year and a half. It was actually pretty fun. They have cookies.
Leo: I guess Phil Liteman is moving himself upstairs now. They have a new guy who is going to be in charge.
Rafe: Do they?
Leo: I thought so.
Rafe: I read that story. I know nothing more than what I've read in the story.
Leo: Then went to Yahoo Tech, turned that into the number four tech site on the Internet, which I hear is a pretty big thing now.
Rafe: Internet. Yeah. It's becoming a thing.
Leo: Now, you've taken your talents, and you've moved on to Maker media. We love Maker magazine.
Rafe: It's so fun.
Leo: You're editor in chief of Maker Media, which means not only the magazine, but the books, the Maker fairs, which are huge. How many Maker fairs are there now?
Rafe: There are a couple of big ones. San Francisco and New York. All told, 150 around the world.
Leo: That's so cool. It's a movement, which is really neat. Did anything happen while I was gone at all? Reddit? Great site, loved them.
Alex: They all were like, "Let's not do anything, because Leo's--"
Leo: I hear that Windows Phone is going great. That's good news.
Christina: Oh yeah. It's on fire.
Leo: Let me ask you. I'm in Germany when IOS 8.4 comes out, and I have very slow bandwidth, and I worked as hard as I could to get Apple Music, and then I'm in Austria, and starting to listen to it and this is not so good. Unfortunately, it's not available in Hungary. What do we think about Apple Music now, two weeks in?
Rafe: I love Spotify. I got it, I updated it. OK. Whatever. Now that I'm not doing product reviews like that, I'm sticking with Spotify.
Leo: I love Spotify too. Especially since Spotify broadcasts all of our TWiT programming, which is nice. It's a new feature. I think Spotify wisely realized that depending on music labels for your business is probably a long-term not a great plan, so they've added content from podcasts, and I think that's another Internet program, including video.
Alex: Right now I find Apple Music a little confusing. There's a lot there.
Leo: People don't even know. What is it? Is it iTunes? What is it?
Christina: Unfortunately, that's the biggest problem. The desktop is built into the iTunes app. I feel like what they should do at some point is do what they've done with the photos app and do what they've done with some of the other things and separate it out, so if you want to have iTunes as your media management place to get files on your iPhone and do updates of that stuff that's fine, but separate all of the Apple Music stuff into its own app. The interface, there's a lot there. I find the for you section to be fantastic. I love Spotify. I've been a Spotify user two years before it officially came to the United States.
Leo: Is there anything Apple Music does that Spotify doesn't do?
Christina: Yes. The recommendations are significantly better on Apple Music, I find. I find the 'for you' section is really good. I think a lot of the curated playlists they make is a lot better than the curated playlists Spotify makes. That said, I miss being able to search for Playlists that other people have created. If I want to see that someone made a playlist of all the songs in Mad Men, I can do that on Spotify. I can't do that on Apple Music. I do find the recommendations on Apple Music of what to listen to, what new artists are coming out, deep cuts from artists that maybe I haven't listened to in a while, I find that to be a lot better. I like Beats One. I don't mind the radio station. I don't love all the day-to-day programming, not that I have to. I like a lot of the shows that they have.
Leo: They have an Elton John Show. Every time I listen to Beats One, Alex, you're a former DJ. As am I. I feel like this is radio from the 70's. They have Beats One, echo echo echo, and the DJs will talk over music like crazy. It's seems retro to me.
Christina: It is, it's very retro. I dig that. I think that's kind of cool. For a certain generation of people, they're either going to love it or hate it, but there are certain people who are listening to it now who have never listened to traditional radio the way that it used to be around.
Leo: That's what this is, isn't it?
Christina: It is.
Leo: Mike Elgan made a point, for the first time ever, there is a global radio station that conceivably people from all over the--there's a hundred countries-- all over the world could be listening. You break a song on Beats One and you're breaking not just in the US, but everywhere. It could be very powerful. I don't feel like one station is going to serve a broad heterogeneous audience.
Rafe: I'm supposed to start listening to radio again?
Leo: Apple brought it back.
Rafe: Based on that, I'm not convinced.
Alex: Beats One station has been serving at least the US. When you look at Clear Channel or many of these other programming, there's a handful of consultants that run most of the stations in the United States. There's probably four or five real stations that cover most of the major markets and there's lots of little independents. That homogeny has happened for a while. I think it is interesting and it becomes very complex when you look at Apple possibly paying for/creating content. Do they bring content that they've helped make with the artists down the road.
Leo: That would be one thing I would worry about is the payola thing. It's one thing if Zane Lowe and the other DJs are playing music they really loved that they picked. It's another thing if Apple corporate says we really want to push the latest U2 album, do you mind playing more of that? That would bug me. There's no reason to think they're doing that.
Christina: I don't think they're doing that. I asked Trent Bresner about that in the lead up to Apple Music, and he made it very clear that the whole reason they were doing it, it was his idea. He wanted to go back to a time when DJs really had authority to pick what they wanted. Zane's show on the BBC, on radio One, was very similar to what his show is on Apple Music. I like that show. It's not for everybody, but I liked that show. I think that he's basically the heart and soul; the DNA of Beats One is Zane. I would be concerned... what I'm saying is, I'm not expecting to see that sort of interference. I would be concerned with that possibility if Zane left. Let's put it that way. If Zane left, that would be a concerning thing, but as long as he's there I have a feeling he's there to do his thing and Apple is treating this as a lost leader in some cases. I don't think they're looking to make money off of Beats One. They're looking at this as a value ad to the rest of the service.
Leo: The only reason I bring it up, I feel like it might be a little bit of an inside to Jimmy Iovene, Trent Bresner, and Apple's general attitude towards music. I thought that Apple killed music radio. The iPod came out, and now we can listen to what we want to listen to. I thought that was, I know it was bad for music radio. It's strange that they would be bringing it back. It seems odd.
Alex: One of the things I think is missing is that they could kill radio, and what I mean by that is I think we do like listening to a little bit of context around the music that we're watching or listening to. I think there is an opportunity for that. I think the real hard thing that Apple is trying to do is all these curations. I feel like the top down apporach to all that curation and all that press to allow the cross pollination among all the users in the same way that you have Spotify to make sure there's no "noise." I feel like it's going to make it a little sterile. I feel like there's a lot of opportunity for people to bubble up, and I think that this is the place that Spotify could take advantage of this is really providing a platform. Right now no one can do a radio station online because of the expense of all the royalties that are connected to it. But if you combined the ability to talk a little bit, as well as run songs, not actually play them and stream them but utilize playlists that are kind of part of that process, it would allow people to start building their own radio stations. That I think would definitely be the end of radio. Not because some kid in Iowa would do it. Guys like Mike Coleranan who could do his own radio station.
Leo: Guys who know what they're doing, yeah.
Alex: Do it out of his house and probably make a lot more money than he's making at his radio station.
Leo: The Jury is still out. We'll see. Everybody right now is free. Three months free. The real question will happen at the end of the three months, how many people will stick around.
Rafe: It's one of those things where you put in your credit card and then they start billing you, right?
Christina: You can turn it off.
Rafe: You have to remember.
Christina: No. You can go in advance, like now you can go and turn it off in the settings, "Don't auto-renew." If you turn off the auto renew feature now, you'll still get it for three months.
Leo: I've got to remember to do that. I forgot.
Christina: We were telling people before we figured out that trick, you needed to set a reminder. Remind me on X date to cancel Apple Music. That's what I did with HBO now, because I pay for HBO Go, and I was trying out the HBO now service, and I made a reminder to "remind me on May 29 or whatever day it was to cancel HBO Now."
Leo: Let's take a little break. I want to come back. I'm not going to leave Apple, because I don't understand. They released new iPods. It baffles me. Christina, you got them, so you can explain the reason why I need a gold iPod touch. There's got to be a reason Apple did this. This is baffling to me. We'll talk in just a minute. Our show today brought to you by lynda.com: the online learning platform with over 3,000 learning courses. You know what's great? You pay once, a monthly fee, it's very affordable, and you get access to everything. You don't have to decide now what you want to learn. It's the way I think the human brain works. You like to dibble and dabble and dip into something and "Oh I'm going to really learn Light Room, and boom you go right into it." A lot of people want to learn how to code and develop apps. You don't need to go to an expensive college to do that. You can do that at lynda.com. Listen to some of the development corps. PHP with My ask ql essential training. OK. That's old fashioned? How about essential training for developing Android apps? There's a new course on building data-driven apps with IOS. We've talked about code clinic. I love the code clinic. It's a multi-course series. lynda.com's great experts, great teachers look at common code challenges and offer their solutions in a variety of languages. C++, C sharp, Java, PHP, Python, Ruby. It's so cool. They've got four new entries. Java Script CER, which I've been dying to learn, and Swift, which is the hot new Apple language. lynda.com. Whether it's photography, computer programming, using Microsoft Word, business skills like preparing a resume, negotiation a better deal, it's all there. You're learning from the experts. These are great teachers, but first and foremost, they're working in the field. Thousands of courses. You learn at your own pace, they're structured, you can watch them from beginning to end, or just a little bit at a time, depending on your desires. You can use those course transcripts to find the part you're looking at and skip right to that. Take notes as you go, refer to them later, they're all stored with your account. Download tutorials and watch them on the go at IOS or Android. That's nice. Get on the plane; learn a little something before you land. lynda.com/twit2. We'll get you a free ten-day trial, so you don't even have to guess. You can see what they've got. Run of the place for ten days. More than 3,000 on demand video courses, and it's very affordable as you can see. lynda.com/twit2. Pay nothing for your free ten-day trial right now. lynda.com/twit2. Last thing in the world I thought I'd see is a new iPod. I thought, I mean really. Is this news?
Alex: You don't have kids. This is what you give your kids.
Leo: So is that who this is for? So why I'm impressed, the new iPod touch is essentially everything that the iPhone 6 is, including the camera, including the AA processor, although it's underclocked.
Christina: It's underclocked. It's one gigahertz. Not 1.4. Smaller screen, no touch ID, no Apple Pay.
Leo: But, if you want to give your kid a phone but you don't want to have to pay the data...
Rafe: Because they're on wifi all the time.
Leo: So that's who this is for?
Christina: I think it's that. I mean, you can get it in 128 gigabytes, which is actually compelling to the few people who were iPod classical
Leo: I still have my classic.
Christina: I do too. 120 gigabytes, OK it's not 160, but it's going to be faster. Plus you have access to a web browser, 802.11 AC Wi-Fi.
Leo: But wait. Every quarter, doesn't Apple say, "Nobody bought the iPod this quarter either."
Christina: Basically, which is why I was shocked they released the update.
Leo: When is the last time there was a new iPod?
Christina: October of 2012.
Rafe: She knows that.
Leo: Of course she does. She's Christina Warren. It says so right here in her article on Mashable.com.
Christina: Here is what's scarier. The Shuffle and the iPod Nano were not updated. They were given new colors. The Shuffle hasn't been touched since 2010.
Leo: They did update other ones, but it's really about the new touch.
Christina: They updated the colors on the other ones. That's all they did. They added nothing else. It's still the same Shuffle from 2010, it's still the same Nano from 2012, but now you can get them in gold, space gray, silver, product red, blue, (The blue is really cool), and pink.
