This Week in Tech 529
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! What a great panel we have! Alex Wilhelm is here from Tech Crunch, Natali Morris from Natalie Morris, and my old buddy Patrick Norton from Tek Thing. We're going to talk about the latest news from Oculus. We've got Apple phones, we'll talk about the pros and the cons. We'll talk about the big eclipse coming up. There's a whole lot of talk going on. Next, on TWiT.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 529, recorded Sunday, September 27, 2015.
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news and every week we bring in some of the world's best tech journalists to talk. Natali Morris is back. I haven't seen you in AGES!
Natali Morris: I know, but you just called me the best. Thanks.
Leo: You are. Great to see you. How is Clayton Morris doing and your kids? Everybody good?
Natali: They're good.
Leo: Wonderful to see you, again. natalimorris.com, CNBC. Also here, Alex Wilhelm. We swore we would never bring him back, but hey. Mistakes happen.
Alex Wilhelm: I got called in randomly. I don't know.
Leo: Alex is from TechCrunch @Alex. He has the best Twitter handle ever, which he purchased for, remind me again?
Alex: 60 bucks. 2008, off a guy in Mexico.
Leo: That's entrepreneurship.
Alex: Or just betting on the wrong platform.
Leo: I don't think the wrong platform.
Alex: It worked out great. I'm not saying I had the best intentions in mind.
Leo: I had the letter "L" on gyku. That was good.
Alex: They're still relevant.
Leo: I was a big friend feeder. That's Patrick Norton!
Patrick Norton: Hi everybody!
Leo: Nice to see you from tekthing.com. I want to call it thang. It's thing. Aren't you tempted when you and Snubsy begin the show to say, "Welcome to tek thang?"
Patrick: She's more Missouri than I am. She could do it in a heartbeat.
Leo: Good to have you. How many of you waited in line at the store yesterday? Nobody? Anybody? To get a fine new iPhone? People don't need to do that anymore. I waited last year.
Alex: You waited in line by yourself?
Leo: John was there and you and you were there. We had quite a few people there, actually. It was fun, except, John correct me if I'm wrong, it seemed like it was half filled with bums.
Leo: They weren't buying phones for themselves. That's what is changing. The early days of the iPhone it was cool people, Apple fans.
Natali: Not in New York. You have the people who are doing it for corporate sponsorship or selling it or trying to get on the news for their own video purposes.
Leo: One thing that's changed is you can now buy the iPhone illegally in China. A lot of the squatters used to be people who would buy them and sell them illegally in China.
Alex: It's a big business in Brazil, Argentina, and countries like that.
Leo: Where you can't get them. There's a store in New Zealand that keeps complaining about these Americans coming to get iPhones in the middle of the night. iFixit, that's what they do. They buy it, they go down. That's the first place. That store must be horrible. There's people dropping them, putting them in blenders, taking them apart. It must the worst to work at that Apple store.
Patrick: I think they make them take them outside.
Leo: Don't do it in here. It must be so sad to see all these phones go out the door and be destroyed on camera. Natali, which one did you get?
Natali: I have the pink one. The S Plus.
Leo: You got the Plus.
Natali: Plus size.
Leo: I am a plus size too in more ways than one. You are only a plus size in phone. I also got pink, although we were debating before the show began, I think there's some other shades in there. When you tilt it it's a little gold, little copper. Match it only when you don't rotate it. What did you find? Romance? Is that the color?
Patrick: Sherman Williams, 6323 romance.
Leo: You have that shot? That's as close as you can get.
Alex: Could you buy that paint and paint your old iPhone so it looks like a new one? Would that work?
Leo: I'm going to go on record and say that I really like this color. I was a little worried that it was going to be pink pink pink, but it's more interesting. It's a little iridescent.
Natali: Even so, it's not likely that you don't put a case on it, so nobody knows that I've got this awesome pink phone, which is too bad. But, I got a new pink band.
Leo: For your watch? Oh. That's the floral.
Patrick: All I know is I had to pay 50 dollars to get the new extra large band so I could wear it for more than two hours.
Natali: That's funny, because mine are too small. Even at the smallest one, it doesn't read my heart rate well. When I went to Disney World, I had to pull off the adult sized adapter and wear the child's band for the magic band.
Leo: Just a tiny person.
Natali: Small hands.
Leo: Big heart. My wife also got the 6 S Plus, and I thought women didn't like the big one because it won't fit in your pocket. I didn't know this. I just learned this. Women have shallow pockets.
Alex: How did you not know?
Leo: How did you know?
Alex: Because I hang out with women sometimes?
Leo: Just getting to know women.
Natali: He's wearing women's pants. Can you please check the tag on his Levi’s?
Leo: I think you can get women's pants with deep pockets, you must be able to.
Natali: They're actually pretty stylish now. The type with the long slacks. Sort of bellish. It's good for the purse though. If it's too small, it goes all the way down to the bottom of your purse and you can't find it.
Patrick: So the 6 Plus floats?
Alex: My friends at work that have small iPhones have a hand problem because their hands are so small compared to their phone. You almost have to always have two hands on it.
Leo: Remember Apple made a big deal about the double tap this and the screen goes down halfway. Do you use that? That seems so dopey to me.
Natali: When it happens, I'm like get out of here.
Leo: That's why I disabled it. I don't want to see it.
Patrick: I don't have small hands. I assure you, half sizing the screen doesn't solve the problem. It pisses you off.
Leo: I have to say, having used this for a while, now I might be curious what your experience is. Unfortunately, Patrick just bought the iPhone 6.
Patrick: I'm a little behind the curb.
Leo: I have to say, and I've been using Android for two years because I got fed up with the closed eco system, I liked Widgets, I liked the back button, I just felt like Android was more flexible and capable. You were mentioning Peek and Pop. Right now, it's just Apple apps and Instagram, oddly enough. If I touch Instagram lightly, you get the jiggle jiggle. If you touch it harder, you get a pop up menu with the four most used commands. I feel like this is a power user feature. You can go right to the part, I'm going to take a selfie.
Patrick: It's awesome is what it is.
Leo: That's why I was very skeptical because forced touch on the watch is terrible.
Patrick: Somebody wrote a really interesting article where they pointed out that there were too many ways to interface with the watch.
Leo: David Pogue proposed. It's the funniest thing. He said the watch is too complicated and I Have a proposal. I couldn't figure it out from reading it, his proposed simplification, which underscores how it's just hard to make a user interface on a device that small that is in any way usable. Look at the icons on this. It's mean to make icons that small.
Patrick: You have entirely too many inputs.
Leo: Steve Jobs is famous for not even putting two buttons on a mouse. This thing you've got forced touch, you've got the crown, you've got the button nailed to different things.
Alex: It's almost like Jobs is dead.
Natali: That's not funny.
Leo: You've been drinking, haven't you? Everybody just stopped.
Alex: I'll see myself out. I apologize everyone. My point was that there's a different person in charge of the company.
Leo: I was talking about this on the radio show today. A light went on for me. Apple has a problem. There are incredible phones around the world people use Smartphones. You look at the Syrian refugee camps, they all have Smartphones. Obviously, Apple is in a different market. They won't make a cheap phone. Natalie, I bet yours is like that too. This cost me $950. It's ridiculous! Other companies making equivalent phones for less money, it's very clear Apple has a great profit margin. They made it as cheap as they could and they decided that they were going to go with fashion because there's one business in the world--Natalie tell me. You know this to be true. People don't say how much did that cost to make? I'm overpaying. That's high fashion. You don't ask how much did that silk scarf cost you to make. You don't care!
Natali: You don't. What is the economic term for that? It's desirable because it costs more.
Leo: That's brilliant. This is a good business strategy. You make it as cheaply as you can and you sell it for as dear as you can and the best way to do that is to make your goods... what did you call it Natalie?
Natalie: A veblen good. Because it costs more.
Patrick: Wall Street Journal back in July. Apple share of Smartphone industry profit stores surged 98%. They tell 20% of the Smartphones and they make 92% of the profits. I don't think they're doing anything wrong from a business/capitalist perspective.
Leo: If you're a stockholder, you're very happy. Veblen. Is that named after Thorston Bevlin? It is.
Patrick: Material commodities for which the demand is proportional to its high price, which is an apparent contradiction of the law of demand; Veblen goods also are commodities that function as positional goods.
Leo: It's a status symbol.
Patrick: I'm quoting Wikipedia.
Natali: For the record, I wasn't quoting Wikipedia.
Leo: Watch this. Hey Siri. What's a Veblen good?
SIRI: I found some information about Veblen goods on Wikipedia. Would you like me to read it to you?
Leo: Yes please.
Siri: In economics, Veblen goods are types of material commodities for which the demand is proportional to its high price, which is an apparent--
Leo: That's a new feature. I think that's really cool. Lisa and I were taking a walk yesterday and we saw a street sign we had never seen before. It's called Speed Table. What's a speed table? Lisa asked her phone and it told us. I'm walking down the street having this moment and thinking I'm living in the future. That's pretty amazing.
Natali: Remember there was a time when we thought we would have... what's the term for it? streaming reality? Like the Google glass.
Leo: Virtual reality. Augmented reality.
Natali: Augmented reality where we thought we would just point the phone and it would tell us. Now, I think what we're realizing now is we do want to drive a little bit more. We don't want it always there, we want to know or to tell it when we want it and otherwise not have it.
Alex: As a caveat to this discussion about cost to build versus cost to sell, when Microsoft built the original surface, I was up on their campus with Seamus Snovsky and they were the first time the public devices were out. He said, look. They're going to tear it down and give you a component cost. Ignore that. They're totally off base.
Leo: Apple said the same thing too. You can't tell how much it costs us. It costs less.
Alex: Apple didn't get 200 billion in cash by accident.
Leo: This is a brilliant solution to that problem. No one is going to ask how much a Gucci dress cost to make. That has nothing to do with it! As you pointed out Natali, it's worth more because it's worth more. It costs more. I'm thinking about the Apple watch. Same thing.
Patrick: I'm thinking about the Apple car.
Leo: We'll get to that in a moment. The point of the watch is not about to technologically program your computer, it's ridiculously over priced. That's a good thing, because what this is is a status symbol. What it really is is a signal that you're one of us. If you're wearing an Apple watch and you go up and you say hi, how do you like that Apple watch? So this is brilliant. These guys are figuring this out. We've got a problem here. Phones are going to get cheaper. They're going to be just as good for 200 bucks, for less. What are we going to do because we want to keep our margins up. That's why it's pink!
Natali: There were brands that did this way before phones were cheap that just charged a lot for phones. Vertu. Yeah.
Leo: They're crappy phones. Look at that. That's basically a Nokia phone from 1990.
Natali: They cost 10,000 dollars, they had leather on the outside.
Leo: There's a guy with gloves making it, that's how you know it's expensive.
Natali: What do you call it when they piggy bank off of Sprint's Network?
Leo: Do they have their own network?
Natali: That's what it is. They were an NVMO.
Leo: Before they made the phone?
Patrick: Overpaid by two orders of magnitude for crappy service and lower speed.
Natali: The point was it was just good.
Leo: This cost more than an Apple Watch!
Natali: This is like 2007. Nobody thought phones would be status symbols.
Leo: People do buy these. Obviously if you buy this, you're not a technology maven. It's the Kardashians of the phone. It's a status symbol.
Alex: If I saw you with that phone, I would like you less because you had it.
Leo: Isn't the Apple Watch a douchebag detector?
Alex: Do you see me wearing one?
Leo: Seriously. That's what Kevin Rose called it. It goes both ways. If you're wearing an Armez scarf or a Vertu phone or an Apple Watch, some people will gravitate towards you and some people will go oh.
Alex: Is it pronounced Ermez? I thought it was Hermz.
Leo: That's why we don't let you in the store. You know this stuff. You're fashion forward, aren't you?
Leo: I guess. I have a rent the runway unlimited subscription. That's a TV thing. Becky Worlow does that. When you go on TV you can't wear the same thing.
Leo: It's baffling to me that women are supposed to wear different clothes every day and we don't even know what...
Patrick: Tell me there's a double standard in payment for services done.
Leo: If your buttons are on the other side, they cost twice as much to get them dry cleaned!
Patrick: You know what's really awesome? When a friend of yours from MIT with an engineering degree walks into Fries and they try to give her the stupid girl upscale. That's one of the most awesome things I've ever seen.
Natali: That happens to me at Best Buy too.
Patrick: You don't want that.
Natali: You don't want this many hertz. You want this many hertz. I'm like, I know what I'm talking about.
Leo: Don't you want to kick them when they do that?
Natali: I never do the don't you know who I am kind of thing. I'm like I know what I'm talking about. When it comes to cars I may be a bit less in the know.
Leo: I hate standing in a computer store and I'll hear them do that. Or say something patently wrong. You really need 32 gigs of ram.
Patrick: You're not going to get the best out of that new screen unless you get the HDMI cables with the gold plating. It's a superior transmission with the zeros and ones. That's only going to be 130 dollars, but it's going to make the image pop.
Leo: Did you ever work in one of them, Best Buy there?
Patrick: NO, but I'm spent a lot of time in retail.
Natali: We did a piece on C Net where I interviewed David Katzmeier who is the TV reviewer and he says when you go into Best Buy, they're going to tune the TVs so that the cheapest one looks the crappiest. They do it on purpose, and Best Buy wouldn't let us publish that part of the video.
Leo: Do you blame them? I would have stepped outside the store and said let's say that again. I don't know. I feel like I've had an epiphany. Apple is brilliant in terms of marketing. What's happened is they've re-positioned themselves as a fashion brand. Having said that...
Patrick: I don't know if they've done it. They're trying hard to.
Leo: Maybe not. Having said that, I do like this phone. They've sped up the touch ID. Natali, have you noticed that?
Natali: Yeah, that's nice.
