This Week in Tech 520
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech! Alex Wilhelm joins us for the first time from Tech Crunch, Georgia Dow is here, along with Tim Stevens from C Net. We're going to talk about the 30th anniversary of the Amiga computer, why it's now legal to listen in on a butt dial, and how to kill a jeep on a highway. It's all coming up next, on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 520, recorded Sunday, July 26, 2015.
Dumb for a Jellyfish
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It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news in awesome, obsessive detail. Alex Wilhelm is here.
Alex Wilhelm: I am indeed.
Leo: Drinking tang and tequila.
Alex: Fanta and tequila.
Leo: Tang and tequila would be more alliterative.
Alex: Unfortunately, your office didn't have tang. I'm scraping the bottom of the TWiT barrel, if you will. Again, I wanted a Jameson on the Rocks, but unfortunately, your bar has failed me, so I shall fail you instead.
Leo: Don't fail us. Alex is at Tech Crunch and he bought his Twitter handle in 1989 from a Mexican fellow.
Alex: That's when I was born, actually. Well done.
Leo: Oh. Your Mom did. She said, someday there will be a social network called Twitter.
Alex: More of a proto Twitter in that time, way back in the stone ages of technology.
Leo: You were born in 1989? That makes you 26 years old.
Alex: As of two days ago.
Leo: You're just a child. Speaking of children, Tim Stevens is here. Great to have you here. He is editor at large at C Net, focusing a lot on cars. He will have a little to talk about today.
Tim Stevens: Are you saying I have a lot of children?
Leo: You don't have children, do you?
Tim: I have no children. You made me a little nervous there.
Alex: The beard says no kids. Indicator of no kids.
Leo: I thought beards were dad things.
Tim: Just no shaving.
Leo: And Georgia Dow from iMore.com. Great to have you, Georgia. Nice to see you. Last time I saw you, it was WWDC, the Apple Music announcement.
Georgia Dow: Yes it was.
Leo: Was it WWDC? Really? How has Apple Music been to you, because it's only been out now for a month.
Georgia: I'm enjoying it. I find that it's a lot of fun. I find a lot of different tracks that I wouldn't find naturally. It feeds my naturally lazy nature. I can just listen to music as I need to.
Leo: You can just push play.
Georgia: Yeah, or I just ask Siri to play something for me and it finds any song in existence that I would want to listen to, so that's great.
Leo: Apple folks seem to say Siri is the kind of magic sauce for Apple music, because that's one thing that nothing else can do.
Alex: If only it worked, though. We've all had iPhones for a long time, Siri has been on them for a long time, and the experience hasn't gotten much better on an incremental basis over the last 2 or 3 years now. So when people say it's a selling point, I'm like, "Eh. pass."
Leo: What do you say to Siri, Georgia?
Georgia: I just say, "Play Smooth Criminal from Glee."
Leo: Oh my god, that's so wrong!
Alex: From Glee?!? Can we cut off her Skype screen? This is not going to work out.
Leo: I was with you until you said, "Glee!"
Georgia: It was Renee!
Leo: You're a smooth criminal, I'm sneaking in your house late at night.
Georgia: Or it was Billy Jean or something. But he showed it from all the different songs that he could find just by asking, so even if you're listening to it from one of your favorite shows, it'll be able to figure it out, which is really neat.
Leo: Surely it has Michael Jackson doing Smooth Criminal.
Georgia: Yes, if you ask for it, it will find it.
Leo: That's the problem with a lot of music services. If you say I want to hear the Beatles Nowhere Man, it'll go nowhere man.
Alex: Georgia, does it have Tool? Is Tool on the service?
Georgia: I don't know.
Leo: What is Tool?
Alex: Tool... what's Tool?
Leo: That's what they make wedding gowns out of. It's pink...
Alex: That's something else. Tool is a metal band. They're not on Spotify, which is my main beef with Spotify today because there's no Tool on there.
Leo: Georgia, could you ask Siri?
Georgia: I will. Siri, can you play Tool?
Siri: Here's what I found on the web:
Alex: And that's why Siri is bull crap!
Georgia: What song is it? There's so many ways that it could understand what Tool means. Do you know one of their songs, or the band...
Alex: If Siri can't figure out what Tool means in a musical context, then I quit. They're one of the biggest bands...
Leo: But it's not in a musical context. Siri is in every context...
Alex: Then it's bad. If it can't do what you want. "Play" implies music. Tool is one of the biggest bands in the world.
Leo: Say this. "Siri, can you play Tool Prison Sex and Sober."
Georgia: Siri, can you play Tool Prison Sex and Sober."
Leo: I just wanted to hear her say that.
Georgia: It could not find that.
Leo: It's not unusual if Spotify doesn't have it then Apple Music wouldn't have it.
Alex: I agree with that entirely.
Leo: It's probably Tool saying you can't have it.
Alex: Certainly. But I think people say Apple music is better in some way, it has more. Apparently it doesn't. The one thing I can't find on Spotify is that, and if they don't have it, why am I going to move my playlists over and give over money? No.
Tim: There is voice search on Spotify as well, especially if you're using something like Android auto. You can say, pull me something by so in so and it'll play it.
Leo: I said in the past that you couldn't upload your music collection to Spotify, but somebody has corrected me on that as well. Right? You can.
Tim: I've never tried that, to be honest with you.
Leo: I thought you couldn't. That was one real differentiator. Google All Access and iTunes Music will include your existing record collection along with their 30 million songs, so if you had Tool ripped, you'd have it in there.
Alex: I feel like we were sold a premise of streaming music is the future, don't worry about your files, just have the application and you're good to go. Given that it's a 95.4 percent solution, I'm not going to go to the record store and buy a bunch of Tool albums, rip them, and put them online, because that's the one band I don't have. I feel like they should just solve that problem and get..
Leo: I think you have to blame Tool for that.
Alex: Tool are a bunch of tools.
Leo: Jim Dalrympleof...
Georgia: Now you're never going to get it.
Leo: Jim Dalrympleof Insight wrote a thing screaming at Apple Music. Jim is an Apple guy. He loves Macintosh, he loves Apple, but he said that's it. I'm not using Apple Music anymore. It lost 2400 of my songs. Mostly Ozzy Osbourne or Black Sabbath.
Alex: I thought it was 774 songs.
Leo: It was a lot. Anyway, the update on the Loop is that Apple, but see you're going to get special help if you're Jim Dalrymple. Apple worked with him and they got all but a few hundred back. In any event, it doesn't sound like a good experience. Jim will join us Tuesday and we'll find out.
Tim: He's an Apple lover, but obviously he's more of a music lover than an Apple lover. He's also a beer lover. I wonder if there were ever an Apple beer service that lost some of his beers where that would rank in there. But certainly, music seems to rank higher than Apple in his priorities.
Leo: Rightly so. Happy 30th anniversary to this. Do you know what this is kids? This is what Mom and Dad used to play with late at night after you were asleep. It's an Amiga. 30 years ago on Friday the Amiga came out. Let me play you the promo video from 1987.
AMIGA PROMO VIDEO: You're about to step into a brave new world of power performance and productivity made possible by the new 500 home computer.
Leo: Look at that. Wow, stand back.
AMIGA PROMO VIDEO: I am the commodore Amiga. I am the ultimate home computer. Easy to use, with powers and abilities far beyond anything you may have ever experienced before. I have dazzling graphics and animation, a home office productivity wonder. I have extraordinary home video production and special effects. A versatile composer of thought as well as music. I have arcade quality games and stereo, a Teacher effect, and a teller of tales. I am 512 thousand bytes of pure power.
Alex: Oh man, super man! Take that shirt off!
AMIGA PROMO VIDEO: ...A built in 3.5 disc drive and a floating keyboard. Versatile easy to use menus and pull down windows make me adaptable to virtually every goal and aspect of your life. At the touch of a button, at the click of a mouse, I am yours to command and control at a price you can afford.
Alex: This is a long ad.
Leo: It's 9 minutes and 32 seconds. I don't think we're going to watch the whole thing.
Alex: Can we not talk about it? I don't think we're going to be here the whole time.
Leo: I am the commodore Amiga. There was an event at the computer history museum on Friday celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Amiga. We're laughing at it, but we've come a long way in 30 years, but this was a break through when it came out, the graphics particularly.
Alex: I love how the ad structure to this is like Sci-Fi smoke machine, 80's rock band kind of event. Now it's like Apple ads: Apple, it helps you find your car.
Leo: They're so cool, so hip. This is the opposite of cool. This is hot.
Alex: I'll let that joke slide.
Leo: Look! That's great. Look at the mouse. Wow. He mustn't be a father; he's got a beard.
Alex: That's my entire point.
Leo: He is dating, who is that? Oh the girl with the pearl earring. Anyway. Happy anniversary, Amiga. We'll stop that now. That's on YouTube if you want to watch the entire thing.
Alex: It will be in the show notes.
Leo: Apple Music said Jim Dalrymple is a nightmare, and I'm done with it. Dave Mark, who is also on Loop insight responded "Why I'm not done with Apple music, Jim Dalrymple."
Tim: He said all the same things, yet he's optimistic for the future. It wasn't much of a rebuttal in my opinion. It was, "Yeah, I have the same issues, but I'm more optimistic than you."
Leo: What do you think, Tim? It seems like the issues that Jim had came down to the fact that Apple didn't distinguish between songs that were on different albums. Same song, different album. A compilation album, best of, and the original. It seems to me that's a minor complaint. That's something most people wouldn't care about.
Tim: It definitely seems like catalogue issues for the most part. A long time ago, I helped with this job that was trying to do some streaming music stuff, and that was a huge issue, getting people to go through these massive catalogues of music to make sure that everything is linked up as it should be. That makes me wonder if indeed Apple Music didn't come together in the last minute like there was a lot of rumors that maybe it did. That's definitely a bad sign of good integrity issues and that kind of thing within if you're losing music. As you mentioned, Jim is obviously getting some special treatment here. I wonder if anybody on the street had lost 4700 tracks, if they had the same issue. These are the sorts of issues that will go away, but when you're coming out of the gate and trying to take over Spotify that's been in the market for years now and has been in a pretty good state, these things have got to be perfect, and it's pretty clear that this isn't perfect yet.
Leo: I actually had to rely on Serenity Caldwell to explain to me some of the ins and outs of Apple Music. She's written a whole bunch of stuff on the Beats One radio. It's not completely intuitive.
Georgia: No. I think that it's a really big problem in trying to figure out what does everything mean and what do you actually have and what shouldn't you delete versus what should you keep so you always have a hard file and you don't have to worry about losing a whole bunch of songs that you're really attached to. I do the same thing. I just ask Serenity. Serenity, what can I do? What do I have to do?
Leo: Some of these problems go back to the fact that we're in between the physical media era and the streaming media era. You're obviously a child, Alex.
Alex: Indeed. I'm a teen, actually.
Leo: Practically a teenager. Do you still have any attachment to physical media or can we just let that go?
Alex: In terms of news, yes. I love reading the paper.
Leo: You like a paper.
Alex: Absolutely, because I read more broadly. It demands that I branch out.
Leo: I agree. You can skim, there's serendipity. You surprise yourself.
Alex: Also I'm usually bored and drunk in an airplane so it works out. But for music, I've left behind the idea of owning music. I just rent it and pay for it now. People forget the Zoon software that was fantastic back when it was live. I used to love to own songs, store them, and back them up, now with Spotify, I see no actual reason to do that. Talk about buying Tool albums, I don't think in that direction anymore.
Leo: That's why it's upsetting, because they don't have it.
Alex: Right. I would pay too. If they were like, "Alex, Spotify plus tool is 25 bucks a month." Done.
Leo: What about sound quality. Apple has not addressed this. Title and Dieser both started off doing CD quality sound. Apple hasn't even mentioned anything like that.
Alex: You know those headphones that sell through the iPhone that have like 10 things, I don't think they care. Beats headphones are notoriously bad for sound quality. I don't think it's a priority for them, but I think Spotify, if they can increase their content library is their main play for the future, at least for me.
Leo: Ironically, you mentioned Zoon. I was looking at the catalogues of all the major streaming music players, X Box Music has the largest out of all of them.
Alex: Now called Groove, I believe.
Leo: They renamed it?
Alex: They re-named it. I'm sorry.
Leo: It was Zoon music, then it was X Box Music, now it's Groove.
Alex: Next it will be Trash bin number 4. It's called Groove Music now.
Leo: Groove Music Now.
Alex: They bought the software from Old Guy.
Leo: Microsoft Office recycles and rebrands. The app was ignored by people who didn't have an X Box.
Alex: It's a very good point. That brand doesn't exist outside the console realm, I don't think.
Leo: Did you read the article, the post from the creator of Seek Pod? Apple, he says, targeted me and got the music labels to shut him down. You may remember back in 2007, Seek Pod was a search engine for music. I guess part of the issue was much of that music was illegal, although that wasn't a necessity.
Alex: It's the Groove Shark problem.
Leo: Exactly. In fact Apple went after Groove Shark as well. He says I have the smoking gun. I was told by Warner Music that Steve Jobs had a meeting with them and said streaming services like Seek Pod are going to be a problem if we're going to make a deal with you, so this is a problem company that needs to be "addressed" by Warner.
Alex: It would be a shame if something happened to your music service. People forget that Apple doesn't make a lot of money by accident. They don't win categories like iTunes for ten years by playing nice.
Leo: They play hard.
Alex: They make great products. I'm an Apple guy mostly, but they don't win by mistake. In this case, it's a beautifully written story; it lays out the case of how the history of how Seek club was wrecked by legal fees and so forth, how they couldn't survive. They were sued for 40 billion dollars at some point in time, which was a ludicrous quantity.
Leo: They wanted damages for every song, every search.
Alex: 120 K per search, which makes no mathematical sense. It's almost like lawyers are not nice. But they eventually failed and so we saw innovation in a way snuffed out by incumbent interests, which is too bad. Although iTunes was revolutionary in its time, it certainly shows how they protect that franchise with the heavy weight of 40 billion dollar lawsuits.
Leo: I've had conversations with Rob Reid who was at Rhapsody; I've had conversations with many companies who have found themselves in the music industry's sites. It's not pretty. What Casey Frank says in his article here on Medium is that he realized he wasn't fighting the record labels. He was fighting Apple computers that was using the record labels as a proxy to attack him. That's when he realized it was over.
Alex: It's a brand name point. Apple sues small start up to... Apple has to protect its... they have the labels by the knees so they have to do what they want. Apple really has a standing army of your lawyers and his lawyers and her lawyers to do their work, which is impressive, but they have 200 billion dollars in cash, so whatever.
Leo: Is Apple Music still under investigation for their practices? I remember they were before I left on the trip. That's what happens. 3 weeks are gone and it's like Rip Van Winkle. I have no idea what happened. There was a story that they were being investigated. If Al Franken for instance wrote a letter.
Alex: He asked for it. Georgia, do we know what's going on with this?