Leo: Is there evidence that people are buying iPods?
Christina: Enough of them are buying...
Leo: How old is your son?
Rafe: He's nine.
Leo: He's the candidate. Does he have one?
Rafe: Not yet.
Leo: Would you buy him a new one?
Christina: Or would you give him an iPod touch?
Leo: Or your old phone?
Rafe: Right now he uses my old phone. That's his iPod Touch. It's got no cellular on it. It's a wifi device.
Alex: My kids are five and seven, and there's nothing better on a plane than an iPad or an iPod touch. I think that we use them a lot as utility. Within the company there's a lot of places I don't necessarily want to pay for a phone and I don't want to pay for the connections, but we use them as little displays for time, communication, there's all kinds of utilization. We have a lot of these.
Leo: 128 gigabyte gold iPod touch is 400 bucks!
Alex: For most people, actually, other than the people who want to replace their hundred and sixty gig solution, it has a great little edition. It's a great little device.
Leo: All right. They know their business. Obviously they've done some research and they've figured people would buy this.
Christina: Only thing I can figure is they already have the guts to go inside the iPhone 6, pare things down a bit, you've already got the shells and the screens, go ahead and pop the upgrade in, this will at least give iOS 9. I was actually a little concerned that the old iPod Touch wouldn't get IOS 9, so this will at least get it to IOS 9. I don't know how likely this is, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. I don't know if there's potential here in a developing market, developing countries for people who are primarily using their phones like most of us do on wifi, if having a 200 dollar no contract device running an AA chip and having a better graphic performance, if that could be a competitor of sorts to some of the super cheap Android phones.
Rafe: That sounds like a bit of a stretch. It makes sense financially in some ways, but with super cheap Android or even Firefox Mozilla phones you could get all the same stuff with cellular if you want it. Right?
Leo: I think there's an interesting theory here. Apple does not want to make and will never make a cheap iPhone. That's not something they're interested in. Maybe that's what this is. You could put Skype on it if you had Internet access.
Alex: You have FaceTime right now. You could put FaceTime, Skype, GoToMeeting, Hangouts; all of those things are all available on it.
Leo: You don't need cell service if you can get wifi, and as wifi spreads... maybe that's a nutty idea.
Alex: I personally think that part of this is a bit of a hobby on Apple's part. Every update seems to make it easier to make voice calls without cell service. It's one of those things that they keep on creeping along. They're not making any announcements...
Leo: No. They don't want to get anybody's dander up.
Alex: Exactly. The iPod touch is the perfect place to do this.
Rafe: The hardware that goes into this is fully amortized. They've got the screens; the chips are probably binned versions that didn't pass the test to get into the iPhone. It probably costs them very little to put this product together. They've got to keep it updated just to keep it current.
Leo: Curtis B in our chatroom points out it does have the M8 chip so it can do the fitness tracking, so it's a fitness device perhaps. It has to have something to do with the release of Apple Music because it's an Apple Music device.
Christina: Oh yeah. When I had my on background phone call about the device that was definitely a highlight of working with Apple Music. What's interesting is that the Shuffle and the Nano will not work with any of the offline files you download from Apple Music if you're not an iTunes Match person. You can download tracks to listen to offline with Apple Music, those offline tracks have DRM that do not work on the iPod touch, or the iPod Nano. Excuse me. They work on the Touch just fine.
Leo: That's interesting. So that's the smarter chip that allows you to do that.
Christina: I guess so. I have no idea. I guess because they haven't updated the other two pods in so many years it can't handle the new version of DRM they've put on. It's weird.
Alex: I use one of them in my car because I don't want to connect my car to my phone. I use my phone for other things.
Leo: I have to say, with Spotify, it's kind of everything you'd ever want. I don't know how XM and Serious stay in business.
Rafe: I have XM and Serious in my car. If anybody who works with Sirius is listening, the audio quality blows chunks. Man it's awful.
Leo: Spotify makes you feel like you're listening to real music. Because it's heavily compressed, that's why by the way.
Christina: I have to think that Serious and XM gets their customers the way that AOL gets customers. You buy the car and they give you the free six months of XM or whatever and you forget to cancel. You wind up getting charged again. That's how my Mom pays for satellite radio that she never uses.
Leo: Crazy. Of course Neil Young pulled all his music from Spotify this week.
Christina: And all the streaming services. Here's what's interesting: He says because the audio quality is terrible, yet he will still sell them on iTunes.
Leo: Which is the same quality, right?
Christina: I apologize in advance editors; you're going to have to bleep me here. It's bulls***. It's total bulls***. He's saying it's an audio quality issue. It's not an audio quality issue, if it was an audio quality issue, you'd also pull it from iTunes. It's clearly about money and pushing PONO in some way. I don't know.
Rafe: that's what makes perfect sense except nobody that tests the Pono vs. the iPhone can tell the difference.
Christina: David Pogue, your former colleague did the definitive video on that. We didn't even do a video, because we realized, A) Pono would not send us one, we had to buy our own; B) we were trying to do a video doing the AB tasking. We can't do this. David Pogue did the ultimate video. Can I just say this? The Pono player is the worst device I have used in years.
Leo: I love my Pono. I love it. I bought it.
Christina: Seriously? Why?
Leo: I'll argue with both of you on that. There's a huge difference. In fact, I'm away, because we had Neil Young on triangulation. There's going to be an app on the next update that will allow you to listen to the same song in a variety of different formats. You can listen to the native Pono version in 120 KB, I think that will be the file test. That's really how you have to do it. The levels have to be the same... The way Pogue did it is a joke.
Rafe: OK man.
Leo: That's a joke. That's not here listen to an iPhone, oh listen on a Pono.
Rafe: That's not how he did it. It was a blind test with the same headphones in a switcher with the audio levels equalized.
Leo: It's a joke. I can hear the difference. There's a big difference. Look, you can make the argument, and I think that's a legitimate argument the difference between a CD and a high res file. There you can make the argument. No one can make the argument that AAC or MP3 heavily compressed music sounds as good as uncompressed music. That's not the case.
Rafe: Technically you can make that argument, but when you're listening to most people's headphones...
Leo: Most people are idiots. They have little white headphones. That is not the problem.
Rafe: They're using those crappy Beats over the ears things...
Leo: And they can't tell.
Rafe: They're spending 100, 200 bucks on those things and you can't tell the difference. Maybe there is an audio difference...
Christina: The only way I can tell the difference is if I have a mini DAC that I've got plugged in and I have 400 dollar headphones and I'm in a pristine environment, I'm sorry. Great.
Leo: If you're sitting in the car, there's no difference.
Christina: That's my point. My problem with the Pono, to be totally honest, other than the fact that you can't put it in a pocket, the software that it comes with is the worst piece of crap I've ever seen in my life. The software on the computer to try to get those files on there.
Leo: The computer software is terrible. But you don't need to use that. It's just, you plug it in on the USB and it's an SD card and you copy the music over. You don't need to use that. I'm the idiot that bought the little Apple heavy metal apple with a USB key in it that had the Beatles music. I'm that guy.
Rafe: But that's the Beatles. You're forgiven.
Christina: I did that too. I wanted the flak files.
Leo: I wanted the Flak files, but there's a difference there, isn't there? Between MP3 and Flak?
Christina: There is. I would like to think I can hear the difference, realistically I can't. Here's my truth, and this is where I'm a hypocrite on both ends. I primarily listen to music, but most of my CDs I have ripped in ALAC just in case I need to transcode it to something else. When I do rip things for easier listening, I typically use MP3 Lame, VIO, which is typically the best thing. I drink the Kool-Aid, yet I'm also aware that the Kool-Aid is stupid.
Rafe: Functionally, there is a market somewhere. There are some people that actually do have the thousand-dollar headset, and want to be able to buy those. The headphones are used in the David Pogue one; the problem is that they don't have the resolution so you can't tell the difference. It's like comparing two HD signals on nesting TV.
Leo: His point, and it's a reasonable point, a normal person in a normal environment listening to the normal crap that they normally use isn't going to be able to tell the difference. That's true. Nobody denies that. Somebody who cares about music is going to buy the best quality music. Then there's a legitimate argument. Is a CD as good as it needs to be? I think that's a legitimate argument. I'm not going to get in high res vs. CD, but I don't think there's anybody who is listening carefully with good equipment that cannot tell the difference between AAC and MP3 and Flak. There is a clear and obvious difference.
Christina: I think it depends on how the music is being mastered. I think the bigger problem is that a lot of times even CDs are being mastered so that they're louder, so they sound terrible. If it's mastered well on a good CD, I think a good CD is going to sound every bit as good as high res audio.
Leo: That's one thing you notice, by the way, when you start listening to high res audio, you have to be careful and pick good stuff. For instance, there is on HD tracks, band on the run. Paul McCartney, and they have the version that was sold to everybody for the last 50 years, or however long that stupid album has been out, and then they have an uncompressed... I'm taking about audio compressed. Full dynamic range. It's a different album. It's incredible. You hear the instruments.
Christina: But even HD tracks, the stuff they sell as resolutions are still not mastered well. So if you buy an album, I did this where I bought an album and I went, "This still sounds like crap." If I have the vinyl version of the same album it sounds significantly better, because it's been mastered better.
Leo: That's right.
Rafe: The thing that gets me is that Neil Young music might sound better in high resolution on massive speakers. I like Neil Young's music. I want to listen to it on Spotify when I am commuting. It pisses me off that he pulled it off. I don't care that it's 3% better in high res. I want it the way I have it now.
Leo: That is one massive advantage that Apple Music has. Google Music has it as well. You add your own collection to the streaming music, so if you own all of Neil Young's albums, which I hope you do, you've got it on streaming. Spotify won't do that, but Apple Music will do that, and so will Google All Access. Amazon will do it too, but they don't have the streaming selection.
Rafe: That's why I have a phone. I can store my music on here as well.
Alex: I think a lot of our artists want to control how people experience their art. THX was there because George didn't like the way Star Wars looked.
Leo: Neil does a good defense of Paul Noah on Triangulation about a month ago. One of the things I pointed out, his last album, Storytone was recorded in one of those sound booths where they do the cheap records you buy for a buck and you take home. Talk about bad quality, but it's on purpose. He said, "look. What I want you to hear is what I hear in the studio. I want you to hear the sound I was making as best as possible." I think that's a reasonable thing for an artist.
Rafe: Oh save me from purists.
Leo: He's an artist. That's his art! That's what he makes!
Rafe: It's Rock n Roll, man! Yes, it's art, but it's rock n roll. You listen to it where you can.
Leo: I pointed that out. The Beatles got inspired by very crappy radio reception from pirate radio ships of American Blues. That got them excited. You can have an emotional reaction to music, even if it's terrible.
Christina: Beatles still sound better on Mono. The terrible stereo versions of the Beatles albums, what are you doing with your life?
Leo: That irks me, because the green Apple that cost so much money was all stereo.
Christina: Then they released a mono version. The CD was released in Mono that I ripped. They released the mono version a year later.
Leo: As CDs?
Christina: I don't think they ever did it on Apple.
Leo: They never did the 24 bit version.
Christina: No, but I did get the vinyl copies in mono too.
Leo: Do you have a record player.
Christina: I do.
