This Week in Tech 536
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! Wow. We've got a great panel for you. Joining us from Market Watch is Jennifer Booton, from Engadget, Devindra Hardawar, Jeff Jarvis is back from his travels. He's going to stop by, and we're going to go to Paris, because I think it's important today to Patrick Beja. He'll give us a look at what's going on in France. We'll talk about so much; it's going to be a great show. Stick around; This Week in Tech is next.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 536, recorded Sunday, November 15, 2015.
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It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news. A big panel today, because we added a token French man, Patrick Beja is here. patrickbeja.com. He's the host of the Phillies club. Back, we're glad to say. Le Rendezvous Tech: The French Language tech podcast.
Patrick Beja: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. It's a last minute thing, but I'm fresh off the plane from Helsinki and jumping into a little bit of I thought it was going to be madness, but actually it's pretty quiet. We'll talk about that.
Leo: Yeah, I really wanted to get you on. I know it was very short notice, but thank you for doing that. I appreciate it. Also with us, Jeff Jarvis, who has been traveling even more than Patrick. You've been all over the world, it seems like since we saw you last. You're muted. Did we do that?
Jeff Jarvis: I did it so I could chomp on something. I was at Legos in Johannesburg, the week before that I was in Berlin, and the week before I was in Mexico City.
Leo: Three continents all over the world, but I'm so glad to have you. We missed you on This Week in Google.
Jeff: I'm glad to be on. I missed it terribly.
Leo: It's funny. I collect all week long stories and go I want to hear what Jeff has to say about this, so I have three weeks of stories. I hope you're ready. Also joining us from Engadget, Devindra Hardawar is here. Always a pleasure having you on, Devindra, thanks for being here.
Devindra Hardawar: No problem. It's fun.
Leo: I have the iPad pro in front of me, and Engadget just wrote an article saying not so fast. It's not that fast. We'll talk a little bit about that as well. We have a newbie and we want to be very gentle and kind to Jennifer Booton. She's a tech reporter at Market Watch. She covers the markets, she covers finance. There's a lot to talk about this week, including Mark Andreeson dumping his Facebook stock. Jennifer, welcome to TWiT.
Jennifer Booton: Hey! How are you doing?
Leo: I warned Jennifer ahead of time that we're all a bunch of loud mouths and you should jump right in when you have an opinion.
Jennifer: I'm prepared. I'm ready.
Leo: Don't hold back. Take us on. Take us out. Boy. You go on Facebook, French flags over people's faces. Facebook made that possible. They said they were going to do that. Last time they did it was the marriage equality Supreme Court decision. Now they've made it very easy for Facebook users to show their solidarity. You see the Paris peace sign all over Twitter, not that any of that makes a difference, but I think... I saw some people say hey you didn't do that with Beirut or the Russian plane was bombed, why Paris? I think Paris is the capital of the world in some ways.
Jeff: Not only that, Leo. But it was the first time... I didn't realize it because I hadn't seen safety check before because my friends were in the Pacific region where these things had happened, in Afghanistan and so on, this was the first time it was a man-made disaster, not a natural disaster. Really interesting stuff. Zuckerberg said, OK. Fair criticism and we should have done Beirut and we will in the future, but they also have some interesting criterion for this. You can't in their view use this for an ongoing war or an epidemic because there's no definition of safe. In the case of a one off event, a horrible event like this, it happens, there's a period of time you can say I'm safe or I'm not, and you can have some veracity to that statement. There was a lot of criticism of Facebook, I think it was misspent. If they had done other man-made disasters, other terrorist activities and didn't do Beirut, it would be fair criticism, but the first time they did it was Paris. They're going to do it now. It was a legitimate criticism, but a legitimate answer for the future. This is the first time they did it for a terrorist event.
Leo: Patrick, you weren't in Paris. I heard some people say they were safe. Facebook apparently knows where you are if you use it while you're there. In at least one case, will send you a text message saying are you OK, let your friends know.
Patrick: As I was saying, I was in Helsinki. I think there are two things on Facebook. There are the French flags, which is one way to express support. It feels a little gimmicky sometimes and certainly it did feel a little bit, as a Parisian, yes it's wonderful to see all of this, but at the same time what you were seeing earlier, they didn't do it for other disasters, including some terrorist attacks. That did feel a little bit different approaches to different people.
Leo: In America, we feel real bond with France.
Patrick: The reality is there is some amount of proximity of culture and you feel more intimately hit when it's a country that is closer to you culturally and historically and all of this. It's not an excuse, but it's an explanation. Certainly the are you safe tool; I have to say this was immensely useful, including for myself. It's hard to realize how useful these things are until you're actually in the middle of a situation. I was able to signal everyone in one fell swoop that I was OK, but mostly I was... It was a small area of the city. Of course, 1,2, 300 people hit is enormous, but there's still a small chance that your specific friends in a city of 2 million...
Jeff: They're still going to worry about it.
Jeff: How many friends of yours checked in?
Jeff: In my world, it was 12 people.
Patrick: All of my friends who live in Paris checked in, and for everyone it was a relief. What was really a signal that they were safe was that they put I'm safe on Facebook. That was going to check. Of course, the close friends you're going to call, but there are people that you're not going to call a hundred people, so you think of the people who live in the city and you check Facebook and once they've checked in, they said they're safe, it's a big relief. Especially since I was in Helsinki, we had same card problems and I was using a Finnish sim card in my phone and I couldn't be reached by phone. I had to check on the Internet. I had to choose do I want to be reachable on my phone or do I want to have access to the Internet. Obviously I chose the Internet. So Facebook was the way after I switched cards to call my mother and my parents and my close friends. Facebook, absolutely the check in tool, I can see how it's invaluable. It provides an incredible service to the community in that case.
Devindra: It's a great example of how Facebook is using its platform for good. All we hear about is how Facebook is taking over people's privacy or eroding our privacy. This is a really great use of the platform that's not just publicity for Facebook.
Jennifer: At least it's a useful tool. I feel like if people are just changing their profile pictures to the French flag, it's nice, but it doesn't really serve a purpose besides some people saying that they're behind it. But what else are they doing besides changing for one second. The tool the survival tool saying you're safe, that has served a good purpose in past natural disasters. Look at the earthquakes in Afghanistan. It allows people... even people who are on vacation there. I have a friend who is in Europe right now. If they had been in Paris at the time, that would have been a useful purpose of that tool as well.
Leo: Even more so, the Twitter tag, portauvert, which means door is open, that was used by Parisian residents to signal that they would be willing to put up somebody who was seeking safety or even just somewhere to stay in Paris on Saturday night.
Jeff: Every one of these instances, you find new uses for the scale changes. 4 million people, according to Facebook, used the safety check. Of course, that's not all there is. Somebody, I think you and I both know, was in Paris was to go to a birthday party for a friend. His mother called, as a result he did not go, he is alive, but all his friends died there. He tells this story on Facebook in a way, what can you do but your heart pour out to him for what he has lost, but your gratitude that he's there. That's what Facebook enables. It's the connection. I just wrote a column for the New York Observer, remembering Katrina, where people used the forums, they used Craig's list, they used whatever they could to tell people they were safe or to connect with people. Facebook's case, this is a very specific purpose driven application they created that does a job. They turn it on to do that job, they turn it off or they don't. Yeah, they met with some hassle, but it's pretty amazing that they anticipated, they said it was inspired by the Japanese Tsunami and reactor problems in Japan. That's what inspired them to make the safety check and how the safety check is now used and how they anticipated the use case and thought of it is pretty amazing.
Patrick: Twitter should implement something like that as well. I wouldn't be surprised if they did in the near future. That Hashtag, Portauvert, open doors, just for people to understand, there was a lot of confusion in the beginning of this thing. We started having reports of gun fire and attacks, but we didn't know how many there were. There were people... it was a Friday night in Paris. Like in every city, you go out, you have drinks with friends. People were close to those areas and they didn't want to stay in the streets, so that was also heartwarming. Some taxi cabs also turned off the meters and drove people home because people didn't want to stay in the streets. They didn't want to take the subway. The portauvert was nice of course. I think there was also one thing that was still related to technology but also heart breaking in the next day, you could see people sending Tweets asking to be re-tweeted because they hadn't heard from some of their friends or family members that they knew were at those places that had been attacked and you would see those photos being retweeted many times. You knew there was a good chance that person was dead and it was putting it in front of your face. It was heart breaking. There was one other thing. A couple of teenagers started accounts for basically broadcasting pictures of people that other people wanted to have news about. There were a couple of mishaps. I'm guessing they were kids. One of them, one of the people who was there at the concert, my understanding was they pretended to not be... they didn't call their parents or something, and once they saw that Tweet being retweeted a thousand times, they answered to it and they were like Oh my god, I got a thousand retweets. What are you thinking? They were very young people. One of those accounts created to retweet these announcements was saying this person has not been heard of, or this person was killed in the attacks, one Retweet is one piece of support, so you would see people retweeting this. I guess it's lack of taste. It's teenagers. They're not sure exactly how to handle this.
Leo: This is going to happen. I think what's interesting about it though is contrary to the past where a news story like this was at arm's length, you watched it on CNN, thanks to social media, it's much closer to home for everybody. Even if you don't know anybody on Safety Check, all you have to do is scan Twitter during these events and in a way that the news media is incapable of doing have a direct personal experience of this. I think that's got to be good.
Patrick: I have to add something. Sorry, I'm speaking a lot.
Leo: This is your story.
Jeff: That's why you're here.
Patrick: I have to say, I can't count the number of people that sent messages mainly through Twitter because Facebook is more personal and people actually know. On Twitter for people like me who is a semi-public person, there were so many people that sent messages of support and were thinking of you and we're happy you're fine, and every one of those messages counted. Every one made me feel a little less alone and more supported, and even if it's people you don't necessarily know, I went to bed, I decided not to watch the things as they were unfolding. It was the evening for us on Saturday evening, or Friday. I decided not to watch, because I knew it was going to be some kind of unproductive, almost voyeuristic thing where you were going to worry more than you were going to be informed, so I decided I'm going to go to bed and we'll see what happens tomorrow. At that point, it was I think we were estimating 20 dead. I woke up the next day and the toll was almost 130 dead and 200 people hurt. Sorry, I'm getting a little emotional. I wake up and see that toll and my heart sank. It was really hard to read that it was... I thought it was going to be 20, maybe 30 people. It was 130 people. Along with that, there were so many messages of people expressing support that it refueled my heart, or my soul. Again, with Facebook French flag on avatars, it's a dual feeling. At the same time, you feel what does that achieve, but also you understand that people who are hearing this want to show their support and you're on the Internet. What are you going to do? You can't go and shake someone's hand who is 10,000 kilometers away. It's also nice to see that people are actually doing it and that they want to tell you we feel for you. It does count is what I'm saying. It's not going to solve the world's problems, but it does count.
Leo: As somebody who did that, both put the French flag on my Facebook and the Paris peace sign on my Twitter, it makes us feel better, because you feel helpless in a situation like this. I think people want to do something. It's small, but I feel like it also makes us feel a little bit better. We hope that it makes our French friends feel better. Did you see what Amazon did, which was quite dramatic? French flag with solidarite.
Patrick: There were a couple of initiatives like this.
Leo: Do you feel like that's just commercialism? Or is that heartfelt? I feel that's heartfelt.
Patrick: Maybe a little bit of both, but I don't think the heartfelt feeling is fake. There was also Uber, that made their little cars into French flags, which was a little bit tacky.
Leo: It's Uber. What do you expect? Uber is always going to do the bro thing. Whatever the bro thing would be.
Patrick: What are you going to do, right? That's the kind of things you can do. There were a lot of other things maybe not tech related, but it made a lot of people think we've had a lot of discussions about refugees coming from Syria and a couple of people were saying, including myself, this is so dramatic for us. There's been a lot of discussions about the refugees. We don't have enough space for all of them, and what if this is your every day? How long until you want to leave and go somewhere else? I guess the other shoe which is going to drop fairly soon is how is this going to translated into policies and possibly make policies even more encroaching on privacy. I don't know how much farther they can go. What they've done.
