This Week in Tech 538
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! Fun panel today. Of course it's fun. We've got Philip Elmer Dewitt, Harry McCracken, and Owen JJ Stone, Ohdoctah. We'll be talking about the latest news including Harry's cover story at fast company about the future of Facebook and we spend a little bit of time talking about black Friday deals and a whole lot more. Coming up next, on TWiT. Stay here.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 538, recorded Sunday, November 29, 2015.
The Cracker Jack Computer
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the latest tech news. And actually, we were talking before the show about the latest news and we were so depressed that we decided to watch cat videos and now I feel much better. Thank you Ohdoctah. He's the doctah of my brain. He told me what to do.
Owen JJ Stone: Cats for the win!
Leo: Cats for the win. By the way, the world is burning over your left shoulder, just in case you...
Owen: Let me turn that off.
Leo: Were you playing a little Call of Duty before the show? Is this a new studio? Is this the new IQMZ studio?
Owen: I was playing Call of Duty. Yeah. This is a new pit for me and my daughter to play games together. Which is what I was doing all day. We were out there twitching, playing Battlefront all day.
Leo: Battlefront, not Call of Duty?
Owen: I'm not the best Call of Duty player, first of all, and second of all I get really angry with that game, so I try not to play that with children. Battlefront was like we play it together. We actually beat two missions and she was so happy, and she's addicted to Star Wars, so it's a win win for me.
Leo: Battlefront, not Battlefield. You're playing the Star Wars MMO RPG. You said Battlefront. My brain said Battlefield. Is that a good game?
Owen: Man. It's great. A lot of people have complaints about it, but people complain about everything. It's fun for what I want to do and it's fun for what she wants to do. You get to be Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, you shoot things and you get to fly.
Leo: Who did you choose to be?
Owen: Everybody. The only person I don't like being is a Sith lord. I don't like being an old guy. He doesn't do that much.
Leo: Could I be Jar Jar?
Owen: There is no Jar Jar. They would not do that to anybody. I would break the disc if that happened. But Darth Vader and Luke are obviously the two pinnacles.
Leo: Working your way up. I wouldn't mind being Boba Fett. That would be fun. He had a nice outfit. Also here, Harry McCracken, the Technologizer from fastcompany.com. I can still call you the Technologizer.
Harry McCracken: You can do that forever.
Leo: Oooh. Are you using an iPad pro? With an Apple...
Harry: It's a tablet, given it's a little bit larger and I didn't want to block...
Leo: It's more like a laptop than your previous iteration. You went for the Apple keyboard, not the Logitech one.
Harry: The Logitech is good too and if you want an actual laptop=type keyboard, the Logitech is quite good, but it's also larger and heavier as a case.
Leo: Did you get the pencil yet?
Harry: I have a pencil. The pencil is really cool.
Leo: I was in the Apple store on the day after Thanksgiving. I realized after I had already left for the mall that this was Black Friday. I thought Oh my god, what have I done? But it was late in the day and they had three Apple pencils, so I cancelled my online order.
Harry: They had them for sale?
Leo: Yeah. Three of them. Also here, Philip Elmer-DeWitt from Fortune.com, @philiped or firstname.lastname@example.org. You want to give out your e-mail address? Really?
Philip Elmer DeWitt: Sure.
Leo: Why not? Nice to have you. Oh dear, oh dear. Good article in the Sunday Times, actually, about Swatting. What is swatting, Philip?
Philip: That's when you find someone you don't like very much and you give the police their address and you say the person has just murdered four people and they're about to kill somebody else you better hurry up and get there, so the SWAT teams, and there are SWAT teams in 80% of the towns of America with over 30,000 people, so...
Leo: Special Weapons and Tactical Unit.
Philip: So they show up in their bulletproof cars and their black masks and their grenade launchers and they burst into your house and your poor parents are stunned to find that they're being shackled and dragged out of the house. It happens a lot, apparently.
Leo: The sad thing is, it's a terrible waste of resources. It costs thousands of dollars. Takes police off duty for a non-crime when they should and could be fighting real crime, and there's always the risk when you've got high powered rifles aimed at you that somebody is going to get hurt.
Philip: I think one person has been shot. But it's not healthy to have angry police with weapons pointing them at you. The other thing, this article, the story it tells about one individual who did a lot of these things...
Leo: His handle was obnoxious so he clearly didn't mind being obnoxious.
Philip: And because he was under age, the newspaper never mentioned his name. He's currently incarcerated. But it took a lot to track him down and he had to really ask for it before... He turned out to be a Canadian and the Americans had a hard time getting Canada, getting the Mounties to step up to the plate.
Leo: Turns out that a lot of this is happening on TWiTCH.tv, in fact most of slots were to Twitch streamers, people playing games, and he particularly focused on women using TWITCH to play games. Some of these women it was their full time job, it was a big deal for them. He would harass them endlessly and eventually SWAT them and sometimes, many times, and at the same time say I'm un-extraditable. I'm untouchable. I can't be arrested knowing that A) there isn't really any law yet against this. You would think it would be a felony. It's a misdemeanor.
Harry: How can it not be a felony?
Leo: A good question.
Owen: I want to say something like, why don't they have caller ID to know where the call is coming from? But at the same time, you read about the stories of the girl placing an order online and left a note in the pizza delivery spot saying she's being kidnapped. And somebody online was playing a game and heard somebody being beaten in the background and actually worked to their advantage to come and help the person, so I guess they still have to go check it out. But if you're getting phone calls from Canada, that just raises suspicion.
Leo: Our swatter and this guy too, there are a lot of services online where you can spoof any number you want. So they could even use a local number. They don't know the guys from Canada. If they did track him down subpoenaing the spoof numbers and working their way through the ranks, it's not an easy thing to do. It's very difficult, it takes a lot of subpoenas, but once they found out he was in Canada, then there was very little they could do aside from getting the cooperation of Canadian authorities and in fact, they didn't get the cooperation until, get this, obnoxious started streaming his SWAT calls on TWITCH! Then they called him up and said watch TWITCH. He's doing it!
Philip: Do all our listeners know about Twitch? Maybe Ohdoctah can explain what that is.
Leo: Twitch. TV. Ever do a little twitching?
Owen: Yeah. I was twitching today with my daughter. Now I feel bad about it.
Leo: You shouldn't feel bad. One of my old producer streams quite successfully on twitch. Twitch allows you to take a picture of yourself while you're playing a game. It's these let's play videos. Generally live, the chat room is very active. Apparently the chatroom can donate. Some people make good money from people who watch. Lots of money sometimes to support you. Kind of like a Patreon style crowd source, so there are quite a few people who make a living Twitching. It's all about community. It's like what we do. If you build a community around what you're doing, chat said the best thing to do if you're on Twitch it's not really about the game, it's about you in relationship with the chat room. You've got to interact with the chatroom, talk to them. You've got to cultivate a community there.
Philip: Is part of the appeal that they're giving away cheats? They're showing people how to solve the problems on these first person shooter games?
Leo: I think for some people it's instructional, but more it's fun, I think. Right?
Owen: It could be for anything. I watched a couple times where I did want to learn how to get past a level and you can watch somebody beat the game you're trying to beat, or you can just sit there like you're bored and you're hanging out. You got it on the background. Today a guy was watching me and my daughter play Battlefront. We're not good or anything, but he was watching it and when he got done he was like I'm going to go buy that game because it looks like you guys were having fun and you get to see somebody play it as opposed to watching somebody do a review where they tell you something is perfect and it's paid for advertisements basically. You can watch people play it and see if they enjoy it or not.
Leo: When you're looking to beat a level or you're looking for cheat codes, you go to YouTube and watch YouTube let's play videos that are to the point. They say here's what you do, you do this this and this. Twitch is more social, although some of it is this idea that gaming is a spectator sport, like Football. I think some of it is also that. League of Legends is huge on Twitch. Thousands of people will watch a game between well-known players on Twitch. That's a big part of it as well.
Philip: It's just amazing to me that a whole economy has grown up around Twitch. You can actually make a living.
Leo: Isn't that interesting? We live in very interesting times. You can make a living. So what is this? This is a guy getting swatted. This is a well-known twitcher. This is the danger of it. Guns drawn. The police are acting responsibly because what they've heard is a call saying I'm being held hostage or I'm going to shoot people. The guy who swatted us said I've placed bombs all around TWiT. I'm going in there, I have a bunch of weapons, I'm going to shoot everybody execution style and then blow the place up. The good news is our local police department knew about swatting and they reacted sensibly to it.
Harry: I would hope that every police department would know about that, but I wonder if that's true.
Leo: I think they're learning. Here's an example. This is obnoxious at work in Ontario California, which is in the LA area. Police got a call, local man was doing dope, had shot and killed his father with an AR 15, was thinking about killing his mother. They sent 32 units to the address. That's 90% of the available law enforcement resources, including 3 supervisors, throngs of squad cars, armored vehicles, a helicopter, a canine unit only to find 3 people, a mother, her boyfriend, and her son inside and perfectly safe. The son was a League of Legends gamer who had angered Obnoxious merely by defending one of his female victims online. The ordeal cost Ontario 6500 dollars, but the detective assigned to the case said hey I've got felony cases sitted in my lap, why would I take this cyber case? Track down all these records trying to find a guy who is in another country. That's the problem. Even if they catch them, most of the time it's a misdemeanor. There are moves to make these more seriously illegal. I have to say, we're really exposed to the dark side of the Internet. The New York Times published in the magazine today, so I think other people are going to know about it.
Harry: What happens if there's a real problem during the time that 95% of the resources are wasted?
Leo: Exactly. And the New York Times being the liberal rag that it is--I say that with jest, of course focused on the over militarized police is the problem. I don't think that's exactly fair.
Owen: The one time they don't show up and it's a real situation, now they got a problem on their hands.
Leo: They are doing, and it's exactly what they need to do. One hopes that they're well trained, so they don't shoot unless there's cause to shoot. But to be in that position of being faced with heavily armed people...
Owen: That's why I don't play on X box. I know you love your X Box, but the rhetoric I hear from my X Box versus my PlayStation... my PS4 is full of adults. Yeah, you get some banter that's annoying sometimes...
Leo: The X Box is worse?
Owen: Exponentially worse. Over the top worse than people on PlayStation. Dramatically. Just go play Call of Duty for an hour on each system and you'll see it. Just hop in and out of lobbies. It's insane, the difference.
Leo: This kid was 16. The kid who is doing this. He was beaten by his father, his mother was mentally ill and hospitalized. They did interview him and psychologists interviewed him and said he's well on his way to being a psychopath, that is somebody who has no moral compass. Enjoys the pain of others but doesn't have empathy for others. The problem is it doesn't take many of those people with technical skills to make this a problem. If there's ten of them, he was swatted hundreds of times. It was very difficult. If it weren't for a fairly obsessed detective named Finley perusing this, from Georgia, he probably would have never been caught.
Harry: So why is it that it's so easy to spoof caller ID? Could we create spoof proof caller ID and do a lot to ameleriate this?
Leo: Yeah. This comes down to the fundamental issue on the Internet in general of bad behavior, which is anonymity. There's a real nexus between me... if you don't know who I am, I can do whatever I want. It's a problem in forums, in social media, in our chat room. We allow anonymity in our chat room because I think it's important. I think people ought to be able to have handles and express themselves. We've talked from time to time about having a verified chat room, making sure people know who they are, it would certainly eliminate problems, but I think there's a good case to be made that people should be able to participate anonymously, except that some people take advantage of that. That's what it comes down to.
Harry: Almost every spam phone call I get, and I get a lot of them these days, appears to be coming from my own area code. None of them are in San Francisco, but you're more likely to pick it up because it might be a friend or a local business or whatever.
Leo: Somebody is saying, and I think he's right, it's because of the widespread use of wipe and digital phone calling, it would be almost impossible to prevent this.
Harry: Google Voice, which is a form of number spoofing.
Leo: When you call from Skype, you don't get a normal number. When you call somebody from Skype. That's enough. We watched cat videos to forget this, and now I'm depressed again.
Owen: What are you depressed for? It's your birthday. You can party and dance if you want to. I don't want to hear about that. Nobody has swatted us, we're good.
Leo: I love this. Apple watch owners glance at their wrist 60 to 80 times a day. Philip, you had this story at Fortune.com. There are actually two different studies you quote.
Philip: The best one is not the Wristley one. Wristley asks a question every week of a group of 2500 watch owners, which is not representative...
Leo: It's a large sample size, but it's self-reporting.
Philip: Right. People who hate the watch probably aren't going to answer questions about what they do with it. But the second study, remind me, I don't have this in front of me.
Leo: It was a University study. University of Stockholm's mobile life center.
Philip: Right. So they strapped cameras onto a dozen people and followed them for a month and recorded their interactions. This is real data. Not surprisingly, they look at their watch most often, 50% of the things...
Leo: To see what time it is!
Philip: Actually it drops off dramatically after watch face and notifications. Suddenly we're down to 6% notifications and you get down to checking mail. 0.1%.
Leo: I think the notifications is interesting, because any watch will give you the 50% case, which is what time it is. In fact, most watches do it better than the Apple watch, because it doesn't show the time unless you do it just right. Flick your wrist just right. But notifications are no more than 23% of use if you include the two there. Activity, maybe 10% of the use. That's what people say they get the watch for. They say they get the watch so they don't have to get the phone out of the pocket to see who is calling. They say they get it because it monitors their activity and they can become more healthy. Truth is, they don't. They use it mostly to see what time it is.
Philip: For me, the original pitch for the watch... if you're like me and you're pulling your phone out of your pocket a hundred times a day, each phone interaction, by the time you unlock it and see what it is and think about... it's about a minute. The average interaction in the Swedish study, it was less than 7 seconds. For looking at what time it is and notifications. 3.8, 9.2 seconds. The idea of replacing a one minute interaction with a 3 or 4 or 5 second interaction, there's a business to be made there. It's not huge, and it's a subset of the iPhone market, which is really what Apple cares about. Apple's business revolves around the sun that is the iPhone, and the watch, the TV, the iPad, the Mac, they're all peripheral to the phone and to the extent to which you buy into any of those peripheral products, you're more likely to buy a phone and stick with a phone. Anyway. I sound a little defensive because the conventional wisdom is that the watch is a bust, and we don't have the black Friday numbers yet but my guess is that they're going to come out better than Wall Street thinks.
Leo: The analysts say they're selling a million a month.
Owen: As far as the activity part you're talking about, you have to remember that unless you have one of the newer FitBits, 90% of those pedometers don't show you your steps. I have friends who wear the jawbone I used to have and you just see girls doing high steps. What are you doing? I'm getting my steps in. Same thing with your watch. I don't check my steps until the end of the day or when I'm riding my bike but you're thinking about it. You don't have to check and say oh I took 5 steps today. It's not even a natural thing to do. Most of those devices sink to your phone and you look at it at the end of the day and you think you've been to lazy and this gives you the nudge you've been sitting for an hour, makes you think about it. Oh, I burned 300 calories sitting on TWiT for the last two hours. Not something that you normally do, but most of those devices don't do that, per say.
Leo: They've left out a fairly hefty percent. Like 50%. It's really just for you to show other people I have an Apple Watch. I am a chosen person.