Rafe: Can I say something about audio quality and how it can really change the experience? My son's birthday was Friday and we took him to see the San Francisco symphony. They were playing, they had the 2009 Star Trek and the symphony was playing the sound track.
Leo: Let me guess, you teared up.
Rafe: It's emotional! It's not the world's best movie, but with a full symphony blaring that music, it was amazing! It was the best Star Trek I've ever seen because of the music.
Leo: This is the argument. It's ineffable and it's not provable and there's certainly no science behind it, but somehow there is more emotion in the full dynamic range of the music. There's nothing better than live. You want to hear it in a live environment. I tell you what; I tear up when I hear a great symphony playing great music. I feel it. Don't you? It's emotional. Let's move on. Let me do an ad read. I need to breathe for a little bit here. I wanted to ask Alex because he's a former music director and radio guy. I wanted to ask him what he thought. Have you listened to Beats One at all?
Alex: I listened to it a little bit. I thought it was fine. It was fine. It was something that I can listen to for a while; it's better than the radio.
Leo: I love radio. This is all I ever wanted to do was radio, right?
Alex: I loved doing it, and I loved listening to it when it's really good. I think it's better than any station that I really can think of right now in the United States that I've listened to recently. That doesn't mean I want to skip.
Leo: That's the problem. How do you make one stream that everybody is going to like and everybody is going to want to hear the next song and the next song? It's hard to do now that we don't have to. It was easy when we had to and there was no choice. All you could do was push the button on the Dodge and go to the next station.
Alex: I still think we're in the early stage of curation. I think that automatic curation isn't necessarily the right solution, I think that doing it all by hand is the right solution. I think there's a lot of places in between that haven't been managed well yet.
Leo: Good on Apple for trying something, anyway. If you are ready to get a new gadget, maybe an iPod touch, perhaps you'd like to get rid of the old gadget. Can I tell you where to go? Gazelle. The best way to sell your old, even broken, iPhone, iPad, Samsung. Surface Tablet. They give you top dollar, they make it easy, they give you a 30-day guarantee, so you're not even locked in. In fact, if you go right now and get the quote, get all that stuff stuck in a drawer somewhere, you wouldn't throw in a hundred dollar bill and just leave it there. That's what you're doing! Get it out, go to Gazelle.com, get a quote. You got 30 days to do something. You don't have to buy it yet. Sit on it, but get that quote, because I can tell you one thing those devices are not gaining in value. They're going to be worth less in 30 days. Once you decide you're ready to pull the trigger, you press the button, they'll send you a box. They pay the shipping on anything worth more than a buck, that's everything, right? And then their experts will wipe the data if you forget. (Or if it's broken and you can't.) They'll also up your offer. I've had this happen twice now where they say oh no, that's better than you said it was. One time, they gave us 40 bucks more. They don't have to do that. I've never heard of a company doing that. They want to give you good service. They'll send you a check, PayPal credit, or, and this is a good tip if you're an Amazon user, an Amazon gift card which they'll bump by 5%, so you'll get extra as well. Now, you may wonder what happens to the best stuff Gazelle gets? They sell it. They now have a certified pre-owned program. They'll sell devices in two conditions. Certified like new, or certified good. Certified good will show a little sign of wear, but if you're replacing a broken phone or tablet, it's a great idea. For the kids, great idea. Every device that Gazelle sells has been put through its rigorous 30-point inspection. They're fully functional, and you have 30 days risk free to return it. This is a great way to get a new gadget or an almost new gadget. Gazelle.com. Write it down, keep a note. Whatever you do, stop throwing the old gadgets in the drawer! That's like putting cash in the trash! Gazelle.com. Wow. Friday, did you see Google stock? Holy camole!
Christina: They had a good quarter. That's what can happen.
Leo: A very good quarter. Not only that, YouTube had the best quarter it’s ever had. Average YouTube viewing time is now 40 minutes. It doesn't sound like a lot, but as someone who has watched ratings from TV and radio for years, that's huge.
Rafe: No one is online for 40 minutes. That's the thing that's interesting to me. It's got to be cumulative over a day staring at your little phone.
Leo: 60% growth year over year and they are now bigger in the most important demographic. 18-49 than any cable channel.
Rafe: 18-49 isn't everybody.
Leo: You're looking at me when you say that?
Rafe: Except us.
Leo: When I went past 54, I thought nobody cares. Nobody cares. In radio we used to call it 55 to dead. That's the demographic nobody cares about. I would like to change that, by the way. I don't think that's appropriate. Big revenue for Google.
Alex: One of the things that makes it exciting for investors is not that they made a lot more money, but that they can diversify their income.
Leo: Mobile viewing, mobile ads, all up. There's a lot of concern about mobile ads and whether those can make it. Google certainly was seen dropping clicks.
Rafe: Which effects everybody in media.
Leo: Yes. That explains Gawker.
Rafe: Which part?
Leo: Is Nick Denton not the most horrible human alive today?
Rafe: Nick Denton, if we're talking about the same thing I think we're talking about, he pulled the story...
Leo: He pulled the story! You know why?
Rafe: Because it was a terrible story.
Leo: Because it's lawsuit-able. When he slanders me, which he does regularly, I can't sue him because I'm a public figure. I can, but there's a much higher standard. I would have to show mal-intent on his part like he's trying to get me. In this case, it's an almost certainly untrue article, very poorly sourced. Not a public figure. He's an editor at a magazine, he's not a public figure, he's not a senator. He's not Anthony Wiener. He's just some guy. The story is almost certainly untrue. He has great standing for a lawsuit. By the way, it's too late even if Nick Denton pulled it. The article came out on Thursday, he pulled it on Friday. Still was out long enough.
Rafe: And the editors of Gawker are furious at him for pulling it.
Leo: Free speech, man.
Christina: They're mad because from the people I've talked to there, it was a Chinese Wall problem.
Leo: If it is advertisers, then they're right.
Christina: That's what it was from what I understand.
Leo: Advertisers should never be allowed to influence that thing.
Christina: It was the legal team, and then the advertisers.
Leo: Legal is different.
Christina: Legal and the ad. The thing from people I've talked to at Gawker is that they were upset. Even the people that disagreed that the post should be published to begin with don't like that it was pulled for the reasons it was pulled. The whole thing is a mess.
Leo: Hulk Hogan is suing him for 100 million dollars. I hope he wins every penny and puts the whole blight out of business. You know what? The Internet is blighted in every respect.
Rafe: Except for me and thee?
Leo: Yeah. Back to Google. Do you want to do Reddit? I'm sure they've talked about Reddit over the past few weeks. I'm watching on a boat thanking God. I don't know what to say about this. On the one hand, there was reprehensible content on Reddit, on the other hand...
Rafe: There still is.
Leo: Alexis Hanian and the new CEO who replaced Ellen Pao both said that Reddit is a bastion of free speech, despite their later denials. They said it. Which is it? You can't have it both ways.
Christina: The difference is it was a bastion of free speech before they had a 50 million dollar investment from capitalists. It's a bastion of free speech when you're a very lightly staffed subsidiary. It's not a bastion of free speech when you're now a subsidiary of advanced publications, of advanced media, and you have a 50 million investment from doing Horowitz and you need to get advertisers to buy ads on the filth that proliferates your platform.
Leo: Steve Huffman on Thursday did an AMA, ironic, in which he posted new rules and talked about new rules for Reddit. I have to say, I've gone through the thought exercise my whole vacation on what would I do? The first thing you think is it's easy. You just ban hate speech.
Rafe: Define hate speech.
Leo: It's not that easy.
Rafe: It's really hard. There are things that are illegal, things that are damaging.
Leo: Illegal is easy.
Rafe: There are some things that are clearly over the line, but some things that are not. Bullying behavior. That's open to interpretation. It's a fuzzy line, there are things that are clearly over the line and some things that aren't.
Leo: You can point out as many have, is there is more white supremacist content on Reddit than there ever was on Storm Front or any of these White supremacist groups, but that's not illegal.
Rafe: Until it becomes threatening.
Leo: It's protected free speech.
Rafe: The Litmus test for Reddit or any other company is not whether it’s legal or not.
Leo: Free speech only applies to government. No one says that Reddit can't say right now we're going to arbitrarily kill anything we don't like. He can do that, but he does it at his peril. This is the problem Twitter and Facebook and everybody has. The content isn't created by Reddit, the content is created by us.
Rafe: Reddit is community content, but it's run by individuals at a company.
Leo: The moderators are not individuals at a company. They're the public as well.
Rafe: At some point, the people at Reddit have their fingers on the buttons. The question is, is that the right model for Reddit, or has Reddit outgrown the standard model of here, we're going to run a website and give moderation capabilities to these various people. Is it time for that model to change to where the business people or the people running the site and it becomes a different kind of public trust where people can vote up or vote down whether something should be banned.
Leo: That's the point that many Redditors make. A) You should be allowed to put stuff that we disagree with up on Reddit, and we will use the up and down vote to make sure that we respond. Isn't that the best way to do it?
Rafe: Is it a utopian fantasy that will actually work? It's easy enough for somebody to have a campaign and gain that system where really horrible stuff could be pushed through by a lot of up votes and the down votes wouldn't have a chance in hell.
Alex: What typically happens is people gaming the system to push the down votes. Push good content down. That's where trolls exist. At least from our experience, doing similar things that Reddit does, there's a big reason why there's no down arrow in Facebook and there's no down arrow in Google Plus. There's no down arrow because that's where things tend to be gamed. I think that as soon as you decide you want to turn it into a business, like the streets of San Francisco, you have to start cleaning up the streets before people are going to put businesses there. They had it as a free for all and they decided they wanted to make money with it. They might have to decide between the two, how much investment can be made. It's really tricky to do it in the middle. That's the hardest part of a social network. You've created a bunch of rules and now you're changing the rules in the middle. Are you going to gain enough people coming in because it's cleaned up to afford to lose what could be... they may have to decide we're going to get rid of 30, 40, 50 percent of our community so that we can excise that out, even people who weren't necessarily outrageous but don't believe in cutting off that speech. Are they willing to cut off 40, 50% of their community to gain possibly more? That remains to be seen.
Leo: Stop hedging your bets here. What should Reddit do?
Alex: I'd say clean it up.
Leo: Is Steve Huffman doing the right thing? Should he do more?
Alex: I don't think he's doing enough. You need to get rid of the white supremacists. We're done with that.
Christina: Raping women's account is gone, but C Town is allowed to stay. You can't draw the line that arbitrarily. If you're going to clean it up, clean it up. If you're not, don't. To me, you've either got to defend it all the way, or you've got to take real action to get rid of the filth.
Leo: So he's not gone far enough.
Christina: I don't think so.
Alex: The problem right now is he's straddling the fence. He either needs to let go and continue down that path, or they need to completely go, and they have to do it quickly so they can start making that. This whole back and forth leaves everybody upset for a long time.
Leo: I don't envy them. I know both Alexis and Steve have been on Triangulation, I have a lot of respect for both of them.
Christina: They're great guys. Obviously a lot of this stuff isn't their fault. Steve is coming back in after being away for years. Alexis was away for a long time and came back. I would criticize this and say when they started to see that this was becoming a problem during the violent achers period, when you had the creep shots and the jail bait and that era, that was when the people on Reddit, and I don't know if Steve and Alexis were still heavily involved in it or not, I don't think they were...
