This Week in Tech 541
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech! Wow. We have a fun show for you. Lauren Hockenson joins Alex Wilhelm, and Liberty Madison, brand new member of the TWiT panel. It's the Millennial edition and we'll talk about everything from Apple to Google to Facebook to Selfies. TWiT is next.
NETCASTS YOU LOVE FROM PEOPLE YOU TRUST, THIS IS TWIT! Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by CacheFly at cachefly.com.
Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 541, recorded Sunday, December 20, 2015.
This week in Tech is brought to you by FreshBooks. The simple cloud accounting software that's giving thousands of freelancers and small businesses the tools to save time billing and get paid faster. Try it for free at freshbooks.com/twit. And by stamps.com: Start using your time more effectively with stamps.com. Use stamps.com to buy and print real US postage the instant you need it, right from your desk. To get our special offer, go to stamps.com now. Click on the microphone and enter TWIT. And by audible.com. Sign up for the platinum plan and get two free books. Go to audible.com/twit2, and follow Audible on Twitter, user ID audible_com. And by Gazelle: the online marketplace for buying and selling used gadgets. Shop from a variety of certified preowned electronics or trade one in for cash. Give new life to a used device at gazelle.com today. It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the latest tech news. This is the millennial edition. I don't know if we did that on purpose. I think we did because everybody here is young, except moi. Alex , you're the old man of the group.
Alex Wilhelm: At 26, that's true. Yeah, I am.
Leo: I'm more than twice your age.
Alex: And you're twice as cool.
Leo: Although Lauren Hockenson says you're an old man in a young man's body.
Lauren Hockenson: Yeah.
Alex: I don't endorse that comment. That's her personal conjecture.
Leo: Lauren is with thenextweb.com. Nice to have you. Alex was at Tech Crunch. How is it going?
Alex: I'm still at Tech Crunch till the end of the year. So I'm not dead yet. I'm joining a company called Mattermark.com. They do a lot of data on private startups, and I'm going to join as editor in chief and doing a lot of analysis.
Leo: You're an analyst.
Alex: Yes, but in a journalistic capacity. So my job is to do a lot of thinking and writing and that sort of stuff.
Leo: That sounds like a great gig.
Alex: Yeah I'm really excited about it.
Leo: Normally we talk about wouldn't that be nice. Where's your posts today? Normally we think of analysts as working not for the public but for investors and their mission is different. But are you going to be for investors or are you going to be a public face?
Alex: I'm going to be a public face. I'm definitely going to be writing for a general broad audience and so I don't think there are any restrictions that I can or can't do.
Leo: Sounds like a great gig. I'm really happy for you. Congratulations. Also with us, and this is her first time. In fact, I only met her last week and she's only heard TWiT once, but I was so impressed, I said you're coming back. Liberty Madison.
Liberty Madison: Thank you so much, Leo.
Leo: Libertymadison.com, #thattechgirl.
Liberty: That's me.
Leo: So nice to have you. You cover the start up life for the millennial.
Liberty: That's correct. You're absolutely right. Last week is my first time seeing TWiT. And thank you so much for inviting me back.
Leo: This is a baptism by fire, because it's an unusual round table. But I've already told you the ground rules, which is inject yourself at any point, and if possible, let's not all talk at once. That's about it. I think you all have opinions about most of these stories. This is normally a slow week, to be honest as we get the run up to Christmas, but there was a lot of news this week. Next week, I should just mention a programming note. We are going to do our traditional holiday gathering. Paul and Storm will join us, Ohdoctah, the Giz Whiz, musical performance from the Deenaholics. You should enjoy them. It's fun. It's going to be more comedy less news. Two days after Christmas.
Alex: More comedy, no news.
Leo: Then the following week will be our best of. I think it's too late now.
Jason Howell: At this point it's pretty locked. I suppose you could submit some last minute things because I do have a few more moments to pick.
Leo: twit.tv/bestof for last minute submissions. And of great note. This is Jason Howell's last time running the board for This Week in Tech. We've moved him upstairs to full time hosting. He and Meghan Mirroni are going to host our new TNT, which will be at a new time, moving it from ten in the morning to four in the afternoon pacific time. That's at midnight, UTC. The idea is we want to capture all the tech news of the day and have a show ready for you in the morning on your commute so I think that's a good time.
Jason: I would agree. I got a text message from somewhere.
Leo: Is that from you or me?
Jason: I think that might be you.
Leo: No, it's me. It was loud enough that it's probably coming from my computer. Yeah. So. Anyway, thank you, Jason. How long have you done this? Two years?
Jason: Actually not even. I think it started September or October of last year. So.
Leo: A little more than a year.
Jason: Yeah. A little more than a year.
Leo: Replacing Chat Johnson. But nobody lasts long in this position because I'm a son of a gun. You did a great job. You're moving to All About Android, you'll continue to do TNT.
Jason: Looking forward to it.
Leo: Of course you've worked for many years, the producer and board on first buzz out loud and the original TNT, so you've always been a big contributor to our news.
Jason: I kind of have tech news on a daily scale in my blood at this point with ten years behind me. Now comes the hard part of stepping out from behind the technology and talking smartly about it.
Leo: It's going to be fun.
Jason: We'll see how it goes. I'm looking forward to it.
Leo: I think you're going to have a great time. Thank you for your work here. We're promoting a guy into your position who has been around for a while. He's been around in the chat room. Jason Clanthis, he is moving into the role that you have, which is my regular producer and technical director, so welcome Jason Clanthis, it's going to be easy for me. I called Eileen Elane for a year, so we decided now we should only have people with the same name at the board.
Jason: Jasons forever, moving forward.
Leo: That's the only thing that can happen. So bad old congress. They snuck CSIA into the appropriations bill and passed it. It's going to become law regardless. This is a bill that many of us tried to fight against. I thought it was a bad idea, the electronic frontier foundation thought it was a bad idea. Cyber security information Act of 2015. I think a lot of Tech Companies had mixed feelings about it.
Alex: Mixed to bafd, I think was the general gist. There's a lot of concerns. There's too much legal indemnity for us to share information with the government.
Leo: A lot of those amendments, by the way, that would protect your privacy have been eliminated.
Alex: So this is the worst version of the Bill that's been pushed through as part of a budget. It's a disgrace, actually.
Leo: this is, for those of you not in the US. This is how the American legal system works. It's very common for little writers to sneak into bigger bills earmarks, things like that. This is not at all unusual. The problem is, without this appropriations bill, the government would shut down.
Alex: So you can't not pass it, therefore it's going to be in there, so we're all sunk.
Leo: There is no in the United States, ability to line item veto individual parts of a bill. You approve it or you disapprove of it. The President will undoubtedly sign it. It's his bill. So I think we're getting CSIA. the reason I say Tech Companies might have had a mixed opinion about this: Facebook, Apple, Google, oh it's a terrible idea. But apparently Facebook behind the scenes was lobbying to pass it because it gets them off the hook. They can no longer be sued for giving up your private information.
Alex: I find that to be too much wiggle room for the corporations.
Leo: There's no liability... by the way there doesn't have to be a warrant. They can just say hey. This guy Alex Wilhelm has been a pain in the butt, so would you go arrest him, and they can. Even if they arrested you and it was false pretenses and you sued the government, you can't sue the government, you can't sue this company.
Alex: That would have been true before. I just find it really sad that we worked on this in Congress and in the Media, and in the public sphere for a couple years now and instead of that, all of that stuff to make it better, add more protections, passed in this really disgraceful way. This is Congress at its worst, which is saying a lot, I know, because they're usually pretty far down the tree already, but this is really sad.
Liberty: What do you think that means for the average American learning about this bill for the first time? How is this effecting their interaction with privacy, because obviously everyone here knows what's going on, but what about the Average person?
Leo: What do you tell Mom about Facebook?
Lauren: Day to day it's not. People are still going to be using Facebook and all of these different social media organizations, the way that they've always done. The platform isn't going to change. People aren't going to suddenly decide to not do it because it effects their privacy. Only people who care about it are going to jump ship. It's important now looking forward to see how the difference is going to effect how platforms report on warrants for police searches and for surveillance. Obviously as part of transparency measures, they do release yearly reports. The US has always been far and away the country with the most warrants for search on these sorts of platforms, especially on Facebook. Far and away always the US has the most. What we're going to see here is more opportunities for the local law enforcement and for the government to tap into these sorts of stores of information.
Alex: This isn't about local law enforcement, right? This is about cyber security. This is a different bill than the bills used to bring local law enforcement information about us.
Lauren: Yes and no, right? So you still have to have a law enforcement body enacted in order for this to be...
Alex: Certainly, but not local.
Leo: That's the thing. It says it's cyber security, but it's really data sharing. So it means that any Government organization, not necessarily law enforcement can go to Facebook and say we'd like some information about this. The thing is Facebook could still resist, but there's no legal incentive for them to resist. They're not liable if they hand it over. This is my fear is that they're going to say fine. Maybe not, because people are paying attention, that's why they do these transparency reports now because people were paying attention. Apple maybe will continue to fight that fight. Twitter has been very good about fighting that fight. But I also feel like they don't have the stick to make them fight for our privacy. I think to answer your question, Liberty, it just reinforces what we said all along. If you put it on the Internet, it's public.
Liberty: Exactly. Do they have the opportunity to say we can make your information private? And who is going to uphold them to that? Once it's out there, it's public.
Leo: Even if Facebook says this is your private... I'm going to be fair. We should mention that the San Bernadino shooters posted in private direct messages that their intent, or at least their allegiance to ISIS, but that wasn't something the Government could see. In fact, the New York Times wrote an article saying it's a shocking thing that our intelligence didn't know this when in fact, their own internal guy spanked them over this. That's shameful. That was bad reporting, because there was no way the Government could see these private messages. Guess what? Now they can.
Alex: I don't want to blow out how much information sharing is going to happy.
Leo: They may not, you're saying.
Alex: Well it's going to be a lot, but it's not going to be around individual communications. It's going to be more dumps regarding cyber intrusions, cyber attacks, that sort of thing. So it's not going to be prison on Steroids NSA program, but instead more of a way to get into the Government without legal safe protections for us because we can't sue. That's the scary part. One facet of a larger, broken security position that we're in. It makes me sad. They're bringing down social media profiles in the short term.