Owen: Have you seen a My Tag?
Leo: What's that?
Owen: Mitagg.com, it's a beautiful stand of elegant lines and an LED light.
Leo: I want this. That's my new birthday present.
Owen: Happy birthday, Leo.
Leo: I don't want to give you my email address!
Owen: Click off of it
Leo: Thank you. God I hate that. It wanted my email address. The new dock, power lamp station. 179 bucks. You can get it in silver or space gray to match your iPhone. You can get it with or without Nookie. What's that?
Owen: I have no idea what that is.
Philip: You don't know what Nookie is?!?
Leo: Nookie is the portable battery. I don't know why you would need Nookie. You're doing good. It's fun to watch steam come out of your ears on that one.
Owen: It's a horrible situation. But isn't that thing pretty and elegant and LED ified? And sounds like a good birthday present?
Leo: It looks gorgeous. When are you sending me one? It's more expensive with Nookie.
Owen: ASAP. Isn't it always?
Leo: There you go. I gave you a nice one. That's good.
Owen: I couldn't leave it alone.
Leo: I kept trying. I gave him the opening and he fell right in.
Harry: I think it's really incumbent upon third party developers to come up with transcendent Apple Watch apps...
Leo: Which they haven't.
Harry: Certain people, there are certain apps which are a big deal, but there's nothing that people see and say Oh My God, I need to get the Apple Watch in order to do this thing as opposed to something like the iPhone, there are dozens of apps which are so compelling, you might get an iPhone just to use them. There's nothing like that for the Apple Watch or Android wear yet, except for notifications.
Leo: For instance, I have a chat app on my iPhone called IRC chat. Whenever my name is mentioned in the chatroom, it not only shows up on my phone, it shows up on the watch. I was in the movies last night and I was going stop it. Sometimes notifications are not a good thing. You get too many notifications...
Owen: Put it on silent. There's a button for that.
Leo: It took me a while to figure this out. I have to go to the iPhone and change the notification settings for that application.
Owen: But you can also swipe up and hit the silent button, like I did right now, so I'm not getting notifications. Just turn it off. Super simple. Or airplane mode if you don't like...
Leo: That's what I should have done. And then I can just throw the watch away because it's not connected to anything. Who needs it?
Owen: Exactly. You're good to go. Pro tip.
Harry: It would be nicer if it knew it was in a movie theatre because it used GPS and phone to locate me.
Leo: It could be smarter.
Leo: We're going to take a break. When we come back, will there be an Apple Watch two this year? Or is Apple going to hold off? We shall talk more. Philip Elmer DeWitt is here. Long time Apple Watcher, but also a great writer for Fortune at fortune.com from Fast company Harry McCracken, and from nowhere but his own self, Owen JJ Stone. Ohdoctah. Is IQMZ launched?
Owen: I have a whole bunch of...
Leo: It's launched and it crashed. It's kind of like...
Owen: It was down and out for two weeks.
Leo: I'm sorry. Are you feeling better?
Owen: I am 100% better. I got strep throat from my daughter and all the kids at school and I saw a doctor who prescribed me the wrong medicine and put me in the hole. It was a bad situation. So.
Leo: We should have a conversation about that. What the hell is going on with medical care in this country? It's getting worse! We're paying more and we're getting less.
Owen: I got into a bad situation because I’m not allergic to anything so when they ask me that question if I'm allergic, I say no, because as far as I know I've never been allergic. So they gave me a medication that they normally don't give and I am apparently allergic to it and I kept taking it trying to get better and I kept getting worse and I'm thinking something else is wrong so It was a whole to do, but I'm back to 100% now, so I'm good.
Leo: But you have a kid in school, so it's pretty much guaranteed you'll get sick anyway.
Owen: It travels home.
Leo: It really does. You know what I hate? I hate losing money on an old gadget. That's what I hate. That's why I go to Gazelle, the online marketplace for selling your old stuff. Trade in your device for cash. You wouldn't throw a hundred dollar bill in a drawer to gather dust. Why are you throwing that old Smartphone or tablet in the drawer when you're done with it? Just go to Gazelle and get a quote. You may be amazed. Your quote is good for 30 days, by the way, which is nice. Shipping is free, payment is fast, and if you're looking to buy a certified pre-owned device, say a broken or lost phone, Gazelle has a variety of iPhones and iPads and Samsung Galaxy phones to choose from and the nice thing about buying Gazelle is every device is fully inspected. They have a 30-point checklist, including things like no big scratches. They're back with a 30-day return policy. When you buy, you can choose the quality, like new or slightly used, so that you can get your phone replaced in the same condition it was. They're always sold without carrier contract, but they do work in all the major carriers. AT&T, Verizon, T Mobile, and Sprint. Now that the new iPhone is here, the new iPad also here. Now is the best time to buy a certified pre-owned device, because there's a lot of people trading up and you can take advantage of that. Gazelle has an incredible selection of quality preowned devices at great prices. iPhone 4S through 6 plus, for iPads, they've got standard, they got airs. They got minis. I like the mini. They even cater to Android users with the Galaxy phones there. Gazelle. Give new life to used electronics. Trade them in for cash or buy certified pre-owned. If you're feeling bad about the whole landfill and all that stuff going in the landfill, gazelle.com is the responsible way to pay it forward. Gazelle. You like that iPad? I find the iPad pro awfully big.
Harry: It is large, but I'm trying to use it as my primary computer, so doing serious writing, great big spread sheets.
Leo: Makes me long for my mini. If Berk or somebody would get my iPad pro and the pencil or something... we also got the Apple keyboard and the Logitech. I like the Logitech better, but it's so big and heavy.
Harry: Yeah, it's a little bit cumbersome, not the size of the keyboard but the whole package.
Leo: But the apple keyboard is hard to... it's a Chicklet, so it's hard to take on. The keys don't move.
Harry: It took me about two days before I was able to go at the same speed.
Leo: Your fingers aren't sore?
Harry: Not at all.
Leo: You think it's going to be a hit?
Harry: I think for certain type of people including me, it is ideal. The big question is how many of those people are there? Most people are not going to buy this and a laptop, because that's the price of a pretty nice laptop.
Leo: When I think about what I pay for this thing... I weep. That's what I think is going to happen.
Harry: Pencil is fantastic if you like to draw.
Leo: This is much like you were saying for the Apple watch. If the apps appear that support this unique form factor, by the way, how does this work?
Harry: When you snap it on, you have to put the iPad on, so it looks like it's upside down. Then you go like this. You have it on backwards, I think.
Leo: 170 bucks and it's an accordion basically. I got it, there. There we go.
Philip: Where's your pen?
Leo: It's right here. Actually, I have to say. You can use notes, but you're going to want to use paper from 53 or one of those.
Harry: Paper is great. I've been using something called sketches.
Leo: I haven't tried that. Procreate is more like an art. It's nice. You have a variety of brushes. This is 53. You have a variety of brushes and styles. It's pretty fast. I've been able to get ahead of it. It's fairly low latency and it feels... they say the nibs wear out.
Harry: It comes with a spare.
Leo: That means that there's...
Harry: That's true of any of these digital styluses. The tip can wear out.
Leo: The ruler. Let's tap the ruler. I don't know I'm not doing it right. What do I do? Huh? Use it to draw a square. Oh. Ah! That's cool. What happens if you draw a circle?
Harry: It cleans it up.
Leo: That's cool. It's thinking.
Owen: Welcome to Samsung tablets, 1988.
Leo: Shut up.
Harry: This is like Vizio in 1992.
Owen: When you're talking about artists wanting this, I the tablet that has Android in it and you can use Photoshop and everything like that; I see tons of kids rocking those things. For the price point, I don't know if... I have to see this with Photoshop and cad to know if that's a legit star to work with that. The pencil does feel and look amazing, but when I see artists using those tablets, they are fierce with those things and they just work.
Leo: By the way. Somebody in the chat room said it's from 53. It's called paper. If I say paper, what am I doing? This is Paper by 53.
Harry: There are at least 3 different apps called Paper. There's DropBox paper. There's Facebook Paper.
Leo: Right. It's too generic. But see the icon says 53.
Harry: there's also a 53 pencil, which is no relation to the Apple pencil.
Leo: I drew this this morning. I was pretty proud of it. No I didn't. Wish I did. Somebody did. Not me. All I can do is face paintings. It's good for that. I can draw a mustache on the bird.
Harry: I don't like Photoshop on something that is touch centric because Photoshop still has 1500 too many features which can eliminate the way... it has drop down menus which are always designed for a mouse pointer. There's a pointer made for something like the iPad pro specifically because it does not run Photoshop in its full-blown form.
Leo: They have various...
Harry: Adobe is trying to break down Photoshop into its core components and do stand-alone apps which were designed for touch.
Leo: Does anybody ever talk to caligraphers? They show calligraphy in the Apple videos, but I don't know... a calligrapher is very much part of the calligraphy is the pen nib on paper and the friction that that's creating. I don't know if a calligrapher would like this or not.
Owen: That's why they showed that so they can have you have that exact feeling of what you just said. Whether people use it or not for that. It makes you feel like it's right.
Harry: For calligraphy, it feels like it's cheating because you can use a calligraphy tool that does the heavy lifting for you.
Leo: Right. Well that's the kind of calligraphy I do, so that's OK. This is not for me, for sure. Go ahead, Philip.
Philip: it feels like there's got to be vertical markets where this is appropriate. My fiancé who is an architect got cold called by Apple or maybe IBM working for Apple saying would you like us to come in and give your shop a demo of this new tool and I thought that was really smart. It sounds like they're going after the enterprise market, and then she called back and said please schedule me and they never followed up.
Philip: Isn't that Apple for you? They almost get Enterprise, and they don't have it quite right.
Leo: It's fun for gaming. I did that all by myself. No. This is a game called Strangers Wrath, which was one of my favorite games on the X Box. I don't know how to get through the cut scene.
Philip: What's the advantage of doing it on the pro?
Leo: It's giant. It's big. Plants vs. Zombies. Giant. This is part of the problem also. It's new. Maybe this will change, but for most apps, they haven't taken advantage of the extra space. Even Apple hasn't. Look at the grid layout.
Harry: Every icon has its own zip code, basically.
Leo: Yeah. Even Apple hasn't really... I imagine in time. I don't think Apple is going to change Springboard.
Harry: It's a little big buggy too. You plug it in at night, it tends to freeze up and you need to do a hard reset in the morning.
Leo: That's not good. Then of course, the pen you charge, this is really weird. Fortunately you don't have to do it often. The pen you charge by sticking in the... they give you an adaptor that you can use a plug with.
Owen: My Wickam tablet doesn't need batteries. It just works.
Harry: The fact that it doesn't need batteries is one of the coolest things in the history of tech. The Surface pen does need a battery, but only once a year.
Leo: They're replicable too. They're not rechargeable.
Harry: It's an AAA, which I didn't know existed.
Leo: I like the surface a lot. I use the surface book and I like it a lot. I think Touch is natural, but this feels more constrained, a little bit more constrained. Where is the battery settings? See if I can use the battery usage on the pen? Doesn't show the pen.
Harry: If you pull down on the top, there's a little widget.
Leo: That's right. It's here. Wow. I've already used 50% of the pencil. Because it was 100% four days ago. Look how fast it's charging up. You can almost see it.
Harry: It charges pretty quickly.
Leo: Anyway. I just saw that you used it. I didn't know how you liked it.
Harry: For me it's great. I think it's also cool that Apple is doing the first IOS device, which is sort of a computer. I think it will lead to good things over time.
Leo: I have to sit here with this sticking out of my iPad pro until it charges up.
Owen: You just unplug it. You’re not doing anything. You're not writing any novels right now.
Leo: I don’t' want it to die in the middle of my special painting!
Harry: I just top mine off periodically. I stick it in for two minutes and pull it out.
Leo: I'm topping off right now. Will there be an Apple Watch this year, Philip Elmer DeWitt?
Philip: Will there be a new one? It doesn't feel right to me. Apple is learning that these products have natural cycles. The phone used to be two years. They're trying to push it up to one year. the Macs have four or five, six year life span. The iPad they guessed wrong, they thought people would upgrade more frequently and they don't. The watch doesn't feel like an every year product to me. What I could see is this month ification of Apple where you start buying stuff like with the automatic upgrade thing that you do with the watch with the phone, I could see people doing that with the watch. If you bought it that way and you can get a new watch when the next one comes out, I can see that happening, otherwise, I bought the cheapest one possible because I figured that the real watch will be the one that has a cell phone in it and it doesn't have to be paired with your iPhone.
Leo: LG or Bane two was supposed to have a cell phone in it and they cancelled it.
Harry: It was great for the 9 days it existed or whatever it was.
Leo: Yeah! There was some technical issue with the display, I gather.
Philip: Also the bits about that... Apple looks like they just made something that would recharge, you could just recharge it overnight, and that was as good as they could get, and they're not going to put out a watch that you have to recharge more frequently than that and you can't apparently put a cell phone in this particular watch and have a one day recharge. So it'll be a while. Battery technology improves at a glacial pace and probably when the energy requirements of cell phone chips and battery meet, that's when they'll put out the watch that I really want.
Owen: The simple reason why there's not going to be a watch right now, at least every two-year cycle, is it doesn't do anything. Other than the fact of me liking this watch, there's no real reason for me to want this watch. I have people ask me all the time, should I get one? No, just get one. There's not going to be a new one coming out any time soon because there's no killer new thing to tell me. Thinner, lighter, faster is all cookies and whatever, but the watched doesn’t have a killer app yet or anything driving it besides the fact of them making it thinner. Put a camera in and it's not going to do it for me. It feels fine wearing it, so until they have something dramatic that would make me want to buy it... they can't come out with another one right away. They have to wait.
Leo: Safe to buy an Apple watch as a Christmas gift.
Harry: Built in GPS would be nice.
Leo: Many companies are doing that already.
Owen: You were just excited about a square that went on your tablet.
Leo: I think I've seen that before.
Owen: We know that should be done, they'll wait and make you wait so you can go wow.
Leo: I have to say, having a phone on this is not my idea of a great.. Mostly because I feel that the interface on these small devices, not just the Apple watch, but all devices is tough. If you're going to have a phone, now you need a dialer. What am I going to need? A toothpick to dial it?
Owen: This is America. We live in the future. What are you talking about? You just spin faces.
Leo: Does that work for you really? Isn't that a movie trope?
Owen: I do it all the time.
Leo: call Ohdoctah, and it goes, calling your mom. No. Call Ohdoctah.
Owen: The dictation on this is great. I respond to a million text messages. I respond voice via text on this more often than my iPhone and this is more accurate than my iPhone. I don't know why. I don't know if it's because I'm talking... I don't know. But this thing is accurate.
Leo: So when you say talk to the hand, you mean talk to the watch.
Philip: Doctor, do you answer phone calls on the watch?
Owen: Yes I do. At least 5, ten times a week. It doesn't sound like that. I'm in the kitchen, my phone is upstairs and I say what is it? Is it important? If it's not, I'll call you back when I get to my phone, but at least I can answer the call so people don't blow my phone up and I don't miss a call because somebody is dying in the streets and they need me. Sometimes I got to take that call.
Leo: What are you, a professional lifesaver?