Leo: We are definitely going to talk about while from normal people you saw outreach, but from Governments of course, the immediate reaction is how can we use this to our advantage? Here's YouTube. This is interesting, because YouTube would like to be the next CNN. They would prefer instead of going to Twitter or CNN, or Facebook, but that you would go to YouTube. Not only do they have a flag, but they have a button that says latest news. This is interesting. This is the first time I can remember YouTube using a news story as an opportunity to promote itself as a news source. It's not the first think I would think of is going to YouTube.
Jennifer: I would never have thought to go to YouTube. That's interesting.
Leo: I think they'd like you to think of them as a news source. You know what? They can re-invent themselves. If there's one thing that's for sure true is nothing is permanent in the Internet.
Patrick: Most of the news stations use YouTube to host their content. In France a lot of them are going to be using DailyMotion because it's French, but there's still a lot of them going to YouTube, so I think it's a relatively easy affair from the YouTube engineers to develop something like this.
Leo: It's interesting. When I clicked learn more, what I got was France 24. There's no other brands on this. I don't know how that happened. If there's a relationship between YouTube and France 24. Is that a state run television network or is it a private network?
Patrick: It's basically a state run. It's somewhat separate from the state, but it's financed mostly from the TV contribution that every person who owns a TV pays.
Leo: It would be a natural thing to go to, I guess. It's like the BBC.
Patrick: It's the one that is International facing. It's more like CNN and BBC as well. They have a French channel, an English channel, and an Arabic channel. Three languages.
Leo: The other thing I did almost immediately is I want to understand this better. What is this all about. I guess you don't call it ISIS or ISIL anymore. We call it Diche? That's the Arabic initials for the Islamic State.
Patrick: That's actually, there's a funny story behind it.
Leo: It's not what they want to be called. Apparently it's annoying to them to call them Daesh. Which is why we want to call them that. Let's annoy a terrorist. That's smart.
Jennifer: Let's all do that.
Leo: Troll the terrorists.
Patrick: All of the politicians, I don't know how purposeful it is, but the difference between the two words, all the politicians are calling them Daesh.
Leo: The thing that was interesting to me was I wanted to know more. My thought was why are they doing this, what's their point of view? I was able to find some very good resources. One from the Atlantic which got a cover story on this in March. That was...
Jeff: Iglaseas wrote a great piece on this on Vox explaining.
Leo: Ezra Klein re-tweeted a few videos and Der Spiegel had an interesting article tying the top leadership of Daesh to former Iraqi leadership under Saddam Hussein, which I thought was interesting. The Internet can really shine in a time like this in some very interesting ways. We're going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to talk about how government reacts to this and sometimes that's a little more disturbing. Wait, we've got a great panel. I'm sorry it's so big and we've got so many people. That means we're all going to have to take turns. Boy, we picked a bad time to break in Jennifer Booton from Market Watch, but you're great. I'm not worried about you, but I apologize for the size of the panel, but there's a lot to talk about, obviously with the events in Paris. Devindra Hardawar, also here from Engadget. The return of Jeff Jarvis from Parts Unknown. I was following your travels. There's another one. I was following your travels and your frustrations on Facebook. It was a lot of fun. Thank you Patrick Beja for joining us last minute to give us the Parisian perspective.
Patrick: My pleasure.
Leo: Our show to you today brought to you by stamps.com. This is the time of year where you do not want to go to the post office. It's amateur hour at the post office. Lots of people go there all year to mail their Christmas gifts, and if you're running a business and your mailing is part of your business, you don't want to go there. You want to do it all from your desk. That's what stamps.com is so great for. Anything you can do at the post office, you can do at stamps.com. You have a digital scale, they're going to give it to you, a USB scale that will calculate exact postage for any letter, any package, any class of mail, including medium mail. It's easy to set up, you print these labels that are professional looking. You can put them right on an envelope with your company logo. The return address, the addresses are populated automatically if you're an Ebay seller form the Ebay site or from Amazon or from Etsy. It makes you look like a pro and it saves you time and all you need is your computer, your printer. You don't need a postage meter, special ink, or anything like this. It makes a small business look like a big business. There are no long-term leases, there are no hidden fees. There's no postage meter. You know postage meter ink is more expensive than ink jet printer ink? That tells you something. 100 times more expensive, plus they charge you to reset. They charge you processing fees. If the postage changes, you've got to bring it to the post office. You don't want a postage meter. This is the modern world! Welcome to the 21st century. You even get discounts you can't get at the post office. It'll automatically fill out the customs forms for you; even send an email saying your package is on the way. I love stamps.com. Here's the deal, go to stamps.com, click the microphone in the upper right hand corner and use our promo code TWiT. You're going to get 110 bonus offer. $55 in free postage. You get the digital scale and a supply kit and a 4 week trial of stamps.com. It's all great. It's all good. Once you use it, you'll never stop. Stamps.com. We thank them for their support of This Week in Tech. Don't forget our offer code is TWiT. So of course immediately government response to this, Glen Greenwald with a very emotional piece in the Intercept this morning written at 4:23 AM, so I think he was up all night. Exploiting Emotions about Paris to blame Snowden and distract from actual culprits who empowered Isis. It's almost shameful that a variety of news people, government officials, former Bush/ Cheney apparatus, people with deep ties to private NSA contractors all saying hey. Thank you Snowden. As Glen points out, Snowden didn't tell the bad guys anything about how we observed them, he let us know that we were in the electronic drag net. And anybody who saw Zero Dark Thirty knows that even Osama Bin Laden as earlier as 2003 knew not to use a cell phone or the Internet. Terrorists know that. Here's an article, February 5, 2001. USA today: Terror groups hide behind Web encryption.
Jeff: We're going to see attacks on Encryption now.
Leo: It's already started! New York Police Chief Ben Bratton, let me see if I can find that article. He says well, you can bet that the bad guys in Paris were communicating. I'd like to know what kind of phones they had, because they were communicating with encrypted technology. They're just one more dark...
Patrick: I don't know if their rumors are substantiated, but apparently it's mentioned as a possibility, so good luck to the police chief, apparently the latest rumor is that they were using the PlayStation Network.
Leo: That's not the first time I've heard that that's been done before. Interesting.
Patrick: They're not being monitored as I guess people just didn't think of it. But I'm sure now the government officials are going to go knock on Sony and Microsoft's door and try to get some visibility into that as well. Obviously I think the issue is that they're always going to find something else and use some encryption that it's easy to do it. The problem that we're being faced with now there are a couple of things. First of all, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, there was a strong movement in the French government to try empower the police forces to have access to more information on everyone. Basically, formalizing and legalizing I think what they had been doing for a while anyway. That's why they were pushing it so much. That's they way I look at it, and it did go through. I don't know what more they could be doing. The other thing is, the big problem with these kinds of attacks is that it seems most of the time, if not all of the time, they are perpetrated by people who are already known by...
Leo: That's what blows my mind. They've interviewed these guys. They know they're there.
Patrick: They are people who have giant lists of people that they should be surveying, who are already being surveyed anyway. They have the proper judicial approval, they have everything and if they had the resources for it, they would be following all of these people anyway. The way that they're pushing, I think because they just don't know what to do and they want to appear to be doing something. I don't think there's malicious intent in there. Maybe that's me giving them the benefit of the doubt, but what they're doing is pushing it to say we have to be able to survey everyone, but really I'm not sure how efficient it would be, because the people that need to be surveyed, they already know who they are, and they have the right to survey them anyway. That's where the disconnect comes from, and that's where people think... I'll finish on this. When I heard about the attacks, immediately as tech literate as I am, I had a few minutes of I thought, I have been fighting those laws very publically to the best of my ability. I've been saying they're bad laws. For a few minutes, I was thinking, let them spy on everyone. I give up. If there's a modicum, half a fraction of a percent that it will help, let them do it. I had to remind myself that it actually doesn't matter.
Leo: It's tempting.
Patrick: It just doesn't matter. There are people who don't know.
Leo: It's about Benjamin Bratton and he's an actor. Bill Bratton, chief police commissioner said this morning on ABC, with George Stefenapolis, ISIS taking advantage of the technology that the head of the FBI has been complaining about, I've been complaining about. Going dark, the ability to go dark, I think you'll see that playing a significant factor in this event. I'm very interested to see what types of phones they're equipped with, what types of apps they had on their phones. Were they in communication with each other at all? On Face the Nation, I guess he was making the rounds, he said these apps, these devices that allow these terrorists to operate without fear of penetration by intelligence services. This is the first example of this, which of course is not true. We have gone blind as a result of the commercialization and the selling of these devices that cannot be accessed either by the manufacturer or more importantly by us and law enforcement equipped with search warrants and judicial authority. This is something that needs to be debated very quickly because we cannot continue operating where we are blind. I think you're going to see the drum beat once again. In Great Britain, apparently David Cameron has backed down on his plan of enforcing back doors and encryption realizing it would harm the economy if nothing else. But then these things happen and people get the political wherewithal to pursue this once again. I wouldn't be surprised at all.
Patrick: I think this is why shows like this one are so important and so important that the audience of our shows is informed. It also informs people around them. Not in an aggressive way, you don't have to go all Snowden.
Leo: So give us some ammunition. What do you say? This is just as you experienced a very real concern. How do we catch these guys? What do you say to somebody who says we got to give them these powers. If we make it, they have to get a warrant. What's wrong with that?
Patrick: Well, that's the problem. The problem is when they don't have to get a warrant, which is what is happening in France now. It's unwarranted. There's some kind of weird organization that is supposed to have some oversight, but it's nominated by the presidency or the government itself, there's no counter power there, and they are able in theory to absorb all of the information and basically to do what the NSA and other intelligence organizations in the US have been doing and that has been exposed by Snowden. What we can say, I think is what needs to happen is police work by the people who are already in the field of view of the information agencies. Bringing everyone in the country into that field of view is actually not going to help. These are two separate issues. Again, I think it's important to understand whether or not the people who made those attacks had crossed the paths of the intelligence agencies at some point. It seems, the first elements of the investigation indicate that that is the case. These are the people who were very prepared, they were professionals, they had gone to Syria and had been there and come back. That's the first elements that we've seen. When you're expanding the power of these agencies to gather information from the entire country and people that have no relationship with these specific people, you're not helping at all. You're just making everyone's life, everyone's privacy. If the issue is that you have to be able to get access to information more efficiently, that's not a problem. I think we're all in agreement that that should happen. If you have someone that you're gathering information on that calls someone else, or that has some kind of contact with someone else and you want to have information on that person, sure. Get a warrant, or get a special powers of something and get their information very quickly. That's fine.
Leo: We've talked about this. Devindra, you can comment on this. It's also dangerous to put back doors in this stuff. For other reasons, right?
Devindra: For sure. Other hackers could get access to those backdoors as well. It opens up all sorts of interesting doors and dangerous doors for our software and kind of defeats the purpose of having decent encryption anyway.
Leo: I wonder, especially in the wake of the passage of Cisa how committed companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook are really. I know that they publically said Cisa is a bad idea, but at the same time, I feel like behind the scenes they were saying it wouldn't be such a bad idea if you pass this. Cisa was the Cyber security law that allows companies to share information about attacks, cyber-attacks with each other and with the government without warrant, and most importantly for these companies, without liability. They can't be sued if they give your information. I love it that Apple says your stuff on this iPhone is encrypted, no one can get it. We can't even get it. We can't give it to law enforcement. But I wonder. I wonder if that's just lip service, and if behind the scenes Apple is saying they have to adhere to US law, right? Do you trust your iPhone, Devindra? Do you feel like no one can spy on what you're doing on your iPhone?
Devindra: It's tough. I assume if somebody in the government really wanted to get access to something that they could. I also have a corporate profile on my iPhone so I can access my enterprise mail and my IT department can do a lot of things on my phone. We make these concessions all the time, but the scary things are what can the government do that maybe Apple or other companies aren't telling us about.
Leo: Here's the information that you are talking about, Patrick. How Paris, ISIS, may have used PlayStation 4 to discuss and plan attacks. This information comes from Belgium; the federal home affairs minister said that the PS4 is used by ISIS agents to communicate. It was selected due to the fact that it is notoriously hard to monitor. He said it's even more difficult to keep track of than WhatsApp.