Liberty: It definitely sets a precedent.
Alex: A negative precedent.
Liberty: Of course.
Alex: I don't really think it will do much, they just want to look at Facebook.
Leo: But you said the word data dump. That worries me. That means that law enforcement--Facebook might get in trouble for doing this. But they could say well, we noticed the word Islam used in ten thousand posts. Here they are. Giving that to the federal government with no risk to them. That could happen. I don't know if Facebook would do that, but that could happen, right?
Alex: I doubt that it would. Let's hope not. That would be a sad thing.
Leo: I think the lesson everybody should learn about data breeches and now CSIA is if you're putting it on the Internet you might as well assume that others might see this, including law enforcement.
Liberty: I think that's the takeaway.
Alex: Thank heavens for encryption.
Leo: I have to say, probably terrorists have long known this. This is not news to bad guys. Don't post it on Facebook. Right? How many times have bad guys been caught because they posted pictures of them holding money.
Liberty: Don't Snapchat your crimes! That happens all the time.
Leo: I think we have a sticker to Lauren Hockenson laptop here that says don't snapchat that crime.
Lauren: Thank you, but there is no vacancy. Sorry.
Leo: But there's layers. You can go layers. You have another layer.
Alex: Also, Lauren is far too cool for SnapChat.
Lauren: I'm really bad at it. I'll be honest.
Leo: I brought you kids here because you're supposed to be good at SnapChat.
Lauren: Yeah, your Hula Hoops and your Skateboards and your Snaps.
Leo: This is a sure sign that SnapChat is over. I SnapChat. So there's no snapchatting happening with the younger people. Would you freak out if your Mom snapchatted you?
Lauren: No, because it would be some dark hallway and my Mom being like, "It's a snap! Look!" It's there. It's not quite right.
Leo: Look at Liberty snapping right now! #thattechgirl!
Alex: What does that mean, by the way? Why do you have a #? I don't have a #.
Liberty: Let's talk about that. Why don't you have a hashtag?
Alex: Leo would be #kermudgin.
Leo: I'm not a kermudgin! You're a kermudgin.
Lauren: This is an open door I can't walk into, so I'm going to safely remove myself from this conversation because I've got a list of hashtags that could work for you.
Liberty: I have a hashtag, because I was fortunate enough to get @Liberty. @Alex. That's amazing.
Leo: @Liberty would be awesome. Except then ISIS would target you.
Liberty: I think they do now. @LibertyMadison.
Leo: I think people confuse you with Ashley Madison.
Liberty: That has happened so many times! It actually has. Ashley Madison. I get some of that traffic.
Leo: I asked you this when I met you. This is your real name.This is not some fanciful thing.
Liberty: It happens to be a fantastic name.
Leo: I tell parents that. I say, if you're going to name your kid nowadays, you want to check the URL make sure it's available, check the Twitter handle, register it. You don't name a kid John Smith now. You have to name them... make it p so it's unique.
Alex: Joseppus Smith Burger Nozzle. Yeah.
Leo: that's it.
Lauren: I think that's a trap. I don't know. I come with a naturally SU unfriendly or friendly name. I'm the only Lauren Hockenson in the world.
Leo: Liberty Madison is awesome!
Liberty: You definitely have to if you're going to name a child. You have to check to see if other people have the URLs. Check the major sites, Instagram, Twitter, and if they already have that name, you gotta change that kid's name. You got to go a different direction. Instagram first.
Leo: When my kids were born, I got abbylaporte.com and Henrylaporte.com and I registered it for twenty years. I figured if in twenty years they don't want it, well then there you go.
Lauren: No lie, I actually just talked to the CEO whose wife is actually due to give birth any day now, he said by the way, I have registered all of my babies' social properties already. Twitter handle, Instagram handle, Facebook, website. He said if it's awful and they don't want it, cool, but I already did the work for them. So you're welcome.
Leo: Too bad you can't register hashtags. But you own Thattechgirl.
Liberty: Yes. But some people actually spell out the word hashtag in their handle.
Alex: Has anyone called you pound sign that tech girl?
Liberty: That would be the forty plus crowd. Downside.
Leo: Every TV show has a # and puts it in their lower thirds, and this is by the way the Universally accepted gang sign for hashtags.
Liberty: I've never seen anyone do it in real life, besides right now.
Leo: Am I don't that wrong? Like that? Both fingers facing out.
Alex: Watch the Intern.
Liberty: Intern has got it.
Leo: This looks like I don't want to get acid thrown in my eyes. Hashtag. My hashtag flow isn't that strong.
Alex: Back to the point, ten minutes ago. Why do you have a hashtag?
Liberty: Why don't you have a hashtag?
Lauren: She just nailed you.
Leo: What is a hashtag though? Let's get down to it, because I know the guy who invented them. Chris Pocena.
Alex: Oh, sure.
Leo: Chris proposed on Twitter, probably around 2008 we really ought to have some way of indicating that this is a topic and so you can organize it. Really what a hashtag is is a search term. On Twitter it has become that. When you click the hashtag, you do a search for all of that, but I think that came later. That's the idea is that this is a canned search.
Liberty: Hashtag just really cultivates your conversation and let's you build the story and see who is involved in the story, who wants to talk with you and at their input without having to @ you all the time.
Leo: Here is the official ASL hashtag sign. It's kind of what we were talking about. You have your front hand with the back of your fingers facing out, your back hand with the back hand facing in, so you're touching the insides of your fingers and you tap the back hand twice. Hashtag. Everybody hashtag. I have to say that it's certainly a good marketting idea to have a hashtag, but really the idea is that it's supposed to be mechanic. Hashtags emerge as a subject becomes a big subject. It's interesting to watch the fight over what the official hashtag will be, you know?
Liberty: The thing is you can't own a hashtag. You have to dominate a hashtag.
Leo: You can say #thattechgirl, but it's really not up to you to decide, it's up to the community to say she is thattechgirl. We've seen with different... you know. Ferguson, Blacklivesmatter, we've seen hashtags emerge and become accepted. There's no question blacklivesmatter is... there's no other hashtag. That's the hashtag.
Alex: Also, TCOT, which is popular among conservatives.
Leo: What is TCOT?
Alex: Top Conservative on Twitter. If you want to have a really fun time on Twitter that day, read that search. It's a whole kettle of fish.
Leo: So who is somebody become every day a different day?
Liberty: Oh no. It's a conversation. Every party, every person, every conversation has their own hashtag.
Leo: That's what you see when you go to Twitter Trends.
Lauren: Don't tweet at them though.
Leo: Oh, I just tweeted TCOT. That's not good. Grandpa, don't tweet your #s!
Lauren: You're jumping into the kettle of fish at that point.
Leo: I typed into the wrong thing. I wouldn't have tweeted it.
Lauren: It's like typing a hashtag into Google.
Leo: Have you ever done that, really?
Lauren: My dad is really funny. He doesn't really understand Twitter so he'll say to me, we were driving once and he said you know Lauren, I search you on Google every once in a while when I want to keep up with you. Oh Daddy, that's really nice. He said I came across your Twitter once, I don't know what the hell you're saying.
Leo: It sounds like you had a stroke. When you read people's Twitter, it sounds like gibberish because you only have so few characters and you have to hashtag. It's shorthand.
Lauren: What do you mean area reporter finds donuts?
Leo: That's why you young people are here, because there is a cultural, and it's fascinating to me that there's a 20 something cultural basis that you guys come from. Things like Zoo Tycoons.
Alex: That's not us. That's just her.
Lauren: That's just me.
Leo: Who is that again?
Lauren: This is Isabel. Isabel is from Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing was one of the best selling games.
Liberty: I think it's addictive, and also to your point of being in a younger demographic, I find myself saying "hashtag." Saying the word and not just typing it.
Leo: I notice when my daughter posts on Instagram, I don't understand because there's a lot of typing, but there will be ten hashtags in there.
Liberty: Only ten? She stops at ten hashtags?
Liberty: If you're serious about getting a following, you max out your hashtags, if you're serious about getting a following.
Leo: Unlike Twitter, you can't click a hashtag.
Liberty: Definitely you can.
Leo: You can in Instagram?
Liberty: I have spent twenty hours in Instagram searching hashtags.
Leo: Because Instagram won't let you click a link. Here's unicornhair.
Liberty: Yeah. And it'll go to all the Unicorn Hair photos.
Alex: Unicorns aren't real!
Leo: Is that a thing?
Lauren: It is.
Leo: That's what Hashtag means. It's a thing.
Leo: Sorry not sorry.
Lauren: She's right.
Leo: It's a thing is what you're saying with a hashtag. That's what you should tell your dad. When you see things like that, it's a thing.
Lauren: I think I might just drop him a primer on Philosophy and say this will have all the answers.
Lauren: This is Maslow's hierarchy of hashtags.
Alex: If you got that joke, please go outside.
Leo: You guys are too intellectual. Not only are you in with the kids, but you're talking about Kant and Maslov's hierarchy of needs. Were you a philosophy major?
Lauren: No. Alex was. Alex didn't have a real major.
Leo: Did you guys go to school together? Were you roommates?
Leo: I feel like you knew each other well.
Alex: We've been friends for a long time. This is planned to have us both on at the same time.
Leo: Because you know each other.
Alex: See what would happen.
Leo: If I had known that, I'm sorry Liberty. I would have brought your roommate on as well.
Liberty: Thank you. I appreciate that.
Leo: What did you study in school?
Liberty: TV and film.
Leo: TV and film. See? She's prepared for this. What did you study?
Lauren: I have two degrees in English and in journalism. I got two degrees for the price ofone.
Leo: Masters in journalism?
Lauren: No, not a masters. I'm a Bachelor of science in journalism and a bachelor of science in English from Boston University. I graduated Suma Cum Lade. It's a big deal.
Alex: A masters in journalism is a masters in having debt you can't pay back. I wouldn't recommend that for anybody.