Owen: I'm a super hero. Don't worry about what I'm doing.
Leo: There's an article for you. Would Superman wear an Apple Watch?
Owen: He gave Jimmy a watch, didn't he? Watches are very important to Superman.
Leo: He cares about time, especially when he turns the planet backwards.
Owen: Only he can hear, and he can go save people.
Leo: Philip Elmer DeWitt, this was a good article idea, you decided to querie IBMs Watson and Google about interest in the Apple watch and they came up with diametrically opposed results.
Philip: It's shifted a little bit today, but yesterday the watch was pegged at 100. On a scale of zero to one hundred, on IBM's super smart Watson that beats people at Jeproady that is the world chess champion, they decided to apply it to the market and you go back a little bit...
Leo: Watson has really come down in the world.
Philip: Look at that!
Leo: You can't get higher than that, right?
Philip: It just finally fell. The last one is down to 77 or something.
Leo: Why all of a sudden?
Philip: Someone suggested that if they bought the watch as a gift on Friday then they're not talking about it anymore. I just don't believe it, because if you look at the same chart, the phone is two. The watch is 100 and the phone is two. We know that they're going to sell at least 70 million phones, maybe 75 million phones this quarter. Apple will be lucky to sell 6 million watches. They're off by a factor of ten. I don't understand what this IBM thing is measuring. When you go to Google trends to test it, it's the opposite. The watch is 2 and the phone is 48.
Leo: IBMs watson is monitoring online conversations. Like the NSA? Like what?
Philip: Like anything that they can get their hands on. They're looking at public reviews, twitter feeds, Facebook.
Harry: Conversation maps to purchases though, because people buy a heck of a lot of Windows laptops, but there's not incessant chatter about Windows laptops compared to...There's a lot to say about the Apple watch because it's new and it's unclear where it's going. A Windows laptop is so mature, even though it's useful and people are buying them, there's not a lot to be said about them.
Leo: The red line is from Google.
Harry: Even the iPhone is pretty mature at this point. There's less to say about it.
Leo: Are these searches?
Philip: That's searches. I think it's the first derivative. That's how much search has changed if I read Google correctly.
Leo: It's a lot bigger in Singapore than it is in Australia.
Philip: I believe that people are talking about the Apple Watch. I think that's true. I don't think, like Harry says, I don't think it necessarily translates to sales.
Leo: Search results would translate more to sales. Search means you're looking for somewhere to buy it.
Harry: Blackberry has well under 1% market share, which you would never know from reading tech sites where Blackberry is still a well-covered product and people seem interested in talking about it.
Leo: Let's put in Blackberry as a search term here. My Blackberry privy comes tomorrow. I'm so excited. All right. I don't know what I've done.
Philip: Right to the right of iPhone there...
Leo: Let's see where Blackberry is on this list... this is fun. It's doing better than the Apple Watch. Not nothing. Wait a minute; the scale is....nobody is talking about the Apple watch in 2012 because there wasn't one. OK. I got to change the scale a little bit here. So when you get a little more up to date, then the Apple Watch is getting parroty with the Blackberry.
Harry: Up at the top.
Leo: That's why they call him the Technologizer. In the last 90 days, now we're pretty much the same result. Interesting.
Philip: You can put things like Amazon and Google. Google swamps everything here, because that's because...
Leo: They search Google for Google?
Philip: They do Google searches and it pops up.
Owen: It is a general term of life. Everybody says Google it.
Leo: Good news is, my Apple pencil is now fully charged at 100%. It only used 2% of my iPad battery doing it.
Owen: Draw another circle and make it perfect, because it's your birthday and you can do what you want.
Leo: thank you for the permission, OhDoctah.
Philip: did you get a present?
Leo: For my birthday? No. When you get to this age, mostly you get people calling to see if you're still alive.
Owen: We're just happy he woke up today. He can't even get his erector set over there working.
Leo: That's another thing that happens when you get to 59. Get off my lawn.
Owen: That's it.
Leo: Most talked about Christmas gift, apparently, Philip, you don't need to go to work anymore, You can just use IBM and Google and get article, reams of articles. Same thing. Samsung TV is very big, but that's because Samsung was cutting its price by 50% on its website of all of its TVs. They still are. Black Friday deal that was pretty spectacular. We were wondering what that was all about. I guess they're clearing them out. I'm a real trendsetter. I gave my son a hover board in August.
Owen: That's because you're you.
Leo: It's damaged already. That's an interesting question. I started doing research, and it becomes very confusing. The original hover board... they don't hover. They're these two wheels... self-balancing scooters. It's like a Segway. The original one was made by a Chinese company which was immediately ripped off by 50 other Chinese companies and it doesn't seem clear which one is superior to any other.
Owen: They're all the same.
Leo: then there's a huge variation in price from 200 bucks to 1200 bucks.
Owen: Some of the things that are different is the battery and 2 MPH on speed. Some of the more expensive ones has a blue tooth linked to your phone so you can gauge the battery and know what the battery is supposed to be like as opposed to guessing, but for the most part you step on it and it goes. That's how it goes. The purpose of them all is the same and the price variant is nothingness. You can get them on EBay right now for 150 bucks.
Leo: Are you a funky dunk or an IO hawk?
Owen: I don't like the word funky dunk, so I guess...
Leo: Funky dunk got a big hit because Snoop dog or somebody wrote Funky dunk onto Jimmy Fallon.
Owen: If you were as well connected to the world as I am, there's endorsements of every which way brand possible. Everybody says get... Whiz Kalifa got arrested on one at the airport.
Leo: It was Jamie Foxx by the way. There he is on his Funky dunk.
Owen: My favorite video is when you find out your pastor has been spending church money the wrong way and the church procession comes out and the pastor comes scooting out on a funky dunk.
Philip: I saw a guy on the street with a single wheel Segway. It was just the wheel.
Leo: Those have been around for longer. So the IO hawk, which is ironic, they are literally re branding an existing Chinese company's... to the point where they named their logo after a rotated version of the logo the Chinese company was using, so the Chinese company used a circle with a bar over it, oh if we turn it on the side it looks like IO, we'll call it the IO hawk. They didn't even bother changing the logo! I don't know. I bought my son one, but I bought him one out of decency. Wired had an article on this.
Owen: Why don't you buy the employees one for Christmas?
Leo: Because they're expensive. That's why. They'll hurt themselves!
Owen: It's great. You can get them for a hundred bucks if you buy ten of them, so you can get ten of them for a grand. That's nothing. You spent that on a tablet that draws circles and makes squares perfect for you. Not a big deal. Fall out. Abudabi.com, that's like the Amazon for the rest of the world. Get ten of them.
Leo: You might as well. They're cheaper there and they're the same, I think.
Owen: They are. You buy them in bulk and you get them for a hundred bucks a piece. I'm not saying I know, I'm just saying I know.
Leo: I'm just saying I ended up buying the one that originally invented it, because I felt like they deserved my money.
Owen: That's what they're doing. If you buy them in ten, you get them for one hundred. If you buy 500 you get them for 50 bucks. Then they go put them on Instagram and give one to Snoopdog and charge people 4 or 500 bucks for it, and they're buying from the same company and dishing them out.
Leo: Let me add Hoverboard to our terms of Apple Watch, iPhone, Blackberry. Hoverboard. What are your predictions? Will Hoverboard be...?
Owen: 3000% better.
Leo: I figured it would be, but actually it's not. Hoverboard is right in there with the Apple Watch. Look at the dominance of the iPhone. Hoverboard is the same as a Blackberry. Hm. Let's look over the last year. I bet the Hoverboard is bigger earlier in the year. There's a little jump right there with the Apple Watch.
Owen: Is that thing searching Instagram? I'm telling you... From Justin Bieber to Solja boy, everybody has got one and they're all peddling a different brand.
Leo: My son got on Tosh.0 with his hoverboard video.
Owen: Maybe the search isn't good enough because they're not calling them hoverboards. That's the other thing. People are suing over who owns what right to it and all that kind of stuff.
Leo: So I bought Henry his hoverboard for his birthday in August and let me see the clip. Where is the clip? Why is the clip not showing? I want to show off... He got on tosh.0 crashing his hoverboard.
Owen: Did he fall? Something bad had to happen for it to make it to Tosh.0.
Leo: I guess...
Owen: You got straight As, welcome to Tosh.0.
Leo: Hover Joust. Why isn't it playing? It's not playing. You know what? I have an ad blocker running. What do you think? Do you think that's probably doing it? You probably can't see it with the ad blocker. That's it. Not allowed because they want you to see the ads. Your content will return shortly after we go through the north pole and see cartoon... It's a Geico ad.
Philip: I hate it when you can't skip them.
Leo: Here we go. Watch this. This was a great expense. I accidentally gave them two. That's it. I made my son's career. I got him on Tosh. He by the way, was neither one of those two people, but when I went back for Father Son Frat day, I asked him how is your buddy doing, he said he's fine. He has another one of him falling down the stairs on his hoverboard.
Harry: Apparently there is an issue with these people using them on sidewalks and knocking into Pedestrians.
Leo: They had the same problem with Segways.
Owen: They're banned in New York now. You get fined. It's a 500-dollar ticket.
Leo: Do you have to ride it on the street, or you can't ride it at all?
Owen: I don't think you're allowed to ride it at all on the street.
Philip: That was one of the things that killed Segway. If they had been allowed to ride it on the sidewalk like they wanted, they might have been able to make a business of it instead of what it is.
Leo: I think that Segway's problem was that you look like a big fat dork on one. I say this as the owner of two segways and a big fat dork.
Owen: You own two Segways?
Leo: Yeah. You want to come ride my Segway?
Owen: No. I want you to sell the Segways and get everybody in the TWiT office a hoverboard. Sorry I'm getting notifications.
Leo: I think, and this is unexpected because everybody thought that Segway was going to change the world, but it really is how dopey you look because you're like 9 feet tall and you're wearing a helmet and you just look dopey riding these things.
Owen: And you've got the thing you're steering. The thing about those other things I like is that there's nothing in your hands.
Leo: that's what I like about the Segway. You're balanced. You're holding onto something.
Philip: Can I tell a Segway story?
Philip: When I was an editor at Time magazine, somebody pitched a cover story on Segway. It was about to come out and we had an exclusive and he was a really good writer.
Leo: Project Ginger. He called it the It.
Philip: The managing editor didn't have a good sense whether this was a good cover story or not so he sent me to New Hampshire to kick the tires and get the pitch and check it out. Anyway. I listened to it, I rode it around, it was cool. But the pitch was that when China and India, if they continue on the path of development that they're on and everybody buys a car, we're going to go to hell. The planet is going to choke on its own fumes, and the Segway would be the solution, and I was thinking wait a minute. Right now they're riding bicycles and you're suggesting that they replace them with a 600 dollar Segway?
Leo: 6000 dollars.
Philip: It just wasn't going to work, so I suggested we run the story inside, which they did.
Leo: You are smart.
Owen: They got pedal power over there. That was a horrible way to page that. When I was there, they give you a bike when you get off the plane. Here, take a bike.
Owen: It's awesome. I was there in 2009. They had bikes everywhere still. Absolutely. Still the pollution is horrific, but it's not coming from cars, it's coming from power plants. By the way, happy NSA turns off balk surveillance day.
Philip: On your Birthday!
Leo: On my Birthday.
Owen: But did they do it?
Leo: That's a good question. According to the law, the NSA ended its bulk surveillance of phone records at 11:59 PM Eastern time on Saturday and they have some sort of scaled backs system that involves maybe perhaps, I don’t know, a warrant. Under the Freedom Act, the NSA and law enforcement agencies can no longer collect telephone calling records in bulk in an effort to sniff out suspicious activities. No more can they record META data, information about who you called and what time you called. They have to get a court order to go to somebody and say, “Monitor those call records.”
Philip: In the US.
Leo: In the US.
Philip: Because their charter says they’re only allowed to operate overseas.
Philip: So they were, you know, it was against the law all along and it finally caught up to them.
Leo: A presidential—this is I think salient. A presidential review committee concluded that all that bulk surveillance did not lead to one single clear counter-terrorism breakthrough that could be directly attributed to the program. Excellent article in the Wall Street Journal today. Point by point documenting how the terrorists in Paris planned their attack. They used things like an Airbnb like service to rent places. They used the internet. In the clear. They didn’t use encryption. They used cell phones. They had GPS. Didn’t stop them. They weren’t even hiding. So.
Philip: There was a really good tweet that I retweeted to the effect that what we now know about the Paris terrorists, they were not Syrians, they were not refugees, and they did not use encryption. So what we’re talking about in the US is Syrians, refugees and encryption.
Leo: Yea, yea. The Wall Street Journal does say that they took advantage of the influx of Syrian refugees into the EU as a way to move more freely. But they, you know, because there was a lot of traffic going on. People weren’t paying any attention.
Owen: So Snowden can come home.
Leo: It’s time to come home, Edward. No, don’t.
Owen: Do you believe the NSA though in your heart? Just a general question.
Leo: Well I wonder. What are they, what are they, yea.
Owen: No, no, not wondering. Yes or no question. Do you believe that the NSA’s turned it off? Yes or no.
Leo: You’re asking me?
Leo: Yes. I believe they turned it off but I believe they replaced it with something that’s probably equally invasive.
Owen: Yea, I feel like it’s when I talk to my daughter and she says, “Can I watch one more show on Netflix before I go to bed?” And I say, “One more 30 minute show.” Two hours later, she’s like three episodes deep.
Leo: Yea. Don’t make me count.
Owen: And something else is going on.
Leo: And it’s 8. Knock it off. I’m going to count to 3 and you better knock it off. 1, knock it off I’m telling you, NSA. 1, 1 and a half.
Owen: They’re not listening anymore. They can’t knock it off.
Leo: Listen (laughing).
Owen: There you go.
Leo: I want to be fair though to the NSA. In fairness, those guys are trying their best to protect us from something like that, what happened in Paris and they feel like this helps them so.
Owen: So what the study said it did nothing to help so they were just being nosy.
Leo: It did nothing to help. Well, but I don’t think they feel like they’re being nosy. Admittedly there’s some issues about what happens with that information. But I think that they feel like, look, we’re trying to protect you. Don’t you think if you were at the NSA right now, you’d be pissed, a little pissed off that on the one hand, American’s are saying, “Protect us.” And the other hand, they’re tying our hands and saying, “But don’t do that.”
Owen: Do you go through your kids’ journals? Or read their e-mails?
Leo: No. No.
Owen: And you want to protect your kids from drugs and drinking and all the things that happen right? But did you go and invade their privacy? To help them? So, I just equate things down to a small thing. I know the world’s a bigger place than that and things are more serious than that but I mean like when you think of what you’re trying to do to help someone, if it’s violating them are you really helping them? And if the cause didn’t help the effect, then it really was a problem more so than helpful.
Leo: Well, but it’s fuzzy and it’s not as easy to know that the NSA really didn’t, you know, we didn’t, we can’t really know if they—
Owen: No we can’t know, we don’t know if they were doing it out of the goodness of their hearts with candy and gumdrops and we don’t know if they were sinisterly evil. So I just go for the middle of the board.