Leo: No, I don't think they were either.
Christina: They should have stepped in and said this is where it's starting to cross the line and we need to move the community away from this sort of thing. I think they didn't. Reddit became even more known for having the reputation where anything goes and it kind of celebrated that. It grew in large part because of that. The problem with that is obviously now it's gotten to the point where it's so big that they're not making money off it despite its bigness. They're trying to make money off it, and realizing, "Oh, actually this is a terrible place in a lot of respects. A lot of great things happy here, but a lot of terrible things happen here too."
Leo: Is it OK to use Reddit and ignore the bad stuff that's going on and say I'm only going to go to the sub-Reddits that are good? Is that OK?
Christina: It depends. I think you can, but...
Leo: Some have said you have a moral imperative not to use Reddit at all, because any use of Reddit supports C Town and these other things.
Christina: I don't know if I'd go that far. You can say the same thing about Use Net or any other kind of big network forum things. If someone wanted to boycott the whole thing because of some of the objectionable stuff, obviously that's their right. I don't think it means that just because you like certain sub-Reddits that have nothing to do with the other stuff, you have your own community ecosystem that you should somehow feel guilty because the parts of this kind of weird octopus of networks has nasty stuff in it. I think the bigger problem is because they didn't step in four years ago, a lot of the stuff that's happening now is happening. I almost feel like it's too late. I don't know what Steve can do. I don't think he's doing enough, but I don't know what more he can do other than starting with baby steps. I do fear for their sake, we've seen how quick communities can just disappear. Even humungous sites can die in nano seconds. I think that's probably going to happen to Reddit, because what once was is not going to be what it is again, and that doesn't mean what it could be couldn't be great, but they're kind of in this period of change and lots of things happening. The one advantage they have, the only reason I think people haven't jumped ship already the way that people did from Digg, is that Digg had Reddit to support the overflow of people. What is there to replace Reddit? There isn't anything. Until there's a replacement for Reddit, they're OK, but little by little, the people who keep the community running and keep things happening and keep the wheels turning, are going to disappear and that's a problem.
Rafe: What's so funny about this, is I'm not a super huge user of Reddit, but I read it. I get a lot of information on there, and all the horrible stuff that's on Reddit I never see. I'm not deep enough into it.
Leo: There's no way to see it unless you actively seek it out.
Rafe: If Reddit has to die because of hateful whatever it is crap that most people never see, that's a tragedy.
Alex: If we decide that 90% of the traffic isn't that, I don't think they have a lot to risk. I think they have a lot of really angry folks that are ten or 15% or more of the market, but people like us, I'm in the same boat. I see Reddit when I do a search for something and there's a discussion that pops up.
Leo: Is there a place for somewhere on the Internet where anything goes? I guess Use Net is that. There is no central commercial entity involved.
Rafe: The thing about Reddit that makes it such a lightning rod for this is that it's so easy to get this horrible stuff that is out there and available, it's just easier to look.
Leo: It started with the fappening. The mainstream got aware of this. You want those nude pictures? Oh you go to Reddit.
Christina: The thing is, because the front page of Reddit is driven not just by the things you follow, but also by other things from the community, often times you'll end up seeing stuff you didn't want to see. For instance, that's where the corrosive aspects of the community do tend to fall into other sub-Reddits. If you're a new Reddit user and you sign up, you're automatically subscribed to a few sub-Reddits. If our images has really gross content, or if some of these other popular news are causing big controversy, you can be made aware of the bigger stuff happening in the community by whether you want to or not. Many parts of Reddit are very nice, but part of the tenor of the conversation has been corrosive. I was talking with a guy I work with and he wanted to look back and see his first Reddit comment, so he logged into see something from 2010. The first correspondence to him was calling him a F** and saying something terrible to him. So he realized from the beginning, it was this terrible. I think there's a sense that you're allowed to act a certain way on Reddit, and it's acceptable in a lot of the communities, whereas it wouldn't be acceptable in a lot of online spaces.
Leo: There are Reddit alternatives out there. There's one called Voat. I think a lot of people are fleeing there. We want unlimited free speech.
Christina: That's where a lot of the fat people hate and the other terrible people have gone.
Leo: I'm torn. I don't think it's easy at all. I don't know. I can see both sides of the case, let's put it that way. We don't allow free speech in our chat room. Obviously. We have moderators and rules, and we are very clear about those rules. We've never said that the chatroom was a bastion of free speech.
Christina: That's the problem.
Leo: I understand that it's community driven and we want it to be community run. I don't run it. That's a compromise, I guess.
Rafe: You don't have 50 billion people in your chatroom.
Leo: If it's a small number, every website and Internet gathering spot is great. Then there's some number where it flips.
Alex: It's a mixture of things. It's one of the reasons Facebook adheres to your real name. When we had a fledgling social network that we were building, we required a photo that looked like you and your name.
Leo: I want to do that. You have to show a newspaper and a picture of yourself.
Alex: When you registered, ours was a paid social network. We knew who you were and you needed to use your name, and we have instructions on how to build your profile picture. So, it was amazing how that one simple action cleaned up all the conversation. Everyone knew who you were, and that takes a lot of the stuff out that bothers us. Of course, everyone reported everyone else. We created a culture that was like that's not going to be appropriate.
Leo: There's two points to be made. Really, free speech is good because it challenges your pre-conceived notions. If it's a terrible idea, if its racism, if it's hate, then you should know it exists and fight it with all your might. If it weren't for free speech you might not know... I think there's an argument that open and free is a good thing, but there's also the argument that anonymity s a good thing. We talked about this when I did the Nerdist. Chris Hardwick said if people had to identify themselves, there would be no problem. Most of the time, people won't say horrendous things, if you know who they are.. That's your position, Alex. But there's also a case where you need to be anonymous. There's reasons.
Rafe: Chris Poole has argued that from Fortune for a long time, and to good effect. Where you draw the line is the hard part. Like I said, everybody can agree on certain cases, but one of the things that's coming up in academia is this whole issue of things that offend or trigger people. The whole trigger warning issue. At some point, at a lot of points, people fundamentally disagree on what is fundamentally acceptable and what is not acceptable. Both people could be completely reasonable, well-meaning people who completely disagree on something that's either fine or unacceptable.
Leo: that's not right. That's not what we want. Right?
Rafe: It's not what WE want.
Alex: I think when you have a business and a community that you're trying to build with a certain flavor to it, I think that having a lot of control makes a lot of sense.
Leo: We're the example of that, we have early control.
Rafe: I think, I don't think the government should make it illegal. There are plenty of places.
Alex: I think Reddit needs to make a big business decision. They're not making a political decision about whether or not free speech should exist. They want to make a speech about whether they want that kind of free speech on their site where they’re retrying to sell ads next to it.
Leo: Is there a future for Reddit? Are they done?
Rafe: Why should they be done?
Leo: It's not a Digg thing.
Rafe: I think they've been around a lot longer. They have a lot more...
Leo: They haven't. They're the same age as Digg.
Christina: I think that there's not a replacement for everybody to just go to. Honestly. If there was already an intrinsic community where people could just go, it would be a lot easier to say that they're done. Because there's not, I don't think that they're done. That said, I think that they have a limited time period to work this stuff out.
Alex: I think it's public opinion. I think it's mostly feeling like... They can afford to lose half their traffic and still make money.
Rafe: We have to figure out what Reddit is. Is it a common carrier, is it a university, is it somebody's private party? Tell me what Reddit is. That discussion becomes easier.
Leo: I don't want to live in a world where there isn't somewhere where anybody can say anything. I think that's important. I know this sounds weird. I think there's a good argument to be made that... I don't think people should be allowed to encourage violence.
Rafe: You just undid what you just said.
Alex: I think the reason that we have freedom of speech...
Leo: The first amendment says as long as you don't incite to violence, then anything goes. That's the first amendment.
Rafe: It's really vague.
Leo: Of course there have been many Supreme Court cases defining it a little bit, but I don't think that's a bad standard. The reason I say that is that there's horrible things people can say, but they need to be able to say that.
Rafe: We need a Supreme Court Reddit.
Leo: I think it's valuable that it's said and it's exposed. Otherwise, it goes underground.
Alex: It builds up pressure, when people don't feel like they're heard and they don't feel like they can say anything, those are the people who oftentimes become violent, so it's good to have outlets for people to say it rather than do it. I think it is important. I think there should be places on the Internet that allow that. The question is whether Reddit is that place.
Leo: I should be clear. The first amendment is not as ambiguous. It says the government shall not abridge free speech, but subsequent court cases have limited it to say there are limits. You can't shout fire in a crowded theatre, things like that. I think that's a good conversation. I wanted to have this, even though it's a bit of old news. Maybe there's some timeliness to it. I'm sitting there watching this as I'm floating down the river and there's nothing else to do, and boy do I want to talk about this.
Rafe: Good week to be on a river.
Leo: Except for the 95-degree heat wave in Europe, yes. Let's take a break and come back. Google is challenging Apple for Beacons. It's kind of interesting. They've also hired some folks from Home Joy. We'll talk about what Home Joy is all about, but I'll let your imagination think about it for a little bit until we do. 60 billion dollars to the stock in one day on Friday. 60 billion, 65 billion dollars in stock worth.
Rafe: What’s the percentage raise on that?
Leo: 8%. Yeah.
Rafe: It gives you some perspective.
Leo: Gives you some idea. That’s amazing. I would like to talk about Windows. Microsoft. You know we’re just 11 days off. 10 days off from Windows 10. Satya Nadella giving Mary Jo Foley an excellent interview to talk about that. Taking a 7 billion plus dollar write-off on Windows Phone as well. Lots more to talk about. But meanwhile let’s take a break and see if I – I actually want to see this. What happened when I was gone this week on TWIT.
Megan: You go for it.
Narrator: Previously on TWIT. Windows Weekly.
Fr. Robert Ballecer, SJ: Mary Jo Foley got some sit down time with Satya.
Mary Jo Foley: What was very interesting about this interview, they said “You can talk to him about anything you want. You’ve got 30 minutes.”
Paul Thurrott: One thing that I thought was complete bull**** is the notion that he decided to make Windows 10 free to help Windows Phone is absurd.
Narrator: The New Screen Savers.
Megan: This is the makey-makey of things you use in everyday life to make a circuit.
Jay Silver: The purpose of it is to take any everyday object whether it’s a bobble-head, a banana, your grandma or a plant or a flower, and you can control any part of your computer using any software and to take no more than a minute even if you have no experience.
Narrator: Know How…
Fr. Robert: This is a great opportunity to do a little science. If we want to test whether or not this phone soak is going to be able to get rid of the bacteria on this phone…
Bryan Burnett: Oh, are you going to swab it?
Fr. Robert: We’re doing a bacterial test. I need to turn the heat down because it’s going to boil over.
Bryan: Good thing nothing ever goes wrong on this set.
Narrator: This is your brain. This is your brain on TWIT. Any questions?
Leo: They asked me if they could test the bacterial content on my keyboard. I said no. I don’t want to know (laughing). Just best left unknown. What’s coming up in the week ahead? Mike Elgan has this story.