Georgia: I'm not sure. I don't believe that it's going forward, but I'm not sure about that.
Leo: FTC is investigating Apple's practices in the 30 percent cut that Apple takes out of streaming music subscriptions which forces competitors like Spotify and Pandora to either charge higher rates or lose an amount of revenue equivalent. In other words, the record labels say we're getting 70% from Apple, what about you, Spotify? Franken is actually piling on. He's written a letter to the FTC and the department of justice saying Apple is anti-competitive. There is an investigation here.
Alex: He does this every single week. Franken is infamous for the amount of press releases he puts out demanding things. It's part of his PR strategy, so I'm never sure if I should take it seriously or disregard it entirely.
Leo: You have to wonder when you get a letter from a senator how... do they take it seriously?
Alex: Come over for lunch on Tuesday, we'll talk about it.
Leo: Yeah, right? We're going to take a break. At iMore, you guys had a round table discussing the Apple watch 3 months in. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Georgia Dow is here from iMore.com. Also with us, Alex Wilhelm from Tech Crunch, Tim Stevens from C Net, the Week's Tech news on the table. Our show to you today brought to you by Zip Recruiter. If you're in business and you are the person responsible for hiring, you know that can be an honus, a challenge. One of the nice things about the Internet though is that it makes it a little bit easier thanks to all these job boards, but which board is the right board for you to approach? Where is your next employee coming from? With Zip Recruiter you'll post to 100+ job boards with a single click of the mouse, including social networks like Twitter and Facebook. I like that, and if you're saying, "Well, I'm not sure that's such a great thing, I don't want to have a million candidates, a lot of e-mails and phone calls" don't worry. All of your candidates go right into the Zip Recruiter interface where it's easy to screen, rate, and hire the right candidate fast. You'll also get access to 4 million current resumes, people who have sent their resumes to Zip Recruiter. That means you're going to find somebody fast and the right person fast. Isn't that, after all, the most important thing? Hiring is tough. You want to do it right. Hire the best people. It turns out summertime is a pretty good time. You would think a bad time, but no, because your competitors are on vacation. Those quality candidates who are applying for work right now, there's not so much competition for them. This is a great time to take advantage of Zip Recruiter. We got an e-mail from Rick, he's a happy Zip Recruiter client. He said, "I had a great experience using Zip Recruiter. It was so fast and easy to input all my information and have it sent out on the web. I had replies from highly qualified individuals within 24 hours. I highly recommend this service to anyone who wants to expand their business. Over 400,000 businesses including TWiT have used Zip Recruiter. You can try it for free, right now. ziprecruiter.com/twit. Ziprecruiter.com/twit. Post to 100+ job boards with a single click of the mouse. Alex, you're not wearing the Apple watch, how can you be part of the group if you're not wearing the Apple watch?
Alex: I'm the cool one actually.
Leo: Oh, OK. Tim, are you wearing an Apple watch?
Tim: I'm wearing no watch at the moment. I wear a Pebble Time at the moment.
Leo: Oh. Do you like the Time?
Tim: It's OK.
Leo: I went back to the Android. I wore the Apple watch on vacation, but I'm wearing the LG urbane. But Georgia, I know you're wearing an Apple watch.
Georgia: I am. I'm wearing my Apple Watch.
Leo: Wait a minute, that's styling. What are you doing with that?
Georgia: That's a Swarovski bracelet. It gives it a little bit of bling. For femininity, it's lacking a little bit there.
Leo: That's pretty cool. Now you're an athlete. Is it because of... so is Serenity of course. I guess Renee is an athlete too. You guys are all in great shape. That's some of the advantage. Peter Cohen is definitely not an athlete.
Georgia: He actually trains a lot and he's been watching his weight and using it a lot for keeping his fitness tracking. Out of all of us, he utilizes all the fitness apps the most. He enjoys that it reminds him when he needs to take something, when he needs to do something and keeps him on track. I find for me, because I do contact sports where I'm versus another person, I can't wear my watch during that period of time because I could injure them with it. I can injure them with my body, that's allowed, but I can't injure them with my watch--not allowed.
Alex: How many hours a day do you wear the Apple Watch? What's the average day for you? 8, 10, 12 hours? What's the usual mix, if you will?
Georgia: If I'm at work, I use it constantly. If I'm out of the house I use it all the time. If I'm at home, I usually don't have it on. At home, I don't want to be bothered or notified or deal with anything. I want to shut it off. I usually leave my watch to charge. Rarely do I use it in my home.
Leo: Charging is one of the issues. I've not had any problems with it. I can easily get through the day with a lot of juice left. But Lisa, who exercises with the watch on claim that their having trouble keeping a full day's charge. Have you seen that?
Georgia: Right. It's going to be using the heart rate monitor, so it's more active when you're training, plus it's smaller. The 38 is smaller. Because of that, the battery life isn't going to last as long. I usually have it so it has an extra 30, 40% by the end of the day.
Leo: Peter Cohen says he likes the activity monitor. He likes being forced to stand up. You and Rich and a number of them say that's the worst part.
Georgia: That's the first thing I turned off. It just mocked me. No. It's not happening. I turned that off right away.
Leo: The stand-up thing seems like an afterthought that wasn’t well thought out. It always happens at ten to the hour. I just told Lisa to wave her arm around and then you get a little ding after a minute and you're happy. You don't need to stand up. It also doesn't seem to be paying attention if I'm working out. It still says stand up.
Georgia: It doesn't count towards your standing up if you're working out. You have to stand up again.
Alex: It's an elaborate troll against tech bloggers, because we're always sitting down, so I feel like it was designed to annoy us.
Leo: I don't think you're far off, Alex. I think it's Apple subtly saying, "You're a sedentary bunch. The best thing we can do in a watch is to get you to stand up for one minute an hour."
Alex: I was not born for exercise, sir. That was not my god made me.
Georgia: That's why you need to have the Apple watch to help mock you into getting up every once in a while, or at least reminding you so you'd have the choice to do it. I think the one thing I would really like to have change is that I would like to have the option to have the low power, the watch fails as a watch for me. That's the problem with my Apple Watch is that if I'm in session or in a meeting with someone, I cannot... it's hard to flick my wrist or tap my watch without someone noticing that I'm checking the time. It doesn't do a good job. Even if I'm wearing my watch, I have to have my little tiny watch on the desk during my session so I can also keep track of the time. I would love if it could have I'll be good with the watch; I don't care if I have to re-charge halfway through the day, let it be a watch and always have the time on for me.
Alex: Is it as bad as phone etiquette? I feel like now I'm out to dinner with my partner and we put our phones down on a little stack to keep them out of the way. Does the watch keep you more...
Leo: You're one of those people.
Alex: You do it politely...
Leo: I've seen people do that. There's a little stack of phones on the table.
Alex: The whole point is we're trying to not tweet, text, or so forth during dinner. We're trying to be with the group. Does the phone allow you to be plugged in when you're trying to be more available in a social setting?
Georgia: I think that it's a great cheat. You can very casually lift up your wrist and take a peek and no one is going to notice and so I think that it's a great way you can stay connected. It's not something that's going to be interfering. The problem with the phone is that they're huge so my iPhone 6 plus, you can't see me at all if I'm going to take a look at it. There's no discreet way to get that out of my pocket or out of my purse.
Leo: Either you're very small, or that phone is actually abnormally large.
Alex: It's both, actually.
Leo: That phone is huge! It's bigger than your head!
Alex: Put it closer to your face. It's massive.
Leo: Isn't that funny? I guess you're a small person, because the phone looks big in your hands.
Georgia: I'm hobbit-like truly.
Leo: Wow. Is Apple making a nine-inch tablet?
Alex: If you break of the screen of your laptop actually, it works like a tablet.
Georgia: It's hard to hold to your ear after.
Leo: I think we mentioned this before, but I think the real thing is that we're waiting for watch OS 2.0. That's when the watch really sinks or swims. It may not be enough.
Alex: I'm 98% sure I'll buy an Apple Watch 3.
Leo: You'll buy an Apple Watch 3?
Leo: Not 2?
Alex: The one was rougher than I expected when it came out. The second will be impressive and the third will be the 3 GS.
Leo: You might be right. Ashley Madison got hacked scaring a lot of people. 37 million users of the hookup service, the slogan of Ashley Madison is Life is Short, have an affair.
Georgia: Like you don't have enough stress in your life already.
Leo: Must have scared some people when they got news that the site had been hacked.
Tim: That's a very uncomfortable situation, explaining to your wife what Ashley Madison is in the first place to prove that you know the site exists is a little bit daunting. I'm a tech expert; I have to know about these sorts of hack stories, really.
Leo: Also, there are other sites. Cougar Life and established men. What is Established Men?
Alex: Not me.
Leo: I don't know why I'm looking at you.
Alex: I'm 14; we've been over this. I went on CNN to talk about this. It was one of those things where they promised security. If you go on the site you have anonymity and security. Of all the services to screw up on security and who is apart of their database, oh my heavens. This is not the place you want to have hacked.
Leo: Ashley Madison has a full delete feature. You could also call that the wife button (or the husband button) that promises removal of site usage history and personally identifiable information from the site.
Alex: For a fee of 19$.
Leo: But, according to the team who hacked the site, they actually weren't doing that. All of that information is there. Full delete and edit, won Ashley Madison 1.7 million dollars in revenue last year. How much? 20 bucks a shot?
Alex: That is. The problem is because they weren't actually deleting the information, the hackers were mad that it was offered as a for sale feature, they weren't actually deleting the information. They built the biggest black mail database of all time because they had the data still on the site.
Leo: Were the hackers targeting Ashley Madison because of that?
Alex: That's what I read in two different places. I haven't talked to them personally. I can't confirm, but I've seen that in a number of reputable locations.
Leo: The hackers did write in their manifesto somewhere. Too bad for those men, they're cheating dirt bags and they deserve no such discretion. Too bad for Ashley Madison. You promised secrecy but didn't deliver. We've got the complete set of profiles in our database dump, and we will release them soon if Ashley Madison stays online. And with over 37 million members, mostly from the US and Canada, a large percentage of the population is about to have a bad day, including many rich and powerful people. Wow. They never did release that database.
Alex: Not to my knowledge, no. But the threat is still alive and afoot, and I bet people are still sweating now. Have you used the site?
Alex: You haven't. Are you sure?
Alex: Positive? 100%? Not even while drunk once?
Leo: Not even while drunk. You can go through that database. Is Ashley Madison down? No. They're still up.
Alex: Same picture, same logo, same slogan.
Georgia: They're still getting people to register online and get new accounts, which is unusual to say the least. They're dedicated.
Leo: Wow. It says on the site: "Thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands." It's got the trusted security award.
Alex: They've got a logo on the site that says "Trusted Security Award."
Leo: That's a major award. There's no link to click where you know that---
Alex: Pro tip: Don't put your name on sites like this because the Internet is very insecure right now. You will get busted and I will laugh in your face.
Leo: Didn't Adult Friend finder get hacked also?
Alex: That was about a month ago, right?
Leo: Yeah. It sounds like hackers are actually going after these... is it to blackmail people, or is it for the LOLS? It's probably for the LOLs.
Alex: Maybe both.
Leo: it would be a lot of work.
Georgia: When people are slighted or angry, they want to have something to blame, and then they can blame one of these sites and feel like they're almost justified.
Leo: These are bad people, see what we did? hahaha. I still think it's mostly for the LOLs. I hope it is. I don't personally hope it is, but that's a lot of people. You are going to get a lot of work, Georgia as a marriage councilor. You're going to be very busy soon. Actually, Montreal, everything goes, right?
Georgia: Montreal is a very free and open city.
Leo: It's very liberal.
Georgia: We are. We're exceptionally liberal.
Alex: It's the New Orleans of Canada.
Leo: Is it?
Georgia: It is.
Leo: I like that.
Georgia: I did an exposure. We painted our necks red for somebody who was worried about seeing... that's not in Montreal. You could dress up in a shark suit, no one would care.
Leo: I just feel like going to black mail, especially if you're doing something really big, like a major politician, if you're a politician and you sign up for Ashley Madison with your real name, I want to know that.
Alex: Anthony Wiener still does today because of what he did which was so stupid. That's not an uncommon activity. People are desperate for connection, people in their lives. If you're at all public, you don't get to have that kind of flexibility or freedom. You've sacrificed that to your career.
Leo: Also, is that the lesson for all of us? Don't assume anything you do on the Internet can be kept private and secret.
Tim: You also as the site shouldn't send out press releases making fun of Apple during the iCloud hack.
Leo: They did.
Tim: They did, actually. When all that was going on, the iCloud stuff was going on, Ashley Madison put out a press release saying how great their security was. That's the kind of stuff that bubbles up and will stick you in the eye when this kind of thing goes down.
Leo: Talk about Hubris. Wow. That's guaranteed... that's not a good thing to do. We're going to talk about the G pack. I'm sure that Tim Stevens has a few things to say about that, speaking of hackers. Big recall at Chrysler. It's going to cost them a lot of money, but before we do that, I want to talk about some of my favorite entertainment online. Documentaries. Do you like documentaries? Who doesn't like documentaries? It's like-- tell me if I'm nuts here. Georgia, you're a therapist. When I walk down the street at night and people's houses are lit, and the curtains aren't drawn, I look in the window, right?
Georgia: Everyone does.
Leo: Not because we're voyeurs. Maybe a little bit. But we're really interested in the lives of others, right? Documentaries to me are that, but in a legitimate way of seeing how the other guy lives. Doc club is new from Sundance. A streaming service for those of us who love documentaries. I have my picks on there. My five favorite documentaries. You can get the run of the place when you go to docclub.com/twit. Real people. There's one on here that I found. I don't know how I found it, but I love it. It's called Deep Water. It's the story right after Chit Chaster did his solo around the world sail, right? This became all the rage. Great warning, I think it was the Guardian decided to have a competition of sailors. One of the people who signed up for it was a complete amateur sailor. The story that comes out of it is amazing. The movie is called Deep Water. He ends up pulling over and waiting. He skips its incredible.
Tim: Spoiler alert, Leo.
Leo: yeah, sorry. Spoiler alert. I then tell you the big spoiler. You'd have to watch it for that. I like sailing, so this is a great story. If you like crossword puzzles, word play. Not only is it a great story about the crossword puzzle competition, but it features the puzzle designer Will Shorts from the New York Times, and it's fabulous. It starts off with Will reading letters he gets every week from people saying you are a bad man. That clue was too hard. Doc)club.com/twit There's a documentary for everybody. I like that they ask a lot of people for their recommendations, people like Susan Sarandon and Ira Glass. They have lots of fun stuff. That's one of my pics, Jiro dreams of sushi.
Georgia: Jiro Dreams of Sushi, that's amazing! That is so good. Even if you don't like sushi, you have to watch it because it's so impressive to see someone who is so precise and expert at their kill.