Leo: I was a Chinese major, but I dropped out, so it doesn't count. We're going to take a break. When we come back, the FAA Drone registy's official NU may get some bad news about that. But first, a word from our sponsors. Books, if you're a freelancer, or you got a new business and you're the one who is sending out the invoices, you've got to know about Freshbooks. It's the easiest way for freelancers and small businesses to save time billing and get paid faster to get the job done. No more rumaging through receipts to try to keep track of your expenses, you just use the Freshbooks app. Take a picture of that receipt, it automatically filters into your invoice for expensing. One of the nice things Freshbooks is doing is called requesting a deposit on Freshbooks which means you can get paid upfront to cover those expenses 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 will do that. Freshbooks makes it easy. Makes it easy to create and send invoices in minutes. And when you don't get paid on time, it helps you track down and gently nudge those customers who aren't paying you. Freshbooks is awesome. It lets you track your time too with Freshbooks app so if you get paid by hour, time and hour is automatically put in there. They just announced a new card reader. This is really neat. You can easily accept credit card, so you can do the Freshbooks invoice on your tablet, present the invoice in person, swipe their credit card also works with pins so they can insert the card into the reader. It's an EMV chip card enabled reader. This is the new standard in the US. This is so awesome. It works right out of the box. You just open you invoice from the Freshbooks app, plug in the reader, dip the chips, swipe the stripe. #ijustgotpaid. With all these features, you wonder why you didn't start with Freshbooks sooner and their support is phenomenal. I've been with Freshbooks... I started using them ten years ago. They were a life saver for me, and I think you'll find them a life saver for you as well. Try it free for 30 days. Go to freshbooks.com/twit. Don't forget to use This Week in Tech, or tell them This Week in Tech when they ask you how did you hear about us. We'd appreciate that. That shows your support for the show. Makes them happy, makes us happy. Start your 30 day free trial today and you'll be happy. Freshbooks.com/twit. Are you tweeting, hashtagging, instagramming, snapchatting?
Liberty: Actually, all combined.
Lauren: She's way more productive than me. I'm eating candies.
Alex: Lauren's like, "Food break!"
Leo: FAA finally admits that the names and home addresses of drone owners will be publicly available. That's nice. So the FAA decided that if you get a new drone above a certain point, I'll have to look up the weight, but you have to register it with the federal aviation administration. That makes sense. That way if there's a renegade drone, they can track it back to the owner.
Alex: There's a story of the drunk drone pilot in DC who flew his drone onto the white house lawn and passed out woke up and went I did what? That's pretty important. But I think making people register drones in this way means people won't do it and it'll make a lot of criminals by accident. So I wonder why the FAA doesn't approach policy in the same area because they've been lagging in the policy front on drones for a year and a half, so I'm very unimpressed by this.
Leo: It took a little work, but John Golyeh who writes for Forbes tracked down, ultimately finally got the FAA to say until the drone registry system is modified, the FAA will not release the names of addresses, but when it is modified to permit public searches of registration numbers, names and addresses will be revealed through those searches. That's true if you're a radio operator. You're in the FCC database, your information is there, publicly searchable by name.
Alex: Is that good? Or is that...
Leo: I worry about privacy. It's the way Government... because in the past it wasn't an easy thing to do. I think harassment wasn't as big an issue. I don't know what it is. But nowadays because of our concerns about privacy this is something we don't want, right?
Alex: I agree with that entirely. Lauren, from the harassment side, what's your take? See what I did there?
Leo: Is this the harassment side over here?
Lauren: I think what you're seeing here is obviously when it comes to having a publicly searchable drone database, you can see why they did this. There are at some point going to be regulations surrounding what and where you can fly your drone and you have to have a searchable database. People should be able to know who in their neighborhood has a drone.
Leo: It's got to be searchable because the FAA can't enforce it. Local police has to enforce it.
Lauren: Exactly. It could be, if they wanted to, in communication with law enforcement and they could have database that's only accessible via whatever police searchable database, but at the end of the day there are going to be regulations on drones. People are going to be not able to fly their drones certain places or on private property.
Leo: Do we need this?
Alex: We need some rules.
Liberty: I think it's a great idea.
Alex: The registration publically?
Leo: We need the regs, right? Any unmanned aircraft weighing more than 250 grams, which is about half a pound, or less than 55 pounds will have to be registered. There will be a website where you'll go and register, probably when you buy a drone there will be a card in there that says here's the address go register this. Certainly there have been examples of drones getting in the way. In Los Angeles there's a famous case of firefighters being unable to fight a wildfire with helicoptors and planes because there were drones buzzing around and they didn't dare risk the pilot's life or health or safety by flying in there, and that allowed the wildfire to burn unchecked for 20 additional minutes. That's a problem. The FAA is very worried about drones interfering with commercial air traffic. It's true. If a jet airplane ingested a drone into its jets, it could cause havoc.
Alex: That would be the end of that engine, I presume. Anything larger than your first would cause serious damage.
Leo: YOu think, Liberty, that you need to have a registry.
Liberty: Definitely. They could have possibly contacted the drone owners and were able to solve that problem immediately.
Leo: Let them know who it was as soon as they took the drone down.
Liberty: What was the drone that actually... I don't know if it was career or China...
Leo: Tokyo police has a net.
Liberty: They just catch it and swoop it up. That was their solution.
Leo: We showed this last week. I don't know how practical it is, really.
Liberty: It's great conversation. Definitely.
Leo: I feel like this is not a long term...
Alex: It's like a large spider with a really long web.
Leo: The group that is the hobbyist group for hobby flyers, the Academy of Modern Aeronomics said they're exploring all legal and political means to stop the registry. Remember we've had remote control aircraft forever. Meanwhile it's saying this might be a violation of the law, hold off registering. Hold of registering says the AMA if you're concerned about what data may be publicly available until we can get this resolved.
Alex: Is that civil disobedience?
Leo: Yes. That's exactly what it is.
Alex: I'm in favor of it then.
Leo: Drone owners.
Liberty: As long as it doesn't affect my selfie drone I'm good.
Leo and Alex: You have a selfie drone?
Liberty: You guys have not seen the selfie drone?
Alex: I feel like the lamest human alive during the show. What are you talking about?
Liberty: There's a drone that you can have following you around. I don't have one. I really want that.
Leo: I think we ordered this.
Alex: I don't want that. I'm ugly.
Leo: I think we ordered this. You wear something, you wear a wristwatch and it is homing in on that and will fly above you and take pictures of what you're doing. If you're skiiing down a slope, it will follow you down the slope.
Liberty: Do I have to register my selfie drone?
Lauren: Also provided the place you're trying to fly your selfie drone is legal.
Leo: This is a wristwatch drone. You actually wear this on your wrist. This is the selfie drone. I don't know if this is real. Are drones a problem in your experience? Or is this overblown? We've had remote control aircraft for a while. Is it that they're so easy to fly that this is a problem? They estimated that 7000 drones will be gifted this Christmas.
Lauren: I think it comes down to the fact that drones are more likely to have cameras attached to them and recording devices. Again, it's a privacy issue. If you are an average person, you are allowed to have a certain amount of personal privacy. If you have a drone, you step out of those bounds because you're physically not on a property but your drone can be on a property and that comes with its own legal ramifications. I think that it's a complicated issue that will transcend just registry and just regulations. It's going to be a combination of them in order to make drones safe for people who don't fly drones and also safe for people who do fly drones.
Alex: How long until we have shooting buffer drones?
Lauren: That's now.
Alex: I'm in big favor of drones. Buy one for everyone.
Leo: It's going to be a drone Christmas and it's going to be a hoverboard Christmas and what I don't want to see is drones and hoverboards combined.
Liberty: That sounds fun.
Alex: Hoverboard with a propeller on the front?
Lauren: Hard pass. Don't let your kids hoverboard. Friends don't let friends hoverboard.
Leo: By the way. YOu missed the bet on Linkbait. How to wrap a hoverboard for Christmas.
Alex: Is that on Mashable?
Leo: Of course.
Leo: Sorry, none of my friends are losers so I don't have to get them one.
Alex: Small anecdote about hoverboards. If you go to SOMA which is a neighborhood in SF, where a bunch of neighborhood tech bros live and work, you get run over by hoverboards all the time. Their stupid razor scooters and one wheelies. I just want to punch them all in the face. God gave you two lets and it's only four blocks.
Leo: Walking is an amazing form of exercise. I say this as an owner of not one but two segways. That's really a bad idea.
Alex: I can't come back on the show now.
Leo: I understand somebody in our household is getting a hoverboard for Christmas. So we're really... spoiler alert.
Lauren: Are you going to have a long talk about when to know when your hover board is on fire? Or does that come later?
Leo: How prevalent is that? Swagways? Swagway is the most popular hoverboard brand, apparently, and it's the one that is bursting into flames. At least one did in New Jersey and they were able to track it back. Swagway says no no. Ours are safe and warrantied and we stand behind them. If you buy it from a warrantied authorized dealer, you'll be fine.
Alex: The video is still going on by the way. The packing of the hoverboard.
Leo: Mashable is an amazing engine of linkbait.
Alex: Post content content.
Leo: What does that mean?
Alex: It's something you created to have fill space.
Leo: It doesn't fil space. I bet it makes them a lot of money because what's the Google search? How do I wrap a hoverboard? Don't you think that'll be a huge Google search in one day? What do I do with this?
Liberty: I don't understand why people hate hoverboards. You're giving people scooters, bikes, segways. I don't hate hoverboards. Why do you hate hoverboards?
Alex: They're segways without a handle. Call them that.
Liberty: Not everybody calls them hoverboards though.
Alex: Why have we been calling them hoverboards this entire episode?
Liberty: Because Leo likes the word hoverboard!
Alex: He's in charge!
Leo: I gave my son a hoverboard and we're giving another hoverboard for Christmas to my stepson.
Alex: They're actually quite fun.
Leo: Do you ride one? Is it easy to ride one?
Alex: We have one in the office. I figured out how to make it go. I fell right on my backside.
Liberty: But you can do that on a bike!
Lauren: I think the issue is that it is an unbalanced road privilege to effort ratio. Do you know what I mean? Driving a car you have to have a license for so you have road privilege. Biking is hard, it's a physical activity. You walk. You're using effort. If you are dragging yourself on a motorized vehicle apparatus with no effort involved and also running over people on the sidewalk like Alex...
