This Week in Tech 534
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech! I have such a great panel for you. Tim Stevens from C Net, Christina Warren, Film Girl is here from Mashable, and my buddy Alex Lindsay from Pixel core. We're going to talk about the latest news, Apple's quarterly results, Crandroid, the merging of the Chrome OS and Android, and a report from the Tokyo motor show, Tim Stevens was there and it's all coming up next on TWiT.
NETCASTS YOU LOVE FROM PEOPLE YOU TRUST, THIS IS TWIT! Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by CacheFly at cachefly.com.
Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 534, recorded Sunday, November 1, 2015.
Puffy Little Clouds
This Week in Tech is brought to you by WealthFront. WealthFront is a low cost automated investment service that is the most sophisticated way for you to invest your money. Whether you've got millions or you're just starting out, visit wealthfront.com/twit to sign up and get your free personalized investment portfolio. That's wealthfront.com/twit.
And by Citrix GoToMeeting: The powerfully simple way to meet with coworkers and clients from the convenience of your computer, Smartphone, or tablet. Share the same screen and see each other face to face with HD video conferencing. For a 30-day free trial, go visit gotomeeting.com today.
And by Braintree. Looking to set up payments for your business? Braintree gives your app or website a payment solution that accepts just about every payment method with one easy integration. Plus, Braintree will give you the first $50,000 in transactions fee free. To learn more, visit braintreepayments.com/twit.
And by stamps.com: Start using your time more effectively with stamps.com. Use stamps.com to buy and print real US postage the instant you need it, right from your desk. To get our special offer, go to stamps.com now. Click on the microphone and enter TWIT. That's stamps.com, enter TWIT.
It's time for TWiT, this week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news, with Christina Warren from mashable.com and I see her Apple TV screen saver in the background. Isn't that the best screensaver ever?
Christina Warren: It's the greatest ever. I know it's on our notes and I'll talk about it, but I wanted it on my Mac and it was one thing I wanted in my review and now that's available.
Leo: I immediately installed it. Also with us, Alex Lindsay in the flesh.
Alex Lindsay: I'm back.
Leo: He's been all over the place. Last I saw you, you were in Africa.
Alex: I was in Africa two weeks ago and India last week.
Leo: That's right. You got sick in India, though. I'm sorry.
Alex: Not from India. I want to be fair to India. I had food there, I was totally fine.
Leo: Are you sure? I saw a picture of that meal you got for 50 cents. That looked like it could have been a culprit.
Alex: I was already recovering by the time I had that meal. I had to take, it turns out if you go from Africa to India, you need to have a yellow fever shot and if you show up at the airport and find out, you have one hour to find a doctor, figure out a way to get them to backdate it and give you the shot.
Leo: Are there guys sitting on the curb waiting to give you the yellow fever shots?
Alex: It was a race. It was quite an adrenaline adventure through Rwanda to figure that out. But then I get sick every time I have yellow fever shot.
Leo: I know how that is. No I don't. You need more than one? You have to continue to get it?
Alex: I lost the card, the stupid yellow card.
Leo: Don't get more than one.
Alex: I Have three now. I'm never going to get yellow fever. I thought that I had missed it, but I knew I was getting sick and I was toast. India, the food itself was great, I didn't get sick at all. But I'm pretty careful.
Leo: You and I have dined at Indian food in San Francisco. You're an expert.
Alex: I like my Indian food.
Leo: I do too. Love it. Also here from upper New York State, Tim Stevens of Engadget, I'm sorry. C Net fame. Almost said the E word.
Tim Stevens: It's been two years now, Leo.
Leo: I know. I'll learn. Welcome, Tim. It's great to have you.
Tim: Thank you very much. I like Indian food as well, by the way.
Leo: Who doesn't? Let's have Indian food for the show today. All right. You've got your Apple TV; I've got my Apple TV. I've been playing with it. It does do that thing though where you go what did he say? It skips back and puts the close captions on. I love that.
Christina: It's so good.
Leo: I can't tell. Can you tell, Christina, what services it's searching? Cross service search?
Christina: Yeah. It does Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, or HBO Now. Showtime or Showtime anytime and iTunes. That's just a start. They're going to be opening up an API for it to be broader. I'm hoping that other services like Watch ABC Watch ESPN and some of those will join it too. Out of the box, I have to say that's one of the big things. I have every device. The Universal search is definitely the best out of the box I think.
Leo: Yeah. Fire TV has it but it only searches Amazon's own stuff.
Christina: It only does Amazon. The new Fire TV, which I haven't had a chance to really review yet, I've got one but I haven't had a chance to spend time with it, will search more services but only from certain menus. You can do voice search to find things and it will show it to you on Hulu, not Hulu. HBO or on Netflix, but if you're in one of those other apps, you're SOL. You can't use voice search or search universally. What I like about the Apple TV is I can be in any app and I can say show me Scandal and it'll bring up Scandal everywhere or I can say show me Tom Cruise movies on Netflix even if I'm inside Hulu and it'll take me back out to that place. To me, that makes it a better overall experience. Roku's universal search is good and Teevo's is good, but you've got to go to a universal search main page to actually access that, whereas with the Apple TV you just talk into it or use the search function at the top and it'll go across all those places. My big hope is that when the official client comes out there's an unofficial client that works well, but when the official client comes out, that will coincide hopefully with some sort of API for the Siri universal stuff, and then you could bring in your Plux results too. That would be ideal, but we'll see.
Leo: Cross platform search is in many ways the Holy Grail, but I've got to say. The Apple TV doesn't have Amazon. I feel like that's a big hole in its offerings.
Alex: Don't apple TVs have Amazon?
Leo: Almost everything has Amazon. Nothing has iTunes except Apple. I prefer to buy stuff on Amazon or Google or Google play, neither of which are on the Apple TV.
Christina: The nice thing is you can use airplay from your iPhone or iPad and connect that to the Apple TV and watch the stuff that way, which is kind of the work around. It's weird because I've spoken with a number of Amazon employees. These are high-ranking people over the years about the fact that Amazon wasn't on the Apple TV. I know they as recently as a year ago really wanted that to happen. It's weird that now they're not there, and it seems to be Amazon's choice. They could build an app, not only that, but they've pulled the Chromecast and the Apple TV from Amazon.com, so you can't even buy the competitor's products. There's a lot of questioning, and I don't know what the answer to this is. Let's say Amazon did build an app for TV OS, it wouldn't be very hard. They could take their existing iPad app and make a couple modifications and build it easily. Would they be accepted in the app store? I don't know.
Leo: This is the screensaver. What it is is an aerial video from all over the world moving very slowly, but it's real. You can see leaves blow in the trees or the water move and it's stunning. It's just gorgeous. I'm running this not on my Apple TV but as you mentioned, somebody has extracted all the screensavers and made a Macintosh screensaver and put it up online. Love the screensaver. No flying toasters. I have flying toasters in this machine, but not in this. I should turn off the time because that's annoying, isn't it? My issue with this is it's 200 bucks. It's an improvement. Talking to Siri is useful, especially the cross-site search. I think the app store is important. It's certainly important to us at TWiT. There are not one, two, but three TWiT apps already in the app store, which is pretty good, since there are only a little more than 60 apps total. I played Rainman for a little bit last night, I played crossroad. I bought a game controller to go with it. I just didn't feel like it was worth 200 bucks.
Alex: I don't know about right now. I haven't gotten mine yet. It's coming. But, I think when you look at the opportunity of all these IOS developers...
Leo: It's an ecosystem.
Alex: It's an ecosystem and most people have benefitted pretty dramatically from being first movers in the IOS environment. I think we're going to see a pretty big explosion in app development for this platform, and not just for entertainment, but I think the Apple TV is you already see a lot of these in schools in corporations for a variety of other reasons, and that was before the apps were available. I think that there is a lot of market to be on the home that this is going to be very useful for.
Leo: I should point out, 200 bucks for the 64-gig version. 150 bucks for the 32 gigs.
Alex: But get the 64.
Leo: It strikes me kind of nuts to get the 32. Apple says if you're just going to stream video and you're not going to download a lot of apps, you don't need 64, but how do you know that? Right? You don't know that. It's not like you can upgrade.
Christina: Exactly. That's the thing. They don't make it that easy to manage your store space. You can choose what apps you want to install and un-install, and that's pretty easy, you can see what's taking up the most space, but you can't manage how they do their caching for different stuff. Early on a lot of people were concerned with the games. How are these games going to be able to show up on the Apple TV because they can't download the stuff the way that we thought we could. They're limited to a certain size. But that's only the initial code side. You can then download assets and greater sizes. If you download crossyroad and asphalt or other games, it will take a little bit longer. That takes up more space on your device. I tend to be one of those people who whether it's from Apple or Amazon or whoever, I buy whatever the most space is they'll let me buy.
Leo: I'm the same way. They have this app thinning idea, that you don't have the whole app, you just have the stuff you absolutely need and download and delete as needed. I still feel like, I don't know. Apple does this. They have a 16-gig version of the iPhone too, they don't expect you to buy it, they just want to be able to say it starts from 150 bucks.
Alex: If they had made a 128-gig version, I would have gotten that. Just put more on it.
Leo: What's the deal though, with 4K? We've talked about that a lot. Apple says absolutely not and we'll never be a 4K device. Doesn't seem to be any reason why it couldn't be hardware wise.
Alex: There are some chip issues.
Christina: I think there are some chip issues. Go on.
Leo: It's the A8 chip that's in the iPhone 6. You can play back 4K video from that chip.
Alex: Anyway. Christina may know more details about it than we know...
Leo: Who knows?
Christina: I feel like if they did the A9, then they would have been able to do 4K more easily. I think it's probably a chip set thing, I also think it's probably... You have to think. You get the distinct feeling they would have liked to bring this out six months ago, because of various things because this was something that was ready to go from a hardware perspective.
Leo: They wanted to make deals with the networks and the local stations. They weren't able to make those deals, so they said let's release it. We're going to have to release it. If you're going to be cynical, it also gives them something they can do next year with an updated Apple TV when there are more people with 4K displays.
Christina: And when there's more 4K content.
Leo: There's a lot of 4K content. I don't know how good it is, but there's voodoo and there's Netflix. There's a lot of 4K content.
Christina: Have you ever actually looked at what content is available on Netflix? It's like 66 things. It's like Breaking Bad, which is 35 millimeter converted to 4K where they do the scanning process. Then you've got House of Cards, the second season and the third season. There are a couple of movies that are 4K conversions and are for their part OK. There's a lot of nature films. It's still like HDTV.
Leo: Remember? Mark Cuban. Bikini TV.
Christina: I was going to say, it's like all of that.
Leo: By the way, have we mentioned the Screensavers? Great Screensaver on this thing. Have we mentioned that? I would just sit and watch this all day. This might as well be 4K. Roku. What is it a hundred? The Roku 4 for a 129 bucks you can get 4K, you get everything, except you don't get iTunes and you don't get airplay.
Alex: You don't get the app store that's going to have lots of these games.
Leo: Roku gave up on games you know. Roku started and they thought not to keep it at a good price point, to make a convenient small box, we're going to stick with streaming and not worry about gaming.
Alex: I think it would have been hard for Roku to do it. The difference is there's already an enormous number of games that have been built.
Leo: Android TV, I could play all those games on my Shield and watch 4K video. It's not very compelling. If you care about gaming, you have an XBox or PlayStation.
Christina: Right. This is more of a Wii I feel like. Even down to the controller stuff, which is not a bad strategy, but I feel like the gaming part is nice to have, but I feel like you buy this for other types of apps that could eventually come out.
Leo: What do you think about Amazon saying they pulled all listings for Google and Apple TV devices on Thursday. They're gone. They yanked them.
Alex: I think it makes Amazon look petty. Go ahead.
Tim: It's a really bad precedent. Amazon is interested in moving into other areas and other market categories and if they're going to pull the competitor's products from every category that they move into, it's obviously a very bad thing. It's also interesting that they haven't pulled competitor's tablets or smart phones off of, even the gaming platforms you could see them being a competitor. It's really a petty ugly thing that Amazon is doing and I hope something that they don't continue to do.
Alex: They spend all this time trying to say no, we're not that company. We weren't hacked, that was a hatchet job. We are really a nice company and now we're going to do something that is really small minded and petty.
Leo: And then the excuse they give, which I find strange credulity to say the least, oh they don't have Amazon streaming apps on Chromecast and Apple TV and we don't want to support that. Whose job is that, exactly, Amazon?
Christina: If they wanted to add it to their app, because they already had the airplay support for the Amazon apps, they literally have to enter one line of code and then it would work on the Chromecast. I kind of understand the Apple TV argument a little bit. We don't know if Apple will accept this, fine. But with Chromecast, it's complete BS, because it would literally be one line of code, the existing Amazon app. Keep in mind, Amazon opts not to offer their apps in the Google play store like you've got to download them directly from Amazon, and that's fine, but Google has told me just because it's not Google play they could have the cast API stuff, that wouldn't matter at all. There's no way you could view this as any other than Tim was saying just a really petty move that has a bad precedent.
Leo: Google has made an open platform with Chromecast.
Christina: They have. They developed the original APIs and STK stuff with Netflix. The Teevo from a couple of years ago had it early on. There are other companies who support this stuff. It would be very easy for them to support it if they wanted to. I feel like that's the worst excuse. If you don't want to support it, OK. I get that. If you don't want to carry your competitor's products, I don't love that, fine, but don't try to pretend like you're the victim in all of this when actually you're not.
Alex: It's also not even good business. The issue is you've got people who are buying these; they're the kind of people who spend a lot of money on Amazon. I spend a lot of money on Amazon.
Christina: I spend tons of money on Amazon.
Alex: One of the reasons I spend a lot of money on Amazon is I know I can always get everything on Amazon and I don't have to put my credit card stuff in again or my address. I know I can go up and get it and it'll be there in a day and it's easy. As soon as they make it hard, I'll go find it somewhere else and I'll start ordering more stuff from somewhere else. So boneheaded.
Leo: Did I mention what a great set of screensavers they have? Now we're going over London. There's the London eye. I think these come from... Apple announced a couple years ago that for Apple maps they were going to do fly overs on major cities in small planes to get great aerial views of their maps.
Alex: This is the raw data.
Leo: What about the video we shot a couple years ago?
Christina: They bet the nighttime shots, the time of day.
Leo: Like it's sunset now, so I'm getting the sunset pictures.
Christina: They're so great.
Leo: So really, you should buy an Apple TV for the screensaver.
Tim: Leave the TV on all day long.
Leo: That's what gets me about screensavers in these boxes. You don't want to leave your TV on all the time.
Tim: I have a 60-inch plasma that I don't want to leave on forever. It turns itself off after a couple minutes.
Leo: Roku has great, similar not slow mo video stuff, but they have similar shots. Chromecast has beautiful pictures, including my own images. Look at that. New York City. Makes you want to go there, doesn't it?
Christina: I live there. I wish my life looked that good.
Leo: By the way, this is video because you see the boats. This is slow motion video. But you can see the boats moving ever so slightly in the wakes ever so slightly. It's pretty cool.
Christina: It's really spectacular stuff.
Leo: I wonder if Apple is going to shut this guy down for doing this. I'm sure it's a total violation of copyright.
Christina: I'm sure it is. But it would be weird. I wonder if they can because he's pulling directly from their servers, so if they changed their server input.
Leo: It would be easy to shut that down then. He didn't download these from the TV. He's accessing the server. Get this screensaver while you can because it's not going to work much longer.
Christina: You can even select which ones on his you want, which ones you don't want.