Leo: I think you will love sushi at the end of it. There's a slow motion sequence where they go through the whole meal in loving detail, and man. My suggestion is you get sushi during this movie, because you're going to be hungry at the end. It's awesome. So, for TWiT audience members, here's your chance. 30 days free, Sundance Now docclub.com/twit for your 30-day free trial. Is it available in Canada? I think so. I don't know. You should try, Georgia.
Alex: I want to go on that boat thing. Can we do that? Just get on a boat and go around the world?
Leo: I like the idea. Do you want to do that?
Alex: How big is your boat?
Leo: I don't have a boat.
Alex: You don't have a boat?
Leo: I'm thinking of getting a boat.
Alex: How big?
Leo: How big do I need to get?
Alex: 150, two decks and a helicopter pad. Wet bar, one Jacuzzi, one submarine.
Leo: Let's see how the Ashley Madison lawsuit goes and I'll let you know. Let's talk Chrysler. We talked about this on Security Now on Tuesday. A fascinating story. We had talked before about the insecurity of automobiles. One of the things most auto designers have done is even though they have two computer systems, an entertainment system and a system running things like the brakes and the ignition, one would think, and they certainly say that these systems are separate. It turns out that they're not. Almost all of them are on the same bus. They use can bus because it's cheap, not particularly secure, and that means if you can get into the entertainment system you perhaps can get into the car's operational systems, and that can be a real problem. We've seen hacks before with people who have physical access to the car, but Charlie Miller who you'll remember from the pwn to own contest every year... he's the guy who wins big bucks hacking the Mac every year has demonstrated a remote hack. He was able to hack a jeep in this Wired article remotely from his living room sitting on the couch. Turns out that jeeps, like many cars, have 3G access, in this case from Sprint, and they were able to figure out what they IP address was for every car, where the car was located, and then using undisclosed software they're going to try to tell the world at Def Con. We'll see. I have a feeling they'll be prohibited from doing that.
Alex: I'm very impressed by this underscoring the dangers of the Internet of things movement we have right now. People don't realize that there's a risk built into each of those connections until we have better encryption, but Tim, you're the expert here. Let's go.
Leo: Anything online is at risk.
Tim: There's still a lot of question marks about this story. They haven't proven yet that they can do this without any physical access to the car. That's the big story. Before this demonstration was run, they had plenty of time to do whatever they wanted to with the car within the car.
Leo: That's what Chrysler said. It would require physical access to the car.
Tim: If you can do this without physical access to the car, that's horrifying. That's really bad. If you have to get into the car and do something within the car to open up the door for this kind of attack, that's a little better. They're saying there needs to be physical access, but they're saying that they didn't need physical access at all. That's what I'm hoping that we find out when they do a better demonstration of this. Absolutely there's supposed to be some sort of hard firewall between the infotainment system with the heater and controls and all that stuff, and the bus network which actually controls the power, the brakes, and everything else. If you can bridge that gap, at that point you can steer the car, because most cars have electronic power steering, which means the computer can actually turn the wheel. A lot of cars have throttle by wire, which means the computer is controlling the throttle too. The computer can steer the car, it can change lanes, it can stop the car, or it can disable the brakes too if it wants too. That's definitely a very scary notion with the idea that a hacker could get into the car. The question in my mind is can they do that without having to get into the car in the first place, and if someone can get into your car, they can do all sorts of bad things today.
Leo: Once somebody has physical access to any computing system, all bets are off.
Alex: Tim, do you think they require physical access, or is that more of a canard here?
Tim: I think they probably do at this point. I don't know how they would learn to identify that given car without having some kind of access to find it. I'm guessing that all they need is a key out of the ECU or something like that. Some kind of identifying... a security key. I bet that's all they need. I would be very surprised if they could be sitting on the highway, watch a Jeep drive by and click a button and take it over.
Alex: For noobs, what is ECU?
Tim: The ECU is the computer that is controlling the works in any given car, so in any kind of security system for a car, any kind of wireless key system has pretty simple, but sophisticated enough series of keys that get passed back and forth, digital keys that is, so when you hit the unlock button on your key, the car unlocks. That's pretty hard to hack, but if you can get into the car, you can figure out the sequence of numbers that are generated to drive those keys. At that point you could unlock that car at will, pretty much. Same basic idea for the wireless connection. I'm guessing there's some kind of encryption key that's involved that is stored within the ECU or somewhere within the car itself. I'm guessing they had to get into the car to find that key. I could be wrong, but that's my guess.
Alex: It's a very large risk, but smaller than it sounds on the camera.
Leo: If someone has physical access to your car, they can put sugar in your gas tank. It's not hard to cause problems with a car if you have physical access to it. I presume, they claim they didn't, or they didn't need to. They did in fact have access to the author's car. I presume that they're waiting to def con. This is often what happens, certainly Charlie Miller's MO is to hold off on the big reveal until the big reveal. I wonder if they'll be allowed to present at def con if they do have a method to do this.
Tim: I wonder too, because this is a step beyond a computer hack, this is a step beyond taking over someone's browser. This is creating something that could threaten the lives of a lot of people. This is a very limited access. It's only Chrysler cars with a sprint access and an 8.4 U connect navigation system...
Leo: But this hack.
Alex: What else is at risk here, Tim? Is this going to be pervasive across all Chryslers, all Portia's, Fiats, whatever? Or is this more constrained to one make of one company?
Tm: It seems to be tied to that Sprint connection somehow. I don't know what the details are. They haven't given us a lot of details exactly how this works. It seems to be tied to that Sprint connection, and as of now the recall only effects those Chrysler cars with 8.4 inch navigation system, which is an upgrade. I'm guessing we're talking a small percentage of Jeeps at this point. But again, if this is a hack that can be applied on that system, if it applies to every Sprint connection system, that's almost every Chrysler that's being sold today. There are a lot of questions that are involved at this point that we don't have the answers for. It is certainly serious enough that Chrysler decided to put out a recall for those cars.
Leo: 1.4 million cars. Every car with a U Connect system. It's 2013 Dodge Vipers, 2015 Dodge Challengers, Chryslers, not just grand Cherokees. Maybe they're being extra prudent.
Tim: I'm guessing that they are, especially because it's such a simple thing and especially because just today they got hit with a huge fine for not being proactive enough when it came to some earlier safety recalls, so they're getting a couple black eyes this week. I'm guessing they're trying to be proactive here and ultimately apply this fix as broadly as they can. Ultimately, it's just a software update, and if they can get people to come into their dealerships, that doesn't take any time at all to apply that kind of thing.
Alex: So in the future do we have Windows updates for cars that we have to deal with like every single iTunes update? Or is this a one-time use case?
Leo: Tesla does it over the air, right?
Tim: It happens in the background. It's not necessarily the thing you know about. You might boot up your car one morning and find out that you got new features that you didn't have the day before. That is happening on that front and Tesla has made a huge investment in security. Last year they went to Black Cat and sent a recruiter and said, hire us 30 dudes from Black Cat because we need some help. That's what they did, because there were a lot of stories about Tesla exploits last year. I'm guessing that link between the entertainment system and the caden bus system is a lot tighter than in other cars in Tesla. Tesla went out and got help, and I think ultimately we'll see a lot of that thing from other major manufacturers in the near future.
Leo: Ultimately, you need to air gap the two systems. I remember talking to Ford and Alamo Allie telling me they had, not necessarily Air Gap. This is the issue. They said Oh no. The Ford Sink is separate from the telemetric and stuff that runs the car. But separate is two separate busses. There's no physical connection, because you can't always rely on software to do this. Two US senators have introduced a bill to set standards on things like vehicle security. The bill would also create a security rating system for cars, which is not a bad idea, so you can actually see among other things how safe it is.
Alex: Do they know enough about security to put this together? Or are they hacks. I'm skeptical.
Tim: It's like driving a car into a wall and seeing how well it does. Just about anybody can figure out a good way to do that, unless they go to Black Cat and hire a bunch of people to make this work, I don't see how this sort of program could be successful. I think that this Industry needs some kind of oversight with standards that they themselves create. Short of that, the government may need to step in and make something happen, but there's definitely been a lot of talk about how these systems are very strongly not linked at all. This story proves that there is some link. You can get access to a car's data from Sink apps, for example. Sink apps can read the vehicle's speed and things like that, so there is a read only portion of that communication going on, but as we've seen in many hacks before, read only doesn't always stay read only.
Leo: I think Fiat is going to have a trusted security award.
Alex: ...If I want to hack your car it tells me that I cheated on your wife. It's great.
Leo: Georgia, you started saying something.
Georgia: The best thing about the senators is that you'll have to have a Windows sticker on new cars that will rank your security and privacy protection, so you're going to get a little ranking before you buy a car, so at least you'll know...
Leo: A Plus.
Alex: We joke so much on tech about software eating the world. This is software eating us because we're not billing it properly and effectively and safely enough, so I feel like we're paying the price for moving quickly without proper security. That's a good thing overall, because we're billing new stuff. If we don't have these black cat guys, we're going to be out to lunch, I feel.
Georgia: It's a huge problem. We billed it first and then we ask the questions on what are they security measures that we have to put into place afterwards and it really should be the other way around.
Leo: You can go to driveuconnect.com if you are driving a Fiat Chrysler with U Connect. Enter the vin and check for updates and download those updates onto a USB key or take it to the dealer for the update.
Alex: Yeah, your car dies, you didn't forget to do the oil or the gas, you need the USB key. Where's my USB key? I think that's a lame way to go about this. If Tesla can do OTA updates for firmware than everybody should be able to pull off the same thing. This should not be the size of problem that it is.
Leo: I think the problem is, and Tim I'm sure you agree, cars are designed in a different time frame than modern computer technology. It takes a long time to make a new car.
Tim: 4 or 5 year design cycle for a new car to come out. That's a long time. You can imagine where Smartphones were 5 years ago and that's... there's been a lot of progress in the last couple years where manufacturers are doing a better job. Things like Android and carpool are making that easier too, but ultimately they're living in this closed ecosystem where they're used to having the keys to the castle and no one has any insight into what's going on. It's very much like the earlier days of personal computing where the hacks started happening, and these manufacturers were angry because people were playing with their sacred systems. That's very much what Chrysler's response was like. These people shouldn't be playing around in our systems because it's dangerous. Well people are going to do it. They haven't had access to that in the past but now people do, and they're going to make it happen. It's going to be an eye opening experience for a lot of these manufacturers. Frankly, I hope they follow Tesla's direction and go out and hire the best hackers that they can and tell them to go crazy on their systems, because ultimately that's the only way these exploits are going to be found.
Leo: And as we get car play and Android auto in our cars, this might instead of making things better, make things worse, Ron Amario was on TWiG this week talking about his review of Android auto. One of the things he pointed out, was yes. You can plug in your modern Android phone and be able to use it on the screen, but the software running on the car, was gingerbread. They were using Android for the multi-media system in the car running a Hyundai Sonata, a 2015 Sonata running Android 2.2.
Alex: What year was that out, originally?
Leo: Android 2.2 is 4 or 5 years old. But that's what you're saying. That's the cycle. That was the latest thing they had when they started the design of this car.
Tim: They basically standardized things within this company so they can plug in whatever the latest and greatest is towards the end of the design cycle of these cars, but ultimately a couple years ago, Hyundai thought they were doing this hot new thing. Ultimately, they were. They had half of it right. The Android idea was right, but ultimately, the implementation is wrong. Whether or not Android auto and car play prove to be security risks, that remains to be seen. The penetration of those two systems is so small right now that we've got a long way to go. In theory, those systems are not making any connections to the car except for things like GPS location and speed, but that's about it. Hackers may find a way to get into more vehicle information through those systems, and that could be another door into the system for hackers.
Leo: It's not 2.2. That's Froyo. It's running Gingerbread 2.4. I have to apologize. Ron says if it feels like a crappy 2011 Android tablet, it's because it is a crappy Android 2011 Android tablet.
Alex: But if people keep using Android in car, they're always so far behind on what's new and safe, doesn't that always represent a security flaw or risk portal? You can't get away from that using 4-year-old open source software.
Leo: That's why I prefer you use Q and X or something.
Tim: It certainly depends. Q and X is certainly the foundation for a few of these systems. Sync was built for Microsoft imbedded. Ultimately the jist of the foundation at that point, you've got to build everything on top of it. It's what you build on top of it that really exposes you to these sorts of risks. I think that Android auto and car play are going to be very secure systems and ultimately a lot more secure than what these manufacturers could come up with on their own because Google and Apple have faced these challenges for years now. I think that those things are going to be pretty solid. Ultimately, we're not far off from the point where nobody cares what these systems are doing, so long as you can plug your phone in and get car play. As long as you can do that, most people are going to be happy. They're not going to be using those systems anyway.
Alex: Do the teams building these integrations and cars have the expertise to understand how security works, or are they grafting onto their cars with a bad touch screen? Do they have the expertise?
Tim: It definitely depends on the company. Companies like GM for example has made a lot of hires from the consumer tech industry. They poached a lot of people from HP for example, from Google. They make a lot of hires because they've finally come to the realization that all their imbedded systems, developers, who have been building car systems for years don't have the knowledge or the expertise when it comes to security or things like interfaces. Our expectations for what a good interface is have skyrocketed over the last couple of years because of mobile phones. If your developers weren't weaned in that environment, they might struggle there. They have been making a few smart hires. Like I mentioned, Tesla has been doing quite well there too. I think it's a challenge for them. They've been working in a very closed environment. These systems until just a year or two ago were very much proprietary systems so that each individual car might have completely different software than each other. Now they're trying to embrace these open systems and open source software and it's a new thing for a lot of these developers. I think it's a mix, and there's quite a few risks there.
Leo: What do you know about the on board diagnostic system? My car and all cars since the mid 90's have OBD 2 ports. I think they're intended for technicians to plug in, but you can buy, I bought a 30-dollar dongle I plug into the 2 port, and I use software on my phone to see how the engine is doing. Is this secure?
Tim: That is fairly secure. You can do a lot of reading from that report. It's hard to do writing. There are chip upgrades you can do from plugging into your 2 port and making changes to your engine parameters, so it is possible to do things like change throttle mappings and boost pressure if you have a turbo charge car, you can do that thing through the OBD 2 port. Primarily the applications that we see are reading fuel mileage, speed, location information as well. That is a fairly secure thing. If someone has access to that port, they have hard access to your car. At that point, I would be very skeptical about what I'm plugging in there. I have OBD 2 reader as well, if I have a check engine light I use it to see what the check engine code is, but once I'm done with that I pull it out.
Leo: You don't leave it in? I leave mine in. Maybe I should worry.
Alex: This guy doesn't care at all.
Leo: When I start my car, a nice lady on the phone says, "Dash has started your drive," and when I get there it says, "Dash has ended your drive." It scores me. It will alert me. It beeps at me when I hard accelerate or I step on the brakes too hard. I like that.
Alex: B minus driving, A plus tailgating...
Leo: I don't know if it knows about tailgating, but it knows about fuel efficiency.