Leo: If you were in the habit of turning on the phone to see your notifications or what time it was by pressing the home button, you can't do that anymore because it's so fast that as soon as you press the home button it's locked. I'll turn it off. You now have to use the on off button. Let me see what time it is. Let's see what time it is here. I turned Siri on by accident. This is another thing. I've learned this because I wanted to show this. I don't know if this is going to take off. This is a live photo lock screen. If you force touch it, it comes alive. That's cool. I have a picture of my dog that to me really... let's see if I can find this here. This is what you want to see. Some guy swiping through his photos. Here's Ozzy in the car. That's a fun picture and you get a sense of motion, but because I held the phone still for a second and a half before and after taking the picture I didn't drop the phone, now I force touch it and you've got the video behind the picture. Audio too.
Patrick: Yeah, I'm really impressed by it. Given how easy it is to actually capture the images and store them, it's going to be popular. It's not a lot of extra work.
Natali: They said that one of the problems with this is someone will take the picture and then immediately drop the phone and go off on their day so you'll get a blur at the end of it.
Leo: I've got a million of those.
Natali: What they're going to do in the next iteration is...
Leo: They'll remember and they're going to do something.
Natali: They'll use a gyroscope so when you drop it, it turns off.
Leo: Here's the cheeseboard. That's what you get, a picture of your elbow. I thought I was just taking a picture. You can, by the way, turn that off on the camera.
Natali: Look at my daughter. Here, I'll show you one.
Leo: Parents are going to love that. And then you forget.
Natali: I was like OK that's good. I thought that was enough. You can see she's just playing on her little bike. It's super cute for the kids.
Patrick: Can you send that to anyone?
Leo: No. You can only send them to other Apple people. By the way, brilliant. It's just a JPeg or a movie. It is in a non-standard format. Nobody supports it yet. Facebook said at the event that they're going to support it on IOS versions of Facebook. I think that would make that compelling. I'm more interested in this 360 video. Did you see the Star Wars 360 video on Facebook? That's supported by Facebook.
Patrick: It's funny because the Oculus Rift thing was this week and they announced the Windows X Minecraft will be ready for the Oculus Rift. There's going to be a 99 dollar Gear VR from Samsung coming in November just in time for the holiday season, but you of course need a Samsung phone to use it. It's interesting to watch, it's almost like Facebook knows they need to ease people into the glorious concept of 360 degree content and they're doing it by degrees on the website to get people to jam with the idea.
Leo: You need a helmet to make it work.
Patrick: It was more compelling than I expected it to be on Facebook.
Leo: Let me see if I can find it. It does look like you're watching your stream.
Patrick: Do me a favor? Make it full screen and see what the performance is like. Earlier this week, it was choking and I didn't know if that was my software connection.
Leo: The idea is you have a 360 degree video. Does it keep playing though? I can move around.
Patrick: You can look straight up if you want to.
Leo: You're right. This isn't as compelling as it would be if you were watching in a helmet, or cardboard or Gear Vr, but that's next, right?
Alex: It's beautiful. Flat out.
Leo: If you're a star wars fan, you want to go look at this. How many suns are there? What am I looking at? It's a space station. It's cool. You're right. They're preparing us for a day when we'll all have virtual reality helmets. One of the announcements they made this week was that there will be a $99 Samsung helmet. I had the 200 dollar version, but you have to have a thousand dollar Samsung phone to do it.
Patrick: There's Samsung gear for 99 dollars coming in.
Leo: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you say that. I was looking at Star Wars. YouTube does that too. Same thing. Are you going to get this Data S? That's what I want. I've ordered it already. Riko is making, fairly inexpensive, it's less than a hundred bucks. I saw the original one, the quality wasn't great, but the new one, the quality will be better. Natali, you need this for the Tinky Wink. You don't move it. You don't need to. There's a camera on the other side as well. It's taking HD 360 degree video.
Patrick: The only thing better than fancy photos on your iPhone you can't share with grandma are fancy 360 degree video she won't be able to access online.
Leo: But you can put in on Facebook soon and YouTube.
Alex: How much did it cost?
Leo: It's much less than you would pay for the gopro.
Patrick: You're talking about a collection of GoPros. How bad is the fisheye.
Leo: It's pretty good. If you search for Theta S on YouTube, you'll see a lot of videos. Dick Debortolo did it. He was at the event where Riko announced it. He went to Time Square. Perfect place. Everything is all around you. It looks about the size of an Apple remote. It's really small. We're on the verge of this. I feel like 99 dollar VR helmets, cardboard is even cheaper... there's Time Square. There's Dick. That's the amazing thing. I want to do vlogs like that where you're looking at me, but if you turn around, there's a 4 alarm fire going on in the background or dancing girls. I don't know what. Natali wearing an Irmez scarf, something exciting on the other side. You could do that. You could do two shows. Clayton could be on one side, you could be on the other.
Natali: There's a Periskope that people would tune into.
Leo: Don't you think?
Natali: I don't know who would want to see that. We'd do it. we'd try.
Leo: Battery life very good. What do you think? I feel like it's very good on the 6 S PLus even though it has a smaller battery than last year.
Patrick: They're claiming IOS 9 is going to give you smaller battery life. They have the power saving mode.
Leo: It's been off the charger since 6 AM. 79% still. I've been using it a lot.
Alex: Isn't low power mode just a less bright screen?
Patrick: Less bright screen and they start shutting off background...
Leo: At this point, I'm not going to get to that till tomorrow. I have to say, that's one thing Android hasn't been able to do very well is get the battery life up. Right?
Patrick: I'm also getting frustrated with-they keep making phones thinner. We made it a millimeter thinner! Give me more battery life and make my entire experience that much better.
Leo: What did Clayton get? Did you get a new iPhone too?
Natali: He got the regular gold.
Leo: I think pink would look good on him.
Natali: Yeah. He wears pink good. There's a lot of new hardware in this phone, not just new software, so it's a stronger back so we'll get less of the bending issue. It's some kind of space grade titanium
Leo: I feel like, unlike previous S years, this is a much... I have to say I mocked them. This is an S gear. You didn't know that? I mocked Apple because they said the only thing that's changed is everything. That's the kind of thing you'd say when you have nothing to show. But in fact, there's a lot in this.
Natali: They say that because the stock market dumps on them every time there's a new...
Alex: If you go back to the original iPhone back in 2007, you fire up the phone today using IOS 1, and you can still use it. You would know how to get around it. Thing have changed a lot in the packaging and the technology behind the screen, but the actual IOS core experience is really similar to what it was 8 years ago now, which I like by the way.
Leo: By not doing that, by not doing widgets, that's one of the reasons you get battery life reduced. Look at this. This is really cool. I didn't know this until Jason Snell showed me yesterday. If you swipe in from the left, this is a very Microsoft gesture, you swipe in from the left with your forced touch, you see your previous apps. Or, you can see if you do that, you'll see the switcher.
Alex: Do we like the new app switch screens? I've had a hard time closing the right app.
Patrick: If you have force touch, it's a lot easier to use than if you're using it on a pre six s phone.
Leo: I think that's the key, is force touch. I think that's an example, Alex Wilhelm, of a fairly large change in UI, I think. This is the right click, the right mouse button. We haven't had that before. I don't think somebody coming from an iPhone One would know if you press a little harder.
Alex: That's not a great on boarding experience if you want to show off what's new.
Patrick: One of the things that's funny is a bunch of friends of mine who got this were like "OH my goodness. I can log in instantly with my fingerprint, and the other thing they said is they spent 3 or 4 hours force touching every single application just to see which ones...
Alex: There still has to be phrasing. 3D touch on all the apps.
Leo: Snap, crackle, pop, I touched you.
Leo: Then there's weirdness. Here's the Apple Watch App. Force touch the Apple watch, nothing happens.
Patrick: Oh the irony. The other thing is, they were supposed to come out with the new version of the IOS Watch OS 2, which has been delayed.
Leo: It came out Wednesday.
Patrick: Oh it did?
Leo: It doesn't change much. Look at this, watch this. Time machine. I can go back in time. I can go forward in time.
Patrick: Your life looks exciting!
Leo: I have calendar appointments all the time.
Alex: You don't stop talking, actually. It's amazing. How is your voice not always dead? Your voice always sounds so good. I get horse after a half hour of talking.
Patrick: First thousand hours. After that,it gets easy.
Leo: Many years of Jack Daniels and cigars.
Patrick: And four-hour radio shows.
Alex: That'll do it.
Leo: Do you remember the long CES of Condex events in Vegas. We'd sound like this. I'm here to talk about Jim Ladderback. Natali, give us your pros and cons. Would you upgrade if you had a six?
Natali: No. I had a six plus before. The six was just such a good phone that normally by the time September comes around I'm like oh yeah, I need it. The six held up to my life style. I didn't need a new one. This doesn't belong to me, I should say that. It's a tester, it has to go back.
Leo: Will you go back to the olden days? I bet you won't.
Natali: Probably not.
Leo: I'll bet you'll want to upgrade.
Natali: Same with the watch. It doesn't belong to me, it's for TV purposes. It's a loner. Yeah, I would purchase these in a heartbeat, but I probably wouldn't even need to go from Six Plus to Six S Plus. Six was good. IOS 9 is very good.
Alex: I think the iPhone Six line of iPhones are so strong by themselves that I don't have a lot of reasons to upgrade. These are cool features, but I can wait a year. I'm not in a big rush, because my phone is so good already. I broke the screen because I'm dumb, but aside from that.
Patrick: I broke the screen and bent mine in the first five days because normally I don't use a phone without some sort of Industrial case around it and I tried and it turned out horribly for everyone involved. Especially the phone, but I was actually shocked at how light the case was on the Six. That's my only complaint about the six.
Alex: I really love how thin they are in general. I took it out to Ranaan. Of course took it out on the table and shattered it.
Patrick: I know a guy who can replace that screen in 20 minutes for 80 bucks.
Alex: I haven't gotten around to it. It hasn't been a priority.
Leo: Let's take a break.
Natali: It's so funny when you see people playing with the super cracked screens. Why don't you take care of that?
Leo: Both my kids have always had cracked screens. My son will use it with a chunk of glass missing. You can actually see the circuit boards. The Terminator after he got shot in the face. You're going to cut yourself! Get a screen fix.
Alex: You do it. You've got connections.
Leo: I told him to go down here...
Patrick: I love Ifixit, but sometimes I can't wait 24 hours.
Leo: We're going to take a break. Natali Morris is here from CNBC, nataliemorris.com. So nice to see you again. Thank you for being here.
Natali: You're welcome. I corrected you earlier on that Force touch.
Leo: did I say something wrong?
Natali: That's not the right way. Then I felt like a know it all.
Leo: That's all right. It got me excited. Also here, Aex Wilhelm. Pretty excited to be sitting next to you.
Alex: I always love doing... there we go.
Leo: Did you have short hair the last time you were here?
Alex: I just shave it off every couple of weeks. I'm going bald.
Leo: I used to look like that. I've grown it out. For a man of your age...
Natali: It's a complisult.
Leo: I've been compliment-insulted! And of course a friend of mine, Patrick Norton. Great to have you. It was fun. We'll get you back to do Screensavers again.
Patrick: I'm already booked.
Leo: That show is so much fun. It reminds me of the old show in the sense that it was a variety show. We had a band yesterday, we sang happy birthday legally since 1927. We disassembled the VBA robot. It was so much fun.
Patrick: I'm glad my son didn't see that. He's getting one for his birthday.
Leo: It's interesting how they're personified as these little rolling robots. You feel like it's a real person. He's looking around. It's interesting.
Patrick: I found out about a Star Wars Day with the boys chasing through a target in Richmond which is always an adventure and finding the last two Millennium Falcon Quad copters.
Alex: Where is Richmond?
Patrick: Richmond, the city you drove through on the way up.
Leo: It's where all the refineries are.
Alex: Sounds lovely, actually. I'll move there right away.
Leo: They have a siren. Not kidding, that will go off a lot, at least a couple times a year that you're supposed to take cover. I kid you not. Because there's been a fire.
Patrick: I had been working out of the hack 5 warehouse in Richmond for a week. It is very close to Chevron. We had been there for a week.
Leo: Did the siren go off?
Patrick: No, but he comes in, drops a phone in between me and the net cam and says refiner is on fire, gotta go. It's a picture of what looks like this orange flame. It turned out they screwed up and they released a bunch of steam and they were burning Benzine on the eternal flames.
Alex: You're not selling Richmond very well right now.
Patrick: There are some very nice parts of Richmond. The boys find it fascinating because there are railroad trains running through the streets, which small children love. Someone has a pirate ship at the boat yard...
Alex: Did you say pirate ship? I'm totally sold. That's all I need in my life.
Leo: There's a lot of old military stuff that's not abandoned, but not occupied. There's a lot of interesting action going on there. I'm sure that's where Daren is, one of those warehouses. Or is it a secret location?
Patrick: It's a secret location. You want to knock on doors? Good luck.
Leo: Our show to you today brought to you by SquareSpace. We went out to New York and stopped by the SquareSpace offices. These guys are so committed to making your website look beautiful and work great. That's the two things they do. Best hosting ever. Super reliable. We try all the time to crash Squarespace. You can't do it. They also are really committed to aesthetics. They want your website to look great. Not merely to look great, but to reflect your personal style. That's great.
Natali: I have a Squarespace page.
Leo: That beautiful site, natalimorris.com. Let's try to bring it down. Seriously. Everyone go to natalimorris.com right now. Thousands of people will hit that site. You can't bring it down. It's SquareSpace. That's the beauty of it. We're all customers. Starts at $8 a month. When you sign up for a year. I hate to say the price because it's amazing. Beautiful templates, a very robust and reliable platform. All the designs are mobile responsive. If you go to natalimorris.com as we try to bring it down, you can resize the page and you can see it's going to look great on any size screen from a small Smartphone to...
Natali: It's really nice on mobile. That's a SquareSpace template that I used.
Leo: Isn't that nice? That's a Smartphone size, and that's a giant size. That's the deal. That's what every site needs to do these days because you can never be sure what size screen your visitors are going to come in on.
Alex: What's great about SquareSpace, if I may add, their tools to build your site are great if you're not a hardcore developer. Even I can figure it out.
Leo: I love that picture of you, Natali. Did Clayton take that?