Leo: I can change the time of day.
Christina: You can. They're really nice. They're about 600 megabytes apiece. They're not small video files, because they are video files, but they are beautiful.
Leo: I see.
Christina: I've downloaded the ones I want. I want New York at night, New York during the day. Some of the San Francisco ones are really great, the Hawaii ones make me depressed because it's cold.
Leo: China, day one two or three. Hawaii. Day and night. London day and night. New York City. Oh my golly. You can even have, I got to set this up on my monitor display at home. You can have a different aerial on each one. He's going to be out of business so fast. By the time you listen to this podcast but it's Github.com/johncoates with an es at the end. Nice job John. Good luck not working at Apple ever again. I'm just teasing. He looks like he's 12. @punk something.
Christina: He probably is 18.
Leo: Look at him. He's a kid.
Christina: Great project.
Leo: What's nice is he came out with it instantly. He wrote it in Swift, so there you go. Nice. You can also install it on other systems. You need Brewcask. Very nicely done, John. Let's take a break. We're having fun. Lots to talk about. Christina Warren, @film_girl is here, joining us from his travels around the world, Mr. Alex Lindsay at Pixel Corps and Car Guy at Net. You must be getting excited. Is the lake frozen yet?
Tim: It's getting cold up here. No ice just yet. It's looking like it could be a good season for ice racing.
Leo: Tim Stevens, the ice racer. You got the car all ready?
Tim: No I don't. I've been traveling way too much. It's still up in the garage, I've got to get to work on it.
Leo: You have to do stuff on the off season, keep it you don't put up a block strain in the crank case and just leave it.
Tim: I need to on this one though, because I got run into in the last race last year and broke my suspension and I haven't fixed that yet, so I need to get cracking on that.
Leo: What do you drive?
Tim: I race in a 2002 WRX.
Leo: No, he's not joking. He does ice racing. Once the lake is frozen, he'll be out there.
Tim: I will.
Alex: How thick is frozen?
Tim: 12 inches or more is the minimum. They go out and drill about 20 holes across the lake to make sure it's sticking up. We'll have 40/50 cars out racing at a time, plus trailers plus tow trucks, plus spectators. There's a lot of people out there, so you got to make sure it's thick enough.
Christina: Tesla with ludicrous mode.
Tim: That would be amazing, if anyone who is watching wants to hook me up. They might be a little worried about the dents and dings that would result, but this is racing.
Christina: It would be so worth it, and the videos they get would be unreal.
Leo: You choose the ice because of the great traction out there.
Tim: The lack thereof, yes. Absolutely. That's what makes it fun. You can go outside at 80 miles an hour. It's a grand old time.
Leo: You're insane. I love it. This is the Subaru, right?
Tim: Yeah. This is a Subaru from last season. That's the start of the race.
Leo: Look at this guy. He's spinning out already! You don't get to use snow tires, right? Chains?
Tim: We use street legal tires exclusively. So they are at DOT legal. They're small.
Leo: You get a little bit of traction. Just enough to fool you into being over confident.
Tim: That's the main problem for a lot of people. As the race goes on, the ice gets more polished from the other cars sliding, so the grip decreases a lot, so the rookies usually spin out halfway through the race. I make up a lot of ground then.
Leo: How much would it cost to put a big TWiT logon on the front?
Tim: For you, I'll give you a good discount.
Leo: I want a badge on your fire suit. Oh wait, he's not wearing a fire suit. I love it. More coming up in just a bit. Our show to you today brought to you by WealthFront. It's a problem. You know that you've got to save for the future. Buying a house, your rainy day fund, retirement. I know it's so far off you don't even want to think about it. It happens faster than you think and you've got to start saving now. The sooner you start saving, the better. The question is: as you save, how do you manage that? What do you invest in? What do you do with your money? Do you hire an advisor? They're going to take between 1 and 3% every year of what you got under management. Not to mention hidden fees for transactions and changes. You'd have to do awfully well to overcome that. That's like starting a race with a millstone around your neck. You could do it yourself. That's what I always thought. I'll do it myself. Five years later, I wonder what's happening to my investments. And then, I don't want to look. I got a great solution for you. WealthFront. WealthFront makes it easy for anyone to access world-class long-term investment management. You could start today at a minimum of 500 dollars to open an account and they're doing stuff that's really impressive. Tax laws, harvesting, it's all done in software, but the software is designed by some of the best investment advisors in the world, people like Burton Michael who wrote the incredible random walk down Wall Street and Charles D Ellis. These are guys who have really figured it out. They've written software that they've got more than 200 years of investment experience on that team. They've written software that capitalizes on all that. In your best interest for your long term. By the way, WealthFront automatically rebalances and re invests your dividends. It's all commission free, so you're going to optimize for the best risk adjusted return net of taxes and fees. It does all this for less than, remember I told you an advisor costs you one to three percent a year? Less than one quarter of one percent a year. With no commissions. There's never any hidden fees. It's completely transparent. You'll see what they're doing. You've got an app and you can see what trades they're making on your behalf at all times. It's not a surprise. WealthFront has grown 2000% in the last two years. 20 times growth. They now have over 2.6 billion dollars in management. It works, it's brilliant, it's exactly what you're looking for. Right now, if you go to WealthFront.com/twit, they'll manage your first 15,000 dollars free of charge forever. Not a quarter of a percent a year, nothing forever. Up to 15,000 dollars. Start with 500 dollars. So important you put this money aside. Do it smart so that you don't spend your time not managing your money or paying someone an exorbitant amount of money. I love these guys. wealthfront.com/twit. For compliance purposes I have to tell you WealthFront incorporated is an SEC registered investment advisor. Brokerage services are offered through Welthfront brokerage corporation. Member FRINA and SRPC. This is not a solicitation to buy or sell securities. Investing in securities involves risks and there is the possibility of losing money. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Please visit WealthFront.com to read their full disclosure. Tim Stevens, is it cold in the car? Do you have a heater?
Tim: I have the heat on in the car, but it's always pretty chilly. I think the coldest this winter was about 20 below. We were playing in Northern New York.
Leo: This looks really fun, doesn't it? It actually looks really fun. I have to admit. I would die.
Tim: It's 50 bucks for all day racing. You get 3 20-minute races plus a 20-minute practice. That's as cheap as it gets in the world of racing.
Leo: That is really fun. Look at that. Of course you've got to keep up your car.
Tim: That helps.
Leo: That's not an insignificant expense, I'm sure. Enough talking about ice racing. There's many other things to talk about in the world. Apple, according to everybody and their brothers will be selling the iPad pro come November 11. That is ten days off. Selling it not just taking pre orders. You going to rush out and get one?
Leo: I knew you would. I don't think I am. I'm having a hard time justifying getting another iPad, even a giant one.
Alex: I have to say, I haven't gotten one for years. I haven't bought a new one since the three. I didn't buy the four.
Leo: That's why Apple is doing this, because no one has bought one in years. They got to give you a reason to get out there.
Alex: I got three or four of them floating around the house. One of them is shattered. Version one only half the screen works. So it's about time to get a new one.
Christina: I can't find my iPad air too. Which is a problem.
Leo: Is it though? Isn't it kind of a signal that you don't really need it?
Christina: No. I do need it and the battery died and I can't find it. Unfortunately, I didn't have to find my iPhone feature turned on where it will show you its last location.
Leo: That wouldn't help. You would just know it was in your house. You'd know that.
Christina: Which would actually be helpful because I don't know if it's in my house or at my office. So it's one of those things. I don't think I'm going to get one because I don't need one, but I definitely want to play with one.
Tim: Me too. I'm pretty excited about the prospects here, I'm just a little bummed out that it's as expensive as it is. 300 dollars more than an iPad air to start seems like quite a premium. But I do feel like there could be big potential for sales here. I keep reading surveys that show 90 percent of tablets never leave the home. If you're looking for the ultimate couch surfing device, 12 inches is better than 8 or 9 inches or 5 inches. I think it makes a whole lot of sense, but the cost pushes it up to the professional market, and I wonder how many pros are going to go out and dive on these things and start using it for sketching and design and that kind of thing.
Leo: You don't have to guess too much longer. I'm holding in my hand... wait a minute. Don't show that Windows Logo. Something very similar to an iPad. This is the Surface Book, but a Surface Pro would be similar. Of course, Microsoft says this isn't a pencil, it's a pen and it has an eraser. So take that, Apple. I have to say this is of course not going to be like the pencil where you can do the Edge and zero latency. This has little latency, but... does that look latent to you? It looks pretty fast to me.
Alex: I found even with the Surface, I have the Surface 3, even with that, I find it hard to sit down. This is why I'm interested to see what happens with the pro. I want to be able to take notes on the screen. When I'm at a location.
Leo: Look! I just pressed the pen button once and I'm taking notes.
Alex: I find the text is still not as... maybe the pro won't be any better. But it's not like writing on paper.
Leo: Well it's slippery. Right?
Alex: When I'm drawing little diagrams, I'm usually doing site surveys so I'm doing diagrams of buildings and rooms and trying to do stuff.
Tim: I take a lot of notes on my S Pen, my Samsung Galaxy Note, which I have become hooked to. I use that constantly. For that, that's a huge boon for me to be able to take notes on there and export them to Google docs and pull them up on my laptop. That's fantastic. Samsung has done a lot of work to get the feel of that down. It's still not the same as writing on paper, obviously, but it's pretty good. Even so, taking notes on a 12 inch tablet, that actually seems a little bit too big in that case because you want to hold it with one hand and write with the other hand. You're not sitting. For me, the Note is the perfect size for that. I can hold it easily with one hand and scribble with the other hand.
Leo: I have a Note 5. I have to say the pen is really well done, but I rarely use it. This is a surface book, and I rarely detach this. You know what it's actually a little bit good for? Crossword puzzles. You can do the Sunday, this is a nice Sunday times Crossword puzzle device. You can handwrite, but it will do the recognition in there. Let me just load a puzzle that I've been working on. I like Touch. I wish Apple put Touch on the MacBook. I really like touch. This is such a natural way to work. You can write in here. I don't know what the word is. You can write in by hand and it'll turn it into text. I like having an eraser. I have to say. Apple should consider that as well. It's actually a natural thing to turn the pen upside down and start erasing. This is the surface book. This is the one with the crazy hinge, and I am very much in love with this. As you know, I am not a Windows guy, but they've done a lot of things quite nicely on this.
Alex: I do like my Surface 3 a lot. I use it a fair bit.
Leo: You made it a pick of the week in MacBreak Weekly.
Alex: I feel like Apple has missed the boat with the MacBook pros. All these screens should be... you should be able to write on all the Apple screens and touch on stuff. I get that they think the OS has to do something special, but I'm really happy with it just being touch sensitive. You don't have to add anything to the experience.
Leo: By the way, you didn't see it, but I opened it up and it has the hello face recognition built it. Recognized the face and unlocked it immediately. Does that very well. It's interesting because Microsoft has not been a player for some time and all of a sudden their first laptop is lust worthy. I'll probably buy an iPad too. It's my job. I have to do it. Actually what we're going to do, I think we're going to have Megan Maroni who co hosts IOS today with me buy that one. I actually got the new mini, which I like a lot. We are in a minority though, because according to the Pew folks, the Pew Internet research center, they do regular surveys on how people use the Internet technology. Their most recent report, technology device ownership in 2015 was interesting. Especially among younger people, people under 30. Let me see the methodology really quickly. They talked to 1907 adults 18 and older in all 50 states. This is March 17-April 12. Most of the interviews were by phone, including cell phones because a lot of the respondents didn't have landlines. Almost everybody had cell phones. Interesting results. 68% of US adults have a Smartphone. That's up 35% from 4 years ago. It's doubled. It's not cell phone, Smartphones.
Leo: 86% of 18-29 year olds have a Smartphone. 83% of 33 to 49. It's the old folks like me who are still using... If you have an income of 75 thousand dollars, it went up 87% have a Smartphone. What's interesting is tablet adoption. Desktop computer adoption. Not great. Desktop computers starting to drop, laptop computers too. Tablet computers have leveled off in the last couple years, as have game consuls. As you might imagine, MP3 players dropping slowly. E Book readers are taking the biggest dive. Only 19% report owning an e-Reader. That's half what it was a year ago.
Alex: I don't understand e-readers. I get that they look a little nicer, but I have my entire Kindle collection on my iPhone.
Tim: They're easier on your eyes. That's a big deal for me. I stare at LCDs all day long. It's frustrating to me to think that the Kindle is probably a device with a limited shelf life and we're all probably going to be reading on LCD screens soon.
Leo: The Voyage is so nice. It's so easy to read. It's so light.
Tim: I wish it had a warmer backlight though, because blue backlights are not good for...
Leo: I know, Tim, but I'm told it's not blue. It looks blue-ish. Who was it that told me? Calacanis? I think it was, said that the light is not blue. Everyone is saying you shouldn't have blue light. You're right. It doesn't look warm, does it?
Tim: Sure looks blue to me. My only complaint was I travel with that thing all the time. It's one more device to pack, one more device to charge. Yada yada. It really is much nicer on my eyes. That does bum me out, but I know it's one of those things that's just going away, just like video game consoles are going away, and that bums me out too.
Leo: Are they going away? I guess they're not really going away, but there's not going to be an X Box 2. There's not going to be a PlayStation 5. I can't imagine. I like the Voyage. I think the Voyage is really crisp. It's more than a hundred bucks.
Christina: Although the new Paper White just came out that has the same resolution as the Voyage or it'll be out next week or something, so it doesn't have the glass screen and it doesn't have some of the other nice things. I think it's like 120 dollars or something, which of course makes me want to buy the new paper white, but I know if I do that, at the end of the month, the new voyage will be out, so I want a new Kindle, but I'm going to have to wait for the next Voyage to come out before I make my decision.
Leo: You're bucking the trend. 19% ownership.
Christina: I buy everything.
Leo: All four of us. Let's face it. Everybody on the TWiT network, and probably most of you watching and listening has a problem.
Alex: It's my job. That's my argument. My wife is like why did you buy...
Christina: I have to say this is my job because I was doing this before it was my job.
Leo: I became a computer journalist in the late 70's. I'm so old. The main reason, I remember vividly. The main reason I started writing for magazines. I said to myself, I always want to own the latest, greatest technology. That's my real goal in life. I made it. It's all I ever wanted, it's all I ever asked. Now, actually, I'm going the other way. I have to buy another cell phone. I just got 4. I don't want another cell phone. It's actually painful now. I'm sorry about the materialism, it's just that we feel we need to review these so you at home don't have to buy 4 new cell phones. You can buy whatever the one that's the best is.
Tim: Perspective is very important.
Leo: I need to play with them all. MP3 players and computers declined by double digits among the 18 to 29 year olds. They're not buying computers. They've got computers. It's called a Smartphone. Let's see here. Cell Phone penetration, including Smartphones is 98 percent among adults under 30. Smartphones are 86%. The computers are dropping. In 2010, it was 88% penetration, now it's 78%. So it's dropping. MP3 players have gone in 5 years from 75% to half. Game consoles are dropping. In 2010 it was 88% penetration, now it's 78%. So it's dropping. MP3 players are going in five years from 75% to half. Game consoles dropping. It's a big drop there. Tablet, computers, really flat. Of course it went up when the iPad came out, because there was nothing before that. There were some really bad tablets, but it's flattened out over the last few years. That's why Apple is doing the iPad pro. They've got to find some way to get people back into the market. I don't know if that's the one that will do it, especially considering the cost. Again, they make... what is the smallest? 32 and 128. Right? It's weird.