Georgia: Stop driving, get out of the car.
Leo: I get an email from it saying you went outside from where you're allowed to go. I guess I have to set up that Geofence. At least it did that.
Alex: You can't go outside of Petaluma?
Leo: It's great if you're a teenager, as you are, Alex. It's probably horrible if you are a teenager, but if you have a teenager, you can monitor where they're going and stuff like that.
Alex: When you were a teen...
Leo: You're thinking I should not leave it plugged in, Tim?
Tim: I wouldn't worry about that so much at this point. But definitely keep an eye on the news and see what's coming up because that is definitely creating a physical access to your car, some sort of physical access to your car, and that's all that a lot of hackers need to get in there and pull down information about the wireless keys I was talking about before. They could find out, do a man in the middle attack on your wireless key.
Leo: I feel like if somebody has access to my car, they're going to bring their own OBD 2 device. If I leave mine in... Again, they could crawl under the car and cut. That's why I have one of those mirrors so I can look under my car before I get in.
Georgia: Do you really?
Leo: No, what are you thinking?
Alex: He’s checking for IEDs. Come on, safety first.
Leo: We’re talking about QNX. There’s good news for Blackberry. In honor of Georgia Dow our Canadian, we’ll do some Blackberry news. It’s been a long time since I said that on this show. Before that though, by the way, thank you Georgia for being here from iMore.com.
Georgia: Thanks for having me.
Leo: She lives in Johnny Ives’ white room. You do have décor though? You have like these great little… their kind of subtle lighted back drop things. I love that.
Georgia: Yea, yea I set it up myself. Thank you.
Leo: That’s nice. Also with us—
Georgia: It’s just low tech really.
Leo: Pardon me?
Georgia: It’s really low tech actually, so.
Leo: But it looks good though. It’s cool. Also here, Tim Stevens from his knotty pine cabin in the woods.
Tim: Also really low tech. Hope it also looks ok.
Leo: (Laughing) I love getting you on, Tim. It’s great to see you again from Cnet.com.
Tim: Thank you.
Leo: Do you spend most of your time up there or do you travel a lot or…
Tim: I do travel quite a bit, yea. Getting into Detroit a bunch lately. So yea, I’m on the road quite a bit.
Leo: You couldn’t have picked a better beat. I know it’s your passion anyway. Tim races. What do you race?
Tim: Motorcycles. I have a Yamaha R6. I used to do some carding but I got out of that. And then in the winter months I’m doing ice racing with my Subaru up in the lakes.
Leo: Ice racing in a Subaru.
Georgia: Ice racing? That sounds dangerous.
Leo: On the ice!
Tim: It’s a lot of fun.
Leo: This guy’s great.
Alex: I don’t think we’re cool enough for that, Leo.
Alex: I don’t think you and I have the gravitas to pull it off.
Leo: I have Mario Kart, he has an actual cart. That’s the big difference right there. So nice to have you, Tim. You did pick a big beat because this is, I think this is just the beginning. We’ll be talking a lot about telematics and car systems and car security for the next few years. It’s going to be a big story.
Tim: It’s a lot of fun.
Leo: Yea. And Alex Wilhelm. What’s your beat at TechCrunch?
Alex: Things I find interesting usually.
Leo: Anything you want?
Alex: Yea, pretty much. A lot of finance policy, some bitcoin, little start-ups, a little Enterprise, a little Microsoft. Kind of a mix. Things that I want to write about.
Leo: There’s an article in the New York Times this week saying, “Bitcoin is the preferred choice for people who are blackmailing.”
Alex: Well pull Ashley Madison up and see how that transfer is coming.
Leo: Yea, yea. I don’t, you know, I have 7 bitcoins.
Alex: You have 7? That’s like $1,400 - $1,500.
Leo: Yea, it was a lot more before.
Alex: We have a rich man on the show.
Leo: It was a lot, well actually…
Alex: How much did you lose?
Leo: I don’t know, I don’t keep track of it. But you know who has a lot? Steve Gibson has 50, because he started some Bitcoin mining in the early days and it’s like a little “dink” into the cup. He got 50 Bitcoins.
Alex: That’s like 20 Gs right now. 25 Gs.
Leo: I know. It was a lot more when it was $1,500 for a Bitcoin.
Alex: Is he buying lunch after the show?
Leo: I think he ought to. He’s up to $75,000.
Alex: That’s like a really good Vegas weekend right there.
Leo: No kidding.
Alex: That’s some serious blunt.
Leo: For nothing. Now you can’t do that. You can’t do Bitcoin mining. It’s crazy.
Alex: Well you can if you have an industrial operation, warehouse size and all that.
Leo: A6 and all this fancy equipment.
Alex: But these together would do nothing. We get no Bitcoin at all. No one likes us. It’s ok.
Leo: Did they ever, ok I’m sorry, I got on a tangent. Did they ever – quick tangent – debunk that Newsweek article claiming that they found Satoshi Nakamoto?
Alex: Yea, that was crap in the end. They just harassed some poor guy.
Leo: They just harassed a poor guy.
Tim: Poor guy. It was so terrible.
Leo: And it was the cover story on Newsweek. And I haven’t heard any apologies.
Alex: Well Newsweek tried to matter, mattered, didn’t matter, tried to matter again, failed and now they don’t matter at all.
Leo: And their owned by IBT and they went back to print. And that was their first print episode. But they never apologized. They just went on and…
Alex: No they’re like, “Our sources are strong. Oops, JK. Move on.”
Leo: It’s like Gawker.
Alex: It’s like oh wow. No, no, no. I have no comments on Gawker. I endorse free speech and that’s all I’m saying.
Alex: I’m trying to dodge, Leo. You’re killing me.
Leo: Ok, I’ll let you dodge.
Alex: I’m drowning.
Leo: I’ll let you dodge. And meanwhile I’ll talk about shaving. Do you ever take a razor to that noggin?
Alex: I just get into the bathtub and shave it off with a…
Alex: Yea, the clippers.
Leo: Sometime you ought to get a Harry’s. And the luxury of, I have my Harry’s – you know, I’m going to give you, I’m going to give you—
Alex: I feel like I just got Punk’D or something. This is what?
Leo: No, I’m going to give you…
Alex: Do I need to shave my head on the show? I’ve got time.
Georgia: He’s going to do it on air.
Alex: If you want to. I would.
Alex: Why not?
Leo: No, I’m not going to do that. I’ve had some bad experiences with on-air head shaving. Not good.
Georgia: He has a little bit of post-traumatic stress.
Leo: I do. And I’m so glad it grew back.
Alex: Well I have so little hair to begin with I feel like that wouldn’t even be a problem.
Leo: But you could, this is what’s weird. You could have a full head of hair.
Alex: Not really, it’s a little lame in the front, a little weak around here. Kind of crappy back here.
Leo: So you just decided to…
Alex: I just shave it off. I mean if my hair goes away I’m not going to let it keep me up at nights.
Alex: It’s not my personality or my personal worth.
Leo: It’s all I’ve got.
Alex: Well you’ve got a lot. For someone your age it’s quite an impressive coif going on there. You know, like this is silver as silver--
Leo: That was an underhanded compliment (laughing.)
Alex: (laughing) Ladies and gentlemen, the silver fox of TWIT.
Leo: Someone of my age.
Alex: It’s the Bill Clinton hairdo.
Leo: I still shave every day too. And that’s why I’m glad I’ve got Harry’s. Let me tell you what a discovery Harry’s was. These guys, one of them, Jeff, was one of the founders of Warby Parker. He specializes as a lot of entrepreneurs do these days in disruption. And like finding businesses that aren’t working for people and making them work better. Of course as anybody who’s ever gone to the drugstore to buy a razorblade knows, these things are so overpriced they’re locked up. You have to get an attendant to unlock it. They’re like gold. Instead of buying a $4 blade, a Gillette Fusion Blade, how about half as much for a better blade. Now how do I know it’s better? Because Harry’s bought the factory. They wanted to make blades that were designed for performance, that were designed for reliability. And they decided the only way to do it was to buy the factory. One of the two blade factories in Germany. They make their own blades, engineering them for sharpness and high performance. And then they ship them free to your front door. So of course before you start the Harry’s prescription you’ve got to get the Harry’s kit. There’s two kits. The Winston and the Truman. If you go to Harry’s, H-A-R-R-Y-S.com, take a look at the kits. Very affordable. The Winston Set which I’m holding right now can be engraved. It’s a metal handle. It’s really elegant and beautiful. But and Steve Gibson prefers The Truman Set because he likes the warmth of the plastic and he knows how the handle’s oriented so you should certainly look at that. And at $15 it’s very affordable. What do you get? You get the handle, you get three blades and you get your choice of Harry’s new foaming shave gel or the original Harry’s cream. The gel, you know a lot of people are gel users nowadays. The gel is—whoops. I got a little bit on the table there. The gel smells good, it feels good and it smooths the blades so you get a clean, close, comfortable shave. You can get the gel and the blades delivered as I said for free shipping to your door. It costs about half as much as the razors in the store. Smells great. They have a new aftershave moisturizer too. It protects and hydrates your skin. Harry’s—look, there it is. My shave cream. $5 off your first purchase with the offer code TWIT5. So that means 10 bucks for your starter kit. That’s a good deal. 10 bucks for the Truman. Harrys.com use the offer code TWIT and the number 5 at checkout. This is persistent stuff.
Alex: The foam if you can’t see will not leave the table or his hands.
Leo: But that’s why it’s so good when it shaves your head. You don’t want foam, you don’t want wimpy foam, you want serious, hard-core foam.
Alex: No, no, no. This is the diablo of foam if you will.
Leo: It’s the diablo of foam. It will wash off.
Alex: I would hope so. Because you’re stuck with it now, so.
Leo: It’s everywhere.
Alex: Literally his hands, they’re covered in cream. And you can’t undo it.
Leo: So let’s talk about QNX. We were talking about QNX and that’s owned by Blackberry. It’s actually a pretty good asset given that most of the cars are now going to use QNX for their operating systems. They were smart to buy that. And Blackberry has a couple of other stories. They just acquired another company. I’m not sure what they do. It’s called AtHoc. Not Adhoc, AtHoc. They’re an emergency mass messaging service.
Alex: Are they just trying to buy different cash flows out there to kind of keep their business afloat? Because these are not things that are core to Blackberry software.
Leo: QNX isn’t unless you’ve maybe made it part of your new operating system. Then Blackberry 10 is pretty—
Alex: Talk about burning platforms. But I think they’re buying different revenue pegs to have underneath their company as they try to transition away from the essentially mobile provider. But—
Leo: Here’s what AtHoc does. It’s used by the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. It enables the exchange of emergency alerts between devices from iPhones to warning sirens. They have, I think they’ve been kind of building their security portfolio a little bit. And maybe this is tied in, maybe not. But they just got Department of Defense approval for their PKI, Public Key Infrastructure credentials. Which means that Blackberries can continue to be used by the Department of Defense and other places where security is important. You’ve got to as a Canadian, I don’t know, am I over generalizing, Georgia? But it seems—
Georgia: You might be over generalizing. I do feel a certain amount of love for Blackberry because it’s Canadian. There’s a certain amount there. I still use my iPhone. But no, I think that it’s great. If Blackberry really runs the security route and they’re secure I think that that’s a pull. I think that people as more and more hacks are coming out and people are thinking, “You know what? This is something that is really important.” So if the Department of Homeland Security is going to use a Blackberry, maybe that might work out for us as well.
Leo: It would be a smart move I think.
Leo: It would be a very smart move. I mean they’ve always, Blackberry’s always pushed the security angle and you’d be very smart to persist with it. Although I understand that one of the Blackberry, one county has just decided to shut down Blackberry in their country. I’m not sure if it’s Malaysia? India?
Alex: There shares are down 29% year to date if I recall correctly.
Alex: And that’s from further declines in the past, so they’re really not having a good time with it. I mean do we think these purchases are going to allow them to kind of regain their luster? Or are these really just kind of death throes of a dying Canadian disaster?
Leo: I think they can reinvent themselves. I really do. We actually had a great interview on Triangulation with a woman who had written the book. She works and the Globe and Mail in Toronto, and has written the book on the story of Blackberry. And I think—Pakistan is shutting down Blackberry services.
Alex: There we go.
Leo: By December over security. Which probably means the Pakistan government cannot crack the Blackberry Message System.
Georgia: That’s another pro.
Leo: Yea. Right?
Alex: I agree with Georgia. I mean if a totalitarian government shuts down a service for security reasons, it means they couldn’t get it the point that the want.
Leo: 5 years ago India threatened to do the same. And Blackberry at the time probably mistakenly gave India the source code for the Blackberry Enterprise Server.
Alex: What a terrible idea.
Leo: Yea, I think a terrible idea. UAE, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia have all complained that Blackberry is “too secure.”
Alex: All those countries are known for their support of free speech and free discourse and freedom of religion and all that. They’re completely open societies.
Leo: They’re all countries that monitor the internet. Oh wait a minute. So does ours.
Alex: Can we vote the NSA out of the government? Just have a referendum if you will.
Leo: I would love to do that, I would love to do that.
Alex: Me too.
Georgia: They control the vote though.
Leo: I complained about this and everybody said, “What a first world problem. If this is all you’re worried about, you really need a life.” Twitter took my back grab away.
Alex: I mean this actually matters.
Leo: I think it matters as much as Ashly Madison.
Alex: Well, for us it matters more especially if we use Twitter and not Ashly Madison. But I mean—
Leo: I had a nice customized background—
Alex: With your face on it.
Leo: My face was on it. Now if I tweet and somebody shares the tweet it still has my background. But Twitter? I think a lot of people thought that this was a bug. But no, Twitter’s decided to go all white on the Twitter home page.
Alex: That sounds not quite what you wanted to say. But all white background.
Leo: All white background.
Alex: I feel like Twitter has a long history of making changes to its platform that its users don’t like. I mean, we’ve known Twitter forever, right?
Leo: It’s such a weird change to make.
Alex: Yea but it’s one that they could have signaled, discussed, talked about and kind of processed slowly.
Leo: But some people said, “Well why don’t you just use Tweet Deck and then you don’t have to worry about that?” And that’s what you’re using right?
Alex: There’s Tweet Deck right there.
Leo: And you have a black background.
Alex: I have a black background Tweet Deck.
Leo: See some people don’t like when we changed our website to have a white background. I think people live in caves. They say, “Oh it burns! It burns!”
Alex: Open a windows. Like you’ll have light from the sun.
Leo: I got a lot of e-mails—
Alex: Use that on your face.
Leo: “It’s too bright, man! Ohhh!” So I can only imagine the e-mails that Twitter got. Here’s the conspiracy theory I’ll give you. They want to do ads on that background. They want to do take-overs. They want to use that space on the website. Well some people say, “Who uses Twitter’s website anymore? Don’t you use the Twitter client?” Well Twitter doesn’t want you to use Twitter clients. They want you to use the website.