Patrick: So let's ban PS4s everywhere.
Leo: Yeah. It said that it's Sony's problem, Sony's fault. What do they do? They go into a World of Warcraft game? I think they might. According to documents leaked by Snowden in 2013, the NSA and CIA embedded themselves in World of Warcraft to infiltrate virtual terrorist meetups.
Patrick: I think that's what you have to do. What are you going to do? I think one of the pieces of information that came out of this was that obviously they don't want to admit to it, but they have so much information, they don't know what to do with it. I guess it's for reviewing after the fact if something happens.
Leo: If I were a terrorist, I probably wouldn't be in World of Warcraft or Call of Duty. I would do something like Super Mario Kart. It seems less likely that people are going to be looking for me there.
Jennifer: I think they're going to continue to find ways to innovate. They're going to try to... they understand now a bit of what the government is doing in terms of monitoring them, and they're going to get creative. They have to. Whether it's going on Playstation or finding a different way or trying to stay off the Internet as much as possible, they're going to do it.
Leo: Bottom line, it's not OK to weaken privacy, to weaken encryption, to give bad guys back doors to our stuff, because you have a hard time following these terrorists. It doesn't matter. You're still going to have a hard time anyway.
Patrick: They're just going to go back to phones, they're going to call each other on their phones.
Leo: Even the bad guys in the Wire knew you don't talk on the phone. For crying out loud.
Jeff: They'll use Windows phones. Nobody would ever guess that.
Leo: All right. Or maybe that Blackberry Priv. If I were a terrorist, that's what I would go with. Blackberry Priv.
Jennifer: No one would suspect.
Leo: No one would suspect in a million years. I don't want to belabor the point, but I think there are a lot of great and interesting tech angles. I'm glad that we can get you in here, Patrick, to give us the first person experience. What's it like in Paris toinght?
Patrick; I just came from the airport.
Leo: Was it difficult to get into and out of?
Patrick: No. It was fine. I think it's going to be relatively normal. I think there's a lot of people... my concern is not with Paris itself. I think Paris is going to be fine. We already had Parisians back in the terraces yesterday basically flipping people off. BuzzFeed did an article asking them what they have to say to terrorists. How are you living your life? They were virtually giving terrorists the finger and they were enjoying their coffees and beers at the terraces. The real concern is more on the policy side of things. Obviously the privacy side of thing and how things are going to evolve with Assad and the military and the privacy options and things like that. Paris seemed relatively normal. It was easy to get in, there weren't any issues at the airport.
Jeff: That's not normal at De Gaul.
Leo: The worst airport, I'll tell you. You know what's fascinating to me? This raises an interesting question for BuzzFeed. How do you simultaneously do viral listicles and real news. They're trying to do both.
Patrick: Actually, I can't remember if it was there that I saw that article.
Leo: There are articles like that on BuzzFeed.
Patrick: There was one about the rumors, and it was great and semi investigative. They were making a list of all the rumors that were floating around.
Leo: Here's one I fell for. The Eiffel Tower went dark. No, it didn't happen. I fell for that one. I thought for sure it happened. At least I didn't retweet it. They turn them off at 1 AM anyway.
Jeff: Stupid Washington Post did that, people were fooled and the example they used is a certain parody account that I refuse to name.
Leo: Oh really? Was he fooled? Let's hope he was fooled.
Jeff: So they got pawned by a pawner.
Leo: That's terrible.
Jeff: Washington Post for god sakes.
Leo: I'm going to take it back. This is a great listicle from BuzzFeed. The things that people believe that didn't happen. I think that's appropriate.
Devindra: It's more useful than some of their other listicles. It's weird when you go to the BuzzFeed homepage, they're still highlighting the viral-y types of articles and you have to click on another button to go to BuzzFeed news. I feel like after a certain point, let's just call BuzzFeed News something else, because it is something totally different than what BuzzFeed ever was.
Jeff: I agree.
Jennifer: They are really getting more serious though. I was thinking that the other day. I feel like BuzzFeed to start was always listicles and things like that and I remember three years ago sharing 20 things to do when you're under 30, things like that. I think I go to BuzzFeed more for the news now.
Leo: Is that Jennifer's mic that's starting to crackle? I don't know. Unplug it and plug it back in. Sometimes that happens. OK. Admittedly, this isn't good news, but it's actually a perfect listicle, because it's timely, it's about the news, it informs you, and you can mock somebody. Which is really what it's all about, right? This picture doesn't show a march in Germany expressing solidarity with the French, like DJ V girl tweets, it's actually from an anti-immigration event in January. One March looks much like another. I don't blame her for getting that wrong. Were the terrorists... do we know using Twitter and Facebook? I know there was some jubilation from various Daesh accounts on Twitter.
Patrick: No, I don't know that they were. I think it's taken a little bit, I think a day for Daesh to actually claim responsibility for those attacks. I don't think there's been a huge amount of activity. Actually, we didn't have a lot of information on the terrorists, which led to some pretty ethical work by the journalists. My first fear was that they were going to plaster the airwaves with their faces and names in the way that is the most harmful to...
Leo: Let's not do that.
Patrick: Exactly. We don't know. It's terrible. Most of them blew themselves up, so we really didn't know anything and we still don't know much at this point. I don't think they used social media a lot. My theory, and this is completely personal. I'm not even sure how much of all of this is geared towards the west or towards France. I think Daesh is currently in a relatively tight spot. They're losing ground to some of their enemies in locally, and this is a recruitment tool that they made to distract the world from the fact that they are not as powerful as they were a few months ago. And to get people to join them in some parts of the world that are more susceptible to these kinds of things.
Leo: Nice things is you can recycle when these events happen close together, a lot of these Tweets and images are from the Charlie Hebdo attack, including this one which I saw quite a bit on Twitter. That's from January. Not recent, although the sentiment still applies.
Devindra: Did you get the New York Times Push update about France attacking ISIS targets in Syria? That was a little chilling. Of course. If this were a novel or a movie, this is the plot point advancing quickly, and that was scary because it seemed very typical.
Leo: The news is a video game now, and we're all players, which I don't think is necessarily a good thing. Let's take a break. We can talk about things, nice things. iPad pro, a 4 inch iPhone, things like that. The Steve Jobs movie, bombing Did you like it, Devindra?
Devindra: I loved it.
Devindra: Most of the tech world doesn't. I wrote an article at Engadget on why people were wrong. I thought it was a tremendous film. It's not completely accurate, but most biopics aren't.
Leo: You enjoyed it as a work of art.
Devindra: As a piece of art. It's much more interesting than trying to re-has Steve Jobs life from beginning to end. It's a really artistic, dramatic, almost Shakespearian take on that story.
Leo: It felt very Shakespearian.
Jeff: I however am delighted that it failed and is out of the theaters. I think it was a piece of junk. We can disagree about that.
Leo: Me too. It comes down to, and I think reasonable people can disagree, it comes down to whether you like Aaron Sorkin or not. I like early Aaron Sorkin, less fond of late Aaron Sorkin.
Devindra: The News room is a lot of fun, but it's not the most accurate portrayal of the news.
Leo: Not even close, and it's sexist to boot. Don't get me started.
Devindra: The Social Network was a much bigger problem. Oscar Nominee and Oscar winning in many respects was far more fantastical about its story than Steve Jobs was. Steve Jobs took real events and mashed them into a very tight time frame. It was a lot more true to Steve Jobs than the Social Network was to Zuckerberg and that whole story.
Leo: It's funny that you mention Shakespeare and you say Julius Caesar was... I said the same thing to Danny Boyle. I interviewed Danny Boyle a couple weeks ago. I imagine the family of Richard III wasn't too happy about that portrayal either. At least Shakespeare had the good sense not to write about people who were recently alive and many friends were still alive. That's always a risky thing to do.
Devindra: History is moving too quickly, so I could understand the inherent pushback of doing a Steve Jobs biopic with this.
Leo: I would have enjoyed it if they had thinly veiled it as Steve Jobsky. Steve Mobs. I wouldn't have minded that much. I'm sure you also, Devindra, we know a lot of these people and I feel bad for them.
Devindra: Yeah. I think what was most interesting is that Brennan Jobs talked with Aaron Sorkin. This movie has her perspective. I've read all the Steve Jobs biographies so far and she has refused to talk to anybody including Walter Isaacson, who has made Apple approved biography, the Steve Jobs biography and she didn't even talk to him. I think the film has other things to say.
Leo: Yeah. It's interesting. I have to admit that that is the most reprehensible, anecdote in Steve Jobs life, how he denied his daughter for so long.
Jeff: Except the movie doesn't show that she's living with Steve Jobs.
Leo: I mentioned this before in 94, I spent a long weekend with Steve. Reid and just been born, and Lisa and they were a loving family, and this was of course very different from the portrayal in the movie. On the other hand, Jobs is so venerated, very few people ever want to talk about this issue, and it is pretty reprehensible.
Patrick: I don't know that that's the case. Maybe in the general media, but I feel like everyone...
Leo: We all know it, but we don't want to talk about it. We want to talk about his successes and how he was tough but fair. It's all mythos. It's all made up. A human being is far too complex, especially a genius like Jobs. Far too complex to portray in a movie, a book, or anything, I think. I don't feel like I'm any closer to understanding Steve than I ever was, frankly. Let's take a break. How about that. Just trying to manage our time. So much to talk about today. I want to talk about the FBI paying millions of dollars to Carnegie Mellon to break tour for months. Months! Talk about an overreach! But first let's talk about my mattress, because that's much more peaceful and restful and nice, and I have a very nice mattress. His name is Casper. Casper the friendly mattress. Casper is a site. Casper.com where you can go and get American made mattresses, premium mattresses for a fraction of the price you would pay if you went to a mattress store. That's because they eliminate the middle man. The mattress store markup is massive! You can do better. Casper's mattress is obsessively engineered. They use latex and memory foam to give you great support. I like a firm mattress, but they give too. Lisa likes to give a little bit. We both love our Casper mattress, and I think you will love yours too. Now the challenge of course is how do you sell direct from Casper? People want to try before they buy. We're all used to going to the mattress store and lying uncomfortably on a mattress with our shoes on, and the sales girl giving us the stink eye trying to imagine what it would be like to sleep on this every night for the rest of our lives, it's not a good system at all. The way that Casper works, you order it. It comes in a box, surprisingly compact box, you open it up. It's so comfortable! Now you have a hundred nights to decide! This is the trial period. 100 nights, if any time in those first hundred nights you say it's not for me, they'll come and get it and refund you every penny, so you can try before you buy for 100 nights, really the best way to do it. Lying in a bed in a store has no correlation to how you're going to like that mattress. I was talking to my son Henry. We sent him a Casper last year when he was a sophomore in college and he lived on the third floor. It came in a nice compact box, he could get up there, loved it. He moved it to his new apartment. I said, you're going to take it with you because he's moving again. He said yeah. It's seen a little action, I think I might get a new one. I think that's probably a good idea. The nice thing about Casper is it's easy, it's affordable. 500 for a Twin, 950 for the King size. Just compare that, even the best sales at the mattress store down the street, and you're going to save an additional 50 dollars just by using the promo code TWiT. Casper.com/twit. We're learning more and more that a good night's sleep impacts everything, including your health! Your well-being. Get a better night's sleep. Better sleep for brighter days at casper.com/Twit. Don't forget the promo code TWiT. How are you feeling, Jeff? Are you getting a little woozy? A little tired?
Jeff: I'm doing all right. I'm still there.
Leo: Patrick, you're OK?
Patrick: Yeah. I was in Finland.
Leo: What were you doing in Helsinki?
Patrick: Another sad event. There was a death in my family.
Leo: I'm sorry.
Patrick: My Grandmother. Long and happy life. It was OK.
Leo: Is your wife Finnish?
Patrick: Yes. She's a Swedish speaking Finn, so they actually have a Swedish-speaking minority and Finland has two official languages. I arrived the day after the Slush festival, which has become a big tech event in Finland. It's one of the biggest, if not the biggest in the Nordic region and they call it Slush because of the Snow and lovely weather.