Mike Elgan: Coming up this week IBM reports earnings tomorrow, July 20. Also tomorrow PayPal and eBay will officially become two separate companies. Then on Tuesday, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and Verizon will announce their earnings. Tuesday is also the day when Google+ Photos apps for Chrome will no longer work. Photos won’t be deleted but can be found in Google Photos. Qualcomm reports earnings on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday Xiaomi is expected to unveil a new steel smartphone. Huawei is probably going to announce their new Honor X smartphone on Wednesday as well. And then on Thursday Pandora and Amazon will have their earnings calls. And Best Buy is holding a sale on Friday and Saturday called Black Friday in July. That’s what coming up this week. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Did you guys buy anything on prime day on Wednesday?
Rafe: Missed it.
Leo: It was all crap.
Christina: Headphones. I got some headphones.
Leo: How much did you save?
Rafe: You didn’t get Beats, did you?
Christina: $80. No, I didn’t get Beats. I got some Bose headphones
Leo: No, that’s a lot.
Christina: They were $150 and I got them for $70.
Leo: Oh, ok.
Alex: I think that Wednesday was actually one of the few days ever that I didn’t buy something from Amazon.
Leo: (Laughing) It’s amateur day. You don’t want to be there when the amateurs are.
Alex: I don’t know what happened. I don’t know how I missed that.
Leo: You know, I don’t have – Mike didn’t mention, but it’s not this week. It’s a week coming up. And I’m wondering if you’re going to go, Christina. Motorola’s having an event in New York on July 28.
Christina: Oh, yea, no, if I don’t go then someone else from the team will.
Leo: I hope you go because I have always have had a soft spot in my heart and maybe my head for the Moto X. I loved the 1st generation. A little less on the 2nd generation. And I presume…
Christina: I don’t love the 2nd generation but I love Moto X. I loved the Moto G, I have to say. That was my favorite.
Leo: Yea. And I presume they’re going to announce something new along those lines, right? Maybe a new Moto X. The invitation did have—it looked like XOX. But actually if you look at it carefully it’s XGX.
Rafe: That looks like a 6 to me.
Christina: Oh, that’s cool.
Leo: So that implies that maybe there’s a new G or two new Xs. I don’t know. That’s what some say.
Rafe: It’s a really bad game of tic-tac-toe.
Leo: (Laughing) Ok, well, let us know Christina because I’m curious. Of course we’ve got rumors that there’s a new Galaxy S6 Plus Edge over, what is it? Something new. Motorola’s going to announce the OnePlus Two is coming out.
Christina: OnePlus Two.
Leo: And even a rumor that the Note 5, which normally Samsung announces in the fall at IFA, will be announced this month as well. So there will be a lot of stuff going on. Our show today brought to you… I should have said that all before the Gazelle ad actually. Get your quotes now because there’s new phones coming. Our show today brought to you by FreshBooks. Which is such a life saver for anybody who’s doing invoicing. Small businesses or freelancers. I was one of them. I discovered FreshBooks 10 years ago and it saved my life. Because I was never doing the invoices. I was putting it off. FreshBooks makes it easy not only to send an invoice, but you’ll get paid faster because it makes it easier for your clients to pay you using online payment services of their choice. And that’s really nice. You can use FreshBooks to create and send invoices. You can also use the FreshBooks app to catch and manage expenses. You can even take pictures of receipts. And time and hours couldn’t be easier. You use the app, keep track of it, assign it to a client. And all of that thing gets sucked up right into the invoice. At the end of every month you’ve got it done. It’s so nice. Easy to use. In fact they’ve done some research. Most FreshBooks users save around 16 hours a month in admin tasks. That’s like two full work days a month. And they get paid an average of 5 days faster. I think you’re going to like that. I can absolutely verify that. First, I was getting paid faster because I never invoiced. So even that as a start, invoicing every month made a huge difference for me. And if you ever need support there’s – FreshBooks support rock stars are ready by the phones. They will amaze you with their helpfulness. Really great people up there in Toronto. I am a fan. I used them for a long time. And your accountant will love it come tax time too. Easy to get started, free for 30 days. There’s no obligation. Go to FreshBooks.com/twit. Just do me one favor. When they ask you how’d you hear about us? Say TWIT. FreshBooks.com/twit. A 30 day free trial awaits. And you know, I think you’re going to tell me it makes a big difference. FreshBooks.com/twit. We’re talking about Apple. And they announced, it looks like a year ago on iBeacon, using Bluetooth LE. The idea was that your iPhone could announce its presence. You could be in a store and it could either trigger a display in a store or maybe you could get a coupon on the iPhone. This kind of light weight location system. I remember, Alex, when we started talking about it on MacBreak people were very bullish about this. Nothing has happened.
Alex: Well I think that it depends on the team, it depends on what they’re doing. But I think this is a good example of the difference between like iBooks and iBeacon and Apple Pay. Is Apple Pay, they’ve got it out into a lot of places very, very quickly. And it actually seems to have some traction whereas with these, that heavy control that Apple has may be slowing a lot of the development down. Without investing heavily you know, in rolling it out themselves. They expect everyone to just go run with it, but they didn’t, it’s too controlling for everyone to just go run with it. If they had put a lot of investment into that at the same time they might have been more successful. I do think that the Google approach to this may succeed much more quickly.
Leo: This is called Eddystone and it’s open. Which is great. So one problem with iBeacon and of course it only works on Apple devices.
Christina: It works on Android too. You can get different implementations.
Leo: Oh, you can?
Christina: Yea, you can. The problem with beacon technology, obviously Apple has the patent or they have the trademark on iBeacon but the beacons themselves do work on Android. The problem is that you know often times the Bluetooth stack frankly on Android has been bad for so long.
Christina: It’s not widely supported. But you will find retailers for instance who will put iBeacon compatible beacons that also work with Android you know, in their locations and what not.
Leo: Ok. So do you think Eddystone is significant or is it…?
Rafe: It is.
Christina: It is.
Rafe: It’s different from iBeacon. iBeacon sends out codes only that the receiving device has to know what to do with. Eddystone will also send out URLs or even now what they call frame types, different types of data. So it’s a way for a very small, low power device to broadcast in a very short range to other devices the location and a small bit of data to make technology really locational where it’s pretty important stuff.
Leo: Maybe one of the reasons iBeacon was DOA two years ago was because it collided with a sudden awareness of privacy issues.
Leo: That people suddenly, “I don’t want my phone telling a retailer I’m here. That’s exactly not what I want to have happen.”
Christina: Right. And that’s sort of the challenge. I mean I think that definitely that stuff is important. I think it’s the challenge they will face, the same one that iBeacon has, is how do you get lots and lots of people to buy these devices and implement them and implement the apps that support them. You know certain retailers have gone really, have been really bullish on beacons. And certainly you’ve seen implementations in ballparks and other places. But even if this technology is better and even if it’s really interesting, you’ve still got to convince people, especially the places that might have already invested in beacons, to buy these things and actually implement them and then build software for them. And I think that those are hurdles that are not easy to get over no matter how good your technology is.
Leo: My suspicion is that Eddystone is as DOA as iBeacon was. Not because of the technology not being as good or whatever, just because nobody wants that. Do we want… retailers might want it but I don’t think customer want it.
Rafe: Well when you go into an Apple Store right now, you see iBeacon. If you have an iPhone it says, “Welcome to the Apple Store. Reminder: You can use your phone to buy stuff.”
Leo: Oh great. Thank you, Apple. I don’t want that.
Rafe: If you’re going in to buy something, it’s not the end of the world.
Alex: I think there are a lot of pictures that I would love to see.
Christina: No, it’s kind of interesting.
Leo: How does it help me? I mean, I’m here. I’m in the store. Yes, I’m buying something.
Christina: It can show you where something is and I mean at the ballpark for instance, you can use it to kind of locate like this is where the concessions are. Or this is where the beer vendor is. Or there’s something else.
Leo: Ok, in a big spot it could be kind of useful.
Christina: You know, you can imagine it at a big shopping all, at a big complex, even a flea market. Like here in New York in Brooklyn we have this thing, the Brooklyn Flea. It would actually be kind of cool if they had beacons.
Leo: So what happens? Does it, can you query it? How do you… so I’m here. I got to the flea market. It says “Welcome to the Boston Flea Market.” Now what?
Christina: Right. I mean presumably you have an app installed. You can then open the app, you can get other information sent to you, here’s a coupon code.
Leo: Does it launch a nav thing? Does it say “Turn left at the shawls?”
Christina: I mean it could conceivably on implementation you might use that, but that’s kind of the problem. You’ve got to build all the stuff.
Leo: And no one’s doing all that.
Alex: And I think that is actually, the navigation is one of the places where it could go really, really well where there’s a lot of places that you get very limited once you get there. You know, so GPS can get you to the convention hall, but it can’t tell you what room to go into or how to get to that room. And I think that iBeacon has or all of these low energy Bluetooth have the opportunity to provide that. And not only can it tell us what booth, where to find our booths or build a path that we can follow to find these booths and tell us whether we are on the right track, but it can also help us find other people that we are trying to find. So I found, you know, there’s a lot of “Where are you?” in the Las Vegas Convention Center for instance. The North Hall or the Central Hall is a big world. That’s still an hour of wondering around trying to figure out which booth is 4465. You know, and so being able to tell everyone, “Meet me here,” and to be able to be on an app and do that, you’d find a lot of people using it. Families in malls or in Disneyland or in all these other things. Being able to precisely identify where they are, they can end up using it a lot beyond all the commercial things. I think that what retailers have to do and what people who are trying to commercialize it, look at that first. How do I get something that people want to use all the time? And then we’ll figure out how to make money with it. But you have to get them actually excited about opening the app and knowing where they are and getting something that has real value before we try to sell them something.
Rafe: One of the things to watch out for in all of these things is that beacon technology no matter who’s, is a way to get information from a device onto a phone automatically. Which means…
Leo: It’s a risk.
Rafe: There is a risk factor involved and it’s one of the things that we’re looking at right now. Because the Make hackers are… this is cool stuff.
Leo: They’re using beacons?
Rafe: Well, we’re looking at it. It’s really cool. You can do so many things with it.
Leo: Google’s also well positioned because they have Google Now. So Google Now can respond to a beacon and already it’s kind of set up. And I’m using Now and it just kind of makes sense to me if I’m going to get a card about this it might be of use. Or a coupon. I just feel like people don’t, they’re so sensitive now. To the risks.
Christina: Yea, I mean…
Alex: I don’t think the average person is (laughing).
Christina: I think it depends on the application.
Alex: I keep telling my dad he has to put a code on his phone.
Christina: I think it depends on the application.
Leo: What it does show though, very clearly, is the difference between Apple and Google. Google doesn’t make money off these kinds of technologies. So they can make it open source. It’s on GitHub, they can let anybody do it. I’m sure your Makers would be much more likely to implement Eddystone than iBeacon just because it’s open. But Apple needs to make money on its products. I mean that’s how Apple makes money.
Rafe: Apple makes enough money on its hardware.
Leo: Yea, but they do stuff that’s going to support the hardware to sell hardware in the long run. Google’s just going to do stuff that makes you use the internet more because then they can, you know, I don’t know what? Spy on... I don’t know what Google—what is Google’s business? I don’t know.
Leo: It used to be advertising. Is it?
Christina: Yea. And look at their earnings.