Natali: He did.
Leo: He's such a good photographer. It has to do with the quality of the model, I believe.
Natali: Thank you for saying that.
Leo: Look at that at the bottom. Powered by SquareSpace. Here's the deal, SquareSpace is offering you a hundred dollars in add words credit for business and commerce customers. That's nice, it means you can get a jump start on your traffic. Start your free trial today. That's the other thing. I love Square Space. Most of our advertisers do that. They're confident in their product. You can go there. See that get started button? They will not ask you for a credit card number. You can just set up a site. You've got two weeks to try it. You can import content from your old place to see what it looks like. I've got to tell you, SquareSpace is the best. Use the promo code TWiT, and you get 10% off, and you show your support for This Week in Tech. SquareSpace: Build it beautiful.
Alex: Is that their tag line, or is that a Leo creation?
Leo: That's their tagline.
Alex: I like that.
Leo: It's aesthetic. You see a lot of other website builders, it's cookie cutter and it looks clunky. It looks like it came from 2004. I think they should emphasize how gorgeous that stuff is. We didn't talk a little about Oculus. The Oculus event was this week. We did a TWiT Live special covering the keynote. The takeaways, first of all, the Oculus Rift won't be available until next year. They still don't say an exact date or price. They also have hand controllers. The people we had on the show, the experts in VR said that's a big part of it. Until you have a hand controller, you're just a head in space. The ability to manipulate objects becomes very important. Those won't be available until Q2. There it is. Little bit of Haptics. It's not about you knowing what it feels like, it's about you being able to manipulate. They talked about a demo. Have any of you done this? There's a demo that Oculus does where there are two people in the virtual world and you can play catch or cooperate. I can't remember their names. Who did we have on the event? It was Bob and Jeff.
Alex: I love Jeff!
Leo: Jeff is great. He does gaming. From the Road to VR, I want to say Bob...
Alex: You had an out, you couldn't take it.
Leo: Thank you, Ben, sorry.
Alex: The guy wearing the headset did look shockingly nerdy. I'm curious to see if there will be any problems around use of this technology, especially in the wake of Google glass.
Leo: Not just glass. Remember that thing called the Segway? It's going to change the world except you look like a dork riding one? There is something to be said for looking less dorky when you wear stuff like that.
Patrick: If you're alone in your room playing games, you probably already look dorky. If you are in a VR environment, everybody is already wearing headsets.
Leo: You're thinking of the lucky newsweek cover.
Alex: I think Hololens is attractive. It looks pretty cool.
Leo: I'm with you. For a long time, I thought AR was much more interesting than VR. But Ben and Jeff were saying when you experience a world like this with somebody else, it can change... it's amazing. I have to say now, I got the Gear Vr. I'm a little bit more sold on this. It's immersive. It's not just immersive for gaming, although that's a big part of it. It's immersive for going to Time Square or Paris. I would love to have a VR camera in the studio so you could come and watch the show and look around. We choose what you're looking at now. We show whoever is talking. Wouldn't it be great if you could look back and forth and see your reaction.
Patrick: Having watched some of the content created by large International media companies, to some degree you'll be able to choose, but they will still control the narrative by giving you things to choose and choosing audio cue.
Leo: On the Gear VR... have you played with this at all, Natali? The virtual reality headsets?
Natali: Microsoft's version.
Leo: I'm interested in that, but that's very different. You're not sealed in. For a long time, I thought that was better. But there's a cirque de sole. If you can borrow a Samsung Galaxy Note 6, there's a cirque du solei demo and you're sitting in the middle of a performance and there are performers all around you. They were smart the way they filmed it because the performers are interacting with the camera, so it looks like if I look over here there's somebody interacting with me. I look over there. It's fun.
Alex: That's what I'm excited for. I curious about what we can do that's new and different in terms of content, interactions and experiences. If we can do more Cirque du Solei...
Natali: I have a question about cognition though. I don't know if any of us can answer this, we notice things now because of our peripheral vision. When you're trying to focus on one thing, there's this stuff.. You don't notice this out of your peripheral vision, right? You have to take your attention off of what you're looking at and turn to look at it.
Patrick: When you look at... like Dolbi has some extensive VR audio stuff that they've been working on. Their point is audio cues are critical for story telling in a VR environment because you just said it. How do you get people to turn their head? You can do an arrow which is really clumsy. Or you can have something happy on Stage right.
Alex: Do you remember the video game Dune 3 and how immersive and scary that was? The audio was crazy. Imagine that game now with the new technology. It would be terrifying. I'm curious...
Leo: Natali, I've got to say, having used it, I understand what you're saying. What happens is... It's interesting. The mind wants to accept or even flesh out a constrained experience. The example is 24 frame per second movies. You don't see 24 frames per second. The mind's desire to see motion. You quickly forget that you're seeing something so visually limited. You don't have peripheral vision. You're only seeing maybe 180 degrees at most. There's something that happens. Your mind wants to accept it as reality and you're in it. I think that's one of the reasons people get nauseous. It's immersive and that's when you start to feel queasy.
Patrick: You get nauseous because you've disconnected your visual cortex from your ear.
Leo: I remember going to a Universal studios and they had that Simpsons ride, which is a virtual ride. You're really sitting in a cart that jiggles back and forth, and they say if you get disoriented, just look outside the cart and you'll see your bags and stuff there. When you look up here you think you're on a roller coaster, it's very vivid. I think that's what happens. The human mind adapts.
Natali: Your eyes are not an exact replica of reality. Your eyes choose a certain amount of bits that your body is taking in, but you don't know it. If you're inside this helmet thing, like this demo that I did with Microsoft, a dragon came out and swung at your head as if it was going to decapitate you, and I actually ducked. My body did not know that this anthropomorphization was not me.
Leo: Your monkey mind doesn't understand that you're in a helmet.
Alex: But by the time I have kids and they have technology, this will be so standard fare...
Patrick: It'll be standard fare or it will be like 3D on TVs.
Alex: It's going to be massive and huge or zero.
Leo: That's what I'm saying. I know exactly what you're... now having used it enough, I feel like this is the real thing. This is not 3D. I hate 3D.
Patrick: 3D was a Maguffin to keep selling televisions. I don't think Vr is going to work until you have a socket in the back of your neck and you plug in.
Leo: That's a long way off.
Patrick: I'm not arguing that it's a long way off. But as long as your inner ear and body are receiving radically different sensations than what your eyes are doing, there will be some level of disconnect. I agree that's incredibly compelling. The Oculus rift when I saw it at CES this year was the first time they ever went like OK. this is going to happen. I don't know how long this is going to last, but this is going to happen. It's going to be really cool. They went through a whole bunch of scenarios for the use of the technology and a couple of them were absolutely compelling.
Leo: To answer your question, Alex, yes you do look like a dork. I've yet to see anybody in a helmet that didn't look foolish.
Patrick: It's that great shot of Will Smith from Tested where he's like...
Alex: I wonder if it's so fun and cool to use that we'll allow people to look like dorks. Look at us three right now. We're dorks without the helmets.
Natali: Speak for yourself.
Alex: I said us three, not you.
Patrick: Natali, I've worked in the same office as you. You can look like a dork too.
Leo: A little bit of warning here, this is a little violent and will only excite gamers. This is one of the demos that they showed the amazing guy behind the unreal engine. This is a game they're going to call bullet train. It's a virtual reality game. You'll be wearing a headset and you'll be able to look around. It's very violent. To me, this is not what I want to use a VR headset for, but I gather gamers are really excited about this.
Alex: I would go back to playing video games if I had that.
Leo: Imagine if you're in this environment and playing this game and you look around... by the way. That's one of the issues we're having right now, which is that these helmets, I didn't know this, thanks to Jeff Grubb telling me, the helmets don't know that you're tilting your head. They only know one axis. The current VR only knows that you're rotating. You want to design games where you can't... It's not based on input where you're tilting your head. That's why there's a lot of games like Cockpit games. All you're really doing is looking out a window. A game like that where you would imagine what you'd want to do is have a full perspective, you don't. It may be a disappointing game for that reason.
Alex: That's a really short-term problem. In five years they'll solve that. Also I think they'll have sensors in the front so they can track your hands without having you hold onto little sticks. Sure, that is such a non-problem in five years.
Leo: Natali, do you worry that your children will be growing up playing Bullet Train in a few years?
Natali: Not really. I'm a bit more utopic about it because like I said, I believe that the brain takes in only a finite amount of reality. I love the idea that they could step into Star Wars or something. My son is at a point where he's like is this real or is it not? I just want him to continue to believe in magical thinking. If he could step into something and have this experience, maybe that's one less way he can be de-sensitized and not think that the world is magic.
Leo: I think it's possible in five years that the next Star Wars movie will be in a 3D immersive environment. That technology isn't hard to do; it isn't hard to shoot. You can be a 350 dollar camera that will do it.
Natali: Now they have a world they can go..
Leo: Wouldn't that be cool?
Natali: They're making it at Disneyworld.
Alex: What about Avatar? That movie when it came out did a lot of 3D work, and it was magical at the time, but compared to what we're talking about pretty low tech.
Natali: What part about Avatar is low tech?
Alex: The future we're describing here with headsets and sensors and the experience when you control it on your own. It will make Avatar look relatively old school.
Leo: Do you guys look back at Avatar as a classic? Not me. Patrick is abstaining. There was a lot of attention on it and Hugo too. Remember the 3D movie that Scorsese made.
Patrick: I still haven't seen the 3D version of Hugo, but I think Hugo is a massive love letter to Cinema. It's a magnificent piece of work.
Leo: That one is a classic. It's not classic because of 3D or the technology. It's the movie. I want to see The Martian. Have you seen it yet?
Patrick: Read the book first.
Leo: Of course. I've read it many times. I read it once. Strong recommendation. Although, Andy Ihnatko saw it and says it's better than the book. I trust him. he said it's even better. You're not going to be disappointed. The question. Should I see that in 3D or 2D?
Patrick: It depends on the 3D theatre and it depends what they shot it in.
Leo: Shot in 3D. Real D. I read one review that said not a lot of special effects, just 3D.
Alex: He's just stuck on Mars. There's not a lot of explosions going off.
Leo: Yes there are.
Alex: Did you read the book?
Leo: There's an explosion or two.
Patrick: It was shot in iMax 3D.
Leo: I would see it in iMax. If you see it in iMax, you have to see it in 3D. You can't see it in iMax 2D.
Natali: It has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Leo: Sometimes I don't trust Rotten Tomatoes when it's Star Wars or something like this, because you know that the geeks who use Rotten tomatoes are going to rank it up.
Patrick: You look at the critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
Leo: The total score is 50/50. You can look at the critic's score. Are you looking at that right now, Natali? What's the critic's score?
Natali: I am. Where does it say that?
Leo: I don't know. Aren't we nerds. All critics.
Natali: All critics, top critics. I don't know.
Alex: Shouldn't shift much between those two.
Leo: You know why? It's not public yet. It hasn't come out. It comes out on Friday. Let's all go. I'll bring the tequila. Will you bring the doctor pepper?
Alex: No. I'm just saying I'm really excited about it.
Leo: Can I just say? Do not drink Tequila and go to a 3D imax movie.
Alex: I don't think that's a good way to stay alive.
Leo: Although, if you do, those popcorn buckets can be used for many things. That's gross. You didn't shave today.
Patrick: I will go shave right now.
Leo: I brought you some Harry's. Our show to you today brought to you by Harry's. I've shaved on camera before with Harry's.
Patrick: There is a danger of me cutting myself.
Leo: Not with Harry's! Harry's is a great place to go to get your razor blade. Shaving isn't fun, but I tell you when you have a great blade that isn't scraping you... it's sharp, it's precise, and a wonderful delicious smelling cream. I like the cream, they also have the shave gel, you get a choice. It's a lot better. Isn't that nice? You can get that engraved with your name, if you want.
Natali: I got that for my husband.
Leo: Did you? For Father’s Day?
Natali: I don’t remember what for.
Leo: Did he like it? Does he like it?
Natali: Yea, it’s cute, the stand. Yea, it’s good.
Leo: They have the classic handle, that’s The Truman. That’s $15. The metal handle is The Winston. I have that and that’s $25 I think. But we’re going to tell you how you can get it for even less. The best thing about Harry’s is that they make the blade themselves. They actually bought the factory in Germany where they make the blades. So they design them for performance, for precision and they ship direct to you so you get a great price. About half the price of those $4.00 Gillette Fusion Blades in the grocery store. The ones that are locked up because they’re so expensive. Harry’s guarantees your satisfaction in every kit. You get a razor with a handle that feels great. Doesn’t that smell good? You get 3 razor blades. You’re using the foaming shave gel there which I think is – and that’s $15 for all of that. We’re going to give you 5 bucks off when you use the offer code TWIT5 and checkout. H-A-R-R-Y-S.com. Let’s take a look at what you might have missed. We had a big week this week.
Alex: Huge week.
Leo: What are you saying, huge week? You weren’t even here.
Alex: I’m just agreeing with you.
Leo: Huge week. Huge week. Take a look.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT. Before You Buy.
Mike Elgan: Hey it’s Mike Elgan here. Just going to be reviewing BB8 by Sphero. You’ve heard a lot about it. And what’s my recommendation? What are you kidding? This is definitely a buy.
Narrator: The New Screen Savers.
Leo: This is what color? What color would you say that is?
Jason Snell: I’m a little color blind but I’m going to say rose gold.
Leo: We’ve got some swatches here.
Jason: Can we match it up? Let’s do it.
Leo: Well… it’s not pink.
Narrator: This Week in Google.
Leo: French data regulator says to somebody in France, “Google you have to delete it not just on Google.FR you have to delete it everywhere.”
Jeff Jarvis: This is exactly what I’ve been screaming about, what’s wrong with this decision. And if France can do it so can China and so can Putin and stay away from our internet, people!
Narrator: TWiT. Broadcasting from the capitol of the free world, Petaluma, California.
Leo: Why would anyone want to take a cute little baby and just dismantle the poor sucker?
