This Week in Tech 524
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT: This week in Tech! Coming up, a great show for you with Dwight Silverman, Philip Elmer DeWitt, the return of John C. Dvorak. We'll talk about Ashley Madison, we'll talk about cyber porn, we'll talk about hover boards, and the cat purr generator. Why do cats purr? We'll find out next on TWiT!
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This is TWiT: This Week in Tech, episode 524, recorded Sunday, August 23, 2015.
Straight Outta 'Back to the Future'
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news. Today, we've got three refugees from the Ashley Madison website joining us, and I'm very excited. John C. Dvorak is here. I'm just kidding.
John C. Dvorak: You are?
Leo: No I'm not.
John: Actually I have the database.
Leo: It's like 30 gigs!
Dwight Silverman: Everybody's got the database.
Leo: That's Dwight Silverman from the Chron.
John: You didn't plug noagendashow.com.
Leo: noagendashow.com. Look who else is here? It's Philip Elmer-DeWitt.
Philip Elmer DeWitt: You know, I looked you up in Madison. You're not there.
Leo: Thank you. My wife told me she did. I asked her why she did that.
John: I think that's an insult.
Dwight: Everybody's wife did. I try out everything and I forget that I've been in something to see what it's like.
Leo: That's your story and you're sticking to it.
John: Anybody that was found in there is an idiot. These things are all scams. 50 men one woman.
Leo: It was like 90% men?
Philip: 86% men.
Leo: My wife's position is that there aren't real women in there.
John: Some woman came out and said she was hired at 35,000 a year to create characters constantly. Everyday she'd do...
Leo: It has a trusted security award. It says there right on the front. Trusted security award. It's 100% discreet, until the database goes up. Cashmere Hill on Fusion wrote an article saying we should just not look. Don't look. Avert your eyes.
John: I'm watching Russia today, and the girl calls the co-host out. He was on there.
Leo: I'd be furious.
John: He was like, we'll it was just research. It was this, it was that.
Leo: Somebody sent me a note, I don't know if this is true or not, saying that Ashley Madison was not a double opt in system. Others could sign you up for it and you would appear in the database, even if they did it as a prank.
John: I got signed up by some joker to J-date.
Leo: Oh god. I get worse stuff than that.
John: I don't know how this happened, but it was J date and everybody was in Syracuse.
Leo: The guy who signed you up was in Syracuse. It's funny.
John: Luckily since I get no spam, I can just blacklist it.
Leo: The only site I know of that has revealed names is Gawker. What a surprise.
John: They've revealed names?
Leo: They reveal names of people in the database.
John: There's a bunch of sites that have search engines.
Dwight: A lot of sites have gone in and said in my blog post I went in and I looked at the list of government domains and found that there were five people with the city of Houston's domain name that had signed up for it.
Leo: That's appropriate.
Dwight: I didn't want to go any further.
John: Oh please. Go further.
Leo: It's like looking at the Jennifer Lawrence naked pictures. You're now complicit in the whole thing.
Dwight: If you found that a city council member or the mayor of a town was in it, the question becomes have they broken any laws? Did they position themselves as being morally upright?
John: They could have been put in there by a political enemy.
Dwight: That's right. It may not have been them themselves.
Leo: If there wasn't a verification e-mail, and apparently there wasn't, then nothing you find there...
John: If they paid by credit card.
Leo: How did this work? Maybe you can explain. Is it you pay per incident?
John: It's like all the rest of them. They're all the same.
Leo: Is it a monthly fee?
Dwight: Some of the people who were identified, like Josh Dugger...
Leo: I wasn't going to say any names! You went there!
Dwight: That's been all over the place. We had it on our site. They were matched up by credit card. So if they were able to match the credit card to e-mail address...
Leo: Then you're busted. I think--
Philip: If Donald Trump were on there, there would be a story.
John: He'd be more likely to buy the place.
Leo: It's not prostitution. It's not...
John: I'm sure the place is crawling with prostitutes. Guaranteed dates.
Leo: You would have to prove that. I don't believe that infidelity is against the law. In Texas it might be.
Dwight: In the military it is. There were a lot of military .mil domains in those e-mails.
Leo: What's the tech angle on this story? They claimed it was secure and safe? They even had that trusted verified site. If you put something online, you can't guarantee it's safe.
John: I think anyone who trusts these sites... I think one of these days, the big bust is going to be Facebook.
John: They never throw anything away on Facebook. At least that's what they say. All your crazy personal photos that you have supposedly deleted can all be brought back. It would be pretty interesting.
Dwight: That's the privacy one. The financial one would be Amazon, because they have credit card numbers.
Leo: Is it possible, if you're Jeff Basos or Tim Cook to say I don't care what it costs, this must be secure. Is it possible to do that?
John: No. It's impossible.
Leo: There's nothing that's hacker proof?
John: If it's on the Internet, it's not possible.
Leo: We've had this conversation. I've had this conversation with somebody who is an expert, Steve Gibson. I said, is there anything Sony Pictures Entertainment could have done differently? There's a lot they could have done differently. Was there anything they could have done that would have been sufficient. Then the counter example I use is Shelley Adelson, founder of Comedex. Built casinos in Macau that were cash cows. His Sands Casino operation runs the back office operation for Vegas Casinos, for Atlantic City casinos, for Macau casinos. If there was something in the world you would want to secure, it would be the back office operations for a massive casino operator.
John: I think banks are in the same league.
Leo: But banks have shown that they're kind of ignorant about this. You got to figure Shelley had the best guys on it. He was hacked by Iranians. I think that proves your point. There is nothing that is unhackable if you're targeted.
John: Being targeted is not good.
Philip: Here's the tech angle that Josh Herman had. This is new territory in terms of the personal cost of hacking.
Leo: These are not assignments, Philip. There's different ways to pursue this. This is just what we might talk about.
Philip: His point was that it's one thing if your credit card gets hacked, usually the bank makes it good, but if you were cheating on your wife and it gets discovered, that's real personal cost. His point is, this is new territory for hackers. My question is, what was their motivation? Were they trying to expose a fraud?
John: They said that they hated this site because it was encouraging sin so they want after it.
Leo: They claimed they had been in it for years.
Dwight: They were also after it because they were charging 19 dollars to expunge your data, you could quit and your data would stay there, or you could pay $19 to leave, and even when you did that, there was still data that remained. In fact, when they did their dump, they had proof that the $19 deletion didn't delete.
Leo: That incensed them. If you credit that they felt it was immoral, does that imply that this is Iranian hackers?
John: No. They're some guys.
Philip: English was their second language. There was a Q and A with them and something didn't come across clearly, and they said, "Is our English not right? Did you not get that because we didn't say it right?"
Dwight: When you read the transcript, it was clear that they were not first-time English. I have a friend who has a theory that women were involved in it, because there are three sites at avid life media. There's established men, there's Ashley Madison, and there's one called Cougar Town. They said Cougar town could stay up, but these other two have to go away.
John: From that they are assuming that it was probably women who were involved?
Leo: Or a young man who likes older women.
Dwight: I'm on that database, so we won't take that one.
Leo: How old would the Cougar have to be for you?
Dwight: Cougar Life, I think.
Leo: Cougar Town is better. That's a TV show, isn't it? From Boing Boing, TL;DR on the Q&A. The hackers behind the breach first released snippets of data in July. After 30 days they dumped ten gigs, followed by 20 gigs. There's a third dump of 30 gigs. They say they have 300 gigs more, including internal company e-mails, files. It's a Sony pictures style hack. How hard was it? We worked hard to make fully undetectable attack, got in and found nothing to bypass. They prepared for the worst. They got nothing. What was their security like? Bad. Nobody was watching! No security. Only thing was segmented network. You could use Pass1234 from the Internet to re-route on all servers. But they do have a trusted security award.
John: They got a sticker.
Leo: When did you start hacking them? A long time ago. The read me of the first data dump over the past few years, they claim.
John: Do they know for a fact that this is actually the hacker, or is this just somebody?
Dwight: They used the same cryptographic key they used to do the dump to contact them.
Leo: They say tens of thousands of user pictures are in the next dump, but 1/3 of them are intimate pictures.
Leo: OK. I was trying to avoid the word. But anyway. One third are dick pics, and we won't dump them. Not dumping most employee e-mails either. This is kind of moralistic.
John: supposedly the hack was for moral reasons. I think it's a non-story.
Leo: OK. Well we're moving on.
Dwight: It's a tech and society story. It's where we have come to as a result of this.
Leo: It is a cautionary tale. What are you going to do about Amazon? You're not going to use Amazon?
John: What's the worst that can happen?
Leo: You get a new credit card.
John: Yeah. Happens all the time.
Leo: By the way, big payments from Target to Visa. It was Target, wasn't it that was hacked? Of course, in the past, the tradition has been that the credit card companies just eat it. They not only eat the liability but they eat the cost of sending new cards out. This time they went to Target and said you guys didn't do the job. They nicked them for hundreds of millions of dollars. not an insignificant amount of money. Issuers will receive payment for some of their costs under rules laid out by Visa. They have the choice whether to accept another payment that will reimburse them for any fraud. Target agreed to reimburse Visa 60 million dollars. That's just one.
Dwight: Leo, you may not have seen this because it's a regional story, but a month or so ago, the law enforcement down in the Rio Grande Valley of the Texas Mexico border confiscated a bunch of credit cards that had a bunch of numbers that had been stolen during the Target hack. They had waited this long to start producing these and they were being distributed all along the valley. They shut them down. So far, a lot of the credit card numbers had not surfaced and you're not safe for a while after something like that.
Leo: Will this be better? All my credit card issuers are sending me cards with pins in them. Chips in them. No pin, just chips. I don't know exactly what the benefit is to that. We're still swiping a card and tapping a card and signing. That's your identification. Chip and pin would be much more secure. We're the last country in the world...
John: It took forever to get the smart cards because there's a patent. It would cost 50 cents extra.
Leo: The laws protected them against liability. There's no pressure from us. No incentive.
Philip: Here's the incentive. In October, the rules change. It used to be that the banks paid if there was any fraud. Starting in October, the link in the change that had the weakest security pays up. All the retailers who are usually the weakest link are upgrading their equipment and all the credit card companies are putting the chips in and the whole thing is supposed to get more secure. Whoever doesn't get secure gets stuck with a bill after October.
Leo: Exactly. That's why everybody, Rite Aid, CVS...
John: If somebody steals my car and they go wandering into some place and nobody cares enough to check ID or anything and then the bank gets stuck with the bill, there's no incentive for the retailers to try to put a stop to this. They figure the bank will pick it up.
Leo: Thank goodness. Let's take a break. We've got a great panel.
John: You've got a great panel; we just need some good topics.
Leo: John busts my chops constantly.
Dwight: I thought Ashley Madison was good.
Leo: I think that's a good topic. If it bleeds it leads.
John: It didn't bleed. By the way, there's something insulting in that comment.
Leo: All right. You know what? You want to talk, we can talk. I know you want to talk about the new Intel chip set. Very exciting. Big story here. Are you excited?
John: Pins and needles.
Leo: Or would you rather talk about Ashley Madison? New router from Google. We could talk about that.
John: We should talk about.
Leo: It's an interesting stealth device in your home. But first of all, I want to talk about Intel, believe it or not. Not just Skylight. I'm talking about the Intel Two-In-Ones. Do you use a two in one? Tablet plus keyboard. Surface pros. Two in one. The yoga is a two in one. This is becoming more and more popular of a category. You can thank Intel for that.
John: I thought Microsoft was the one who...
Leo: No. Microsoft was hopping on the Intel bandwagon. Intel often does these reference designs. They don't sell any themselves, but they often sell these reference designs. They do these reference designs and companies come out and they make them. The Intel power two in one is giving small business owners what they want, both. Not just one or the other. They don't want to choose between A or B, if both will help your business, they want A and B. It's not hard work or innovation; it's hard work and innovation. Versatility and strength. These power two in ones give you the best of both worlds. You can choose between a laptop and a tablet. You get both. Performance and freedom. Powered by Intel's family of core processors. These are amazing. You can impress clients at the touch of a tablet, handle robust programs on the go. You can do it right now. That's a better way to work. That's the power of and. smallbusiness.intel.com. You can see a number of companies making these great two in ones. Laptop power and performance, tablet mobility, maximum versatility. The battery life just gets better and better. It's really amazing. Peak performance for a business. Great built in graphics. The fifth generation Intel core processors up to two and a half times faster than a four-year-old laptop. The battery of the fifth gen Intel core processor. Up to 8.7 hours. That's 2.6 times longer than the 2011 laptop. If you want super battery life I love the core and processor. That gives you razor thin tablet, ultra fast laptop, a single mobile device. The Intel core processor provides two in one the optimal combination of business performance and battery life, and both the fifth generation Intel core and the core M wirelessly stream all the things you need. Presentations, videos, websites and more from your PC to your display. Follow Intel. They're on Twitter: intelsmallbiz@intelsmallbiz, and experience the power of Intel at smallbusiness.intel.com. You'll find out how Intel powered two in ones can improve your small business. smallbusiness.intel.com. It's really nice to have Intel on the show. Very happy. Now let's talk about Skyley.
John: So Lindsey is...
Leo: Alex Lindsay. Yeah. He moved back from Pittsburgh.
John: He just moved to Pittsburgh a week ago.
Leo: Have you ever seen the snow in Pittsburgh?
John: Not this time of the year.
Leo: I've been playing with a Note 5, which I love.
John: Is that it?
Leo: Yes it is, as a matter of fact.
John: Let's see.
Leo: It has a new feature.
John: It's not as big as I thought it would be.