Leo: It's really appealing. I can't wait to go to the Slush. Slush 2015 at Slush.org. I guess if you live in Slush, you've got to celebrate the Slush.
Patrick: It's becoming a thing.
Leo: Look who they had. Wow. What a great panel. Were you invited to that, Mr. Jarvis? It seems like this...
Jeff: No. I saw Katarina before. Katarina lives half the time in Finland now.
Leo: She does?
Jeff: Yeah. She's learning Finnish.
Leo: That's an interesting pursuit. It's a difficult language.
Jeff: There's nothing to grab onto at all.
Leo: Nothing at all. And only 45 million people speak it, so why not? Why not. The nice thing about Finland and Sweden is everybody speaks perfect English. It's remarkable. It makes me feel like a slacker, to be honest. Maybe that's why Katarina is learning Finnish. No one can call you a slacker if you learn Finnish. So Carnegie Mellon. This is crazy. I'm going to try to get this right. Correct me if I got the details or the facts wrong. According to the Tour project, the FBI wanted to uncloak users of the Tour network. It's an anonomyzing network, the Onion router used by the Silk Road. Apparently that was one of the people they wanted to catch was one of the people involved with the new Silk Road. They're also going after a child pornographer. Nothing wrong with that. They went to Carnegie Mellon researchers to crack towards anonomyzing network and according to the Tour project, paid CMU a million dollars so I guess they wanted to know how to do it, the FBI wanted to know how to do it, so they paid CMU a million dollars… Of course the issue is, yea this is great. They caught the bad guys. But during the period when Tor was de-anonymized, many thousands of people used it and their privacy was nonexistent. There was no warrant or there’s no indication that there was a warrant. According to the Tor Project there was no institutional oversight by Carnegie Mellon’s institutional review board. They were paid by the FBI to attach hidden services then sift through the data to find people they could accuse of crimes. So that’s another issue that I’m not sure about but the other issue would be, was it a fishing expedition. Hey, just see what you can find in there. Or were they actually going after this Brian Richard Farrell?
Jeff: What’s changed since? Is this an exploit that’s still possible?
Leo: That’s a good question. That’s a good question. I don’t get the impression that it’s ongoing. The Tor project noticed in July a group of malicious relays, that’s the best way to crack Tor, were trying to pick out people who were looking for hidden services, sites hosted on Tor like Facebook.onion. They used a mix of nodes and exit relays along with some vulnerabilities in the network protocol that allowed for users real IP addresses to be discovered. Those relays were subsequently removed by the Tor project.
Jeff: Oh, ok.
Patrick: How is this different from the FBI or anyone else exploiting a flaw in protocol to peek into a secure network?
Leo: Huge difference. Because if the FBI is going after somebody and trying to gather evidence and does in fact, I guess we know this does happen, use exploit zero day flaws and stuff to go after this person, they’re presumably A. doing that with a warrant. It’s a kind of wiretapping. And B. it’s targeted. This is more like a fishing expedition. This net caught anybody who used those relays. And it was run for a period I think of 4 or 5 months.
Jennifer: I feel like this is the typical fallout of government surveillance. Generally you’re always going to have people—well the government’s going to say that innocent bystanders are going to be by-product of what they’re trying to do.
Leo: Collateral damage.
Leo: Matthew Green, who’s a really great cryptographer, one of the really the thought leaders in this field, he’s a professor at John Hopkins, wrote an article about why the Tor attack matters on Wednesday. And that’s the point he makes. Is the collateral damage. I mean nobody’s going to argue that you shouldn’t go after somebody possessing child pornography or staff members at Silk Road 2.0. But he says, “There’s no reason to believe the defendants were the only people affected. If the details of the attack were as we understand them, a group of academic researchers deliberately took control of a significant portion of the Tor network without oversight. This attack ran for 5 months. Potentially de-anonymized thousands of users who depend on Tor to protect them from serious harm.”
Jeff: And they took money for it.
Leo: And they took a million dollars for it. This is similar to RSA taking money from the NSA. Or was it the NSA paid NIST, who was it? To recommend a broken protocol. That’s a story. This is an old story, but that’s a story. It’s a—NIST, The National Institute of Standards and Time, is that it? And the NSA were in cahoots to promote a weak crypto-standard hoping that bad guys would use it. And—
Patrick: You know, it’s—
Leo: Go ahead.
Patrick: I was going to refer to something you said in passing at the beginning of the show. You mentioned The Wire, the TV show. And I think it can put a little bit of focus on something that it seems, that seems like a completely foreign subject or right to us now. You know, go watch The Wire again and you’ll see how difficult it is for police forces to go and listen.
Leo: Right. It should be.
Patrick: And that’s what I don’t understand. When did we go—was it 9-11? I don’t know.
Patrick: When did it go from it has to be difficult for the police—because it’s not like, in The Wire. I know it’s a work of fiction but it used elements of reality. It’s not like, you know, the people they were spying on were evading tax. They were actually selling drugs that were killing kids, you know. And probably, I’m going to say something a little bit controversial, but I think factually it’s probably true, they were probably making more damage to American society than—
Leo: The terrorists. Yea.
Patrick: The terrorists actually did if you count in a cold manner the number of dead. So how did it work that we actually went from, it has to be somewhat difficult, we have to have protections for people and make that job reasonably difficult. We have to have a warrant to we can pay, you know, we can inject bad certificates or we can pay a Carnegie Mellon to de-anonymize the Tor network? I don’t understand how we jumped that shark. This is society.
Devindra: It felt exactly like that feeling you had, Patrick, right, that ok, let the government survey, surveil everything, right, because maybe that would help prevent another attack. And yea, after 9-11 I was in college when that happened and my college experience was basically colored by our response to 9-11 and it’s crazy to see how this entire country went from you know, a place where police had to go through a lot of legwork to get surveillance done to where it was basically our first response was to just do whatever it takes to catch people. And I’m worried now, like especially after the Paris attacks that we’re going to see something similar happening.
Leo: Jeff Jarvis, if anyone would have standing to say, “Hey, go get those bad guys,” it’s you. I mean you came very narrowly close to being killed in 9-11 yourself. And I know that you know people who were. And you in fact have suffered health problems that might be attributed to 9-11. Do you feel like, never again, whatever it takes, let’s go get those guys?
Jeff: No, and I confess I did go through a bit of that afterwards. I went from being a pacifist to a hawk. But we have to have standards in a democratic society. And we have to stand by those. And we can’t be run by just the exceptions. And, and you know being able to keep secrets and have privacy and to encrypt is part of what we need to be able to have in an open and free society. If you cannot presume that something is secure than nothing is secure. So we need that as a society. And then, and then yea, we have a system of warrants that enable the government to go after the bad guys. You know when The New York Times first started working on the warrantless wiretaps that Snowden ended up revealing so much, I thought wrongly at first, “Well this is perhaps just to get the base data to see the exceptions.” But no, it was tapping into our very internet. It was tapping into the core. It was lying to us about what was happening. We have no faith in our government right now. Whenever I go speak abroad I joke about apologizing for the NSA. These days now I apologize for Donald Trump, but that’s another story
Leo: (Laughing). It has a negative effect too on our own security. You know this, when the NSA co-opted the RSA with the $10 million dollar payment to promote a weakened crypto-standard, that crypto-standard is still in our browsers and still to this day, years later, is a weakness. A weakness that companies like Microsoft and Google have been trying very hard to banish from the browsers. That’s there because the RSA took $10 million dollars from the NSA to put it in there.
Jeff: A moral has it if there ever was one.
Leo: Yea, no kidding.
Devindra: But you’re totally fine.
Leo: Now, here’s one that’s a little harder to justify but I think we can make a strong case. According to The Intercept, 70 million prisoner’s phone calls have been tapped. An anonymous hacker believes that Securus is violating constitutional rights of inmates has released information that says 70 million phone calls placed by prisoners in 37 states. Now you might say, “Well, they’re prisoners. Screw ‘em.” But many of those phone calls were to their attorneys.
Jeff: That’s the key.
Leo: Constitutionally protected.
Jeff: I don’t know whether they have a right to phone calls in general, but phone calls to attorneys are privileged. Period. Full stop.
Leo: Yea. This is by the way another whistle blower who said, “Hey this is not right. I’m going to talk about this.”
Patrick: It feels—there are so many things that don’t feel right. You know ever since we’ve started to have serious problems with all of these consequences of the terrorist attacks, I’ve been thinking a lot about Master Yoda of all people. You know what he says? He says a bunch of things we conclude which with I think fear leads to the dark side. And it’s a pop culture reference which as with many pop culture references have a lot of truth, right?
Leo: Yea, it’s true though.
Patrick: These terrorists cannot defeat us militarily. It just, they can’t. They don’t have the resources, they cannot kill enough of us to make an impact. They can, what they can do is make us afraid so we will change who we are. And that’s exactly what the venerable and fictional Master Yoda was saying. Fear leads to the dark side. And I think that’s what we’re seeing. We’re afraid so we’re making decisions. That is making us you know, changing who we are. And I think not for the better.
Jennifer: And you’ve been seeing that happening constantly. It’s 9-11 and people are so quick to just want to say that surveillance should be the end all because you know, that’s how we protect ourselves. But you do have to have some kinds of standards there and after what happened in Paris, it’s I’m sure a lot of people are going to, you know, come back on that a little bit. But like you said, it’s important to remember that that terrorism instills fear. Terror. That’s what it is.
Leo: Yea. Remember that when the knee-jerk happens because it’s about to. Well we’re already seeing it.
Devindra: I’m always interested in how pop culture responds to like real world events and you know, the state of the culture right now. And it’s funny how surveillance is like one of the prevailing plot points in movies, in TV shows these days. And not just like things really into spying. Even the latest like James Bond is all about the whole global surveillance network and how that could be used badly. And it’s almost to the point where we’re getting sick of it where it feels like all these movies are just recycling the same idea. But it also feels like as a culture we have something to work through because like we’re feeling this. And we don’t know what’s going on with all the surveillance around us.
Jennifer: I thought Spectre was interesting getting on James Bond because—
Devindra: It’s a terrible movie.
Jennifer: I know that people think it’s a terrible movie but—
Leo: Wait a minute. You liked the Steve Jobs movie but you hated the James Bond movie? What are you crazy?
Devindra: Spectre. Because Spectre was so mad because I loved Skyfall and Spectre was so boring but—
Leo: Oh, I hated Skyfall.
Devindra: Go ahead.
Jeff: It got good reviews in Britain.
Jennifer: It was a good portrayal though of how government surveillance gone bad. And they had people at the highest levels of government trying to spy on people for the greater good. And it just showed, you know, maybe in not the best way, but it made its point that that’s a necessarily good thing always.
Leo: Yea. So should I see it?
Devindra: You should see it. It’s very pretty but—
Leo: I’ve seen every James Bond movie. I guess I should go see that one.
Devindra: It feels like—I’m a big Daniel Craig fan as James Bond.
Leo: Me too. Me too.
Devindra: And it feels like they’ve gone all the way back to like Pierce Bronson, the not so great Bonds because all the camp is back. None of the like great tension or like psychological drama like Daniel Craig’s movies have had except for Quantum of Solace but you know.
Jeff: It’s funny the British papers love it. The Americans hated it.
Leo: Why do you think that is?
Jennifer: It’s two and a half hours of entertainment. That’s what you have to understand.
Leo: I’m told that the opening sequence, you know all the James Bond movies before the credits begin with a chase seen of something. And I’m told that that’s a really good one.
Jennifer: I thought it was good.
Devindra: I have a lot of feelings on that but yea, it’s pretty good.
Leo: (Laughing) Devindra. Come on. Let it out.
Devindra: It’s a helicopter fight but it’s boring. How do you make a James Bond helicopter fight boring?
Leo: You were actually bored, huh? Wow.
Jennifer: I can’t believe you thought that was boring.
Jeff: I don’t know, Devindra, you liked the Steve Jobs movie.