Jason: Well, clearly they’re monsters.
Leo: They’re evil (laughing). They’re evil.
Mike: Coming up this week, Google is holding a big announcement on Tuesday, September 29th in San Francisco. We’re expecting Google to unveil the Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P Smartphones and possibly 2 Chromecast branded products. Tuesday evening, Tesla is expected to announce details about its Model X car. The Tesla factory in Freemont, California. And on Wednesday, September 30, Amazon’s line of Fire Tablets ship. On Thursday, October 1, LG is expected to unveil a phone called the V10, which is supposed to have a small, ticker-like display next to the phone’s front facing camera. That’s what’s coming up this week. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Couple of things that reminded me of. We ordered—so the $50 tablets, the Amazon tablets. I thought this was a joke. They sold them in 6 packs.
Alex: Oh yea, that’s true.
Leo: We bought 3 6 packs. 18 people in the studio wanted that tablet. So those will all be coming in a couple of weeks I think.
Alex: That’s a lot of tablets.
Leo: 18—we’re going to have an 18 unboxing. So new phones from the Google, Tuesday we think. We don’t know. I mean this is all rumor, but Tuesday Google is having an announcement. We think it will be the announcement of the new Nexuses, Nexi. It will be the 5X which is from LG. I don’t know how big it’s going to be. Is it 5.0?
Patrick Norton: I think it’s 5—
Leo: by 2?
Patrick: 5.2 right around there.
Natali: It says 5.7 here.
Leo: No, that’s the 6P. That’s the big one.
Leo: The big’un. So that’s from Huawei.
Patrick: That was—that’s an interesting choice because they’ve never done a phone for somebody big like that.
Leo: Well they’ve never as far as I’ve known sold phones in the US, right? You could get them but you had to go to a Chinese site to get them.
Patrick: Alibaba or whatever else.
Leo: Alibaba, yea.
Leo: I’m excited because, and we were just talking about this, battery life is really I think the weak, the weak point on Android phones. The last Android phone I had that would last a day was the OnePlus One. I haven’t had one since. That was a 1080p screen. That’s one of the reasons. But this is going to have a 3450 milliamp battery in the 5.7”. That’s as big as I’ve ever seen in a phone, so. If it doesn’t have good battery life there’s no hope. It will come with Marshmallow. Every phone should come with a marshmallow.
Patrick: And it’s funny because we know so little about Marshmallow.
Leo: We don’t. They haven’t really said much. It’s going to have that new thing where, what do they call it? It’s if you’re looking at something, you get Google Now by tapping—like you’re on a website, you tap something, a Google Now card will slide up. Or you’re on a site to buy something and I can’t remember the name of that. Tap To something.
Patrick: Would you like buy this to somewhere we get money instead of where you are currently?
Leo: Yea, probably. Type C charger. I think that’s the wave of the future. I’m very, I’m actually a little disappointed that Apple didn’t pull the plug. You know they’ll do it next week on the Type C. Next year, next week. Next year.
Alex: Isn’t that what the new MacBook uses?
Leo: Hmm mmm.
Leo: And the Google Pixel. And the OnePlus Two uses it. And it has some real advantages. We’ll see how Google implements it. On the OnePlus Two, it’s just a USB port, a USB 2.0 port with a Type C plug. But the way Apple and Pixel implemented it, it’s bi-directional, so you can charge a phone from your laptop as well as charge your laptop. And it’s got fast data. It’s got Thunderbolt speed data. There’s a lot of things on the USB Type C if it’s USB 3.1 that will be very interesting. I hope Google implements that.
Patrick: That would be nice.
Leo: It’s going to be a big phone. 5.7” not 6” like the old Google Nexus 6. Again, all rumors. But at this point the rumors are pretty—
Leo: I mean we’re seeing slide decks.
Patrick: Right. That’s one of the things that came out this morning is decks that were for—yea, Android Police had them, were the training decks for some of the phone vendors.
Alex: There seems to be less enthusiasm among the 4 of us about these phones compared to our 45 minute epic on—
Leo: On my $1,000 – yea. I’m a big—I love Android. I really think Android is amazing. I’ll give you an example of the difference between Apple and Android. Apple made a program that they put on the Google Play Store called Move to iOS. And Google goes, “Yea, fine.” They put it on the store. They didn’t block it. Move to iOS. There’s no way that Google could do the same to Apple because Apple’s—
Natali: Oh, gosh no. No way.
Leo: Apple Store’s rules specifically forbid mentioning other operating systems.
Alex: Are you serious?
Patrick: You know it would be fun for them—
Alex: I didn’t know that they enforced that too.
Leo: You bet they enforce that.
Alex: You go down the letters. I mean that’s awesome.
Leo: So that’s kind of in a way, in a nutshell, if you’re talking to a friend about the difference between iOS and Android, right there. Apple is a walled garden. It’s a beautiful walled garden. There’s lots of flowers.
Alex: Benches. Clubs.
Leo: But it’s walled. Oh, look at that. There are a lot of 1 star reviews. “Do not install unless you want a lobotomy.” Oh, you know why? These are Android fanboys giving it to Apple.
Leo: That’s why. It’s not a bad program
Patrick: Google should submit an app just so they can get into—just so Apple would have to put it on their page.
Leo: We got turned down. We got turned down.
Alex: I mean if they want a free PR win and a great media cycle, yea. But I mean it requires some work.
Leo: So besides Type C which I think increasingly is going to be the default for smartphones. And I’m sure Apple will do it next generation on the iPhone 7. I – also fingerprint reader on this. I think that’s so important. At this point I feel like you have to have that.
Patrick: Fingerprint reader on the back.
Leo: Yea, that might—
Patrick: LG also puts their—I like the LG G4 but the, you know, it takes a lot of getting used to the button being on the back like that.
Leo: I do think though a fingerprint reader—do you know what the one, the-- what phone is it that puts the fingerprint reader on the on/off switch? The Sony Xperia. The new Xperia. That makes sense. Because you’re pushing the on/off switch and it reads your fingerprint when you do it. That kind of makes sense. But the back works too.
Natali: It’s kind of amazing technology to be able to do it in such a small place.
Leo: Yea, you’re right. I guess it’s just reading a few ridges.
Patrick: Well it’s also like, you know, you used to have to drag your finger, or you’d have to have this huge percentage of your fingerprint to make it work. In fact, because once you’ve programmed your finger in there, you know, it doesn’t, you don’t have to focus on it. Which is so awesome.
Leo: Should mention Type C is also capable of up to 100 watts. Which means fast charging could be really fast with a Type C connector.
Patrick: It’s going to be hard to stuff that kind of wattage into a battery without terminally destroying its recharge life in a matter of cycles.
Leo: They ought to put super capacitors in these things and charge them in seconds.
Patrick: Would be nice.
Leo: It only has a 3 minute battery life, but you just charge it again. In seconds. Anyway, we’ll find out more. We’re going to cover that event live starting 9:00 AM Pacific, noon Eastern, 1600 UTC on TWiT. I’ll be there. Actually I think I’ll be alone (laughing) because Mike Elgan’s going to the event. Jason Howell’s on vacation. You know who’s going to join me? I’m excited. Gina Trapani will be joining us. Live coverage starting at 9:00 AM on Tuesday of the Google event. Also rumored there will be a new Chromecast.
Patrick: That would be awesome.
Leo: Do you love the Chromecast?
Patrick: I’m just curious to see what they come up with. You know, it’s a nice piece of hardware for the money. It does its job. I just want to see where they take it.
Alex: What do you want them to add to it?
Natali: What do you think they will?
Alex: Oh yea, go for it. Sorry.
Patrick: That’s just it. I can’t see any particular reason to upgrade the current one. Like what, do you want—ok, faster would be nice. 4K would be nice.
Leo: This is a joke app. Somebody should submit this to the Apple Store. Stick with Android.
Alex: Look at how many ratings it has.
Leo: 9,645 5 star ratings. Click here to stick with Android (laughing).
Alex: What does it do?
Alex: I love it.
Leo: You’re on Android already (laughing). I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to distract. So Chromecast. You’re right the key to Chromecast is apps not the hardware. It will probably have AC. 802.11 Ac, right? That would be faster. Support for 4K would be nice. It would have to be HDMI, maybe HDMI 2.0. I don’t know.
Patrick: It would have to be HDMI 2.0 to support 4K.
Leo: Maybe more effective Wi-Fi, better support for 4K. Because Netflix does 4K, right?
Patrick: Hmm mmm. Kind of.
Patrick: If you can find 4K and you have enough bandwidth and it doesn’t hiccup in the process.
Alex: So there’s like 8 people who can actually enjoy that right now?
Patrick: 12, 15.
Patrick: And you need a 4K screen of course.
Alex: Yea, so 4.
Leo: The rumor is it’s going to look like a hockey puck.
Patrick: Well they already did sort of a Google TV hockey puck.
Leo: Oh, the Q. I forgot about that. That was the thing that they killed.
Patrick: No, no, no. Not the round one that looked like a softball.
Alex: The Q, right?
Leo: No. There’s a hockey puck Google TV?
Patrick: Yea, go to the—it should be up in the Play Store. Don’t you love it when, you know, Google moved everything to this dark corner of the play store?
Leo: I know. So here’s leaked images of the new Chromecast which makes it looks like, I don’t know, something really bad.
Alex: That’s not really attractive at all.
Leo: Natali, do you—but the point is, the funny thing is I don’t even know why there are colors. Because really the way it works you put it in behind your TV.
Natali: Yea, you’re not supposed to see it.
Leo: You don’t ever see it.
Alex: That’s why it’s so small.
Leo: Or you put it in your—do you use Chromecast? What do you use at the lake for watching TV?
Natali: I’m afraid to answer this question because it makes me sound so spoiled.
Leo: So at the lake…
Natali: But I have, well we have everything. We have—
Leo: No, so do I. No, you have to. It’s your job.
Leo: Do not apologize for being a wealthy 1 percenter. Do not.
Patrick: Actually, stop, stop, stop. Because a lot of people who work in technology, like I have 6 different streaming devices.
Leo: I know. It’s your job.
Patrick: The new Apple TV.
Natali: Yea, we have all of it. But we just got a new TiVo as well. We got the brand new TiVo which is super awesome.
Leo: Isn’t it the best ever?
Natali: It’s the best.
Leo: The Romeo Pro. Is that what you got?
Leo: Yea, that’s it. The Nexus Player. I see. I know what you’re talking about.
Patrick: That’s been around.
Natali: We also have a Chromecast. And we have a Roku. And we have Apple TV as well.
Leo: Which one do you use more? Or what is even the thought process?
Natali: We’re using the Roku a lot.
Patrick: Yea, Roku’s pretty awesome.
Natali: Apps on Roku are really good and it makes it easy to get exactly where you want to. You know, my kids, they really want to watch Netflix or they’re really now into Star Wars Rebels and that’s on the Disney XD App on either iTunes or Roku. So yea, it just depends.
Leo: Do you think for kids Roku’s the right, the best choice?
Natali: My son really can, you know he just turned 5 and so my daughter’s 3 and my son is 5 and he can navigate that remote really well.
Natali: That’s easiest for him.
Leo: Just a few years before you’re going to be shouting, “Hey can you get in here and…” Like Ozzie.
“Sharon, where’s the remote?”
Patrick: I think a bigger problem is like, if you already have a bunch of content in iTunes or if you already have a bunch of content on the play store, if you already have a bunch of content in Amazon Prime, for us that’s the bigger problem.
Leo: Figuring out where the hell it is.
Patrick: Well that’s what the interesting thing about the Apple TV is, is the idea that’s it’s going to be able to search all the apps you have loaded on your device.
Leo: But Apple TV won’t ever have Amazon streamer.
Patrick: No it won’t. But Amazon Prime, when they released, and I haven’t looked at the new—we have—the new Fire TV’s coming out. We’re going to take a look at it. But it was so funny when they released the Fire TV where you could, you know, search for something. It would search paid entries in the Amazon Store before it would find things that were free on Amazon Prime. Because they just hadn’t finished programming other things into it.
Leo: That’s really frustrating.
Patrick: That was really irritating in itself.
Leo: Because then you buy something and you realize, “I could have gotten that for free.”
Natali: Yea, but it will be interesting to see if our kids can use Siri on the remote on the new Apple TV because my kids try to use the Amazon Echo a lot. And they just still have like baby voices. So they’ll say, “Alexa! Alexa!” My son always wants to hear this specific song by The Flock of Seagulls. It’s called Wishing. And he goes, “Alexa. Play Wishing by The Flock of Seagulls.” And she just doesn’t understand him.
Leo: I’m sorry, little one, I have no idea what you just said. Boy I feel old. If your child is listening to Flock of Seagulls, I feel really old.
Natali: No, we just try to give them—
Leo: You’re good parents. That’s what I think.
Natali: Anachronistic musical background.
Leo: Yea, excellent parents. Next they’re going to be listening to the Tangerine Dream.
Natali: So my husband last year was so over Frozen because it was everywhere that he sat my daughter down and he was like, “You’re going to have to learn a little bit about a band called The Beatles.” And so she was so tiny and she would go through it. She was barely 2 years old. She would push the little button on like our speakers. “Is this the Beatles?” Like she just loved the Beatles (laughing).
Leo: (Laughing) Oh. You know, you can ask Alexa to explode. Have you done that yet?
Leo: Don’t tell Miles about it (laughing).
Natali: You know what’s funny is that Alexa can search the web so when we first got it we said, “Alexa, who is Clayton Morris.” And it knows who he is because he’s a public figure. But then the kids said, “Who’s Natali Morris?” And it does not know because I’m nobody. And my kids were really upset about it. “How come she doesn’t know Mommy?”
Leo: Yea, I really love the idea of talking to stuff. The thing I’m most excited about the Apple TV, we’ll see if it works, is you can say, “What did he say?” And it will go backwards 6, what is it, 10 seconds? And will replay the last 10 seconds. That, I need that so bad.
Alex: Are you going deaf, Leo?
Natali: Why don’t you just use subtitles?