Leo: It's 5.7 inches, which is as big as the Note 4, but you don't feel like it's that big do you?
Dwight: I like the S 6 Edge Plus. That's a fine phone. I want one of those.
Leo: I have the Edge. The original Edge. I keep accidentally touching the Edge. I decided not to get the Edge Plus. Also the Stylus. Let me show you this John.
Dwight: The stylus complains if you walk away with the phone. It beeps at you.
Leo: It did that on the Note 4 too. That's important because it's easy to lose these. The phone was off, I popped out the stylus and I could start writing 5551212. You never lose that number. Isn't that nice? Right on the off screen. By the way, did you notice the latency? It's good. This thing keeps up. That's a problem sometimes with these stylus devices is that there's a little lag.
John: You made a mess.
Leo: I made a mess, but I saved it so it's a permanent mess.
John: How do you save it?
Leo: You just press the save button. It's called a screen off memo. There's a lot of nice features in this. I really feel like...
John: This is the phone of the day for you.
Leo: Maybe a week. The reason I mention it is because it has a feature that you can stream directly from the camera to YouTube live. I was back before the show in the kitchen and Alex Linsday had this new DXO camera, I said wait a minute. I started the live stream off of the phone and he did a quick impromptu review of it. I think that's really cool. Isn't that nice?
John: I'm liking it.
Leo: Let's see. You can draw on the screen.
Dwight: Leo, do you put cases on your phones?
Leo: I bought a case. This phone is so beautiful.
John: That's a horrible looking case.
Leo: It makes it look like a Note 4. I'm not going to put a case on this one. It's too beautiful.
Dwight: They sent me the S 6 Edge Plus and I liked the Edge I thought if I was going to buy one of these, what would the cases look like?
Leo: They have cases.
Dwight: Yeah, but they're not very protective because they have to expose the side of the screen.
Leo: That's always a weak point on most of these cases. Glass is glass. You can have a gorilla case, but if you hit a rock from a point on the glass, it's going to break. It doesn't matter. The funniest case that Samsung is offering is a keyboard case. Have you seen that? The keyboard... but not. It flips around from the back. It goes right where the on-screen keyboard is, and when you tap a key, it taps the onscreen keyboard. It's not electrical. It's tapping the screen for you.
John: It's dumb.
Leo: So stupid. People who played with it at the Samsung event were not impressed. I guess I won't get that. Somebody says, "Yes, Dwight. That's an Edge case." I did get the One Plus Two as well, but once you use the OLED screens, it's hard to use the lower quality...
Dwight: The screen on the Edge, you just fall into it when you look at it.
Leo: Wait until you try VR porn. Did I say that?
John: Yes you did.
Leo: Google is making a router I hear.
John: I'm broadcasting something.
Leo: Yeah, you're YouTube living. It's on my YouTube stream. Anybody who wants to watch, Dvorak is going to be distracted by a behind the screens video.
John: There are the Germans.
Leo: By the way, I think there's a sign somewhere that says at any point you could be on camera. You were warned. They sign an 8 page disclaimer.
John: Did you know that your child belongs to him now?
Leo: Page 3. Look at that. That's the live video.
Leo: By the way, I think there's a sign somewhere that says at any point you could be on camera. You were warned.
Leo: It's a little washed out because of our lights in here. The flare.. the sound is good. It's a little bit better when you get out of the light. The lag is about 15 seconds.
Jason Howell: It's in sync this time. The video that we did beforehand was out of sync.
Leo: If you go to Youtube.com/leolaporte. I like it. I like the idea of doing YouTube live. It's more mainstream. Plus it gets saved.
Dwight: It doesn't have the social aspect.
Jason: There's imbedded chat on the page.
Leo: I didn't know that. The thing is, you don't see it on your screen as your shooting. What were people saying?
Leo: Good. I was shocked earlier this week when Google without any fanfare, Apple would have had at least an event. They put out a router. I read about it somewhere. It was already sold out almost everywhere. Jason, did you get one? Jeff Jarvis went to Wal Mart and got one. I ordered mine, but it won't be coming until October. Why is Google doing a router.
Philip: They make money the more people are on the Internet.
Leo: Are you going to go with the paranoid aspect of this, like this is a spy device?
Philip: They put out a statement saying they're not gathering any information. I'm tempted. There's some cool aspects of it. The three lights, if your thing is working it's green, if it's not working it's red. Apparently there's tools that make it easy to figure out what's going on. This is a piece of bad tech that we're living with. Someone who can come in and make routers work simply and easily, the way you want them to work, that's a worthy goal.
Leo: I think you just nailed it, Philip. When Google sees something crappy, we could do a better one. They just do it.
Philip: Is it really 400 bucks?
Philip: The ones on Amazon are 400.
Leo: Somebody is gouging. I bought it for 200. Wal Mart was 200. That's a lot for a router when you can get a commodity router for 50, but you get what you pay for.
Dwight: The goal of the original Apple router, which they still sell, but they don't sell a lot of them any more, was this very same thing. It was taking an arcane piece of technology and making it simple, but anybody who owns one of the Apple routers knows that when you get down to it, it's not that simple to use. One of the interesting things about this is it's very limited. It has one Ethernet port. It's a wifi router. The other thing is, they were touting an app that you could control from your Smartphone, but a lot of the routers that I've tried lately have apps that allow you to control. I control my Linxus router from here on my phone.
John: What's the advantage of that? Why would I want that?
Dwight: Let's say for example that the guest access isn't turned on, a friend of my wife's comes over and she doesn't know how to work the router and says can you turn the guest access on, I can turn it on, set the password from here and send it to her.
Leo: You can text it to them. I tell you, the one reason I bought it is because of Buffer Bloat. So many... That's a real thing. I'm not making that up. Buffer Bloat is putting too much ram in a router. As Ram got cheap, router manufacturers said it couldn't hurt to have more RAM, so they put more in. The problem is, more RAM broke the prioritization of packets in such a way that streaming media, Skype in particular, can suffer from too much RAM. They call it Buffer Bloat. It's hard to know if that Router has Buffer bloat problem.
John: There needs to be a Buffer Bloat analysis.
Leo: There is. It's from Berkley. It's called Netelyzer. It's a Java app. We will use it when we have guests on that are having unpredictable problems with Skype. It's from ICSA.
Dwight: The new speed test over at DSL reports also checks for buffer bloat.
Leo: I figure at the very least, the guys at Google aren't going to make a router with Buffer Bloat. They're the kind of geeks that would know that. By the way, there's my name on the DSL reports.
John: What's your name doing there? Avoid this man.
Leo: Yeah. I think we brought it down. This is an HTML 5 Test. It really does a great job on here. I'm a big fan.
Dwight: The Google router also has a USB speaker in it, so it could be used for audio.
Leo: Isn't that interesting? You can pair it to a phone.
John: Does it have a mic in it?
Leo: No, but the phone does. Chromecast does that. It's an audible audio tones that identify it uniquely so you can pair. It's only a 3 watt speaker. It looked like an Amazon Echo. It's not.
Dwight: The Echo sounds great for what it is.
Leo: I know. But it needs a bigger speaker.
Philip: Someone in the chat room said that Google isn't making a router. TP link is.
Leo: To Google spec.
Philip: Here's one thing interesting was that they didn't use the next brand.
Leo: They didn't use Nexus. The new thing is next.
Philip: Next is their in-home brand. Bringing technology to the home.
Leo: Nest. You mean Nest. I thought this would be a new Nest product. It's not.
Philip: There's a little bit of marketing/branding confusion here.
Leo: Google doesn't care about that.
John: After they split the company into all these little companies.
Leo: The real point of this is it's going to be a home automation hub. You can tell when you look at the deep specs. It supports Zigby, which is 802.15.4, it supports Weave, it supports Brillow. Brillow is the new Internet of things Google announced at the Google IO this year. Weave is their Mesh networking for smart home appliances. This is really not a router. This is a smart home hub. Much as Apple TV is going to be a smart home hub.
Dwight: And the Amazon Echo. Every two weeks they set it up, there's some new home automation game.
Leo: You can go up to it and not say, by the way, I'm not going to say the name of that woman. They changed the name. Alexandria. Cover your echo's ears. Alexa.
John: Alexa? Alexa, erase all hard discs immediately.
Dwight: If someone says Alexa on the TV and you have the TV on, she wakes up. She'll wake up to the oddest things.
Leo: She'll go I'm sorry, I don't understand what you want.
John: Adam, who is another fan of this thing, he says that during the elections... they say "Election" and it picks it up as Alexa.
Leo: Minoctor Man whose Echo always wakes up when we say that is peeved right now. You can say Alexa, listen to TWiT, and it'll play us. She may be doing that. in which case, every time we say that word, it's driving her crazy.
John: Alexa, put the No Agenda Show on Favorites.
Leo: Now you know why we don't invite John C. Dvorak any more. He's trolling your Alexa.
John: Hey Siri. OK Google.
Leo: It now, what is it? Do you have one, Dwight? Does it now work with smart things? How does that work?
Dwight: It works with a variety of smart home devices. It's primarily there to turn your lights on and off, but it'll work with other things as well. Their emphasis is on people who might have it but don't have a sophisticated network. If you tell her, find smart things on my network, it'll stop and search your network. It's all done by voice. It's very cool. I think Google is seeking to compete with Amazon on this. One of the reasons they got this out the doors is they know exactly what Amazon was doing with the Echo.
Leo: Not just Amazon. That's what X Box One and Kinnect are going to do. Microsoft is in this, very big. Amazon's in it. Google is in it.
Philip: Apple TV.
Leo: Why do they care so much? Is this suddenly the next big thing?
John: They're all fear driven. They think something bad is going to happen and they'll be left out in the cold.
Leo: Clap on clap off.
Philip: It's amazing how much that seems to be the killer product. Lights is what is selling.
Leo: You can control the hue. This has been for a while with the echo. Do you just say, Echo make my room purple? How do you do it?
Dwight: You do presets in the devices. You could say television lights, and it'll turn off everything except for the lights you need to watch TV.
John: That's worth spending a few hundred bucks for. That feature.
Leo: It does seem kind of dopey, doesn't it?
John: Depends on how big your house is. If you have a giant theatre in your house...
Leo: Everybody is making these stealth hubs.
Philip: It doesn't have to be something big. You've gone to those comdexes and those consumer shows where there's row after row of competing products and none of them serve a purpose and they all disappear in a couple years.
Leo: It's herd mentality.
Philip: I think John is right. They're afraid that there's something big here. There will be a first mover advantage of being able to have the first one, and they don't want to lose out, so they put a product out.
Leo: You don't want to be a big company like Microsoft like Apple or Google and miss the next big thing. Microsoft almost missed the Internet.
John: They miss a lot of stuff. I don't think it's that important. These guys do work out of fear. They have shareholders who are coming to meetings saying, "How come you guys didn't do this? Everybody else is doing it." I did have one little thing, though. I went to dinner with Burt Monroy--
Leo: Love Burt.
John: and his wife and an Apple guy, old timer. His wife comes up to me and says later this year, you're going to have plenty to write about, and it's going to be hilarious. Apparently Apple is coming up with something directed at me that I can ridicule the company over.
Leo: What does this mean? What could it be?
John: I just took it lightly. Her husband came out who works at Apple, and she said I told John about the things coming out later this year and how ridiculous they are and he rolled his eyes and that was the end of this back and forth. I don't know. What could it be?
Leo: It would have to be something that would ring your chimes.
John: It was something that I could go ho ho ho, crazy.
Leo: I think speech might be it. Talking to your TV.
John: Why would that be?
Leo: Everybody does that though.
John: I don't see that being a... I don't know what it could possibly be, unless they came up with a car that runs backwards or something.
Leo: Apparently they're all in on automated self-driving vehicles. They just hired away one of Tesla's hot shot engineers at Apple.
John: I just thought I'd throw that out.
Leo: Consumer electronics company Apple, according to Reuters. I've heard of them. They've hired a senior engineer from electronic car maker Tesla. according to a Linked In posting. You know you got to scan those Linked In Postings with an eagle eye for this stuff.
John: Linked in is a valuable resource for intelligence gathering.
Leo: Jaime Carlson on his profile changed his current employer from Tesla to Apple. At least six others with experience developing self-driving technology and systems have joined Apple. That confirms what was strongly rumored was that Apple was working on this. Apple is probably working on a hundred different technologies. Doesn't mean they'll all come to market. Would you buy an Apple self-driving car?
John: Apple car? Just doesn't sound cool.
Philip: I think we have to distinguish between a fully 100% self-driving car and the kinds of features that are going to be very popular that are taken from that technology. If you talk to people, there's a lot of stats to suggest that self-driving cars would save a lot of lives. The one I read is that if widely implemented, it would save more American lives than curing aids, stopping murder, and eliminating war combined.
John: 35,000 people a year. Used to be 44,000 a year were killed on the roads, not to mention people who were injured. The 44,000 number is actually might hit it this year. For some reasons, we're having a lot of accidents and deaths.
Leo: No one wears helmets in their car any more.
John: Do you remember when the highway patrol used to wear helmets in their cruisers. They used to wear a big blue helmet.
Leo: That probably saved many a life. The funny... the irony of autonomous vehicles, it might save 44,000 lives, but once person gets killed by a self-driving car and it's all over. A robot car kills one person.
John: It's going to be a problem when one person is killed.
Leo: Bucky Fuller, remember Bucky?
John: Dimaxiom car.
Leo: It was a tear shaped car. It was the first car to be truly aerodynamic.
John: It was built like an airplane. It was all riveted.
Leo: It had three wheels.