Philip: There’s a wonderful subplot in the Goodwife if you watched that where the NSA, there’s a couple of guys at the NSA who become obsessed with the sex life of the heroine, whatever her name—the Goodwife. So they listen in to all her phone calls and this deadline was coming up and they were getting told by their bosses that they had to pull the plug, they couldn’t listen anymore. And then she uses, she mentions Edward Snowden on the phone, just in an offhand remark.
Leo: Oh, geez. That’s provocative.
Philip: And they’re delighted because now they can continue to listen to her phone calls. I will say this in defense of the NSA that I kind of trust them to know how to keep a secret better than I trust some of the tech companies that are gathering up all this information about me. What do I know about how good Facebook or Google are at protecting the data that they have on me? I’m pretty sure that the NSA knows how to cover their tracks.
Leo: Well, here’s the difference. I think that’s an excellent point. But here’s the difference also. If Google knows stuff about you, what is the potential harm Google could do versus what is the potential harm a government, a federal government?
Owen: They can sell me things that I don’t want.
Leo: Yea, but compare that to tanks at your door.
Philip: No, what I care about is if Google gets hacked.
Philip: And then they get my docs. They get everything about me. If the NSA, I’m sure people are trying to hack the NSA all the time but I doubt if it’s as easy to hack them and get my docs.
Leo: God hopes it’s, (laughing) we hope it’s harder to hack the NSA.
Owen: I’m brokering in chat to give me my new book title, Sex, Lies and NSA.
Leo: Oh, that’d be good. I like it.
Owen: I’m going to start writing that tomorrow. It sounds like a good book.
Leo: Let’s take a little break. I just, I wanted to celebrate NSA Freedom Day, but maybe not. Maybe not. I want to give them credit for trying to protect us.
Owen: That’s why I was asking the question. I was really, like I just wondered what you thought and everybody’s going to have a different opinion on it. I’m not a trustworthy person. I don’t give trust out like that to people because I don’t know. I don’t NSA directly. I know people checking on their ex-wives and husbands and neighbors and doing all kinds of sneaky, shady stuff because they’re humans. And humans inherently are good and bad. So I don’t know if they really turned it off or not. I hope they did because that’s the way it should be.
Leo: And by the way, to your point, Philip, the chatroom is pointing out that in fact the NSA was hacked by this guy named Edward Snowden who walked out the door with a considerable trove.
Philip: He was an insider.
Leo: Well, he was a contractor, yea, yea.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by Carbonite. End of the year is here and I think you need to make a resolution for 2016 to protect your data. Carbonite is the way to do it. Is your backup solution protect you against fire, thieves? Does your backup solution, do you have to remember to backup or is it doing it all the time? Is your backup solution continuous and automatic? Is it secure? Is it encrypted? Carbonite is. More than a million and a half homes and small businesses trust Carbonite to back up their computers and their servers from spreadsheets and e-mails to their digital photos, their music, their everything that you love is on that hard drive. Well, not everything (laughing). Something about everything you love probably is on that hard drive. You’ve got to protect it. You’ve got to back it up to get it back. Try Carbonite right now. For a limited time, 30% off, up to 30% off. And of course you always get 2 free bonus months when you go to Carbonite.com and use the offer code TWIT. Two months free. Carbonite.com. Don’t make this the year you thought about it. You planned to do it. You were going to do it. This is the year to do it. Save up to 30% while you do. Carbonite.com. I think we heard, didn’t we hear this rumor last year? Don’t we hear this rumor every year that Apple’s going to replace the headphone port with a lightning cable?
Harry: I think that was an iPhone 6, remember, originally.
Leo: Last year. Last year. It’s back.
Owen: This is the year. iPhone 7.
Leo: This year.
Owen: This is the year it’s going to happen. iPhone 7.
Owen: They don’t have anything else to push. What are they going to tell you? They already made the phone bigger, taller, thinner. How much thinner can it get?
Leo: It is a problem, isn’t it? Doesn’t Apple have a little bit of an issue—
Harry: They more or less have to do it in order to make it thinner.
Owen: They have to do it. It’s got to happen. And everything’s Bluetooth, brother. You know. Bluetooth. No wires. You don’t need it anyway. What do you need wires for?
Leo: I like a wired headset because it never drops out, the qualities better. For listening to music I like a wired headset. That’s how I listen.
Owen: Those are rational reasons that we’re not trying to discuss in this conversation. Leo, we’re talking about better, ok. Wireless means I don’t get choked. I don’t get hung up. I don’t chew on it. It doesn’t get frayed. There’s all kinds of—see? Tomatoes tomatoes.
Leo: Last year, last June, June 2014, they did add the spec that allowed 3rd party manufacturers to create headphones that used the lightning port.
Harry: Almost nobody has so far.
Leo: Nobody’s done it.
Harry: Philips has I guess.
Leo: Fidelios. Interesting. That would kind of imply that they were thinking about doing this.
Owen: And what does Apple do best? It forces everyone to do things they don’t want to do.
Leo: (Laughing) and feel good about it while they’re doing it.
Owen: Is that C Port dongle working out for them? Don’t you got a dongle for your—you’re sticking a pencil inside your iPad.
Leo: Actually, this is, this is by the way—
Owen: Nobody else is doing that. They’re going to do it.
Leo: If there’s one complaint about the iPad is why didn’t they figure out somewhere to put the pencil? Like this thing, I’m going to lose this $100 pencil.
Harry: Stick magnets on it like Microsoft did to the pen.
Leo: And that’s worked quite well on my Surface Book. It’s there. But for some reason the pencil is free floating.
Harry: I think there will be tons of 3rd party solutions to that.
Leo: Maybe. A loop.
Owen: They make their cords crap for a reason. So you buy new ones. They’re not going to give you a place to put the pencil. You lose it so you get a new one.
Leo: Are you a cynic? Ohdoctah, you are a cynic.
Owen: I’m a realistic person. You think it’s cynical but I’m saying when somebody comes on TV and tells you thinner, lighter, faster and it’s pretty much the same thing and you clap like—I mean I’m just saying. They’re shoving cookies down your throat. And I love Apple. I am Apple’d out. I’ve got a Mac Mini Server a MacBook Pro, a watch, a phone. I’ve got all that. Look, I love Apple. I get it. But I’m just saying, sometimes they just say stuff that makes no sense. You drew a circle in a square earlier and you said, “Oh!” when it snapped into place. I’m just saying, brother. That’s what Apple does. That’s realistic.
Leo: What is it Keith Richards said? The man comes on the TV, telling me more and more about some useless information. Supposed to fire my imagination but he can’t be a man because he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me? That. When was that? When was Satisfaction? I’m watching my TV and the man comes on to tell me how white my shirts can be but he can’t be a man because he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.
Philip: Late 60s.
Leo: Yea, the late 60s they were talking about this. It hasn’t changed.
Owen: Same thing. Salesmanship. Got to be a bigger salesman.
Leo: Yea. Well there’s nobody better than Apple.
Harry: So getting back to the iPhone 7, I was rooting for them to adopt USB-C with the next iPhone.
Leo: Yea. I hope they will too.
Harry: Which it sounds like is not happening. But I would love to see USB-C be the connector for everything.
Leo: I’m ready for it.
Harry: Technically it could be.
Leo: My Nexus 6P has a USP-C. My MacBook. I’m actually loving my MacBook. It’s thinner and lighter than your iPad Pro (laughing).
Harry: The keyboard feel is pretty similar.
Owen: Lighter. Faster.
Leo: I like the type C connector. And it’s thin like lightning. But I don’t know. Apple’s really invested in lightning though, isn’t it?
Harry: It sounds like they’re not planning to put USB-C in the phones anytime soon.
Leo: You could I’m sure with USB-C, because it does carry data. You could have headphones that use USB-C.
Harry: You could do headphones, it can do power.
Leo: All sorts of stuff.
Philip: What do you hear, Harry, about a smaller factor iPhone?
Leo: Another rumor. Like a 4 incher.
Philip: I don’t like the big ones.
Harry: That’s like another fast stream rumor. And I think partially because people really, there’s still a lot of people who like the smaller screen size. At least I haven’t seen any rumors where it’s clear that it’s a rumor because they’re in the supply chain as opposed to it is a rumor because people would like to see it happen.
Leo: I had a woman call the radio show today who had bought a Moto X last year. And she has until December to return it under warranty if there’s something wrong with it. And she’s trying to convince Motorola, she even used quotes from Steve Gibson in her emails to them, that the iPhone is the only secure phone. The Moto X is not secure so it’s faulty so they should allow her to trade it in. It’s falling on deaf ears. I said, “Motorola’s never going to admit that their phone is not as secure as the iPhone. It might not be but they’re never going to admit that.”
Owen: But if that’s their return policy? What is wrong with, “I don’t want this thing. Give me my money back.”
Leo: Apparently there has to be something wrong with it.
Owen: I’m dropping calls. Now prove the fact that I’m dropping calls. You can’t.
Leo: Yea that’s what—
Owen: Give me a new phone.
Leo: Yea, that’s what—what I told her is write to the CEO. Write to Rick Osterloh and say, “Look, I, you know, this is why you should give me my money back.” He’s just going to give you his money back, your money back. Because why should he fight it? Axel Springer fights, the massive German publisher, has finally taken arms against a sea of troubles suing iOS ad blocker. The blocker they’re suing, there’s several but they’re suing the one that blocker without an E. It strips ads as Apple has allowed blockers to due from Safari, from mobile Safari. Lawyers for Blockr argue their software’s legal and optional. The court apparently backed that at a hearing on November 19th suggesting moreover that Axel Springer has other ways of fighting ad blockers like halting access to the site when the software is detected. I final ruling is scheduled for December 10th.
Philip: Germany’s interesting because they’re, it’s like the center of ad blocking. Frederick Filo who does the Monday Note reported not too long ago that 40% of Germans use ad blockers.
Leo: Yea, they love them.
Philip: 30% of French.
Leo: We’re actually going to interview the German company Adblock Plus on Monday. They were the first big one. Adblock Plus, Thomas Greiner and his crew were in studio a couple of weeks ago. They’re going to come on Triangulation tomorrow and talk about this. We’ll talk about this Axel Springer story as well. The Germans are anti—it’s interesting, we’ve talked about it a lot with Jeff Jarvis who spends a lot of time in Germany and this is a conversation we’ve had on TWiG about the (foreign?), I can’t pronounce it. (Foreign?) which was the German publishers fight against Google using snippets in its Google News product. And It think we’ve come to the conclusion that American’s are anti-government, pro-corporation and the Germans essentially are pro-government, anti-corporation. Europeans in general hate business. Is that true?
Philip: Germans also have a reason to be able to be forgotten on the internet.
Leo: Well, isn’t that interesting. Maybe that’s a cultural need? Yea. He said, “Germans are weird because they’re very privacy focused. We call them sometimes Blurmany because they were able to force Google Street View to blur people’s homes if they asked for it.” Like your home, it’s visible. You walk down the street but apparently it can’t be shown on Google Street View. And but he said, but they’re privacy crazy but at the same time they’ll all get in a sauna together naked.
Owen: You know what? It’s because their personal and person in the sauna. There is something inherently weird about people who scream about privacy and you can have somebody who’s 2000 miles away from you looking at your front door or checking out your backyard, looking at the street you’re on. And then hop on a plane and go right to your house. I mean at least when I’m face to face with you I know what’s going on, you see what’s going on. But there is a weird thing about that on the internet when you’re sharing everything without being there.
Leo: I guess you’re right. I guess that makes sense. All right.
Owen: You know if I invite, if you invite me into your home and you say, “Hey I want to come look around.” I look around and that’s fine. Now if I showed up and said, “Oh look at these pictures when I broke into your house and here’s all your stuff,” you’re going to feel some sort of way about it versus inviting me into your home and letting me see what’s going on.
Philip: Also if you’re in the backyard in a hot tub with your neighbor you probably don’t want people peering in.
Leo: (Laughing) well let’s not forget the Germans have, as you say, kind of an unfortunate history and many East Germans remember the Stasi, the East German Military Police and not a happy memory.
Owen: I like Germany. Germany’s a sweet place.
Leo: I was, that was my last trip was to Germany and I had a wonderful time. I bought lederhosen.
Leo: Much to my embarrassment.
Philip: Do you wear underwear when you wear your lederhosen?
Leo: Yea, I do because it’s made out of deerskin and it chafes slightly, ever so slightly (laughing). But I didn’t ask them if I should wear underwear. Maybe I shouldn’t.
Harry: Do people not?
Leo: God, that’s a horrible thought. Really?
Owen: See I didn’t get that deep into it. I got the chocolate.
Leo: Yea, stick with the chocolate.
Owen: I wasn’t, there was no lederhosen, snow and the weirdest thing I ate there was, there was some cheese that they put on the grill and it didn’t melt and I was scared to eat it. But I bit into it and it was kind of delicious. And I can’t remember what it’s called so. My friend’s going over to Germany. I’m like, “Ask for the cheese that they put on the grill that doesn’t melt.”
Leo: Get that cheese that doesn’t melt on the grill for me, will you?
Leo: Yea. Apple has acquired Faceshift. And I’m interested in this because this is the company that makes the motion capture stuff. They used it in Star Wars, so.
Philip: It’s really cool. I mean it’s, you know you move your, you say something and move your lips and then the—yea, if you could run the video it shows what it is.
Leo: Let me see if I can find the video. That is. So it’s matching your, it’s powered ironically by Intel RealSense. It matches your—
Philip: Yea, this is not—the best one is when you see cartoon—there you go. This guy.
Leo: So I’m an orc. Wow. So I think that in Planet of the Apes and in the Hobbit, Andy Serkis as he’s doing his body acting he’s also has a camera pointed at his face to capture his facial expressions and then that way a creature can look very realistic. And that’s always one of the difficult—you know there’s the uncanny valley. It’s one of the tough things to do is to make these animated characters real.
Philip: So the question when Apple buys a company like this is what the hell are they going to do with it? And this one smells to me like an aqui-hire. There was something that these engineers had done that they liked, the skills of these engineers because I hope so. Because I hope they’re not thinking that they’re going to make a chatroom or a—
Leo: Photo Booth ‘s going to be really great next year.
Philip: Yea, and that’s just like overserving. I just want to type in a chatroom, I don’t want to have my face there.
Leo: (Laughing) I don’t need this.
Owen: Imagine the gaming sector. If they have something built in to where people are developing games and you can look at it and play it and like be you in it or something like that, so.
Philip: Would you buy that game from Apple or would you buy it from someone who actually knows how to make good games?
Owen: Well, I assume Apple would either license the technology to them or have it again as just one of their features, something they could do that somebody else can’t do. You know, especially as far as like games and things because they have all these partnerships with those bigger studios anyway where they’ve got certain things going on.
Leo: I feel like this technology’s kind of here. It was really, 6 months ago, very popular, a bunch of apps that came out where you would—there’s a Chinese apps where you could be all these different characters. And it would kind of capture your face and your motions in this stuff. This seems like a very popular thing. The speculation is that maybe Apple has some interest in virtual reality.
Harry: Well a few years ago they bought PrimeSense which is an Israeli company that develops the technology Microsoft used in Connect. When they bought that people thought—
Leo: Ah, that’s right. Right from under Microsoft.
Harry: And so—
Leo: That’s right.