Leo: Well, that’s what it does. It actually turns on, I don’t want to watch subtitles the whole time. But if you say, “What did he say?” it rewinds, turns on the subtitles for 10 seconds and then you can watch it and read it and then it continues on as if nothing happened.
Natali: And then it turns the subtitles off?
Natali: That’s kind of cool.
Leo: That’s awesome.
Alex: I would definitely use that.
Leo: Tell me you young people with perfect ears haven’t done that from time to time.
Natali: You need that for Game of Thrones. Like what the hell is that?
Leo: Yes, like all the time.
Patrick: Well I mean I live in a tiny little craftsman, so if the kids are asleep we can’t really listen to anything at a normal volume. So I’ve been watching stuff for the last 2 years with subtitles. And I don’t enjoy it nearly as much as watching it with the actual volume up.
Leo: Somebody said if you say buffalo 7 times something happens.
Alex: Isn’t that the longest sentence that is actually English correct using one word?
Alex: Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo.
Leo: Because there’s 7 different meanings of the word buffalo?
Alex: I think that sounds right. Chatroom, can you help us out? Can somebody explain this?
Leo: That is obscure.
Alex: Yea, yea, yea. It’s on Wikipedia I think.
Leo: Well it must be true.
Alex: Yea, well the internet is always accurate. Everyone knows that.
Leo: I’m going to past buffalo in 7 times. 5, 6, 7 and see what happens.
Leo: A Bison engaged in a contest of dominance. That’s what it means. Because the bison is a buffalo. I don’t know. It’s a grammatically correct sentence. An example of homonyms and homophones. Teach this to your kids. The City of Buffalo, the noun buffalo, the verb buffalo. So you’d have to know what each is.
Alex: So a buffalo from Buffalo—
Leo: Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo.
Natali: Can you shuffle off to Buffalo?
Leo: (Laughing) buffalo.
Alex: Now we’re just saying the word too much. Who thought this up? Like who sat down and was like, “I know, I’ve got it guys. I’m going to use buffalo in a sentence.” Because they must have a lot of time on their hands to think this up.
Leo: Who wrote this article?
Alex: The Wikipedia page is longer than the bible.
Leo: (laughing) ok, I’m sorry. I’m getting distracted.
Alex: Is this a show or something? What’s gong on?
Patrick: This week in grammar.
Leo: It’s all about the punctuation. All right. What happens if you say Betelgeuse 3 times?
Patrick: I don’t know. Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo.
Natali: Or Bloody Mary.
Leo: What happens then?
Natali: If you say Bloody Mary in the dark, she appears. Hello.
Leo: If you just say it once?
Natali: No, you have to say it in the mirror three times. I think—you guys know the urban legend, don’t you?
Alex: No, this is a revelation.
Leo: Turn the lights down. Natali Morris is going to tell us some ghost stories, ladies and gentlemen. The highlight of the show. Go ahead, Natali.
Natali: Heck no!
Alex: That was your moment to shine.
Leo: I think she thinks it’s real.
Natali: I’m up here alone in my attic and if she appears over my shoulder I will pee in my chair.
Alex: Natali, behind you!
Leo: I think you’re, oh my God, it’s in the house!
Patrick: It’s coming from inside the house.
Leo: That’s so mean. I’m sorry. We shouldn’t say that.
Patrick: You’re children are inside the house.
Leo: Rene in the chatroom says, “If you say Donald Trump three times he gets elected president.”
Alex: Oh, gosh, no one say it. But don’t you know what’s going to happen?
Natali: You guys zoomed in behind me, looked like someone was here.
Leo: Creepy. We’re creepy that way.
Natali: My sister has never forgiven me for locking her in the bathroom and saying Bloody Mary. She swears she saw something and… it’s supposed to be a real thing.
Natali: I wonder, I’m not even going to Google it.
Leo: Actually isn’t Clayton like really into ghosts?
Natali: Uh, yea, he’s really into scaring people.
Leo: Or is it you two?
Leo: No, he’s really into—yea, we’re both into, you know, very into like—
Leo: Does he, do you believe in ghosts?
Natali: Oh yea.
Leo: So you think that actually Bloody Mary could show up?
Natali: I don’t really believe in nefarious ghosts anymore.
Alex: So only like Casper the Friendly Ghost?
Natali: No I believe in the afterlife and sort of like—
Leo: Right. Well, that’s not odd at all.
Natali: But I don’t believe that—and I believe certain spirits sort of get stuck in certain places before they move on.
Leo: But Clayton like goes ghost hunting and stuff, right?
Natali: He’s actually going—for some reason, Siri just turned on. I didn’t—
Leo: Bloody Mary is in the house!
Alex: Do you have an axe?
Natali: Yes, right here. He’s going ghost hunting with The Ghost Hunters next week. Somewhere up eastern—
Leo: Yea. Is he going to be on TV or is he just going, like going with them?
Natali: No, it will be on TV. It will be on Fox.
Leo: Oh my God. Bloody Mary is hovering now—don’t look now over your right shoulder. It’s Bloody Mary! Oh, wait a minute. That’s the good kind with celery.
Natali: I actually—these things, they really do sort of creep under my skin.
Leo: Ok, I’m sorry. We’ll move on. In fact you know the best way to get the scary flavor out of your head is to have a nice fresh taste in your mouth. Something like FreshBooks maybe.
Patrick: You know, there’s nothing like having you bill your clients in an easy and simple manner that just cleanses the palette.
Alex: That is the worst segue I’ve ever heard on TWiT. That was literally the worst.
Patrick: (Laughing) hang around longer, we can do worse.
Leo: (Laughing) it was the best. I thought it was the best. FreshBooks is a great, simple cloud accounting solution.
Patrick: It is.
Leo: If you’re a free-lancer as many of us have been, yes, and I have been. In fact I discovered FreshBooks when I was going to Canada every month billing Rogers and Canadian dollars. I was doing it in Microsoft Word and then I had to send them expenses. It was so painful I went 6 months, this is not, I’m not making this up, without billing them.
Patrick: And I bet their accounting department loved you.
Leo: And then I’d send them one bill for all 6 months. And they were furious. They said, “You know, we don’t even have to pay you this.” No, but they were not happy. The point is, you don’t get paid until you bill. And it’s in your interest to send out a bill. But nobody likes to do that. That’s why FreshBooks is the best thing ever.
Patrick: I love FreshBooks. I paid for it full freight out of pocket. It has changed my life as a free-lancer.
Leo: Yea. No, it changed my life.
Patrick: No, it’s not nice, it’s awesome. Celery is nice. FreshBooks is awesome.
Leo: And I never had that problem again because I started using FreshBooks. It was actually Jamber McCarther told me about it. They’re from Toronto. And I started using it. And it’s so easy. You create a good looking, professional invoice. You’ll e-mail it. They do have the ability to mail them US mail too or stamp it and all that stuff. But I would just e-mail it. The nice thing about the e-mail invoice is there’s a Pay Me button on it. You know, makes it really easy for your clients to pay. Turns out, who knew, clients don’t look forward to paying the bills any more than you look forward to sending bills. It’s a pain for everybody. So make it easy means you’re going to get paid faster. In fact on average, FreshBooks customers get paid 5 days faster. You’ll also be much easier for keeping track of your expenses. You can actually use the app on your phone, take pictures of your expenses, get them right into the invoice. Time and hours. Do you bill for hours? They do that too right in the app. Easy to track it, easy to invoice it. Once you do this you’ll say, “Why didn’t I listen to Leo and Patrick before this?” Because we’ve been talking about this for a long time. 5 million people are using FreshBooks. You should be one of them. Go to freshbooks.com/twit.
Patrick: Leo’s invoicing stories make him seem responsible compared to my last go-around as a free-lancer.
Leo: I really know what you mean. It’s like—but you don’t get paid so it’s so self-destructive not to invoice. But it’s so horrible you don’t want to do it.
Alex: I don’t do my expenses until they turn off my corporate credit card. Then I wait another month and I finally do them all in one big shot. And everyone gets so mad about it.
Leo: All right, Alex, we’re getting you on FreshBooks. Freshbooks.com/twit. 30 says free. Do mention This Week in Tech when they ask you, “How did you hear?”
Natali: You know that still dings your credit?
Natali: Using your corporate card is still on your credit.
Leo: What? It counts, it accrues to your credit?
Natali: If you have your name on it, yea.
Leo: Which you do, of course. I didn’t even think of that.
Natali: You should not do that.
Leo: I better start paying my bills. Wow. You know, Natali and Clayton have of late doing some financial advising things like videos and stuff. Is that a new business, or what are you doing?
Natali: Yea, so I started a, just on my own personal site, natalimorris.com, a project that I’m calling Chief Home Officer.
Leo: Love that.
Natali: Because after I left CNET and went freelance I sort of became obsessed with investing and running our home kind of like a business. I figured if I don’t have a regular paycheck I’m just going to run my house, you know, and do the best I can with the investments I have. Now I really love it actually. I just have studied personal finance for the last couple of years. And noticed that there’s a need for other people to really learn how to understand what’s going on with their finances. So many of us just have the passwords and pay the bills and don’t understand what’s going on in our investments. So I want to help empower other people to have at least one person in their household who’s the Chief Home Officer who is you know, not afraid of this or really wants to learn and just has a good, open attitude about finances. Because when you understand it, you’re in control.
Leo: This is actually great. If you go to Natalimorris.com and click the blog link—you’ve got to make that easier to find, Natali, because there’s really good stuff in here.
Natali: I know. I have a contest up on 99 Designs right now for a better designer.
Leo: Oh good. Another sponsor (laughing). I love it.
Natali: Oh, are they really?
Leo: Yea, of course. I love it.
Natali: I didn’t know that. I just, I’m not happy with, you know, I like the home page but the other templates I’m not very—and I don’t have a very artsy eye for this kind of thing. But yea, so I’d like to sort of –
Leo: But the content is great.
Natali: -- brand it a little bit more. And I really love writing so I’m enjoying it a lot. And I would just really like to make this something that people—because Chief Home Officer is a marketing term that marketers use to target the person in the household who makes the financial decisions.
Leo: Is the lady of the house at home?
Natali: Right, so I figured—it doesn’t have to be a woman but it has to be someone who makes the decisions. So I just sort of started with finance 101. And my dad is a small business owner so I’ve always been forced to study finance. And I like it. I’m really sort of comfortable with it. And so I thought I’d just share what I know with other people.
Leo: I am so terrible with money. So my advice is to marry somebody who’s good with money. Which I did. But you can’t always do that so you might have to learn how to be good with money. This is, this is, this is—How Much Should You Compensate a Stay-At-Home Parent, Why Women Make Better Investors. I apologize because I already broke one of the rules. One thing you should never say about money, they can afford it. And I already did that, I think to you. They can afford it.
Natali: I don’t know if you said it in so many words.
Leo: Not in so many words.
Alex: There’s a whole lot of question marks at the end of that sentence. It sounds aggressive.
Leo: It is. Natali says, “How the hell do you know what someone else can afford?” You’re right. You know what I say all the time, “Never judge anybody else’s marriage.” Because you can’t look inside their—you don’t go home with them at night. You cannot judge anybody else. And it’s the same thing. People have lives that you don’t know anything about no matter how well you know them.
Natali: Right. Yea, keep your eyes on your own paper. Or spreadsheet.
Leo: I like it. I like it. Natali, N-A-T-A-L-I, Morris, M-O-R-R-I-S.com.
Natali: Thank you. I just started it but I don’t have any sponsors or anything. I’m just you know, it’s a passion project of mine. And it’s really hard for me because I—you know, I’ve worked for the networks for so long that I’ve allowed the networks to be the person that promotes a new brand or you know, I start a project for someone else. This is the first time I’m actually doing something just for myself because I want to.
Leo: Good, good.
Natali: So I’m really learning how to market myself and be the brand myself and it’s kind of terrifying but also kind of exciting, too. At least it’s something that I love so much. So thanks for asking me about it.
Leo: I love it. Yea, and congratulations. And you know—
Alex: That was a really good pitch.
Leo: This is how stuff begins. You do something because you care about it.
Leo: It’s so much of a better way to do something than because you want to make a living, I want to make money at it. Do something because I really care. I want to do something about this because I love it. That’s the best way to do it.
Natali: Yea. And if you’re good with website design…
Leo: 99 Designs. Go there.
Natali: Call me. Yea.
Leo: How’s Read Quick doing?
Natali: Read Quick’s doing great. It’s new iOS new update.
Leo: I saw you did an iOS9 version, yea.
Natali: For iOS9, yea, just came out. And yea, doing really well. In fact I used it to prepare for the show today.
Leo: Cool. I’ll show you one other thing on iOS9 on the new iPhone that I think is the other reason I’m moving, at least for now. I don’t know if you can see this. It’s so bright. Let me turn down the screen a little bit here. Whoops.
Patrick: I just typed a page of gibberish.
Leo: I did. And there’s a reason why. Because if you Force Touch the keyboard, you now have a cursor.
Alex: Oh, I really want that.
Leo: You know for so long we had to use this silly magnifying glass and it never worked and then like this. And now, all you do is Force—
Patrick: And you can multi-task using split screen on the new iPads.
Leo: Yea. I mean by itself that’s a reason to leave Android, I have to be honest. Now look I see Natali’s doing it.
Natali: So you Force Touch the keyboard. Oh!
Leo: You’ve got to type some text. I’m doing this in the Note, in the Notes App.
Alex: That’s really cool. Like legitimately I would use that like 8 times a day.
Leo: On the iPad it’s a 2 fingered touch because they don’t have Force Touch. But I—
Natali: I learned something.
Leo: Yea, Jason Snell taught me that yesterday. I went, “What?”
Alex: So we like iOS9.
Leo: So I’m going to hold out the microphone and drop it. No! I almost dropped that on my iPhone.
Patrick: Did you try to act the whole waterproof iPhone success thing?
Leo: No, I’m not going to do that. Somebody said, somebody decided it must be waterproof. That’s so dumb. Boy Genius report decided to put it in water for what, like 50 minutes, right?