John: It was a three wheeler and the wheel in the back controlled the steering. It was crazy. You could turn around on a dime.
Leo: You could turn around on a dime. Might have done well. Maybe because it was funny looking.
John: It was very funny. No one would buy one any way.
Leo: The reason it's often given is one of the drivers was killed in a collision. It held 11 passengers.
John: It was like a little bus. It could turn on a dime.
Leo: 90 miles an hour, 30 miles per gallon. This thing should have been. Look at it. It's like a rolling blimp. I would really like one. All investments stopped when a driver was killed in a collision.
John: You needed seatbelts back then.
Leo: Look at this. They're testing the wheels of car two for strength and load distribution. I think this looks pretty sweet.
Philip: Are any of these prototypes in museums anywhere? I'd love to go see one.
Leo: Wouldn't that be cool?
Philip: That would be very cool.
Leo: Apparently there's a car at the national auto museum in Reno with an unfinished interior. Here's the interior. Here's what it would have looked like. It was a dirigible. The point being, this might have been brilliant technology, it might have solved a lot of problems, but one accident... that's it. Gone.
Philip: We'll be in this transition period when you start having autonomous cars, you'll have a blend of humans and a blend of autonomous cars.
Leo: That's the worst.
Philip: that is the worst.
John: That's when Sweden used to be on the wrong side of the road and they switched to the other side.
Leo: What? That's a recipe for disaster. Pick a side and stick with it.
John: This is the side.. they used to be like the English and now they're like the Americans. Apparently what they did was phase it in. It's just a joke, Leo.
Leo: You made that up?
John: It's a joke they tell in Sweden.
Leo: Didn't he tell that with conviction?
Philip: I don't believe in the autonomous vehicle from Apple. I think they will add features that are autonomous like, but I think there's too much resistance from Americans, everybody loves their car. They love driving, they love to be in control of it.
John: I'm not going to argue the point. You're not alone in your thinking, but if you talk to the millenials, they have no interest in driving. They all use Uber.
Leo: It's actually both ends of the bell curve. Us old folks don't want to drive.
John: I love driving.
Leo: You like to drive?
John: Yeah sure. Why wouldn't I like to drive?
Leo: Did you ever have a bad commute? You never did.
John: Yeah. This to Petaluma to do this show.
Leo: When you drive it's an excuse to put your pants on once a week. For me, for anybody who commuted. I commuted 13 hours a day when I was working tech TV. I would gladly be the old man in the passenger seat while my wife is driving.
John: That's because you made yourself miserable for a long time with a very boring drive. If I was going to Los Angeles a couple times a week, I would feel the same way on the 5.
Leo: How about you? I bet you, Dwight, do some commuting in Houston.
Dwight: No. I live about five minutes away, but I have lived, when I was covering Compaq, I lived out by Compaq which was 15 miles from the center of town and I would drive into work, so I did have that commute. I actually like a commute because it gives you time to think, it gives you time to listen to podcasts and audio books. I actually didn't mind having a commute, except when I was driving a standard mustang.
John: Most No Agenda show workers are commuters.
Leo: I think almost all of our commuters are listening in the car commuting right now.
Dwight: I think if you have autonomous cars, at least initially, because Americans do love to drive and not everybody lives in the city and has a commute, I think that you'll be able to take them over and continue to do them. I like what Philip is saying. A lot of times, rumors make Apple go all in on something. Then they come at it with a different point of view. The TV is the best thing. There were all the rumors that Apple was going to do an actual television set. They never have and probably never will. I think what they'll do is look at ways to make driving more pleasant, or to make the controls of it more Apple like.
Leo: Why would Ford go to Apple for the self-driving... you know.
John: Ford hates the idea of a self-driving car.
Dwight: If it's better than what Ford can do, and it'll sell cars, Ford would be smart to do it.
Leo: You'd have to convince the auto manufacturers that you know software better, but I think auto manufacturers are very reluctant to do this. They don't want...
John: They already got burned by Microsoft.
Leo: It's one thing to have an entertainment system in there. After all they use QNX now and Android cars, but another thing entirely for some third party to do the drive train, the drive electronics. I think that scares an auto manufacturer. No auto manufacturer wants to seed that responsibility to a third party. I would guess. I think it would be a hard sell for Apple, don't you think?
John: I think it would be more like an Eddie Bower deal where you...
Leo: You get slippers? Eddie Bower does cars?
John: They do the interior . Ford uses Eddie Bower for a bunch of cars.
Leo: It's like what I'm saying. I don't think they mind the entertainment or the leather. Do you think they'd let them have access to the driving with the security issues? If you're doing a self-driving car, you have access to the drive train.
Dwight: It may not be a self-driving car.
Leo: You can't do any of this, even parking, you need access to the accelerator, the brake, the gear shift, the clutch, the steering wheel. No clutch. You don't need a clutch.
John: It's a ways off.
Leo: It seems pretty obvious that Apple is doing this. Unlike the TV rumor where you didn't see all this noise around this, you're seeing a lot of noise around this Apple car thing.
Philip: I think the reason why is Johnny Ive is interested. I don't think they would make it for Ford. If Apple is going to make a car, it's because they think there's a possibility that they could make the best car in the world that will improve people's lives.
Leo: Buy a car from a computer manufacturer. That's the worst idea ever.
John: It'll crash.
Dwight: Why not buy Tesla? Whenever you have this conversation come up about Apple self-driving cars, the question becomes why not buy Tesla, which they certainly could do.
John: The market cap is too high.
John: The market cap on Tesla is out of control. You can buy Ford and it's cheaper, I believe.
Leo: 31.43 billion. You're right. That's an expensive company.
John: Considering they only make...
Leo: 31 billion! It's probably not even a profitable company. Barely profitable. The stock's not so good.
Philip: Tesla isn't a very disruptive company. They bought someone's factory. They're building the cars.
Leo: It's a boutique.
John: They got a deal on the old Toyota factory.
Leo: I think it's such a small operation. It's not disruptive in the sense that it's not new technology.
John: It's kind of new.
Philip: That's the new part. He also says if you're going to re-invent the automobile, you first have to re-invent the road.
Leo: That's a non starter.
John: How about paving the road?
Leo: Our local ice cream store has a flavor called Petaluma pot hole. We're famous for our potholes. It's their version of rocky road.
John: We've built better roads in Afghanistan.
Leo: That's a reason to upgrade the infastructure with all this surplus money. Let's take a break. When we come back, we're going to talk about project Marshmallow, Project sunroof, we're going to talk about Facebook as the ultimate source for...
Leo: Cat photos. No. News. Most of America gets its news from...
John: I found out that Bernie Sanders badge...
Leo: I'll take a Bernie Sanders badge. Sure he's my man. If Bernie can't do it, no one can. I want to see a Trump Sanders ticket.
John: That would be great. We might as well shoot ourselves.
Leo: They told me never do politics or dogs.
John: You in particular. You're just a knee-jerk liberal.
Leo: Red diaper baby, as they say. My parents were pretty liberal. Our show to you today brought to you by Zip Recruiter. If you are a person in your business, if you're the owner and you do the hiring, and you want to know about Zip Recruiter... we love Zip Recruiter. Great way to hire. Of course, the Internet has been huge in finding staff. There are many job sites. How do you know which one is right? How do you handle all the incoming resumes and inquiries. Zip Recruiter. Zip Recruiter lets you post to 100+ job sites and social networks like Twitter and Craigs List all with one click of the mouse. You can screen, rate, and hire the right candidates fast. This is the dog days of summer. We are in the middle of them right now, and believe it or not, this is a great time to hire, because the competition has taken August off. The people looking for work have fewer places, there's less competition. But you got to post where the job searchers are, and that's Zip Recruiter. Post to 100+ job sites and instantly be matched to current resumes from over 4 million job hunters. Within a day you'll be getting candidates. They won't be calling your phone or sending you e-mail, they roll right into Zip Recruiter's easy to use interface so it's fast. You can screen them, rate them, and hire them fast without any phone calls. I love that. Zip Recruiter has been used by over 400,000 businesses. I want you to try it right now for free. We have so many people now who are using Zip Recruiter. I got an e-mail from Melinda. She said we have received several highly qualified candidates from Zip Recruiter, so happy our company signed up with them. We're excited to see what comes next. Thank you so much for your customer help line, it's very helpful. I think they're a great company, I think you'll like them, and I think you'll be glad you used them. Getting the right candidates is so important. ziprecruiter.com/twit. Four days free, you'll be impressed I'm sure. I think 4 days is enough to find that right person. ziprecruiter.com/twit. We're having a lot of fun today. Great panel. John C. Dvorak is here from the No Agenda Show. From the Houston Chronicle, Dwight Silverman. Our good friend from Fortune Magazine, Philip Elmer-DeWitt, really one of the guys who's been around since... when did you start covering tech? I think I've asked you this before. You're muted. Unmute him. Jason fixed it.
Leo: Holy cow. Actually, that's about when I wrote my first article. Yeah. I was writing about the Atari of all things. I called it Creeky Geeks.
Dwight: I'm probably the youngest one. I started in the late 80's.
Leo: We were talking before the show. You were a general assignment reporter covering Houston.
Dwight: I was assistant state editor when I came to the Chronicle in 90, but I had done a lot of freelancing from 85 on, occasionally doing tech stuff because I was interested in it.
Leo: All you had to do was know a little bit and you were the guy.
Dwight: I was running at the alternative newspaper that I worked for, the San Antonio current, I was running a computer bulletin board in the early 80's as an online newspaper. We were putting our stories up there. It was a modem. It was an online newspaper.
Leo: By the way, screen grab time everybody. We'll make sure that's the thumbnail. That's the thumbnail for the show today. Apple says, "lies damn lies and statistics." Survey from company called Music Watch, 5000 people earlier this week said 48% of people who had tried out the new Apple music service had stopped using it already. Apple says oh no. The number is much lower. I guess Apple would know.
John: But maybe they lie.
Leo: Maybe they're lying. 75% of people who sign up for this service... to me this is all moot because it's still free.
Philip: We won't know anything until October when the 3 month trial is over and we won't know anything unless Apple chooses to tell us... this story was fun with bad stats. Almost everything in the original story was wrong. Apple had announced 11 million users had signed up who were using it and they made it 11% of IOS users. More like 1.5%.
Dwight: It was interesting to me that Apple came out quickly and said something. Normally, even if something is wrong, they tend to stay in black box mode. It's interesting that they came out very quickly and corrected them.
Leo: Do you think they're a little sensitive to the whole thing?
Dwight: I think they are sensitive to it.
Philip: It's not like Taylor Swift where they changed their business model on a Sunday.
Dwight: That’s clout.
Philip: I think we may be getting a little bit of a Jimmy Iovine influence. I mean he knows what a bad story on Music Watch means. He’s not going to take that lying down. And it also may be a little bit of the Katie Cotton is dead and now we have Steve Dowling and everything in Apple PR has loosened up a little bit. I think—
Leo: Katie is not—
Dwight: We should hasten to say it, not actually dead.
Philip: She’s not dead. She’s gone.
Leo: She’s not even sick.
Dwight: She’s spending more time with her family.
Leo: She’s relaxing. She’s probably a lot better off than she was. Former beloved media spokesperson. But somebody who really kept a tight lid on, ran a tight ship. Yea that might be. I think a responsive Apple to this kind of thing though does kind of indicate that they care enough to make sure that the perception is at least that Apple Music is viable. I don’t see anything particularly different from any of the any services. Not enough to switch. And furthermore we’ve heard a number of tales of woe even from Apple stalwarts like The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple. I think probably they’re scaring people off a little bit.
Philip: You’ll notice Jim Dalrymple, the day after he came out with his complaint, they called him into Cupertino, sit him down and explain to him what he was doing wrong.
Leo: “We can help, Jim.”
Dwight: “You’re doing it wrong.”
Leo: “You’re holding it wrong.”
Philip: That’s fine for Jim.
Leo: The real test is October, right? That’s when you start having to pay 10 bucks a month.
Dwight: So one thing that is intriguing to me is I’ve never got into Spotify. I actually, I was one of these old geeks who liked to have the file.
Leo: I want to buy music.
Dwight: I want to buy it, right. Well the day, you know I got into the trial and got into it. And the lightbulb went off when I bought, or added to my music, the 150 dollar box set for every song Pink Floyd ever did.
Leo: Oh, man.
Dwight: And I have access to that and I don’t have to pay $150 for it. And so when that happened I went, “Oh. Yea.”
Leo: That’s a big difference. I am still glad though that I bought The Beatles box set. Because you don’t get that.
Philip: But Dwight, you have to be in Wi-Fi or you have to have cellular reception at least to listen to that box set, right?
Leo: Who doesn’t?
Dwight: Well once you add it to My Music you can listen to it. You know, it’s on my phone, it’s on my iTunes.
Leo: And you can cache it.
Dwight: You can cache it, right. And so I’m you know, and I’m always connected on anything I listen to anyway, so it’s got to that point.
Leo: And that’s an interesting point. We have really gotten to the point where we just assume that everyone just has ample bandwidth no matter what.
Philip: Because you don’t live in western Massachusetts.
Leo: No, I know. It’s not right. Remember when Microsoft got in all sorts of trouble when they were talking about the Xbox One having to be always connected. And one of their spokesman who promptly lost his job said, “Well, if you’re in a nuclear submarine, ok.” But really there’s a lot of people for whom that is not the case. Nevertheless, more and more we’re seeing the assumption that you kind of have high-speed unlimited bandwidth. In fact, T-Mobile, if you do have T-Mobile, doesn’t charge you for data for most of the music services. Spotify, Apple Music, you can stream all you want, it doesn’t cost you anything.