Harry: As far as I know they have not released anything incorporating any of that so in both this case and that case like Phil said, it’s possible they were hiring really talented computer scientists rather then they because they cared about the specific technology.
Leo: Wouldn’t that be interesting. Or they’re working on some sort of virtual reality thing. I mean Google is, Facebook is. Now that’s creepy.
Harry: I mean Apple has to care about VR long term.
Harry: Even if they’re not working on anything that’s going to be released anytime soon.
Philip: Did you get your Google Cardboard?
Leo: In New York Times? Yes I did.
Philip: Well you know I’ve just been showing that to everybody I see.
Leo: What do they think?
Philip: They love it. It’s like scales coming off their eyes. And the best is the little kids who you, especially if you show them a place that they know and then they walk around and they walk into the next room trying to get into the room that they see.
Leo: Which of course you can’t do, yea.
Philip: Yea, yea. And it’s fun.
Leo: Ah, that’s interesting. I was wondering how people, real people would react to that. Of course we’ve all used the virtual reality in the immersive video and stuff. But by putting it in, whatever it is.
Owen: A million.
Leo: Is that what it is? A million home delivery Sunday papers they exposed a lot of new people to immersive video.
Harry: My mom got it and asked what it was.
Leo: Did she do it though? Did she put it together?
Harry: She sampled a little bit. And somebody was over at the house tried it out.
Leo: Ah, so there you go.
Harry: So she, it’s the closest she’s gotten to VR so far and she’s not going to buy any of the ones coming out.
Leo: She’s not going to run out and buy a VR helmet.
Harry: She’s not going to buy Oculus.
Philip: Well, Samsung, Samsung’s going to come out with a $100 one.
Leo: $99 bucks, yep. I have the expensive one. It’s not that expensive, even the earlier ones were $200 bucks.
Philip: The Oculus Rift?
Leo: No, I bought that too. But no, I have the Gear VR that they originally came out and you put your Samsung Galaxy S6 in it. And it’s kind of cool. And I even have a camera that will make this kind of video. It’s kind of cool.
Philip: See, Leo, this is why we can’t buy birthday presents for you.
Leo: No, you can’t. I have everything.
Philip: You’ve already bought everything.
Leo: Yea. And yea. That’s pretty much the truth. I’m terrible, I’m terrible in this regard. And I can’t eat anything anymore so really I’m hopeless. But I do look good in clothes. I’m just saying. No I don’t. You saw the Google Easter Egg that—how much money did Lucas and Disney pay Google for this one? If you search on Google, I’ll go to Google.com. Did we already show this last week? I feel like—oh, look, Google knows it’s my birthday. I’m not kidding. I was told they did that but I forgot about it. Now if I click this is it going to be a search for me?
Leo: It says Happy Birthday Leo in the hover thing. What am I going to get? Me. Google, I love you. I don’t care what you know about me and if you sell it to the highest bidder. I love you. That’s wild that Google, Google.com. So you all know about this because you’ve gone to Google during your birthday but I never did. See yours is just regular.
Harry: I get plain old vanilla Google.
Leo: You get a boring Google doodle and I get cake. Wow.
Philip: You know, Leo, when I found out it was your birthday, I looked you up on Google and the first, not the first thing, but one of the things that came up was Leo Laporte net worth. Have you seen that?
Leo: Yea, that’s not true.
Philip: I tried to put it, I tried to get the link put in the things we were going to talk about.
Leo: Wait a minute. Let me see. Let me see how close they are. It’s not true I’m sure.
Philip: And then it lets you compare Leo’s net worth up against Charlie Sheen.
Leo: What? Oh yea.
Philip: Yea, go ahead. Add a link.
Jason Howell: Philip asked to have it and I’m like, I’m not putting that in but you’re welcome to do it.
Owen: This is how people get hacked. They click on silly things like that and it’s a worm.
Leo: Who put this is my Wikipedia? Oh, they got it from a site call Celebritynetworth.com.
Philip: Yea, yea. Anyway—
Leo: I am the richest podcaster in Northern California. Or something.
Philip: That’s not saying much.
Leo: That’s not saying anything. Saying zero, zilch, nada. No, in my, where I come from, my people, the New Englanders, we don’t talk about money. It’s not allowed.
Philip: You’re from New York. You’re from New York, Leo.
Leo: In New York we talk about money. Hey, I’m worth a lot (laughing).
Owen: That’s exactly how people talk about it too. In general terms.
Leo: What are you worth? Tons. What are you worth? A whole bunch. Google.com. If you go there and you type a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the search results—oh, let’s play the music, too. Now at first, my first reaction was, “Oh those Google guys, they are so funny.” But then I thought, I wonder how much Disney paid for that? Because there is a new Star Wars movie coming. And then—
Owen: You think they had to pay them?
Leo: Oh, I think they made millions on this.
Harry: A significant amount of money. If there’s such a thing as a--
Leo: What’s Google’s net worth? And then, by the way—
Owen: Doesn’t it do more for Google because people are just going to go Google things just to do that. I feel like Star Wars is at the opposite spectrum.
Leo: They don’t need to market it anymore.
Owen: No, you want something, you’re going to pay us for it. Because there’s so many deals where—there’s Star Wars toothbrush, Star Wars toothpaste, socks, deodorant. Like, bro, they were on the bananas at my local grocery store, Leo. It’s like Star Wars banana station. Like, dude, they’re making money hand over fist. So I don’t know if Google got paid, or paid people, Google paid out. But Star Wars demands money for everything.
Leo: All right. Then what about this page? A Google page if you go to google.com/starwars I can now choose whether I’m on the light side or the dark side. This is definitely an ad, right? Am I a rebel alliance? Or am I an imperial fighter?
Owens: That’s an ad.
Leo: Yea. Which should I be? I’m hovering back and forth.
Harry: Use the force.
Leo: Don’t even touch the mouse.
Owen: Use the force.
Leo: Don’t even touch the mouse. It will just—Oh my God, it chose the dark side! Ah! So now apparently my icon looks like that? That sucks. Surely Google could have done better than that. They just made me red.
Owen: Put a red box over you.
Leo: So, here’s how it’s going to look on Facebook. Oh, man, yea, this is a big ad. I think the whole thing is a big fat ad. I’ve never seen so much marketing. Are you excited? Are we all excited? Philip, are you excited about the new Star Wars?
Philip: I’m not going to answer that.
Leo: (Laughing) we bought, how many seats do we have, John? We bought 22 seats to the opening night December 18th. We’re all going. But actually I have a cynical motivation because I read this book that said if you, if you want your team to work together better, you need to make them think that they’re all on the same team. You need to share common experiences. They said diversity is a bad thing in the workplace because if people think they’re different they’re not going to work together in the hive mind. So you have to, you know, celebrate your similarities and then I think it also said you should get them to march around in lock step because that triggers something in the mind. This is why soldiers in boot camp, you do a lot of marching. You think that’s a waste of time? No, because it unifies you as a force and they always said in fact that soldiers aren’t dying for their country, they’re dying for the other guys in their unit because we’re all a unit. So we’re going, that’s why, I’m not, I don’t care about Star Wars. But I’m pretending to. I also love Dr. Who.
Owen: In my massive brain capacity without me reading said book, I did tell you to get the team Segway so you could potentially march in procession to build team unity.
Leo: Yep. You’re right.
Owen: And you told me no. But I mean go ahead and go to the movies and sit in the dark and don’t talk to each other about a movie you’re not that excited about to which I’m excited about. And then throw it about. And next time you want to read a book, just call me and I’ll tell you something very valuable and important to your soul.
Leo: Unit cohesion, my friend.
Owen: Yea. Segway’s. Sell them. Sell the Segway’s.
Leo: You know it’s funny because one of the things that geeks and geek companies do is they play a game called Werewolf. And I actually do—
Owen: That’s a fun game.
Leo: It’s fun isn’t it? And one of the things you do when you’re a villager, the village goes to sleep and then the werewolf preys upon the villagers. You all go like this in unison. And you do a lot of this stuff. And I think it’s actually a pair bonding thing, it’s a bonding experience. Now that I think about it, I have, the people I’ve played South by, what do you think? The people I played Werewolf with, I feel like a close kinship to them. I would die for them now.
Owen: Well, ok. But I’ve played Werewolf and I met a lot of cool people and I enjoy them very much. There might be 2 of them that I’d consider defending their life for but I’m not going to give my life for them.
Leo: See? Defending. That’s ok.
Owen: I would fight for them.
Leo: You’re on your way.
Leo: Star Wars mania.
Owen: It’s exciting. I want to see the movie. I’m happy to see the movie.
Leo: I hope it’s good.
Owen: Did you like the Star Treks that J.J. Abrams did?
Leo: Yes. The reboot?
Owen: Ok, they were fun.
Leo: They were good.
Owen: They felt right. Like they felt good.
Leo: Yea. I like J.J.
Owen: They were like, man, if felt good. So hopefully he does right by this.
Harry: George Lucas hates it which is probably a good sign.
Leo: George Lucas hates it?
Harry: The new movie. He says it’s going in a different direction and it’s not what he would have done.
Leo: What? He’s already gone on record saying he hates it?
Harry: Well, hate it is probably strong, but he said that, he says that he has a different vision for Star Wars than this movie.
Leo: Oh, that’s interesting. I didn’t know that.
Owen: So it should be pretty awesome (laughing).
Harry: Well, based on the last three he did, I think, yea, it’s a good sign.
Owen: Yea. Very much so. No Jar-Jar Binks.
Leo: “It strays form my original vision.” Well, remember, didn’t he like have it all plotted out before they even made the first movie?
Owen: Some of those books are amazing. I don’t know if you’ve read those books, but there’s some of those books where you’re like, man, you should make that movie. And they don’t, so, that’s how the real world works. You have something with amazing content and you go off an make some cartoon doodle-y stuff because you’re George Lucas and no one can tell you anything but. I’m excited.
Leo: This is an interview that has not aired, but he already recorded. It will be on CBS This Morning in December. “The issue is ultimately,” says George, “they looked at the stories and they said, ‘we want to make something for the fans.’ People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems. It’s not about spaceships.” So they decided they don’t want to use those stories. You don’t blame them. Family problems. Is that what you want them to be about? No. They decided they were going to do their own thing. So I decided, fine. I’ll go my way and let them go their way and I’ll take their how many billions of dollars with me.
Owen: Everything is a soap opera. I don’t know if people understand this. Every show you watch is like watching General Hospital. You watch a show at night, you watch A-Team. Face is out there trying to get the ladies, they’re trying to save some old lady from whatever, guy hooks up with the girl, they save people, they move on. Everything is a soap opera. And the NFL is a soap opera. This guy hit a girl, this guy saved his mom. Everything’s a soap opera.
Leo: OK, ok, so you can, Philip, you can take a nap if you’re not interested in this subject. Obviously you’re not. “Luke Skywalker,” J.J. Abrams says, “Luke is a huge part of the story.” How much has he been in the trailers up until now? Zilch.
Owen: He touched R2-D2.
Leo: We think that might have been his hand. You didn’t see his face.
Owen: It was his hand.
Leo: Was it his hand?
Owen: He’s joined the dark side.
Leo: Which hand was it?
Owen: Who else is missing a hand?
Leo: Which hand—ah, see, yep.
Owen: Who else is missing a hand?
Leo: No, he’s the one. So we’ve seen his hand.
Owen: Yea. I’m drawing a blank.
Leo: Is that going to be, that’s going to be the big story, the big twist.
Owen: I had this joke and I can’t remember what it is. Who’s the black guy in the old Star Wars?
Leo: Billy D. Williams.
Harry: Lando Calrissian.
Owen: Billy D. Williams. I was going to say, this is Billy D. Williams touching R2-D2 (laughing). That’s a black hand.
Leo: (Laughing) that’s a bad touch. That’s not a good touch. “He touched me there,” says R2-D2.
Owen: My daughter thinks that the BB8 is alive and normally I don’t like to her and let her get away with things like that, but it’s super cute because she like talks to it and I’m cracking up and I’m like, “It’s not really a robot.” Because we have the regular Sphero and now she looks at that thing like it’s real and I crack up every time. So I mean, the kids are excited. I’m excited.
Leo: There’s also rumors like Harrison Ford will die in this one. You think?
Owen: I don’t even think about that stuff yet. I think Luke’s the bad guy.
Leo: I think Luke’s the bad guy. I think you’re right. I think Luke’s gone to the dark side. Well we know he’s going to the dark side. So this is about him becoming. Wait a minute, who’s—never mind. I forgot. He’s—is he Darth Vader or is he Darth Vader’s son? He’s—
Owen: He’s Darth Vader’s son.
Leo: Oh my God, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that.
Owen: Everybody knows that.
Harry: Spoiler from 1981.
Owen: Oh, it’s fun when you let a kid watch it and then they get like all upset. They’re like, “Oh, no!”
Leo: Yea, they are. There’s videos on YouTube about that.
Owen: Yea (laughing).
Leo: ISIS – hey, ISIS does not have a help desk, ok? We talked about this a little bit last week.
Harry: Just go on the website and solve your own problems.
Leo: They don’t have a help desk. This is, this is an example of how media kind of blows this whole stuff out of proportion in Wire Magazine. And I was a little suspicious. Wire had an article about the OPSEC Manual for ISIS, the security manual for ISIS. Turns out really wasn’t for ISIS, it was written—ISIS maybe used it, no one knows really, right? They’re not saying what they’re using but the OPSEC manual is written ironically to protect journalists who are trying to operate in dangerous areas, how to protect your communications and your conversations. I think it was by a Danish security firm. The manual that they claim, that they talked about saying, “Oh ISIS is using this.” And apparently there is no 24 hour help desk. That was just kind of a media invention, a fantasy if you will. Just wanted to clear that up.
Philip: A meme will circle the globe 3 news cycles before its truth can get its boots on.
Leo: Yea, and that’s exactly—I like that. It’s good. You’ve coined a new thing. I like that.
Owen: I think he got that from a meme.
Leo: (Laughing) I think there’s a poster somewhere. There’s so little to talk about. You can see I’m stretching here a little bit.
Owen: It’s Thanksgiving. Everybody is busy stuffing their face instead of stuffing the internet with things.
Leo: Harry wrote a good article, actually a really interesting article about how Facebook—what are you eating?
Philip: Oh I’m eating, I’m sorry, that’s me.
Leo: Oh you know, ok. I just want to show how prejudice and bigotry works. I assumed it was Ohdoctah. I assumed that if somebody’s eating, it’s going to be you.
Owen: Because I’m a professional, Uncle Leo, right? And if I’m going to have snacks I’m using my microphone.
Leo: (Laughing) I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Owen. I love you. You know I love you.
Philip: I’m on the east coast, and it’s dinner time here, so.
Leo: I know, I’m sorry. We’re keeping you from your dinner. We’re going to hurry up here. We’ll wrap this up here.
Philip: All right.