Leo: It's a little douchey.
Lauren: You said it not me.
Leo: I don't like that word at all, and there are some things it totally applies to. Riding around on a hoverboard.
Alex: You look like a goofus. This is a family show. I'm trying to find ways to explain myself that isn't profanity. You look silly.
Lauren: You look like a schmendrick.
Leo: I don't know what that means. You guys. I got the oldest millennials in history.
Lauren: Excuse me while I talk about Shakespeare and philosophy and schmendricks.
Leo: We have agreed at this point that everyone should have a hashtag. Selfie drones are a good idea?
Leo: You don't have one yet but you're going to get one. Do you have a selfie stick?
Liberty: Of course.
Lauren: Listen to the sound of Alex clutching his own pearls.
Leo: The estimate is that thanks to selfies, the number of photos shot this year will exceed 1 trillion. A good many of them selfies.
Liberty: Question for you, Leo. How many photos do you take of yourself?
Leo: I don't like selfies because they feel self involved to me. You just go to my Instagram feed. I'm Mr. Laporte. mr_laporte. There are very few pictures of me. For some reason, I feel that's a little self involved. How about you, Alex? Oh. He's taking a selfie right now. That's so sad.
Alex: I don't really know how to selfie.
Leo: There's one picture of me, two pictures of me in three pictures of me in 50 pictures.
Liberty: How many pictures do you take a day in general?
Leo: I take a lot of pictures. Not as many as you, I think.
Liberty: How many do you think I take in a day?
Leo: I think you've taken more pictures of yourself in this show then I've taken all day.
Leo: Am I wrong?
Liberty: I'm new and he's accurate.
Leo: I knew! There's no judgment here.
Liberty: Oh no. I estimate that I probably take not just selfies but photos in general, I can go upward of 3 to 400 in a day.
Leo: A day?
Alex: I don't see anything that cool ever.
Liberty: You can make something awesome. Like this mic. You can position it, get a filter on it, get a couple comments and likes. Throw some backstory on there.
Leo: Let me be honest. There are some people on this panel that people want to see more pictures of, and there are some people on this panel that people want to see fewer pictures of. I would say you and me Alex, fewer pictures. I would say, Lauren and Liberty more pictures. So if you're an attractive young woman then people give you a lot of props for selfies. My experience has been that's not what people want of me. By the way, I'm on camera all day every day. I don't need any selfies.
Lauren: Were you saying you can't make it as an Instagram model? I think you can do anything you want to do.
Liberty: I think we give him some tooth whitening gel and Instagram tea.
Alex: Instagram tea?
Liberty: Instagram tea. You haven't seen that? It's everywhere. You have to have a teeth whitening and some hair peels, and some Instagram tea.
Leo: What is the tea?
Liberty: Its a slimming tea. Slimming detox tea.
Leo: All the hotties on Instagram, not that I know...
Liberty: Once you've made it, then you get your teeth whitening...
Alex: A slimming what tea?
Lauren: Slimming detox tea.
Alex: That's called bourbon.
Leo: Nobody, by the way drinks. But they advertise it. Let me take a selfie. I feel uncomfortable doing this, and when I do it, I know there's only one thing people are looking at and it's you. Get my mic in it? Would that make it more interesting? When you take a selfie do you look at the camera or do you not look at the camera.
Liberty: You have to look at the camera, I think.
Alex: I don't know the selfie protocol here.
Leo: That looks horrible. I'm not posting that. That's what happens. I take a selfie and go I look terrible. Here Lauren.
Alex: When did I get a third chin?
Liberty; There's particular angles.
Leo: There's something going on with that one.
Lauren: Something good. It looks in the moment. I got one of my many various hand face.
Leo: You're doing a gang sign. Is that part of it?
Lauren: It's not a gang sign. It's k pop.
Leo: K pop?
Alex: You played in the car all the way up today.
Leo: I'm going to share this on Instagram. Look how horrible I look. I look like a half deflated balloon. It's terrible. This is why I don't do these.
Lauren: You have to celebrate selfie positivity.
Leo: Love yourself. Is that what this is all about?
Leo: Wait a minute. So that's a lot of typing. Do you have hashtag shortcuts? Love thy selfie. See, I'm going to make it biblical.
Lauren: Nailed. It.
Leo: It's done. I didn't tag you though.
Lauren: It's OK. I'll find it.
Alex: So hoverboards are a thing.
Lauren: Thank you, Alex for attempting to get this back on the rails.
Leo: I'm so depressed. What were we talking about?
Lauren: Hoverboards. Actually that's where we started.
Leo: I want some selfie tips. See the double chin? What do I do about that? That's terrible. Do I hold it up? You lift your chin... but that's called the angles, right?
Liberty: You have to hold it at an angle like this. You have to eliminate that double chin.
Lauren: I have nothing valuable to add about selfies. I feel bad. I feel like it's a betrayal to my millennial status.
Leo: You're supposed to be into this stuff.
Lauren: I don't know.
Leo: What's your Instagram? Let's see.
Lauren: lahock is my instagram. There's some selfies on there.
Leo: Mostly creative shots, interesting things. There's a few of you in here, but not a lot.
Lauren: There's a dog. I took a selfie with a dog. See? It's all the bows. I have to document the bows.
Leo: How many bows do you have now? You can't count them.
Lauren: 22? 23? I think so.
Leo: So you have a hashtag, she's got bows.
Liberty; I'll follow your bows.
Leo: Peter O Toole the famous movie star only wore green socks. You've got to have a trademark.
Alex: What's your trademark, Leo?
Leo: My massive nose.
Liberty: No hesitation.
Leo: It's very distinguished. Don't you think?
Alex: It's a royal nose. Off with his head.
Leo: We had a great week on TWiT. If you missed anything, you missed a lot. Let's take a look.
PREVIOUSLY ON TWIT.
Leo: Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley. It's not too late to run and see them at the Microsoft store.
Paul Thurrott: We're going to head over and assault the Apple Store.
HOME THEATER GEEKS
Scott Wilkinson: Joining me, Douglas Trumbull, legendary special effects man and all around movie maven. I did want to ask you a couple things about 2001. How in the heck did you get that pen to float like that?
Douglas Trumbull: The camera is actually shooting through a rotating sheet of glass. You'll hear a pop when it pops.
BEFORE YOU BUY
Man: We're taking a look at the physics of beer. Phil, could you tell me what you have here?
Phil: We all know beer fresh in the tap would taste great so we developed a system that would take any can or bottle and enhance the flavor and give that fresh from the tap experience.
Man: There's definitely a difference. I enjoy it.
TWIT PUT DOWN THE KEG AND TAP THE TWIT.
Father Robert Bellacour: Yes, it should.
Leo: Face is set to sad. Our show to you today brought to you by stamps.com. This is the time of year stamps.com does the best business. You know why? Because if you're in the business of mailing things, let's say you sell on ETSY or Amazon or Ebay or you've got brochures, the last thing you want to do is go to the post office, buy stamps, get in line behind grandma with 18 packages. I was at the UPS store. It took forever. Everybody has these very complicated transactions. This is your business. You want your business to be professional. You want stamps.com. No more traffic, no more parking. You don't even have to get up from your desk. With stamps.com you can do everything you do at the post office right from your desk including buy and print official US postage. You don't need a postage meter or special ink or anything. You just need your computer and your printer. It's so easy. You even get a USB scale. I'll show you how to get that for free that will let you plop the letter or package on there, print exactly the right postage, not a penny more or less for any letter any package and then the mail carrier comes up and picks it up. You get discounts you cannot get at the post office, including discounted package insurance in one click. All the forms are filled out. Just print out certified mail return receipt international customs forms. stamps.com pulls the information from your website or address book and pre populates it. You can put your company logo on it. It prints right on the letters. With the bar code and everything it's just awesome. stamps.com. Now, if I've peaked your interest, if you run a business and you do mailing and you want your mailing to look as professional as you are, this is the deal. Go to stamps.com, click the microphone in the upper right hand corner. We've got an offer code for you. TWiT. You get a four week trial plus a 110 bonus. Plus 55 bucks in free postage. Free postage. 55 bucks! You get the scale. You do have to pay shipping and handling, so they give you a five dollar supply kit. This is a great deal. Stamps.com. Honestly, this is the time to sign up. stamps.com. You never need to go to the post office again. Look. On Alex Wilhelm's Instagram, there's a picture of Alex in a beautiful... Oh it's you. I like the choice of black and white.
Alex: I picked a random filter because I have no artistic expression whatsoever.
Leo: I like monochrome a lot. I like black and white for faces. Then you focus on features, expressions. Did you take that? You took that didn't you?
Alex: Blind dog finds duck once in a while.
Leo: Did you see Star Wars?
Alex: Not yet.
Leo: Do you want to see Star Wars?
Liberty: Of course.
Leo: Not yet, but you're going.
Alex: The moment my girlfriend gets back from Virginia.
Leo: Isn't that romantic? You won't go see it without your girlfriend. Is this your imaginary girlfriend or your real girlfriend?
Alex: I have two?!? I don't think I could handle two.
Leo: Sometimes I think they're one in the same.
Alex: That's some shade. I'm really excited about it. I just haven't seen it yet.
Leo: So we can't say anything about it because we don't want to spoil it for anybody.
Lauren: I guess so. I will say that I had a pleasurable movie going experience.
Leo: I did too.
Lauren: I went to the new theatre in the mission that's run by Alamo draft house.
Leo: I'm so jealous!
Lauren: I know!
Leo: I love Alamo Draft House in Austin. You can have beer and tacos with your film!
Lauren: I had yeah. So you go in and you have to be 18 or over. There's no cell phones and you can tell people to be quiet through the manager and if they're not quiet they get to leave and they give you snacks and drinks to your table. I watched Star Wars the way God intended, and it's really good. It was so good.
Leo: 3D or regular? It was regular.
Leo: They don't do 3D because they're smart.
Lauren: They have a 3D theatre in the new one. It was really lovely and I got some commemorative pint glasses that they're doing only for the premier. I liked it and I want 70 BB8s. I want them to follow me around like ducklings.