Devindra: I like, I like good action movies. That one felt like it was a helicopter fight that felt like it went on for like a minutes or two minutes too long. There’s a great chase, or there’s a chase scene in that movie where they’re driving super cars in you know, the streets of Rome or something. And even that’s like very slow and very boring. So I don’t know, that movie—
Leo: I’m always bored by car chases. They feel so—
Devindra: You can do car chases badly.
Leo: They feel so obligatory.
Leo: The only good one that I remember at all was the one where they had all the mini Coopers. Was it The Italian Job?
Devindra: Hmm mmm. The Italian Job remake, yea.
Patrick: It was The Italian job, yea.
Leo: That was comic.
Devindra: Yea, the Bourne Supremacy’s car chase, the one with the taxi and the—
Leo: And the motorcycle? Yea.
Devindra: Yea well there is the taxi versus the SUV but you know.
Leo: I don’t remember that one.
Devindra: Listen to my film podcast for that.
Leo: Oh that’s right. No wonder we’re talking about this. You do a film podcast.
Devindra: That’s what I do. Slashfilm.com.
Leo: That’s what you do?
Devindra: As a side thing.
Leo: Are you giving up Engadget? Oh, ok, alright.
Devindra: I have many, I have my fingers in many pies, yea.
Leo: Well, what Jennifer does is cover finance at Market Watch and Tech. You’re the tech reporter. But I imagine you have some thoughts about this. Mark Andreessen, who I didn’t know this, but an early investor in Facebook.
Jeff: Oh yea.
Leo: Is selling 70% of his stock. What’s up?
Jennifer: Yea he sold it. Over the last two weeks. I don’t know he’s been unloading his shares. You know, no one can say why he’s doing it. Facebook’s up 30% this year so maybe it’s a little bit of profit taking but—
Leo: You don’t think it’s a lack of confidence in Facebook?
Jennifer: People are going to say it’s a lack of confidence. And either way if you’re pulling that much of your money out of Facebook, and you’re an early investor, and he sits on the board also I believe, then yea, that’s going to raise some eyebrows. But it’s also Facebook hasn’t shown many indications of trouble ahead. So it’s an interesting situation and you could say some of it is profit taking. But it does for a lot of people kind of raise some questions as to why he would be doing it right now.
Jeff: He’s also going to return money to investors, right, he’s going to fund. And so—
Leo: Oh, was it funds stock or was it his personal stock?
Jeff: Oh I don’t know which kind it was. But in any case he reinvests. So to me the more interesting question is, where will Mark Andreessen put $160 million dollars next? That’s what’s far more interesting. And yea, he did well in it. And at some point you turn the money around. And that’s what he’s doing.
Jennifer: Yea the stock is doing better now that anyone could possibly—I wrote a story earlier this week about how, you know, all the haters now are talking about how great Facebook is because remember when it went public it had that botched IPO and people were really kind of questioning, there were some analysts that were saying, “Oh we don’t know about this stock.” And here we are 2 years later and it’s doing so well. It’s hitting all-time highs. It’s one of the most valuable companies in the US. Right up there, not too far behind Google and Apple. So I think you know, why not go out when you’re on top? And yea, reinvest that money in somewhere else that may need it.
Leo: Yea I know Facebook’s doing well. I don’t allow myself to buy tech stocks but my wife does. And she’s continually rubbing it in my face how well her Facebook stock is doing (laughing).
Devindra: Maybe Mark Andreessen’s just going to read about this on Twitter or something because, boy, is he a great Twitter-er. So.
Leo: He loves those tweetstorms.
Jennifer: He does love Twitter. Twitter and Periscope. He’s all over it.
Leo: I just, I don’t understand tweetstorms. I think—surely you could write a medium post. It seems like such a bad way—
Patrick: It’s not the same. I think it’s—Twitter is very different and I think that they’re going to be something to allow these kinds of posts to exist on Twitter. I think they need to.
Jeff: I keep Andreessen as a column on Tweet Deck.
Leo: Oh, how funny.
Devindra: It’s the only way to keep up with him.
Jeff: I was at the Foursquare conference, not that Foursquare but the other Foursquare conference in New York which was off the record. But a certain entrepreneur asked how he keeps up with these. He said, “I just watch Mark Andreessen’s Twitter feed. That’s how I keep up on everything.”
Leo: You don’t think that the constraint of 140 characters lends itself to misunderstanding and—
Devindra: Oh, for sure.
Leo: You know missed statements.
Jeff: What doesn’t?
Patrick: That’s why they Tweet storm. That’s why they Tweet storm.
Leo: It’s intentionally cryptic, right?
Jennifer: I think it’s been around long enough to where you understand how to navigate the word limit. And yea, then you have people doing the multiple tweets in a row to tell a story but I think a lot of people are pretty good at being concise nowadays. It’s just—
Leo: He numbers them, doesn’t he?
Jennifer: When he has his tweetstorms he has number 1, number 2 and maybe 15.
Leo: It’s so stupid (laughing). Write a blog post. What is, I don’t, I think that’s just, I don’t get it.
Devindra: It is sort of a way to call people’s attention because then you’re getting immediate feedback to every, you know, the next tweet in your series or something. What’s interesting about Andreessen is that he doesn’t just like shout to the void. Like he’s interacting with people. He replies to people. And not just you know, starred popular people on Twitter or something.
Leo: Well but that’s—ok, well that’s exactly what Twitter’s for and good for. It seems to me writing a long screed on Twitter, number tweets is crazy. Crazy. And now I’ve searched for tweetstorms and I’m finding articles on How to create and deliver tweetstorms the easy way. There you go. Not what we want.
Patrick: No but I think—you know it speaks to the specificity of the ecosystem of Twitter. I think there hasn’t been a social network that is about immediate interaction in the way that Twitter is. Obviously Google Plus is not as successful as Google would have wanted it to be and Facebook has sort of returned a little bit to their, you know, intimate chat with your circle of people origins after trying to have to make everyone public and you know, sharing things publicly to sort of replace Twitter. But it didn’t really work out and now Twitter is left alone in that sphere of very public interaction with people you don’t actually know. And there’s nothing else that does that.
Leo: Dave Winer is apparently, I didn’t realize this, written an app—oh, I’m not authorized to use it.
Leo: What the hell? Leo Laporte is not authorized to use this. Dave? He’s written an app called Little Pork Chop that you design for making tweetstorms. But apparently I’m on the do not tweet list (laughing). That is weird. Dave.
Devindra: You’d probably break it if you tried to use it, Leo.
Leo: Why do you think, who is it that—
Devindra: You have too many followers.
Leo: Yea, who’s—maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s it. Maybe there’s a limit to the number of followers you can have.
Devindra: Yea. The thing about tweetstorming versus like writing a blog post or something, you could do it from anywhere. Like I don’t know how Andreessen tweets so much and where he does it. But you could Tweet anywhere. You can tweet on the toilet.
Leo: In the can. Of course that’s exactly it, yea.
Patrick: Update. Notpatrick is not authorized to use the app either, so. It’s not just you, Leo.
Leo: Well, who is (laughing)? I wonder what’s going on there. So all right. Here it is. This is ridiculous. The world’s largest iPad. We’ll talk about it. And Tim Cook’s desire to basically get you all to stop using computers and start using iPads. Please. The end of the PC era or just ridiculous, I ask you. But first a word from Carbonite. You never know when disaster will strike at work or at home. I had a call on the radio show today. A guy was in his house but he had a visitor that left and didn’t close the door behind him so a homeless couple came in and stole his laptop. He didn’t even see him do it. But I guess he found out later. A homeless couple, and he said, “Hey, can they do anything with my laptop?” And I said, “Well, I just hope you have it backed up with Carbonite.” See, weird stuff happens. Hard drives die, fires, flood, homeless people steal your stuff. And then, especially if you’re in business, you might be out of business. If your accounts receivable and your client list and your supplier lists are all there on your hard drive and you lose that data, boy, it’d be hard to get that back. Now you may be saying, “Well that’s not a problem. I have Joe in accounting go down every week to the external hard drive. He backs the whole thing up. We put it in a closet. See, that’s not it. What if there’s a fire? Then you lose everything including the back up in the closet. Carbonite’s great because it takes your data, all the time, whenever you’re online and it’s continuously backing it up to the cloud. Encrypted channel, encrypted rest. It’s there, it’s in the Carbonite data center. Air conditioned, your data’s relaxing. It’s enjoying a vacation. But the minute you need it, boom, you get it back. You can log onto your Carbonite account on any computer. They have free apps for the iOS and Android. You get your stuff. You can see if it’s there. You can even e-mail it to somebody else. Prepare for the unexpected. Protect your data with secure, automatic, that’s really important, cloud backup from Carbonite. No wonder a million and a half homes and small businesses trust Carbonite to backup their computers and their servers and just keep them in business. You just—it’s like fire insurance. You can’t buy it after you have a fire. You’ve got to do it now. While you’re listening to the show, go to carbonite.com. Use the offer code TWIT you’ll get two free bonus months. And right now they have some very good deals, up to 30% off. Carbonite.com. Use the offer code TWIT. Did any of you get an iPad Pro? Did you rush to the store?
Jeff: I’m waiting to buy the Pixel C.
Leo: I want the Pixel C. But I got the iPad Pro because I, you know, they put it on, Apple put it on sale Wednesday and they said, “You know you can pick it up at the store.” I said, “Oh, I’ll take it.”
Jeff: Nobody else is wanting to get in line for it.
Leo: Apparently there’s not, there wasn’t a long line. This thing is massive. It’s like a tea tray. You could actually serve drinks on it.
Jeff: Leo the butler.
Leo: And then the weird thing is, Apple’s Pencil was not available until next month. So it seems the whole thing about the iPad Pro which is drawing on it is kind of something we just have to wait for. I know. That seems very odd.
Jennifer: Yea I feel like you need the keyboard and the Apple Pencil for it to be a whole package.
Leo: Well I got—ok, so I bought, call me crazy, but I bought, this is a keyboard and cover. Apple was selling this at the store from Logitech. It’s called Create. Apple’s own keyboard is $170 bucks. And it doesn’t have any dedicated iPad keys. This keyboard case was $20 bucks cheaper and it has a home key, a search key—
Jeff: Oh, well then it’s a bargain, Leo.
Leo: It’s a bargain at only $150 bucks.
Devindra: The keyboard looks a lot better too, yea.
Leo: Well, you know when you look at this, this thing is heavier than a MacBook, like a lot. Thicker than a MacBook. I don’t know why you would use this instead of any laptop frankly. I mean I guess because of the touch, right? And Apple steadfastly refuses to put touch on its OS10 stuff. So, but that’s the big difference. You’ve got touch and you’ve got a fingerprint reader which is—
Jeff: What’s the battery life like?
Leo: Oh, it’s basically permanent. It’s a forever battery life. The thing is so huge. But now, Devindra, I think Engadget said that despite Apple calling the A9X, the processor in here a desktop class, you guys said it’s not.
Devindra: Yea as far as I can tell. I actually haven’t read that piece yet.
Leo: Oh, well I did.
Devindra: It’s from our UK folks.
Leo: Oh, ok.
Devindra: Yea, but just from what we’ve seen and what I’ve been reading you know, all around the web, it’s nothing too special. And there’s some benchmarks that have been comparing it to things like current Intel chips or something, but they’re not like, Apple. It’s sort of like an apples and oranges comparison because they’re comparing mobile code versus desktop code and it’s very different.
Leo: Yea, this is an ARM processor, right? Apple—it’s very aspirational for them to say, “Oh the post PC future and now you can—who needs a PC because you’ve got this?” I like touch. I really like my Surface Book because I can use a pen, I can touch. But I can also use it as a real laptop. It’s a great—I have to say, Patrick, you’ll appreciate this, it’s a great gaming platform. Except that so far nobody’s designed games to take advantage of the real estate so all you get is a blown up game. But I think you know, for Goat Simulator, this is, this is awesome.
Jeff: Well, that makes it worth it.
Leo: Yea. It’s definitely, it’s definitely a Goat—
Devindra: Throw away your laptop for this.
Leo: Yea, yea. I’m not going to get too much done.
Patrick: Great gaming platform. Great gaming platform. You’re playing a little bit fast and loose with that term there, Leo.