Leo: Let’s take a break. When we come back, how Facebook—this is a challenge. Facebook has what, 12,000 employees? How do you, how do you preserve—Google faces the same challenge. How do you preserve the magic spark that got the whole thing started and don’t just turn into a faceless company like HP or IBM? It’s not an easy thing to do. We’ll talk about it in just a second because you did some, some good work on this one. But first a little bit of a word from our friends at FreshBooks. Which is a lifesaver if you’re a freelancer, if you make, if you have to send invoices, if you don’t get paid until you mail an invoice, this is for you. Because that’s the thing you don’t really enjoy doing, right? It never was the part I liked about the job, rummaging through receipts, keeping track of expenses, creating invoices, sending them off to the client, tracking down clients who don’t pay on time. All of that stuff, that’s just not the stuff you, that’s not why you got into business. But if you use FreshBooks, it’s a lot easier. FreshBooks is a super simple cloud accounting software that’s giving thousands of freelancers just like you, just like me, I used it for a long time, the tools to save time billing and get paid faster. I was billing Rogers in Canada every month because I was doing Call for Help up there. It was such a pain. I complained to him, actually and I’ve mentioned this before, the biggest problem was I would just never bill them. Which means I’d never get paid. I had 6, at one point 6 months’ worth of invoices and I sent them all at the same time. They were not happy. Amber said, “There’s this new company, just started up.” This is in 2004. “They’re called FreshBooks. They’re in Toronto. You’re going to love them.” And she was right. You’ll be creating and sending invoices in minutes. You’ll get paid up front. Yes, you can get paid up front. They have this thing called a deposit now in FreshBooks. So you don’t have to cover costs out of pocket or wait until the end of a project to get paid. A lot of clients like that. It makes their accounting easier. You can organize expenses very easily. The FreshBooks app will take pictures of receipts, get them right into the invoice. Same thing if you track hours. You bill time. It does it almost automatically, right from the app. And FreshBooks has added this automated customer reviews report. You can see all your reviews in one place. So if you have customer reviews this is neat. Post them on your website as references. They’re adding features all the time for the freelancers. Kind of a haven for freelancers. If you have a question, help is free forever and you can always count on their award winning support rock stars to go above and beyond. FreshBooks dot—there they are. Oh, they have a—you know what? This is a new picture. They get more support rock stars, they had to get a new picture. Bigger group. It’s easy to get started. Totally free for 30 days. Go to FreshBooks.com/twit. Make sure when they ask you how’d you hear about us, you mention This Week in Tech. Start your 30 day free trial today and we do thank FreshBooks so much. I thank them for making my life a lot easier and for supporting This Week in Tech. It’s kind of been nice. It’s come full circle. So what inspired you to write the article, Harry, about Facebook?
Harry: Well, if I can give a small plug, I wrote the cover story on the current issue of Fast Company which is the 20th anniversary issue.
Harry: And that is on the future of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s plans for VR and AI and drones.
Leo: They call it the only true unicorn.
Harry: So over the course of several months I spent a bunch of time at Fast Company and one of the things I talked about was essentially how, now that they have more than 12,000 people they don’t become kind of huge and bureaucratic and slow moving and incumbent. I think right now they’re doing a really great job of still being Facebook but at a larger scale. And so the story you’re talking about is essentially on how they do that. I think a lot of that is they have this really distributed culture where they do their best to make every single employee feel like they personally are responsible for the culture. There’s no single person who’s responsible for doing it. They try to make everybody into an advocate for the sort of culture that Zuckerberg created originally.
Leo: Weird stuff too like they write one, they can write on the walls.
Harry: Well, yea, I spent a lot of time in the new headquarters which they call Building 20 and it is one gigantic room.
Leo: Wait a minute. Gigantic. It’s 434,000 square feet.
Harry: An unbelievably large room with everybody sitting at tables. But—
Leo: Is it noisy?
Harry: It’s not too bad. Any individual spot feels a lot like Facebook felt like 10 years ago.
Leo: Oh, interesting.
Harry: It’s fairly humble. You can still write on the walls. It’s not particularly lavish looking even though Frank Gehry designed it.
Leo: He wouldn’t let him finish it. Like it’s painting dripping down the walls.
Harry: There’s exposed floors and girders everywhere. So it’s still a fairly humble place but it’s just an unbelievably gigantic humble place.
Leo: Even Zuck works at a table?
Harry: He still does.
Leo: He doesn’t have an office.
Harry: He has his own conference room. But he still works at a table.
Leo: Yea, you need somewhere to meet privately and plan to take over the world.
Harry: Although that conference room is sort of like a fishbowl. It’s all exposed.
Leo: Oh, interesting.
Harry: So when I talked to him for this story, if anybody was wandering by they would—
Leo: See you talking to him, yea. Oh, they looked down?
Harry: You can just, you can look—
Leo: Avert their eyes?
Harry: It’s open.
Leo: We don’t want to see.
Harry: Another thing they do is if you’re an engineer and you start at Facebook you get to decide what you’re going to work on in order to try to divert you into something you’re personally passionate about.
Leo: That’s smart. If you’re big enough you can do that. You know, you can hire people just because they’re bright and let them work on what they think is important.
Harry: I learned something which I didn’t know which is they have these inspirational signs everywhere like, the one they have now says, “Move fast and build things.”
Leo: It used to say, “Move fast and break things.”
Harry: Right, right. And then Zuckerberg decided “Well, we’re a little bit too cavalier about breaking stuff. It’s hard to do that when you’re as big as we are.” But according to Facebook’s head of HR, Lori Goler, there’s no like department that makes these signs. That the signs are actually created by sort of on their own by Facebook staffers.
Philip: Scroll down a bit more, you’ll see the signs.
Leo: Oh, here they are. So staffers make these.
Harry: Fortune favors the bold is another one you see a lot there.
Leo: See, I have to say if these were being made by the company, I’d have an aversion to it. It’s like, oh, this is a little, you know, like Stalin’s Russia, you know? But if it’s made—
Owen: It’s still cliché.
Leo: But it’s made by the people, the workers. Although I guess if you know, you know, “Hey it’s 4:30 on Friday, we still haven’t seen your sign.” You know, if there’s pressure.
Owen: I mean, hey put up something positive.
Leo: You’re not wearing enough flair, yea. You know you’re only wearing 30 pieces of flair. Well it thought that was the requirement. Is that how you want to be? You want to be the person who just does the requirement? It’s that kind of company.
Philip: Hey Leo, scroll down a little bit more on that so we see the address. Do you have the article there?
Leo: Yea. A dress?
Philip: The address, yea.
Leo: 1 Hacker Way. Yea, very famous address.
Philip: Is that real?
Harry: It’s true.
Leo: Very famous, yea.
Harry: The other interesting thing about that sign is their old campus which they’re still using was originally Sun Microsystems and on the back of the 1 Hacker Way sign, you can still see the Sun logo.
Leo: Can you really?
Harry: So that, if you work at Facebook as you leave every day you see the Sun logo.
Leo: Oh, a reminder.
Harry: Which is just a little reminder that if we don’t keep our eye on the ball, we could be Sun.
Leo: Wow. They left it there on purpose. I kind of like that. They’re conscious about their culture. I think that’s reasonable.
Harry: Yea, they’re super conscious about it. And at least so far I think they’ve done a really good job of not becoming bloated and huge.
Philip: Hey, Harry, can I ask you a question?
Philip: It always seemed to me that Facebook, the main Facebook business, creating the Facebook page and getting people to sign up and share with each other was the equivalent of the Google search. It’s the main business of it and just like Google has had trouble finding something else that makes money for them, has Facebook, you know the Oculus Rift, the other things they’ve gotten into feel like sidelines to me and not big enough to replace their original idea.
Harry: Well they totally, they certainly have the luxury of doing things like acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion dollars and acquiring Oculus Rift for $2 billion because the core business is doing so well. I actually think they’re doing a pretty good job of positioning themselves to do well in the future because Instagram is one of the largest social networks in the world and I think they have a really good opportunity to make quite a bit of money off of Instagram over time. Oculus obviously it’s really early to say whether Oculus will be a large business but Mark Zuckerberg’s theory at least is that VR is essentially the next user interface and so all the stuff we do today in something like Facebook, we’ll eventually do in VR. And if so there might be that opportunity to monetize it. They’re a lot more focused than Google. Google is doing smart contact lenses and self-driving cars and all kinds of stuff. A lot of which is not clear what the business model is. Mark Zuckerberg is AI, VR and internet drones as really core to the mission of connecting the world so they’re not going to do anything and everything. They’re going to do things that they see as being kind of the next step in the original mission of helping people share stuff. And everything that they are doing does relate to sharing stuff. They’re not doing VR because they care that much about gamin. They’re doing VR because it might be the next interface.
Philip: Interesting. I just finished the Elan Musk book and one of his secrets for attracting good people which is what that article was about was his mission statement is we have to colonize Mars. And everything he does is in the service of colonizing Mars. And one of the things that did for him was attract all these space scientist guys who were dying at NASA because NASA was doing nothing. They’re all now, you know, they all want to work for Elan Musk because he wants to go to Mars. And it’s an interesting approach to getting the very best people in the field that you care about.
Harry: Zuckerberg for a long time has been pretty consistent. It’s always been about helping people share stuff from almost the very start. But he just has a very expensive definition of what sharing things means and what connecting the world means.
Leo: Difficult though, especially when you’re a successful company, to acquire employees who will buy into that versus employees who will buy into the stock options, you know. And I’m sure that’s a challenge because you get people, as you point out, they have 500 openings right now. They have to hire a lot of people.
Harry: They’re hiring on a huge scale.
Leo: And inevitably, I would guess the vast majority are there because they think, “Hey, I’m going to get rich at Facebook,” as opposed to, “I share Mark Zuckerberg’s vision.” Elan’s vision is so grandiose and wild that you can see space scientists say, “Yea.” But saying “We want to help people share.” That doesn’t quite grab the imagination.
Owen: And that’s the thing about Facebook. When you’re sitting there talking about their revenue, I mean honestly, it all seems like a big shell game to be because I’m like, “What are you really making money on?” Facebook obviously, people promote ads and things in there but Instagram, I see more people using the side hustle on Instagram, again, paid endorsements and things like that as opposed to just sponsorship that really doesn’t invite me to do anything. I mean like Ruby Tuesday’s comes on and says, “Buy some of Ruby Tuesdays.” And like I can get a coupon or do anything from it. And like I don’t know. It just feels like a lot of shady business. At least the VR I’m getting into that. That’s one that could be physical, they could sell, they can make a profit. They can maybe dominate a market in. You know that’s why Google’s transforming into things like the car and things like that where they can actually have something physical to make some money off of instead of all this digital make-believe fake money that you know, tricks stock market people into doing stuff. And stock options, you know, Mark Zuckerberg runs around throwing away stock options like it’s his job. “Oh, we’re going to give to this school up to a million dollars in stock options.” Keyword in that sentence, up to a million dollars. I mean like, I don’t know. But continue on. I’m sorry.
Harry: Stock options do not hurt for sure.
Leo: Boy it helps acquire talent.
Owen: I’m sure. I’m just saying versus the Elan Musk thing of telling a little boy, “Hey, we’re going to Mars.” And the guy’s like, “Man, I’ve been wanting to do something like that my whole life.” Or I’ve been wanting to make a like button.
Leo: It’s a little harder. That’s what I’m saying too. It’s a little harder to get excited about Facebook’s mission. Are they able to do that?
Harry: I mean they kind of compartmentalize that. And presumably if you’re working on Oculus you’re excited about VR not about connecting the world in a super sense.
Leo: And they’ve always succeeded well with that. It’s obvious when you see Homer Lucky and the others that they’re so jazzed about what they’re doing. And they love having the Facebook money empowering that.
Harry: I mean essentially, I mean if people are there only because they care about stock options I think fairly clearly Facebook will start to feel old and arthritic. Right now they’re firing on all cylinders. As a business they’re doing fantastic. Compared I think to other tech companies who have gotten as large as they are, they’ve been around as long as they have. They generally speaking are doing a good job of keeping ahead of the market. And when you contrast it with the Yahoo for instance, Yahoo 11 years into its existence had all kinds of problems which Facebook does not have yet.
Leo: Right. Facebook of course presciently, maybe not, I don’t know, maybe it was prescient when they bought WhatsApp and spun off Messenger into a stand-alone app, realized what many of us are just starting to cotton to is that messaging is the next platform. Did you talk to him about that a little bit?
Harry: I did another story which is on their website about Facebook Messenger and how they essentially after having acquired Instagram and not screwed it up and acquired WhatsApp and not screwed it up, they took Messenger which was essentially a feature within Facebook and they hired David Martinez who was the CEO of PayPal and they started to treat it like a start-up.
Leo: Yea, that’s smart.
Harry: And it has a scale of—one of the big challenges Facebook does have is it’s really hard for them to create anything new that doesn’t look incredibly tiny and puny compared to Facebook which has 1.5 billion users. Messenger had 200 million users when they started treating it like a stand-alone business and a year later it had about 700 million users so like Instagram and WhatsApp it’s one of the few social networks that has the scale. That it doesn’t look tiny compared to Facebook itself.
Leo: And it’s more than just messaging. I mean I think that for messaging to live up to its promise, it has to become a platform for a lot of different things.
Harry: And there are a number of messaging apps that are like that. WeChat is like that.
Leo: WeChat, yea.
Harry: Line from Japan is like that. And if Messenger was just a feature within Facebook it’d be really hard to do that. So they told everybody that they would have to download the stand-alone messenger app which some people including me were unhappy about at the time. But that gave them the opportunity to treat it like a platform.
Leo: How does WhatsApp fit into this? Doesn’t look like WhatsApp by the way is adding features at all.
Harry: Yea, they basically had the luxury of having these two huge messaging apps, each of which can go in a different direction.
Leo: Yea. It could be a test tube.
Leo: 22—no, that was only a billion dollars. Well, no, it was $22 billion dollar test tube, yea.
Harry: Essentially Messenger has a lot of content. It has games. It’s pretty flashy. It’s going to have an app store.
Leo: It’s got M, the personal assistant.
Harry: It has M which gives WhatsApp the opportunity to be a kind of clean and not have a lot of stuff and not have any advertising. They also want businesses to use Messenger and maybe eventually WhatsApp for customer service so if you’re buying something from an e-commerce company instead of talking to them via email, Facebook’s theory is it’s better done over Messenger.
Leo: Isn’t that the trick though is to convince, it’s not a platform unless 3rd parties use it. If it’s just a Facebook product it’s not nearly as interesting as if you could get, for instance, Amazon to use Facebook for customer service. But that’s a hard sell. All these companies have ambitions of their own. And it doesn’t seem like we’re moving any towards a unified universe anytime soon. It seem like in fact with things like Amazon stopping the sales of Apple and Roku products they’re moving apart. That we’re all moving into these silos. You’re in the Apple ecosystem, the Facebook ecosystem or the Amazon or Google ecosystem but they don’t talk to one another.
Owen: Well those are different mega corps. Like you got to think about things like when someone goes online they complain or tweet about Comcast and then someone from Comcast says, “Oh, can I talk to you in a DM and help you with your problem?”
Owen: Like that kind of quick result—
Leo: That’s the worst experience. The Comcast chat is so bad that I would love for it to be in WhatsApp all of a sudden.
Owen: But what I’m saying is I’ve had instances where they go in a DM and they fix it a heck of a lot faster via Twitter than they do something else. So if Messenger could do something like that with those kinds of companies that could be useful to people because people are already there and they feel comfortable being there.