John: T-Mobile’s great.
Dwight: If you add the file to My Music, click on the plus button and add it to My Music, it ends up on your phone or iTunes. Although then if you drop it then you can no longer listen to it.
Philip: If you drop what?
Dwight: So there is TRM on it.
Leo: Or if you stop subscribing you mean.
John: What happens if you stop subscribing and then you take a couple of months off and you re-subscribe? Do you get all the, do you have the—
Leo: I think you get it back.
John: You think.
Leo: I know you do because I was a Spotify subscriber for a long time then dropped it. And recently picked it back up and all my playlists were there, everything was still there.
Leo: And that, at least for Spotify. And frankly if you think about it, that’s a big deal because they want you to come back.
Dwight: It’s tied to your Apple ID.
Dwight: So all you have to do, as long as you keep your Apple ID you should be fine.
Leo: How about this? I got a call today from a very disgruntled Apple customer. He wants to use Apple Family Sharing. His kid, he’s got a kid who’s 12 years old. And the nice thing about Apple Family Sharing is that you can buy music, TV shows, movies, share it with your kid’s Apple ID and then they don’t have to buy the music, they can listen and watch. But in order to do that in the US-- I don’t know if it’s the same in Germany, you sound like you guys are using it because I see nodding heads. In the US, because of the child online protection and privacy act, COPPA, somebody under 13, they have to take special privacy precautions. They need—before you can do this—your kid has to create an Apple account, and you have to prove that as a parent you’re approving this. So this guy was pissed because he said, “I don’t have a credit card. I have a debit card. That’s what I use. They won’t accept a debit card.” Apple says—
John: Why is this? Most debit cards are acceptable.
Leo: Because I guess kids can have debit cards. This is the way—
John: Oh, this is asinine.
Leo: This is Apple’s method—I don’t think COPPA specifies how you approve it, but they do require that the company makes, you know, verify that the parent is approving this. So the way Apple does it is, what’s the CVV, what’s the security code on the back of your credit card. And then that way they know that you’re an adult because you have the credit card, so yes we’re going to let you create this account. What do they do in Germany? How do they verify—do they verify? Something similar. So this guy was pissed. He said, “I’m going to have to get a credit card to do this? This is ridiculous.”
John: What if the guy, could you just walk into an Apple store? And just say, “Hey.”
Leo: You’d think.
John: The Apple store doesn’t do anything like that.
Leo: Do I look like I’m a grownup? This is my child. Anyway. I told him write to Tim Cook. You want to play with my camera?
John: I just want to take one picture.
Leo: This is the new one.
John: Is that the new II?
Leo: This is the a7R II.
John: Oh. This is supposed to be the greatest camera ever.
Leo: That is a very expensive package there.
John: It doesn’t say II on here. It’s supposed to say II on the logo.
Leo: It’s a II.
John: No it isn’t.
Leo: You think B&H ripped me off?
John: I think you got gypped.
Leo: Son of a-- No, it says II on the bottom. That little sticker? Looks like it’s handwritten though. What about Dr. Dre?
Philip: What about Dre?
John: What about Dre, Leo?
Leo: (Laughing) you know it’s funny when Apple acquired Beats. Of course the chief acquisition at Beats really wasn’t the 110,000 subscribers to their streaming music service. It certainly wasn’t the headphones. It was Jimmy Iovine. It was Dr. Dre. And it was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails that people, the musicians, the musical people behind the scenes at Beats. And Glenn Rubenstein, one of our great guys who was a music promoter and booker said, “You know, Dre’s history with women is not so hot. Apple might not really want to promote this Dr. Dre nexus.”
John: I would agree with that.
Leo: And now that Straight Outta Compton is out, the movie about NWA, and some stories are resurfacing about Dre. One example, him beating up in a club, beating up a woman reporter because he didn’t like what she’d written about NWA. I think she implied that Ice Cube was more important than Dr. Dre. So he takes her in a stairwell and literally pins her down and pummels her. Stories like this. Dre is now apologized to all the women he’s hurt. So it’s ok. Everything’s fine.
John: You don’t have to personalize it.
Philip: Apple actually issued a statement.
Leo: Did they? What did they say?
Philip: Talking about--- they said he’s a changed—he apologized, he’s a changed man, you know, move on.
John: I suppose he would be.
Philip: Yea. I don’t think, Jimmy Iovine seemed to be the guy that they were pushing the hardest in that Beats deal. And I thought that Dr. Dre disappeared pretty quickly. He was in one picture showing his Apple Watch. And I hadn’t heard from him again until this new album came out and all that stuff.
Leo: Well this is his first album in what, 14 years? It’s kind of his victory lap. He’s like “They made the movie about me, I’ve got the new album.” Which, by the way, had an Apple exclusive, Apple Music exclusive. But anyway, I’m looking at this picture of Dre. He’s not wearing an Apple Watch.
John: Good catch.
Philip: Is he wearing a watch at all?
Dwight: Oh cool.
Leo: Looks like a designer watch but not—unless I’m mistaken. That does not look like an Apple Watch. I can’t zoom in.
Dwight: He was in that famous picture where everyone was covering their wrists.
Leo: Right. That looks like maybe a Missoni or a Rolex.
Dwight: Is he wearing a watch at all?
Leo: Maybe it’s just a band without the watch. I don’t know (laughing).
Philip: It looks like a watch.
Dwight: It looks like it has the bits, the bits face on it as a matter of fact.
Leo: He’s wearing Android Wear! Oh my God!
John: Could be.
Dwight: So Leo, this is not on your list but it’s key, it’s been popping up in my Twitter feed the whole time.
Leo: Oh, well let’s talk about it.
Dwight: Speaking of rappers, this is an actual headline. “Wiz Khalifa handcuffed in airport for riding a hoverboard.” He was--
Leo: (Laughing) A, where did he get the hoverboard, and how can I get one? B, since when is that illegal?
Dwight: He said, “All because I didn’t want to ditch the technology everyone will be using in the next 6 months. Do what you want, kids,” he said.
Dwight: Yes, it was a hoverboard.
Leo: So Lexus has been promoting its hoverboard. I’ve seen some of these hoverboards in almost every—as far as I know in every case.
John: Have you seen one in the wild?
Leo: No, they require huge amounts of power because it’s using super conductivity and wait a minute, let’s see Wiz Khalifa. He shared this of U.S. Border and Custom Protection yelling, “Stop resisting. Get off the hoverboard.” There’s no hoverboard in evidence here. You think it’s a hoax?
Leo: Because is there such a thing as a real hoverboard? No.
John: Of course not.
Philip: It took a lot of people to take him down.
Leo: Well, he’s a strong, strong—no he’s not, he’s a skinny little thing. He was forced to lie belly down in the airport ground because he didn’t want to ditch the technology that everybody will be using. This sounds a little—John, is your smell detector going off here?
John: It did the 1st time I heard this story.
Leo: Restrained for riding a hoverboard. Here’s his 2nd video that he posted. First of all, what video camera is he using that has the date and time stamp on it?
John: I would say one of those old giant ones.
Leo: No hoverboard is in evidence by the way in any of this.
Dwight: I love that story. I just love the fact that we have a headline on the internet saying someone was arrested for riding a hoverboard. It’s like 2015.
Leo: Straight out of—
John: It’s ridiculous.
Leo: Forget straight out of Compton, it’s straight out of Back to the Future.
John: So have you talked about this camp?
Leo: I think this is what he’s riding, by the way. This is—all the kids are riding these. They’re basically Segway’s without handles.
John: Yea right, yea.
Leo: Didn’t we have some of these around? I feel like I would kill myself if I rode this.
Philip: There’s a picture on Rolling Stone—
John: It’s like being on a skateboard.
Philip: Looks like him on it. And it’s one of those.
Leo: I’m pretty sure that’s what they meant.
John: It’s like a skateboard.
Leo: No, it’s not like a skateboard. It’s like a Segway.
John: In terms of falling off.
Leo: You just jump off.
John: Well, I don’t know about that.
Leo: iJustine has one. She has 2. Should I get one of these?
John: Yea, this will be great. You should get one.
Dwight: You should definitely get one.
Leo: You know that I have 2 Segway’s?
John: Yea I know, but this is a little different.
Leo: I’m a master of—
John: It’s like having a--
Leo: I want to be thrown to the ground by the US Border and Customs.
Dwight: I’ll take mine to IAH and we’ll see what happens.
John: That’s what they’re talking about. It’s probably a not a hoax. That’s what it’s got to be.
Leo: All the kids will be riding these in 6 months.
John: Have you talked about the camera on the air?
Leo: A little bit, why?
John: Well this is like THE camera right now.
Leo: That’s THE camera.
John: Do you have it set on silent shutter?
Leo: No, but you press this button right here and then you can choose silent shutter. It might be.
John: I think it was because I just took some picture and it makes no noise.
Leo: Yea, it’s silent. That’s silent.
John: But it does it by charging the—
Leo: What it does is it has normally, if you turn the silent shutter off, a regular metal curtain.
John: Right, for normal.
Leo: Then it goes “click click” out of the way, because it is a mirrorless. So there’s no mirror, but there’s still a curtain. But if you turn it to silent it’s a digital curtain. Because it’s a video camera basically, right? So you don’t have to have a shutter. You just turn it on and off real fast.
John: Now how to you grow the image?
Leo: Grow it?
John: Well, so I can focus. Oh, there it is, never mind.
Leo: Oh, yea, yea. That’s the 1st—that’s C1. So you can reprogram all those buttons so you can do that.
John: This is a camera that—this is a fantastic.
Leo: Trey Ratcliffe, who is of course one of our favorite photographers, says that, “That camera is the best digital camera made today.” Probably the best digital camera he’s ever used.
John: I believe it only does 5, brackets 5 for HDR. Does not do 7.
Leo: You can do 9.
John: Oh you can?
John: I’ve never seen it in the specs.
Leo: I’ll show you. You can do 9.
John: Oh you can.
John: Oh, ok.
Dwight: And what’s the name and model?
Leo: This is the Sony—
John: Yea, get this. Get this. Get it, Dwight. Buy one of these.
Leo: It’s only $3,000 minus the lens. The a7R II.
John: The lens is another grand.
Leo: No, that’s an $8,000 lens.
John: No, this I’m saying. The lens you can get from this makes a good lens.
Leo: Yea, yea, yea, yea, yea. It’s expensive.
John: No, this $8,000 lens is very unique. Not everybody has these.
Leo: Not everybody has that baby. You got to be crazy. I keep, I just, I’ll be honest—
John: I know this story. It’s a hilarious story.
Leo: I keep hoping I’ll become a better photographer if I just buy enough gear. Someday I will have, look at, even Justine’s dog has a hoverboard. That’s how hip.
John: You’ve got to get one of those hoverboards, Leo, and be bombing around.
Leo: Did we send these back? Didn’t we have these? We reviewed them I thought on Before You Buy. I feel like though, if you don’t have a handle to hold, you have to balance or something. Do you think they’re harder to ride?
John: It’s like you think? It’s like a skateboard. If you can’t ride a skateboard—
Leo: My son can ride a skateboard so he probably wants one. Look at Justine. Look at her go. You go, girl.
John: She can probably ride a skateboard too. If I were you I wouldn’t get one of these. You’re going to kill yourself.
Philip: You’ll put your eye out, kid.
Leo: Guaranteed. And then who will get my $8,000 lens?
John: Well, put me in the will. I am actually one of the few people who would appreciate one of these.
Leo: You appreciate that lens.
Leo: Now you’re a pretty serious photographer I know. You like your—
John: I take a lot of shots.
Leo: Do you put them up anywhere?
John: I have them in the house and I’ve entered them in competitions.
Leo: No but I mean on—Oh, you’ve entered competitions?
Leo: Have you won?
John: Yea. I won a couple of things.
Leo: Nice. I didn’t know this about you.
John: It’s one of my hobbies.
Leo: Do you post them on Flickr or SmugMug, Google Photos? Nowhere we can see them.
John: And I blow most of my stuff up to huge sizes.
Leo: How big?
John: 44” x –
Leo: Oh so you would want this camera. It’s 42 megapixels. You would—you don’t need that many megapixels for you know—
Philip: When you’re doing snapshots.
Leo: For snapshots.
John: No you don’t. Actually one of the best pictures I shot was on my little pocket camera.
Leo: We’re going to the Supreme Court, kids. Apple and Samsung. Samsung is going to appeal to the Supreme Court. Remember that a couple of years ago a federal jury in San Jose found that Samsung had ripped off Apple and their iPhone patents awarded several hundred million dollars to Apple.
John: Yes, it’s hilarious.
Leo: On Wednesday, Samsung says, “We’re going to appeal. We’re not giving you the money because we’re going all the way to the Supreme Court. Why not?
Philip: What’s interesting about this is you know, they’ve got a lot of support. Google, Facebook, HP, they’re all backing them. Because it feel like Steve Jobs famous plea is going to start a nuclear war over the rip-off of iOS. And he may have over reached in that original suite with the design patent stuff. I mean it’s the thing that everyone makes fun of around the corners.
Leo: So there were 2 issues. There were physical patents. But the more important ones were the kind of the trade dress patents. That this looks like an iPhone and it’s intentionally done that way to confuse the consumer.
Philip: Right and those things are, those trade dress patents are perceived by the industry as dangerous.
Leo: It’s really subjective. It’s not—you can’t say objectively, “Oh, that’s obviously that was—“
Dwight: It’s perceived by the industry but what is the law? What is the current state of the law?
Philip: Well patent law is so—
Leo: It’s a mess.