Christina: I think they know if they made a 64, they would never sell 128s. I think even Apple realizes that making a 16 gigabyte iPad pro would be... even the people who think it's somehow OK to sell a 16 gig iPhone, they would be like not going to do that. It's not OK. I feel like if they made a 64 option, no one would buy the 128.
Alex: The 32 is like OK, we're going to put this out as a Fleet. For a large company. It's mostly cloud based so they're going to be using sales for Google docs or whatever. I think 128 is people are actually going to be roaming around and expecting to keep their content.
Christina: But the 128, that's where it could go into Laptop replacement category. Like you said, if you're running out of something or most stuff is going to be based in the cloud you've got virtual machine stuff happening and that's fine. But if you want to actually use it as a potential laptop replacement, you've got to have 128. If we're being honest, 128 is the minimum level on a MacBook air. That's fair. It seems like a lot on a tablet, although for a laptop it's not a ton. It's interesting.
Leo: Apple in its quarterly earnings this week reported 9.9 million iPads sold, but that is a whopping 19 and a half percent drop.
Alex: I think a part of that is they're announcing a new product that isn't out yet.
Leo: It's been going down for a while.
Christina: This is two years on of declining stuff. I have to wonder if some of it is because they don't yet still know what the life cycle of an iPad is. I think this is one of the biggest problems. When you and I, Leo are talking about the fact that we don't know if we want the new iPad, that's an issue. When I'm going, if I wasn't given an iPad air 2 as a gift, I wouldn't have gotten the iPad air 2, I would have waited. They're now not even releasing an iPad air 3. They're literally going to keep it around for another year, I don't know if they know what the upgrade cycle on these devices still is. They're are still an awful lot of people who have iPad 2s and iPad minis, and iPad 3s, so they're not even on the air cycle yet. Then the apps still work, people use it primarily as a web browser, it's good enough, what's the point of upgrading it if you're mostly going to watch video, play games, and surf the web. That's been their biggest problem is that for a laptop you maybe have a 3 to 4 year life cycle, maybe more or less depending on what people are doing with it, but with a tablet, whereas a phone basically everyone wants to upgrade every two years because as those services are showing, this is the device we use the most. You use your phone more than you use anything, so there are some of us who upgrade more than once a year, some of us who have multiple phones, but I think the average person is that two-year life cycle. But with a tablet, we don't know, and as a product that's only 5 years old, I don't think Apple knows yet what the life cycle is. That makes it really hard to guess extrapolate numbers. I've said this before. In the beginning, everybody underestimated the success of the iPad, and then they way over estimated it.
Alex: Part of it is also that we aren't pushing the iPads very hard. I think that's the problem that PCs have had for a long time. Excel goes as fast as it's ever going to go. My kids were happily using a first generation iPad, switching back and forth between iPad 2 and iPad 3, not thinking anything of it other than what games happen to be on that one until the screen died a couple weeks ago.
Leo: These are mature products in a mature industry, so there isn't the same kind of crazy growth. You get a new one because it broke or it wore out not because there's a feature that you have to have.
Alex: It's not just that it's a mature product. It's that the developers aren't pushing the CPUs. Even though you've got an AA or A9 or whatever in there.
Leo: Nobody has said in years that it's not fast enough. Right?
Alex: You can feel the difference. The new iPhone is much snappier than the last version. It plays everything.
Christina: The web browser is where... it's weird. That's the bottleneck.
Leo: They fixed it with ad block.
Christina: That was kind of the bottleneck. The apps are written to go how they go. A lot of developers optimize for the lower level hardware because they have a lot of users on that stuff. What's going to happen where on the phones you make the excuse that we can't push things too much further because the battery life would be non-existent. But on tablets it's interesting that we haven't seen anybody really try to up the ante and make it be like you can't have this experience unless you have this device. I almost have to wonder if that becomes an issue for developers where they're going do we really want to force people to upgrade to the latest tablet and risk not having any users? It's a catch 22.
Leo: There's a tension between Wall Street's desire for a certain hyper growth and the fact that there's... I don't think there's a lot you can do that's going to say I need a faster system. We're in a mature space right now.
Tim: The only thing that could move things forward would be a focus on gaming like what really accelerated PC growth in the 80's and 90's, but ultimately, the hot games on mobile are very simple games at this point.
Leo: Apple TV proves it. It's last year's technology.
Tim: If indeed, as consuls continue to decline if there's still a strong demand for that kind of gaming and if the mobile devices can step in and fill that kind of demand, there's an opportunity there for these things to grow so you can start to make a case for. As graphics get better, you need more powerful processors and all that good stuff. By and large, gamers in the mobile industry would be very happy with limited graphics and limited game play. Whether or not that can work I don't know, but that seems to be the only hope that can push things into a saturated market.
Alex: The question comes down to whether Apple should be invested in pushing ideas. Whether they're developing or paying developers to do some of this. What we're looking for is not just people developing stuff but people who are going to push the envelope of what an iPad can do. If Apple spent a hundred million dollars a year investing in those things, it would definitely make that back, if it created things that you have to have the new iPad for. I think right now, a lot of people are comfortable with how do I develop something for the widest number of possible use cases? I get frustrated when somebody released an iPad. I just want to use my phone. I think a lot of people develop for the widest market possible.
Leo: I think Apple sees this coming. In fact, that's why Tim Cook downplayed how much growth had been in the holiday quarter, didn't want to talk about how Apple plans to increase sales next year. The message from Apple is we're doing good, but don't expect the same kind of growth you've seen in years past.
Alex: Last year, for the quarter coming up, they made more money in that quarter than any company in history. Now they're talking about having an incremental increase over that. We'll make two percent more than we made.
Leo: It's hard to make more than the biggest ever. 39.3 million iPhones in Q4. This is Apple's Q4, which is our Q2. Apple sold 12.3 million iPads again. That's 20% drop. 5 and a half million Macs. Cook did say that Mac sale was an all-time record. Thank goodness, because I want them to keep selling Macs. I use a computer every day, and I like to use...
Alex: I feel like I'm an old-fashioned computer user. When I'm in an airport, I'll be sitting in a lounge...
Leo: Everybody has a tablet.
Alex: Everybody's got tablets.
Leo: It's interesting how spiky iPhone sales are.
Alex: They released a new one.
Leo: Then it drops. There's a new one, then it drops. People are smart now. They got Apple's cadence. They know exactly when they want to buy, and I think that's everybody. They did beat estimates for the Mac, not so much for the iPad. Look at it. Sales growth of 22.1% in the iPhone.
Christina: I don't think anybody should be disappointed by those iPhone sales at all.
Leo: They made money.
Christina: Not only did they make money, but it's a huge growth year over year. A year ago was the biggest iPad sales or iPhone sales for that quarter ever. It was the next quarter, their December quarter where there had been a full cycle of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales where they did 70 million or some ridiculous number. The fact that they increased from what was already their biggest Q2 or whatever a year ago, it's a good sign. By estimates being off, they were off by a half a million units, which when you're talking about as many as they sold, I feel like that's non-existent. I feel like they made it. I don't know.
Leo: Nothing more to say here. Moving along. Although Tim did say that one of the reasons iPhone sales were up is 30% of iPhone buyers are switching from Android. What we don't know is how many Apple buyers are switching to Android. There's nobody to give that information out because there are so many companies that make Android phones. 30% of iPhone buyers came from Android and Apple says that's the highest ratio of switchers.
Alex: Apple's big growth area are China and switchers. That's where they're expanding.
Tim: They're really connected. The Chinese Smartphone market has primarily been Android and as more Chinese users are upgrading their phones, they're coming from low cost devices by and large. There was one survey this summer that said 50% of people who buy iPhones in China are switching over from Android. I think that is where a lot of the growth is coming from.
Leo: Still no Android Apple music.
Christina: I know. That was supposed to be already out. It's very odd.
Leo: I wonder if they decided against that.
Christina: No. They definitely haven't. No. From what I understand, they're still working on it, but it's been weird that there's been radio silence about it. I think even Apple understands if they want to legitimately have a shot at music, they can't ignore Android.
Leo: Apple does have a new Android app. It's the second Android app. The first one was moved to IOS. The second one is called Beats Pill Plus. It goes along with the Beats Pill speaker, which you can buy in the Apple store. Let me just look at this Beats Pill Plus app, it's in the Google Play store. It lets you rename your Pill. I would. First thing I would do. Beats Pill Plus is a very good name. Of course the Android fan boys immediately weighed in whether they use the app or not. They didn't care. 167 one star reviews. 63 five star reviews with an overall rating of 2.1.
Christina: That's hilarious. It's a fine app. It lets you use the DJ mode to send stuff and you can connect to Beats Pills together. It's completely and totally fine. There's nothing special about it. I think the very fact that when they're releasing something for the Beats product line that Beats people know that there still needs to be an Android app shows that Apple recognizes some parts of their business that they can't be completely IOS only.
Leo: Well, good luck. Thomas Buckley the second one star. Obey no thank you Apple. That's what sheep are used for. They blindly purchase.
Christina: Says the guy who probably has a Nexus phone or a Samsung.
Leo: Give them the modern technology we Android users have had for years. It's funny how people still fight these religious wars.
Alex: It amazes me that they're willing to spend so much time reviewing something they don't have.
Leo: Wait till you have it. Just use this as an opportunity to wear screed.
Christina: Now Beats is evil.
Leo: Oh. It used to be hip.
Christina: Now Apple bought them. It was great when HDC bought them. Poor HDC.
Leo: Let's take a break. We'll talk about YouTube Red when we come back. The launch on Wednesday of YouTube's ad free pay channel. PewdiePie says he knows why they did it. We'll find out. But first a word from Citrix and GoToMeeting, the powerfully simple way to meet with clients and coworkers all over the world. Nowadays, we don't just work with people in the same building; we work with people all over town, all over the country, all over the world. Think about all the travel time involved, the money, the hastle it takes to hold a meeting. The best way to do this is on the Internet with Citrix GoToMeeting. It's a much smarter way to meet. First of all, it's easy to start a meeting. Easy to do it on the fly, ad hoc, or to use Outlook or some other device to click a button and automatically send an invitation out to everybody. Even if they've never used GoToMeeting, they'll be up and running within seconds. It quickly downloads the software, makes it very easy for them. No router modification or anything like that. And you can use it on anything. A computer, a tablet, a Smartphone. You'll use the HD camera on your computer or your tablet so they can see you and you can see them. You'll be sharing screens so they can see what your PowerPoint presentation has or you can collaborate on documents together. Your team will all be on the same page and seeing each other face-to-face. It's frankly; I would far prefer to hold a GoToMeeting than to have a real meeting. To be honest, we do this with our Screensavers show meetings, because I don't want to go in. I stay at home.
Alex: I have six accounts.
Leo: You have six accounts?
Alex: There's so many parallel meetings happening at the same time.
Leo: As many as six at once. Wow. Gotomeeting.com, click the try it free button, you can try this free for 30 days. It's easy, it's fast. You'll be meeting in minutes. GoToMeeting from Citrix! We love it. You'll love it. Pewdiepie says YouTube Red exists because of ad blocking. That's really the counter argument to paying 10 dollars a month to YouTube not to see ads, we'll just run a free ad blocker, you won't see any ads anyway.
Alex: I don't buy that.
Leo: I use it because I was a subscriber to Google Play Music. You get it with Google Play Music. With Google Play Music, I already got ad free music videos on Google, and now I get that plus I get the ability to play in the background. I wouldn't pay for it, but now that I've got it I love it. It's a weird experience to start a video and not have a pre-roll.
Alex: Yeah. I was going to say that I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that YouTube had to find... it's not so much YouTube needing to make more money or, I'm sure they'd like to. The big issue is that the ad-based revenues for the creators was too low. YouTube had to find a way in the long run term, I believe that they're looking for how do they to stay competitive as more and more, as Facebook starts doing its own thing, they have to be more competitive. They have to find ways. Especially in highly vertical markets. You have a small number of people who are interested in what you're doing, advertising doesn't work at all. Advertising isn't even viable on YouTube if you have less than a million views per unit in my opinion.
Christina: It's not. Especially since YouTube won't let you sell your own ads. Let's be real. If YouTube really wanted creators of all sizes, even big ones to make money from advertising, what they would do is they would say you can sell your own ads, not you have to put our ads in front of this, but you can go in and have your own sales people do it and we'll take a cut off the top, but you can sell your own ads. But they don't do that.
Alex: I do believe they will let you get into agreements where you can sell your own ads and give them a cut, but no one wants to do that either.
Christina: They actually make, maybe at the very, very top they do but that’s been one of the long standing things, why we haven’t seen a lot of commercial programming on YouTube is that they won’t let the big studios make these sorts of deals. And I think the studios would be ok with giving them a cut even if it’s less than what YouTube might want because they could get so much more and it could be so much better targeted. But that’s why instead you have the PewDiePie’s of the world, Michelle Phan’s all do like sponsorship things. They have to have, you know—
Leo: That’s where they make their money don’t they is—
Christina: That is where they make their money.
Leo: It’s not from YouTube ads it’s from—
Christina: No, no. And that’s the people who have the most, right? Those are the people with the absolute most views are having to use these other sources. So clearly, I mean I think it’s great to want to blame it on ad blockers and everybody, and that makes it really kind of a catchy headline, but the reality is that if Google and YouTube really cared about making a better, you know, income for or making the ad situation better for their creators, then they would let them have more control over the advertising process. But they don’t. And so this, I agree with you Alex. I think in the long run it has the potential to give them more money but I still feel like if you look at it you know, why are ad rates so much higher on traditional television than they are on online video? Even things like the Super Bowl or even like NFL games, right? Like an NFL game spot that Yahoo was able to sell went for way less than what it would sell for on TV even though the potential size of the audience and the targeted size of the audience is in some ways better. Why, there are a lot of reasons behind that, but if YouTube is really serious about making the ad play work, they would let their creators or the companies that do, you know, the maker studios of the world actually make their own ad deals. But they don’t.
Leo: We, you know, we air all our shows on YouTube. We don’t cut our interstitial ads out. In fact we don’t give YouTube a cut. All of our ads stay in.
Alex: Technically you don’t.
Leo: We’re not supposed to do that?
Christina: Yea, technically you’re not supposed to do that.
Leo: No, we don’t do that. Shh. Never did that.
Alex: The live version is the only place you’ll hear that.
Leo: Did I mean that we, I meant that we don’t do that.
Leo: They say you’re not supposed to do that?
Alex: You’re not supposed to, there’s a whole lot of, we do a lot of streaming so I know a lot of streaming rules. But you literally, there’s a certain amount of time that a logo can be up, you can’t run ads, you can’t run—there’s a whole bunch of rules around that.
Leo: See when they started YouTube Red they went out and they really strong armed all the producers, all the—
Christina: Oh yea. They said if you want to still be on us you have to be on Red, is what they said.
Leo: You have to agree to this.
Christina: And they did the same thing with musicians when they first did the, when the first YouTube Music thing. They said, “If you want to make your videos available on YouTube, period, then you have to agree to let other people either license your songs and then you’ll get a cut, or you have to, you know, let us have this commercial free version.” So.
Leo: So I was a little nervous when I heard about that. I thought, “Well we’re in trouble.” And nothing. I mean (laughing) we’re on YouTube Red. I guess not legally. Is that right?
Christina: No, it’s just your content has other stuff there.
Leo: We don’t monetize. We don’t check that box that says monetize.
Christina: Well in that case then it’s a different situation.
Leo: I can do anything I want, right?
Alex: No, no, you can’t.