Leo: BB8 is the new robot. Awesome.
Lauren: Newsflash. BB8 is real cute.
Alex: I thought Wall E was the cute robot.
Leo: Alamo Draft is famous for not tolerating annoying movie goers. So much so that they have this video. This is an actual voice mail they received from a movie goer who was thrown out of the Alamo Draft house. Have you heard this yet?
Lauren: No. I'm not surprised. They're serious about it.
YOUTUBE VIDEO: I was wondering if you guys enjoyed treating your customers like pieces of shit. That's how I felt when I went to the Alamo Drafthouse. OK? I didn't know that I wasn't supposed to text in your crappy ass theatre. It was too dark. I was using my phone as a flashlight to get to my seat. So excuse me for using my phone. IN USA MAGNITED STATES OF AMERICA. You are free to text in a theatre. I was not awar ethat I couldn't text in your theater. All right? I've texted in all the other theaters in Austin and no one ever gave a * about it. It was on silent. It wasn't on loud, it wasn't bothering anybody. You guys were obviously being.... and I'm sure that's what you do you know to rip people off. You take my money and then you throw me out. YOu know? I will never be coming back to your Alamo Drafthouse.
Leo: and then they make a YouTube video of your voice mail and shame you on the Internet.
Lauren: They play these sorts of things before the movie to remind you. Just to remind you that you're not supposed to use your cellphone or talk
Alex: Can we please have her on TWiT?
Lauren: Magnated States of America. Drafthouse girl, apple part lady, and Steve Kovach or something.
Leo: Steve was supposed to be here today. He apologizes. Couldn't make it.
Alex: Why couldn't he make it?
Leo: Because Liberty Madison is much more attractive.
Alex: Could someone tag him for that on TWITTER? He needs to know.
Leo: I think he went home for the holidays. He bailed. He'll be back. So you guys... did you want Steve to be part of this group?
Alex: He's part of our Twitter kabal if you will. Why are you shaking you head, Lauren? What's the issue?
Lauren: sigh. No. It's just that Steve unfollowed me on Twitter.
Alex: That's like a modern day burn.
Leo: Girlfriend, what did you do?
Liberty: No, Leo. As long as he didn't unfriend you on Facebook that's the ultimate.
Lauren: That's the thing. Unfollowing is...
Liberty: Unfriending you is wow. You couldn't even talk to him in real life.
Leo: Unfriending is like breaking up.
Liberty: That's the worst.
Leo: Unfollowing is not?
Liberty: Unfollowing hurts. Not as much as unfriending.
Leo: Is it more like you talk too much and I don't want to hear what you have to say?
Liberty: I could put it on that.
Lauren: I don't know.
Liberty: Can somebody tweet him? What is his handle?
Alex: It's @Stevekovach.
Leo: Everybody tweet him. He could mute you now. The mute is invisible to the mutee. It could be for an indefinite period or a short period of time.
Lauren: Mute is like kind unfollow. You don't want to hurt someone's feelings.
Alex: If you get muted, are you an MUTEE? Sorry. Terrible.
Leo: No you didn't. Let's move on. Copyright tribunal slaps Pandora. This is why I think it's not a good thing to be in this streaming music Industry these days. Pandora picked up the assets of ARIO when they went belly up and hopes to do streaming music, but the amount of money that one of these companies pays in royalties is set by a thing called the copyright tribunal, which in of itself sounds dystopian. Oh the copyright tribunal has decided that Pandora by the way wanted to lower its rates. Pandora currently pays 14 cents per 100 songs played. It's very low . It's .0014 dollars per song. They now raised to 17 cents per 100 songs played. Which is a 20% increase. It doesn't sound like a lot, but remember that Pandora is hovering on the verge of bankruptcy as it is. They pay more than a billion dollars a year. They wanted to get down to 11 cents per hundred songs. By the way, the music Industry, which uses sound exchange to enforce its copyrights wanted a bigger increase. They wanted 25 cents per hundred songs.
Alex: That would have killed Pandora.
Leo: Yea, it’s very close. And it just shows you that companies like Spotify and Pandora, like Rdio, really exist only because the music industry lets them at this point, right?
Alex Wilhelm: The glorious com room says that they are the OPEC of music, which I really enjoy the analogy.
Leo: It is like that.
Alex: But Pandora’s stock after the announcement actually shot up about 13%. I think people were enthused that it wasn’t a higher increase.
Leo: It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Alex: Right. So it’s priced in under the share price. The good news was good news of the sort. Not great news giving the cost of increase. But I think Pandora will persist and stay on. So that’s really what I care about, it’s long term viability of their unit economics.
Leo: Yea and I’m sure that this is tough for Pandora because, but you’re right. The stock market I guess figures well it could have, it only could have been worse. They bought the assets of Rdio for $75 million. In October they bought Ticketfly which is a ticket sales organization worth $450 million.
Liberty: Just by a show of hands, who actually uses Pandora?
Leo: Only old folks and you. You and me. You know, it’s funny because we talk a lot about Pandora on MacBreak Weekly. They seem to like it a lot. But you don’t use it?
Leo: Yea. Spotify?
Alex: Oh yea.
Leo: Yea. Oldtimeradio.com?
Lauren: Yea. I have my little phonograph and I sit there and I like, start turning. I hand crank it. And then what I do is I go and program my ghost piano to play. Exactly.
Alex: Do you wear a top hat while you do this?
Lauren: I talk like Michigan J. Frog.
Leo: All those schmendricks at oldtimeradio.com once again. What do you listen to? What’s your thing?
Lauren: Well I do have, I do have Spotify. But I also listen to SoundCloud.
Leo: Do you pay for Spotify?
Lauren: I pay for it, well, yea. I pay for Spotify and then I also have a premium SoundCloud account.
Alex: Oh, you’re the one.
Leo: No, no, SoundCloud is the up and comer I notice. My son who is 21 and his gang listen to YouTube and SoundCloud of all things. And that’s because I think, of course he likes Dubstep and kind of EDM and there’s a lot of remixes on there. So SoundCloud’s a good choice for that.
Alex: I love SoundCloud’s product, but their economics, every article I’ve seen are not particularly good. So I’m worried about their viability. Pandora is roughly profitable or break even if I recall properly. I didn’t check that right now.
Leo: Barely, I think.
Alex: Barely. But SoundCloud’s definitely still in startup, startup mode if you will. And I’m curious if they can raise enough capital to make it profitable.
Leo: I think, you make a good point. When the stock goes up 19%, that means the market believes that they can be profitable with that new rate.
Leo: In fact, Pandora’s press release said, “This is the balanced rate that we can work with and grow from.” So they were relieved, frankly, that it didn’t go up as high as it could have. The new rate structure will enable continued investment by Pandora to drive forward a thriving and vibrant future of music. I like Pandora. It is number one by the way to answer your question, Liberty. It is the largest streaming music service followed by Spotify. But a lot of those people don’t pay. And that’s part of the problem. It’s 90 million users mostly who don’t pay. They listen to the ad supported product.
Liberty: I notice that we did not mention one streaming service.
Leo: Apple Music.
Alex: That was an amazing—
Lauren: It was a nice segue. I got you.
Liberty: Thank you, Lauren.
Leo: Tidal? That’s the one Jay-Z brought in all the people and Madonna put her leg on the table and the signed that—
Alex: Excuse me?
Leo: You don’t remember that?
Liberty: You don’t remember that?
Alex: No. I’m fine. I’m good.
Leo: It was the weirdest event. Jay-Z brought in all his friends and Beyoncé his wife and a whole bunch of very hot musicians to sign something that we never really saw the text of. Some sort of pledge.
Liberty: It was some sort of a music amendment.
Leo: And there’s Madonna, who decided that if she’s going to be a weirdo, she might as well go all in and she got, literally kind of humped the table as she signed, like a virgin, signed that document. We don’t know what the document was. And I don’t know what Tidal’s future holds frankly. Jay-Z paid I think $65 million for it.
Liberty: Yea, he did.
Leo: Almost as much as their house.
Liberty: They’ve been experiencing a lot of their VP’s leaving. Moving on and—
Leo: I think it’s really tough. I going to come, I believe it’s going to come down to Pandora and Spotify.
Liberty: I don’t even think they’re even in the game for Tidal.
Leo: And then, and yea there’s Deezer also, remember? But I think it’s going to be Pandora, Spotify and then really the ones that are going to survive are the companies that don’t rely on the income from the music streaming. And that’s Apple Music, Google Play Music and maybe Amazon Music. Those guys, that’s an ad, value ad for their other businesses. So they can keep in this business even if they lose a little bit of money.
Alex: So on this topic of losses, let’s play a little game. How much money did Pandora lose last quarter? You three, 2015, how much money did they lose on a GAAP basis? Just guess.
Leo: Generally accepted accounting practices.
Alex: Whatever it is, yes.
Leo: I’m going to say $250 million dollars.
Alex: In losses.
Lauren: Yea, I was going to say 300 actually, $300 million in losses.
Liberty: I was going to go 4.
Alex: Geez. Only $85 guys, calm down.
Leo: (Laughing). You know—
Lauren: Ok, does that account for, does that account for the Rdio acquisition or is that not in there yet?
Leo: That’s not a loss, that’s an expense. So they, yea.
Alex: They haven’t had a profitable quarter since Q4 2014.
Leo: My point exactly.
Lauren: But that said—
Leo: My point exactly.
Lauren: But that said, they bought Rdio for a reason and that was to take advantage of Rdio’s streaming catalog. Although, for I guess the last few years, Rdio’s had a lot of trouble maintaining artists’ catalogs in their streaming property. Now that Pandora’s, you know, on board I think that they’re going to start to use that as their streaming, you know, technology.
Alex: I agree with that entirely.
Lauren: And also what you’re seeing here is so you have Pandora getting into streaming and then you see Spotify and Tidal getting into exclusives. You know, when you’re talking about trying to get you know, Adele’s—
Liberty: Curating their content.
Lauren: Yea. Getting Adele’s 25 onto the site for premium users say. The fact that Apple Music had Drake’s Hotline Bling video up before anybody else.