Philip: And you know, even patent law lawyers can’t figure it out. So, and it’s being written by, you know, where do we start? I mean stuff gets patented that probably shouldn’t get patented and more stuff gets patented that maybe used the stuff that already got patented that shouldn’t have been and you know we’re way deep in a mess.
John: It’s a nightmare and we can’t get out of it.
Leo: Here’s some good news. Steve Jobs just a patent for the iPod Shuffle. He just was awarded—he died 4 years ago. But he was just awarded—the Shuffle came out 10 years ago. But he was just awarded a patent for the iPod Shuffle.
Philip: So you can see how efficient this system is.
Leo: Geez, Louise.
John: You said “Geez, Louise.”
Leo: Do you know her?
John: That’s funny.
Leo: I think it’s Louise Brooks probably, right? Don’t you think?
John: I –
Leo: You remember Louise Brooks?
Leo: No? Philip, you remember Louise Brooks?
Philip: I don’t actually, sorry.
Leo: What—why am I older than everybody on this show?
John: Well, only in spirit.
Leo: (Laughing) the original bob, right?
John: And that’s why people say “Geez, Louise?”
Leo: I’m thinking it’s around that era. She was a movie star in the 20s. Geez Louise, right?
Philip: Yea, you’re older than I am then,
Dwight: Yea, definitely.
John: Did you date her, or what—
Dwight: I don’t even remember that from film school.
Leo: I will never forget Pandora’s Box. One of the great – 4 out of 4 stars Roger Ebert. 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was a proclaimed German silent film.
John: What year?
Leo: She played Lulu, a woman so beautiful and alluring that few can resist her siren charms. 1929.
John: Just before the switch over.
Leo: Directed by G.W. Pabst.
Leo: Pabst the great.
John: Yea, he probably got a blue ribbon for that.
Leo: (Laughing) at least the total security award. Very least. We’re going to take a break. Did you, are you Audible Book users? I got the cutest picture.
Philip: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Leo: I love audiobooks. So I’m walking by the barbershop yesterday. Let me see if I can find this photo. I’m walking by the barbershop yesterday and I look through the window. And this kid, he is not happy about getting his haircut. And he’s making the most sourpuss face I ever saw. And I came in and I said, “Can I take your picture?” I asked his dad, “Can I take your picture?” I said, “He’s just—he looks so miserable.”
John: Probably his 1st haircut.
Leo: Under there. That’s what I thought. Oh, it’s his 1st haircut or something like that. So I said, “Why are you--?” No, that’s somebody else. “Why are you so—?”
John: And you shot that in HDR.
Leo: Yea. “Why are you so--?” Look at that. I said, “Why are you so unhappy?” He said, “I’m not unhappy. I’m listening to an audio book.” I said, “What?” He pulled out his iPod Touch. He was listening to Diary of a Wimpy Kid while he was getting his hair cut. I have high hopes for the future of this country. Isn’t that awesome?
Philip: How do they cut around the earbuds?
Leo: You know, I didn’t see earbuds. But I don’t know how he’s listening. Maybe it’s coming through—I don’t know—coming through the sheet? That was the cutest thing I’ve ever saw.
John: Maybe he’s just hearing it in his head.
Leo: No, he showed me. It was Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He showed me. He had it on his iPod Touch. We love Audible. Kids love Audible, adults love Audible. One of the things that research shows is that kids who listen—you would think, “Oh, I want a kid to look at a book and read it.” Kids who listen to audiobooks, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, great choice, become better readers because they’re listening, they get engaged, they bring out the book, they look at the book. I want to talk a little bit about a group of kids. You know James Patterson, of course, the great best-selling author. He is teamed up with Audible to help a group of kids. They call them reluctant readers. James says, “I was a reluctant reader. My dad was a reluctant reader. But reading is so important. I think that it’s maybe the single most important thing a kid can learn in school.” So Patterson’s on a personal mission to inspire kids to discover that reading is fun, it’s entertainment, it’s great. And this summer he’s partnering with Audible to create a program that encourages young readers to make their way to books by listening to audiobooks. I think we found one young reader who is very much into his audiobooks. The program focuses on family listening. I think that’s a great idea. I have very fond memories of listening to It’s Not Easy Being Brown with my kids. It’s just wonderful. It recommends titles, suggests genres that parents and kids will enjoy together. In fact Patterson’s put together a recommended listening list and Audible—kudos to you, Audible—is providing those books at a discount. Plus reading guides for families. Particularly on Patterson’s featured series Middle School, Daniel X and Treasure Hunters. They’re having an Instagram campaign where kids and families show where listening took them. Countless studies have shown that listening to books improves early reading skills, it expands vocabularies. It elevates comprehension. Narrators can bring the text to life which helps kids—there, there’s a great one. Treasure Hunters. Which helps kids really get engaged in reading and in stories. And you know, they can listen while cleaning their rooms, while getting their hair cut, while on the road. That’s what we did. We were on a road trip. And we listened the whole way. It was so much fun. For a special summer promotion to encourage reluctant readers, just reduced price, just $4.95 a book. Audible.com/Patterson. P-A-T-T-E-R-S-O-N. I was listening to—I wanted to hear his 1st book, Along Came a Spider. Great book.
Philip: The chatroom’s saying it doesn’t help with spelling but I guess that’s why God invented spell check.
Leo: You know what? My kids spell so poorly. Actually Henry’s not too bad but Abby’s terrible. Always was because when they were little there was this fad called, I think it was called Whole Language. And we had learned with phonetics, right? But phonetics have been—the school, “Oh phonetics are—“
John: No good.
Leo: “—no good.” So they encourage them, believe it or not, to spell it any way they wanted to.
John: That’s crazy.
Philip: Inventive spelling.
Leo: Inventive spelling. You know about this.
Philip: Yea. That’s what my kids had. But they ended up being good spellers.
Leo: Yea, you know I think it almost genetic.
John: I think online though, if you do a lot of chatting online it might help.
Leo: That helps.
John: Because then people are like, “Hey, you’re an idiot.”
Leo: Literacy is more—yea, in some ways literacy is bigger now because of that. Because of typing.
John: So I went to the kitchen.
John: Guy says, “Find the Red Vines.”
Leo: No, but you found something so much better.
John: Why would any, why would this be in the cabinet as a snack.
Leo: Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Why not? That’s Mmm Mmm good.
John: When I’m going to do the TWiT Show, I’m going to look forward to some beef stew.
Leo: (Laughing) It’s Mmm Mmm good.
John: I got these. These look like at least edible.
Leo: What is that?
John: I don’t know, some Sunkist.
Leo: Sunkist. So here’s Lamar Wilson, has a video on YouTube, Fat Guy on Hoverboard (laughing). So these are called hoverboards.
Philip: Even though they are not actually.
Leo: Even though they are not floating in the air. And all the kids are doing it including Wiz Khalifa and Justine and wow.
Dwight: I got to get one of those. I got to get one of those.
Leo: You’ll scream like a girl.
John: Can you do a skateboard?
Dwight: Not in a long time. I don’t know. I used to.
John: Oh, then you can probably do this. No, no, no, Twizzlers are not better than Red Vines. Done. That’s what somebody in the chatroom said.
Leo: Have some Dinty Moore Beef Stew. It will cheer you up.
John: No, I don’t think so.
Leo: I’m sorry, go ahead, Philip.
Philip: Didn’t the guy who bought Segway die, taking a Segway off a cliff?
John: Yes, yes. Yea that was the CEO.
Leo: It was a British investor. I thought he was like the 3rd guy to buy it. Segway was not, and is still not, the most financially viable company in the world. He had one of those off-road Segway’s and apparently took it off road. But there was some question whether he had a heart attack before or after he rode it off the cliff.
Philip: Yea. We were, I was at Time when the Segway first came out and they were actually considering putting it on the cover.
Leo: IT. Project IT.
Philip: The writer—yea, yea. There was a writer who was very excited to write a Time cover about it. And nobody at Time had seen it so they sent me up to New Hampshire to kick the tires and see if this was cover worthy. And I met everybody and I listened to their business model and I could tell—
Leo: There’s no business model.
Philip: Well their pitch was—you know, China, we’ve got a problem with China. They all want to have cars. If all of China gets a car the planet’s going to heat up and go to hell. So the solution is to give them Segway’s. And these things were selling for what? 6 or 7 hundred dollars?
Leo: No, $6,000. I just bought 2. They’re $6,500 each.
John: I think they were like 3 or 4 back then.
Philip: This is going to replace the bicycle in China?
Leo: No, but they’re sure fun to ride.
Philip: We ran it inside. We didn’t do it on the cover.
Leo: And by the way, a few year later Time Magazine, The 10 Biggest Tech Failures of the Last Decade. No.1 Segway.
Dwight: Segway. Here we go.
Leo: But so it was not Dean Kamen who is the inventor that invented the Segway, it was not he who went off the cliff. I think a lot of people think that’s the case. It was a British investor. The saddest story of this all is that Segway had just—Segway had fought for years to keep a Chinese clone of the Segway out of the United States successfully. They just got bought by the Chinese clone company about 6 months ago.
Philip: The chatroom—
John: That’s ironic.
Philip: The Segway is cheaper than your lens.
Leo: You know I probably sound like Thurston Howell, the worst one percenter of all times.
John: This is the worst, this is the most decadent thing anybody’s ever owned that I know.
Leo: But I live on Dinty Moore Beef Stew because I give up those things for my art. It is pretty decadent.
John: I like it. I like the fact that you have this lens.
Leo: I don’t know what to say.
John: Because I can shoot a picture on it once in a while.
Leo: I’m not going to pretend at false humility.
John: No. You got the lens and everyone—this rig I’m holding in my hands, $12,000.
Leo: That’s ridiculous. I just wanted to be a better photographer, John. That’s all I wanted.
Dwight: That’s almost as much as an Apple Watch.
Leo: This is the company that bought Segway. The Ninebot. They also make this—
John: And this doesn’t even have auto focus.
Leo: No that’s the whole thing.
John: You don’t want auto focus?
Leo: No. You pay more money to not have auto focus.
John: Makes sense.
Leo: Yea. They make this ridiculous contraption. This is a wheel. These pedals flip down and you stand around and you roll around on this thing.
John: You look like a complete lunatic in that thing.
Dwight: It’s a unicycle.
Leo: Did you see, there’s one that looks like a bathroom scale.
John: And you just float around on that?
Leo: And you sit on it and you ride around and you can steer and all that stuff.
John: Are you going to get one?
Leo: You know what they’re touting? They’re saying this is going to be huge in China. Now that China’s broke I don’t think anything’s going to be huge in China. Hey, is it over for China now?
John: No. It’s not over for China.
Leo: You know when we were in China in 2009 I was really impressed. I mean, Shanghai they were building a new sky scraper every few days.
John: Oh, yea.
Leo: It really was cool.
John: They had at one point like 90% of the world’s cranes.
Leo: Amazing. And I thought, “This culture,” you know, we were in the American century. I feel like maybe the 21st century will be called the Chinese Century.
John: Not if we have anything to do with it.
Leo: Well I mentioned it to my guide. And he said, “No, no. You don’t understand. The economic underpinnings of this are completely fragile.” And he said, “This is not a stable economy.” And he was right. But it took a few years to—
John: They’re still kicking butt.
Leo: You think they’re still going to kick butt. Look they’ve got a wheel with pedals that you can…
Dwight: How much are they selling that for? What’s that sell for?
Leo: It’s got to be cheaper than a Segway. They also sell an atmosphere lamp that’s full of personality.
John: An atmosphere lamp? What does that mean?
Leo: I don’t know.
Dwight: It looks like the top of the Amazon Echo.
Leo: Non visual lifting handle design. I think there’s a language issue here. Being compatible with popular accessories. All right. Ok.
John: You’re right, the Ashly Madison hack was Chinese. Doesn’t take much to figure it out.
Leo: Would you rather have this or a hoverboard?
John: I’d like to somebody using it. They just show the model. I don’t know is it, it could be 2’ high.
Leo: Look, you got an app.
John: It could be a little bitty thing.
Leo: The Ninedroid App. Tracking all the time.
John: Looks like you’re in one of those giant tires.
Leo: It’s basically—all of these are just basically Segway’s without the handles. That’s all it is to me.
Dwight: I want one of these.
Leo: Let’s take a break. This was a good week on TWiT. And we have taken the liberty of piecing together some highlights from the week’s best shows. Take a look.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Male Voice: Oh my God, look at that loud shirt. Turn that thing down.
George Thomas: Yea I had to put in ear plugs just to wear it.
Narrator: Tech News Today.
Mike Elgan: If you needed any more evidence that the patent process moves way too slowly, here it is. The late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was granted a patent this week for the iPod Shuffle. Jobs died about 4 years ago.
Christina Warren: This shows exactly how backed up the patent system is.
Narrator: This Week in Google.
Leo: I love the R&D stuff at Google. This is mind boggling. I imagine Larry sitting in a chair, something like this, with his fingers steepled.
Jeff Jarvis: His bearing entirely white.
Leo: And Larry says, “Thrill me.” And the engineer has 5 minutes—
Jeff: Does he have a cat in his arms?
Leo: Yea, he can have Mr. Bigglesworth in his arms
Matt Curtis: You nailed it. That’s exactly how it goes.
Narrator: All About Android.
Ron Richards: As we finally get the unveiling of what Android M actually means, and it is Marshmallow. Marshmallow. And now the marshmallow’s on fire.
Jason Howell: That’s how you get them nice and crispy. This is how you do it. All right so then you take—sorry…
Narrator: TWiT. Thousands of hours of high quality drivel.