Patrick: I think they normally do this where they put it in water for like 30 minutes and they’re like, “Holy crap, it’s still working.” So they put it in for 15 minutes longer. And they’re like, “Holy crap, it’s still working.”
Leo: They’re surprised—Actually it’s Zeedude.
Patrick: Zeedude? I apologize, Zeedude.
Leo: Who is Zeedude?
Patrick: Who is Zeedude? Zeedude is on ZM.
Leo: Zeedude. Ok, so I—remember Liquapel Company? I liquapelled an iPhone, put it in a glass of water, fried immediately. I brought it to the guy in Emeryville who does the screen repair. There it is. And he said, “I’ve never seen such a fried iPhone in my life.” He said, “Even your SIM card is scorched.”
Alex: You dropped a glass of water on it.
Leo: Yea, that’s the earlier part when I stupidly dropped a glass of water down—we have portholes on the ground where all the electronics go—right into the porthole. John didn’t fire me.
Natali: You didn’t electrocute yourself.
Leo: I could of—it would have been the greatest segment ever but it would have been the last. Anyway why would you do this to an iPhone. Apparently the Zeedude has decided that the iPhone is secretly—yea, don’t look. That the Zeedude has decided it’s secretly waterproof. That Apple—
Patrick: I just think it’s a sealed case. Because you look at the—if you look at the iFix teardown, it looks like it’s a slightly tighter match—well, it can be effectively waterproof if the design is sealed well enough. But what happens though is there’s basically a giant joint, you know, where the case and the screen meet all the way around it. And if you flex your phone over time, which is a problem with the iPhone 6, it will leak at the screen joint which is what happened with mine.
Leo: Eventually this is going to leak. This is a zero, this is a zero sum game. There is no way you should be playing this game.
Alex: How long did it last in there?
Natali: The environmentalist in my is, I mean come on, these are natural resources we’re just going to—
Leo: I agree with you. When they do Will it Blend—
Patrick: Oh, it’s painful.
Leo: It hurts me. It’s like don’t waste a phone. You’re right. Some child in China made that.
Alex: Oh, man.
Leo: Don’t destroy it. Did you see what Aaron Sorkin said?
Natali: These materials are pulled out of our planet. Not for you to put into a glass of water.
Leo: I agree. And they’re not going to be replaced. Exactly. Did you see what Aaron Sorkin said about Tim Cook on, what was it, The Tonight Show? It was—let me see, I’ll find it for you. Aaron Sorkin of course the author of The Social Network, the Zuckerberg movie and he’s just finished a movie which is coming out soon called Jobs. Now remember that Tim Cook said a while ago, he thought that all of these movies about Jobs were opportunistic. He said, “I hate seeing that.” He hadn’t seen the movie yet. So Aaron Sorkin is actually during a press junket said, “Hey, if you’ve got a factory full of children in China assembling phones for 17 cents an hour, you’ve got a lot of nerve calling me opportunistic.”
Alex: That’s a pretty big burn.
Leo: Burn. He said, “Nobody did this movie to get rich.” Really?
Alex: People don’t do stuff free. Can I point out again from my Jobs’ comment earlier? That came out really wrong.
Leo: No, no, no. It was funny. We were just teasing.
Leo: We all love Steve.
Alex: Yea, that’s what I was going for.
Leo: So it’s good publicity. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Sorkin apparently feels bad and has apologized for being a little harsh. And in fact, I don’t think that they are paying children to make iPhones. I think that that’s not true.
Alex: But they did put nets outside the Foxcon facilities to catch people that were flinging—
Leo: People get depressed when they work hard. It’s natural.
Patrick: People get depressed when they do the same thing over and over for 12-18 hours shift and then get escorted to a dorm where they spend all their money.
Leo: I think Apple’s done everything they can to make manufacturing humane as it can be. People still flock to those jobs. I think the real problem goes deeper and farther than that with suppliers who may in fact be using children to make things like the little vibrator and the engine. But everybody by the way, everybody is buying from the same supplier. So we’re all complicit because we buy these things. So don’t put them in a blender.
Alex: Because that’s just cruel to them.
Leo: Think of the children.
Natali: Yea, I don’t know. I mean I finished that book Conscious Capitalism by the founder of Whole Foods and you as a business owner can make decisions—
Leo: I agree.
Natali: That like just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean that, you know—I don’t know if we can make the argument they’ve done everything they can.
Leo: Oh, ok.
Natali: I think they try really hard and I think they probably could do more. I think they probably will as manufacture goes on. Like I think it’s getting better. I think we can agree on that. But I don’t know when you can actually say they’ve done everything, you know? There’s always another layer to being a conscious capitalist.
Alex: You never hear someone talking about Samsung doing this, only Apple. I’m always kind of curious why we talk about smartphone manufacturing and the ethical problems that it has, we only talk about Apple.
Leo: Everything on this table was made by the same, basically by the same factories in China, including the Dell. I mean that’s just—and really, it’s—you know—not that Coca-Cola. That was made by children in Mexico. But it’s really important because we talk about technology a lot, it probably looks like, in fact it may even be the case that we’re kind of encouraging people to over consume this stuff. So I think you’re right, Natali. I think it’s something we should be very aware of and we have a responsibility to remind people, “You know, if you don’t need a new phone, Patrick, it’s ok not to buy a new one.”
Patrick: Yea, I don’t particularly need to be encouraged on that because I’m cheap.
Leo: (Laughing) cheapness helps a lot.
Alex: Frugal. You’re frugal.
Patrick: And it’s also you know there’s people who upgrade their computers every year because you know, upgrading their computer allows them to complete their job faster which allows them to earn more money which allows them to you know, potentially retire and/or pay for any of a large number of things. And then there’s people who upgrade their computers every 6 months because a new widget came out. I mean, I don’t know. It’s a big, messy, complicated subject as Natali was saying. And it doesn’t get any simpler when you basically realize almost every public company has a gun and it’s held to its head by Wall Street to make as much money as possible every quarter.
Natali: Right. We’re piggish. We’re Americans. We’re piggish about every commodity. So, it is.
Leo: It’s our right. God gave us that right.
Natali: And maybe at this stage if we’re talking about our own personal consumption at the very least we could be conscious about what we do as we hand it down. You know, that’s a small place to start.
Leo: There you go. I don’t throw stuff, I don’t throw these phones down. I give them to people. Have I ever give you a phone?
Patrick: No. Not once.
Alex: Now we’re back to philanthropy.
Leo: (Laughing) here have a phone. I’ve got dozens. Google, actually YouTube sent out a new terms of services to YouTube publishers saying, “You better sign this. If you don’t agree to the new terms,” this e-mail went out to all YouTube content owners, “by October 22nd, quote ‘your videos will no longer be available for public display or monetization in the United States.’”
Alex: That’s a bit of a strong arm.
Leo: Did you get that, Natali? Did you get that e-mail?
Natali: No, I don’t really have a chance.
Leo: No. You don’t do it? Probably I guess it’s people that have monetization turn on, right? It wouldn’t be just somebody who puts up a groin shot video, right?
Patrick: I don’t know. Give me a minute (laughing).
Leo: See if you get the e-mail, because you—well, I do too. But I don’t get the e-mails. I think Glen does. Somebody does. Glen, have we gotten e-mails like that? Have you gotten e-mails like that? So the reason according to Re/code is a new subscription service is on the way. They were looking for a mid-summer launch. We missed that date but YouTube intends to bundle 2 different services into one offering according to Re/code. They’re going to update the music service, YouTube Music Key. That’s where you pay a fee and you can watch commercial free music.
Leo: Which is actually a great idea because that’s how my kids watch music.
Alex: It is I think for the 12-18 set. It’s the best musical platform in the world.
Leo: Right. But they don’t pay for anything, so I think they’ll just probably--
Alex: Well, they’re 12. They don’t have any money.
Patrick: That’s actually not true. Actually a lot of the—there have been teenagers actually spending a spectacular amount of money.
Alex: Oh really?
Patrick: Their discretionary-- they don’t have mortgages to pay, in many cases they don’t have car bills to pay, or car insurance or health insurance. So their discretionary income tends to be vastly out of pace with what you would, their annual earnings. They just have a lot of money to spend.
Alex: That actually makes a lot of sense. It’s almost like you have kids.
Leo: He’s getting ready. He’s saving up for those teenage years.
Patrick: Well it was one of, I saw a panel several years ago and this venture capitalist basically had a bunch of teenagers he brought on to explain like what they do with their phones and where they spend their money. And you know, there was also one of those, it was about 30 minutes after somebody just said like you know, “And a lot of you are in there realizing that you’re actual strategy is to be bought by Google or another large company.” And all the kids like literally, if you counted like you know, duck, duck goose, every goose sank down into their seats. Because like, “Oh my God, they know what my business plan is for my obscure start up that has a sub-set of a product feature!” And then it was amazing to watch the greed on a lot of the other faces when they realized like, “We really should be going for 14 year olds.” Because 14 year olds piss away money a lot better than 40 year olds do.
Leo: Wow. I’ve really got this all wrong.
Alex: I am complete inverted in my head.
Patrick: Well, it’s not that simple but in terms of certain areas they spend a lot of money.
Leo: So would you pay—here’s the question-- $10 a month to get YouTube Music without ads and all YouTube videos without ads? Just turn off the ads on YouTube.
Alex: I already did that with ad blocker.
Leo: For free.
Alex: For free. Also I’m paying Spotify. I’m a Spotify fan and advocate and I don’t think I’m going to change just to waste more YouTube. Honestly I don’t think a real compelling reason to jump ship as it were.
Leo: You know, I do, I do an ad blocker too and that’s why I started using Google Contributor. Which is a very interesting idea. Google, who of course, puts most of the ads on websites—
Patrick: On the internet.
Leo: They, well with their Google Ad Sense Platform, they offer a thing where you can pay up to $10 a month, which I pay, not to see Google Ads. They replace the ads when you go to the sites with just an empty block or you can have different color. And then they take the money and they give it to, in proportion, to the sites that people visit.
Alex: I built a company called Contentior way back—
Leo: To do this?
Alex: Yea. And we totally failed.
Leo: You weren’t Google.
Alex: No. No, no, no. They have a little more money and influence.
Leo: And also because they run the biggest ad network.
Alex: Yea, yea. No, no, this is killer.
Leo: And I think they’re responding to this whole ad blocker thing saying, “If you want to be an ethical ad blocker, why not kick in 10 bucks?”
Alex: Well now I feel guilty.
Leo: Well you can do 2 bucks.
Alex: There you go.
Leo: I feel guilty because I use an ad blocker all the time. And I am an ad supported free media.
Alex: Yea. I unblock tech ads actually because I felt bad that I was stealing my own ads off my side.
Patrick: Right. Yea, I don’t use ad blockers. I mean I blocked Flash because Flash started having so many problems but I leave ads going because I believe in supporting ad supported media.
Leo: Yea. Well that’s the—I completely understand why people block. The sites are giant, they don’t work, there’s bugs, there’s malware. I understand why as a consumer you go, “I’m not going to put up with that and I don’t have to.” Go ahead, Natali. I’m sorry I interrupted you.
Natali: No, you didn’t. All I said was yea, me too.
Leo: Yea (laughing).
Natali: That’s all I got.
Leo: Yea. There is a tech war though going between advertisers and these ad blockers. I think that they’ve started to figure out how to put pre-roll ads on video. So I don’t think it’s going to work against YouTube for very much longer.
Alex: It’s going to be the same battle we’ve had forever. They’re going to do something new, they’re we’re going to block it. It will keep going up and up. But I mean there was that big controversy in tech this last week about an app called I think it’s Peace? One of the 1st iOS 9 tools to remove ads from your mobile device. And the guy shot to the top of the App Store, he made a lot of money, and then he actually took it off the App Store. And I believe Apple’s actually refunding all the money because they didn’t feel, I mean to your point, ethically ok with that. And it was an interesting moment of what’s fair and how can you dissemble someone else’s work and still be inside the realm of good taste?
Leo: What you’re talking about of course Marco Arment who was one of the guys, the first programmer of Tumblr, he wrote Instapaper which a lot of you use, sold that. He’s written Overcast which is an excellent podcast app. And he did make Peace. It was number one. He could have made a lot of money. Apple does not have a history of refunding people’s money but apparently they thought this was a big enough deal that they did. That’s what began this whole, you know, ad-block-alypse conversation is Apple announcing that iOS 9 was going to allow ad blockers. You still have to download them. And they were going to allow ad blockers. But they maybe is more important to point out, they only block ads on Safari, on mobile Safari. There’s plenty of ads in every app including Apple’s own iAds. So it’s not like you don’t have ads, you just have Apple’s ads.
Alex: Well what I’ve noticed is that mobile ads are consistently worse than desktop ads because they’re more invasive and intrusive and just make the experience of using your phone pretty bad. So Apple probably thought from an UI—
Leo: Of course. They’re representing users.
Alex: Yea, yea, yea, yea, yea. Which, in a way—
Leo: Somebody, I think it was probably Rene Ritchie who told me, you’ve got to understand. The Safari team is the Safari team. They want to give people the best Safari experience possible. There are other people at Apple and other companies that sell ads. So it’s not like it’s a monolith. And I think it’s reasonable to say, “Hey, we want to give people the best possible experience on Safari.” And I think that’s what Apple did. But I don’t think, I don’t think the fat lady has sung yet.
Alex: Can you imagine the Apple cafeteria with the iAd guys against the Safari team and they’re trying to glare each other down.
Leo: They throw food at each other.
Alex: I know. I’m sure.
Leo: So that’s what YouTube’s considering. $10 a month, no ads in your videos. This is the text that according to Re/code, now some people in the chatroom are saying, “I didn’t get that.” “For years YouTube’s fans have been telling us,” this is what the e-mail said that they sent out. “They want more – more choice when watching their favorite content, more ways to support their favorite creators and, above all, the option to watch their favorite videos uninterrupted. So to give fans more choice we will be launching a new ads-free version of YouTube.” This is a big, big shift for YouTube. “Available to fans for a monthly fee. This service will create a new source of revenue over time that supplements your advertising revenue.” Frankly if everybody did this, you’d be making a lot more money I think. I don’t think most people get much money from YouTube at all.