Leo: Yea, they’re doing all right. This Hacking Team story is interesting. I haven’t exactly been following the hacking team. Does anyone want to fill me in on what’s going on here? Hacking Team was a security firm that was apparently selling Zero-Day Exploits.
Leo: And then got hacked and Zero-Day Exploits got released. And man, there’s a flash exploit, there’s open SSL problems. Steve talked about it I know on Security Now a lot. Maybe we should just leave the discussion for the pros.
Rafe: Probably. Can I just say though that when I was covering products back at C-Net, the most uncomfortable conversations I ever had were the ones I had with the anti-virus guys when they came in to pitch to us. I’m like, “Aren’t you selling the viruses out the other side? The other door?” And probably they weren’t.
Leo: You didn’t accuse them of that, did you?
Rafe: No, of course not. I’d be… but I’m just naturally cynical.
Leo: Yea, but I don’t think they’re doing that. They don’t need to do that. There’s plenty of people making viruses. They don’t need to sell some more. Or do they?
Christina: Well, I mean, you know trying to convince, especially in the era when you’ve got stuff built in by Microsoft and Apple and all these other companies started to have built in anti-virus and anti-malware things, why shouldn’t Enterprise or why should a consumer still buy your product?
Leo: Good point.
Rafe: All the anti-virus guys are going to kill me now for saying that. But…
Leo: I don’t think… I like these guys now. Oh, by the way, they are pretty much out of business, right? I mean Microsoft is now building an anti-virus into Windows. Windows 10 will have it as well.
Rafe: Wait for the first great Mac virus.
Leo: But Apple’s done, I think, very good things, and less obvious things. They don’t build it in anti-virus. But they have some really smart technology that allows them to spot malware and to remove it without your knowledge. So I feel like Apple is probably being fairly proactive on that.
Rafe: Right. And they control their stores.
Leo: And they control it.
Christina: Right, and that’s the big thing. That by default the gate keeper thing is turned on so you can’t install software that isn’t signed. And most of the time it’s the unsigned stuff is where the Mac Viruses, the Mac Trojans come from. So if you downloaded, if you pirated something and it’s unsigned, you know, you’ve got to actually actively right clicking click open. Or you have to actively change your settings to run that file. If it’s been signed by a developer in theory of course, people can still kind of—there’s always a way around things. But you know, if something’s been signed by a developer then the likelihood of it having any sort of malware on it is very, very limited.
Leo: Flash. That was one of the bugs that the Hacking Team had. I thought for sure, and maybe I misread it when I was away, that Flash was over. Like…
Rafe: Have you been on any corporate intranets lately?
Leo: I know, it’s like…
Rafe: Flash lives in… the one place where you really don’t want Flash to survive in all these old intranet internal company sites that have been hacked together by the people years ago and they still run Flash.
Leo: But, well, to be honest if you’re watching this show on our website you’re probably watching it in Flash as well. And isn’t…
Alex: And those technologies aren’t there. You know the technology especially to replace…
Leo: Streaming video.
Alex: Streaming, streaming video on the web is not, and I’ve had some recent experiences with trying to use things other than Flash, and it’s a little frightening. You know so you do want that to go and that technology is moving down that path but it’s not there yet in some areas. And I think, but I do think people do need, as you know, has been suggested by some technologists, a dead date that we’re going to apply.
Leo: Facebook is saying, “Let’s dump Flash.” Facebook’s security chief says, “It’s time to say, you know, on this date, get rid of flash and that will be it.”
Christina: He’s right.
Leo: Alex Stamos tweeted, “It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day.” Firefox maybe jumped the gun because the latest version of Firefox blocks Flash, and…
Christina: Right, well that’s because of the Zero Days hole.
Leo: The Hacking Team hole.
Leo: And will presumably unblock it at some point.
Christina: They’ll unblock it as soon as, you know, Adobe gets the thing fixed. But yea, I mean… so Firefox has you know, a reputation. They have kind of a duty to their customers to not let something through that could potentially harm them. And if we know there is a big Zero Days Exploit that has been hacked by the hackers and is now all over the place, a million people could start to build tools to take advantage of that exploit. Yea, I think that maybe they’re more proactive than maybe they had to be. I don’t know. But I don’t blame them for taking the method and saying, “Yea, we’re not going to support this.” And so you patch your stuff because…
Alex: And the question is do we have to wait for Adobe to do this, or does Apple, Google, Firefox or Mozilla and Microsoft—
Leo: Well, that’s probably what’s going to happen right?
Alex: -- all just say hey we’re all going to do this on this day.
Leo: They’re not going to support it.
Leo: Because Adobe’s not going to say, “Oh, we’re going to kill it on this day.” Why would they do that?
Christina: No, no, I think they kind of would. Because I think in a perfect world Adobe’s ready to get rid of Flash. They’re trying to migrate people away from it. They’re trying to migrate people into other types of tools. They’ve shifted their business away from Flash. You know they went from being so anti even, bringing up even five years ago, I would bring up with Adobe, you know, why can’t you guys just embrace HTML5. I even talked to one guy at Adobe. He was like, “I’m with you. I agree. This sucks that I’m like the only person here who’s saying this.” And you know, five years later they don’t support it on mobile. I think they would like to move people into their HTML5 solutions. They would, they have a suite of streaming video solutions and servers that can run on different platforms that they would like to sell. They have different tools for software creators and web developers and technologists they would like to use and sell. They don’t want to continue supporting Uniflash and Director stuff forever.
Leo: Well, we’ll see what happens. You know it would be a problem for us because we don’t stream our own content. We use Ustream. Ustream has had non-Flash streaming. They also have Flash streaming. We also use BitGravity which is Flash only I think. We do pay for an HLS and an HTTP streamer because people who use iOS can’t obviously use Flash. The fact that you can use an iPhone and an iPad and never use Flash, and you can successfully navigate the modern world kind of indicates it’s almost time.
Rafe: Not necessary. Not for video anyway.
Leo: Yea, yea. But it would require our providers to adjust and I presume they would. It’s not up to us.
Alex: And they’re all working on it. I mean everyone knows that it’s coming eventually.
Leo: What’s the—is it W, I mean VP9? What is the replacement?
Alex: Well I mean there’s a lot of possibilities. Dash is one of the things that people are looking at.
Leo: Is Dash a Codec? What is Dash?
Alex: Dash is just another—
Christina: Well, Dash is the Codec.
Leo: Flash is a wrapper. Usually it’s around H.264 MP4. In HTML 5 there’s a video tag. [video]. And to my knowledge it still has not been defined what’s supposed to happen in a browser when it sees that tag.
Christina: Well there’s been conflict. I mean Mozilla primarily hasn’t wanted to support H.264 because of the patent encumbrance with it. So they would prefer to support .ogg and VP8 and webm. Webm obviously hasn’t taken off. I mean Google doesn’t even use it. But Mozilla has started at least start to move a little bit on H.264 especially on systems where it comes already part of the operating system. And even on their mobile stuff. So yea, the codec, that specification of the video tag is basically, it will play whatever video is there. And then it’s up to your browser or your hardware whether it can play back the codec or not. So it just has a video tag going to the file and then up to your system whether or not it can play the file. But it can simply play it in any format. The spec itself for video doesn’t care.
Leo: So Alex is Dash unencumbered? Or are there patent issue with Dash as well?
Alex: Dash is just the wrapper. So what you end up with is a situation where, kind of what was being discussed, is that you have – there’s a couple of different things that happen. So I get a video and then I stream that video out to a CDN. And that can be whatever format it is. I mean that can be H.264, it can be a lot of other things. But that’s sent to them. And then it has to be split up. So when you’re watching something online, that’s all being cut up into a whole bunch of little adaptive bit rates. So we’re going to give you 4 to 9 bit rates, and we’re going to decide, “Oh, you’re on a phone, this is what you’re going to get.” Now that, how that is being stacked up and managed in this kind of simplified version of this, how that’s all being stacked up depends on these different protocols. How Flash is doing it or Dash or HLS. And so how these things get done, it’s not necessarily changing how it’s being compressed, but it is changing how it’s being managed. And you have a player on the other side then making decisions on how it’s getting that data. But it does make a big difference on how it’s being requested. So for instance, there is a way that all these CDNs – basically what they’re doing is they’re peering. So I get, I have what’s called an Origin Server and I’m getting, I send that to that server and it sends it out to peers, and then they send it out to peers, and the send it out to peers. So out of the edge you’re not getting slammed. It’s just those locations that are getting them. It’s theoretically local to them. It’s not putting a lot of pressure on a single server. But how chatty those protocols are, you know, can very. So one of the things that we’ve found so far is that the protocol, you know, Dash is different than Flash, and it’s, the way it’s making requests based on things that are going on could put a lot more pressure on the server.
Leo: Does YouTube use Dash? What does YouTube do?
Alex: No, YouTube is still using… actually I don’t know. There’s been a lot of different things. They’re still using VP8 I believe is in part of it. There’s a variety of HTML5 protocol.
Leo: Because they don’t support Flash, right?
Christina: No, they do, but they switched. Yea, it still has the Flash fall back. But they did finally switch to HTML5 as the default. And I think that the primarily use H.264. They do have VP8 and webm but I think they primarily use H.264. But just because so many mobile devices use that instead. But they did, I can’t remember when it’s been within the last year, they made HTML5 the actual default. And then there was the Flash fall back so if you were on a really old system that doesn’t support it, there will be Flash supporting it.
Leo: Part of the reason this is confusing is because there’s wrappers which are things like Flash or MKV or QuickTime Movies. There’s codecs which are inside the wrappers and those two don’t necessarily indicate which you’re going to be. So it’s all very confusing. YouTube currently uses – I’m just looking here on their engineering blog – VP9 for the high def and the 4K video that they stream. This is the codec that I think that they want to become the default codec on the internet. They kind of admitted that VP8 is still encumbered. It is not a completely open technology. I think they hope that VP9 will be.
Alex: And VP9 is very impressive. The quality of VP9 is very, very impressive.
Leo: And like any good solution for the future it’s bandwidth adaptive. So if you have low bandwidth you can still get a stream and get something that’s ok, but if you have enough bandwidth you can get 4K as well. So Chrome uses VP9. Android devices support it. Some game consoles support it. And I would guess this is kind of the future, but boy, you just don’t know. This is an interesting image they have on the engineering blog where you compare – and I don’t know but those of you who are watching on H.264 might not notice it, but if you look at VP9, same stream, same bitrate, it’s a 600kb connection, there’s a huge difference in the clarity between H.264 which is really kind of blocky and artifacted than VP9.
Christina: And there’s also H.265 which, you know, is similar to VP9.
Leo: Is that HEVC? Is that HV… this is so confusing.
Christina: Yea, yea. I mean no, I mean the biggest problem I think honestly with a lot of the codec stuff is getting the hardware supports. So like even though Chrome and Android might support VP9, does it have hardware encoded, decoding support or transcoding support for it.
Leo: Nobody questions we’ve got to replace Flash. But you see why we haven’t. Al this…
Christina: It’s just a wrapper. I mean it’s just a really nice wrapper. I think that you could conceivably come up with a different kind of wrapper that would not have as many security holes. I mean you could even call it Flash. It would just be, you know, not be relying on all the stuff… you know, macromedia started 20 years ago.