Leo: Exclusives is what makes it. And of course Taylor Swift now, Apple owns that concert footage from 1989. They’re going to have an exclusive on that.
Lauren: Yep. And so what you see here is I think that a lot of, there’s like a couple different strategies by which all of these streaming platforms are trying to really make it big. And I think it will—I don’t think it will be just like an out and out like, a race to the bottom or a race to the top depending on how you look at it. Like all of a sudden somebody’s going to become so big or somebody’s going to become so small that they’re just going to get cut out. I think what you’re going to see is kind of a bigger fish eating little fish until there’s just a couple of big fish left. And whether or not Spotify or Pandora is one of the big fish at some point remains to be seen.
Alex: Ok. And to that point though, not everyone from Rdio made it to Pandora. So if you’re looking to hire awesome engineers on the music and mobile sides, I would look up Rdio’s old LinkedIn database and talk to those guys. There are some really cool kids there.
Lauren: They got a lot of their engineers, but not all engineers. This is true. I had somebody tell me that they had to sadly tick the music suggestion stream on Rdio to off.
Alex: Oh. That’s tough, man.
Lauren: That was his job. I was like oh—
Leo: That must have been depressing. Oh, that’s a bad feeling. So to answer your question, actually I did a little research, Liberty, while Lauren was filling us in on Tidal. This has not been a good story. Jay-Z acquired the company and relaunched in March of this year. This is when they had the famous signing with Kanye and there’s Dead Mouse and Madonna and 50 Cent and all the gang where there. You’ll notice I say “fiddy.”
Alex: Oh, we noticed.
Leo: I’m with the kids.
Alex: We definitely noticed. I just grimaced.
Leo: For years, for years I said Fifty Cents. And I was informed that that’s not correct.
Liberty: I still say Fifty Cent.
Leo: I still don’t know who, well anyway. Tidal is the high-fidelity twice, right? So they offer CD streaming it. But that’s $20 dollars a month. And I think that’s part of the problem is who cares, right?
Alex: It’s 2X.
Leo: I can get the $10 dollar a month lower quality but it’s not—but here’s an interesting stat from App Annie. They monitor app downloads. Tidal is not among the 500 most downloaded apps in the US and in fact, as of this was Tuesday of last August, it was 105th among all music apps. 105th among all music apps.
Alex: That means dead.
Lauren: Ah. Except what you guys forget is the small caveat when Beyoncé drops her next album and it is a Tidal exclusive plus music videos.
Leo: And it’s an exclusive.
Lauren: And everybody is going to flip out and they’re going to join Tidal to get it.
Liberty: But you can’t bank a whole company on exclusives from Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj.
Lauren: Well, no.
Liberty: And that’s what they’re doing. That’s exactly what they’re doing.
Leo: I think Beyoncé’s very smart. And this is going to be an interesting discussion one night between Beyoncé and Jay-Z because Beyoncé’s really the—look what she did with her last album which was insanely brilliant. No one even knew she was recording it. She dropped the album and all the videos all at once. It was an amazing success. I don’t think she’s going to be exclusive to Tidal and if she is it will be for a week.
Lauren: Oh, no, she will.
Liberty: I think she’s going to shoot herself—
Leo: She has to?
Liberty: You know, shoot the deal and say, “Hey, I’m going to go to Good Morning. See you later, Harpo.” I think that’s what she’s going to do. She’s going to—
Lauren: I don’t know. I think, I don’t think that she’s going to—I think that the entire business model of Tidal is based on the idea that you’re going to have these top selling artists.
Leo: Artist exclusives.
Lauren: Who are going to say no to every other place except for—
Leo: That was the pledge I presume.
Lauren: Yea, except for the idea that you know, e-commerce buys right. So like if Beyoncé wants to release her album, her new album onto Apple, but it will be through iTunes only and not streamed on Apple Music and not streamed on Beats 1 and not streamed on their radio. So you’ll see her, so and these other artists, it’s not just her. It’s Jay-Z, it’s Kanye, it’s well Madonna.
Alex: Wow. Ok.
Lauren: Don’t get me started.
Leo: I love Madonna. I went to Denver, Colorado to see Madonna in concert.
Lauren: Did you listen to MDNE? MDNA?
Leo: MDNA was, oh yea. That was the concert we went to. I kind of like it. Why?
Alex: I think the shade is implied. But go back to the Queen Bey point—
Leo: (Laughing) can I have a still of that? I want to put that on my Instagram feed. #ohnoyoudidnt.
Alex: So Beyoncé has sold 430,000 copies of her last album in 24 hours. So she is not just a, she is a mega, mega, mega star.
Leo: Yea but how many did Taylor sell in the first few days of her album by having—
Alex: I can look it up.
Leo: Or not Taylor, I’m sorry. Adele.
Leo: Adele had an Apple exclusive, right? You could only buy it on Apple.
Alex: No, you could buy it on—you could buy it at the stores, too.
Lauren: You could buy it on Google Play Music and in stores.
Alex: You could only stream, you could only stream it once you buy it.
Leo: Oh, she had a streaming exclusive.
Leo: All right. So that’s not a good example because you could stream it on, you couldn’t—no. You couldn’t
Alex: You could stream Beyoncé on—
Leo: You couldn’t get 25 on Spotify.
Liberty: No, you could only get Hello. I tried. For a week.
Leo: You could get Hello, the first song. And I did too. I did too. I didn’t want to buy the album because I didn’t want it.
Liberty: I feel like I paid Spotify enough for them to go get the deal.
Leo: Exactly. I love Adele and I didn’t want the album so Lisa, my wife bought it on iTunes.
Lauren: But it’s also by volume.
Leo: And then I was glad I didn’t buy it.
Lauren: It’s also by volume though. So you have—
Liberty: You’re glad you didn’t buy an Adele album?
Leo: I love Adele singing. But I think it’s time for her to move on with you know, breaking up. Even Justin Beiber’s saying—
Liberty: Well she said it was about getting back together.
Liberty: That’s what she said. She said, “25 was about saying hello and getting back.”
Alex: This is a really long relationship breakup. It’s like 3 albums of sadness and now Hello. Like I mean geez. What’s next?
Leo: I almost wish at this point Adele would sing somebody else’s music because her voice is so good and I’d like to hear some more variety. I guess that’s what I really want is more variety.
Liberty: Do you want, are you looking for something upbeat? Or what are you looking for?
Leo: Yea, that would be one thing.
Liberty: Yea and no.
Lauren: Yea I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Leo: She’s not going to do it?
Alex: She’s already making TWiT fail.
Leo: Here’s another Tidal fact. We can make this a part of the show.
Lauren: Tidal fact.
Leo: Tidal fact. $50 million dollar lawsuit from Cash Money Records over the Lil’ Wayne mix tape that Tidal streamed they said exclusively in July. Cash Money said “That was a desperate and illegal attempt to save their struggling streaming service.”
Lauren: Yes, however you’re discounting the fact that Cash Money Records is currently run by birdman who is facing a criminal case over trying to murder Lil’ Wayne.
Liberty: You can’t put faith in a criminal case.
Lauren: Tried to murder Lil’ Wayne.
Leo: When did he try to murder Lil’ Wayne?
Leo: When, though? What happened?
Lauren: So, let me, let’s go to Lauren’s corner of understanding how Cash Money and Young Money records intersect. Hi. Lil’ Wayne has a sublabel in Cash Money Records.
Leo: Do you got anymore rye over there? Ok.
Lauren: Lil’ Wayne has a sublabel in Cash Money Records. It’s called Young Money for those who are familiar with it. Nicki Minaj is on Young Money and also Drake among other people. And it actually—
Leo: That was a selfie. He was doing a selfie.
Lauren: And actually it turns out though that—
Leo: His feet were in the shot but he was doing a selfie (laughing).
Alex: I’ll behave. I’m sorry.
Lauren: Never. He never behaves.
Lauren: In short—
Leo: He fired shots at Lil’ Wayne’s tour bus.
Lauren: Hmm mmm. Yes.
Leo: That’s not trying to kill somebody. He’s just shooting at the bus.
Lauren: Yes, he hired a hit man to shoot him.
Leo: Oh, oh. Jimmy Winfrey.
Liberty: Do we know these allegations?
Liberty: Do we have anyone to collaborate this story? I don’t believe it.
Lauren: He was indicted.
Liberty: Ok, well.
Lauren: This is a for real, yea.
Leo: You know the beef between Wayne and Birdman has been in the public eye since Weezy first called himself a prisoner of Cash Money.
Alex: Leo, you should say that as imminence. You should not say that out loud. You should just let Lauren do her thing and then we can move on to like hover boards or something.
Lauren: We’ve got to cover hover boards.
Alex: I think that was a joke.
Liberty: That is the precedence of the whole show.
Lauren: We can go back to hover boards. Instead of Lil’ Wayne.
Leo: Wait a minute. Let me understand that. Is there a Big Wayne and a Lil’ Wayne?
Lauren: No. No. Lil’ Wayne’s always been Lil’.
Liberty: There’s just the one.
Lauren: Lil’ Wayne has been Lil’ since he was a Lil’ kid when he was Lil’ Wayne.
Liberty: And he’s still kind of Lil’.
Lauren: He is.
Leo: He’s got the whiniest voice. I don’t understand why he’s popular. His voice is annoying.
Alex: Young Thug is much worse.
Lauren: Well, that’s when he was—I mean he started out with—
Leo: His clothes are very good.
Lauren: He was 14 when he started in The Hot Boys.
Liberty: Lil’ Wayne’s great.
Leo: You like Lil’ Wayne?
Liberty: I do.
Leo: I like his flow but I think his voice kind of grates on me.
Liberty: I’ve actually purchased 3 rap albums in my entire life and—
Leo: And Lil’ Wayne was 2 of them.
Liberty: And he was 1 of them.
Leo: All right. What were the other 2?
Liberty: The other was Jay-Z.
Leo: I love Jay-Z.
Liberty: It was Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne and Kanye.
Lauren: So, it was a—
Leo: This was before Kanye was a dick.