Patrick: Most people get almost no money from YouTube.
Leo: Yea, pennies.
Patrick: You have to have a staggering amount of volume to make you know, a lot of money.
Leo: We had Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte from Pomplamoose preform on Screen Savers, The New Screen Savers yesterday. And Jack of course started Patreon. And I asked him, “Why did you start Patreon?” He said, “Because we had 15 million views on YouTube and made a few bucks.” And you can’t live off of that.
Patrick: He spent like 6 or 7 thousand dollars building like a spaceship in a barn for a video shoot. Got millions of views. Got a check for $300. Realized he was $6,700 dollars in the whole. Asked his audience, who thought it was amazing, he basically said, “I want to keep doing videos but I don’t have this money.” And they helped payoff you know, the money he had spent creating it. And that was, that is the origin story of Patreon. Which obviously I am a huge fan of Patreon—
Patrick: -- because they you know, they’re the primary way we support TekThing. Our audience supports TekThing.
Leo: It’s fascinating because Jack scratched an itch—Pomplamoose is one of the best bands ever. They deserve to make lots of money. They weren’t. He’s doing great with Patreon. And he’s done a great thing for the internet community and for creators like you. TekThing is on Patreon.
Leo: So go support them.
Patrick: Thank you.
Leo: I think we may be moving, at least with this YouTube thing, into the world where people kind of accept the idea or contributor, that we want content. We don’t want these ads. We might have to give, you know, fork over a little money. If people did this in great numbers in YouTube, 10 bucks a month, I think would be a lot more revenue for YouTube creators. I would bet. Depends on how much YouTube keeps.
Alex: One thing I don’t think people understand until they do a lot of videos, how hard it is. And so they presume that, “Oh, it’s just a video. You throw a couple cameras down. Take some shots. Whatever.”
Patrick: “I’ve been watching television my entire life. How hard can it be?”
Alex: “Right. I know all about it.” And when you come actually here to the Brick House or to TechCrunch and you look at the amount of work that goes into making even really simple videos because they’re just hard to do, I think people would better understand why kicking in some dollars would be great because the cost associated with videos is much higher than written word by factor of like 25.
Leo: But we should point out YouTube is strong arming people because as this e-mail goes on, you have to “agree to the new terms that allow this and if you haven’t signed by October 22nd your videos will no longer be available. That outcome would be a loss for YouTube, a loss for the thriving presence you’ve built on the platform, and above all, a loss for your fans.”
Patrick: Well, so—
Leo: So you better do it.
Patrick: Well I mean this is not the 1st time YouTube’s sent out very strongly worded e-mails. And YouTube, YouTube knows for a fact that the vast majority of YouTube’s major video channels cannot migrate that audience anywhere else. YouTube’s audience tends to stay put. And that is a problem for creators because that means they have to stay put. It’s been a problem, it’s been a battle between the creators trying to figure out ways to have revenue commensurate with the size of their audiences, which are not necessarily represented by the ad sales that come through YouTube’s ad sales team. So they go through outside ad sales teams. They go to you know, aggregators and you know, 3rd party content groups who sell ads to them. And the big one was, you know, product placement in ads. And you know, Google did the nuclear option a few months ago where they said “You can’t do, you know, you can’t do a full screen for a product unless, you know, it comes through, unless you have an agreement with us or it comes through our ad department and we get our 50% cut. Period.” YouTube is desperate for a revenue stream. And they are going to get it. One way or another.
Alex: By hook or by crook. But I mean when YouTube was purchased by Google for what was it, 1.65 billion dollars back in the day, they were scaling so fast they were losing more money only because their audience was exploding. And so they kind of had to find Google as a safe harbor. But that doesn’t mean Google immediately turned it into a very profitable property. I don’t think they break out its KPIs or other metrics in its earnings so I don’t know.
Natali: What do you think about its potential to gain an audience though because as we’ve just talked about, their audience skews young? The young kids watching music videos that will have to—
Leo: Partly because it’s kids that watch over and over, right? I bet your kids, they watch the same video hundreds of times.
Natali: Right. They don’t watch much YouTube. And the way I use it is very piecemeal. Like how do I do this thing? Or how do I draw this thing.
Leo: Yea, you watch it once.
Natali: Whatever—I watch a lot of gardening videos on YouTube.
Natali: How to prune this thing.
Leo: YouTube’s awesome. You can find a video on anything. I mean it’s amazing.
Natali: Yea. I have $10. But my kids don’t. So is the generation that really loves to watch YouTube on repeat going to be able to convince their parents, is that the right, you know, is that a profitable—
Patrick: Well, they’ll still, they’ll still be able to access it. But I think the idea is they are looking at the success of Patreon or they’re just looking for like, “Hey, we need all oars in the water. Let’s see how many people we can convince.”
Patrick: And you know your children by the time they’re 14 or 15, your children may dream of the day they have, you know, a job, you know or a part-time job so they can pop that $10 a month or probably $24 a month by then, you know, so they can have their YouTube experience without ads.
Leo: As kids we saved up for what, a car, a stereo? Kids will have different you know, priorities as they’re growing up. Your kids will be saving up for their YouTube fees.
Alex: But we should keep in mind that YouTube is doing more work with streaming content and Twitch which Amazon bought, has long had a live subscribe.
Leo: Live subscribe stream.
Alex: Exactly. So I’m curious if there’s an action between the two different product lines in how YouTube is expanding how to produce video. I don’t know if that makes that better for content or not.
Leo: What are you going to do if you are a YouTube content creator? You’re not going to Vimeo or Yahoo. You just stay there. We’re going to make it work.
Patrick: I mean people try, people continue to try. But I don’t think anybody’s ever leveraged a double digit, you know--
Leo: You know who the only threat really is, is Facebook. And they haven’t created a platform yet. But if they decided to go all in on this, couldn’t they? I mean they’ve got the audience. And I think that’s the key. You’ve got to go somewhere where there’s audience.
Patrick: But it like, the audience is part of it. And Facebook’s audience is huge in a lot of ways. The audience is part of it. People being home watching video on Facebook is part of it. And there being an actual revenue stream is part of it.
Leo: Right. One of the reasons I wanted to get the new iPhone is I wanted to use Facebook Mentions. So I can do live streaming. If you are a verified user on Facebook—have you played with this at all, anybody?
Alex: I just got verified last week. I haven’t had a chance to.
Leo: So I can, it’s got a special app. And I could do it right now. You could do it ahead of time. You probably should do it ahead of time. So live video on Facebook. Describe my new video. A behind the scenes at TWiT. It makes me wonder why I spent a million dollars building this studio.
Natali: On a studio.
Alex: All you need is an iPhone?
Leo: When, I mean—they didn’t have that back then.
Natali: Because you’re a—
Leo: In 3…2…1. Broadcast failed. Something went wrong. Well thank you very much. Goodnight everyone!
Alex: It’s been real.
Leo: And that’s why I built a studio. All right let’s take a break. Some final words and some numbers that will surprise you coming up in just a little bit. Citrix GoToMeeting our sponsor for this portion of This Week in Tech. My recommendation: stop traveling, stop spending a lot of money, stop bugging your clients by making them take you to lunch or making them go to lunch with you. Meet your clients and your co-workers on-line with GoToMeeting. You’ll save time. You’ll save money. And you know what? Your clients will prefer it. And what’s great is it is a smarter way to meet. It started with screen sharing so you could fire up that Power Point presentation and show it to them while they’re on the conference call. It’s gotten so much better over the years. Now you can meet from any computer, any tablet, your smartphone. You could use the HD webcam on most devices. And now you’re seeing them, they’re seeing you. It’s like you’re in the same room. There’s nothing like it. GoToMeeting. You want to use a platform that’s mature, that’s been time tested, that’s improved over the years and these guys are always putting the energy to making GoToMeeting work better. GoToMeeting.com. Best of all, go there right now, click the Try it Free button. You’ve got 30 days free. You’ll be having your first meeting in minutes. It’s that easy. It’s that fast. GoToMeeting.com. Citrix GoToMeeting is the product for on-line meetings. Try it for 30 days. Then you tell me. GoToMeeting.com. Ok. Quick quiz. Pop quiz. Which is more dangerous? Sharks or selfies?
Alex: Shark selfies, yea. We’ll go with that.
Leo: Shark selfies are very dangerous. But it’s not just shark selfies. Apparently people like to take selfies in stupid situations. This, I became aware of this last week when a tourist at the Taj Mahal started taking pictures of himself. A 60 year old tourist, a selfie. Fell down the stairs, killed himself. Turns out, shark attacks have been far less dangerous to travelers in 2015 then selfies.
Alex: Humanity is doomed.
Leo: There have been 8 confirmed shark related deaths this year. There have been, wait a minute, I think we just got number 16, selfie deaths. People stand in front of trains. They reach out over bridges. They do so many stupid things. It’s gotten so bad that in the European Union they’ve proposed to criminalization of selfies on landmarks.
Natali: Oh my.
Leo: There—look at this. This, I can’t believe this is true, but this is from Conde Nast Traveler. Must be. From the Russian Ministry of Interior, from a Russian Safe Selfie Campaign Leaflet – Things Not to Do When Taking a Selfie. Don’t get on the train line. Don’t try to do it on an outboard motorboat on the back of the boat. Do not do it with wild animals. Do not do it while holding a gun. Do not do it while trying to climb on your roof and hold an antenna.
Alex: Well they missed the most important rule of selfies which is just don’t.
Leo: Don’t! Oh, have I mentioned that selfies now on the iPhone 6 (laughing)—
Alex: You will have a disaster in your phone mail. Like the 80th interruption of the show.
Leo: The—you know what I’m talking about, Natali, right?
Natali: Yea, if you 3D press the camera it gives you an option to selfie.
Leo: Selfie. Selfie flash.
Leo: Selfie flash.
Natali: It’s ready for you to take a selfie.
Leo: So watch. I’m going to take a selfie. The screen triples in brightness.
Natali: It’s such an egomaniac phone.
Leo: So that I get a better selfie. Because the picture lights up. Actually I still look like crap.
Patrick: Having taken pictures of myself like, you know, when the child falls asleep on me and it’s dark. And I want to get a picture.
Leo: You don’t want a flash.
Patrick: Well actually, you know, a flash would be better than this sort of dark blurs.
Leo: Yea that’s right. You don’t see anything. It’s not quite a flash because it’s the screen. It’s not—
Patrick: It’s still better than nothing. There’s a fair number of nits in that little tiny screen. I don’t know. I mean I’ve lived on the Jersey shore, I’ve worked at ski resorts in Colorado.
Leo: You’ve seen it all.
Patrick: Well, I haven’t, no I haven’t seen it all. But it’s amazing. And well, you know, I used to commute through, to get to the old Region 3 offices, I had to commute through the baseball traffic for the Giants games. And you see people doing stuff. Like yea. You know they’re trying to get them and their friends and the Willy Mays statue. They’re standing in the middle of the freaking avenue. The light turns green. Like, the MTA police are just staring at them like, “Are you kidding me?”
Alex: Evolution by natural selection, right? I mean at some point in time some people just make bad choices and you can’t see it.
Leo: Last story and then we’ll wrap it up. It’s been so much fun. Natali Morris, love having you on. Natalimorris.com. Thrilled about the new project. Everybody should click the blog link. And look at some point for a new website thanks to 99 Designs.
Leo: Please give my love to Clayton.
Natali: I will do.
Leo: Tell him it’s ok to have a pink phone. It really is. Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch. Always a pleasure. You’ve gone through all the tequila in the studio so you’re now down to vodka.
Alex: This is ice water with no ice because we’ve been here under these lights for about 3 years.
Leo: It’s melted.
Alex: If I look a little shiny it’s because it’s hot. It’s hot.
Leo: And of course, my great buddy and longtime partner, Patrick—I can’t remember your last name. Norton. From TekThing (laughing). I’m just teasing. TekThing. T-E-K-T-H-I-N-G.com. What do you think? Patrick you’re really into cars. The Volkswagen thing.
Patrick: Yea, ok, so first of all don’t call it diesel-gate. Because I’m tired of everything being gate.
Leo: How about diesel-palooza?
Leo: How about diesel-gazi?
Alex: Diesel-gazi is good.
Alex: We should name the episode, too.
Patrick: It’s really messy. It’s ok, so I own 2 diesel trucks. I think diesel is awesome. I love bio-diesel. Volkswagen has just created more trouble for diesel manufacturers in the United States than anything has in—
Leo: What we are trying to do is get you to buy some diesels.
Patrick: Well, what’s frustrating right, because it turns out—
Leo: It’s clean diesel.
Patrick: Ok, so 1st of all it looks like there are rumors that there are early thoughts that apparently BMW is doing the same thing.
Leo: You know what, car makers have done this for years, haven’t they? All of them. No?
Patrick: It depends. So car makers have always gained like the mile per gallon.
Leo: PC makers have done it. Remember? You’re a bench marker.
Patrick: I was once offered a half million dollars for a beta copy of the Ziff Davis Benchmarks.
Leo: Because then they could build it into the BIOS. It would look and see, “Oh, we’re running the benchmark. Overclock this sucker.”
Patrick: Even if they didn’t tweak it at the BIOS level, they could still optimize the machine to maximize its performance on the benchmarks. You know, how much memory.
Leo: Companies have a long history of trying to cheat.
Leo: But this is cheating regulators. This is putting 40 times more sulfur dioxide into the air than is legal.