Leo: (Laughing). Shh. Shh. Shh.
Alex: But like separation so, the one you have to be careful of is—so Pixel Corps, all of our stuff got turned off because I didn’t realize that I had to go in and click my little complete the process. You know, so I just noticed that today so I went and posted, “Hey, we can’t watch your video because it’s been…” So they are turning off your—
Leo: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Alex: They are turning off your videos if you don’t sign the agreement. You know, because you know you either—so all of your videos are going to be private if you don’t sign in, agree to be part of the new network.
Alex: Which I’m fine with. I don’t care. I mean, yea, sure.
Leo: Private means that the link still works but it’s not searchable or it’s just not there at all?
Alex: It’s not, when you get up there it says you can’t watch it in your region, this is a Pixel Corps video.
Leo: So it’s gone.
Alex: Yea so, and so then you get to this enable fan funding is what they’re calling it of course and you have to enable it to be in good standing.
Leo: Red is fan funding?
Alex: I believe.
Christina: That’s what they’re calling it. Which is great because they make it seem like this is actually that the fans are seeing.
Leo: Fans are doing.
Christina: They make it sound like Patreon. Please.
Christina: Like fans really want to watch PewDiePie do a show that he’s getting paid money for. Let’s be very clear about that. His PewDiePie is Scared show, he’s not getting paid anything for that. He’s getting paid lots of money for that and then if they pay $10 a month then they can watch people scare him. Which no one is going to do for the original content. But I do feel like people are going to subscribe for the ad-free experience. I don’t feel like the original content will make anybody, I don’t care who you are, want to pay for on YouTube stuff. I mean maybe once they have a Transparent or House of Cards or Orange is the New Black it will be a different story.
Leo: Do you think they will?
Christina: No, I don’t. Because I feel like the people who are capable of making those sorts of programs are not going to YouTube. They are going to other places that frankly do a better job of monetizing and let them advertise in a better way, frankly.
Leo: Right, right.
Tim: I think they will go to YouTube if Google wants them to go there. It’s just going to take a lot of money just like it took a lot of money for Amazon to go get Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear guys to come over.
Christina: Yes, well I agree with that.
Leo: Well Jeremy was out of work.
Tim: Right, but ultimately he could have gone anywhere that he wanted to go.
Leo: I guess so.
Tim: And decided to go there because of the whole lot of money.
Christina: And Amazon paid $250 million. But do you think that Google is going to do that? I mean, I mean, Susan Jennings--
Tim: I don’t see why not.
Christina: Well because they’ve been so against it. I mean Ron Kinkel for years has been against that. And I know that the new person, she used to run MTV and MTV’s original programming is making kind of the big effort with this. But I wonder if again, without actually letting people sell their own advertising if that’s kind of the play you’re trying to do. If they can attract like that level of talent to them.
Tim: Yea but YouTube content, if it’s YouTube owning content just like Netflix owns House of Cards and ultimately there’s no question about advertising, it’s just you’re paying to get into this service and then providing you with top level content. Ultimately I don’t think YouTube needs to that. They’ve actually shown they can do really, really well with user generated content and make a whole lot of money that way. And I think that’s their path going forward.
Leo: Does YouTube make money?
Tim: But if they want premium content they could.
Leo: Does YouTube make money?
Tim: That’s a good, that’s true. They’ve been successful. Whether or not they’ve been profitable is—
Leo: They have revenue. I don’t think they make any money. They lose money.
Alex: That is correct. There’s no profitability from it.
Leo: Wouldn’t they be smart, I mean look what, look what benefit Netflix got from House of Cards. $100 million dollars. That’s all they had to do is write a check. I remember Dana Brunetti was telling us, he’s the producer, he said, “You know we were all set to do a deal with a big cable company, probably HBO. We were all set and I got a phone call the night before and they said $100 million dollars. You can launch all episodes of season one all at once if you want. Complete creative control.” He said, “Ok, hold on.” He called Kevin Spacey—
Christina: Oh they didn’t even get international rights. I mean that was the best part about it for Brunetti.
Leo: Right. “You’ll keep international rights.”
Christina: (Laughing) keep international rights.
Leo: And he called Spacey. He said, “I know Kevin, I know we were about to do this deal but what about this?” And Spacey said, “What the heck, what could we lose?” And they did it. And so I don’t see any reason, Google going to someone like that would have even more clout I think.
Christina: But they won’t do it.
Leo: They need the will to do it. I understand they don’t have the will to do it.
Christina: That’s my whole question is do they have the will to do it?
Leo: Why wouldn’t they?
Christina: They certainly have the money. Because they’ve been so against that. I mean they’ve honestly been so against that. The creative, the creators have been asking them to do this for years and they’ve not wanted to do it.
Leo: Wouldn’t—now, if they did that, I would actually seriously consider a YouTube Red subscription, right?
Christina: I would completely. But until you have that level of content, all I’m saying is right now until you have that level of content, nobody, and I mean nobody is going to pay $10 a month so they can see some PewDiePie.
Leo: I completely agree. Especially because PewDiePie’s audience is mostly too young to afford $10 a month.
Christina: Well they are. And not only that but PewDiePie’s still going to make, because he understands the bulk.
Leo: He makes 12—according to Fortune he makes, or Forbes, he makes $12 million dollars a year. How much of that comes from YouTube advertising and how much of that comes from YouTube and how much of that comes from other things like product placement? Do we know?
Christina: Well most of it comes from product placement. I’m sure that most of it comes from product placement. But and a huge but—
Leo: So YouTube would like you to think he gets a $12 million dollar payday from us, but it isn’t from YouTube.
Christina: Well, but it is. But it is. It’s not directly. It’s not like YouTube’s writing the check, but make no mistake. He wouldn’t be getting that product placement, he wouldn’t get those views if he were on a platform that weren’t like YouTube. Maybe he could do it on Twitch but I think the fact that YouTube is free, it’s accessible, it’s on everything is a big part of his appeal.
Leo: Right. One parent did write me an e-mail saying, “Hey, really I would pay because ad-free content for younger children,” and you have younger children.
Leo: “is definitely—“
Christina: I think people pay to get rid of ads but at least right now until Google shows that they’re serious about actually wanting to bring in the creative community and they haven’t done that yet, I don’t think—I mean when I looked at the slate of shows they announced I was like, “What is this? Is this like the UPN loss from 1995?” Like it’s some terrible stuff, right? Like it’s seriously terrible stuff that no one’s going to pay for. But that doesn’t matter. They don’t necessarily have to pay for the originals. If they’re paying even $10 dollars just to get rid of the ads, whether it’s parents or people who have—
Leo: Alex, you have small kids. What would you do?
Alex: The reason that we don’t have TV at home is not because I’m cheap or—it’s specifically because I have little kids and ads. And the thing is, we turn TV on for, we were like for 2 months. And the level of requests that came from them went from 0 to insanity. You know like of all this crazy stuff that they wanted and everything else.
Leo: And none of it works.
Alex: And we immediately turned it off and they went to back to being very happy.
Leo: Abby did the same thing. Weebles wobble but they won’t fall down. She had to have all of that crap.
Alex: And I was like, “I don’t need any of this.”
Leo: I’m sorry, Tim was about to say—I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Go ahead.
Tim: I was going to ask if anyone else is optimistic that this could spread across other areas of the internet as well. You know Google already has the option to buy a certain number of ads on web pages. And I’m pretty excited about the opportunity for people to pay for ads to go away and making that more of a visible thing. I think this is a great way to move that idea forward. And ultimately I think that’s the way that the internet grows going forward. You know we’ve already seen the continuing battle between ad blockers and banner ads and how banner ads are just getting uglier and uglier and users will want to opt out of that. I do think that we need a major player to come in and really make it a viable option for people to be able to pay money to make ads go away or a significant number of ads go away. And I would like to think that maybe this sort of thing could grow into that kind of thing where you pay not only $10 a month to make YouTube go away, or YouTube ads to go away, maybe you pay $15 a month and every Google ad that’s anywhere goes away. Maybe you pay $20 a month and that extra $5 goes to other ad networks and their ads go away. I would love to see that kind of thing. Google is the only one who can make that happen.
Leo: I happily pay $10 a month to Google Contributor. Because—this is the deal where it takes Google ads off of some blog pages and instead gives them money from a percentage of the money you give them. And the most you can give as a contributor is $10.
Tim: Yea, I think that’s a great program. It’s just so limited right now that it doesn’t make sense for a lot of people to pay that.
Leo: A penny went to Android Police, a penny went to Green Bot and less than a cent went to some other sites that are unknown. But I can invite—“Contributor is expanding and we need your help to invite people who would like to be Contributors.” Anybody want an invite, I have 50 invites. Anybody who’s a blogger or has to—you have to have Google ads on your site.
Leo: Which who doesn’t? If you would like an invite, let me know because I’d love to share that with you. I mean this is an interesting idea. This is, by the way, this is clearly in response to ad blockers.
Christina: Oh, completely.
Alex: And I do think that YouTube Red is not, is initially about getting rid of, you know, getting rid of the ads. But I think the real push is going to be custom content that is only available to the Red subscribers.
Leo: Well start doing that and I’ll pay for it. But right now there’s nothing for me to pay for.
Alex: Right what I’m saying, but in two years for now I think the conversation we’re going to be having is the cool series that’s only on YouTube Red, that type of thing.
Leo: Well the irony is that they really should push the fact that you get Google Play Music.
Christina: Yea, they should.
Leo: Because that’s what I pay for Google Play Music.
Christina: Now, I’m not understanding. I don’t know if this is happening because I was part of the YouTube Music Key Beta and then they switched over but for some reason it’s telling me that my YouTube Red account which will apparently charge me on December 1, 2015 is $7.99. Does anybody know why?
Leo: Yes. I pay $7.99 too. The people who signed up in the earliest days of when it was still called YouTube, I mean Google Music Key paid $7.99 and they said that would be for life. So that is—you and I and anybody who signed up in the earliest days have a great deal.
Christina: Ok, nice. So I’m never—damn it. So I’m never going to not be paying. Ok.
Leo: (Laughing) You’re stuck. $8 a month through the rest of your life.
Tim: And this will pay off in the next 20 years when it’s $300 a month though.
Leo: Yea it’s really going to pay off then. But I noticed because I subscribe, I didn’t pay for YouTube Red but I do subscribe to, they call it Google Play Music now. I do subscribe to that. I love it because I can upload all my songs to it and those are added to the streams. And by the way, I also love them because they’re adding podcasts soon.
Christina: Yes. I was going to say the podcasting is interesting because I think in that case they are doing a weird thing where they can like insert their own ads or something.
Leo: There is language in there that they can add post rolls. Not insert but they can add post rolls which personally I couldn’t care less. As long as I can continue to have my ads in there, and they don’t put pre rolls on it, which they don’t, unless I choose to monetize—
Christina: I think it’s fine. I think it’s just interesting. It’s also interesting to me that the guy who wrote the blog post about the podcast thing is Elias Roman who is the former CEO and co-founder of Songza which Google acquired last year. And in Songza I know they were looking at one point getting into podcast. And I honestly wanted Spotify to buy Songza. They bought Tunigo instead which Songza is a far superior product. But it’s interesting to me knowing all the—Elias is a really smart guy, and knowing all the stuff that Songza did, it would be interesting if they were able to kind of take the podcast thing and help you listen to the right podcast for the right time of day.
Leo: I think that is exactly what the plan is. We were early NDA partners. I couldn’t talk about it, but now that it’s public I can. So we’re one of the launch podcasts. They’re not going to launch though they say for months. I don’t know why months. But right now they’re getting podcasters to submit feeds. But it’s my understanding that exactly what you just said, Christina. So what Songza—so here’s by Google Music interface. What Songza does is it says, “It’s Sunday evening. Play music for working out, making dinner, game day, hanging out, relaxing at home.” And then within relaxing at home you choose classic rock relaxation and within that there’s three radio stations. Podcasts will be in there. So if—the example Elias gave is, “I need to cheer up. Play some upbeat, fun podcasts for me.” So discovery will be a part of that. And that’s a big deal for podcasters. Not—it’s funny, less so for me. I think—but if you’re a new podcaster, a huge, a huge thing. So I’m thrilled to see this. And this will be installed by default on Android phones. So it’s the first podcast app. You know there’s always been podcasts apps on iOS and on Windows Phone. This is the first time they’ve done this on Android. So that’s I think very good news. Now. Some of this is to compete with Twitch.
Leo: Going on right now, Twitch is launching a new channel called The Creative Channel. Going on right now The Bob Ross Marathon.
Christina: This is the greatest thing in the entire world (laughing).
Tim: Yea, it’s pretty fantastic.
Christina: How many people are watching it right now?
Alex: Did you know that Bob Ross used to be in the military? It’s kind of hard to imagine.
Christina: Oh my God.
Alex: I can see him shouting with an M-16 in his hand.
Leo: Currently 51,000 people are watching it. A total of 1.7 million have watched. They have 254,000 likes. The chatroom in this is hysterical.
Christina: It is. It’s like, but Twitch plays Pokémon and it’s like that sort of experience again except people discovering this magic for the first time ever and I have to say—
Leo: Bob Ross was a painting teacher on PBS. He’s passed away. That is—
Christina: He’s been gone for like 20 years.
Leo: Yea, much beloved. He did The Joy of Painting, yea.
Christina: The Joy of Painting is amazing. PBS did this thing a couple of years ago where they did these great remixes of classic PBS stuff. Like they did one of Mr. Rogers and they did one of him and they did one of Sesame Street. And the Bob Ross one was one of their most popular so I’m not surprised with it’s success. But I just want to point out, 51,000 people tuning into this live at this time, it’s Sunday you know, at 7:00 PM—
Leo: Yea, this is the big television night.
Christina: I was going to say, this is, if you were to go to like any major cable news network right now, more people are watching Bob Ross. He runs on PBS.
Leo: A lot more people are watching him than are watching us.
Christina: It’s fantastic.
Leo: So I think this is fantastic. By the way you can subscribe. So apparently they’re going to do something new. Twitch Creative. So Twitch TV which is the game, you know the let’s play gaming version of a spin-off of Justin.tv which eventually got sold to Amazon by the way. Amazon owns this. And Justin.tv Shuttered. They’re also doing, you mentioned Twitch plays Pokémon. They’re doing the same thing trying to install Linux right now. This is a somewhat lesser viewed channel, only 1,750 people right now watching Twitch Installs Arch Linux and it’s the same idea. You have to cooperatively enter into the chatroom the commands to get this—and they’ve come quite a way frankly since I saw this before. So it’s a vote based system.
Christina: Oh this is fantastic.
Leo: In which—
Christina: This is the nerdiest thing I’ve ever seen. I love it.
Leo: Yea, trolls are competing with real people to do the right thing (laughing). A lot of people want to do no op right now.
Christina: I love it. I’m rooting for the trolls in this case because it’s just so much fun.
Leo: Isn’t it fun?
Christina: Oh my God. I mean at first when I saw this I was like, “Who wants to watch anyone install Arch?” I mean, come on. But this is brilliant. They should do Jintu next. That would be really fun.
Leo: Well the nice thing about Arch is that it’s a really complicated installation.
Christina: I know that’s why I said they should do Jintu next because Jintu is even harder.
Leo: Yea because you have to unroll everything. Oh my gosh. So I love Twitch. I have to say this kind of creativity really makes me happy. And this is something that has to scare a little bit scare YouTube. Because really YouTube is-- I would say one of their top categories is let’s play videos, right?