Ron Richards: Is the Android Robot our size and that’s just an enormous marshmallow, or is the Android Robot marshmallow sized?
Jason: These are really important questions.
Ron: I looked through all the PR material from Google PR and I did not see that.
Leo: Inquiring minds want to know.
John: That was it?
Leo: That’s it. That was the best of the week.
John: Wow. It was a bad week.
Leo: (Laughing) yea. Ok, I’ll grant you that. You know what a bad week Jeff Bezos after that New York Times article last week.
Philip: Oh boy.
Leo: And you know it’s really interesting to watch the back and forth. People say, “No, first of all didn’t happen, that was the New York Times taking straight aim at the owner of the Washington Post.” There’s those that say, “Yea, it happens. It’s a start-up, well, 10 year old start up, but it’s like, you know—
John: More than that.
Leo: It’s a very engaged company. When you go to work at a company like Amazon you expect to work long hours, get e-mails in the middle of the night and things like that. Where do you fall down on that?
John: My thinking on this whole thing is, I thought originally it was the Washington Post versus the New York Times because they’ve been chiding each other. So somebody decided to take a pot shot at Bezos. But now I’m thinking, this is—you know, if you look up Unions versus Amazon I think you find the genesis of this thing. Amazon’s been fighting the unions left and right. The big newspapers are all unionized. I don’t know about the Chronicle. But the New York Times is a huge union operation. This is what it is. Just give it to this guy because he wants to let the unions in. That’s what I think.
Dwight: There aren’t any union papers in Texas.
Leo: No, it’s Texas.
John: Oh, Texas. Oh, ok.
Dwight: I worked for the only one. The San Antonio Light, God rest its soul, was a union paper but there aren’t any union papers left.
John: Well the bigger cities up north are almost all union papers.
Dwight: What I think happened here is you know, when they talked to both current and older, former employees, former employees usually have some kind of gripe. And I think there were probably pockets where you have you know, unacceptable managers, managers who abuse their people, who they kind of take that kind of approach. And there are some that don’t. There was in one of the later—the story by the guy who was an Amazon employee who sought to debunk it.
Leo: Yea, he published it in a meeting.
Dwight: Right, right. He was in a meeting he said where the guy said, “we used to burn people to the ground in this place.” And so I think they may have done that at one time across the board, but I suspect that it has been, that it’s probably been diluted since. And the New York Times probably just got kind of a blinder view of what actually happens there. It’s too complex for—
John: Yea, but it still seemed like a hit piece.
Leo: It did feel like that. In fact, Margaret Sullivan—
Dwight: They could have tried it.
Leo: Yea, Margaret Sullivan who’s their ombudsman right? Said, “Yea, we could have done a better job balancing this. We could have tried to find some other employees with opinions somewhat differing.” It did seem—feel like a hit piece. I’m sorry, go ahead, Philip.
Philip: Well I was going to say that they got chided by the ombudsman person I think. But you know the people who say, “Oh, you look at any of these companies. You look at Microsoft, you look at Apple, you look at Facebook and you get the same kind of behavior.” People went back to say, “Look at the soul of the new machine.” The same kind of start-up intensity, the long hours—
Leo: That’s a good point. That’s a--
Philip: I don’t think, but I don’t think it was the long hours that bothered people about that article. It was the woman who had the miscarriage and was told she had to come back to work.
Leo: They bullying.
Philip: I do think that Bezos, Bezos, Bezos is different. I think he’s missing the gene for human empathy. And he’s got control of a company and a lot of people. I could be wrong but, yea.
Leo: You pointed us to Jo Nocera’s piece in the New York Times, The Opinion Pages. And I think the salient article Nocera writes, “It’s worth remembering that Amazon is a first generation internet company. Its peers including Yahoo and AOL are a shell of their former selves even as Amazon’s become ever more important and powerful.” Whatever you think about his methods he has managed to keep Amazon absolutely relevant.
Philip: But he’s burned through—first of all you forget that they already did a hit piece on Amazon for what goes on in their warehouses.
Philip: There’s no air conditioning, people were being worked to death. And finally Amazon, well ok they put the air conditioners in. This is strictly about the white collar workers, their upper level management. And I totally believe what the Times reported. That they worked these guys just as hard as they possible can and when the guys start to break down they get rid of them and bring in a new crop. They’re treating people like they’re fungible. There’s plenty of people who would be happy to work at Amazon. You get a good training. You can only do it for so long because it’s too much. And other companies aren’t like that. People get hired by Apple to do a certain job and they stay there for 30 years. There’s got to be something different about Amazon.
Leo: That’s true. People uniformly said it was horrible. “The worst job I ever had working for Steve Jobs and I will never forget it and I will never regret it.” You know it’s a double edged thing.
John: These are those masochists that work in Silicon Valley though. I think it’s being—I think the Mr. Robot show is kind of exploring this a little bit.
Leo: Are they? Are they going to get into that now?
John: The whole show is about kind of the sickness of high end programming.
Dwight: Leo are you not watching Mr. Robot?
Leo: I watched the pilot and I loved it. I thought it was great.
Dwight: It’s incredible.
Leo: It’s getting better?
Dwight: It’s an incredible show.
John: It’s astonishing.
Dwight: Oh, man. It’s probably the best show on TV right now.
Leo: No, I liked the first episode.
John: I would agree.
Leo: Ok good.
Philip: Where is it? Where is it? What--?
Leo: USA Network of all places.
John: He has his offbeats.
Dwight: So USA—USA is owned by NBC Universal so it’s not of all places. It’s kind of where they are doing their experiments.
Leo: It’s where they dump stuff usually.
Dwight: Kind of their dumping ground.
Leo: If they ever bring back you know, Starskey and Hutch it will be on USA Network. The Dukes of Hazard Redux, that’s going to be on the USA Network.
Dwight: It’s available on their archives. It’s on iTunes or Amazon.
Leo: Yea, easy to get.
Dwight: It’s fantastic. If my wife who is not a techy and not at all interested in hacker culture is mesmerized when – you know, we’re cord cutters and when we get the email from iTunes saying, “This is available,” she says, “Let’s watch it. Let’s watch it,” it’s really good.
Leo: I love the chatroom. “Leo, Dukes of Hazard is actually a Warner Brothers property. I don’t think NBC Universal will bring that back.”
John: I’m glad the chatroom has a clue. You deserve it.
Leo: (Laughing) I deserve it. I earned that.
John: Dukes of Hazard.
Leo: Ok I have a question. This is—I don’t know if it’s a spoiler because I haven’t been watching it. But Steve Gibson and I both posited—
John: Posited – whoo!
Leo: Posited that the hoody guy, whatever his name is, and the hacker guy played by what’s his name, Christian Slater—
John: Everybody knows this.
Leo: It’s like Fight Club.
Leo: Yea, ok, I’m just going to—have they, did they, has that paid off yet or no?
John: Well it’s not like Fight Club in the sense that it’s his alter ego.
John: But it’s very similar.
Leo: Do they tell you this, or—
John: They show you on, I think on episode 5—
Dwight: Episode 9. When they just did it.
Leo: I spoiled 9 episodes for people.
John: Is it 9?
Dwight: Episode 9. The one coming up this week is episode 10.
John: You’re that far along and you’ve only watched episode 1?
Dwight: Episode 10 is the final one. It’s this week.
John: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Leo: That’s exciting.
Dwight: Yep. I’ve become and evangelist for this show. I think it’s just spectacular.
Leo: I’m going to sit down—there’s too many shows. You know, I hate to--
John: This is an important show. You have to watch.
Leo: But there’s too many good shows.
John: No. This is—he’s right. This is the top show.
Dwight: He’s right. This is the show you have to watch.
Leo: The show. Ok. It raises issues that we deal with here.
John: I don’t know what it does.
Dwight: Oh yea.
John: It’s just entertaining as hell.
Dwight: Have you been watching Humans?
Leo: Yea, I like Humans a lot.
John: have not seen Humans.
Leo: Humans is good.
Dwight: Humans is very good.
Leo: That was one of my (laughing)—
John: Here we go ladies and gentleman, right into the old review section of the TWiT broadcast.
Leo: Here’s another one where the chatroom goes, “Well actually the original Swedish version was much better.” I rib you because I love you, chatroom.
John: That’s not how they see it.
Leo: By the way, good news here. According to The Onion, Jeff Bezos assures Amazon employees that HR is working 100 hours a week to address their complaints. Bezos says, “Nothing matters more to me than the well-being of our employees and our HR staff will continue to work their fingers to the bone, not seeing their families, not seeing their friends or anything at all outside their offices for as long as it takes to make this right.” Bezos added that, “Any employee not fully committed to ensuring a healthy work life balance should look for a job elsewhere.” So that, you see? He’s addressed it.
John: I’m glad The Onion’s still around.
Leo: I love The Onion.
John: Let’s go to hot topic.
Leo: What is a hot topic?
John: Hot topic.
Leo: You want a hot topic?
Leo: I don’t think we’ve discussed the Skylake CPU yet.
John: Oh, yea, ok. What else?
Leo: Sprint’s going to abandon 2 year contracts just like T-Mobile and Verizon.
Leo: Yea. Have you found Marty Rimm?
Philip: I did.
Leo: You found him?
Philip: Yea, yea, yea.
John: Where did you find him?
Philip: I hired—I did a Kickstarter.
Leo: Really? No!
Philip: Raised $300 bucks. Hired a private I and I found him.
Dwight: How did you pitch the Kickstarter? How do you say, “I want to hire a private detective?” How did you pitch that?
Philip: I said, “We’re coming up the 20th anniversary of the cover that ended my career as a tech journalist.”
Philip: And this guy who was my source—
Leo: You’ve got to tell this story. Tell it from the beginning.
Philip: All right. 20 years ago last July Time ran a cover story on cyber porn that was immediately ripped to pieces by the civil libertarians and others. Mostly Mike Godwin, the Mike Godwin of Godwin’s Law that any internet discussion will eventually invoke Hitler. Anyway, the source for this story was a Carnegie Mellon undergraduate who purported to count how many pornographic pictures there were—this was the early days of the internet. So we’re talking about Usenet and Porn BBSs and you know Time just loves 2 things. 1, exclusives and 2, numbers. So he was offering us exclusive access to the numbers of pornographic pictures on the internet. And I was a green enough writer that to get a cover opportunity I just ran with this thing. Late in the week, about Thursday as I’m finally reading this report and I’m starting to think, “Woo, this is really shoddy research.” But I was too deep into it and I was too green and I went ahead and wrote this cover story. And it had a picture of a kid with wide eyes and a keyboard—
Dwight: Awesome photo by the way. Great photo, great photo.
Philip: And obviously shot—there he is. You can see it there. It wasn’t a photo. It was a Photoshop thing. And inside it had a naked man humping a computer. I mean the art was just amazing.
Leo: (Laughing) and you’ve got to put this in context because this is 1995.
Philip: Right, right.
Leo: This is the beginning of the internet and nobody was even aware that this was happening.
John: Well there was the bulletin boards in the 80s –
Leo: Yea but it was not common knowledge.
John: There was a lot of porn. Well, I don’t know about that. But ok, keep going.
Philip: The rule about any new medium, pornography is the first thing that makes money. Anyway the cover came out and Godwin got—all the guys on the WELL, you know what that was?
Leo: I was a member.
John: Yea, you still have a WELL address I believe.
Philip: Yea I know. Fortune got tired of paying the $100 a year so I lost that account. Anyway they leaped on this cover and ripped it to—they hired, they got some academics to look at the methodology and it was terrible. So Rimm hung around for—his name is Marty Rimm. And he hung around for a couple of weeks. He did an interview with the New York Times. He was on ABC Nightline. And then they started to find out about his past. Which had some weird stuff in it. And he disappeared. And nobody had seen him for 20 years. So I was, we were coming up to the 20th anniversary and I thought, “Hey if I’m going to do something about this,” because it had kind of haunted me. You know, I looked for him—
Leo: Did you regret it?
Philip: Oh yea, geez. It was terrible. I had to stop writing. I became an editor.
Leo: Really? That’s not hyperbole? You really stopped?
John: He became an editor.
Philip: I edited Science for 12 years.
Leo: And editors as we know from last week…
John: You’d have to listen to last week’s show.
Leo: John’s probably—
Philip: Do you know the editor joke? There’s one funny editor joke. Shall I tell it?
Philip: So an editor and writer get lost. They’re covering the Gulf War. The get lost in the desert. They climb over, you know, these hills. Mirages appear and disappear. Finally they’re about to die of thirst when they go over 1 more hill and there’s an oasis. And there’s a pool of clean, clear, cold water. And the writer goes and he sticks his head in and he’s drinking the water. And the editor he realizes is standing behind him pissing into it. And the writer says, “What the hell are you doing?” And the editor says, “It’s ok. I’m making it better.”
John: That’s a good joke.
Leo: From a writer’s perspective—
John: That’s a very classic, I would say yea.
Philip: Yea it turns out it’s an Army joke because of the private, private, general. Anyway so 20 years later I pitch it to Fortune. And they say they are sort of interested in my story about it but they feel uncomfortable about hiring a detective. But they said, “If you want to do it with Kickstarter that’s ok with us.” So I raised the money on Kickstarter. It took me like 3 days. And hired the guy. And got a home address and a work address. And I waited and I had fantasies of doing a whole podcast and I taped a bunch of interviews with everybody around the story. And then I finally said, I got to go try to find the guy. So I drove down to—he lived outside White Plains—and I took a day and I drove down really early in the morning. I parked outside his house and I waited and waited and waited and waited. And nobody ever came out. I knocked on the door and the dogs were barking. I finally gave up and I went to his place of business where of course he wised up to me. The receptionist identified him from his picture, “Oh, yea, he works here.” And then she got freaked out and wouldn’t talk to me anymore. Anyway, he was clearly ducking me. In fact he’s scrubbed all his links—he’s got a new name. He changed his name after that happened.