Harry: So far the companies I’ve worked with are small ones. Amazon is going to be a tougher sell. Part of Facebook’s message to e-commerce companies is “We can give you a better experience within Messenger than you can create by building an app. And people don’t download apps anymore anyhow so they’re unlikely to download your app.” And for a small company or a non-technical company, like an airline, that’s probably a more compelling sales pitch than it is to an Amazon.
Leo: Yea. I saw a slide deck, I’m trying to find it, on Business Insider recently about the messaging economy. I’ll see if I can find it. But how messaging—I think this is probably true. I don’t know if you guys agree. It seems like messaging is the next big play, the next big platform.
Philip: It’s the original platform.
Leo: Isn’t it? AOL, AIM and ICQ and all that. Yea.
Philip: And email.
Leo: And email is messaging. Yea. But messaging, well, I just downloaded and installed WeChat for instance. And you can have your blog there. It has an Instagram. And I understand in China you can buy train tickets and get your laundry done. I mean it’s everything.
Harry: Call a taxi.
Leo: Yea. Uber’s in it basically. Yea. But the problem is in the US the Ubers want to be Uber. They want to be their own platform. They don’t want to be somebody, on somebody else’s platform.
Harry: And WeChat actually, they kicked out Uber.
Leo: Did they?
Harry: Yea because they prefer you use their car service.
Leo: I hate to see these companies become so big. I feel like we’d be better served and they would be better served by being a small number of, I mean a large number of small companies, not a small number of giant corporations.
Leo: Yea. Well, we’d call Facebook a Monopoly if there were such a thing, if like, if we considered the category of business. I mean there isn’t anything like Facebook and nobody can really compete at this point with Facebook, right?
Harry: Google just, Google + and basically declared—
Leo: Yea, they gave up.
Harry: They were done competing with Facebook. They’re doing something different now.
Leo: And Twitter’s something different. I mean there’s—
Harry: Twitter’s different.
Leo: Whatever Facebook is, it’s the only one.
Harry: Snapchat is something different.
Leo: At least in the west there are other networks in other parts of the world. That’s interesting. Did, how much time did you get with Mark?
Harry: I went and talked to him a couple of times and also asked him some questions over email.
Leo: Unlike a lot of these guys, I mean Bezos does interviews very rarely. Tim Cook only calculatedly. But Mark seems fairly available and fairly open. He’s going to be taking time off soon, right?
Harry: He’s taking off a couple months. He could take up to 4 months of paternity leave.
Leo: He and Pricilla are having a baby.
Harry: He’s actually a tough interview too.
Leo: Is he?
Harry: He’ll talk for something he cares about and he cares about AI and VR and especially what he’s doing which is actually really controversial in some quarters in terms of brining connectivity to other countries. Connectivity which is somewhat Facebook-centric. Internet or the thing they created is attempting to bring internet to almost everywhere on Earth.
Leo: Right. So they can use Facebook because it’s really basically bringing Facebook everywhere in the world.
Harry: And particularly because it’s called Internet.org which suggests it’s the entire internet and is a non-profit. Some people aren’t that crazy about that fact. What they’re giving you is not the entire internet and it’s not a non-profit. I mean right now it’s costing Facebook money but over time if they want to grow and grow and grow they will need more countries to have consumers and have consumers that care about Facebook.
Leo: Philip, you’ve been watching this space for a long time. And I’ve wondered this for a while. It’s really easy, humans are very narrow in our perception. We don’t see the long view of anything. So it’s really easy to assume that the dominant industries today will be dominant forever. You know we just think it will always be Facebook and Google and Twitter. And it’s clear that from the history of technology which you and I have both covered for decades, you know, Microsoft isn’t the Microsoft of yesteryear. IBM’s not the IBM of yesteryear. That there’s a natural cycle to these businesses. And really after 10, 20 years somebody else comes along. But it’s starting to look like there are some incumbents like Facebook particularly, Google perhaps, that might break this mold. That might in fact, that we’re done. That like these guys are going to be here for 400 years. Is that crazy talk?
Leo: Oh good. Whew. I feel better.
Philip: Well, you know the theory of disruption which is probably the only coherent theoretical basis for talking about these businesses says that the companies, when a company grows big and successful and listens very closely to its clients and tries to improve itself in response to their needs will eventually get eaten from below.
Leo: The innovator’s dilemma.
Philip: Right. And you know, is Facebook at the point where it’s overserving and someone could come along and offer, and start to take the parts of the business that Facebook isn’t interested in and make money doing that and then eventually improve to the point where it would take, eat Facebook seed corn. I could see that happening. And it’s really the rare company that can disrupt itself and be willing to sacrifice it’s, you know, where its main business comes from in order to go into a completely different direction. There’s an old saying that if, you know famously Microsoft missed the ball on the internet and mobility. But if Steve Ballmer had gone to the board of directors and said, “You know, mobility is the next thing. We’ve got to chuck Windows and throw everything into mobility,” he would have been fired.
Leo: Because you killed your cash cow.
Philip: Yea. Yea.
Leo: Harry, are they—I mean surely Mark Zuckerberg’s no fool. He knows about the innovator’s dilemma and do you have the sense that he’s aware of this and trying to beat the odds?
Harry: I mean I think acquiring Oculus is attempting to get ahead of where the market is because in theory VR is something that can reset the market in the same way that the PC reset the market for computers a few decades ago. And the internet reset the market. Then mobile did.
Leo: So we just don’t know what’s coming down the pike to reset the market.
Harry: And Facebook—sorry, go ahead.
Owen: I just want to say, Facebook has the general marketing strategy that is a timeless tradition. You know when Christians wanted to spread the word, what did they do? They go to 3rd world countries, you build a school and a church and you bring them bibles. He is going out there and he is building the internet and he is bringing them Facebook because that’s how you bring more people into the flock and that’s how you convert more people.
Leo: He is, isn’t he? He’s proselytizing Facebook.
Owen: So I mean when you sit there and you think about Facebook and his global reach, I mean it’s a very traditional marketing plan to bring people into the fold and he is doing it quote unquote the right way. When someone who has nothing—
Leo: But Owen, he has tools that people haven’t had before.
Owen: And he as the tools that they need to make them love him. So when you come there and you bring someone the future to which they have no knowledge of it’s like opening up the sky to them. They will have access to so many things they never had access to. So who are they going to love and be favor? Facebook. So if Facebook grows that out, I think that’s the best thing they have going to sustain Facebook’s dominance and growth. I mean they’re jumping in here in these markets and they’re doing strategic moves in the markets. They’re not chucking everything for mobile, they’re like, “Look, let’s go get ahead of the curve on this and the flop side is not a big deal. We’re already there. But we’re still building the main concept of bringing people into love us.” Because guess what? I don’t really like Facebook and all the stuff you guys are talking about, I don’t care because I am a cynical, horrible person. But when I see him going out and building his little spaceship plane that’s going to be brining internet to people who’ve never even had anything, I say, “Hey, good for you, Mark. You’re a good dude.” Normally I don’t think that about the guy. But when he’s doing things like that, it’s indoctrinating, it’s bringing in new people, and you look like a nice guy all at the same time. So I’m just saying. They might be around for another, we might be buying Google socks and Facebook cookies. I don’t know.
Philip: The Facebook though does run into the same problem that Google has which is that Google basically is using money that it gets from the US and Europe. That’s who, that’s where their advertising brings in revenue. But their growth is dependent on spreading the internet to the rest of the world. The problem with the rest of the world is they don’t spend like the US and Europe does. So basically you know, how does, at some point, Google and Facebook run out of world. And then how do they grow?
Owen: Micro-economies. Because there are a lot of people making money on cell phones.
Leo: What does Tesla say? We’re going to Mars.
Philip: Going to Mars.
Owen: People making money on the little cell phone transactions. There’s a lot of things that micro-economics that goes on in those 3rd world countries that makes a lot of money. So there you have the potential to get into the market.
Leo: Yea. A lot of crumbs add up to a pretty big loaf.
Harry: And also, Mark Zuckerberg really does think incredibly long term. I think he’s thinking about 20, 30 years from now when some of these countries where people don’t have a lot of money do become consumer markets. He controls 57% of Facebook. He doesn’t really have to care about what his board tells him to do. He doesn’t seem too worried about the stock market. And he has a lot of patience.
Leo: He doesn’t have to worry because he still owns a controlling interest in Facebook which is unusual.
Harry: No one can tell him what to do.
Leo: Yea. It’s really amazing.
Harry: And he really does have long term vision in a way that other companies don’t always show.
Leo: I guess that’s, that’s not the question. I mean certainly the brightest minds at Google have been looking at this for their entire lifetime. The question is only can you see that light coming at the end of the tunnel and prepare for it properly.
Owen: Well they don’t see it when it comes to social because they bombed at every turn when it comes to that.
Leo: Google did, yea.
Owen: And they better hope this car things works out because that’s the only cool thing I hear coming out of Google right now is them telling me I don’t have to drive anymore on the weekends when I don’t want to. But you know, again, dipping your toe where you shouldn’t do it, but they still have to try. Because one day they might hit a homerun. But they haven’t so far.
Leo: That slide deck that I was talking about is on Business Insider. If you search for Michael Wolf, he is a Yahoo board member and an investor. A great slide deck for the Wall Street Journal’s conference about the tech and media outlook for 2016. Mary Meeker does this every year too. And I guess we now have competing talking heads over these things. But he does in fact point to a very big change in attention and how people are assigning their attention and the opportunity that that provides a lot of businesses including messaging but also a new media. It says a billion dollar business can be built by capturing less than a minute of an average user’s daily attention. There’s money. There’s gold in them thar hills.
Owen: So what if someone in the chat also says I’m—it irks me and I can’t believe I forgot about it. The fact that Facebook is getting free money off of these videos that are stolen and posted by people because they don’t have a way to pull down ads like on YouTube where if you go to steal somebody’s content YouTube pulls it down from you. Facebook just—
Leo: I’m sure they’re going to fix that. They know they have to fix that.
Owen: And people—they’re going to fix it. They’ve been letting it run rampant for a long time now and for a company that’s 12,000 and so agile and so keeps up with the culture and the blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and moving fast. They haven’t fixed that problem because that problem makes them money. I’m done.
Leo: No, it’s a good point. Messaging the fastest growing online behavior in the social landscape of the last 5 years. Look at the growth of WhatsApp. Even greater than WeChat, Instagram, Snapchat. Messaging will add 1.1 billion new users in 2018. It’s really an interesting deck. We’re going to take a break. Come back with some final thoughts. Our great panel here. Owen J.J. Stone, Ohdoctah. The technology giants. You all have to have nicknames. The Technologizer, Mr. Harry McCracken from Fast Company. Philip Elmer-Dewitt. PED. That’s a terrible nickname. Terrible nickname. He’s the PED dispenser. He’s from Fortune.com. We’ll find something for you.
Owen: That original Mac email address. I still have got my Mac. email@example.com baby.
Owen: Thestonelife. Keep that Macola.
Leo: Wow, that’s gangsta. Wow. Yea.
Owen: Yea. Old school. Mac.
Leo: (Laughing) we’re going to take a break. Come back with more. Our show today brought to you by my razor, Harry’s. I love Harry’s. A great shave experience for a fraction of what you’re paying now. It’s the holidays and it’s time to go to Harry’s to get a gift for that special man in your life. Harry’s has something for everyone. Whether it’s a secret Santa gift for your office, because you don’t want to spend a lot of money on that. So get shaving kits start at $15. Or a special loved one who’s hard to shop for. That beautiful Winter Winston set. Oh, I love that. That’s good looking. And you can get it monogrammed, you can get a special case for it. They’ve really done it up. Harry’s was started by 2 guys who are passionate about creating a better shaving experience. By delivering an amazing shave at an affordable price right to you, eliminating the drugstore markup. That’s a lot. They’re not trying to make a mint selling you the blades when they give you the razor. They also give 1% of their sales and 1% of their time back to the communities they serve. They’re great people. Getting started with Harry’s is simple. Over a million guys now have made the switch to Harry’s. So visit the website. H-A-R-R-Y-S.com. Where’s my Winter Winston? I have it here. They actually have some nice—
Owen: I’m going to give them a shot. I like that razor, Uncle Leo.
Owen: I only shave my head. I don’t have any hair really.
Leo: Now this is the gift box. This you know, this is for like the special guy. Maybe your dad. I think your dad would love this. It’s a beautiful box. Look how shiny and pretty that copper handle is.
Owen: I’m special. I deserve gold. I deserve it.
Leo: You deserve that. You can get it monogrammed with his name. Of course all the kits, whatever the price come with the handle, 3 blades, the Harry’s travel cover which I really like. And then you can choose the shave cream which I’m fan of the shave cream. They also have foaming shave gel which is a lot more traditional. I like the cream. I think you get a better shave with that. But look at that. Wouldn’t that be a beautiful gift? You can find it there at Harrys.com and take $5 bucks off that gift, you don’t have to tell dad about that part, when you use the offer code TWIT5. If he’s already got a Harry’s consider the monogrammed Harry’s stand. It’s a nice heavy aluminum. Holds your razor out there. Looks nice. It’s a great gift. They’ve got a new Harry’s Travel Kit too. Lots of great stuff. Harrys.com. You’re going to love it. The copper plated razor handle, the great travel bag, the upgrade set. You can buy it separately if you want. Harry’s at H-A-R-R-Y-S.com. $5 off your first order. Use the offer code TWIT5 and you’ll also get free shipping for the holidays but that ends December 10th so you better hurry to Harry’s. They named it after you.
Harry: I’d just like to point out that all Harry’s products are monogrammed for me.
Leo: (Laughing) you don’t have to get a monogram. Harrys.com the offer code TWIT5.
Owen: Keep your eye on that box, Uncle Leo.
Leo: I know, I might—you know, I’ll get. You know, I should give it to you. Let me give it to you as a holiday gift. Really provocative article in the Lefsetz Letter. I kind of wanted to talk about this. I actually tweeted it. People were irate. The Lefsetz Letter is an industry insider written by Bob Lefsetz. He’s been around a long time. And he’s been I think a pretty stalwart defender of the music industry until Adele. And he is mad at Adele. Adele of course announced that she was going to keep her new album 25 off the streaming services because she could make more money selling the album to people who couldn’t hear it ahead of time. And in fact it’s worked. It’s the fastest selling album in years. The record industry says, “We’re back, baby.” He says it’s the last gasp of dying paradigm. He says, “Adele could do it because she’s Adele but she’s pulling the ladder up after her.” Because those streaming services are critical to the success of acts no one’s heard of including when she first started Adele. But now that she’s famous she can sell her album without the streaming apps. He said, “She had an opportunity to boost streaming music, to support streaming music with her music, but holding her album back is a victory only for her.”
Owen: Taylor Swift did this and she sold a lot of albums and she broke records of her own. Then later on she—
Leo: As did Adele.
Owen: And then later on what they’ll do is after the initial sales wean down, then they put them on the streaming sites. They’re crying over spilled milk. If a person wants to make money off of their product, that’s their business to do. To which is what they’re doing.
Leo: It is but I think he’s making a good point. He’s saying this is not good in the long run for music in general. And yes, it’s been very good for Adele and nobody’s questioning that.