Leo: (Laughing) well, it’s a pretty screen. You can’t deny that. Touch is nice. Oh it’s great. You want to play Clash of Clans? Come on. Now we’re talking.
Patrick: I thought we were, I thought we were joking about the actual games. I’m sorry, I must have misunderstood.
Leo: (Laughing) oh, don’t be. I did this. I got in trouble for saying Clash of Clans wasn’t a real game.
Patrick: Oh, I know, I know.
Leo: It’s a real game.
Patrick: It’s actually a pretty fun game. I’ve played it for a few months.
Leo: You don’t work at Blizzard anymore, do you? Did you leave?
Patrick: Yea, I actually left about a year ago to become a podcaster, so.
Leo: Oh, a year ago, never mind. But Patrick comes from a gaming background so that’s all I’m bringing it up for that reason.
Patrick: Yes. Yea, yea of course. I’ve worked at Blizzard for 5 years and I’m a big, a big gaming fan.
Leo: The sound is good. The sound is good though. It’s got 4 speakers. Very nice, rich sound. I can’t see- this was $1,000 minus the keyboard. Eesh.
Patrick: You know I think a lot of people in our circles are looking at this and sort of bewildered by basically the target for it. Including me. Honestly I’m not sure who it is for. But I think that you were talking about desperations. I think that these devices, and that includes the Pixel C, are very different from the Surface Pro because they’re trying to bring the strengths of a mobile OS, of iOS, to a more work like environment. And the strengths are simplicity and ease of use and things that aren’t as obvious for you know, that don’t really exist as much in a desktop OS. And that’s why I don’t think they will ever merge iOS and Mac OS. These are two different approaches. The game is to try to make iOS capable enough that it will be able to accomplish a lot of work tasks without making it as complex as a classic desktop OS. And that’s the ultimate goal. If they manage to do it, I think there might be a lot of people who are interested in getting an iOS device, the big iPad Pro for example so they don’t have to worry about managing a full desktop OS. I’m not sure that the current iPad Pro and iOS 9 are quite there yet, though.
Devindra: This feels almost like a, like a perfect type of an idea, right. Like the iPhone 6C. Let’s like get another iPhone out there that’s plastic and maybe a little cheaper to make and maybe market it to some folks and see if anybody bites. Now nobody really bit on that. This feels similar in a way. But yea, the idea of tablets ultimately becoming more productive, which by the way something that Microsoft has been touting for a long time. I actually really like the new Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book.
Leo: I love my Surface Book.
Devindra: It’s so good. It’s amazing.
Leo: It makes me feel like I wish Apple would just do a MacBook with touch because I think that’s perfect.
Devindra: Yea. But I think that this is—Apple’s so far down. You know they’re just into deep. iOS has been all their touch innovation. OSX honestly as great as it is, I use it on my work computer, it still looks basically the same as it did when it came out when, in 2001? Like they’re really dedicated to this desktop interface. I’m wondering if like we’ll ever see another full-fledged desktop OS that doesn’t look like anything from OSX from Apple, or is the goal to just push iOS to actually be that thing and keep this, you know, OSX design is their main desktop interface going forward.
Patrick: I think, you know, imagine if iOS was pushed enough, as I was saying, that it could do everything you need. Because I’m guessing, Leo, you can’t do everything you need.
Leo: It’s an iPad. There’s no file system, there’s no, you know.
Patrick: Exactly. Well, I mean with the cloud there is kind of a simile. It’s better now than iCloud was you know, three years ago, but—
Leo: And I’m doing the split, I’m doing the split screen so it has a very primitive form of windowing. Tiling you know?
Patrick: So if it could do everything you could while retaining a lot of the simplicity of iOS, couldn’t you imagine using this rather than the full-fledged desktop OS which is complicated to manage and to update and—
Leo: Yea, for my mom. I shouldn’t say that. It’s sexist. For my dad. For people whose needs are few.
Devindra: Now it’s ageist.
Leo: Now it’s ageist. For my 4 year old. I don’t know (laughing).
Devindra: Still ageist. But yea.
Jennifer: Either way though it’s not there yet.
Leo: It’s not there yet. So Jennifer, you don’t look at this and go, “Oh, gotta get one?”
Jennifer: (Laughing) no, not yet. Well I think part of the, I believe that you can’t have more than one of the same app open so I feel like that could be annoying. And also I will say that Joanna, WSJ’S Joanna Stern reviewed it and she said she was able to export video faster on the Pro than she was on a MacBook. But for the most part though, I still think you’re more efficient, at least I feel like I would be more efficient having a full laptop rather than, rather than how that’s setup with the mobile operating system
Leo: Yea, so see I have Word open over here and I now can’t go back to Word over here. So I think you’re right. You can only have one instance of any program. This is just—
Jennifer: And I’m sure they’ll work on that.
Leo: But Jeff, you, you know, I feel like there is a certain masochistic thing where I see people like Christina Warren and Joanna saying, “I’m going to use this as my only computer for a while.” And yea, of course you could do that. But it’s a little masochistic. It’s like, yea but it’s going to be a little bit of a struggle. Why not just use a laptop? But you’re doing that with a Chromebook, Jeff and you’re very happy.
Jeff: Yea but that’s a real laptop and it has a real file structure and I can get to documents and I can use it off-line. And I can open multiple things in it and the browser works well. I’m going to try the Pixel C but I’m kind of dreading that. I just finally, I didn’t want to take my new Pixel 6P to Africa with me in case I drop it in the water or—
Leo: Yea, the Nexus.
Jeff: Nexus, I’m sorry. I just got it going this weekend and trying to find where the heck the screenshot goes and this and that. It’s a pain on mobile OS.
Leo: It is. It’s so much—a desktop—I don’t think—while I’ve said many times, “We are in a post PC era,” I want to revise that. Not everybody, not all of us are. I really like having a computer.
Devindra: We’re in a transition period right now. And all these companies are trying to figure it out. But yea, I guess it will be interesting to see. I really like the Surface Pro for. Like I liked the Surface Pro 4 but it had some issues. Pro 4 is just like, it’s incredible what Microsoft packed into something that’s under 2 pounds. I only hope like eventually they could figure out the pricing and get the keyboard in that Surface pricing because right now it’s still kind of, it feels like a rip-off in a way.
Leo: I love what Steve Wozniak, who never wants to say anything bad about anybody or anything. They asked him at the New Relic conference what he thinks of the iPad Pro. And he just said, “Well, I’m more of a laptop based guy.” (Laughing).
Patrick: But you know I think, I think that’s the case for all of us. And you said, “I love my computer. I love my Surface Book.”
Leo: I do.
Patrick: We do. We—I would never give up my PC for anything in the world. Most people hate computers. They’re foreign, they don’t know how to use them, they’re confused when there’s an update that comes up and then Windows gets updated to Windows 10 when they didn’t ask it to do that. And you know, it’s very complicated to use. But they love their phone because it’s simple. They don’t have to worry about that.
Jeff: Yea and having just come from time in two countries in Africa and two in Latin America. It just really, really hits you how much mobile is it. And they suffer because it’s 3G and it’s slow. You look at things like Google Amp and Instant Articles and it speeds things up but the phone is that future. You go to Google, I mean the last three years of Google I tried to complain about the things that weren’t in the web. And they said, “Web? Web? Why would we bother with that?” The future is mobile and I think perhaps we in the US are just kind of hanging on to an anachronistic past of the PC.
Jennifer: I also think it depends on what you use it for. Because I mean if you do a lot of work on your PC and I mean I do a lot of writing obviously and research and I like to have multiple things open, even multiple things if possible, and that’s just easier on a desktop right now. And I definitely understand the need to have a mobile experience. And even when I go to events I bring my laptop but it can be cumbersome and just takes longer to boot and there’s various, it eats battery. But right now you’re right. Maybe I am holding on to it but I do find it more efficient though.
Leo: It’s great for trying Fallout Shelter.
Patrick: Fallout Shelter, yea, that really makes it shine. But you know, one great Steve said a while ago, he sees them, you know, the PCs as trucks. They’re not going away. And I don’t know, you know if it’s going to happen but I’m joking obviously. But that’s I think what we’re kind of saying here. We’re, all of us here, and people who actually need those more heavy duty devices are going to stay on full desktop OSs but maybe not everyone needs one.
Leo: There are some, there are specialized uses. My, Lisa wants to use this a second screen which an iPad does quite well on a Macintosh. And it’s fine, this is big enough, it actually would make sense as a second screen, 12.9”. And it’s a good screen. I mean I just also feel like though, Apple didn’t do a whole lot to accommodate this larger screen. These icons, look at how spaced out they are. They, you know, it feels like a blown-up user interface, not really taking great advantage of it. So, I don’t know.
Devindra: It feels really rushed honestly. Like Apple didn’t sit down and, you know, make the software changes that would really make a device like this shine. I’m speaking of this whole crossover between desktop and mobile, I’m real interested in seeing how Microsoft’s Windows 10 phones handle that continuum feature which lets you plug the phone into your monitor and use it as a full desktop. That could be a big thing because a single phone could be a lot more useful to people than, you know, a giant freaking tablet.
Patrick: I disagree with you though, Devindra, that Apple rushed the interface. I think everything that we’ve seen in split view and slide over and all of this was done for this device. It’s been integrated in the previous devices so we sort of know them already but I think everything was done for this. The apps being blown out and not making use of the real estate, that’s exactly how I felt about the 1st iPad and I kind of got used to it. I thought the icons, you know the icons for the app were very small. Yea, I think we’ll get used to that. The simplicity in this case it might be a feature that is willfully designed. It might evolve as well but.
Jeff: I don’t see this thing selling well by any count to be honest.
Leo: I think I just sold it to a bunch of Clash of Clans users (laughing).
Jennifer: But see you’re over here playing games and I just, I don’t think that gamers, a lot of gamers are going to go out of their way to spend all this money on the pro. I feel like Apple at least thinking that it would be for more creative people who will take advantage of the stylus or you know, other people in enterprise or whatever. I just wonder if gamers, or people playing those games are going to spring for the most expensive iPad on the market just for games.
Leo: I am (laughing). I’m sorry. I can stop because I’m not paying any attention at all.
Devindra: For half the price you can get the other, the normal full sized iPad with a keyboard thing and you know, I’ve tried them both side by side and it doesn’t feel like a big enough difference on the gaming one.
Leo: Yea, no Force Touch.
Devindra: Yea, maybe we’ll see things optimized.
Leo: And do you think it’s a gaff, a blunder that they didn’t have the Pencil ready at the same time as they had the tablet ready?
Leo: That’s surprising to me.
Patrick: It’s the first time I think we’ve seen Tim Cook who is a master, a wizard at supply chain sort of not manage to get things out at the same time. I don’t think it’s ever happened before. But you know, it’s a few weeks away.
Leo: I wonder, you’ve got to wonder if something happened, something went wrong and they said, “Oh, crap, you know the top falls off,” or something that we got to go back to the drawing board.
Jennifer: You would have thought they would have made an amount enough to match it with how many iPads they thought they were going to sell.
Leo: Yea, it’s weird.
Patrick: And the difference between this one which is great, a big deal in productivity between this one and the iPad Air 2 which is the only other one that can do the split view currently, so 2 apps side by side is that the screen real estate isn’t big enough for the iPad Air 2 to have iPad mode apps side by side. What I mean by iPad mode is that for example on the let’s take the example of the mail app. You’ll have the list of emails in column on the left and then your email that you have selected to read on the right of that screen. And if you switch that to side by side mode, if you do half and half, you’re going to be in iPhone mode which means you can either have the list of emails or the email you have selected. And the iPad Pro can run 2 full iPad mode apps at the same time. So that, what it actually means is that on the iPad Air 2 you can’t really use it for productivity. That split mode robs you of the big attractive feature of the UI.
Leo: Yea, yea. I’m with you. Yea. Yea, so if you want touch, get a Surface. Seriously. I like Touch. Or get a Pixel. Get a Chromebook Pixel. Jeff, did you say you’re going to buy a Pixel C?