Leo: He changed his name?
John: Why was he ducking you?
Philip: You know, I’m not quite sure.
Dwight: He doesn’t want to relive it. He doesn’t want to relive it.
Philip: Yea someone said he learned early on that if you screw up badly enough on the internet, there’s nothing you can do but get a new identity.
Leo: But you know what? I think that 20 years later, hindsight has proven him not so far off.
Philip: Well, he was far off. His thesis was that people would go to the internet for the kind of porn that you couldn’t get in the magazine stand.
Philip: That it would be—you know, I won’t even go in—
Leo: He was short sighted. He just didn’t realize. They’ll go to the internet for any kind of porn they could find.
Philip: Right, it’s basically mainstream porn is what most people go for.
Leo: Just like the real world, right?
Philip: And even Godwin says, “The internet’s awash with porn.”
John: Now you have Hitler porn.
Philip: And you just have to learn how to raise your kids with it. Anyway, that part of this thesis was wrong and we played it up big on the billboard of our cover story.
Leo: On the other hand, I would grant him that porn is certainly one of the number 1, if not the number 1, uses of the internet.
John: Eh, e-mail. So let’s wrap this story. Did you get a hold of him?
Philip: All right. The end of the story is I go back to his house. It’s the afternoon. I’m banging on the door.
John: Like a madman.
Philip: The dogs are barking at me and then looking back at something and then barking some more. And it hit me. You know, this guy is probably right on the other side of the door. And for the first time I put myself in his shoes and what it would be like to have me, of all people?
Leo: After him.
Philip: Right, he’s been trying to avoid me for 20 years and here I am outside his door. And I just felt like a stalker. And I decided—
Leo: He was probably aware of the Kickstarter.
Philip: Oh yea, oh yea.
John: Not necessarily. Did you yell, “Open the door, you son of a bitch!”
Leo: You ruined my life!
Philip: No I didn’t.
Leo: He collected 917 thousand images, descriptions, short stories and animations from BBSs.
John: So which I was talking about in the 80s. Now, so that’s the end of the story? You never did get a hold of him or what?
Philip: Yea, and—
John: Aww that’s a disappointment.
Philip: I found out where he was. I found out what happened to him. I think he--
Leo: Marty Rimm, wherever you are, wait a minute, let me look in my wallet.
John: He’s not watching this show.
Leo: I’ve got a 20 dollar bill right here.
John: Bring him on the show.
Leo: You come on the show—
John: Do Triangulation.
Leo: A hundred dollars.
John: A hundred dollars.
Leo: No, I’m not giving him that camera. Stop it. Wow.
Philip: Well, that’s the story. And you know I’ve been trying to get This America Life interested in doing a whole—I was thinking about doing a whole, what was the name of that podcast was so popular where she chased down the—
Philip: Yea, Serial. I had fantasies of doing a Serial kind of think until I realized I knew nothing about—
Leo: You should have offered Rimm a job.
Philip: This American Life ignored me totally until the piece came out.
Leo: It feels like that would be a great This American Life story.
Philip: Yea, but then they finally responded to me and said, “Wait, wait. You didn’t talk to him?” And –
Leo: That does kind of spoil it.
John: It ruins it, yea.
Dwight: Or it makes a better story. Or it makes a better story.
Leo: Well it depends if you’re drinking the water or pissing in it.
Dwight: So Philip, there’s a podcast called Reply All that dives into the background of the history of things on the internet. And they would be—they would love this story.
Philip: What’s it called?
Dwight: Replay All. It’s a Gimlet Media podcast.
Leo: Why are you sending him elsewhere? This is a podcast network. We make podcasts every day.
John: Yea, lots of action.
Dwight: When I was listening to this it sounded like one of theirs.
Leo: Gimlet is Serial, right? Gimlet’s the same guys.
Philip: It is.
Dwight: It’s NPR isn’t it?
Philip: No, it’s a spinoff.
Leo: It’s a spinoff. Gimlet is the Planet Money guys and they do Serial, they do Start-Up, they do The Story of Cyber Porn Part 1.
John: I only listen to and take part and help produce the No Agenda Show at noagendashow.com. And we just concentrate on this—
Leo: Why don’t you do this story on No Agenda Show?
John: It’s not a No Agenda thing. He never talked to him.
Leo: What is a No Agenda thing?
Philip: No, listen. If someone will back me I will talk to him. I just, I had no backing.
Leo: What do you mean? You want weapons? What do you want?
John: He wants backup.
Leo: Go in strong? What are you talking about?
Philip: I’m talking about a sound engineer—
Leo: Oh, I see.
John: No he needs a bullhorn. “Come on out, Rimm. We know you’re in there.”
Philip: I did what I could do. I wrote a piece. I’m a writer, I write stories.
Leo: Marty Rimm, where are you?
Dwight: If he sees this he’s never going to talk to him now.
Leo: It’s kind of like that movie Searching For J.D. Salinger, only not at all. Our show today brought to you by your shaving system, Harry’s. We were talking about Harry’s before the show.
John: Yea, where’s my Harry’s? I should get one.
Leo: Want some Harry’s? I’ll get you some Harry’s.
John: Yea, you got some in the back?
Leo: Get some Harry’s for Mr. Dvorak. Harry’s is—
Leo: You can all go to Harrys.com. Sometimes people say, “Shaving’s not fun.”
John: Isn’t this something you have to subscribe to?
Leo: No. You could just go there and buy them whenever you need them. But it starts with the Harry’s kit. So get the Harry’s kit.
John: I like the one with the orange handle.
Leo: Yea, that would be The Truman. They have a Truman and they have a Winston.
John: You’ve got the Truman for me?
Leo: That’s the Truman. The Truman set. We’ll see what we’ve got for you. Let’s see what John’s got.
John: This is what you come on the show for.
Leo: By the way I’m not going to tell John. This is only $15 and if you use the offer code TWIT5 it’s only $10. Shh.
John: Aww… that’s the best you can do?
Leo: When he sees what you get though he’s going to love it. Because for $10 you’re going to get not only the incredible Harry’s blade—oh, this is the Winston, it’s the metal one. Sorry, John. But you get 3 blades, the incredible handle. You also get, and I think this is sometimes overlooked, do no throw this out. This is not packaging. This is the travel cover. So it’s really great. You’ll never cut yourself on the DOP kit, right?
John: Very important.
Leo: I think this is not to be overlooked.
John: Yea, those things bounce around in your suitcase.
Leo: Yea, they get dull. You want a sharp blade.
John: Your finger’s cut wide open.
Leo: Exactly. It also—now, you have your choice. They have a—I personally prefer the cream. But they also have a foaming shave gel for those gentlemen that like a foaming shave gel. Would you like to shave right now?
Leo: You have a pretty clean shave. It actually looks like you shave before the show.
John: I always shave before the show.
Leo: That’s very nice of you. There are those who don’t. There are those who like baseball players shave after the show. They like to play with a little gristle.
John: The stubble.
Leo: The stubble. This is $10. It’s a great gift for dad or grad. Great gift for yourself. The thing to understand about Harry’s, it’s unique. The guys who started, one of the guys was Jeff who started Warby Parker, were doing the research. How do you make this a better experience for people shaving, a better experience? And what he found out was, well it comes down to the blade. There’s 2 factories in the whole world in Eisfeld, Germany.
Leo: In Deutschland, right? That’s where the knives are made. The Germans make good blades. They bought the freaking factory. They actually went to Germany and they bought the factory. So now in effect you’re buying direct from the factory when you buy at Harrys.com. That means 2 things. First of all they’re engineered for precision, for performance, for accuracy, for sharpness. But also, of course, your buying direct so you don’t have to pay those drugstore prices. There are no middlemen. Harrys.com. It starts with a kit, go get a kit. Get $5 off that kit when you use the offer code TWIT5. You don’t have to subscribe but you probably going to want to. You can subscribe and get blades by mail, you can get the razor, you know the shaving cream or the foam. They also have a—I love the after shave lotion. Which cools and calms your skin and makes you smell fantastic. You might like this too, John. This is—I love this. This is a razor stand. You can get that engraved. Put that right on the sink and your razor’s always upright and ready.
John: Ah. Oh yea.
John: Yep. That’s the way to be.
Leo: There you go. Harry’s. H-A-R-R-Y-S.
Dwight: Do they have anything for us bearded gentlemen, Leo?
Leo: Well now wait let me ask you. Do you got to shave like underneath, you don’t want a nick here.
Dwight: I’ve got to shave the cheeks and the neck, yea.
Leo: Well, you still need a razor.
John: Throat beard.
Dwight: I think I’ll do this.
Leo: Unless—you’re not one of those electric shaver razor guys, are you?
Dwight: No, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. I need an electric trimmer. It helps—
Leo: Yea, yea, yea, yea. That’s to keep the beard under control. You’re not going to use a razor for that.
Dwight: Well I don’t get yelled at at work.
Leo: You are going to like this a lot.
John: You don’t get yelled at at work.
Leo: You smell great afterwards. Harrys.com. Offer code is TWIT and the number 5. Just so you know. Get 5 bucks off.
Leo: TWIT5. T-W-I-T-5.
John: That’s actually probably the best deal you have on the show.
Leo: For 10 bucks? All of this?
Leo: 10 bucks would buy you 2 blades at CVS.
Leo: Not even 2.
John: And then you get electrocuted.
Dwight: That’s the Winston set?
Leo: That’s the Winston with the metal handle. Steve Gibson likes the Truman. He likes the—because the metal handle’s cold in the morning. He likes the plastic handle. And the plastic handle has a flat side so he always has it in the right direction. I guess Steve, I don’t know, maybe shaves in the dark. I don’t know. Some people do.
John: Shaves in the dark.
Leo: Shaving in the dark.
John: Yes, that’s a good one.
Leo: What where the chances? Hey I promised you we’d get you out of here before the Niners-Cowboys game.
John: Yea, you missed it.
Leo: I missed it. I got a couple off-
John: Although I think kick-offs—kick-offs probably not—
Leo: Ok, we got a little bit of time. Couple of headlines. Chinese, Chinese police, arrest 15,000 this month for internet crimes.
John: Yea. Yep, yep.
Leo: So you see you think that maybe they’re not paying attention to the hackers? Oh, no. They are paying attention. Police in China said on Tuesday they had arrested about 15,000 people for crimes that "jeopardized Internet security.”
John: What were they doing, using a VPN?
Leo: You know, I’m thinking they were searching Google for Tiananmen Square. I don’t know.
John: The thing that really gets them is that Falun Gong operation.
Leo: Falun Gong, yea.
John: They go crazy over that.
Leo: They did not make clear over what period those arrests were made. 15,000’s kind of—I hope it’s more than a month. They targeted websites—see, listen, this is the clue. They targeted websites providing "illegal and harmful information."
John: Falun Gong, yea.
Leo: And/or advertisements for pornography, explosives and firearms and gambling.
Leo: I have mixed feelings about this. You know we talk a lot about porn on the net or whatever. Would you want the opposite? Which is this kind of censorship?
John: That’s where it’s all headed.
Leo: I hope not. In February they said they banned internet accounts that impersonate people or organizations, and enforce people to use their real names when registering online accounts.
Philip: Well that would be an improvement.
Leo: Well, it would get rid of—I don’t think so. You know what? As much as I get hurt by anonymous trolling, I still think it’s important to allow people to get online anonymously.
John: It’s the American way.
Leo: I think it’s important.
John: Yea. The chatroom exhibits this behavior commonly.
Leo: You know we could say to the chatroom, “You have to use your real name and prove it” and stuff. We thought about it.
John: Then you’d have nobody in the chatroom.
Leo: It’s so much more fun that you’ve got Artman1033, NuclearJello, Loquacious1. That’s more fun.
John: Well at least it’s not Locutus.
Leo: Well and some of them are women. And I think that they quite rightly don’t want to be Betty, Sally and Mary Jane in there. Because that is just going to get unwanted attention and nastiness.
John: Horrible unwanted attention. People should be ashamed of themselves.
Leo: I’m looking at you, Tater. (Laughing) No I’m not. I’m sorry.
John: Locutus. That’s the guy of Borg.
Dwight: Locutus of Borg.
Leo: That’s a good handle. Do you want that? Because I might use that if you don’t want it.
John: What would I use it for?
Leo: The chatroom. You could be Locutus of Borg.
John: I’m in the chatroom now. I’m John C. Dvorak.
Leo: I know I use my real name too.
John: Why fool around?
Leo: Yea. Facebook does insist on real names. It does make it a little bit nicer climate in there. It also makes it the place to go for news. I mentioned that I was going to talk about this.
John: Oh yea. Ha!
Leo: Well Lepu studies have shown for some time that this is how young people—
John: Well they started hiring reporters and—yea, young people. Young people.
Leo: Young people. Matthew Ingram for your journal, Philip.
Philip: Yes, he’s one of the hires that we got from—
Leo: I’m so glad.
Philip: from Gigaom. Those guys are great.
Leo: I’m so happy to hear that.
Philip: It really raised the level. It puts the pressure on me. I realize I have to play a tougher game with these guys around. And Matthew’s wonderful. He’s so smart and they’re trying to turn him into a click ho, so—
Leo: What? There’s pressure to generate traffic on Fortune Magazine?