Alex: That’s why they bought Tweet Deck originally. They wanted to control the platform that is used.
Leo: Right, they don’t like that.
Alex: But if they don’t control it, they can’t put ads onto it.
Leo: They can’t put ads. And so I’m thinking that’s where they’re going with this.
Alex: If that’s the case then they’re the dumbest company of all time. If you put an ad on the background of my Twitter page, I have to endorse that product implicitly, and they’re allowing no control over my editorial—
Leo: You would stop using it.
Alex: Well, no, I’m addicted. But I would complain seriously about Twitter on Twitter.
Alex: And maybe DN myself, kind of a meta.
Leo: Do you use Tweet Deck as your regular client?
Alex: Yea, I run a 30” Apple—
Leo: And it’s always there with the columns?
Leo: Tim, what do you do?
Tim: Same thing, yea. I do Tweet Deck and I do have a separate monitor for it as well.
Tim: Until this.
Alex: Good man. It’s the way to go. Once you go that way you can’t go back to like Tweet Bot or Apple Tweet or whatever the hell it’s called.
Leo: I actually love to tap out to Tweet Bot, whatever it’s called.
Georgia: I use Tweet Bot as well. Though I’m not a huge – I tweet if I have to tweet. I don’t tweet a lot.
Leo: You mean if they make you you’ll tweet but not unless they make you?
Georgia: Right, if there’s an article out, or you know, about like a podcast. I’ll tweet that out or I’ll chat a little bit. But I actually get stressed because I’m Canadian. I feel like I have to reply to everyone so if I get something that’s really popular I end up getting like maybe there’s 50 or 100 people that reply to me, and then I feel like I have to say something back because they spent the time. And then I get this anxiety and then when do you end the conversation?
Leo: Twitter is not for nice people.
Alex: I just found out, you don’t follow me on Twitter.
Leo: Uh… oops.
Alex: I’m kind of offended. I’m on your show and you don’t follow me on Twitter.
Leo: I didn’t know you were that Alex.
Alex: It’s a faux pas.
Leo: I’m following you if I could find you.
Alex: It’s right there. Hit follow.
Leo: That’s you?
Alex: Well it’s a drawing of me. There you go.
Leo: You follow me.
Alex: I have to. I’m on your damn show. That’s why I’m here.
Leo: I apologize.
Alex: Is it Twitter etiquette or Twitiquette if you will.
Leo: I’m not following Georgia. I should probably—
Alex: There she is. Pull her up.
Leo: Do you follow each other?
Alex: Ah, see you follow her but not me. I see how it is.
Leo: I kind of like that. We follow each other.
Tim: He follows me too, Alex. Just for the record
Leo: Yea, I’ve followed Tim since he got a Twitter account.
Alex: Tim’s actually worth following.
Georgia: How do you know it wasn’t someone else that added me to your Twitter. That stuff doesn’t really count, does it?
Leo: You think somebody else added you?
Georgia: Well then how would you know that you didn’t follow me?
Alex: He follows 2,335 people.
Leo: I follow a lot of people.
Georgia: That’s fair, that’s fair, that’s fair.
Leo: I don’t know everybody I follow.
Georgia: I’ll accept that.
Leo: Ok. Whew. That was close.
Alex: All right the Twitter audit is now happy, content. We can move on.
Leo: Now as somebody sitting in a white room do you mind the white background on the new Twitter?
Georgia: I use Tweet Bot so I don’t—
Leo: You don’t know.
Georgia: I have a nice dark background.
Leo: I got a lot of Twitter hate complaining about this.
Alex: People are really, really, really serious about their social profiles.
Leo: I felt bad. I’d go, “Ok, fine.”
Alex: I mean look. If you’re on Twitter for 5 years, say. And you’ve built your profile the way you want it to be.
Leo: Well that’s the thing. I had a background and everything that I liked.
Alex: I agree.
Leo: And I had the TWIT logo and all that.
Alex: And when Facebook changes one button shape--
Georgia: The thing is they changed it without asking in what you consider your own little environment that you’ve created and then to have someone else come in and mess with it, it’s like someone else going into the room.
Georgia: And even if they make it look nicer you’re like, “Well, you should have asked permission or let me do it.” Because Twitter wants it to be your eco-system where you feel safe. So I think that they should always be wary when they make changes to what someone’s personal space is.
Leo: And well people tweeted me, “Well it’s their home page not your home page.” And I said, “Well, I beg to differ. It is my home page for Twitter.” It’s where, because it’s people I follow, it’s the stream I created, it’s not like anybody else’s. Anyway, it was a strange thing do but I—and the only reason it has any import is probably because I think it’s the beginning of some sort of ad campaign. Or use takeovers. And that would be bad I think.
Alex: I cover their earnings. They need more money. So, there you go.
Leo: Twitter is also deleting stolen jokes. So that’s a good thing (laughing).
Alex: That was sarcasm, right? That was some sort of troll?
Leo: Well, I don’t know if you noticed this but if you tweet something, it’s not unusual for a bunch of spam accounts to re-tweet. In fact I even get tweets back that I tweeted years ago.
Alex: Yea, yea, yea.
Leo: And these are like spam accounts trying to look human I think.
Georgia: And you’re like, “Wow that was brilliantly said.” And then you’re like, “Oh, no I said that.”
Leo: Oh no that was me. That was me.
Georgia: Right, exactly.
Leo: So apparently a freelance writer in L.A., Olga Lexell writes jokes and she had a joke copied. Her joke was, “Saw someone spill their high end orange juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know God is on my side.”
Alex: Is that a joke?
Leo: She thought so. But apparently others – at least 5 others tweets who copied this joke were deleted.
Alex: Saw someone spill…
Leo: Are you searching?
Alex: No, I’m tweeting it out. Their high end orange juice cleanse all over the sidewalk and now I know God is on my side.
Leo: (Laughing) Hey Olga is going to be pissed.
Alex: That’s fine. I’ve got lawyers. I work for Verizon, dude. Bring it on. Tweeted.
Georgia: How do they know if someone’s the first person to-- maybe they got that from the Internet and then...
Georgia: Or watching Dave Chappelle or something and they suddenly…
Leo: Yea how do we know Olga didn’t steal that?
Leo: She said in a tweet, “I simply explained to Twitter that as a freelance writer I make my living writing jokes (and I use some of my tweets to test out jokes in my other writing). I then explained that as such, the jokes are my intellectual property, and that the users in question did not have my permission to repost them without giving me credit.” She said most of the accounts that were reusing her tweets were spam accounts. Which is I think my experience as well. And Twitter just, she said Twitter just removed them. They didn’t even talk to her or ask any follow up questions and they just—in fact if you search for “saw someone spill their high end juice” you’ll find a bunch of Tweet withhelds. I’ve never seen a Tweet withheld before.
Alex: Ok, if I wrote a joke and then like Chris Rock stole it I’d be like, “Give me back my Tweet.”
Leo: That’s different. What?
Alex: But if you’re a rando and---
Leo: Wait a minute, you would mind if Chris Rock stole it?
Alex: I would be like, “Hey man, that’s mine.” And then I would move on with my life because I have other things to do. But I feel like complaining about spam accounts about bad jokes?
Leo: What if Chris Rock re-Tweeted it?
Alex: Well I’d be the happiest man alive.
Leo: Or favorited it.
Alex: I’m getting a little jig in the studio.
Georgia: But if she wants to sell her jokes off wouldn’t the smartest thing be not to put it onto Twitter and send it out to the masses?
Leo: That’s true.
Georgia: I think that that’s already probably not the smartest of ways to market yourself.
Leo: That’s a good point.
Tim: If you take a picture and you post it on the internet, do you expect your picture to be stolen and copied around and used on people’s backgrounds for free?
Leo: No, no. Well I did do that but that’s not normal. No, that was my picture.
Tim: I think she has a point. I mean this is a creative expression. If you’re an author and you choose to have your short story broadcast over Twitter which I’ve seen before. If someone goes through and takes those tweets and puts it into a book, that’s a problem. Does the medium of the publication really matter?
Alex: So I tweeted out that tweet by the way. I’ve got 12 faves so far, so it’s a darn fine joke. I didn’t even know it.
Georgia: It’s a good joke.
Alex: I will send her money if she asks for it. Apparently.
Leo: All right, Olga. You heard it here first.
Alex: I’m done.
Georgia: How much is a favorite worth?
Alex: $1.50 I think?
Leo: $1.50 per?
Alex: Per fave? Oh yea.
Alex: I’m going to retire.
Alex: All right. So now I feel like kind of a d-bag. But oh well, whatever.
Leo: Here comes Windows 10. Are you all excited? Georgia, you can recuse yourself because you’re obviously a Mac fanatic. You don’t care about Windows 10. Do you ever use Windows at all?
Georgia: I do actually, I use Windows – because I use Word. So I have Office on my Mac and whenever I send like a document file to Rene in Word he always shames me publically in some way, shape or form.
Leo: What is he saying? Use Pages?
Alex: Oh, God no. That’ mean. Don’t do that.
Georgia: He shames me. It’s an actual shaming goal. Ask him about it
Leo: That’s what happens when you work for a Mac publication. But you have a Microsoft Windows machine somewhere in your home?
Georgia: I do but that’s running my arcade. So I have an arcade cabinet that runs off that and that’s—exactly.
Leo: Games belong on Windows.
Leo: I’ve said that for years actually. That’s one of the reasons why Windows is a good gaming platform. People are willing to give up their PC for gaming.
Georgia: Serious gamers don’t game on a Mac. That’s my thought on it.
Leo: Can’t. Can’t.
Georgia: Don’t send me angry tweets.
Leo: Depressing. I have Steam on the Mac and all I can see is the stuff I can’t run.
Georgia: Right. Exactly.
Leo: I’m kind of excited. I just put Windows 10 on here. If you were part of the Windows Insider Program and you have been downloading and installing the pre-release version which was what the Windows Insider Program was all about, you have by now been updated to 10240. And as it turns out 10240 just magically turns into Windows 10. You’re done. You’ve got it.
Alex: Well, kind of, right?
Leo: No, it’s the bits.
Alex: Yea, but they’re hot fixing on a daily basis right now, kind of get it up to speed.
Leo: They still are. They’re still fixing it.
Alex: It’s the RTM version but not quite in the usual, traditional sense. And so I’ve had a lot of phone calls about this the last week, and I’m like “Is it the RTM build? Is it the final build?” They’re like, “Oh, it’s Windows as a service.” I’m like, “Ok, what does that mean?”
Leo: Microsoft says, Paul Thurrott told us this on Windows Weekly, “Don’t use the word RTM.”
Alex: Yea, well, they don’t want us to but I’m still going to.
Leo: It is, that’s what we’re talking about. The final bits that you would normally send to OEMs so they can install it on computers and then ship the computers out the door. Wednesday, now I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen. I don’t think anybody is. Many people who are running Windows 7 and 8 have already gotten the little icon in their system tray that says, “Would you like to reserve your copy of Windows?” I got it and I said yes. We think that some of those bits may already be arriving on your hard drive, that it won’t, but Wednesday you will get an opportunity to install them. You do not have to install them right away. It is a free upgrade in the sense that it’s free. You own Windows 10 now. The only caveat maybe is that you have to install all updates going forward. You can defer them for a little bit.
Alex: Certainly. If you want to.
Leo: But you will ultimately have to install updates. That’s the tit for tat in getting the free version of Windows 10.
Alex: It’s very ironic. This is one of the best roll-outs of a Windows version in my lifetime. Back from 95 up. And they’ve managed to screw up communications so badly, that a good launch is now confusing and causing discord in the blogosphere, which is what I do. I feel like they’re doing the right things technologically but they’re screwing up the actual communications and explanation of it. If we’re not sure this close to launch as to what’s actually happening, they’ve screwed up. We’re not that dumb. We’re just half dumb.
Leo: Well people like Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott, our hosts on Windows Weekly, spend their life covering Windows. And they don’t know what’s going on.
Alex: Yea and if Mary Jo and Paul don’t know, no one knows.
Leo: No one knows.
Alex: Like yea. Compared to them, me and you are just –
Leo: So there’s lots of questions. We will kind of on Wednesday, we’ll be doing Windows Weekly and we’ll be, I’m sure as we go, answering questions about this. But I think I now have the final version. As a Windows Insider installed a beta on my Dell XPS and then it automatically updated it to 10240. I think you can tell by the eerie light shining in from the basement. I feel like this looks like I’m in the basement. Looking out the window here before—
Tim: Looks like a point and click adventure game. You should be able to click around and find clues and other things.
Alex: They put out a video on how they made that shot actually. To be the main background.
Alex: Yea they put out a video on how they made that shot to be the main background. That’s not CG. That’s actually lights and windows and stuff.
Leo: Why even bother doing that?
Alex: Because they have a lot of money and they’re bored.
Leo: Why not just—you could do that in Illustrator in about 5 minutes.
Alex: Yea but that wouldn’t be pure. A single malt has to be a single malt. What’s wrong with you, sir?
Leo: It’s kind of like Apple with the Apple Watch, right? They actually put an aquarium in the Apple Campus full of jellyfish and shot them in super high speed cameras to get those jellyfish animations on the Apple Watch.
Alex: Microsoft and Apple have the combined 299 billion dollars as of the last quarter. So I don’t think they really care. I would buy all sorts of crazy stuff.
Georgia: Yea that’s true, it’s true. I almost got the desk jellyfish just for my office just because I could.
Leo: Is there a desk jellyfish?
Georgia: They are, they are.
Leo: Is it the same ones?
Georgia: It’s like the Apple jellyfish. Moon jellyfish and they light up.
Leo: Is it a screen saver?
Georgia: No, I was going to get a real fish tank with jellyfish for my office (laughing).
Leo: Your therapy office?
Georgia: My therapy office. I think jellyfish are soothing.
Leo: Aren’t you worried that people will have an adverse reaction?
Georgia: I’ve never dealt with jellyfish phobia so I think that I’d be safe.
Alex: You’ve never seen a trigger warning for jellyfish, you know that’s never been up there on the list.
Georgia: Not yet. There probably is.
Leo: It feels a little too Dr. No for me. I’m going to my therapist, the evil Dr. No.
Georgia: You have to feed each one. The kicker to me is I’d have to feed each one with this little tiny beaker and actually like hand feed each jellyfish. And I was like, “You know what? That’s too much effort for jellyfish.” So that was it.
Leo: What do you feed them, small rodents?
Georgia: These little tiny fish pellets. So, yea.
Leo: With a dropper?
Alex: How do you drop a pellet?
Georgia: With an eyedropper. And then you have to bring your hand into the bowl and make sure they’ve actually eaten them. Because these jellyfish, the moon jellyfish are not as intelligent I guess as other jellyfish so they won’t—
Leo: How can they be intelligent? They’re jelly.
Alex: Also if you’re a dumb jellyfish?
Leo: You’re right up there with the rest of them.