Leo: But right now if you’re running a computer and you don’t have Chrome, you don’t have the VP9 codec. So that’s kind of the issue is you’ve got to get the codecs somehow.
Alex: And Flash got to a point where it was everywhere. And then the iPhone came and it’s not everywhere. But still on the desktop it’s everywhere. And so most of the time for instance when we’re streaming, the end product is going to be a Flash and in HLS. Those are the two that’s still the standard of how that gets done. And of course everyone wants to move on. They all know that. But almost everyone has Flash as a fall back.
Leo: Isn’t Microsoft the one that will ultimately going to decide this because they are the dominant operating system? And whatever comes with Windows is going to be what everybody uses, or is that not the case anymore?
Alex: I don’t think so. I think that if you look – it wasn’t Microsoft that killed Flash. It was Apple.
Rafe: Mobile is the dominant use case right now.
Christina: Mobile, it’s mobile. Mobile’s the dominant. Rafe is right. Mobile is the dominant now.
Leo: So Microsoft says that Windows 10 will come with MKV, that’s a wrapper, matryoshka, as well as all the others. And will support HEVC which is that H.265. But Microsoft doesn’t care about encumbered or unencumbered. They’re willing to use patented technology.
Christina: Oh, absolutely. They’re paying for it. They have no problem paying for it. The same with Apple. Apple will pay the licensing fee. And Google will pay for it too, just so they can include it in their browser. They might not include it in Chromium, but they’ll include it in Chrome. You know, Mozilla is the one that is kind of against it.
Leo: Wouldn’t it be funny if MPV became the default wrapper?
Christina: That would be really funny.
Leo: Ok, let’s take a break. I want to talk about Windows 10. I want to talk about Pluto. But first I want to talk about GoToMeeting. If you have to meet with clients and colleagues you know nowadays they’re not all in the same room. And no client, I’m going to tell you the truth, wants you to fly to them, take them to lunch, have a meeting. That’s a waste of a day. They love it when you say, “Hey, let’s have a meeting and let’s use GoToMeeting.” Why? Because GoToMeeting is as good as face to face, but it takes less time, less money, less hassle for them, less hassle for you. You can meet from any computer, any tablet, any smartphone. You set up a meeting almost instantly. It’s so easy to click, start a meeting, send out the invitations. They join the meeting very easily. They click the link. The software if they don’t have it downloads in seconds and suddenly not only are you sharing screens with them, but they can see you because they’ve got this great HD quality video. And everybody’s got a web cam now. So now you’re seeing the people you’re talking with. You’re presenting. You’re reviewing. You’re getting feedback in real time. It’s a life saver. If you’re in business and you’re not using GoToMeeting, do me a favor and try it free right now for 30 days. Visit GoToMeeting, G-O-T-O Meeting.com. Click the try it free button. If you do it right now you can literally have your first meeting up before the ad is done. It’s that fast, that simple, that easy. GoToMeeting.com 30 day trial free right now. GoToMeeting.com you’re going to love it. Windows 10 – are we excited? Are we thrilled? I got a call yesterday from a guy who said, “I am so sick of this annoying ad for Windows 10 that’s popping up on my taskbar. How do I get rid of that?” And you actually, it’s kind of a complicated thing. There’s a hotfix you have to uninstall. Microsoft’s put an ad on everybody who’s got a Windows 7 or Windows 8 machine saying, “Sign up for Windows 10 now.”
Leo: Yea. You haven’t seen it? You use a Mac.
Rafe: Yea but I actually run a VPN. Or not a VPN, a VM, a virtual machine --
Leo: Yea, I don’t know if it will pop up on a VM.
Rafe: -- on my iMac at home.
Leo: So and also a fascinating interview with Satya Nadella. You’ve got to read Mary Jo Foley’s story. But he talks a lot about the decision to give away Windows 10 and all of that.
Rafe: It’s about time.
Leo: Ok, I agree. As a user I love it. But isn’t that how Microsoft makes a living?
Rafe: Yea it’s a challenge because Microsoft’s business model is to sell software. Apple’s is more or less to sell hardware. Google’s is to sell advertising. So it puts Microsoft in kind of a difficult spot. But you kind of have to if you want people to upgrade. And you can’t sell an operating system for what they’ve been selling their operating system for in the past.
Christina: Yea that’s for sure.
Leo: No. Although we have always said that really Windows users never upgrade. They buy a new computer. So…
Christina: But that’s the problem is that who needs a new computer? If you bought a computer when Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 came out right, so that’s 3 years. That computer is still decent. You’re probably going to still be ok with it.
Leo: That’s why so many people are using XP.
Christina: Exactly. Because the technology hasn’t increased to the point where we’re needing to do it. We’ve kind of hit these plateaus. Replacing your phone every year? That’s one thing because that’s not your primary computer thing. It’s like what Rafe was saying earlier, like mobile is kind of the central, center of our universe. Our laptops and desktops not so much. So I think that if you bought something in the last three years, say you bought it a year and a half ago. You know you bought a computer that came with Windows 8 on it or maybe by that time it was Windows 8.1. You’re probably not going to need to buy another computer for another year and a half or two, three years. So it’s going to be relaly hard for Microsoft, unless they give it away for free for the year, to convince people to upgrade. And then if you don’t upgrade then you can’t get them into the more virtuous cycle of maybe paying for Office as a service and getting latest updates and all the other stuff. So they’ve got to do something.
Leo: I love watching, and I think they’ve got the right guy in charge. But I love watching Satya try to turn this giant tanker. And literally as they’re in – now I’m really mixing metaphors – as they’re in flight, change their entire business model from selling software to selling services. And it’s a challenge. And I have to say, when it was Steve Ballmer I didn’t think he was solving the problem. And I think, I do feel like Nadella has done things that he needed to do.
Alex: Nadella’s the right person to do it. The question is can it be done?
Leo: Can it be done?
Alex: And they’ve got plenty of revenue coming in. They’ve got a long time. It’s like they’re pulling and they’ve got a year to figure stuff out.
Leo: Well now is the time to fix it, isn’t it?
Rafe: This is a direction that Enterprise Technology companies go. From product or software ultimately into services. Digital, IBM. And it can be… my perspective? It’s the right thing for them to do.
Leo: IBM and Digital? The bastions of computing. We still talk about them all the time, right? It’s kind of sunset. It’s riding off into the sunset.
Rafe: That’s kind of my point. That is kind of sad, kind of sad to see Microsoft become a services company which is a big corporate play. I mean they’ve always been that way. And its…
Leo: You know you have to honor them…
Alex: Let’s put it in perspective though. IBM is still worth $170 billion dollars.
Leo: Yea, yea, yea. I know.
Alex: It’s not as exciting but it’s not like their business is ended.
Christina: When Windows 95 came out, you know, I was, I won’t age myself but I was really young. And you know there were like lines. Doors open at midnight. It was like a humongous event. Rolling Stone recorded it. There are not going to be lines for people to download or get excited about Windows 10. It’s not the same thing.
Leo: No, I think when Windows 7 came out we had a Windows 7 party. They set out balloons and we had cards. We did it on the air. We had a Windows 7 launch party. No one’s going to have a launch party for Windows 10. It’s just going to silently creep under your computer. One day you’ll wake up and it will be there.
Rafe: And thank goodness.
Leo: Absolutely. 8 was horrible.
Rafe: Microsoft really needs it because Christina was right. I mean people, if they have Windows 8, they’re going to be stuck with Windows 8 until they get a new computer and when it’s time to get a new computer and if they have Windows 8 they’re going to be unhappy.
Rafe: You know, probably. So they’re going to be looking at alternate platforms.
Leo: Ah, that’s the kicker.
Christina: Yea, they’ll just be like, “Let me just get a Mac. Let me just get a Chromebook.” My dad got a Chromebook.
Leo: Chromebooks are great.
Christina: Well it ended up not working well for him. It ended up dying or whatever. He ended up getting another laptop. I still can’t make him go Mac. My mom is smart. She went Mac. My dad not so much. But he, what drove him to the Chromebook the first time was Windows 8. So you know, we’ll see.
Leo: Yea. All right well, you have to honor Microsoft because the personal computer revolution would not have happened without a stable, reliable, predictable platform called Windows. And people could develop to it.
Rafe: And as Nadella said in his interview, which was kind of a dig and also very true, “Microsoft Windows by being open, by having IDB open or Windows being open, made Chrome possible which made Google possible.”
Leo: Yea, yea. Well and made the cloud possible. Made the future possible. And see you later, Microsoft, because the future doesn’t wait. Oh, hey thank you. It’s like when Ray Kurzweil said “Aw, you don’t have to worry about artificial intelligence and robots. They’ll think we’re their parents. They’ll honor us like parents.”
Rafe: That always works.
Alex: There’s a thousand places where Microsoft was ahead of everybody else. And then just didn’t do anything with it. I mean if you look at touch screens. They were playing with touch screens 15 years ago. If you look at Photosynth. You know they let go, they kind of let that team go and now they really wish, I’m sure they wish they had a really good VR development tool. Instead there are all these things that they noodled with and produced incredible results and then just went away.
Leo: There’s a long history of that though. Xerox PARC invented GUIs but never did it. That’s kind of a tradition. And I think that it speaks to technology in general. That in order to make these big leaps it takes fresh book, a fresh look. And that’s just how it’s going to be. And unfortunately the business cycle of technology has sped up. In 10 years you’re old. Drones. Good news and bad news.
Rafe: Are you talking about the fire story?
Leo: Yea. Here’s the bad news. Southern California fast moving wildfire destroying a dozen vehicles sending motorists scampering to safety. But the firefighting planes couldn’t get there for 26 minutes because there were drones.
Rafe: Obvious drones flying over lookey-louing.
Rafe: Where’s the good news here? So they had to turn their airplanes and helicopters with the flame retardant material that they were going to dump on burning cars away because they didn’t want it to run into a drone.
Leo: It’s worse. It was the 4th time it’s happened this week.
Christina: Oh my God.
Rafe: This is not good for drones.
Alex: I think what we’re going to see is, just in the same way that a lot of these drones now are shipping with altitude limiters and so on and so forth that are coming in. We’re just going to see the progression of this is where there’s going to be kill switches. And so these helicopters are going to have the ability to push a button and to any commercial drone, it will just tell it to drop.
Leo: They’ll fall out of the sky.
Alex: Yep. They’ll just knock them out of the sky.
Rafe: This is really necessary and really bad at the same time.
Leo: And not all drones will be equipped with them.
Christina: No they won’t.
Alex: No, the homemade ones won’t.
Rafe: Well, they will be. No actually because almost all homemade drones use commercial or off the shelf plane controllers and the software in those, the firmware in those can be programmed so it’s already that way. That certain flight controllers won’t go near airports or no fly zones, etc. And making one of those from scratch is really hard. But…
Leo: Yea. We’re glad to teach you on Know How with Fr. Robert Ballecer each and every week here on TWIT.
Rafe: What concerns me about this is not that a firefighting aircraft can knock a drone out of the sky which nobody would agree is a bad thing, but that someone else can knock a drone out of the sky when it’s looking at a human rights issue or a protest or legal police action. That’s the problem and that’s why drones, which are these incredible technology for disseminating information and seeing what’s happening and fighting oppression, can actually be disabled by the bad guys.