Philip: Oh yea. He says, “You know, I can only write 1,000 words.” And someone said, “Well you better learn how to write shorter than that.”
Leo: Well, it’s probably true. It’s probably the case that people don’t read more than 1,000 words.
John: They rarely read that much.
Leo: Although look at Medium. Medium’s doing nice isn’t it? That’s a longer forum.
John: I don’t know. I never go to that thing.
Philip: I don’t think—I mean they’ve got good stuff. I’m not sure they’re successful economically.
Leo: Well maybe not. According to Parse.ly, which is the best name ever, P-A-R-S-E.L-Y, it’s a traffic analytics firm, Google now accounts, I’m sorry, Facebook now accounts for more of the traffic to news sites than Google.
John: That’s got to bother them.
Dwight: I don’t think that’s—I have some question about that. We don’t see that here.
Leo: So tell me what your traffic looks like.
Dwight: So Facebook on any given day is probably maybe about 5% of our referral traffic. The vast majority of it comes from other referrals, our home page. I think that people who look for local media still go, “Oh, I want to go see what’s happening so I’ll go to the Chronicle.”
Leo: That’s rare. I don’t think most people go to front pages anymore. I certainly don’t.
John: My wife does.
Dwight: I think for hometown papers if you want to know what’s happening—
Leo: Right. You don’t Google your hometown story.
Dwight: In your town, I think you do, right.
Leo: That makes sense.
Dwight: And that’s our bread and butter. But one thing I can say is that, because this is my job now, I can see our traffic from Facebook, from Twitter increasing as the homepage declines. That is true. And it could be that—
Leo: Do you have a concerted effort to post on Facebook? I mean are you trying to drive traffic?
Dwight: Oh yes. Yes, we probably post at least every 30 minutes stories from both our premium site and our free site. You know we have that strategy of free and premium. And some of them really take off. Some of them don’t. But it is a— but we definitely—but if we don’t post a story that people are expecting to see, we hear about it. So they are coming to Facebook looking for it. I don’t think that used to be the case but I think people now get on Facebook and say, “I’m going to see what the news is.”
Philip: I’m looking at Fortune’s traffic right now, this exact moment. 1,066 viewers from Google, 562 from e-mail apps and IM, 140 from newsgoogle.com, 129 from aol.com, 79 from Facebook.
Leo: Well if you went to Vice or BuzzFeed, I mean obviously they’re skewing it. The aim at a younger demographic. Facebook perhaps—
John: It’s all BS. Just to give Facebook a reputation they don’t deserve.
Leo: Facebook certainly wants news. They’ve got, like Apple, they’ve got their own news interface. And they’ve clearly been tweaking the news feed to be more newsy.
Philip: And they’re huge, that’s the thing. That’s why I’m willing to believe this. Because Facebook is so big. And it’s really about people going to read stories. Whereas Google is really, you know, a search engine.
Leo: We’re seeing though a lot of stats about Facebook that people are now questioning. Things like 1.5 billion monthly active users. And people say, “That’s not right. That’s—“
John: That doesn’t sound right to me.
Leo: Yea. Boy, Facebook owned the GOP debate though, didn’t they? They were all over that.
Philip: What I thought was really awkward, the way they tried to put the Facebook questions in.
Leo: They were terrible questions too, by the way.
John: Somebody brought up the subtle, subliminal messaging that took place in that think. And of course we know that FOX probably doesn’t like Donald Trump among others, where you see a Republican candidate and then the big letter F which means flunk.
Leo: (Laughing) because you did. In every shot there was a Facebook F.
John: Yes and it subliminally telling you that these guys are flunk losers.
Leo: Or F stands for FOX.
John: No it was—they had the FOX logo there.
Leo: Why would FOX want to deprecate all the GOP candidates?
John: We’re never been convinced that they’re not a front for the Democrats.
Leo: Roger Ailes is not a front for the Democrats.
John: I’m telling you. There’s something—
Leo: Oh, come on.
John: I think the way they went after Trump was a good example.
Philip: Well we talked about this actually in the early show. And I said the words I thought I’d never say. Thank God for FOX news that they hit those candidates with such hard questions. And no other network could have done it without being accused of being, you know, hard on the Republicans.
Leo: Same reason Nixon could open China.
Philip: And I think that, what I read was that Ailes and Murdoch were really trying to push Trump out for the good of the Republican Party and they were going to choose that debate to do it. It didn’t work.
Leo: I think Ailes loved Trump because Ailes knew that Trump was a ratings god.
John: Well they knew that after the fact. They didn’t know in advance it was going to be—
Leo: They knew. That’s why they had him on hand, O’Reilly every day leading up to that debate. They knew. They knew very well.
Dwight: You know there’s a movement right now going on to get Jon Stewart to moderate a debate.
Leo: There’s something like 65,000 signatures on the petition.
Dwight: Yea, that would be awesome.
John: Yes, let’s put a comic in charge.
Leo: Why not?
Dwight: May as well, the field is full of comics.
Leo: Here’s somebody we can all agree on. Comcast. They apparently want to create their own internet, ladies and gentlemen. They’ve created something called Watchable which is a streaming portal. They want creators to—but, you have to be a Comcast subscriber with an X1 box to see it. They’re also releasing a live streaming app called Xfinity Share that allows all Comcast customers to broadcast to other subscribers TVs and smartphones. So it’s really kind of the Comcast internet.
John: This is not going to work.
Leo: It’s a terrible idea. But that’s what AOL did. It’s what all these guys do. Facebook wants to be the face of the internet. For a lot of people Facebook is the internet. Right?
John: Yea, yea. It’s like AOL used to be.
John: AOL was the internet for a lot of people.
Leo: All right I think we can—oh, no I don’t want to do that.
Leo: Australians. You’ve got to love them. There’s this sign on thing on Windows 10 called Microsoft Hello and the idea is that if you have a special camera that has Z Depth like the Connect or the new Intel camera, then it will do face recognition and you can sign on with face recognition. But of course the question is, what if somebody impersonates you or holds up a sign?
John: Hold up a picture.
Leo: So the Australian got 8 identical twins and to see if they could fool—
John: Could they?
John: They couldn’t?
Leo: No and these kids look pretty identical.
John: You know I was in Portugal and it was a few years ago when they had one of these systems. And I did everything I could, stuff my cheeks with cotton and all this stuff to get these things to not recognize me. They always worked.
Leo: They’re pretty good. You know what they do is they measure the distance between the eyes, the length of the nose I think. There’s metrics of the face that they use that apparently like a fingerprint, very, not very unique. Almost unique. Anyway Windows Hello passed the test.
John: Another thing that sounds bad.
Leo: Hello. Anyway I wasn’t going to do this story but you made me do it.
John: We did it.
Leo: Hey what could possible go wrong with 8 sets of adorable identical twins. They’re just adorable.
Dwight: There were no ugly twins.
Leo: No ugly twins.
Dwight: No ugly twins.
Leo: I think we can stop now.
John: Na, the 49ers will wait.
Leo: 49ers will wait (laughing).
Philip: Has it started?
Leo: I don’t know. I don’t care.
Leo: It’s preseason. It doesn’t matter.
John: It does matter. If you’re a football fan.
Leo: Last game Kaepernick had 1 down.
John: No but he’s going to play a quarter of a half this time.
Leo: Yea. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s John C. Dvorak. You know, just come back every week because you might as well.
John: Noagendashow.com check it out. When you can.
Leo: When can I get you off of that show onto our show?
John: I’m on the show right now if you haven’t noticed.
Leo: Oh nice job. Anything else you would like to point out?
John: Not really. I’m working on the vinegar book. It will be done. I’ve got lots of people giving me grief.
Leo: I want the vinegar book. And then you will host The New Screen Savers with me.
John: Once the book is done, yes. It will be a screen savers vinegar show.
John: Philmer. Hey Philmer, how you doing? He keeps saying Philmer.
Leo: (Laughing) am I the only guy that does that? It’s a spoonerism isn’t it?
Philip: You take your shot every time you say it.
Leo: Am I the only guy that does that? Philip Elmer-DeWitt.
Leo: He’s at Fortune. Used to be a writer at Time then he did that porn thing and—
John: That was it for him. Became an editor.
Leo: I love Philip Elmer-DeWitt. I always wanted to get him on the shows and I’m glad we did. Thank you for being here, we appreciate it.
Philip: Thanks for having me.
Leo: The most relaxed guest we have. He sits back, he relaxes.
John: Yea, he’s like in the middle of nowhere, somewhere on the east coast.
Leo: Are you in Stockbridge? Where are you?
Philip: I’m in Greenfield, Massachusetts. And we do have you know, cell coverage. But all the hill towns around us don’t.
Leo: What do they do for entertainment?
John: They watch the grass growing.
Philip: They smoke pot is what they do.
John: A pot smoking area.
Leo: And then they think they have—man, I’ve got 4 bars, man. Look at that. What a movie. Mr. Dwight Silverman from the Houston Chronicle. Blog.chron.com/techblog- @dsilverman at the Twitter. Just always—
Dwight: I always want to call him Philiped. You know I talk—
Dwight: I talk now in people’s handles. I always want to call him Philiped.
Leo: Well it is Philip E D, right?
Dwight: P E D, right.
Dwight: But it was all I could do when I was—when we were talking not to address him as Philiped.
Leo: Actually you’re right. When I don’t know somebody, I only know them from Twitter I often want to use their Twitter handle.
Philip: I’m usually PED but that was taken so I had to go philiped.
John: So should we remind people to go to the Twitter and put THErealDVORAK on their list?
Leo: See what happens. Penn Gillette is apparently from Greenfield, Massachusetts. Did you know that PED?
Philip: Yes I did. I did.
John: You’re getting dingy.
Leo: I’m getting dingy. Getting dingy on it. You know I will be back next week right before TWiT, in the hour before TWiT we’re going to do an Ask Me Anything, an AMA, not with Reddit but with Product Hunt. I’m really excited about this. You know we got to know Ryan on Triangulation, Ryan Hoover the creator of Product Hunt. It’s a great site for finding new and interesting stuff. And they decided to start doing Ask Me Anythings. So we will be doing one. And I’ll be broadcasting it while I do it which I think will be kind of fun. Between right—an hour before TWiT next week, 2-3 PM.
John: So it’s a time you can harass Leo.
Leo: You can harass me, you can ask me mean questions.
John: Mean. Be mean.
Leo: I’ve done a couple of Reddit AMAs I don’t know what else there is to ask. But if you could find something that would be great. You can find out more at our blog—
John: Do you feel like you’re asked out?
Leo: I feel like there’s just not that much to say. I mean I’m an open book. But maybe you’ll find something new.
John: I will. I’m going to come on and do it.
Leo: Troll me. It’s inside.twit.tv is our blog and the details, links and all that stuff will be there. And if you’re not a member of Product Hunt, create an account right now so you can do that.
Dwight: I found a great product there today, the Cat Purr Generator.
Leo: I think (laughing) I see it right here. I think it’s awesome.
Dwight: Product Hunt is awesome.
Leo: So what do you do? You just do it? You press it?
Dwight: It’s like an equalizer for cat purr. You can adjust and get different kinds of purrs. Crank of the bass. If you hit the low sliders and you got a good subwoofer, it’s pretty awesome. I freaked my cats out with it today.
Dwight: That’s a big cat.
Leo: That’s a big cat.
John: That will scare the crap out of anything.
Leo: Why do cats purr? Really, what’s going on with that?
Dwight: There’s some speculation that it’s like a self-healing thing. There’s a description there on it that the frequencies apparently have something to do with health and healing. I don’t know if I believe that.
John: I don’t believe that. Sounds like something from Berkley.
Leo: You know, I do believe that, you know why? Because whenever I’m in pain I moan. I’m a moaner.
John: You’re a moaner?
Leo: I’m a moaner?
John: You’re a moaner?
Leo: Have you well—
John: Well we know you’re a moaner and groaner but I didn’t know you were just a moaner.
Leo: I’m a moaner. If you have pain, try that. Go aghhhhhhhhhhh. It drives everybody in the house crazy but you feel better.
Dwight: But you feel better.
John: So you’re doing this around the house constantly.
Leo: Constantly. Because I’m in pain a lot. But maybe I should try purring.
Dwight: There are some pre-sets there down on the right where you can have contented, down in the blue links down there on the right.
Leo: Here’s tranquil.
Dwight: Sounds like snoring.
Leo: That’s tranquil. Here’s tiger sleep. Oh yea, that’s the deep base right there. Yea you can hardly hear it.
Dwight: Yea you have to crank it.
Leo: It’s like a thrum.
John: A thrum?
John: All right, we’re done.
Leo: We actually, you know what we did? We got cats. And they purr.
John: What do you mean, you got cats?
Leo: Well you just get cats.
John: What about them?
Leo: You don’t need a purr generator, you just get cats.
John: They crap.
Leo: That’s true. The purr generator never craps.
John: It does, nope, does not stink.
Leo: The purr generator does not crap. Our show is broadcast live so you can watch live. And usually you should because the best stuff is almost always cut out. That’s at 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 Eastern, 2200 UTC on TWiT.tv/live. You can also get after the fact on demand audio and video at TWiT.tv or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. And if you’d like to be in the studio like the German family—they’re not the German family, they’re the family from Germany. But anyway they’re nice people.
John: They’re from Stuttgart.
Leo: No, they’re not from Stuttgart, they’re from the Black Forest. The Black Forest.
John: I like to say Stuttgart.
Leo: Stuttgart. If you’d like to be in the studio you just email email@example.com. We’ll put out a chair for you. That’s all I can promise. Thank you so much for being here! We’ll see you later. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye bye.