Christina: Oh, well honestly, it goes back to being willing to spend money for content. Why did YouTube not whatever it costs to buy this?
Christina: Why would you let Amazon—
Leo: I think they tried. I think Amazon got it. I think they tried.
Christina: So I know that they made an offer. So I’m saying, like, close the deal. To me I just don’t understand like close the deal. This is clearly such a huge part of their future and for one of their competitors who is clearly not messing around in video and is already way ahead of the game with the quality original content like—
Leo: By the way can’t you think of a cheaper kind of content than buying up the Bob Ross catalog? I mean next it will be Happy Days. I mean there’s—because of the community involvement in this you could play any sort of crap. You could have a Hawaii Five-O marathon.
Christina: No, we should do—Tim, you’ll appreciate this. We should do Beverly Hills 90210. We should like petition that because Tim and I have talked for years about wanting to recreate the opening of Beverly Hills 90210 with tech journalists. I would be Brenda obviously. Tim would be Dylan and I feel like it’s important to bring a show that was on the air 25 years ago to a new generation of teenagers.
Leo: Is there an old man role in the open? Anything I could play?
Christina: You could be one of the dads, yea.
Tim: Brandon’s dad I think would be a good fit for you. We’re just looking for funny people so if you’d like to see the re-making of Beverly Hills 90210 just ping @filmgirl on Twitter or @tim_stevens. Send your money our way and we’ll make it happen.
Leo: Couldn’t you Kickstarter this? I mean this would be huge.
Tim: It would do pretty well, actually.
Christina: It probably would do pretty well (laughing).
Leo: (Laughing) I think that what it shows is that you could take almost anything and add a live interactive community with it and the community becomes the entertainment here.
Alex: Kind of. Yea. Only it’s almost useless. I mean that wall off—it goes so fast.
Leo: It goes so fast.
Alex: You know it’s not—but it’s—I think what’s really happens is you’ve got 48,000 people watching.
Leo: That’s kind of amazing.
Alex: More than ever saw him on PBS at one time.
Leo: Yea. There’s his puffy little clouds he’s so famous for.
Alex: Nice little puffy clouds.
Tim: I watched a documentary on him a little while ago and apparently he hated that hairdo but it became such a trademark for him that he couldn’t get rid of it. So he had like in the 1st season and it sort of became his trademark.
Leo: I want to cut my afro off but I can’t.
Tim: But he had to keep it.
Christina: We’re ruled by brand.
Leo: Listen. Let’s listen for a little while.
Bob Ross: -- you rascals. You just put as many as you want in your scenescape. Or as few. Maybe you don’t want evergreens in yours. Maybe you want to have some little trees that hang over, lean and that’s all right. Anything that you want.
Leo: He was kind of a genius.
Christina: He is such a genius.
Tim: Yea, he’s fantastic.
Leo: All right well thank you Twitch for introducing Bob Ross to a whole new generation of gamers (laughing).
Alex: It doesn’t even, it’s the exact opposite personality for Twitch.
Leo: It does but that’s what’s great about it.
Tim: Yea, take a break from slaughtering people on Halo 5 to watch a little Bob Ross.
Leo: Yea, yea. Bob Ross t-bags his paintings.
Christina: Oh, God.
Leo: That’s how you get puffy little clouds. I’m just saying. All right we’re going to take a break now on that note.
Alex: Oh, Lord.
Leo: Our show today (laughing) brought to you by—are you a mobile app developer? Are you—actually it’s interesting. We’re talking about Braintree, the best way to add a payments infrastructure to your mobile app and you know if you need know nothing else, just look at who uses Braintree. Uber, Uber the magical Uber. I mean that’s the payment in Uber is the key to the whole thing. You get the ride, they come to you, you get in the car, you get out of the car, everything’s handled. There’s no button to push or anything. That’s Braintree. They’re V.0 SDK. Airbnb uses it. GitHub uses it. So yea originally Braintree I think was designed for the web and they added the mobile payments. By the way it’s not just Uber. Lyft also uses it. And that’s when you know. When you get Hotels Tonight and Airbnb using it. When you get competitors using the same payment solution, this is a full stack solution. It gives you fast payouts, continuous support from your 1st dollar to your billionth dollar. They are on the cutting edge of e-commerce. And you’re ready with Braintree to accept everything. Apple Pay, Android Pay, PayPal, Venmo, credit cards, Bitcoin, everything. Bitcoin. Helping companies covert visitors into customers is Braintree’s reason for being. We talked to the other day, I talked to Aunkur Arya, he’s the general manager for Braintree Mobile. Remember they bought Harper Reed’s company. What is it called, Modest? And what Harper Reed’s company was doing, ended up being this buyable pins program. Have you seen this on Pinterest? We asked him about this.
Aunkur Arya: The Holy Grail for Pinterest was to figure out a way to integrate a commerce experience into the core Pinterest product discovery experience. So buyable pins is the ability for Pinterest users to actually buy products that they like directly through the Pinterest interface, right. So instead of having to click away to a merchant’s checkout page, you know that buying experience now is squarely within the Pinterest UI. And so they’ve got some really great retailers that have signed up for this, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom among others. And so we’ve been working with Pinterest for the last several months to help power this experience.
Leo: The whole idea is friction free and as a developer of a mobile app this is what you want. A full stack payment solution. Support for every payment type your customers want. Easy integration for you. Cross platform solution. Superior fraud protection. By the way that’s why you don’t want to write this yourself. You want Braintree’s expertise here. And of course they’ve got great customer service for you and fast payouts. And that’s important too. Check it out. You’ll get your 1st $50,000 in transactions fee free at Braintreepayments.com.twit. Hey before we get back to the news, if you missed anything this week, you know this was Halloween week, we had a lot of fun playing Halloween games on TWiT. Watch.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Jason Howell: If blood, guts and horror make you queasy then this is not for you and you have my permission to fast forward. I’ll give you a second. Ok, now that we got those wimps out of here.
Narrator: iOS today.
Megan Marrone: This is the Walking Dead: Dead Yourself. There it is.
Leo: That’s pretty bad. Ah!
Narrator: Before You Buy.
Jason: The Huawei Nexus 6P. Without a doubt one of the best Android devices on the market right now. It checks pretty much all the boxes and finally we have a device that does and it happens to be Nexus.
Narrator: The New Screen Savers.
Leo: South by Southwest decided to cancel 2 panels due to pressure from online harassers.
Brianna Wu: They were sending a signal out there. What we have is a very terrible precedent that all you need to do is to threaten the venue and basically the people that you’re targeting will not get a chance to speak.
Narrator: iFive for the iPhone.
Megan: Last week Apple rolled out iOS 9.1. The real news of course is the 150 new emoji. So now we can express ourselves with a hugging face, a thinking face, and a middle finger. But if you’re going to give someone a middle finger, you really ought to do that in person.
Narrator: TWiT. Making the world safe for technology.
Megan: We both have our costumes on today, right?
Fr. Robert Ballecer: Right, I’m a naughty priest.
Leo: Yes, Bob Ross is still painting.
Alex: You can paint anything you want.
Leo: I think what, I think what Twitch is going to do with this is have other artists, and you’ll watch somebody. Like wouldn’t you want to watch Burt Monroy and other artists working?
Christina: I would watch somebody that I don’t even know. You know what I mean? If somebody, I mean that what’s made The Joy of Painting so great. I remember watching it as a kid, like you would feel like you could actually do it even though if you bought the paints you wouldn’t be actually able to do it yourself, but there’s something just mesmerizing about it.
Leo: You know what this is? This is why we watch cooking shows, right? You might not make that recipe ever it’s just very soothing. Like watching Mom in the kitchen. Just watching somebody cook. And I think watching artists is very similar. And what’s interesting is Twitch is going to have the franchise on this. This is going to be, The Creative Channel’s going to be the new cooking channel.
Alex: Well the Creative Channel could split into a cooking channel on its own.
Leo: Absolutely. But I mean this is brilliant. It’s really brilliant. And the community aspect I think, I know it seems, I feel like that’s a big part of it. Because it feels like you’re in there with other people. Even if you’re not reading it. You’re sharing, it’s a shared experience.
Alex: Look at it. I just looked at what they’re typing. This is completely rubbish.
Leo: I know. And then you get all these new, they have all these stickers. There’s a Bob Ross Avatar sticker. They have all these stickers in here.
Alex: I’m sure it means something to someone, it’s just—
Leo: Oh no, this is a whole culture. In fact do you see this black and white one that keeps going by? That is one of the early Justin TV employees. And it actually became a meaning—I just read an article about this. Has a meaning of its own. In the Twitch communities it’s meaningful. I don’t know. I love you, Bob. Love you, Bob Ross. All right. Moving right along. Big story. And I don’t know if it’s true. But the Wall Street Journal had it. They said, “Google. Starting soon and completing this by maybe 2017, plans to fold Chrome OS into Android. Android is the winner. There will be one Google operating system going forward. I’m actually a little disappointed by this.
Alex: I just thought it’d be the other way around. Because Android’s kind of at the forefront.
Leo: Yea, who’s the big winner though? I mean, who’s the most used operating system in the world? Number one.
Alex: Well the many faces of it. I mean that’s the thing that Google has a lot more control over Chrome than they have over Android.
Leo: But this will be a Google controlled OS. I think that’s part of it trying to get Android back in the Google fold.
Leo: The thing is, I think they’re different—you know, it’s funny. I’ve come around on this. When Chrome OS came out, I was completely skeptical. Chromebook seemed like a dopey idea. Why would I buy a computer that’s only a browser?
Leo: I was convinced, kids, most users nowadays don’t need a full blown operating system with the complexity and security.
Alex: Well a lot of schools have gone from iPads to Chromebooks.
Leo: Yea, schools. This is the right solution. It’s secure. I mean really secure. Deep down at its roots secure. It does like everything that 99% of people want to do. I mean most people all they do is internet and e-mail. It will do that, no problem. I don’t understand why you want to add an app store, the security issues that are introduced by more than a million apps. It surprises me.
Tim: Can’t you provide the same experience through Android though effectively by creating a custom version or some sub-version of Android that effectively only runs Chrome so effectively you have basically the Chrome app running in the Android operating system. And so any—
Leo: Yea, that’s Chrome OS (laughing). What’s the distinction?
Tim: You’re limiting your developer pool and the extensions that are made then to the Chrome browser there and then get ported back to Android as well. It makes your life a little bit easier without having to support these two completely separate operating systems.
Leo: It’s a small difference because really both are based on Linux. You know, I mean I guess the biggest difference is Android is Java sitting, you know a special Java virtual machine, Dalvik or the new one which is called ART. Chrome is not. It’s a direct, it’s direct code, right? So I’m, I don’t know. I mean Java, feels like going to Java is going backwards but I might be wrong on that. It is credible. It’s coming from the Wall Street Journal. They usually seem to get these stories right. They say that Android was an almost retro approach within the company because it focused on devices that only worked when software and apps were downloaded onto them and Google is a cloud company. Chrome OS is a cloud OS, you know? Most of what you do is in the cloud.
Alex: Yea it seemed to me it was going to go one direction. It always seemed like it would go the other way.
Leo: Go that way. Yea. Well, anyway.
Alex: Evidently not.
Leo: Well I guess you’d have to keep both. You can’t get rid of Android. I mean Android is dominant.
Christina: Android is Android.
Leo: It’s Android. So I guess that makes sense. And you’re right, Tim, you do leverage the popularity of Android.
Christina: I mean I would think that too, a big part of the reason you would want to do this would be, I mean obviously Chrome is more secure and can have those benefits but why would you give up the app ecosystem?
Christina: Why would you give up some of the offline caching stuff? Because you know, that is still one of the big things with the Chromebook is you do need to have a connection. And if you pay for their ridiculously priced Wi-Fi or LTE things, then it’s fine. But a lot of people don’t want to do that. I think that it will be interesting to see how they implement apps and if maybe apps can run on their own kind of you know, like Linux, like instances so that it doesn’t you know, potentially conflict with the more secure stuff on their system. I think they could do some interesting things with it. Like it’s fundamental to me. It’s a Linux kernel for both of them.
Tim: That will be part of what Android would give you as well. Sandboxes for each app. You know the sandboxes aren’t perfect. We’ve certainly seen exploits and all sorts of problems there but in theory, you know, each app would indeed be running within its own sandbox, it would be a secure environment, you know as secure as Android is and can be anyhow. So it’s not perfect but you know you can provide that within there. And again, I think the main benefit would be any then extensions, any moves forward that you make then get ported back to Android automatically without having to have two developer teams working in the same and trying to keep the same browser in parallel in multiple platforms.
Leo: It makes the Pixel C make a lot more sense. When we first saw it I thought, “Why is that Android? That really ought to be a Chromebook.”
Leo: Now, if it’s coming—you know what? I would be really interested in this if it were kind of a Crandroid.
Alex: A Cradroid (laughing).
Tim: And we have a title.
Leo: What is the name of this (laughing)? It’s the first Crandroid tablet.
Alex: It’s good for your kidneys.
Leo: Yes it is. That’s right. The Pixel C is going to be—when is that out by the way? They announced it. I don’t see any—
Tim: They still don’t know exactly. I don’t think we have a date.
Leo: This is the one with the magnetic snapping keyboard.
Jason: I’d be really interested if what they did in this regard ended up being the kind of thing where, you know Android’s great on smaller screens. Chrome OS I have to imagine would not be great on a very small screen. But we know that it sings, that its comfort zone is like in that laptop kind of style of category. Chrome OS has a touch only interface period. Kind of doesn’t really work either. It’s nice to have the integrated touch but it’s not perfect and only touch.
Leo: No, I agree with you. And touch, as we were talking before the show, I’ve been convinced now by the Surface Book, everything should have touch, even desktop operating systems.
Jason: As an option, right. So if, so if you end up with something like the Pixel C, which by the way, the minute I heard of it, it scares me because I don’t believe that Android itself is great in that keyboard type environment.
Leo: By the way, Jason Howell, host of All About Android.
Leo: And Android App Arena. So I’m just saying you know of what you speak here.
Jason: And so this kind of, I was a little afraid of it when I first heard of it. If we got this and it was the kind of thing where when it’s in tablet, when it’s pulled out as a tablet, you’re working in Android, when you pop it into that keyboard it knows, all right, this is productivity mode, let’s switch over to Chrome OS and give you an environment that’s tailor made for that, I’d be really into that actually. I think that’s the best of both worlds.
Alex: Yea, me too.
Leo: Do you even need to do that? I mean all you do is you open Chrome on this device even though you’re on Android and now if the Chrome has all the capabilities of Chrome OS, you’re in Chrome OS.
Jason: I suppose so. Yea.
Leo: The thing about Chrome OS that Android doesn’t have is all of that security. The power washing. You know Chrome OS does some amazing thing with boot. It actually has 2 kind of versions of the firmware and it validates one before it will use it. I mean it’s just, it’s just so many brilliant things totally devoted to making this secure system. Now if we could bring that to Android that becomes a very interesting play. Because that’s where Android is starting to lose some ground to iOS is in security, right?
Tim: Maybe that’s the goal. Maybe the goal is to basically take those resources that are at this point maintaining Chrome OS and bring that smart into it. And also as Jason suggested, bring the desktop usability of Chrome OS to Android which it definitely lacks. I mean even if you do, put it into a laptop environment, the buttons are too big, the topography isn’t great for what you’d expect from a desktop environment. So if it could do the best of both worlds and learn a lot from Chrome OS, I think it would be pretty great. And it would be an interesting move for Google to start moving into the laptop world too. They’ve had laptops in the past but they’ve never been a mass market machine. This could be if it were low cost enough. And it probably would be.