Owen: Am I not listening to my streaming music because Adele’s new album’s not on there that will be on there in like—later? Am I not listening to it? Because how many Adeles are there? Just like they’re saying. How many artists can do it? It’s a rare thing for it to be such a big deal for an artist anymore because not that many artists are that big or that explosive. Or we can’t even tell if they’re ever going to be that big or explosive because they nickel and dime themselves with streaming music. So, I don’t know.
Leo: Well certainly Adele’s album sold well 42% of total music sales this week is that (laughing). Almost half is that, 25.
Philip: It’s available on Bitcoin.
Leo: Well that’s something we shouldn’t forget is that the biggest competition for the record industry and streaming music is piracy.
Owen: Why don’t you buy Lionel Ritchie a steak?
Leo: I thought you know it’s funny because I tweeted this and I got half the people saying exactly what you just said, Owen, and good for her and don’t worry about it. And the other half said, “Yea, you know, that’s a common problem in the music industry is once you get big enough to do it on your own, you don’t really look back to support the people who need you.”
Owen: The music industry is such a pit of sharks and for a lifetime they’ve robbed so many artists. I don’t care what they say when they’re talking about artists and helping other artists. They’ve robbed more people than they’ve helped.
Leo: I agree. I agree and I don’t think--
Owen: As far as artists are concerned. So if she wants to go out there and get her steak dinner, than kudos to her. Rip them before they rip you. Because when nobody wants to buy her 15th album ain’t nobody going to be trying to help Adele then. She better eat while she can.
Leo: Well, that’s true. Not a bad point.
Owen: Hello from the other side.
Owen: Get that money.
Leo: Hello. Did you have a good Black Friday? Black Friday online sales $4.5 billion. That’s 34% of all, 34% of all those purchases were made on mobile. Wow. People do their Christmas shopping on mobile?
Owen: Wish.com. Wish app.
Owen: Wish app.
Leo: Probably Amazon. I would guess.
Owen: Yea, Amazon’s big. E-Bay. Everything.
Leo: Yea. E-bay.
Owen: I just got so many push notifications from the Wish App I had to uninstall it. I gave up.
Leo: Wish, I don’t know that one.
Owen: It’s one of those aggregated sales things. They sell t-shirts, they sell sneakers, they sell a video game. Like they sell everything but they were blowing my phone up. I forgot I even had they app.
Philip: Leo, this was also the first Black Friday where online sales, there were more online sales on Black Friday over Black Friday weekend than there were store sales.
Leo: There you go.
Philip: So that’s actually a sort of historic transition there.
Leo: That’s a turning point, isn’t it?
Owen: I hope it gets to that all Black Friday sales are online. It’s the saddest thing in the world to watch human beings act like dogs fighting for scraps of food at the store for an Insignia TV that’s going to burn out on them in 3 months anyway with a 60hz refresh rate. Like do you know that that TV’s garbage? Do you know that the fact that you’re putting that television in your child’s room is probably giving them radiation in their brain? Stay home and order something from Samsung that’s useful. And you know what, if you’re that poor and you can’t afford anything than you shouldn’t be shopping. And I know there’s all ages in that audience but it makes me so sad in my heart to watch older women fighting over loaves of bread, like what are we going to do when we ain’t got no food, Leo? You better get the gauntlet. You better get your practice in, because—
Leo: Well somebody said though, somebody said all those gloating videos of Black Friday fist fights are really just the affluent mocking the poor because after all one of the reasons people shop Black Friday sales is because they can get a great deal. They’re saving money.
Owen: The affluent should not be happy. If you’re affluent and you laugh at this video and you send it to your friends saying, “Look at these poor people,” just remember these poor people are going to be taking the food off the shelves when you’re trying to get something to eat. Because you can’t fight like that. You ain’t got no heart like they do.
Leo: They’re training. They’re training for the zombie apocalypse.
Owen: You’ll be sitting there watching these videos, changing your little Facebook status, you can’t compete. I dare you to go down to the store with me and try to get some food off the shelf. You going home hungry and I’m going to stay big and plump just like I am. Don’t laugh at me, affluent people, because every one of us is fighting.
Leo: Did you go out for Black Friday or did you stay at home?
Owen: I’ve never gone out for Black Friday, I never will. I’m black but I don’t have Friday because it is despicable and I said dogs for scraps and it’s sad. Sad, sad, sad.
Harry: I went to Best Buy briefly on Friday.
Leo: As a reporter for research purposes?
Harry: It was fairly hellish. There were like shopping carts turned over and they had blocked off aisles. I was trying to go down an aisle which they had blocked off because they had some pens set up.
Leo: I feel terrible for the folks who work retail on Black Friday. That must be just awful, you know. Just awful.
Harry: They also were not taking any returns at all.
Owen: Who wants to stand in line for a return anyway?
Leo: So Target offered a 55” Westinghouse TV for $250 bucks. I had several people call the radio show saying it didn’t work when they took it out of the box.
Owen: I told you.
Leo: One guy called Westinghouse, called Target and said, “Hey, it’s got big black bars going through the middle of it.” They said, “Well, we’ll give you your money back but you ain’t getting another one. That’s it. We’re sold out.” I don’t know why you’d want another one. So when you say by the way, Philip, that this was, more people shopped, it’s not dollar amount, it’s number of Americans. 103 million Americans shopped online on Black Friday, 102 million went to stores. This is the National Retail Federation Thanksgiving Weekend Surveys.
Philip: Right, and apparently they changed their algorithms so you can’t eve compare this one to last year’s so for what it’s worth. But you’re right, it’s people not dollars.
Leo: People. And it’s inevitable I think, right? Especially because of the dogs fighting over scraps. It’s a lot easier to do that virtually.
Owen: It’s bad. Like the only, I heard one person that got a good deal like friend-wise because like I said, I will never go out. He’s like, “Ah, went to Best Buy at the end of the day,” and this sounds like a great deal to me and he didn’t have to fight or do anything. He went in bought an Xbox. It was $50 off, 2 games and he got a free 40” TV. Now it’s a crap TV but I mean like, man. I don’t even want an Xbox One but a free TV? I guess I should have bought one. Because if I’m going to buy one. And I could give somebody else that crap TV.
Leo: (Laughing) I swear, you don’t play Xbox One because you don’t like the culture of the Xbox One Community.
Owen: The culture of the people on Xbox is horrible. Like I just, Uncle Leo, and I’m usually the kind of guy who buys all the systems. I’ve always had all of them. But the Xbox is just, is so, people are so rude.
Leo: Ah, that’s sad. I like my Xbox One.
Owen: And maybe it’s just the Halo crowd, but. But are you on there playing shoot ‘em up with people?
Leo: No, I don’t go online. I’m too shy.
Owen: Well, then there you go. You’re not online you don’t have to worry about it. Enjoy your Xbox. But most of the games I play, it’s online and we’re talking smack. I understand ha, ha I shot you in the face. But when you start talking about some old racial, biological warfare I’m like, “Bro, you killed me in the games. I’m sorry. Now I just want to...” Hey, Leo, if you die in the game, you die in the game but when they start verbally attacking me, I’m like how do they know?
Leo: No, that’s not allowed. That’s not ok. That’s not ok. No, that’s not ok.
Owen: How do they know that I’m fat, bald and got fish eyes? How did they guess? I ain’t got my camera on.
Leo: (Laughing) they just figured. They just figure. And they got ya.
Owen: They throw out nets and get everybody. They say anything. And a lot of them are kids. And that was the other thing that got me.
Leo: That’s depressing.
Owen: It was a lot of kids on there just talking—I’m like where is your mother?
Leo: The trash talking, yea.
Leo: Cyber Monday is that a thing tomorrow?
Harry: In theory but what real person every uses the word cyber to describe anything?
Leo: I think it comes from the days when, they said, “Oh what’s going to happen is when people get to work and their fast internet connection, they’re going to buy a lot of stuff.” But who’s work connection is faster than their home connection these days?
Owen: Nobody’s anymore.
Leo: Nobody (laughing). John’s dancing all around. We have a pretty fast connection here.
Owen: Your phone is faster than some people’s connection.
Leo: That’s probably true. And there’s a Raspberry Pi, a new one for just $5. The Pi Zero. It’s so inexpensive they’re going to give it away in the magazine. If you subscribe to the MagPi Magazine it comes with a free Raspberry Pi. Remember those days, Philip, when you’d get a CD or something, free game in the magazine?
Owen: I complain and I talk negatively about stuff but I love this company.
Leo: Now you get a free computer. In every magazine.
Owen: The fact that they’re doing that and the way they do things is just so amazing and like that’s a company like hey, the price point of people and the barrier of people to get in can’t afford it, we’re going to do this. And then they actually go and do it. And people can afford it. And you can at least give it a shot and try it. Because there’s so many, same thing I said, like Mark Zuckerberg making those plays for those people that don’t have it. It just makes you feel good because it’s an awesome thing to do.
Leo: It’s got 512M of RAM. I remember when 8M of RAM was like wow, you’re living large, was thousands of dollars. A Broadcom BCM 2835 processer. Micro SD Memory Card, mini HDMI socket so you could output video at full HD resolution, 60 frames per second. And micro-USB for data and power. $5 dollars.
Philip: What’s the input device?
Leo: Well it’s got USB so you could use a keyboard and mouse if you wanted to. But most of the time these are embedded. I would say most people use these for embedded devices so you might put this in a picture frame and have a screen and make it a—I think that’s what I would use this for.
Harry: In your own robot or something?
Leo: Yea. It’s mostly used embedded. But you can absolutely, in fact of course you do have to connect a keyboard and mouse if you want to program it or upload data but usually what they do is they put it on the micro-SD card.
Philip: It reminds me of the Apple 1.
Leo: I’m sure much more powerful than the Apple 1.
Philip: But it’s, you know, it’s not really a computer. It’s not—
Leo: Well, what makes a computer?
Philip: I don’t know. For me it has to have a keyboard and a screen but—
Leo: Well you can add a keyboard and a screen. It’s got an HDMI output.
Philip: Yea, yea.
Leo: It’s got USB input.
Philip: It’s sort of computer not included.
Owen: For $5 dollars, I mean it’s coming clean.
Leo: It comes in a magazine, Philip, in a magazine.
Owen: I just tried to go all nice and peaceful and you’re going to come and bring down the ship. I had a whole hour to be nice. And here you come—
Leo: It comes in a magazine (laughing) and it’s more powerful than you know, a $2,000 computer from 10 years ago. It comes in a magazine. Next it will be in a cereal box.
Owen: That’s be an awesome cereal box present. Cereal box presents are horrible. That would be awesome.
Leo: Wait until they start putting then in Cracker Jacks. That’d be cool.
Owen: People still eat Cracker Jacks?
Leo: (Laughing) yea but you know, if you’ve had a Cracker Jack lately you know the prizes have really gone downhill. Mostly just like stickers and pieces of paper and stuff. No even a little plastic soldier or anything. Ladies and gentlemen, we have, we have ground to an absolute halt. And that’s really the only time we end TWiT. Is when the train just stops moving and everybody falls off. Philip, always a pleasure. Thank you for being here. Philip Elmer-DeWitt.
Philip: My pleasure.
Leo: Fortune Magazine. Go have dinner.
Philip: Thank you.
Leo: You going to have a nice Yankee dinner? Maybe some baked beans and apple--?
Philip: I think it’s reheated Thanksgiving stuff.
Leo: Apple Pandowdy? Oh, yea that’s right. We’re all having old turkey. Oh, well. Have a great night. Thank you, Philip. Always good to have you here. Harry McCracken, thank you for making the trip up with Marie. Nice to see you. You brought Mike O’Donnell along with you.
Harry: The whole team.
Leo: The whole team. Harry comes with his own personal photographer.
Harry: Actually Michael came on his own as far as I know so—
Leo: Oh, ok (laughing). Harry McCracken. Got to read that cover story in this week’s Fast Company.
Harry: Buy lots of copies. It’s the December January issue. So it’s not this week’s issue.
Leo: This week, what am I saying? Nothing happens this week anymore. This quarter’s Fast Company. Big, big Facebook issue. Really interesting stuff.
Harry: Thank you.
Leo: Nice to have you, Harry. And of course Owen J. J. Stone. We call him Ohdoctah, no one knows why. Hey, knock it off. We’re not done yet. He’s playing Call of Duty.
Owen: The show’s not done? It’s been 2 hours. I haven’t shot anybody. I’m addicted. And I just look and see, I’m paying attention to you, I’ve been getting shot.
Leo: He’s still moving.
Owen: I’m dying in the streets, Uncle Leo. I’m dying in the streets.
Leo: (Laughing) which one is that? Is this—
Owen: Oh, I can play the game over my shoulder because I’m a professional.
Leo: He’s playing over his shoulder and he died again.
Owen: The studio audience, you should not be laughing at me. You’re on punishment. Everybody be silent.
Leo: I would watch this TWiT channel. Ohdoctah plays over his shoulder. It’s a whole new TWiT channel.
Owen: I’m walking into walls. I don’t know what’s going on. Happy Birthday to you, Uncle Leo.
Leo: Just remember this, left is right and right is left. Yea.
Owen: Happy Birthday, old man.
Leo: Thank you.
Owen: I remember when you were young. It was a long time ago.
Leo: Thank you, youngster. You’re a mere child.
Owen: It was a long time ago.
Leo: I don’t even remember that.
Owen: You were—the silver’s been in there for a while, Uncle Leo, so I don’t know.
Leo: Go shoot somebody. Go shoot somebody.
Owen: Hopefully you make it until next year. That’s all I’m praying for.
Leo: Your score’s going down, man.
Owen: I know, I’m dying inside.
Leo: Yea (laughing). See you, Owen. Thanks to all of you for being here. We love doing this show. I hope you enjoy watching it every Sunday 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time, 23:00 UTC. If you want to watch live you could be in the chatroom too. IRC.TWIT.TV. If you’d like to join us in the studio, great studio audience. Nice big one today. I love that. Email firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll make some space for you in the studio. And of course you don’t have to watch live or be here live because we always make on-demand versions of all of our shows available at twit.tv or wherever you get your podcasts. We’ve got TWiT apps on the Apple TV, the Roku. We’ve got TWiT apps everywhere on every platform thanks to our lovely, talented independent 3rd party developers who do those for us. We thank you. And of course Ron Stitcher and Slacker and all the different Google Play Music pretty soon. We’re on Spotify. Just make sure you find TWiT to subscribe to it and download it each and every day.
Jason: Best of submissions.
Leo: Ah, we do have the holidays coming up and what we like to do to give everybody a bit of a break is do a best of. I guess our best of will be December 28.
Jason: Yea, that sounds about right.
Leo: So we’re going to do a holiday special. We’re talking to people about that. But then on the 28th it will be a best of. Not a re-run, but just highlights from the past year. But we do that with your help. So if you can visit twit.tv/bestof and just write in moments you remember. Whatever detail you can give us. You don’t have to know what time or anything. It helps if you do. You know, that will make the editor’s life a lot easier. But we’re looking for the best moments from 2015 at twit.tv/bestof. That will help us. And we’ll have a great show for you. I know we will. I already saw some of the clips. On December 28. Thanks for joining us! We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye, everybody.