Lauren: So it was Tha Carter III, it’s got to be Tha Carter III and if I were to guess for Jay-Z I bet it would be The Blueprint.
Liberty: It was The Blueprint.
Alex: Of course it was.
Liberty: It was The Blueprint.
Alex: It was an amazing record.
Lauren: Yea. And the 3rd one from Kanye, seems like you’re a 808s & Heartbreaks girl, but I don’t know.
Leo: See this is what I hoped when I got young people on. We’d all be talking about the hip hop scene.
Lauren: I don’t know.
Liberty: This was the—
Leo: This was my prayer.
Liberty: It was the, what was the one with the College Dropout?
Lauren: College Dropout was his first one, yea.
Liberty: That one, yea. That one.
Leo: That’s actually a good album.
Lauren: College Dropout, yea.
Leo: Yea, that’s a great album. Again, Jay-Z before he was a, I mean not Jay-Z. That was Kanye before he was a dick.
Alex: The chatroom wants to know if we are talking about football. No, this is not football. We apologize, Lbookerie, or ibookerie.
Leo: But CreamyCornCob says, “You forgot about your Vanilla Ice album that you bought when you were 14.”
Liberty: Oh, sorry about that. Thank you so much for reminding me.
Lauren: Oh, this is true?
Leo: (Laughing) No.
Liberty: I love Vanilla Ice.
Leo: Ok, maybe it’s true.
Alex: Now move on.
Liberty: He rebuilds homes. He changes lives now.
Leo: Does he?
Liberty: He does. He’s got his own show.
Lauren: The long and the short of it is that I think that Tidal has an edge by the fact that they have a possibility of getting a preponderance, a preponderance of exclusives.
Leo: Apple Music, Apple Music is going to own that because Jimmy Iovine and Dre and I feel like that’s the whole think that’s going to save Apple Music.
Lauren: Maybe. Maybe.
Leo: Is their exclusives.
Lauren: Maybe though but maybe something will happen but at this point I mean, theoretically they’ve got Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Rhianna, Madonna, Kanye.
Leo: DO you think those people will all do that? That they’ll all take a chance and go with Tidal?
Liberty: No. Absolutely not.
Leo: It’s too much of a risk, right? You’re kind of giving up what—
Liberty: I think that’s what they thought they could do. If we build this team, we build this dream team of everyone who is in the top 20 of top 40 hits, we’re going to be successful. And you’ve seen what has happened.
Leo: Right. It’s kind of fallen apart. It’s hard to keep, those people are all you know, feisty like you. And it’s hard to keep them in order. There’s the March 30th, it was an amazing event. Although I was baffled by the whole thing.
Liberty: I’m just glad Drake wasn’t there.
Leo: Why wasn’t Drake there?
Liberty: Because he’s with Apple Music.
Lauren: Yea, he’s with Apple Music.
Leo: Oh, he’s with Apple.
Liberty: Exactly. And he’s, what’s that word? Successful, yea.
Leo: Come on, punk is hip. Daughtry? Come on.
Alex: This is the shadiest episode ever.
Lauren: Fun fact though is that Apple Music kept Drake out of being number one on the Billboard charts because they don’t actually catalogue and document the plays from Hotline Bling on Apple Music. So he lost—
Liberty: Yes, he was devastated.
Lauren: The number 1 Billboard spot to The Weeknd for that--
Alex: The Weeknd is overrated.
Lauren: And then the week after which was supposed to be his big release on Bibo got totally swamped by Adele. So Drake actually remains—
Leo: Drake got robbed.
Liberty: That is true.
Lauren: He has never had a number 1 single.
Leo: But he should have.
Lauren: As a top billed primary artist.
Leo: How could they not count iTunes? How could they not count that? That’s the number 1 retailer of all.
Lauren: Ain’t it just the way?
Alex: Yea, poor Drake with his money and talent and fans and so forth. The poor guy. Life’s got to be really tough.
Leo: Speaking of poor guys, Howard Stern.
Lauren: Good segue.
Leo: I know. That was good, wasn’t it? I don’t even want to talk about it. I just wanted to do the segue (laughing). I couldn’t resist. Ok, we’ll do it real quick. He kind of kept people hanging as he negotiated with SiriusXM. In fact I think on Wednesday, was like he said goodbye practically to his staff and audience but in the end, the king of all media announced that he is going to stay with SiriusXM for another 5 years. It’s a 12 year agreement. The last time he got $80 million dollars a year which we think he’s getting $90 million dollars a year. The 12 year agreement includes all the old videos which they’re going to put in a special SiriusXM app that you can download and see Howard Stern anytime, anywhere.
Alex: Can you explain to us why people like him so much? He must have an amazingly large audience to command that kind of dollar amount.
Leo: He’s, well he’s apparently 12% of all SiriusXM subscribers. And that’s a lot of money because it costs like $15 bucks a month, right? 250, they think, this article by our friend Matthew Ingram estimates that he’s worth, that he’s worth about a quarter of a billion a year to SiriusXM in revenue. So $90 million, nothing right? They still are making good money.
Alex: $160 yea.
Leo: And frankly I don’t know why anybody would have satellite radio in this day and age since you can get everything that satellite radio offers except Howard Stern on your smartphone, right? So that’s really the differentiator. Because Howard’s not available anywhere else. You have to have satellite radio if you want to listen to Howard. So I think that it’s reasonable. Why do people listen? You know, he’s talented. I think he’s talented.
Leo: Where else are you going to see a man play a piano with his penis? I think it’s a unique—
Alex: See I just don’t need that at all. Like I could just walk right by that storefront and be like, “Nah.”
Lauren: Hard pass.
Alex: Hard pass.
Leo: Well, it’s not for me. Not for you. But he’s the king of all media. He’s very, very successful.
Alex: Can I do a plug?
Alex: TechCrunch has a SiriusXM radio show every week. It’s a startup.
Leo: Do you?
Alex: Yea. I’m not on it but we have one.
Leo: I think, is Sarah Lane doing that?
Alex: No, it’s—
Lauren: Biggs and Jordan.
Alex: Biggs and Jordan, yea.
Leo: Oh, nice. They pay for that. You don’t know it but they do.
Alex: Dude, I don’t know anything.
Leo: They buy that. It’s called brokered air time.
Alex: Whatever. We’re on the radio.
Leo: I’m guessing. But there may be an AOL relationship that goes beyond that. I don’t know.
Alex: You ever work for Verizon, though? Yea, I know, right?
Leo: Not much longer.
Alex: 2 more weeks.
Leo: Is that why you left?
Alex: No. Absolutely not.
Alex: Verizon’s done nothing so far to impinge on TechCrunch’s independence.
Leo: That’s good to know.
Alex: All they’ve done is give us more money.
Leo: And you have no reason to lie at this point because you’re on the way out.
Alex: No, I’m really happy to say that I’m leaving TechCrunch at a time when it’s the biggest it’s ever been and probably the strongest. So it’s nice to be able to, we’re not like down in the barrows here. It’s doing really well.
Leo: What we don’t know is how much Apple paid Taylor Swift for their exclusive but it’s going to be around $90 million dollars, isn’t it? I mean can you imagine how much money? I mean this is the 1989 concert. She just wrapped up the world tour. And the only place you’ll be able to see the video starting December 20th, will be on Apple, on iTunes I guess, right?
Lauren: It’s just a shame that that product is so awful to use. It’s bad.
Leo: The user interface should be much better. It really isn’t a—but this is Apple, right? You’d think Apple would be, they’re terrible, iTunes. Terrible. You’d think Apple would be better at this stuff.
Lauren: Yea it’s weird because generally I feel like I’m pretty good at understanding and solving, you know, UI UX, clues or indicators on how to operate something.
Leo: Yea, no indicators. No.
Lauren: And I can’t do it. Not only that but I have, you know I have music on my phone because I have an iPhone and so everything goes through Apple Music and it is constantly confusing and constantly pushing me to sign up, for the streaming product. Every time I just want to listen to my K-Pop music and it’s really sad.
Leo: The, I’m not sure how they are going to do that just because you have to subscribe to Apple Music which is an audio only service to get the video. But you could do the one month trial. So if you’ve held off for the three months trial until now—
Alex: I have.
Leo: Or if you get an Android phone, I think you get a new free month.
Alex: I refuse.
Leo: Yea. You’re not going to do it? Not a big Tay-Tay fan?
Alex: What is Android?
Leo: You don’t love the Tay-Tay?
Liberty: You’re not a fan of Android?
Alex: No, I’m, no that’s a terrible word.
Leo: Look at my new Blackberry. Now you think, you like your iPhone but—
Liberty: There’s a new Blackberry? Nice.
Leo: But will iPhone do that?
Liberty: I love that.
Leo: Can your iPhone do that?
Alex: My iPhone doesn’t need that. It works without one.
Leo: It’s got a slide up—
Liberty: What kind of Blackberry is that?
Leo: This is the Blackberry Priv. Ok, worst name ever. I’ll grant you that. But it’s an Android.
Lauren: Yea how does it feel to have to check your move?
Liberty: Blackberry Perv?
Leo: Perv. Priv. It seem like a good thing—
Liberty: Blackberry what?
Leo: Like a good idea. Oh, 90 likes now on my picture, yea.
Alex: Who are these Instagram fanboys that you have? Because I want some on my account. I have 2 likes.
Leo: 90 likes. This is their first Android device. So it’s and it’s actually a pretty good version. It’s not Lollipop. It’s not Marshmallow. But it’s a pretty clean version of Android. Not crufted up. And it’s a decent, you know, it’s a full price, $650 dollar flagship style phone. But it’s got a keyboard which is kind of cool. It’s got a good camera. Really good camera.
Alex: Oh, it’s kind of nice.
Leo: The Priv is not a good name.
Alex: It feels good.
Leo: It feels all right. See the keyboard. You like Android. You’re using a Samsung phone.
Liberty: I’m a Fandroid, yes. Definitely.
Alex: No more, we’re not saying Fandroid. Fandroid, unicorn and bro, all down.
Leo: (Laughing) actually Jason Howell does a show called All About Android, our Android, weekly Android show on Tuesdays. And you had a, it was actually a really good idea. You had a faceoff between typing on a screen, an on-screen keyboard and the Blackberry Priv keyboard. The Priv came it way last.