Christina: Yea, I agree with you.
Leo: What if you incorporate the app, what if you made, what if you really kept it to Chrome OS but you just incorporated the Android App Store and Android apps into Chrome OS.
Christina: Well, they tried to do that.
Leo: They were moving that way, right?
Christina: They were moving that way. I mean but I think to Tim’s point, I think that you’ve got to have your resources best executed. And in a lot of ways you’re trying to reinvent the wheel twice, right? Like it seems like they’re trying to do the same thing in 2 different places. So you know, I think we all expected this to happen, this conversion to happen. Which one would win? Maybe there was a difference of opinion. I always expected Android would win because it’s bigger and it’s obviously way more widespreadly used. But I mean just because they’re going in one direction this way their conversion doesn’t mean that the Android implementation on the laptop would be exactly the same as it is on the phone. You know, there would be nothing to stop them from kind of maybe making this hybrid thing but it would still fundamentally be Android based.
Leo: Right. Makes the Pixel C a lot more interesting.
Christina: It does. It does. I mean it makes it kind of look like the future.
Leo: Yea. Crap. One more thing I’ve got to buy.
Jason: Although if this isn’t going to happen for another year or two it kind of makes the Pixel C not that awesome because you’re stuck with Android in a keyboard environment for however long until that happens.
Leo: So the Journal implied that you would start seeing this move soon. It wouldn’t complete until 2017.
Jason: Got it.
Leo: That sounds like the Pixel C.
Jason: Yea and could be a big reason why they’ve given us very little information up to this point.
Leo: You buy the Pixel C, you’re buying into the Crandroid platform. I’m going to call it that. I don’t care.
Jason: I really like that name. Put your trademark on that right now.
Leo: It’s not Chrome Droid, that’s dumb. Crandroid.
Tim: Crandroid.com? One second.
Leo: (Laughing) Christina, you do a podcast every week with Brianna Wu don’t you?
Christina: I do.
Leo: We had Brianna on The New Screen Savers yesterday along with Alex Chu talking about this mess at South by Southwest. I want to take a break. When we come back I’m very curious what you think about this.
Leo: And what the panel thinks. But I think because you work with Brianna, and because you’re a woman I think you might have you know, more standing on this then I do. And then I got a lot of heat because I conflated it with Gamergate, which didn’t seem to me to be too farfetched but let’s get to the bottom of it in just a second. Before we do though, a word from Stamps.com. A great way to stop going to the post office. Post office by the way loves Stamps.com. Why? Because with Stamps.com at your desk you can do everything you would do at the post office. At your desk, in your office, you can buy and print official US Postage. You don’t have to have a postage meter. Your own computer, your own printer, no special inks. You can print postage for any package class from a postcard to a letter to certified mail to return receipt to international media mail. Everything you would do at the post office you could do at your desk with Stamps.com. It will give your business a more professional look. If you’re selling on EBay or Amazon you’ve got to have Stamps.com. No more handwriting addresses on letters and packages. You’ll have barcoded postage with return delivery address in one step. And it’s automatically pulling that information from the website, putting it right on the envelope if you’re sending something in an envelope. Your mail looks fantastic. For shipping labels you can put the company logo right onto the label. And then if you’re doing international mailing it fills out the customs forms automatically for you. You get discounts you can’t even get at the post office. Discounted package insurance with one click of the mouse. And then the mail carrier comes and picks it up for you. Any size package. It is fabulous. The post office loves Stamps.com. You’re going to love Stamps.com. No more driving to the post office. No more time wasted parking, waiting in line to get the mailing done. And this time of year is the last time of the year, you know, the last time you want to go to the post office. You’ve got to try it. We’ve got a special offer for you. Go to Stamps.com, click the microphone in the upper right hand corner there. Enter our offer code which is T-W-I-T TWIT and you’re going to get a really good deal. You’re going to get $110 bonus offer. It includes $55 in free postage. Free postage you have to spread out over the first few months but that’s still a great deal. You get a digital scale so you never have to put more postage on than you think you need or less. No more, I mean it’s always exactly right. The scale’s worth $50 bucks. You do pay shipping and handling on the scale though. That’s about $5 bucks. They make that up with a $5 supply kit and of course you get a one month trial of Stamps.com. Stamps.com. We use it here. Everybody, I think every small business should use it because it makes you look like a big business. And it’s easy. And it saves you money and on and on and on. I don’t know why you’re not using it. Why don’t you go to Stamps.com click the microphone, enter the word TWIT and see for yourself. Stamps.com. I guess I never met Brianna. It was really great to talk to her yesterday. And she, so what happened at South by Southwest? There were two panels.
Christina: There were going to be two panels. One that was kind of led by people who were associated with Gamergate, more on the pro-Gamergate side and one that was dealing with not specifically with Gamergate with the overall idea of harassment in gaming in which Gamergate has obviously been a part. And so they were both going to be a part of South by Southwest. South by Southwest didn’t really do a good job of explaining how the pro-Gamergate panel which the circumstances from which I understand of how it was even allowed into the process and how voting took place, seemed a little sketchy, was going to be there. And when people found out, people on the other panel and people in general obviously were upset. And then South by Southwest made the decision to say, “Ok, well, we’re going to take this criticism and just not have any panels on this at all.” And then people got really mad. And Nbox and BuzzFeed threatened to leave South by Southwest altogether and it became this complete PR nightmare. And frankly still is for them a PR nightmare. And now they’re saying they’re going to have this harassment summit. Like this whole day talking about harassment. But now it turns out it looks like the pro-Gamergate panel might actual be part of the harassment summit. So at least the panel, excuse me, not the pro-Gamergate panel, the panel that is made up by people who are largely on the side of people who are in support of the Gamergate movement will be on this panel too which then makes people on the opposite side feel like, “How can you have a harassment panel in your summit when people who are, when people who we perceive as being part of our harassment are going to be in the same room with us and be part of the same you know, set of events.” And so this is kind of a nightmare.
Leo: So one session was called SavePoint: A Discussion on the Gaming Community. The other was called Overcoming Harassment in Games. South by said that they were cancelling both panels because they feared for the safety of both panel members, both panels? No.
Christina: Apparently threats were made.
Leo: Against the SavePoint panel?
Christina: I’m not even sure. I don’t know. And they weren’t very clear on that. They just made it seem like threats were made and they were worried about the sanctity of South by Southwest. So and lets be very clear here. In my opinion, South by Southwest ceased being anything other than a summit and kind of a place for brands and marketers to kind of have like Spring Break.
Leo: It really is like Spring Break for geeks at this point.
Christina: Well, no, it used to be a geek spring break. Now it’s a marketer’s spring break.
Leo: A CNN spring break (laughing).
Christina: Honestly, it’s marketer’s spring break. And I say this as someone who’s been going to South by Southwest Interactive for the last 8 years, who my husband and I went from being co-workers to like he’s now my husband at South by Southwest 2008. Like this is an important—
Leo: So like Twitter, you’re a South by Southwest baby.
Christina: Yes. Completely. And so I’ve been going to it for a long time. I’ve been speaking at it almost every single year since like 2007. And the one year I didn’t go was like the year like it was a month before I was getting married and I had other things I had to do. And so I love South by Southwest but it’s not really even geek spring break anymore. It’s marketer’s spring break. And so I understand from Southwise’s perspective where they’re like—
Leo: This is bad for business.
Christina: Well the people at Coca-Cola really don’t want to deal with the drama. And I totally get that. And I totally get that. Their reaction to just cancelling both panels outright was not good. Then the blowback started and—
Leo: Well they couldn’t just cancel Level Up.
Leo: That would have looked even worse, right?
Christina: Yes. So I mean look. We can argue whether or not the Save Point panel ever should have been approved or not but they approved it. And once you approve it, I mean you know, you make your bed you’ve got to lie in it. So first they tried to get rid of both. Now they’re doing this, you know this summit on harassment. But by including people who have, some of the people on other panels are saying are leading campaigns or are involved with people who are part of the harassment makes it a difficult situation. So I don’t know how—
Leo: Yea, Alex says he’s not, he’s going to continue his boycott. Brianna says she’s going to go because you’ve got to have the discussion. She’s very brave.
Christina: She’s very brave. And I said when all this stuff happened, you know before she and I were even doing a podcast together I made a comment when she started getting some of her death threats and other stuff. I said, “You know, they picked the wrong person. Because she’s not going to back down.” And she hasn’t. And so she’s speaking at other panels that aren’t even associated with this stuff because her career isn’t just Gamergate. Her career is not just harassment in games. And you know she’s a game developer.
Leo: I’m sure she’d like to get way beyond this obviously.
Christina: I’m sure she would. And it sucks that she can’t and that other people who are involved with this can’t. That literally their entire identity is whether you’re pro or against it has to be led up into this, well let’s face it, very small movement that is very politically charged, has a lot of emotion on both sides, but is a very small thing in the big scheme of things. My big issue with South by Southwest, and I say this as someone who has gone, like I said, and been part of that community for years, is that you can’t, this is not, this is not an issue where you can pretend as if you’re going to be neutral and not take sides on. Because they already took a side. They approved the Save Point panel. And that’s fine. But if you’re going to do that then you need to acknowledge that this is not a place where you can, you know, people’s safety does kind of come into issue, but also just, you know, you can’t, having harassment summits in response to the criticism they were getting for not being you know I guess, sensitive enough just seems shortsighted. Especially when some of the people who were like victims of some of the harassment immediately after panels were pulled are saying, “Hey you know, I’m now giving even more harassment because you’re now doing this anti-harassment panel thing.” I don’t know. The whole thing is a mess. And I’m not really sure what the reaction is going to be but it doesn’t look like South by is handled this correctly in any way at all. Which is ironic considering you know, that the amount of panels that happen at South by Southwest every year explain to people how to handle social media crises.
Leo: Yea, they didn’t handle it well. On Monday they cancelled the panels. By Friday the pain had become great enough that they created this day log online harassment summit. I have to say that seems like a good response. It is clearly something that needs to be talked about and inviting all the members—I mean, I guess inviting trolls to an event like that may not be the best thing to do.
Alex: Well, the only thing I’ll say, it just depends on how good the folks are on the other side of actually having the debate.
Alex: Because you know the hard part is—
Leo: The trolls.
Alex: But they’re not, they thing is—
Leo: They’re chaotic.
Alex: Well they could pull the trolls out and make them look absolutely insane. You know like a good person on the other side who knows what they’re doing can tear these guys apart by letting them just talk.
Christina: Agreed. And I also, but I feel like it’s a thing too where there are certain gate keepers that kind of come up with this thing. You know you’ve got to pay to attend this festival unless you’re a speaker or your press or something. And it’s not a cheap event to attend. So I wonder if, I believe that in the beginning they thought that that in and of itself, the fact that there is you know kind of a border to entry, having to pay a lot of money, would prevent a lot of harassers from showing up in person. And maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But by streaming this online which I think is important, and I think the debate and having everybody involved in the debate no matter what side they’re on is important too. I don’t think you can just have a conference with one side of this. I mean if they’re not going to choose sides and they’re really going to try to be neutral, then they need to be, you know, they need to set ground rules though that say, “We’re not going to in any way support that if we find out people who are associated with one panel,” and I don’t care what side you’re on, “but if you’re on one panel and you’re supporting behind the scenes harassment or doxing or you know just general, you know like trying to make people’s lives miserable, you can’t be involved with this event.” I think that should be one thing. And I don’t know if some of the people you know, who are potentially involved with this feel like South by has their back because of the way they felt like they were treated when they brought up the fact that, “Hey you know it’s kind of a problem that this panel was approved alongside our panel and now we’re getting, you know it was already hard enough for one of the panels which wasn’t approved to even get there because of the harassment.” South by didn’t seem to take that seriously. I understand why anybody would kind of go into this skeptically. I mean I’m a little skeptical that this thing will actually end up happening at all. I don’t know.
Leo: It seems like, you know the Save Point panel was supposedly, I understand it’s the nexus with Gamergate, but supposedly about ethics in game journalism, right?
Christina: (Laughing) which is supposed to be what Gamergate’s about. The whole point of that panel, I mean it was kind of a brilliant troll on their part if I’m being totally honest, it was kind of brilliant. They submitted their panel submission after panel submissions were no longer allowed, after voting was already half over, they were able to get it approved. And they even created their own organization and then they loaded it with people who are on the pro Gamergate side. And they never used Gamergate in the description. And you know what? I’m not going to criticize them for that. That was smart. They got through. That’s fine.
Leo: But would there be talking about ethics in gaming journalism or would, I mean what—
Christina: Well no. To them they’re the same issue. So I mean I don’t understand how you can have a conversation about ethics in gaming journalism if you’re on that side and that’s your perspective, where you’re not mentioning Gamergate. I don’t understand how you could have that conversation without it even coming up. It seems like—
Leo: But what’s wrong with the Gamergate then if it’s just about ethics in journalism, that’s not a problem.
Christina: Well, I mean if that’s what it’s about.
Leo: I understand that some people used that as a banner under which to organize total harassment of people like Brianna and Anita Sarkeesian and others.
Christina: Yes. And Zoe Quinn. I mean it’s started with—
Leo: But that’s bad but that might be a separate thing, right? Or is it?
Christina: Well it could be a separate thing. No, because it’s not. Because I don’t believe it is. Because it started with their idea of ethics in gaming journalism was the fact that an ex-boyfriend of a game developer started talking about other people she was maybe, maybe not involved with. And then drawing conclusions and correlations that weren’t even true saying the whole reason she got her game reviewed on this website was because of this relationship with someone else. That’s what they’re talking about when it comes to ethics in journalism. It’s not ethics in journalism. It’s slut shaming is what it is. That’s honestly what it is.
Leo: Ok, ok.
Christina: And if they have broader ethical concerns with the gaming process, that’s completely fine. But much of the conversation about it was never divided between like the conversation of someone’s personal life and something else, you know? There, and if we want to have conversations about ethics in journalism, that’s a fair conversation to have. There’s certainly ethical lines that every type of business journalism including gaming struggles with. And one of those is how close you become with your sources. How you know, what do you go through? I mean Tim and I know this. You know when you know people as friends but also you know, they are potentially people who you right about. You know it can become a tough line to hoe and that’s an interesting discussion to have. I don’t necessarily think that for all the banner they’ve been putting it under, that’s really what they care about. And I wouldn’t be opposed to having, or even seeing a discussion or a debate between both sides if it was moderated correctly and if it was, if there was respect on both sides. I think that some of the skepticism comes into place with just the fact that people who have been genuinely harassed, whether they’re from people who are really part of the movement or not, whether it’s people who’ve been involved with these other panels or not, they feel like they’ve been genuinely harassed and targeted. And they don’t necessarily like the idea that people who’ve been targeting them and harassing them could now be part of this same anti-harassment summit.
Christina: And it’s, I think that the only way you solve this is by being transparent. Which South by Southwest hasn’t been. And I think that’s—
Leo: No, and it sounds like they mismanaged it from the beginning even to the point of allowing a panel proposed after the deadline and so forth. I think they were obviously trying to be fair and what ended up happening is they just made a hash of it. Right?
Leo: Does that seem fair? So how was the Tokyo Auto Show (laughing)?
Tim: It was great.
Leo: Did you have fun?
Tim: It was controversy free I’m happy to say.
Leo: Yea. Thank goodness. You know I’m very interested in, of course we’ve seen gas powered vehicles, diesel powered vehicles. We’ve seen hybrids, we’ve seen electric vehicles. But Honda has a new fuel cell vehicle and I think they showed it there, right? Did you see it?