Alex: You’re really down. It’s like sawdust. It’s like, “I’m smarter than you. I’m celery.”
Leo: So dumb for a jellyfish. That is really bad.
Alex: It’s like Mashable.
Leo: Oh! Hi-oh!
Alex: Oh come on, come on. We had to have one zinger in here. Come on guys.
Leo: All right. How about you, Tim Stevens? Windows or Mac?
Tim: I am coming to you from a Windows machine right now.
Tim: So, yea I’m looking forward to the update.
Leo: I am too. I was really not thrilled with Windows 8. 8.1 fixed some of the problems. But it was such a weird hybrid of a desktop and a tablet operating system. And I think Microsoft heard us and is making it a little bit more your choice. So if you want to run Windows 10 as a tablet you can. And if you want to run it as a desktop operating system, boot to the desktop, have a start menu, all that stuff that we love about Windows, then you can. And I think that’s probably the right way to do it. Have you, did you do the beta or are you waiting?
Tim: No I haven’t had the chance to do the beta but I should be installing it Monday actually. And I’m looking forward to checking it out and spending some time with it. I haven’t really been that happy with the Windows 8. It’s been fine but I use it exactly like I used Windows 7. So it’s just more clicks to get to the same stuff that I had before. I don’t really use any apps available through the Windows App Store. I’m not really into only being able to put apps on a third of my screen or anything like that. So I’m definitely very much looking forward to seeing how they’ve kind of taken a step into a more traditional Windows environment for Windows 10 but yet hopefully bringing in some of the cooler things of Windows 8.
Leo: Why do you say this was such a good launch, Alex, for Windows? The best launch ever.
Alex: Well I mean if you look at the way they did 7 and 8 and even 8.1.
Leo: We had a Windows 7 launch party. They sent me playing cards and balloons.
Alex: Did you actually use them or?
Leo: Yea we used them on the air and we installed Windows 7 together.
Alex: Did you dance a jig perhaps while that was going on?
Leo: I loved Windows 7.
Alex: Windows 7 is great.
Leo: It thought it was the best version of Windows ever.
Alex: It was into now I feel.
Leo: But what did Windows 8 do? Did they do anything to acknowledge it?
Alex: Windows 8 was Steven Sinofsky’s pipe dream that essentially led to, “You’re done.”
Leo: Updates are installed.
Alex: But with 10 I honestly feel like they’ve been so public, so open, so clear about what they’re doing with response and feedback and fixes and so forth, I think they’ve actually built a better OS because we’ve all been part of it. And the Windows Insider Program is like 5 million people that are doing this. So instead of it being kind of a mystery about what we’re going to get, we know what it is. We know where it is, how strong it is, how safe it is and so when they now put it out we’re not going to be surprised or confused by it, which is an upgrade. You know with a lot of these former launches they were just like “Here’s what you get. You will like it.” And now they’re saying, “Hey, what do you want? We’ll make it for you.”
Alex: Which is a real change in how you build code. I think it’s going to be better. I’m not entirely sure but I mean certainly I feel like they’re moving in the right direction. But this actual launch cycle itself has been a mess. But that’s their PR problem not mine. So, whatever.
Leo: It is interesting that Microsoft is giving away what were the crown jewels. The things that they made money on. Which was Windows. And in some ways they’re giving away Office. Although you can still buy it but you can get Office Online and it’s pretty capable. (1:30:00)
Alex: Yea but they’re not giving away Windows 10. If you already have a Windows license you can now upgrade. If you buy a new PC the OEM is still paying for that. If you buy it in the box you have to pay for that. So it’s not free.
Leo: If you’re a business you’re paying for it.
Alex: Absolutely. And so that’s not much of a change. So the business model is now changed but not completely torn apart. They do want to build a service based offering but they’re probably 4 or 5 years away from actually being economically viable to be able to replace old OEM revenues from Windows itself. But you have to start somewhere. And they can’t just whole claw start again because it’s like 5 or 20 billion dollars in revenue. So you can’t just deprecate that right off the bat. So we’ll see.
Leo: They could. They lost 7.5 billion dollars on Nokia.
Leo: 7.6 billion dollar write off for Microsoft.
Alex: Oh my heavens.
Alex: It’s almost like Stephen Elop wasn’t good at business. Shockingly enough. Who would’ve thunk.
Leo: Amazon did alright speaking of quarterly results. Amazon surprised everybody by making money this quarter. It’s my understanding that Amazon kind of controls those styles. They can make money or not depending on what they want. But they reported a 92 million – that’s not a lot for Amazon – 92 million dollar profit for the quarter ending June 30. Investors expected a loss.
Leo: So of course the stock market went, “Wow!” and ended up 10% higher on Tuesday. Sales up 20%. So they made 92 million dollars but they sold 23.2 billion dollars’ worth of stuff. Unbelievable.
Alex: That’s not a very good margin if you’re doing the math out there. It’s kind of weak actually. But I mean if you expected it to be at a loss and you grow faster on revenue and beat on profit, that’s very good for the street. So that’s why their shares spiked. But I mean you’re still very correct. They’re still spending so much money to grow, their revenue is not that inexpensive on a short term basis.
Leo: They want to do grocery stores.
Georgia: I love this idea. I love this idea. I think it’s great.
Leo: Drive-up grocery stores. The first one will be in Silicon Valley. Well how does this work?
Georgia: You online go online, pick out what you want, and then drive up and get it.
Leo: Oh that’s kind of neat. So you’ve already ordered it and do they have it in little boxes ready for you to pick up and all that?
Georgia: Probably little droids, drones are going to be sending them down to you to the car.
Leo: Here in the states most grocery stores I think do offer delivery. We use Safeway and they’ll come and they’ll deliver for a fairly low fee. So why would I do this instead of getting my grocery store to actually bring it to me?
Georgia: See we don’t have, I don’t have delivery here.
Leo: You don’t have that.
Georgia: You can call to order but then you actually have to go, put all the boxes into your car yourself and then bring it home and unload. So I would love to be able to just drive up, have it already set for me and then bring it home. If they would deliver it to my door I think that would be a much better benefit so I think that that wasn’t, that’s not a greater thing for Amazon to get involved with if you already have home delivery of groceries.
Alex: Is there Instacart in Canada?
Georgia: No. No, what is Instacart?
Leo: They don’ t have any of that stuff.
Alex: Ok, you described Instacart essentially right there as a model and it’s working very well down here, so. All right.
Leo: Do you, what do you, you’re in San Francisco so you presumably have many choices.
Alex: I don’t really cook.
Leo: So you just eat out.
Alex: Yea pretty much. Which is why I have this glorious double chin you can see on camera right now.
Leo: So actually you—drive-throughs. You already go through drive throughs.
Alex: My car lives in Oregon. I don’t have a parking spot.
Alex: Yea dude.
Leo: Parking is so bad in San Francisco, Alex had to park in Oregon.
Alex: Yea it’s kind of a hike—
Leo: That is terrible.
Alex: It’s kind of a hike down then 101 for like 87 thousand miles.
Leo: That is terrible. I feel terrible for you.
Alex: No between the parking spot per month and insurance and gas and maintenance and other parking I was like, “I’ll just take Lyft and Uber.”
Leo: No, if I lived in the city I would use mass transit. You bet.
Alex: Wait, what?
Leo: Mass transit?
Alex: No, no. You don’t do that.
Leo: You don’t take the Muni?
Alex: Take the 47 bus one day and tell me how it goes.
Leo: I did for 13 years.
Alex: And you will just take Lyft the rest of the time.
Leo: You Lyft it?
Alex: I Lyft it. Indeed sir.
Leo: Or Uber it. Not Uber?
Alex: I Lyft.
Leo: You Lyft.
Alex: I don’t like Travis that much.
Leo: Yea. I mean I would go Lyft I’m just nervous about the mustaches.
Alex: You don’t rid them.
Leo: You don’t ride them?
Alex: You’re supposed to let the joke pass away for the kids.
Leo: All right thank you. I’m moving on.
Alex: (Laughing) Got you.
Leo: The OnePlus2 is on its way. We’ll talk a little bit about that. And you, according to Bloomberg news, are now liable for your butt dials. We’ll find out what that means in just a little bit. And AT&T and Direct TV are now one. But there were some pretty stringent requirements from the FCC. You wrote that article, Alex Wilhelm!
Leo: You of all people.
Alex: I co-wrote it.
Leo: All right.
Alex: I co-wrote. I wrote two of the paragraphs.
Leo: When you co-write, does someone give you the facts and you copy, you know, masterfully carve them into a prose story?
Alex: No. We were on a deadline. My intern this summer was writing—
Leo: Your intern wrote it?
Alex: Our intern. He’s one of our editorial interns.
Alex: And I gave him a couple of paragraphs about the anti-competitive stuff. So I got co-byline kind of as a favor for him, for helping him out.
Leo: So he’s going back to school but he’s going to say, “Hey, I’ve got a TechCrunch byline.”
Alex: He’s got like 45 so far so he’s been doing pretty good.
Leo: Nice. Very good. That’s a good internship. Do you listen to audiobooks anybody?
Georgia: I do.
Leo: Georgia does. Tim does. Chris does. I do. Actually I’ve been -- Audible.com. You know we talk about them all the time. 180,000 audio books. They are now the largest audiobook store anywhere. And it’s great. By the way this is an Amazon company. I wonder if they report their Audible earnings.
Alex: They do not.
Leo: They don’t break them out, huh? So if you’re not yet an Audible member, you’ve certainly heard us talk about them. But I’m wondering why. I’m thinking it’s certainly not the selection. I mean everything comes out on Audible now. Best sellers, fiction but also non-fiction. Anything you could conceivably want. There’s even computer books like programming language books on Audible.com. And of course if you’re a fan of performers like Aziz Ansari new book, Modern Romance, just came out. This is a great way to read those celebrity books. And often they are read by the author. Actually Amy Poehler’s “Yes, Please” is not just read by Amy Poehler, but Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Eileen and William Poehler, her parents, Patrick Stewart and Kathleen Turner. Has Amy Shumer written a book yet? Because boy, I’d read that. She’s hot, hot, hot. Do you have Amy Shumer in Canada?
Georgia: Do we have…? I don’t know if we have her in Canada. No, but I love Amy Shumer. I think she’s absolutely brilliant and really, really funny. So I love her.
Leo: I haven’t seen Trainwreck yet but I hear really good things about it.
Alex: Oh that’s what she was in.
Alex: Oh my girlfriend wants to go to that. Yea, yea, yea.
Georgia: I don’t know if I’m going to watch, I don’t know, I might wait. But I love all her skits. They’re so great.
Leo: I do what you do, Georgia. I save movies because if I go see every movie then I won’t have anything to watch at home.
Georgia: At home, yea.
Leo: So I only go to a few movies in the outside world because I want to see, I want something to watch at home.
Alex: Stay in that basement.
Leo: I love my basement. It’s got the Windows window.
Georgia: Yea we have a little movie room for a basement and that’s got everything.
Leo: That’s another thing I do. I absolutely insist on reading the book before I see the movie. “Gone Girl” would ruin “Gone Girl” if you saw the movie first because it’s got, you know, it’s a surprising book. But if you listen to it and then you watch it, it’s not so bad. I think you want the spoiler from the book.
Alex: Arg! But then there’s the problem of they changed the book so it doesn’t go like you think it’s going to.
Leo: They did. They changed it yet the movie’s nothing like it.
Alex: Game of Thrones has been so hard on me in the last couple seasons. Because I’m like, “That’s, you know…”
Leo: Oh Game of Thrones. And by the way you can get Game of Thrones, you can get everything on Audible.
Alex: Good segue.
Leo: Audible.com. They have so many great books to choose from. And I’m going to set it up so you can get 2 books for free. Your first 30 days free. You know what you might want to get? On Monday on Triangulation Ernest Cline is going to join us. Do you know who Ernest Cline is? He wrote, “Ready Player One.” And by the way the Audible version read by Wil Wheaton is freaking awesome. His new book just came out about a week ago. “Armada, a novel.” Wil Wheaton reprises his performance. Let me play a little bit of “Armada” for you.
Wil Wheaton: …back outside just in time to see another bright flash of silver as the craft streaked laterally across the landscape. Then halted and hovered over an adjacent patch of terrain before zooming off again.
Leo: I love Ernest Cline. He’s going to be a great guest on Triangulation. I will give you an assignment. Get both his books right now absolutely free. You can listen to them and then watch the interview.
Alex: Can I come back and be on that interview?
Leo: You know Ernest?
Alex: No, but it sounds good.
Leo: Oh, it’s going to be so much fun. Audible.com. Go to Audible.com/twit2. You’ll be signing up for the platinum plan. That’s 2 books a month. You get 2 credits a month. You also get the daily digest of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. So you can listen in the car. I listen at work. I listen at play. I listen in the gym. I listen when I’m walking the dog and doing the dishes. Audible.com/twit2. Two books are waiting for you. Audible.com/twit and the number 2. I love the OnePlus1. I thought it was the best phone of 2014. Great battery life. Which by the way nobody seems to be doing anymore. Everybody’s just given up. The iPhone has great battery life.
Alex: The iPhone’s battery’s incredible.
Leo: No, iPhone’s good. But no Android phone has battery life. I’m using the Nexus 6. It’s like 8 hours battery life. That’s not even…
Georgia: 8 hours battery life?
Leo: It’s terrible.
Georgia: That’s ridiculous.
Alex: Well it’s so very small compared to—
Leo: Well wait a minute, hold it up to Georgia it will look like it’s gigantic. Look at that it covers, it’s bigger than her head.
Alex: Exactly. So that’s beautiful.
Leo: But the OnePlus1 had 20, I would get 20 hours battery life. Now they offer a very pure Lollipop version of Lollipop they call their Oxygen OS. You can also get Cyanogenmod 12. So the OnePlus2. People have been very interested. OnePlus has been given out tips talking about it. They say it will be around $450. That’s about $100 more than the old phone, but still a lot less than a flagship phone from anybody else.
Alex: They’re $700 usually, right?
Alex: So it’s still a firm discount.
Leo: Oh it’s a great discount. They’re also going to include a type C connector and charger. That new USB connector that Apple’s using on the MacBook and Google’s using on the Pixel. Google’s already said that the future of Android is type C so that’s pretty exciting.
Alex: That’s true for everything, right?
Leo: I think so. For laptops, for everything and it’s going to eliminate these proprietary adapters which are terrible. We also think that it’s going to have 4Gs of RAM which makes a big difference in Android. Apple really manages RAM much better, but on Android more RAM is good. And the interesting thing is the launch tomorrow will be in VR.
Alex: It’s going to be in what?
Leo: Virtual Reality. You’ll be able to go, it’s going to be 7:00 P.M. Pacific on Monday and you probably should run out and get Cardboard or something. Some sort of VR helmet so you can go online. They’re actually even offering it on their Cardboard page, an opportunity to get Cardboard that will work. Oh, it’s sold out.
Alex: There we go.