Leo: Maybe there’s some hope here because a crew member in one of the fighting planes, the firefighting places, saw the drones, reported it back. They shut down because they don’t want to fly. If a drone gets sucked into the jets or hits… even a little drone can bring a helicopter or a plane down. But ground crews tracked down the drone operators and shut them down. So within a half an hour they were able to get the drones down. Now whether that was a crucial half an hour in this wildfire?
Rafe: I don’t know how they managed to find them except looking for little guys doing this.
Leo: Well apparently it’s an area where there are a lot of hobbyists. I thought initially maybe it was paparazzi drones. You know how long before Channel 7 News in Los Angeles has its own drone? They got a helicopter.
Christina: I mean seriously. Oh no, they definitely want them. I mean it’s funny. There not supposed to have them for commercial purposes but yet the New York Times has had a number of videos that very clearly been shot by drones they paid for that have gone against the commercial draw usage thing to get fantastic video shots. So yea, I mean it’s only a matter of time.
Leo: That’s the bad news. But I told you there was some good news. They call it the Kitty Hawk Moment. The first time a drone made a delivery. And it was a very critical delivery. Medicine to a rural Virginia clinic. A clinic that often has to tell its patients, “We’re going to have your medicine in a week or so,” because it’s very distant. Takes a long time over winding roads to deliver. So the drone took the medicine for the final miles as the crow flies from the airport to the clinic. It’s the first official delivery via drone.
Alex: This is exciting in rural Pennsylvania or Appalachia. It’s more exciting in the emerging world in Africa and other places where getting this kind of delivery system working could really save a lot of lives. So it’s very interesting.
Rafe: We have a story on Make right now about a project some guys in Stanford are running, to use UAVs – fixed wing not rotor craft – unmanned to deliver humanitarian supplies to Syria.
Rafe: And it’s really interesting what they’re doing. The drones are taking different paths each time. They’re automated. And if they go below a certain altitude, if they’re forced down before they get to their destination, the electronics fry. So the bad guys can’t use them.
Rafe: Hopefully they’re not starting a grass fire.
Leo: Yea. So good news and bad news. Pluto. That’s nothing but good news.
Rafe: Let’s talk about it.
Alex: I was going to say, it’s a planet. Still a planet.
Leo: It’s a planet to me, baby.
Christina: It’s a planet to me too.
Leo: You’ve got to love it. Nine and a half years ago we launched a satellite. Sling-shotted around Juipter.
Christina: Love it.
Leo: Amazing. And it’s now sending back—what’s that sound? Is that me? Is that Pluto?
Rafe: That’s Alex.
Leo: I thought this was actually audio from Pluto. I’m sorry (laughing). I was getting excited. Hello. What’s interesting is we had a planetary scientist from the New Horizons Project on The New Screen Savers yesterday. What’s interesting is these already beautiful pictures are not the most hi-res pictures we’re going to see. In fact it’s only 1/50th of all the pictures that New Horizons took. But because it only has a 600 baud modem it’s going to take like months before all the data is sent back.
Rafe: I think they’re using Comcast.
Leo: No, it’s a long way to go and you can’t have a giant transmitter on there.
Rafe: They’ve got a nuclear generator on the thing.
Leo: Well, it’s a little nuclear generator. The thing, I didn’t realize this, but our guest, Kelsey Singer I think was her name, told us it’s about the size of a baby grand. You know, it’s about the size of this table. It’s not big. That’s not the generator, that’s the whole New Horizons. It’s not that big. It’s going on to the Kuiper Belt but they already have some amazing stuff and I just – you know what’s interesting to me? For a long time I think the thinking was, “Unless you do manned flights, space is not going to get the people’s attention. It’s not going to be exciting. That’s why we have to send people to the moon and Mars.” I think the last year has shown some amazing unmanned stuff that getting the comet, this New Horizons stuff. It’s just exciting as heck. I love it. And Pluto has a heart. It’s a frozen heart, but it’s got a heart.
Alex: I think you’d get a lot of excitement putting a rover, a remote rover on the moon. And bounce it around. And I think that it’s an order or magnitude less expensive and less dangerous to put, to do that than to put people on there.
Leo: Yea. More and more pictures will be coming. We haven’t seen the best pictures yet. So get excited. There’s more.
Alex: I think there’s a year of it, right? I mean like there’s a year.
Leo: It’s a long time. Yea, 9 months is a long time. There’s the heart.
Christina: We’re going to be seeing, we’re going to be so sick of Pluto. But no, we won’t be. This is just amazing. These images are fantastic.
Leo: This is just great. So exciting and it’s a celebration of…I’m just…
Christina: Did you see the photo of Allen Stern, the guy who like, this thing was his whole project. And the look on his face. He just had this look of utter jubilation.
Leo: His mouth was wide open.
Christina: It was so fantastic. It was so good.
Leo: (Laughing) he was seeing nine years later, pictures of Pluto!
Alex: And they got almost there and then it lost contact. There was that moment…
Christina: Right, and you know that they were like, “No, no, no!”
Alex: Oh man, you have got to be kidding me. And then four days before it does the thing, they lost communication.
Leo: Just the greatest news ever. And congratulations to the New Horizons Science Team and the John Hopkins University of Applied Physics Laboratory. Well done, well done. Hey, thanks guys, this was fun. This was a great way to come back. Thanks, we have a fabulous studio audience. They were as quiet as mice the whole time. But there are literally about, you know, 50 people here which is nice. It’s really nice to have you. Thank you, Christina Warren, for coming all the way out here via Skype. It’s always nice to see you at mashable.com.
Christina: It was a pleasure to see you.
Leo: And we’ll still see you, what is it, Fridays on TNT?
Christina: Every Friday, yea. I co-host TNT with Mike on Fridays, sure do.
Leo: That’s awesome. We’ll see you then. Thanks also to Alex Lindsay for joining us from Pittsburg. What are you got, what are you up to these days? I don’t see much of you.
Alex: Bouncing around.
Leo: You can’t tell us, can you?
Alex: Well, you know, we do a lot of streams. So I’m streaming. I was down at a golf course, well we’ve been to a couple of golf courses over the last week, and a lot of golfing going on. And streaming.
Leo: In Scotland?
Alex: We’ve got a team in Scotland.
Leo: No kidding?
Alex: I wasn’t there. We provide the ability to watch the open when you’re there. So we just do the streaming for it we don’t do all the hardware. But it’s a very technologically complicated thing because you want 30 thousand people to pick up their phone and actually not have skipping video. And so, the work part of the team.
Leo: This is the man. What do you use for that, H.264?
Alex: Yes. So yea, you know we do the easy part which is transcoding, encoding, transcoding, so on and so forth. The hard part is done by a company called Straight Up that has 260 access points that have to even out all of the flow and make sure that the app is getting, that you can actually get Wi-Fi. It’s a pretty interesting thing to do. As far as you can sit at the 18th hole and watch the rest of the event. Because, you know, if you get to the 18th hole you don’t want to give up your seat. But otherwise, just doing some streaming in Seattle. Doing some streaming in D.C.
Leo: Well next time you’re out here come join us on MacBreak Weekly. We’d love to see you.
Leo: Skype’s great too. We like that. Especially your Skype. Is it 8K? What are you doing there?
Leo: It’s like he’s sitting here.
Alex: It’s a nice camera but outside of that just some lights and some… I do have the TX Box which I think…
Leo: You do? You’re using Skype TX?
Leo: Oh, nice.
Alex: I definitely...
Leo: Maybe that’s the secret.
Rafe: There’s a secret box?
Leo: Yea, Skype bought a company called was it Cat and Mouse?
Alex: Cat and Mouse, yea.
Leo: That made a special hardware, a special PC that would run Skype.
Alex: It was a big PC. It wasn’t like a little…
Leo: It was expensive. I remember that. It was like ten grand or something. And then Skype bought Cat and Mouse. And I think they call it Skype TX. And I guess that New Tech which makes our tri-cast or our switcher is making a dedicated box. Is that what you’re using for the Skype TX?
Alex: I use the New Tech one, yea. And it really makes Skype a lot of fun. So it’s very, very easy to work with and I think a lot of the complaints that I had, of course your desktop version of Skype doesn’t really handle maximal connections anymore.
Leo: Is it the same codec? It’s kind of the same Skype but it gives you more controls on it and stuff like that.
Alex: Yea, it’s just very simple to get SDI, you know HDSDI, which is very, very difficult. And for some of the studios that we’ve built we’re now adding them like little, like they get one and then they go, “We want two guests. Now we want four guests.”
Leo: Yea, we’re going to get four. But they’re expensive. They’re like5 or 6 grand, I can’t remember. 4 thousand a pop.
Alex: Four thousand a pop.
Leo: 23 thousand. Big deal.
Alex: You’re using it all the time. You use it every day. If anyone should get a dedicated box…
Leo: No, we’re going to. Actually we talked to New Tech and we’re going to. Absolutely we’re getting them. Yea.
Alex: Yea they’re great. So anyway that’s that.
Leo: Nice. Thanks also to Rafe Needleman. Congratulations on the new gig as Editor-in-Chief of Maker Media. That’s exciting. Anything coming up you want to share with us?
Rafe: Well first of all people should know about the website Makezine. That’s M-A-K-E-Z-I-N-E.com.
Leo: Love it.
Rafe: That’s where everything happens every day. The issue that is coming out, that is just beginning to come out right now is awesome. A former co-worker of mine from C-Net, Donald Bell, has the cover story. We made a BB8 with the floating heads.
Leo: Love it! Do you use a Sphero or did you use something else?
Rafe: We’ve actually run I think so far 5 BB8 projects. From everything from the Sphero based hack with the floating head to cupcakes. And a bunch of other stuff.
Leo: Well we’re all truly excited about the new Star Wars but the BB8 Robot is really the thing that gets me…
Rafe: And then we’re working, we’re finishing up right now and sending it out soon, the Space Issue. That’s the one that comes out after the BB8 issue.
Rafe: Yea, it’s really…
Leo: Can you make your own Pluto?
Rafe: Maybe. For you, anything.
Leo: I’d like a Pluto.
Christina: Yes. So cool!
Leo: And I want Charon as well. Or Charon. Because if I say Charon people are going to think I want somebody named Karen. I want the moon of Pluto.
Leo: Charon, yea. All right everybody, I thank you so much for being here. Nice to kind of get back in the seat. You know it’s just like riding a bicycle. I feel like I’m going to fall off. We want to thank everyone for being here. If you want to be in the studio it’s easy. Tickets@TWIT.tv. We love having you. You can of course watch us do the show live in the comfort of your own home. Just go to twit.tv/live around 3:00 P.M. Pacific, 6:00 P.M. Eastern time, 2200 UTC. We’ll be here. And you can join the chatroom. Be part of the live action packed version. Of course on-demand versions with all the BS edited out are available for download shortly after the show. Takes a few hours to do that at TWIT.tv. Also wherever you get your shows. And those great apps, there’s lots of them. We didn’t write any of them but there’s some wonderful apps available on all platforms. Make sure you find one. Roku, Windows Phone even and download it and use it. Thanks for being here. We’ll see you next time! Another TWIT is in the can. Thank you.