Tim: I got to drive it as a matter of fact, yes. So Honda’s actually made a prototype fuel cell car since I think 2008. They had this car called the FCX Clarity. Which was available in very limited numbers basically just for testing, people in standards, that kind of thing. But they’re actually going to make a production version of the car and have it available for sale in Japan starting in March this spring called the Clarity Fuel Cell is the formal name of the car. But it’s basically a normal four door sedan. It’s kind of got some funky styling, so maybe not all that normal. Ultimately instead of running on gas or plugging into the wall, you charge it up with hydrogen. There are 2 fuel tanks. You can see in that picture there, there’s a big fuel tank in the trunk, a smaller one under the rear seats. And it gets you about 400 miles of range which is pretty impressive.
Tim: And you can recharge it in less than 2 minutes because again, you’re just pumping in gas in the thing effectively. And the only emissions from this car is water. And it’s drinkable, distilled water effectively that comes out of the tail pipe in the thing. It drives very nicely, very quiet. It’s basically just like driving an EV but instead of having the electrons coming from a battery, they come from the hydrogen.
Leo: I see. So it’s high torque because it’s an electric motor. It’s just a different way of powering an electric motor.
Tim: Yea, yea, it’s great. They haven’t given us a price yet which is the big question. I’m guessing it’s going to be fairly expensive because this is all a lot of the exciting new technology.
Leo: But you don’t have the batteries. You don’t have a big battery expense and the big weight of batteries so that seems like it would be an improvement.
Tim: There’s a small battery pack underneath the front seats. But basically that just serves as a buffer for the fuel cell. The electricity comes from hydrogen from the fuel cell into the battery and then out to the motor. That way it can kind of store up some electricity. But yea, it does make the cost a lot lower. And you know it solves a lot of the issues that people have with EVs with range and ultimately it kind of in theory could give gas stations a way forward too into the future without them having to disappear. But of course the big problem is availability. There are you know, maybe a few dozen hydrogen stations in the US that you can drive your car up to and fill up. And you’re going to need a lot more than that before this could go forward. But Honda actually had a solution for that too. They have a thing, basically a fuel cell generator. It’s about the size of a shipping crate or a little bit bigger. And basically you can plunk that down anywhere. It uses solar power and a source of water to generate hydrogen which is kind of neat. So in theory there’s an easy solution forward for they hydrogen generation too. We’ll see if that ever takes off.
Leo: I mean obviously in any motor vehicle what you need is a source of a lot of energy that can be easily stored and then released on demand. You’d like that source of energy to be renewable. The problem with fossil fuels is there are no more dinosaurs. So you want it to be, solar would be nice but there’s other ways to do this. And if you can then somehow take the solar energy, covert it to this compact reusable form of energy, then you’ve got, then you’ve got something.
Leo: How highly compressed is the hydrogen in this stuff?
Tim: I forgot how many PSI it is. It’s pretty high. I don’t remember the number off-hand.
Leo: So that’s a potential—
Tim: It’s not like a scuba tank high but it is quite high. Those are carbon fiber fuel tanks so it’s definitely, you know, they are crash rated and all that good stuff. But certainly that is a concern.
Leo: Any storage that stores enough energy to move a car, a several ton car 400 miles has a lot of risk. I mean gasoline is far from a risk free fuel. So I think that obviously you want to moderate that risk as best you can but everything has risk.
Tim: And batteries have their risk too. We’ve certainly seen battery compartments in EVs get to rupture by debris. We saw Tesla catch fire because of the battery compartment was ruptured.
Leo: So you don’t think that these hydrogen fuel cells are any more risky than some other solution out there?
Tim: I don’t think so, no. I mean ultimately you know, we’ve got to get more on the road and see how things go. But they certainly have been very thoroughly crash tested. There are systems in the car that will for example, if they detect a leak or a problem in the system they’ll shut down all the electrical systems in the car to reduce the chance of a spark or anything like that. So you know, they’re being pretty smart about it. But you know, based on, I saw those tanks. They looked pretty beefy. And I’ve seen crash footage where even if that car gets rear ended in a very serious accident the tanks don’t rupture. So I’m pretty convinced.
Leo: A gas tank ruptures, you’ve got a problem. Witness the Pinto.
Alex: I mean do you think that, do you think that given the fact that you know, EVs are starting to really take—like electric cars and plug-in everything else is really taking off in the US. Do you think hydrogen has any chance at all?
Tim: It’s hard to say. The big thing about hydrogen and the nice thing about this is that any development that goes into EVs, making more efficient motors, making more efficient batteries, that also helps the hydrogen market as well. Because these are effectively just EVs but instead of having a big battery pack, they have a small battery pack plus a hydrogen tank and a fuel cell. So those two developments can go pretty much in parallel. Ultimately I don’t think you’re going to get to a point where you can have really fast charging and have those stations everywhere, even through all of the very rural areas of the US for decades and decades to come. Hydrogen in is theory a much easier solution in that regard that you can make a hydrogen powered car and you can in theory make a hydrogen powered car that you can plug in if you wanted to and charge it for short range. And top off the tank if you want to go for large range. And again it would be a relatively trivial thing to convert a gas station into a hydrogen station if you wanted to. So it’s just a question of someone making the investment to do so. So it could be a stop-gap measure but I do think it has opportunity.
Alex: It seems like a difference between like VHS and Beta-Max where it’s Beta-Max. You know I mean because the thing is it doesn’t matter whether it’s a better solution or not. It’s like that I just know personally I’m really, my next car will be you know, an electric car. And but I just know that I just want to plug it in. I don’t want to think about any more liquid. I don’t want anything—
Leo: Yea, people don’t have hydrogen fuel cell generators in their homes. But you don’t have a gas station in your home either.
Alex: But I also think that—
Leo: There is a convenience to be able to plug it into the wall when you get into the garage.
Alex: I think in the grander scheme of things when we think about the environment and everything else, I think what we really need is to have all the cars move electricity because then as we change the central way of generating electricity to you know, a more you know, environment friendly, we don’t have to keep on changing all the little things. You know the big thing that keeps us stuck with burning gas is all those stupid gas stations.
Alex: And so the thing is that if we, you know, if you move to something that’s centralized then it’s just easier to move to center.
Leo: Tim’s point is that this is an electric car. It’s just that you—
Alex: It is except that we still have to have little like—we’re filling up with like—
Leo: Yea, but you would do that with electricity. How efficient is the conversion to hydrogen? Water to hydrogen? Is it an efficient means of creating electricity or no?
Tim: Effectively one kilogram of hydrogen is very similar to one gallon of gasoline actually so there actually very, very close—
Leo: Making that hydrogen is not super costly energy-wise?
Tim: I mean that is a somewhat difficult thing to do. Depends on what you’re starting with. But if you talking about purely electricity and purely water, I don’t know what the exact efficiencies, but it’s pretty low. But then again, if we get to a point where indeed we do have free or cheap electricity, then it doesn’t really matter at that point. You can make as much hydrogen as you want to. And you can even in theory do that at home if you want to. You know it’s not that difficult to make hydrogen from solar power and from water. So you know, again, I see this is something that can very much go along in parallel to having hydrogen development going on doesn’t really detract from having EV development going on. It may mean that we have extra stations going on but I’ll tell you, there’s no way that pure battery EVs are going to make sense in upstate New York for the next 15 or 20 years.
Tim: And certainly not—
Leo: Cold weather and batteries are not—
Tim: People that need to drive a long way.
Alex: But I just don’t, I just don’t know. I’m from western Pennsylvania and I don’t see anyone buying, they wouldn’t have the same range problem but they wouldn’t buy a hydrogen car. They might buy, they might not buy an EV either.
Leo: Do they buy cars in general?
Alex: No but I’m just saying that in those sparse areas I’m not sure how popular any of the newer technologies would be.
Leo: You have the same problem with EVs and cold weather and in sparsely populated areas it’s not ideal. It’s interesting. How was it to drive? Did you like to drive it?
Tim: It was quite nice. It was interesting that you can actually hear the fuel cells emitting gas which kind of makes like a hissing noise which is very interesting. You don’t usually hear that in these. But otherwise it’s very much like an EV. Very quiet. You only hear the whirr of the transmission from the engine. Very powered, very quiet, very smooth, it was quite nice. It wasn’t a very long drive I’ll admit. But yea it felt very much like any other Honda from the inside. You really wouldn’t know the difference if you didn’t look in the trunk and then the trunk is somewhat compromised which is a shame. But that’s really the only drawback that I saw.
Leo: Well they’re putting them on sale next year.
Tim: Hmm mmm.
Leo: So there you go. There you have it. Any autonomous vehicles at the Tokyo Auto Show?
Tim: I did see a few. In fact my colleague Chris Paukert was in a Nissan that almost swerved into an 18 wheeler on the highway in Tokyo which was a bit of an unfortunate demonstration for technology. Yea it’s something that Honda—
Leo: Did he scream like a girl?
Tim: (Laughing) of course he didn’t.
Leo: I would have. With all due respect Christina, when I scream like a girl it’s scary (laughing). I’m sure you don’t but I’m just saying.
Christina: (Laughing) oh no. Oh no. I can scream like a girl. Yea, yea.
Leo: I realize it’s a pretty sexist thing to say.
Christina: Yea but it’s funny.
Tim: Actually maybe you shouldn’t talk, you’re getting yourself in trouble there, Leo.
Leo: I know, I know. I am a troll. Let’s see.
Christina: Stereotypes are funny because they’re hurt people.
Leo: They hurt. Of course all comedy hurts somebody. If it’s not me, it’s you. And I prefer it hurt you. I’m just saying. HP as of today is two companies. HP Inc. will sell PCs and printers, HPE, HP Enterprises will do all the servers and the enterprise stuff. But they solved the problem of who gets the garage?
Alex: Oh did they?
Leo: David Hewlett—Hewlett and Packard’s office has been preserved since they passed away 25 years ago. The garage where HP was founded 75 years ago apparently has been moved lock, stock and barrel next to the office. And then they’re doing to make, they’re going to split it off and make a hallway from both companies. Because they’re still in the same building.
Christina: Oh my God.
Leo: And both companies share.
Christina: Oh my God.
Leo: I can’t imagine there’s a lot of traffic to the old office.
Christina: I can’t either, honestly.
Alex: It’s cool looking.
Christina: I can’t imagine, being I think if you’re at HP you’re like, “Do I really want to like walk through this hallway that reminds me of what this company used to be?”
Leo: Only if Meg Whitman is watching. Only if Meg is—
Christina: Only then. And then you’re like, “Oh my God. This used to be amazing. This is the company that helped build Silicon Valley and the Fairchild. And now.”
Leo: And now what?
Christina: And now. And now.
Tim: Sounds like a weekend visitation kind of thing.
Leo: It’s Carly Fiorina’s resume builder.
Christina: Oh my God. It’s like don’t expect a decade after she was fired for the mess that she made to be cleaned up.
Leo: How quickly we’ve forgotten. How quickly we’ve forgotten.
Christina: It’s 10 years after she was fired, so 15 years after the Compaq merger was complete we finally, that mess is finally now completely over and the result is two companies. Although in fairness, in fairness to Carly, she was not the worst CEO at Hewlett-Packard.
Leo: No. No I think Leo Aptheker gets the nod there, yea.
Christina: He’s, of course he does because he spent $10 billion dollars on magic beans.
Christina: He literally spent—
Leo: Nice job, Leo.
Christina: He spent $10 billion dollars on magic beans and that is why (laughing)—
Alex: Magic beans. They could have worked, you know.
Leo: AK what was the name of it?
Leo: Autonomy, that’s right.
Christina: Autonomy and literally $10 billion dollars. And he had to write off the whole thing because it didn’t work (laughing).
Leo: It didn’t work. Eh, these things happen. Develop software to enable the automized, automated personalization and categorization of text sources if it worked.
Christina: But see even the description sounds like—
Leo: (Laughing) and even that doesn’t sound good.
Christina: The description is like every buzz word you could come up with and then somebody gave it a real—
Leo: $10 billion?
Christina: $10 billion dollars gives you, he was like, “Let’s get rid of Web OS, let’s not go into mobile because that’s certainly not the future.”
Leo: He also wanted to shut down the PC business. Which might have been a good idea.
Christina: He did. He wanted to shut down the whole thing. I’m saying he wanted to get rid of the whole, he wanted to split it apart. He was like, “PCS, no. Servers, meh. Mobile, certainly not the future. But this Autonomy company. I got a tip, I got a tip from a guy who’s holding it that it’s going to be the next big thing. I’m telling you guys. It’s going to be so great.”
Leo: And then you’ve got Mark Hurd, actually there’s been quite a few. There’s been a long series of kind of—
Christina: Yea, Mark Hurd was fine. I mean look, he was apparently not very great to work for. Like apparently they had a thing where there was a Fortune article that when if you were in the office after a certain period of time at night, all the lights went off so they could save electricity (laughing).
Leo: (Laughing) that’s dark.
Christina: People, so people brought in their own lamps so they could continue longer and then they’d get in trouble for bringing in their own lamps.
Leo: Oh, Lord.
Christina: So I mean look, this is a company that has not had good stuff. But then his, his end came you know, there was—
Leo: The texting. The pre-texting investigation.
Christina: Yes, the scandal, the scandal was involved with that. And then he went on, now he’s co-CEO of Oracle. So he’s fine.
Leo: Right. Yep. Larry Ellison loved the guy.
Christina: Larry Ellison was like, was on TV like yelling at HP like, “What are you doing?”
Leo: You’re all fools.
Christina: Like the last time—and Larry Ellison doesn’t do that very often. Like he yelled at the Apple people for getting rid of Steve Jobs and then yelled at you know, “Well of course you should bring him back. He’s the best thing ever.” Then he did the same thing when HP got rid of Hurd. But no I mean that company, my God, somebody really needs to just do a soap opera, like a nighttime soap called The Corporation.
Leo: Oh, that’d be good. I’d watch that.
Christina: Right? Wouldn’t that be good? And it would just literally be everything from HP.
Leo: Both companies each—
Tim: Like Mad Men but way more boring.
Leo: Well. Each of the companies were $50 billion dollars so they’re not small companies. They’ll both be in the Fortune 500.
Christina: No, they’re not. Yea.
Leo: On Tuesday the Senate voted. I actually thought they had voted to past his last week, and I apologize for misstating that. They had voted it out of committee then on Tuesday they passed CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. It is now passed.
Christina: It doesn’t actually protect your cybersecurity at all.
Leo: Yea. And really it makes it hard for you to stay private. It’s going to go to the—I guess they have to reconcile the House and the Senate bills and then it goes to the President who’s already said he will pass it. The privacy flaws have not been fixed. I think more than one company in Silicon Valley secretly while in public said, “Oh, this CISA bill’s a terrible bill.” Secretly in private said, “Hey, can you pass that bill?” Because it’s alleged Facebook did. Because it let the companies off the hook. They are no longer liable for giving government information about us. We can’t sue them, we can’t do anything about it. It just lets them off the hook. And I think that’s, if I’m a, if I’m the guy running Google or Facebook or Microsoft or Apple I would say, “Hey, that’s good idea. I like that. I don’t want to be sued.” So I suspect there was kind of secret support for this in Silicon Valley. Well, it remains to be seen if we’re any less protected than we were. I feel like at this point--
Christina: Well I think that’s the irony is that they were all kind of debating this cybersecurity information, cyber information security bill. It’s not going to protect our security. It’s going to let companies off the hook when they get hacked and let them off the hook when they share our information. And we’re all like, “Well, knowing what they can already do, are we that much worse off?” Like how jaded have we become?