Leo: That’s not a surprise at OnePlus. They can’t even get enough Cardboard. That’s ridiculous. So they say that there is going to be an invitation system again. In fact I applied for my invitation immediately. But that there are going to be far more this time. So maybe they’ll be able to get those out to people.
Alex: So it was HTC, right, that led the Android war. And then it was Samsung with Xiaomi. And is OnePlus next? I feel like we go through these Android OEMs on a two year basis. On a faster time cycle.
Leo: It’s really stunning. Samsung has just collapsed. We thought, I thought the S6 would revive them but it has not sold well at all. HTC is no longer even in the running. They’ve just fumbled the ball. Though they have a new HTC phone coming that looks pretty beautiful. I think OnePlus—I don’t know, Xiaomi you can’t get in the US, so.
Alex: Well you can. I mean we have it at the office. But you can’t buy it commercially on Bestbuy.tumbler.gif.
Leo: No, it’s never going to be a big seller in the U.S. OnePlus--
Tim: I know quite a few people who’ve had hardware issues with the first OnePlus phone and I’m hoping that they have a little bit better reliability with this one. But I know multiple people who’ve had issues with they display conking out or touch sensitivity going bad. I think that reliability’s been a challenge. And so I’m hoping that they improve that as well.
Leo: And more importantly, if you have problems with it, it’s very hard to get support.
Leo: They haven’t done a good job, they’re a Chinese company, I don’t think they have a big support network. So that’s been a concern too. I’ve heard from a lot of people as I’m sure you have, Tim, who bought one of these OnePlus phones, they’ve had a problem and just couldn’t get them replaced. Couldn’t get them fixed. In any event, it’s going to be interesting to watch. I’m very intrigued that they’re doing a VR announcement from their offices. And I hope that the phone is available soon. They haven’t said exactly when the phone will be available. But do go and—
Georgia: Are they also going to have the replaceable backings?
Leo: Yes, I think they’re going to do that again. The backing is that same weird pebbled plastic.
Alex: Do we like that or is that kind of ugly to us? What’s our take?
Leo: But you know, who cares because nobody, everybody puts their phone in a case, right? Did you cut yourself?
Alex: Um… I’m bleeding on set sorry.
Georgia: Oh my goodness.
Alex: But see my scab broke up so I’m Bandaid-ing.
Leo: Well we’re giving you a, what is that, Marvel Bandaids, so.
Alex: I was trying to do this quietly off camera, dumb ass.
Leo: Hey, I see everything. I see everything. I also see that you now have 38 favorites and 9 re-tweets on your stolen joke.
Alex: Yea, it’s true.
Leo: How long before the cease and desist comes?
Alex: What’s the total count now, now that I’m done bleeding? The count is 6 and 39. Yea, yea, yea.
Leo: Wow that’s impressive.
Alex: Sorry. Proves a point though that a good joke will be stolen twice before you wake up.
Alex: All right. I’m done with it.
Leo: Not the fastest processors. Only a Snapdragon 8.01. 8.01? Is that right? Oh, that’s the OnePlus1 never mind, I’m sorry.
Alex: Leo has bad information. Again.
Leo: Well I’m looking at the OnePlus1 and I welbnt to the OnePlus site but the only information they have here…
Alex: So is the OnePlus1 a 2 or the OnePlus2 a 3?
Alex: The naming’s killing me.
Georgia: One plus one…
Leo: One plus two should be a three.
Alex: Right? Out of ten or out of three?
Georgia: That makes sense.
Leo: (Laughing) Three out of three.
Georgia: I guess I’d say two because there’s two phones now so.
Leo: If you want to get an invite you can get one at OnePlus.net. When I signed up for an invite I was 39,152. I imagine a few more people have signed up for invites.
Georgia: Do you have your little virtual reality glasses though?
Leo: Oh, I do. I have Cardboard, but I also have, I’m sorry to say, I’m almost embarrassed to say, a Galaxy S6 and a Gear VR Helmet that Galaxy sells that you put the S6 in.
Tim: I have Gear VR as well, Leo, so we can commiserate together.
Leo: It’s a lot of money. And you know what’s really pathetic? The S6 overheats so easily that almost always halfway through the VR experience it goes, “We’re pausing while we cool down.”
Tim: Yea, something to look forward to. It overheats too.
Alex: Oh, you have it. Is that it?
Leo: This is a cheap one. But this is Cardboard, right? This is not…
Alex: Wow, you look even dorkier somehow.
Leo: You can look like the cool kids. We should have a viewing party on Monday night for the—want to come over?
Alex: I came on camera, I run out of tequila and my arm started to bleed. I am done with TWIT.
Leo: No. No. I’m done with TWIT.
Alex: One episode.
Leo: Have you done any VR stuff, Georgia, at all?
Georgia: This is such a hard—so, I’ve been dying to try out Oculus Rift and went to CS. I had my day planned because I’m really into the virtual reality type of thing, especially for gaming and just experiential kind of things. And the day that I left Serenity and Rene got to go in my place. And then you know, bragged about it the entire time to me. So I have never actually used Oculus or HoloLens or anything else as of yet.
Leo: You can get, I mean that is Oculus. The Gear VR, the Samsung Gear VR plus the Gear S6 or a Note 4. That is Oculus, right Tim? That’s the same technology Oculus uses?
Tim: You’d be using Oculus technology. It’s definitely not quite the same experience. There are issues with fogging and things like that that you don’t get with Oculus.
Leo: Fogging. I have that problem. Especially when I watch VR Porn. It gets all steamed up.
Alex: Well, that’s your shower.
Leo: No, I should watch in the shower, is that what you’re saying?
Alex: I’m saying, well, no you shouldn’t. No electronics in the shower is standard.
Leo: Tim I’m glad you said that. Because it does. It steams up for me.
Tim: Yup, it’s definitely an issue.
Alex: Maybe you should watch some documentaries. Or some audio books on your Oculus instead of watching porn.
Leo: I do it for research.
Tim: Yea, you read the articles.
Leo: I do it for research because a couple of the big porn sites have started shipping virtual reality porn for these devices.
Alex: All right. So who here has used HoloLens? Ok, just me.
Leo: How do you like that? That’s Microsoft’s solution.
Alex: Yea, that’s the only one I’ve really used. And Cardboard.
Leo: But that’s augmented, not virtual, right?
Alex: But I mean like tomato, tomato, potato, potato.
Leo: Well there is a difference. You can see the world around you with the—
Alex: What do you prefer? VR or AR?
Leo: Well, ok, this is a big change because for a long time I said, “Forget VR. It makes people nauseous, it’s really only for gaming. You can’t see what’s going on. People can sneak up behind you and cosh you on the head.” But AR you see what’s going on. It doesn’t make you nauseas. And the use, the use case is amazing. Now it’s not great for gaming, although Minecraft looks pretty cool. But it’s not really for immersive gaming. It’s kind of new user interface imposed on the world. And I thought that was – I was really excited. Until, you know, I kind of spent a little more time with the Gear VR and now I’m kind of more, I’m sold on both. I think both technologies are very exciting. Different use cases. But both very exciting.
Alex: Well, yea. Tim, if you had to pick right now. Or Georgia. Either one really. Between VR or AR for the next 5 years. Pick one of the two. What would you pick?
Tim: VR right now. I think in 5 years AR could be cool but in the intervening years AR’s probably going to be rather challenged. VR is in a much better state right now that AR’s going to be. So if I had to choose between the two, definitely I think VR will be much more cool in the next couple of years.
Georgia: Yea I’m also most interested in VR right now. I saw the HoloLens and I’m not as interested in that. In the end I’m just waiting for a Holodeck, so.
Alex: Yea, I’ll take that.
Leo: But that’s kind of like what Oculus is about. If you can get the frame rate high enough, the resolution high enough, it’s immersive. And you’ll look to the left, you’ll look to the right. That’s why you get sick, right? You get nauseous because your mind says, “I’m moving. I’m looking around.” Your ears say, “No you’re not. You’re sitting down.”
Georgia: Right, right.
Leo: So I think that – I think they’re both going to be huge in 5 years.
Alex: I agree. I agree entirely. But I think VR will get there first, AR second. Because it’s more difficult of a problem to do of imposing these things onto the actual world.
Leo: And we know that because Microsoft’s having trouble with HoloLens. They’ve really constrained the view area to a tiny little…
Alex: But I mean give it 3 generations. The Apple Watch, as Georgia pointed out, will get better over time. And so I feel like this technology in its infancy is still so interesting. Then by the time it’s in version 3 it’s going to be, you know, down right compelling.
Leo: Yea. Accidentally calling somebody or butt dialing as the kids know it is now your fault. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has ruled that somebody who accidentally calls somebody else is not protected by a right to privacy. So in other words – you know, ok. Georgia, again, you’re my guinea pic because I admitted to the fact that when I walk by a lit window at night I look in. If someone butt dials you do you listen?
Georgia: I would listen. I would be wondering, “Is someone in trouble? What is happening?”
Leo: Oh yea, right.
Georgia: What’s that muffled sound? And it would just be interesting to see what do they really think about you when you’re not around?
Leo: That’s what I’m waiting for. I’m waiting for them to say, “You know, that Leo Laporte is such a jerk.”
Georgia: What is he doing?
Alex: People already say that.
Georgia: I think that most people would though. I think that most people wouldn’t hang up at least they would wait, you know. If I heard someone rattling on in a conversation I would get bored and hang up. But I would be a little bit interested to listen in for a bit.
Leo: Here’s the back story. 2 members of the board of the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport were in Bologna, Italy, October 2013. One of them called Carol, who was an assistant to the chief executive of the airport, to ask her to book a dinner reservation for them. So they’re calling Kentucky from Bologna, Italy saying, “Can you make a dinner reservation for me in Italy?” After the call, James Huff, the chairman of the board, put his cellphone in his suit pocket and it butt dialed the assistant's office number. She said, “Hello? Hello?” The directors didn't hear her and continued talking about replacing her boss.
Alex: For 91 minutes.
Leo: For 91 minutes
Alex: That’s a long phone call.
Leo: That’s an expensive phone call from Bologna, Italy. She as the assistant, put the phone on speaker—
Alex: And took notes. Was she just with a pencil and paper or teletype? What was the media there?
Leo: Well eventually she whipped out her iPhone and started recording.
Alex: Oh my.
Leo: Toward the end of the call, Huff returned to his hotel room, re-capped the conversation about firing the CEO with his wife, so that she had a second chance to write everything down. She got the audio, the assistant got the audio file professionally enhanced, typed up her notes, and gave copies of it to members, other members of the board. Now, the husband and wife then sue, saying, “You’ve violated federal wire-tap law. It’s illegal to intercept electronic or oral communications intentionally.” The original court ruled for the assistant. The Huffs appealed. The appellate judge, Judge Danny Boggs – if I ever have to go before a judge, I want it to be Judge Danny Boggs.
Alex: Danny, Danny. Hey, hey. What is this, Jersey? Give it up yet.
Leo: Judge Danny Boggs says, “Butt dialing is kind of like accidentally leaving your window uncovered.” Get this, Georgia. “You are not legally protected from people looking into your house.”
Alex: Um… ok.
Leo: If you don’t close the curtains, it ain’t your fault. Leaving your curtains open is a conscious choice.
Alex: So if I butt dialed you on the way home today from Petaluma or wherever the hell we are, would you listen?
Leo: No, actually I don’t. You know why? It’s boring. It’s like, “mumble, mumble.” You can’t hear anything, it’s not—
Alex: Are you reading the chat room, by the way?
Leo: No, why?
Alex: Because people don’t like me that much so far on the show.
Leo: You’re not supposed to look at the chatroom. Would you please stop that. Don’t look at that.
Alex: I’ve had it up all show. All right, fine. I’m enjoying the--
Leo: Georgia, can you cancel Alex? He’s obviously got a—
Georgia: Yea, I don’t ever read, I don’t listen to the chatroom. I would be so distracted if someone says, “She smiles funny.” And then I would stop smiling and wouldn’t be myself, so.
Leo: Right. It makes you self-conscious.
Alex: I wouldn’t watch and be sad. It’s been fun actually.
Leo: You like that?
Tim: I always read the chats.
Leo: Tim, you read the chat?
Tim: I read and I reply too when I can.
Tim: I try to.
Leo: Some of our hosts do, and some of them don’t. I usually council people not to pay attention. I on the other had do read it because I get a secret little thrill when I see them say bad things about other people, so. That’s just me. By the way, the judge provided a link to an article, “Prevent Unwanted Butt Dialing with Smart Pocket Guard.”
Georgia: Smart, there we go.
Leo: An app that he says the defendant should have downloaded. So that is the most amazingly egregious case of spying on someone I’ve heard of.
Alex: But the best part is that she wasn’t trying to be bad. She was trying to be useful and efficient.
Leo: She was being a good employee.
Georgia: She was very efficient. She deserves a raise.
Leo: I’d like an assistant like that.
Alex: Um… no.
Leo: Because I’m the one that would be talking about firing somebody. That Alex Wilhelm, never have him on again. (Laughing) No, I think you’re great. Are we loving Pluto? We’re loving Pluto. Now color enhanced image of Pluto that makes it look kind of—
Georgia: It looks all blue.
Leo: Yea, it looks like one of those paperweights that you buy in the airy fairy store. You know, they should engrave like “Hope” into it. You know what I’m talking about, Georgia? You must have a few of those.
Georgia: No, I don’t. I don’t have one.
Alex: You are a roguish dog.
Leo: I thought that you would be the type of person, I’m just saying, that would have little semi-polished stones with little affirmations on them. You know, “Persevere.”
Georgia: I don’t have any of them in my office. I don’t have any of the little hokey, “Hope is what you,” you know, do and everyone else stops doing it. I don’t do that. My office is pretty, just straight forward Zen.
Leo: Wow. It’s kind of like your backdrop.
Georgia: So I don’t do that.
Leo: Doesn’t this look like though, that’s… those are… it’s got a little heart on it.
Alex: It’s a beautiful image.
Leo: It’s a gorgeous image.
Georgia: It’s very pretty.
Tim: Yea it is.
Alex: What a treat to be alive when we finally have this image in our lives. You know, because 50 years ago if you died, you would never have seen it.
Leo: Never have seen Pluto.
Alex: Yea, yea, but I mean…
Leo: Let alone a butt dial.
Alex: Well, you can butt dial Pluto but it costs long distance.
Leo: This is such a gorgeous image. I just love it.
Alex: I’m just so impressed by it. It’s fun to see technology actually still progressing and bringing us new things that are not just photo apps.
Leo: You know you’re right, isn’t it? This gives us some hope for humanity.
Alex: This took a lot of money, effort, calculation.
Leo: 10 years.
Alex: Yea, 10 years.
Tim: Love it.
Georgia: And it’s so much more rounder than you would expect something to be from the Kuiper Belt. You would expect it to me a little bit more rocky. I’m very impressed with how beautiful Pluto really is.
Leo: Yea no kidding.