Jeff: Yea, if it ever goes on sale. It’s supposed to be ready before the end of the year, right?
Leo: Before Christmas they said, yea.
Jeff: We’re getting pretty tight here, folks.
Leo: I’m wondering—
Jeff: And that’s not cheap either.
Leo: Do we know what the price is?
Jeff: Oh, yea, they said I think.
Leo: Do you know? Jason Howell, our host of All About Android is slumming on us.
Jason Howell: Yea, still no price on that one.
Jeff: Is slumming with you.
Leo: (Laughing) I feel like the Pixel C is maybe the first look we’re going to get at what could be Android meets Chrome OS. In sense it will be an Android device but it also, when you look at it, it looks a lot like a Surface or an iPad with the keyboard case.
Devindra: The Pixel C by the way is $499 for the 32GB.
Leo: Oh, that’s not bad. That’s not expensive.
Devindra: And then another $150 for the keyboard so.
Leo: Oh, that’s expensive.
Devindra: It’s the Microsoft route.
Jennifer: Still cheaper than the other two, though.
Devindra: Yea, definitely.
Leo: But it’s Android and that’s going to be the interesting thing.
Devindra: We’re also seeing like—
Patrick: Isn’t the Surface the first price is $500 bucks I think?
Leo: Yea, I think the Surface is now—
Devindra: For the plain, yes, the lower end Surface. Not the Surface Pro.
Jennifer: Yea, I’m talking about the most recent.
Leo: Microsoft is not trying to make the Surface an affordable, particularly affordable. Because I think they don’t want to get in the way of their lower end OEMs, right? They’re making a premium device. That’s the market for it.
Devindra: Yea, I don’t know. I’ve talked to a lot of Microsoft reps about what is the deal with Surface Keyboard pricing because it seems that when you get to the point where the Surface Pro 4 is $899 and you have to spend another $130 for the keyboard, a student, somebody who’s been saving up for the Surface might not realize that and it feels a little disingenuous. What’s interesting is that the Surface competitor is coming out from Lenovo and I think HP and Dell as well. Like they’re going to be including their keyboards at prices cheaper or the same as the Surface Pro. So now it’s getting a little weird.
Leo: Yea Microsoft’s careful not to step on their dance partners’ toes too much. So we have to keep it at arm’s length like that. Let’s take a break. When we come back, I want to talk about what at first everybody was all excited that T-Mobile’s offering free streaming, binging on video and then T.C. Sottek writing for The Verge took all the wind out of my sales. T-Mobile, he writes, is writing the manual on how to F up the internet. Is it a net neutrality problem? We’ll talk in just a sec. But first a word from our friends at Citrix. At Citrix GoToMeeting. It is so true nowadays that people are, businesses, companies are distributed all over the place. You know we’re doing app design with people in India and Canada. We’re doing web design with people in Austin. And it’s really important that when you’re doing that that you’re able to have these meetings. This is where you get together, resolve problems. We have a rule. No more than 3 emails back and forth, then you’ve got to have a meeting. Then you’ve got to talk. It’s a way to cut through the Gordian knot and get stuff done. It’s also a great way to brainstorm. A great way to meet people. And you might say, “But you can’t meet people in GoToMeeting.” Yes you can. Because GoToMeeting not only shares screens, but it also shares video, HD quality web cam video that makes it really feel like you’re in the same room. It really is an experience of being together. And you can do it from any computer, tablet, smart phone. No travel, no traffic. You get things done. You’re fast, you’re efficient. GoToMeeting’s awesome. And the nice thing is you can get it going before I’m done talking. Try it free for 30 days, go to the website GoToMeeting.com. Click the try it free button. Honestly, you can have your first meeting up and running in minutes. It’s just that great. And by the way, not hard for your clients to use either and that’s important. You don’t want to—if you’re doing a sales presentation you don’t want to have your client jumping through hoops. They get an invite in the email. They click that, the software downloads instantly. Boom. You’re seeing them, they’re seeing you. You’re on the same page. They’re seeing your PowerPoint. It’s great. GoToMeeting. Try it free today. GoToMeeting.com. John Ledger the CEO of T-Mobile had another big event, their Uncarrier X Event. Anybody go down to that? Was it in Los Angeles? I was invited but I decided to pass. And actually I guess I’m glad I did. This, they announced binge on. So T-Mobile for—and I’m a T-Mobile customer on one of my phones, on my Nexus. No, no that’s a Google Fi Phone. Now I don’t remember. You know what’s annoying? Google Fi uses T-Mobile but you don’t get the benefit of like these, this music stuff and the binge on stuff. You do get the international travel benefit, right? So l like T-Mobile. My iPhone’s on T-Mobile. And at first I thought, “Oh this is great. Because well, I’ve already been using,” when you listen to Spotify or Google Music or Apple Music on your iPhone, it doesn’t count against your data cap, right? You don’t have to pay for it. Now they’re doing the same with Netflix, HBOGO, ESPN, Showtime. Everybody but YouTube. And us. And at first I thought, “Oh, that’s great.” But then I thought a little harder and I realized, “Isn’t that a, isn’t that basically fast lane?”
Jeff: Hmm mmm.
Leo: The scheme is called Zero Rating. And it really is a threat to the open internet. So this is hard because when you’re a consumer you go, “Yea!” But what you forget is that, that favors, and it’s making T-Mobile the judge and jury on this, favors certain incumbents over the other guys. Now I think what we should do as an experiment is apply. As TWiT, right? And say, “We’d like to be part of Binge On.”
Jeff: Ah, yes.
Jennifer: Because that’s how they’re getting around it, right, by saying that anyone, any streaming can be on it. Is that how they’re?
Leo: They say anybody can do it. If you follow their rules.
Patrick: Anybody can—yea, exactly. If anybody could do it, then why don’t they just do it for everyone from the get go? From the, you know—
Devindra: Because then they wouldn’t be able to sell their unlimited data plan for $15 more per month now because of this.
Jeff: So what are the rules?
Leo: I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to apply. One of the things I know they do is they down sample it to 720p. It’s not 1080. So the file sizes are smaller.
Jennifer: See it’s not as high quality.
Leo: yea, but 720’s fine, right? Or no, I’m sorry, it’s not 720. It’s DVD quality. It’s 480.
Jeff: But it’s your phone, so.
Leo: Yea, maybe. Do I have to pay him? I should really apply. Because if it is, if it is really neutral, and anybody who streams could apply, I would want to be on that. That’s the whole net neutrality issue that T-Mobile gets to be the decider on Netflix you’re ok, TWiT, no, you’re not so ok. And if you’re a T-Mobile customer, you’re going to watch a lot more Netflix than you’re going to watch TWiT. It’s the antithesis of net neutrality. All bits are not equal. But good luck convincing anybody of that.
Patrick: So there’s zero rating in some countries is necessary. You know it’s the whole Facebook’s internet for all initiative, right? I think in those cases, there is a heavy debate on whether or not zero rating is ok, and if we can make an exception to net neutrality in those cases. I have a much harder time accepting it in the case of T-Mobile.
Leo: Well, and listen to one of our chatters. Little Bobby Salsa writes “The opposition to Binge On just shows that net neutrality advocates don’t actually care about consumers. They just like criticizing ISPs.” And that’s the problem. It’s hard to explain to people who are getting free stuff why that’s a bad thing.
Patrick: It’s very easy.
Jeff: It’s like the free speech argument almost in a sense where you’re defending something that doesn’t sound right at the first but is necessary as a principle. And everything that’s going on in universities right now, well that hurts our feelings. Well, ok but debate is part of democracy. Well how could you let everybody hurt our feelings? Well, because that’s part of free speech and it becomes a paradoxical argument and the same for this. It’s a paradoxical argument to say that yes, you might not get that Netflix movie for free, but you’re defending a much higher principle.
Leo: Well, and if you want the next Netflix—
Patrick: Exactly. Exactly. It’s basically if those kinds of rules had been put in place at a time when video wasn’t common on the web, YouTube would just not have existed.
Patrick: At all. And very likely, you know, let’s imagine a world where this is the norm. It’s very likely that video streaming on the web would have been made incredibly more difficult and we wouldn’t have Netflix today because as we’ve seen, the ISPs are brought into this level of consumption that the video streaming requires, kicking and screaming, not streaming which would be more appropriate. Kicking and screaming and they have done, now it’s sort of they’ve given up kind of, but they really don’t, didn’t want this to happen. They’ve been fighting Netflix and YouTube and everyone else to not upgrade their infrastructure or to make them pay for those upgrades and I can guarantee you that if that would have been almost impossible. And to those students, tell them if you enjoy Netflix, it’s probably because the open internet and some level of net neutrality has made it possible for an incumbent like Netflix to exist.
Leo: And now they’re going to fall off the ladder. Because they made it. And I think it’s going to be very hard—wouldn’t it be interesting, the FCC has rules against this. It will be very interesting to see is if they see it this way and if they enforce those rules. And I think this is a little, an interesting—ok, you really want a conspiracy theory? A very interesting play to put the FCC in a spot.
Leo: If they enforce this, consumers like Little Bobby Salsa will say, “Hey, I want the free internet stuff. You’re not looking out for my interests.” Because it’s harder to understand the deeper principle and the deeper hazard if you don’t enforce net neutrality.
Patrick: I think we should ask, what’s his name again? Damnit. The newsroom man—
Leo: Will McAvoy? Aaron Sorkin?
Patrick: Yes, no. Aaron Sorkin.
Leo: The face of Aaron Sorkin, Will McAvoy.
Patrick: There you go.
Leo: He’s his mouthpiece.
Patrick: You could make him write a beautiful speech about why, you know, it’s just like—
Leo: That’s why he needs to do this.
Patrick: To defend, to defend the guilty in a court of law so that to protect, the innocent could be protected. That is exactly the kind of argument like working a bad example for the greater good and I think Aaron Sorkin could—
Leo: That’s one speech Aaron Sorkin will never write. I can promise you. He hates the internet.
Jennifer: You know what I think is scary about this also is that a lot not to be, not to subject people to ageism, but a lot of younger people grew up with not as open as a web. And those are the people that are utilizing a lot of these sites, especially YouTube and Netflix and Hulu so that’s what they’re used to. Maybe they don’t really remember a time when it was as open of an internet and maybe they aren’t really bothered by it.
Devindra: Yea but they’re basically reaping the rewards, right, of that past of, you know, before the broadband era really took off like, it took us getting rid of minute fees for internet access and broadband becoming basically unlimited for a lot of people for this innovation to take off. And we’re seeing history sort of repeat itself in mobile, right? Because mobile’s still dealing with these bandwidth caps. We’ve pretty much lost the whole dream of unlimited bandwidth on mobile, even T-Mobile because of this uncarrier move. They quietly raised the price of their unlimited plan by $15 dollars. Now it’s a $95 dollars a month. So that’s the sort of like price you’re paying for something like this to happen. You know it’s just kind of scary and I don’t know what it’s going to mean for like the future of the mobile web.
Leo: Jennifer, you wrote about this. You’re in New York City. Do you do a lot of, do you play a lot of Fan Duel or Draft Kings there? Are you big into fantasy?
Jennifer: I personally don’t (laughing) but no I did write about it.
Leo: So the attorney general of the State of New York, Eric Schneiderman, has said, “That’s gambling and it’s illegal,” and has shut down Fan Duel and Draft Kings. Fan Duel and Draft Kings both have implemented geo fencing technologies that prevent users in the, that’s a handful of states now that have banned this kind of thing, including Nevada, this kind of fantasy football betting. But I’ve also seen articles that say, “It’s really easy to use a proxy and just go write around them.” They’re not trying all that hard.
Jennifer: I don’t think that they’re trying very hard at all.
Leo: You can’t blame them. I mean it’s a big business.
Jennifer: Yea, they’re pretty upset about it.
Leo: Well, they’re suing. They’ve gone after Schneiderman. He sent out cease and desist letters on Wednesday. They’ve gone to the Supreme Court to throw those letters out. I’m not sure what the grounds are. I guess the debate is does daily fantasy sports qualify as gambling?