Leo: The Department of Homeland Security in July wrote a letter saying the bill could “flood the agency with information of dubious value at the same time that it sweeps away privacy protections.” That’s a bill I can get behind.
Christina: Only in America.
Leo: Only in America.
Christina: And Russia.
Leo: I should end on an up note. Samsung says mobile’s on the mend. That’s not it (laughing). Nice try. Good news. The EFF has pointed out that the Librarian of Congress has finally done the right thing with regard to, and I bet you have something to say about this, Tim, reverse engineering software in vehicles. This was illegal because of digital rights management. This rule making process happens every three years. The Librarian of Congress gets to kind of make rules about how the DMCA is enforced. So the Librarian recognized the need for vehicle owners to circumvent access restrictions in order to repair, modify and tinker with the software of their car.
Tim: Right. There’s been a lot of discussion about this of course with all the various hacks that have come out in the last 6 months or so. And that problem is only going to get worse and worse going forward. And so there’s been a pretty strong case made that maybe ultimately these systems would be more secure, people were able to see better into the systems. And ultimately I think there’s a lot of pros and cons to that argument. Definitely the automotive industry is definitely taking the stance that a lot of operating system makers and others have taken in the past that ultimately everything should be locked down because things will be more secure that way. I think we’ve seen a lot of steps forward in the mobile industry and elsewhere as things get more open things get more secure and I think that there is an opportunity for that on the automotive side. It’s going to take a long time to get, you know, the traditional automakers on that front. But this at least does give people a back door to be able to go and look for these exploits and you know, hopefully do good things with them, report them through the correct channels and make sure they get fixed. But if anything it will definitely help to keep everybody on their toes and you know, it will make me feel a bit better about this situation.
Leo: You think we would have known about the VW emissions hack sooner had this rule been in place?
Tim: That’s, that’s a good question because that was almost an official inquiry in the way it was reported through the EPA. You know I don’t think that would necessarily would have fallen underneath this but certainly things like the G-Pack and the OnStar hacks we’ve seen over the past 6 months, those are certainly things that would not have been legal underneath the, if this rule has been changed. So you know, making these things legal, giving you know, ultimately whether or not these are illegal are not going to stop the people who want to do bad things. I think that’s the most important thing. If this is illegal, if you’re trying to hack into someone’s car to do something nefarious, you’re already breaking the law. It doesn’t matter. But if you, if it’s against the law for a researcher to look for problems, then that will stop some white hackers from doing the right thing and ultimately I think that would have been a problem.
Leo: The Librarian said, extended the law, the rule that you can jail break your smartphone. Put your own firmware on there. And that exemption is now covering all purpose mobile computing devices including tablets and watches. Hack away. It’s ok to route and jailbreak to your heart’s content.
Christina: And unlock, right?
Leo: And unlock.
Christina: That’s a big thing.
Leo: No. Ah, no. I think you can jailbreak. I think you can route. But I think unlocking is another story. I’m not sure. That’s a good question.
Christina: Oh my God.
Tim: That’s actually FCC territory.
Leo: Yea, I think so.
Christina: It probably does. It probably does.
Leo: I think so. And the FCC has made rules that promote unlocking.
Christina: They have but yet they’ll still try to force you—yea.
Leo: I don’t think the Librarian gets to overrule that. The Librarian—I want that title.
Christina: But what—
Leo: That sounds like a title from a, like I don’t know—
Tim: A TV show.
Leo: Well no.
Christina: But what if unlocked takes place by ruining my phone?
Tim: Halo 6: The Arbiter and the Librarian.
Leo: The Librarian. Or maybe it’s kind of a mutant, you know? Maybe Michael Fassbinder is The Librarian. The Librarian also granted the EFFs proposal to preserve abandoned video games. You can now modify your copy of a game to eliminate the need for authentication server, take the piracy stuff out if the server’s been shut down. Well, duh. Museums, libraries and archives can jailbreak game consoles as needed to get the games working again.
Christina: That’s awesome.
Tim: That is awesome.
Alex: Why don’t we just put MAME on our Apple TV?
Leo: Yea this doesn’t quite make MAME possible.
Alex: I’m just saying, Asteroids all over again?
Christina: Well, no, it’s the same. Well but it could make MAME possible if you own like you know the cabinet files. If you have the actual prompts themselves.
Leo: And of course the servers, the authentication—
Christina: Of course.
Leo: Use this authentication server and the server’s been shut down. Then it’s ok.
Alex: So it would have to be a modern game.
Leo: I think so.
Tim: Those are no fun. Got to be an old game.
Christina: They’re not any fun. Although, hasn’t like some of those games are already at the point where at least some of the hardware stuff has like the, it’s like public domain now or whatever?
Tim: Well plenty VA games have had their server’s shut down. So there’s certainly of those on the market that would be eligible for this. I think there would be a lot of game hardware—
Leo: I think this doesn’t say and then go trade them on the free market (laughing). I think that that’s going a little too far.
Alex: That’s all I want. All I read in that paragraph was, “When will MAME be on my Apple TV?”
Leo: It doesn’t overrule copyright law.
Christina: Well the thing is, well, no it doesn’t overrule copyright law but let’s say in the privacy of your own home, if someone were to write a MAME you know, emulator for that Apple TV. Which of course they have which now means we can just jailbreak our Apple TVs and you know, in the privacy of our own homes break the copyright law.
Alex: You know I would jailbreak an Apple TV just to have—I would have a whole other Apple TV as another input.
Christina: Oh totally. Same.
Alex: Just to put MAME on it.
Christina: So, I still have old Xbox.
Alex: So my kids could play Pitfall.
Christina: I still have the original Xbox. Like the original, the original Xbox. The gigantic one. And it was the 1.0 version. And that was the one that it was really super easy to—like I remember having, I remember opening it up and using soldering gun to solder 2 points so that I could install what was then XBP.
Leo: That chip, yea.
Christina: No, I didn’t even have to do a chip. I just literally had to solder 2 points. And I had a bigger hard drive and I had MEME and I had like every single old console game ever. And I still have that thing. Because that’s still like the best old console. Like that’s the one I think about.
Leo: I had so, my hacked Xbox, I think we gave it to someone, one of Henry’s friends. It had all, every game on it.
Leo: It was so awesome. Those games I’ve lost the, I’ve lost the CDs, the cartridges, whatever it was we used in those days. I’ve lost those long ago but the games are still on the hard drive.
Alex: I just want to go back to being 12 years old, get Men At Work, play it on the Sonos and play Pitfal. For me every once and a while—
Christina: They need- Atari made a retro console or whatever Atari did.
Alex: It was just a controller.
Christina: Well, no it wasn’t just a—well it was controllers, but it was a smaller box. But they actually had it so you, with at least with rerun or something like that, the 2nd generation one had Pitfall, it had the Activision titles.
Alex: Oh, did it?
Christina: And it actually had—it did. And it actually was a hardware level emulator, it wasn’t software so there was actually a way you could chip it to actually use the old, original cartridges with it if you wanted to. I may or may not have bought that version off of Amazon specifically for that purpose.
Alex: Mmm. It would be so much fun.
Tim: So is Screen Savers legal, just to bring the show full circle?
Leo: No. However you can remix videos from DVD and Blu-Ray sources to create, as long as it’s Fair Use, create your own—
Alex: Oh really?
Alex: That’s actually—
Leo: Remix. Ok, so I’ll read it to you.
Alex: Yea, you got to read it to me, this one.
Leo: “The Librarian effectively renewed the existing exemption for noncommercial remix videos, and expanded it to cover circumvention of DRM on Blu-Ray discs.”
Tim: Go, Librarian. We should all buy this Librarian some coffee.
Leo: I know, I love this librarian.
Christina: We really should.
Leo: You know you could, there was a Fair Use exemption but you had to use the analog hole so you had a low copy, a low quality copy.
Christina: Right. And then there was DVD John’s thing was eventually approved for the DVD stuff where they haven’t ever had it for Blu-Ray.
Leo: For Blu-Ray, yea. So now you can have a high quality source to create persuasive, compelling works, remixes and otherwise.
Tim: Mine’s not that compelling so it’s probably illegal.
Leo: Yea. So a victory for the EFF and thank you to The Librarian of Congress or just as we know him, The Librarian.
Christina: We need to like send him some cookies or something.
Leo: Yea. I think his term is coming up.
Christina: I’m sure it is.
Alex: I’m sure he can’t accept gifts. Not even cookies I don’t think.
Christina: Not even, not even from Levains because that would be great. I would totally do that. I would totally like chip in for that.
Leo: His name is David S. Mao, he became Acting Librarian of Congress in October, October 1st upon the retirement of James H. Billington. But acting doesn’t sound like it’s too permanent.
Alex: He just came in, did the damage, got out.
Leo: He was the deputy librarian.
Christina: Ah. He just came in, signed off the paperwork. He was like, “The other dude retired. This is what we’re going to do.”
Leo: “Ok, finally. I can do what I want.”
Alex: Check, check, check, check.
Leo: “I’m an X-Men. I’m The Librarian.”
Christina: “I’m going to let you jailbreak your Apple TV.”
Leo: So I guess it’s a presidential appointment and I don’t know if he’ll, if he’ll get an appointment or not but he’s the acting.
Alex: He’s probably all going to turn out to be Mystique anyway.
Leo: The acting Librarian,
Christina: (Laughing). It will all turn out to be Mystique. Always.
Leo: (Laughing) I like that.
Alex: You just came in for a second.
Leo: Alex Lindsay is at the Pixel Corps. You can follow him on Twitter A-L-E-X-L-I-N-D-S-A-Y and that’s a good way to keep up on his efforts. I didn’t get to—I should have brought it in for you. I got the Ricoh Theta S 3D camera.
Alex: The new one?
Alex: I’ve been waiting for mine to show up. I have 2 of the other ones.
Leo: Oh, so fun.
Alex: They are great.
Leo: I’ve posted some stills and videos on the Ricoh 360 site.
Alex: It’s even better when you get, when you get your phone hooked up to it so you can put it on a little tripod. So you’re not always standing there holding onto it.
Leo: Yea because otherwise you see a lot of your hand and your face.
Alex: You’ve got to decide, I’ve decided that I kind of like the side, I’m not really looking at you look.
Alex: When I’m taking stuff but—
Leo: Yea, see I did one, I did one of the studio. Actually let me take you to the Theta 360 site, you can see my ERV. This one I did, just as you recommended, I did this with the phone as a remote. Oh no, no, there’s my hand. There I am looking at it. But that’s our street outside. I’ve done some other ones.
Alex: You know you can, you can get a little suction cup and put it on the front of your car. Now you can go 25 minutes with the new one.
Leo: Yea. 25 minutes of non-stop.
Alex: It’s sweet. It’s just like you’re sitting on a car.
Leo: I recorded a, the 1st 15 minutes of the radio show doing that. It was kind of fun. Well, for me. There’s a lot of them of me.
Alex: But this looks and it works.
Leo: Look at the quality.
Alex: Yea. The new one is—is this 4K? Is the new one 4K?
Leo: No, it’s HD but if you zoom in I mean it’s good enough quality you can read the chatroom.
Alex: But I think the new one, but I think the new one is, I think that’s 4K. The images are. I think the video is just HD.
Leo: Oh yea, the video is less good, the stitching is—we need a real live-time stitcher because it has live HDMI out. How do we get that one?
Alex: No, does it have a live HDMI out?
Leo: Yea. But you have to stitch it in real time. All we were getting were 2 big circles.
Alex: Oh, I can do that.
Leo: Can you stitch in real time?
Alex: Mmm hmm. I stitched 6 GoPros in real time.
Leo: Really? What’s the software?
Alex: Video Stitch.
Leo: Ok. So if we fed it a live image—
Alex: Well you’d have to figure out the, the transformations. And I don’t know whether the Video Stitch would do it but we can figure it out.
Leo: Yea, see, that’s what’s weird about this.
Alex: As soon as I get mine I’ll figure it out.
Leo: It’s two spheres.
Alex: I know, it’s so awesome.
Leo: Well let me know because I would love to do a—
Alex: You know, way to go down a real rabbit hole here.
Leo: Yea this is a real rabbit hole. I would love to do a video of the show while we’re doing it. You could look around and—
Leo: Tim Stevens, thank you for being here. We appreciate it. From CNET he is automotive editor at large. Gets to do whatever he wants. @tim_stevens. Soon the ice will have frozen and he will be racing. It’s always good to have you.
Tim: I will be racing. Coming out with some really good stuff, too.
Leo: Good. Anything you want to plug?
Tim: I would love to but I can’t plug what I’m working on just yet. It’s a secret for another little while but stay tuned and you’ll see soon.
Leo: Are you going to launch a podcast network too just like everybody else?
Tim: No, no, no. That’s yours, Leo.
Alex: What mic is he using, Leo?
Leo: What is that mic? It sounds like, you sound rich and deep and good.
Tim: This is a Blue Yeti.
Leo: Ah, Yeti. We like the Yeti.
Tim: Mmm hmm.
Leo: We also appreciate your time, Ms. Warren. Film-girl. Christina Warren from Mashable.
Christina: Thank you, thank you.
Leo: Doing great stuff as always at Mashable. Anything new you want to plug?
Christina: Well my Apple TV Review went up last week so that was good. And I didn’t write this, but Lance Ulanoff wrote a really amazing article where he met Phil Schiller at Apple and did like a great profile.
Leo: Yes, yes, yea.
Christina: People should read that. It was really, really well done.
Leo: He also did a great behind the scenes about Panos Panay about the new Surface Book.
Christina: Yea no, Lance is killing that stuff so rather than plug myself I would rather plug Lance’s great work. Because it’s seriously awesome.
Leo: Thank you everybody. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time. Now we have gone to standard time finally catching up with the rest of the world which did it a couple of weeks ago. So that means we are now airing at 2300 UTC. So if you, just so you know we’re like almost midnight. 2300 UTC.
Alex: Is that why I almost missed my flight in Turkey?
Alex: Because I was looking at my iPhone—
Leo: Because they change and we don’t.
Alex: I was like taking my time, and I look at my iPhone and it says oh, it’s 12—when I look up to see when my flight’s going to leave and it’s—
Leo: They already fell back.
Alex: It was like 1:15 and you know I had, I had to run. But I caught it.
Leo: Time zones. Such a mess.
Leo: Such a mess.
Jason: We have a t-shirt.
Leo: Let’s not forget teespring.com/twit. Just 9 days left to get I think the prettiest t-shirt we’ve done. Anthony Nielson designed this one. It’s really great.
Christina: That is pretty.
Leo: As with all our t-shirts, a limited edition. We only do a certain number of them and once they’re done, they’re done, so.
Leo: If you want to get it.
Alex: There’s only 8 of them.
Leo: There’s only 8. No, there’s more than 8. There’s as many as people want. And they’re only $20 bucks. They’re not expensive. So yea, t-e-e-s-p-r-i-n-g, teespring.com/twit. If you’re not here in person – oh, I didn’t do any of the promos or anything, did I?
Jason: That’s all right. We only have What’s on TWiT.
Leo: We can, you know what I’ll do? I’ll put it earlier in the show. So if you’re watching this show after the fact, on demand, yea, you already saw it. So we did do the promos. What was I--?
Jason: It was amazing.
Leo: It was so good.
Jason: So good.
Leo: What was I thinking?
Jason: It was one of the best ones I think.
Leo: Earlier we… Thanks for being here! We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Yea.