Alex: Georgia, I’m dumb. The Kuiper Belt is the asteroid belt on the outside of the solar system.
Alex: Ok, thank you.
Georgia: Right, and that’s where, you know, that’s where Pluto is from. So that’s why they don’t believe it’s actually a planet per se. Don’t send me angry tweets.
Alex: How do we know it’s not a planet? Sorry, how do we know it’s from the belt?
Leo: That’s where the Kuiper Belt is. And the belt, it’s just a belt of debris that is rotating around the outside of the solar system.
Georgia: Yes, yea. And there are other planet-like objects like Pluto that are there, so.
Leo: Look at the comet, right? That we just recently landed on. It’s all irregular and weird. This thing is, it looks like a marble. It’s a perfect…
Georgia: Yea it’s…
Leo: The other thing, we talked to somebody on the team, the New Horizons Team, a couple of weeks ago on the New Screen Savers, and I asked her, “Why aren’t there more craters?” You know the moon is like pockmarked. She said, “It’s not that it’s not getting hit by stuff, but it’s active. It’s tectonically active. So the craters are getting covered over. So I think that’s kind of interesting.
Georgia: It actually has an atmosphere.
Leo: And water!
Alex: Wait, it has water?
Alex: I’m like SF.
Georgia: It’s not water, though. It’s liquid. Liquid nitrogen I believe?
Leo: Oh, water, liquid nitrogen, what’s the difference?
Alex: You can drink both if you want to die.
Leo: I thought they found water. H20. The mountains are made of water, says John. He’s our amateur astronomer here. AT&T and DirecTV have merged. Alex Wilhelm has the story along with his intern.
Alex: Yea well essentially this deal is going to happen. Shout out to my intern.
Leo: 48 Million dollars.
Alex: Or I guess our intern. The real story is after the FCC killed the Comact deal essentially, they let this one go through. This proves that big combinations on the teleco and cable side are not impossible.
Leo: Not impossible.
Alex: Are not impossible.
DirecTV is kind of a weakling though, isn’t it?
Alex: That’s why they’re allowed to buy it. If you combine the two biggest players like they were trying with Comcast, you can’t do that. It’s not competitive. In this case they’re going to let it go through. The dollar amounts are eye-popping. But I mean in the era in which large tech companies have tens of billions in cash on hand, it’s not that terrifying. And I think it’s a fair deal. I’m not that opposed to it.
Leo: It does make AT&T the largest pay TV Company in the world. 26 million subscribers. That’ bigger than Comcast?
Alex: I don’t have the Comcast number off the top of my head.
Leo: That doesn’t sound right.
Alex: But I think that this combination is. I think Comcast is 23.5 million subs and 25.3 million broadband subs.
Leo: So it’s close. Isn’t that interesting that they have more broadband subs than they do cable subs.
Alex: Yea. I’m not surprised. Are you surprised by that?
Leo: Yea, I’m really surprised.
Leo: Because Comcast really incents you to get both.
Alex: I know.
Leo: And they even charge you more if you only, if you get internet without TV they charge you ten bucks more.
Leo: So it seems that most people would say, “All right, I’ll throw in the TV.” But I guess not.
Alex: But then the special deal ends and you pay for it for years afterwards. Which I did for three years by the way until last month because I’m dumb. I feel like broadband has actually replaced TV for so many people that it’s not a shocking stat to me. And it’s a long time coming. And so it will only grow the discrepancy moving forward.
Leo: 26 million of course is a lot smaller than Comcast-Time Warner would have been had that merger been allowed to go through.
Alex: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Leo: The FCC also made some stipulations. They required the combined entity to deploy, this is good for us, high speed fiber optic broadband internet to 12.5 million customer locations as well as E-rate eligible schools and libraries. They have to obey net neutrality provisions. So they’re not going to get to squeeze small video providers as a result of this merger.
Alex: And importantly on the peering side of things, they have to submit those agreements to the FCC for review.
Leo: Oh, love that.
Alex: That is so huge.
Leo: So they can’t go to Level 3 and say, “Hey, Level 3, if Netflix…” Or go to Netflix and say, “Hey, if you want to get access to our customers, you’re going to have to give us a little extra money.”
Alex: It would be a shame if your broadband TV …
Leo: It would be terrible.
Alex: We’re your friends.
Leo: China has made a major cultural step forward. They are eliminating the ban on video game consoles. Commodore has announced they are going to start shipping the Amiga immediately.
Alex: It’s coming out next week for $599.
Leo: I didn’t know they banned the Xbox, they banned PlayStation.
Tim: It’s kind of been a soft ban because you could actually get the Xbox One there and there have been some consoles made available but it’s kind of been a gradual thing. For a long time there were no video game consoles available legally and officially. You had to kind of go through the black market to get them.
Leo: Wow. Well, this is a good place—
Alex: Why were they banned?
Leo: Because they’re horrible for you.
Alex: So is…
Leo: But this would be a good—so are cigarettes, I know. But they love them. This would be a really interesting test case. Georgia, I want you to get on this, to see if violence increases in China as a result of violent video games.
Georgia: I think that we’ve already disclaimed that.
Leo: We’ve already proved that.
Georgia: It does de-sensitize you but it’s not going to make you more violent.
Georgia: Neither will a jelly donut. So we’re all good.
Leo: I am violent if I don’t get a jelly donut.
Georgia: That’s better.
Leo: That’s when I get violent. All right. And one last story. Verizon’s new video service, because Verizon has also been in acquisition mode and is growing. And they have a new video service. What do you think that name is?
Alex: Well, as a current Verizon employee, because they bought us out—
Leo: That’s right, you work for them!
Alex: So this is even more fun.
Leo: I’m so sorry.
Alex: That logo is crap. The slogan is lame. And I hate its color scheme. And Verizon can bite me.
Leo: And so, good. You’re proving your editorial independence.
Leo: Much as the Gawker team did when – that’s not true.
Alex: Again, no Gawker on the show.
Leo: No Gawker. So it is mint green. It looks like—God, I don’t even know what.
Alex: It’s kind of a question mark, a quotation mark followed by a circle with a go90.
Leo: And go90 is the name of it.
Alex: What millennial is to blame for this?
Leo: You think it’s a millennial?
Alex: Oh, absolutely. Those people actually have taste.
Leo: Aren’t you a millennial?
Alex: Yea. I don’t like me team either.
Leo: You don’t like your team, eh? go90. It’s going to be free at least to start and it will include ESPN, Viacom, CBS Sports, the NFL and DreamWorks. Free to watch at launch. That means like a minute later they’ll start charging you.
Alex: Tim, are you going to use this?
Tim: No and I am no longer a Verizon employee. I never was officially a Verizon employee I guess I should say. But no, I will not use this.
Leo: What do you watch for TV? Because you’re in the middle of nowhere, right? In fact you use a mi-fi I think to talk to us.
Tim: We used to but we now have Time-Warner Cable. We paid them to run a long cable up the driveway and we are now officially tethered.
Leo: Good for you.
Tim: But I don’t really watch TV. We only have internet. I watch Netflix and so I’m usually a season behind whatever the hip new thing is.
Leo: Yea, yea. I just read an interesting article about Netflix. I guess the DVD by mail business is kind of shrunk hugely.
Alex: Yea, but they still showed 90 million dollars in net profits in the last quarter. So it’s kind of like AOL’s old dial-up business. A declining cash flow but still a cash cow.
Leo: But really a good example of I think -- I have such respect for Reed Hastings, the CEO.
Leo: He made that pivot. A very difficult pivot made more difficult by some missteps, saying he was going to merge the two companies, then he was going to separate, then charge you twice as much. But one of the things, this is the New York Times writing about it, one of the things they’ve done right, they’ve fallen – in 2010 they were doing 20 million subscribers to DVD service. Now it’s 5.3 million. But the way they’ve made that work for them and continue to be profitable is by automation. So they have a giant robot now. I just like saying the words “giant robot.” They used to have humans empty the envelopes, stuff the envelopes. Now they have a giant robot which opens the envelope, cleans the disc inside, identifies it, checks that it works, put’s it back in the sleeve and then back on the shelf. 3400 disks an hour. Which is a 500% increase over humans.
Alex: But think about how much better their margins are on digital distribution than actual physical distribution. So this decline as we move from DVDs to streaming services, they make more money. They have better margin.
Leo: So they have 5.3 million DVD users. 65 million streaming members.
Leo: That’s a huge difference. And yet they have no good movies on streaming. I guess people don’t care what they watch, right?
Alex: They have a good comedy selection. I’ll give them that.
Leo: All right. Well they have House of Cards. I mean they have, the originals on Netflix are quite good. Maybe that’s what’s saving them.
Alex: Well the days of Redbox are behind us. I think that’s a fair thing to say.
Leo: Redbox. It’s still around, isn’t it?
Alex: Well I took a DVD to the office. It was a Bitcoin documentary. They handed it to me.
Leo: They sent me one too.
Alex: But I couldn’t play it. I didn’t have a CD player in my office, or a DVD player whatever. I literally did not have one computer that could play it out.
Leo: I don’t either.
Alex: Why would-- send me a USB drive.
Leo: Send me a link. Send me a link. Tim Stevens, he is as CNET. That’s where he covers autos and anything else he’s interested in. It’s always great to have you on, Tim. @tim_stevens on Twitter if you want to steal any of Alex’s jokes, be my guest.
Tim: (Laughing) I’m going to re-tweet that right now.
Leo: Yea, do. Let’s all do that. We also have had a lovely time with the Tang and tequila drinking Alex Wilhelm.
Alex: How’s it going?
Leo: I’ll get you Tang for next time.
Alex: Ok. Oh, can I come back?
Leo: Yea, of course you can come back. You’re great.
Leo: You’re a character.
Alex: All right.
Leo: Yea. And of course Georgia Dow is always coming back because she’s the greatest at iMore.com. She’s @Georgia_Dow. You should have gone to Mexico last time Alex was there and bought Georgia. He bought Alex.
Alex: I bought it over Skype, so.
Leo: Oh, you didn’t go to Mexico?
Alex: I just lived there. That’s a different story.
Leo: And so some guy named Alex just said, “Hey, you want Alex?”
Alex: No, I tweeted him. I was like “Hey man, can I buy your user name?”
Leo: And he said yes?
Alex: Well, Twitter used to break every day.
Leo: How much did you pay?
Leo: 60 bucks?
Georgia: That’s amazing.
Alex: It was 7 years ago.
Leo: How much would you pay for @Georgia? Wouldn’t you love that?
Georgia: I would say $200.
Georgia: That’s about it.
Leo: So the state of Georgia, if you don’t need that Twitter handle anymore…
Georgia: Yea, get rid of it.
Leo: Give it on to somebody nice from Canada. Thank you, Georgia Dow for being here.
Georgia: They could use $200.
Leo: Hey you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t show you the wonderful things we did this week on TWIT. How about a little bit of a, a little edited mini clip fest. If you didn’t see the shows on TWIT this week, this is what you missed.
Narrator: Previously, on TWIT. Security now.
Steve Gibson: What these guys found is a way to connect to Chrysler vulnerable vehicles. They completely took over his instrumentation. They can kill the engine, cut the transmission, disengage the breaks. Meanwhile those guys were at home on the couch doing this over the internet.
Leo: That’s what’s really scary to me.
Narrator: All About Android.
Ron Richards: How do we feel about a Remix Mini Kickstarter, a PC running Android for just $20.
Phil Nickinson: I would rather take a $20 bill, fold it up, stick it in the HDMI port or wherever this thing plugs in, because a month later when I quit using this, I’ll be able to pull that $20 bill back out and actually do something useful.
Narrator: The New Screen Savers.
Leo: We all read the article about the Cascadia subduction zone. Scared a lot of people. We thought we’d get an expert in here.
Julian Lozos: Any earthquake on Cascadia doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the whole thing. Whenever there’s an earthquake and some article gets into like, “You’re all going to die.” And then the earth science community is like, “No, no.”
Narrator: TWIT. It’s what’s for dinner.
Jim Cutler: You know when I’m not pillaging and destroying the coast of Scotland, I enjoy a good Dinty Moore Beef Stew.
Leo: Don’t ask. Don’t ask. Do we have The Week Ahead?
Mike Elgan: Coming up this week, OnePlus is announcing their OnePlus2 Phone tomorrow. The launch will be streamed in virtual reality. And speaking of VR, Nokia will unveil tomorrow what is expected to be a virtual reality product of some kind. Then on Tuesday Motorola will announce the 3rd generation MotoX and a few other things. Also on Tuesday, Twitter and Yelp report earnings. Windows 10 ships Wednesday. That’s also when Google switches users from Google + Photos to Google Photos, and Google plans to announce a mysterious service called Pay With a Photo. Facebook and Nintendo announces earnings Wednesday as well. But Thursday’s the biggest day for earnings. We’ll hear from T-Mobile, Nokia, Sony, Electronic Arts, Shopify, Linked In and Samsung. Then on Saturday the Black Hat Conference begins in Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s what’s coming up this week. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Thank you, Mr. Michael Elgan. He’s our news director and the host of TNT Monday through Friday, your daily dose of tech news, 10:00 A.M. Pacific, 1:00 P.M. Eastern time, 1700 UTC. We do TWIT every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 P.M. Pacific. Please stop by and say hi. That’s 6:00 P.M. Eastern, 2200 UTC. You can watch live. You can be in the chatroom. And if you’re in the Petaluma area you can also sit in a nice comfortable chair and enjoy our cupcakes. All you’ve got to do is e-mail email@example.com so we do put a cupcake out for you. Just want to make sure we have enough.
Alex: And they’re really good cupcakes too.
Leo: Aren’t they good?
Alex: I recommend it. They have the little logo on top.
Leo: Actually they’re there to celebrate our 4th anniversary. We moved into this studio 4 years ago on Friday, on the 24th.
Alex: And you’re still in business.
Leo: And we’re still in business.
Alex: It’s a miracle really.
Leo: Oh, it’s more than a miracle, my friend. It is, yes, I had to bribe many, many people to do that. By the way, Rene Ritchie has tweeted me, Georgia, and says you send him plain text files in docx over e-mail. You are trolling him. So, busted. Busted. Just telling you. Nothing gets by Twitter. And thanks to Ted Kakakis who tells us that Friday is Sys Admin day.
Alex: There you go.
Leo: So get a cupcake for your sys admin. Oh look, there’s a sys admin right there. It says, “Trust me. I’m a Sys Admin.”
Alex: That’s the worst advertising of all time. It’s like “Trust me. I went to prison.” Like, no, absolutely not.
Leo: (Laughing). Trust me. I read your e-mail. Thank you everybody for being here. We’ll see you next time. And don’t forget, we’re going to have Ernest Cline on Triangulation tomorrow, 11:00 A.M. Pacific that’s going to be a lot of fun. 2:00 P.M. Eastern time, 1800 UTC. TWIT.tv. See you later! Another TWIT is in the can.