Jennifer: Right. Well their argument would be, well this was their, this was Fan Duel’s argument was that it’s a game of skill rather than a game of chance. So when they go to the Supreme Court, when they present their case, they’re going to present it under the premise that all of these people who win more often have more skills. And they’re going to prove that in various ways and it was interesting though because on the conference call, before the operator started, it was only supposed to be press and the operator stepped in and cut out regular people from taking calls, they had to answer three calls from fans who weren’t the most educated questions or things like that. So it kind of played into their argument, played against their argument a little bit.
Leo: I get, every time we talk about this, I get email from people who say, “You don’t understand this at all. And I make a lot of money on it.” Or whatever, I actually don’t understand their point. I think I understand fantasy football daily—I mean I understand that. And it’s betting. Like horse racing is betting. But I think, Jeff, you’re a good guy to comment on this. Is this, is this debate over oh, is it gambling, or is it game of skill? Really underlay the basic failure of kind of legislating morality in general. Should there be laws against gambling of any kind at all?
Jeff: Well, well a few things there. To me the most abhorrent form of gambling is lotteries, state supported taxes on the poor.
Leo: Yea, the state does it. Yea.
Jeff: I think, I think it’s—you know you watch who buys lottery tickets near me and they’re poor people who can’t afford to do that. That’s one level. The other level is, now I’ll get myself in real trouble, but hey, that’s why I’m here, you know after the revelations about FIFA and revelations about the Russian Sports, how much do we really believe that sports aren’t rigged every which way?
Leo: Ok, well now you’ve thrown a monkey wrench into the whole thing.
Jeff: Yea. That’s what I tried to do.
Leo: (Laughing) is that why it should be made illegal to bet on horse races or?
Jeff: No, I just think that we have this presumption that there’s some, the great American pastime, that there’s some great moral standard around sports and I’m sorry, I don’t buy it.
Leo: Oh, come on, I don’t think the NFL is rigged. Is it?
Jeff: Well, how much of the NFL, oh yea, bicycle racing was a pure thing. Rigged by what way? Rigged honestly by agreement but also by drugs, by other means and—
Patrick: I think you’re mixing a lot of different issues there though, Jeff.
Leo: And by the way, as Gustav points out, there’s nothing more rigged than the stock market. It’s not illegal last time I checked. Right?
Patrick: Is it though?
Leo: It’s rigged against you. You cannot make money on the stock market unless you’re a professional.
Jeff: Read Flash Boys.
Leo: Exactly. It’s rigged.
Jennifer: It’s rigged with all the computers and robots that are trading.
Leo: It’s as rigged as it could be. And what’s the sad thing about the stock market is it’s fueled by this imaginary notion that you as an individual can play a stock and win by skill. Right?
Jennifer: And that’s the argument that Fan Duel has is that it’s skill. But I actually think that winning on the stock market does require a bit more skill than picking horses or something like that.
Leo: I don’t think you can, I don’t think—it would be if you could have perfect knowledge. But that’s the problem. That’s what Flash Boys shows is that you can’t have perfect knowledge. Somebody who has a faster connection to the internet can have perfect knowledge.
Leo: And it’s just hopeless. And so, but I don’t think, I’ll be honest, I don’t think any gambling should be regulated. I don’t think it should be regulated at all especially since the state’s already doing it with the lottery.
Patrick: That’s the reason the state is doing it. In socialist France and in most I think European countries, the lottery is regulated and gambling is regulated. And the only, it’s kind of like smoking. You don’t want to do some kind of prohibition because we know how these things go. You know, we’ve seen many examples but you still want people to have access to it but you want a relatively controlled environment for it. And I think that’s what it’s about. If you completely outlaw gambling, there would be, it would go underground.
Leo: Right. But I don’t think you should—you can regulate it in the same way that you can regulate driving or whatever. You have to be 18, I don’t know, I don’t care about that. But I think it’s like, it’s like marijuana laws. It’s a vice law that comes from a Puritan point of view that just doesn’t, it doesn’t—and what you’re seeing, this argument shows how it doesn’t hold water. Is it a game of skill? Is it not a game of skill? If it’s a game of skill it’s legal. If it’s not a game of skill it’s illegal. How do you even decide that?
Jeff: You know I just got back from Legos and in the hotel lobby there, they’ve got slot machines and you don’t see anybody rushing to them. You go to Vegas and everybody’s rushing to all these things. It’s huge because we make this scarcity around it because puritanical bull around it and you go to other places and there’s casinos all over. And nobody goes to them.
Leo: Literally you have slot machines in every café, right? I don’t think—
Jennifer: How is something like playing a lottery, a state lottery or using machines at a casino, how is that legal and not using your brain to at least try to beat the market or pick horses because of their stats?
Leo: Well, I think the market—well, this is a longer conversation. And I think a good one but I feel like the stock market, it’s perfectly well known that the stock market is rigged and people who have inside information, and there’s lots of them, have a much, have a, are the only people that have a shot at it. But they’ve got to encourage people to think it’s the American way. That you can invest a buck and make 20 and so that, that’s really, talk about the con game. That’s the con game. Because if those people don’t put the buck in, then the other guys don’t make the buck. So, I mean the stock market, that should be regulated.
Jeff: Well, it is.
Leo: Not very well (laughing). It’s regulated by the people who run it. That’s the problem. All right. I’m going to wrap this up with one last sad note. But you know, I was kind of sad that this wasn’t more publicized. One of the pioneers in Mainframe Computing, Gene Amdahl passed away this week at the age of 92. A legend, an absolute legend and a name that those of us who’ve been using computers for more than maybe 20 years will know but I think a name that a lot of younger people do not.
Jeff: Hold on, yea, hold on. Let’s do a poll. Who in the panel knows the name Amdahl?
Leo: Does that name ring a bell?
Devindra: Not very well. I’ve heard it before but—
Leo: Did he invent the M-Strat? I don’t know.
Jeff: How many of you have heard, have heard of Osborne?
Leo: Well, you know I have.
Patrick: I don’t know, he’s a character in the Marvel Universe.
Jeff: All right, all right. Kaypro? Kaypro?
Leo: Kaypro. You had one, didn’t you, Jeff?
Jeff: I have an Osborne 1.
Leo: You have an Osborne 1. We do, we had it out for The New Screen Savers yesterday because we were talking to guy who sells floppy discs. How many of you have heard of floppy discs?
Patrick: Ok, that one.
Leo: My favorite, my favorite anecdote from that was the—what was it? Was it the, I think it was Iain Thompson who mentioned that somebody had—what was it? Had the, had a diskette, a 3.5” diskette and his little daughter came over and said, “Daddy, you 3D printed the save icon.” So that’s what’s wrong with kids today. Anyway, Gene Amdahl who was responsible for creating the System 360, the most successful line of mainframe computers in IBM’s history. I don’t think even mainframe computers even, even know, anybody knows what those are these days.
Jeff: We’ve had a downer show, you know it?
Leo: Well, sometimes the world impinges.
Jeff: I think we, if I may, Leo, I think we have to end on the fact that the Google car got a ticket for going too slow.
Leo: (Laughing) 24 miles an hour. I love this. This was the self-driving car, right?
Jeff: Yep. The little one. The little new dinky one.
Leo: They have it set so that it can’t go more than 25 miles an hour. It was, it was driving in Mountain View and it was apparently a line of other cars behind it. So the Mountain View Police Department pulled them over.
Jeff: But how do you pull it over?
Jeff: There’s no controls.
Leo: What’s interesting is that the officer approached the slow moving car, he realized that there was no one driving. There was a passenger so the officer asked the passenger how the car was choosing speeds and informed the passenger about California vehicle code 22-400A about you know, whatever, driving the right speed. The self-driving car pled guilty to slow driving because they want them to feel friendly and approachable rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets. No ticket.
Devindra: Was there a robot voice that said guilty?
Leo: I am guilty. Guilty. I am guilty. No ticket was issued, not because there was no driver to give it to, but because the officer deemed no law had been broken (laughing).
Jennifer: You know I think it’s good though because he was telling Google that their driving too slow was causing these traffic backups. At least, you know, at least Google’s getting some real world feedback.
Leo: What would he have done if there were no passenger?
Devindra: Call Google. Yea.
Leo: What do you do?
Jeff: That’s the new, what is it, some of the founders of what was it, Skype? They were doing the little delivery-bot?
Jeff: That if you tried to steal it, it would start yelling at you and say, “I’m calling the police! I’m calling the police!”
Jennifer: (Laughing) I need one of those.
Leo: Maybe you just, you put the ticket under the windshield wiper and hope that somebody gets it someday. You know this is going to be a scene in next year’s Silicon Valley.
Jeff: I’m still binge watching Humans.
Leo: Oh, I’ve got to go back to that. I only saw the first few episodes.
Jeff: Oh you didn’t? Oh yea, you got to.
Leo: Hey tomorrow on Triangulation, Larry Wall the benevolent dictator for life of the Perl Project, the man who created Perl, joins us in studio to talk about Perl 6 which is finally here. So, Larry Wall, tomorrow on Triangulation. That should be a lot of fun. I want to thank you so much for being here. Jennifer Booton from Market Watch, at Market Watch, @jbooton on the Twitter, marketwatch.com. I hope this hasn’t been too painful.
Jennifer: (Laughing) no, it was good.
Leo: Good we had a lot of fun. I’m so glad to have you and can’t wait to have you back. Same for you, Devindra. Devindra Hardawar from Engadget. Anything you want to plug? Are you up to no good?
Devindra: I’m always up to no good, but yea, engadget.com, slashfilm.com for my movie podcast and you can understand why I hate Spectre so much.
Leo: Yea, did you talk about that in the most recent Slash Film?
Devindra: Yea. Definitely.
Leo: Slashfilm.com. Ridley Scott gives Prometheus 2 a new title.
Devindra: That’s movie news, guys.
Leo: That’s the movie news. I love movies. Gosh darn it. But after a week like this you want to go to the movies.
Devindra: You should see Spotlight. Spotlight is a great movie about journalism.
Leo: Oh, ok.
Jeff: I can’t wait to see it, yea,
Devindra: It’s so good.
Leo: Is that the best unknown movie out there that everybody should go see? Spotlight?
Devindra: Yea, that one hit this weekend. That’s the one about you know, the work by the Boston Globe, yea in the early 2000s so it deals with the church scandals and the child abuse issues with the priests there. So it’s a really talky movie but it’s so, it’s so good. It’s just real intense.
Leo: All right.
Jeff: It’s not in the burbs yet.
Leo: I want to see the new Whitey Bulger films, speaking of Boston.
Devindra: You can skip that one.
Devindra: Have you seen The Departed?
Leo: Love The Departed.
Devindra: That’s a better Whitey Bulger movie.
Leo: That’s the best movie ever. I loved The Departed. You never know what’s going to happen there. That’s a great movie. Jeff Jarvis, professor of journalism, City University of New York, buzzmachine.com is his blog. He also writes a lot on Medium and other places and he’s got books. He’s erudite. He’s an intellectual. I don’t know what the hell he’s doing here. We’re glad to have you. Welcome back home. We’ll see you Wednesday, boss?
Jeff: You will indeed.
Leo: On This Week in Google.
Leo: And finally, thank you, Patrick Beja. It’s probably 2 in the morning.
Patrick: Thank you so much for having me.
Leo: What time is it in Paris right now?
Patrick: Yea, it is. It’s 2 in the morning. But you know, it was an interesting and important topic to discuss, so.
Leo: I am so glad you were willing on short notice to pop in and give us—
Jeff: Thank you, Patrick.
Patrick: Thank you for having me.
Leo: Your perspective on what’s going on in Paris right now. Thank you all for being here. We do this show every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 Eastern Time, 2200 UTC. I’d love it if you watch live. And join us like Little Bobby Salsa in the chatroom if you can. Or hey, in studio, we had a great studio audience. Thank you all for being here. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put a nice comfy chair out for you. And of course if you can’t watch or be in studio during the live show, you can always get on-demand versions of all of our shows after the fact, audio and video, either at our website, twit.tv or wherever your favorite podcasts are aggregated. We’d love it if you’d subscribe because we want you to be here each and every week. I’m Leo Laporte. Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can.