Patrick: This is, ok, so. One of there’s a magazine, there’s a magazine I subscribe to that is for Cummins Diesel Motors. And one of the regular contributors of that magazine worked for the EPA in the 70s. And he has an interesting perspective. He said, “Look, our mission in the 70s was accomplished about a decade ago in terms of air cleanliness, in terms of reducing pollution, in terms of cleaning a lot of stuff up.” Like you know, a lot of people watching this show aren’t old enough to have seen videos of the Cuyahoga River on fire. But when a river’s on fire you know things are not right, right? And so, or the guys, I got stuck in Baja once with a bunch of guys that were really upset about the EPA. And they should be able to roll coal and burn smoke and have whatever modifications they want to their vehicle. I’m like, “Dude, you grew up in LA. I’ve lived in parts of New Jersey where locals did not drink the water because of the paint plant and the benzene processing plant, right? But I never could see the air. And in L.A. you can still see the air on the bad days.” You know what I mean? It’s not nearly as bad as it was in the 70s.
Leo: Exactly. And you know why? Because of emissions rules.
Patrick: So if you like the fact that you’re getting like 300 horse power out of a 2 liter engine, thank the EPA. Because the EPA laws mandated a whole bunch of stuff that forced engine manufactures or you know, automotive manufacturers to get better at what they do. All of that aside, Volkswagen basically, yea. They put in a algorithm that looked for a combination of settings that indicated the vehicle was being tested for smog and then put on all of the smog corrections. And this is very critical for Volkswagen because Volkswagen said they could eat –they could eat, they could meet smog emissions with their 2.0 liter engine, with the TDI Diesel.
Leo: Also called clean diesel.
Patrick: Yea. Without having additional—it’s pretty freaking clean even at 40x the emissions.
Leo: Is it really?
Patrick: Yea. I mean, yea.
Leo: It’s better than your Cummins.
Patrick: Yea. But I also burn bio-diesel in my cousin’s, in my Cummins and my bio-diesel—
Leo: Your Cummins, your Cummins.
Patrick: No, no, I don’t there is no smoke coming from my Cummins.
Patrick: I find—
Leo: It’s not belching black smoke?
Patrick: No. People who belch black smoke from their diesels are people who like to burn money. I am not a person who burns money. That is burning money and wasting power that may make you think you’re masculine organisms are larger and more functional—
Leo: So you can tune a diesel in some way so it doesn’t puff smoke?
Patrick: Yea. You just have to have enough oxygen coming into the engine to burn the amount of fuel you have.
Leo: I see. I see.
Patrick: Like most of the stuff where people are rolling coal, it’s for effect, you know.
Leo: Right, right.
Patrick: The, but the thing with—
Leo: So it’s called rolling coal?
Patrick: That’s what people call it.
Alex: Are these people from the South or something?
Leo: (Laughing) no, he’s from New Jersey. It’s very similar.
Alex: The truck with, the trucks with the—
Patrick: Yea, with the big-- that’s called rolling coal because it looks like a big old steam train.
Alex: I’m thinking West Virginia, the coalmines, yea, yea, yea.
Patrick: Yea. But the, yea, you know, so I’m amped up about this because what Volkswagen did is they just tuned, they just gave the EPA an excuse to be really, really, really agro about emissions with all the manufacturers. The EPA has basically said they are going to start spot checking automobiles. So there are going to be federal examinations of automobiles around the United States. Is this going to be like, are they going to pull me over and they’re going to do exhaust tests on me? Or is this going to be like, we are going to go to dealerships and randomly test untested autos? I do not need to be stopped by the EPA. Traffic is complicated enough in the Bay Area enough as it is. It is going, the EPA is the witch hunt, and to a certain degree the California Resource Board’s already has a witch hunt on diesel because they believe that the particulate matter from diesel offsets any of the other diesel benefits. That particulate matter can be tied to cancer, nothing like breathing in gasoline fumes or anything else. So there’s a lot of things stacked against diesel in the United States to begin with. And now Volkswagen has a, you know Volkswagen’s also screwed itself. Because the vast number of people who bought TDI vehicles were like, “I want something more exciting than a Prius. I want something that’s more interesting and is fun to drive.”
Leo: Well and that’s probably why they did this, right? To make it more responsive, better fuel mileage.
Patrick: So what it turns out is that you know, is that Volkswagen was not meeting the emissions, or we don’t know, nobody’s done any thorough testing on this. So they—
Leo: Partly because of the DMCA preventing anybody from—
Patrick: Yea, and that’s a whole other, that’s a whole other--
Alex: 2 hour conversation.
Patrick: That’s the entire, that’s like a 4 hour Triangulation.
Leo: Well for a year they denied they were doing anything.
Leo: They finally said, “Yea, we were doing it.”
Patrick: You know so what happens is, you know, the thing that also has me really pissed off is GM knowingly enacts, you know, basically refused to acknowledge a problem with the ignition switch as it’s tied to the deaths of 120 people, writes a 900 million dollar check and walks on a year where they made like 3 billion dollars.
Leo: Right, right.
Patrick: The upside, the hindsight of potential finds based on the, what is it like $34,000 per vehicle, is 18 billion dollars for Volkswagen.
Patrick: Is Volkswagen going to pay 18 billion dollars per you know, for a half a million car violations? No. What’s going to happen is either they’re going to retro-fit them, which if they’re lucky they can do in software which may not be possible, or they’re going to have to do a urea system to—
Leo: Here’s the problem. It’s not just in the US that they’ve been doing it. In all of the world there are 11 million cars, the costs could be as much as 41 billion dollars. Just to retro-fit. I’m not talking a fine.
Patrick: But that’s just it. We don’t know what they can retro-fit. They don’t know what they can retro-fit. Are they going to have to retro-fit a urea system to make it compliant? Nobody knows. But it’s a mess. And it’s going to, the EPA’s going to be looking at a lot of stuff right now as a result of this.
Leo: It is a mess.
Alex: They had nearly 200 billion Euros in revenue in 2013. And they sold about 10 million cars that year according to this data. So I mean, even if they got the full fine it wouldn’t kill them. But I can’t imagine anyone writing a check of that scale.
Leo: It’s already cost them their CEO. He’s apologized and quit.
Patrick: Yea, the CEO has basically fallen on his sword. We don’t know, they cannot sell diesel cars in the United States. They’ve stopped selling diesel cars in the United States until they have a fix for this.
Leo: And I have to imagine other diesel cars from other manufacturers are in trouble as well.
Patrick: The problem is most of the other manufacturers were using BlueTec or urea based technology, yea. There’s lots of ways to eliminate the emissions that are the issue. Volkswagen said they were doing it without the addition of a urea subsystem or something like that. Or what is actually referred to as cat’s squeezing or cat’s piss.
Leo: So they, it wasn’t a question of them turning off emissions and rolling coal. They didn’t even have the capability to do a cleaner engine already.
Patrick: No, basically, no, they were—basically it turned everything on for emissions when it thought it was being smog tested. And if it wasn’t being smog tested, it sort of you know, leaned back on those.
Leo: But they could have used a cleaner engine. They didn’t.
Patrick: Well, yea, but they felt—but yea, they could have used it. And the other thing is, what I don’t know is you know, why they did that. Did they gain 10% horsepower? Did they gain 5% horsepower? Do they gain 30% horsepower? It’s a really curious question.
Alex: What was the net gain for the damage they caused overall?
Leo: Well they sold 11 million diesel cars that they might not have sold at all because people have such a bad impression of diesel, especially in the US. Trucks are one thing. You’re going to sell trucks.
Patrick: Basically Oldsmobile killed diesel in the US. I mean diesel was much cheaper in Europe and vastly cheaper compared to gasoline in Europe and that’s part of the reason why diesel is so popular in Europe. And then when the fuel crisis hit in the 70s, Oldsmobile retro-fitted a bunch of, you know, basically what it amounted to is they retro-fitted a gasoline engine in design to work as a diesel. And it was a horrible mess. It was a nightmare. And that single car did more damage to diesel automobiles than anything else in the United States. I don’t know. Anyhow, I’m a gearhead. Sorry.
Alex: It doesn’t show at all.
Leo: What’s the bottom line? Obviously Volkswagen did wrong. It’s going to hurt diesel as a—
Patrick: There’s a certain percentage, a certain percentage of Volkswagen customers will never come back. They will sell their car at the 1st opportunity and they will never come back because their trust has been violated. “I thought I had a green vehicle, I thought I was as cool as the guy with the Prius or the Tesla and they lied to me.” And I’m never going back.
Leo: And they’re polluting.
Natali: I have a Volkswagen. I drive it.
Leo: But you don’t have a diesel. I bet you have a gas.
Natali: No, I wanted one, but I couldn’t find one.
Leo: I drive an Audi. But it’s a gas Audi. But I have to admit, I feel like maybe I’m not going to have an Audi next time.
Leo: Because of the brand. Because I think it hurts the brand.
Patrick: Yea, I think it does.
Leo: You know what their slogan is? Truth in Engineering.
Leo: Maybe not.
Alex: (Laughing) satire is dead.
Leo: Maybe not. Beautiful images of Pluto. Just got to mention it. God, I love New Horizons.
Patrick: And the moon tonight.
Natali: Oh yea, we have the red moon tonight.
Leo: Everybody must get—actually here in the California it’s going to be awesome. You’ll get to get the full eclipse Natali, because you’re on the East coast. We won’t get the full eclipse. But the moon rise and the sun rise or sun set are identical times. And the eclipse is going on during the moon rise so we’re going to get an amazing—expect a lot of Instagram shots of a blood red moon hovering above the horizon during an eclipse. And of course it’s a super moon. It’s the closest the moon gets.
Patrick: It’s at its perigee.
Leo: It’s at its perigee. And it won’t be, by the way, there won’t be a total eclipse of the moon at perigee again until 2033. So kids…
Patrick: What time is the sun rise, moon set?
Leo: Should I show you a website that everybody should know about?
Natali: Ask Siri.
Leo: Ask Siri. She’ll go, “I don’t know.” It’s called Photographers Ephemeris.
Patrick: I love the fact that someone just came up and handed me the entire chart.
Leo: That’s John.
Patrick: He’s a beautiful human being.
Leo: He knows what you want before you want it.
Patrick: So partial at 6:07 PM, total at 7:11 PM for the eclipse, end total 8:23 PM, end partial at 9:27 PM.
Leo: Chris Marquardt passed this along to me. If you go to Photoephemeris.com you can see this. And they have fairly pricey apps for iOS and Android. But they also have a web based ephemeris program so can go—
Patrick: What is it? Ephemeris?
Leo: Ephemeris is like the tide charts and stuff like that. It’s the sun rise, sun set.
Patrick: So you’re searching for the magic hour, this is the time.
Leo: Well more than that what you want is not only when it’s going to happen, but what the path will be where you are so that you can position yourself to get it just right. So you enter in your address here. I’ll put our address, 140 Keller Street, Petaluma.
Natali: Wait, where do you do that on?
Natali: Oh, free desktop app.
Leo: Yea. So here’s where we are. The path of—I don’t understand how to read this but I will figure this out before tonight because what you want to do is position yourself so that the moon is somewhere interesting because it’s going to be close to the horizon. Between buildings or at the top of a road.
Alex: Oh, so you can set up a camera ahead of time for the shot? Ok, I see.
Leo: Set up a camera ahead of time so the—and you can see exactly what time to do that. And you can see the path so you can know. Just a completely left field tip.
Natali: That’s cool.
Leo: Isn’t that cool?
Patrick: I’m excited.
Leo: Hey, Natali, thank you for being here.
Natali: Hey yourself.
Leo: Come back again.
Natali: Yea. Many times.
Leo: You’re one of the smartest people I know and I always love it when you’re on the show so. I know, it’s been so long. Come back and we’ll get Clayton on too.
Natali: You do flatter. Thank you so much.
Leo: And in a few years, Miles and Ava will be on the show.
Natali: They will.
Leo: And I’ll be going, “I remember your mama when she was 1st pregnant with you. Now look atcha.”
Natali: I was in the studio even.
Leo: (Laughing) you were, you brought your mom. It was so much fun.
Natali: And my baby bump.
Leo: And your baby bump. Nice to see you. Take care.
Natali: Always a pleasure.
Leo: Come back soon. And don’t forget Natali’s blog and great stuff at natalimorris.com. And you got to get it, you got to stand, we’ve got to find a way—
Natali: I’ll find a good designer. Yea, I’m working on it.
Leo: We’re working on it. Alex Wilhelm, anything you want to plug besides your regular appearance on TechCrunch?
Alex: I want to plug your crew actually. I think working with you guys is always really good and your team’s great.
Leo: They take good care of you.
Alex: They really do.
Leo: They keep it together.
Alex: You’re horrible. But I mean your staff.
Leo: You know, I have been coasting on their backs for so long.
Alex: I just really appreciate all they do.
Leo: Someday I’m going to pay them. Then—
Alex: That’s a bit much. But I will say that they’re really top notch.
Leo: 18 cents an hour.
Leo: 17. No, I pay better than Apple.
Alex: Oh. Big spender over here.
Leo: Thank you, you’re right. I don’t give them enough credit. A really great crew. And in fact, Bryan Burnett is filling in. Jason Howell who is our normal technical director producer is on vacation. Bless him. Thank you, Bryan. He was a little under the weather and we were worried that I would have to run the board myself. So I appreciate you coming in.
Bryan Burnett: My pleasure.
Leo: It’s always fun to work with you. And of course, Patrick Norton. Tekthing.com. Just anytime the Richmond fire alarm goes off, you’ll know something’s gone wrong (laughing).
Patrick: (Laughing) I’ll Periscope it next time.
Leo: Tekthing.com. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon. I love doing it. I hope you love seeing it. 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time, 2200 UTC. You can watch live at all the really great you know, naked dancing and stuff does get edited out, or Patrick shaving himself—
Natali: Or the blood bath.
Leo: Or the blood bath that we had earlier. But if you can’t watch live, on-demand audio and video of the show always available after the fact at our website TWiT.tv and of course wherever finer podcasts are aggregated including iTunes and everywhere else. Great studio audience today. It’s nice to have you all here. If you would like to be in the studio audience just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure we put a seat out for you.
Patrick: Do they cost anything?
Leo: You know I never say this. Of course not. It’s free. And we’ll even, if you’re of age, we’ll even offer you tequila.
Alex: I can’t wait until I’m 21 now.
Leo: Now I’m in trouble! Thank you everybody for being here. We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Yay!