Jason Howell: Yea, we had 2 of the panelists with Privs and then we pitched them against one person with a touchscreen Google keyboard and one with a touchscreen SwiftKey and—
Leo: SwiftKey must have one, right?
Jason: Both Privs were out on the 1st round. You know because we were trying to do speed and then of course accuracy whatever hit Twitter.
Leo: You know it’s so funny because I loved the Blackberry keyboard. My last Blackberry was 2007 when the iPhone came out and then I never went back. But I really bitched and moaned about an onscreen keyboard. It was not very accurate for a long time. But not that I’ve gotten used to it and now that Swype has that flow thing where you don’t pick up your finger. Do you use that?
Liberty: I do not.
Leo: You tap.
Liberty. Hmm mmm.
Leo: See you should try the flow. It’s so much faster.
Liberty: I tried it.
Leo: You can’t do it?
Liberty: It just doesn’t work for me.
Leo: Yea. Maybe it’s just something about me but I really find it easy to do the flow and much faster. And when I went back to this keyboard which is a classic Blackberry keyboard, I found it difficult. It was, it felt like I’m back, I’m back in time, you know. It’s really, it’s interesting.
Lauren: It looks nice on its face but I know for a fact that my hands are basically, like my fingers are like tiny cocktail weenies.
Leo: Well that might be, you might be better off. Mine are like, kind of like massive sausages.
Lauren: I, yea. But it’s like, I can’t, I’m just going to like, it will be all bad. I won’t be able to type at all. I know this. I know this looking at that.
Leo: You use an iPhone.
Leo: Yea. And you find the iPhone, do you use a 3rd party keyboard or the regular keyboard?
Lauren: I use the regular keyboard. But I have a special keyboard for GIFs. GIFs, GIFs.
Leo: Yea, the GIF keyboard’s awesome.
Alex: It’s GIF.
Leo: Because it isn’t anything. It’s whatever anybody says it is. It doesn’t matter.
Lauren: You can choose your own reality, Alex.
Leo: Choose your own reality, Alex.
Alex: Well listen to me. It’s GIF. Like can we just listen to my words?
Leo: And I don’t even want to know what your rational is. We’re just going to—
Alex: No, because the first word’s graphical with a hard g.
Leo: That’s what I thought it was.
Leo: Yea. By the way, Blackberry said if this doesn’t make it, they’re out of the business. They’re out of the hardware business. This is the last act. And I, because I want to keep Blackberry alive, I bought one. And I’m going to keep it in my pocket. And I’m going to use it. It’s got a great camera.
Liberty: They’ve done a major turnaround.
Leo: That’s an interesting assertion. Why do you say that?
Liberty: Well you’re holding one. So,--
Leo: (Laughing) that’s a big turnaround.
Liberty: That proves my point.
Lauren: They’re not exactly in the dumpster. They’re just next to the dumpster.
Liberty: Think about it. Would he have been holding one previously?
Leo: There, exactly. Blackberry results trounce expectations.
Lauren: But if you have a low bar already, clearing it is easy.
Liberty: There’s one on the table.
Leo: There you go. One out of 4. There’s 1 Samsung, 1 Blackberry Priv and 2 iPhones. So I think that’s 25% of the market. That’s fine.
Alex: Well here’s the numbers. Blackberry only lost $89 million this last quarter, down from $148 million the year prior.
Leo: That’s good.
Lauren: They’re bleeding money.
Alex: In 7 more years, they’ll be—
Lauren: So they’re not directly bleeding money in the dumpster.
Alex: Well $89 million dollars is more than million dollars a day.
Leo: It’s a lot to lose. It is a lot to lose.
Alex: I couldn’t lose $89 dollars so, that’s up not down I think.
Leo: That’s a lot to lose. I don’t know why. It’s like I have a soft spot for a Blackberry. Because I guess the Blackberry is my first smartphone before the iPhone came out.
Alex: Did you ever have a Palm Pilot back in the day?
Leo: I did.
Alex: I had the Palm 3C with the first colored screen. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. And now I’m sure it would be like an adult pocket PC.
Leo: We have one over there. We have a Visor as well. Remember the Visor?
Alex: Oh yea.
Leo: Actually can you break, can you get me, John, my old Blackberry, the Curve? It’s on my desk in there. Because when you see—
Liberty: I’ve still got my Curve.
Leo: You have a Curve?
Liberty: I have a Curve.
Leo: You know what? It felt, at the time it was like great. But when you look at it now and you compare it to a modern phone, it’s kind of wow.
Liberty: It kind of works.
Liberty: The battery doesn’t die.
Leo: The battery doesn’t die. Look at the size of the screen compared to the Priv now. In fact the whole phone fits inside the Priv’s screen. But the keyboard’s great. You’re right. It went all day. It went all week almost.
Liberty: A couple of days. Yea. A week.
Leo: And then it had this cute little ball that you could navigate with.
Alex: What were they called back in the day? They were like Crackberry’s because they were so popular among executives.
Leo: I think they still are. I think if you go to government and big business you’ll see a lot of Blackberries still.
Alex: That said a lot in that one statement there. I mean the government moves is always 5-10 years behind the rest of the market.
Leo: There’s the, I think the, and I think mistaken notion that Blackberries are somehow more secure than other smart phones. I don’t think it’s true.
Alex: Well it was for a while on the email front. Their selling point was this is secure.
Leo: You ran the server and you had.
Alex: Right. And then that fell apart pretty quickly.
Leo: Yep. When they gave the source code to India and China. That was kind of the end of the line.
Alex: Oh, that’s juju.
Leo: Although the government demanded it so they could spy on people. This has security stuff built in, some special Blackberry security stuff. It has BBM which is cute because when I watch the Blackberry Messenger and I get you know, nobody, there’s nobody there. It’s a very lonely spot.
Alex: It’s like going to Google + right now. It’s like, “Hey, I’m here.” And then you’re all alone.
Leo: And then they have this, look at this. I get a security meter. Look it. My security status is excellent. It says so. And, so that’s reassuring (laughing). I’m in the green, man. I’m in the green. But know I think this, it says discover how apps are using your info. Probably an Android feature that’s just not, you know they’re just taking advantage of. But there’s some, you know there’s some factory reset protection. Things like that that they do. And I like the meter. That’s kind of fun. I don’t know. I’m going to use this for a little while. It’s got good battery life. I’m still at 81%. Took it off the charger about 8:00 this morning.
Alex: That’s impressive. If you don’t use your phone because it doesn’t do anything, you can actually have a long lasting battery.
Alex: Buy an iPhone.
Leo: Actually the 6S Plus battery life is the best of any. I notice you’re using 6’s though. Both of you. You’re not, you’re not on the big one. You like the littler one.
Lauren: Yes, I have tiny gnome hands.
Leo: Oh, yea you mentioned that.
Lauren: Yea. They’re—
Leo: Vienna sausage fingers I believe.
Lauren: Tiny, tiny. My brother used to refer to them as carnival hands (laughing).
Leo: Your brother was a mean, mean—
Alex: I hope you punched him for that.
Lauren: He was a real schmendrick.
Leo: You have beautiful hands. There’s nothing wrong with your hands. Let me see your hands, Alex. You too have beautiful hands.
Alex: They’re just hands.
Leo: It doesn’t look like you’ve worked a day in your life.
Alex: I have actually worked construction and—I’m a journalist so no, not really.
Leo: (Laughing) our show today brought to you—that was mean.
Alex: You’re fine.
Leo: Let me hold your hand. I’ll give you this hand. Our show today—they’re slightly moist. Our show today brought to you (laughing).
Alex: Your fault, man.
Leo: I know. I’m so, I’m so sad. Our show today brought to you by Audible.com. That makes me happy. And I have to say on every phone I have the very first step, well one of the very first steps I install is my Audible app because I’ve got to have my audio books. And with Audible, you know on iPhone or an Android device, even on Windows Phone, even on Blackberry. I’ve got all my books. It’s like a little library I can take with me. I’m currently listening to Neil Stephenson’s new book, Seveneves. Wow. I put this on but I shouldn’t have. I’m a huge Neil Stephenson fan. The story of the moon breaking into seven different pieces and then scientists suddenly realizing that as those pieces collide they will create a cloud, a dust cloud of rocks which will eventually be drawn into earth’s atmosphere and create a fiery globe that will sterilize all life on the planet in 2 years. And what the planet does to survive. That is fascinating. What do you think would happen if we got news that we’ve got 2 years before we just get destroyed in a fiery—
Alex: Well I’m going to the liquor store.
Leo: Yea. That’s the first thing you’d do. I also just got Sarah Vowell’s newest, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States. Boy I love this because listen to who reads this. Fred Armisen, John Hodgeman, Nick Offerman. We all love him from Parks and Rec. John Slattery, the good looking guy on Mad Men, the white haired—good looking because he’s like my age. Patton Oswalt, the great character actor. This is going to be good too. So here’s the deal. You can get 2 books. I just named 2 but as you can see I’ve been an Audible member since 2000. I have so many books in my library. The new Wright Brothers book by David McCullough. I like history. I’m learning a little French too. In fact I’m doing a faceoff between 2 different French series, the Pimsleur French and the Collins French. Trying to figure out which one is going to be best for me to learn French. You can also listen to the college, I’ll pause this right now, I don’t know what is going on. You can listen to the great courses, great college lecturers. All the great courses are on her. When we were travelling around in Europe I was listening to the 3 part series of the middle ages. Just—you feel like you’re getting, you are getting a college education. And what’s nice about your audio books on Audible is that your library. That’s there forever. I have hundreds of books available to me. I can download books I loved and will read again. If you go to Audible.com right now /twit2 you’ll be signing up for the platinum account. That’s 2 books a month plus the daily digest of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Cancel anytime within the first 30 days. You’ll pay nothing but those 2 books will be yours forever. I’m such a fan. The readers are great. They’ll bring the books to life. We were talking the other day about Audible and Amazon because Audible’s owned by Amazon. They do this wonderful thing called whispersync for voice. When you buy an audio book you can also get the Kindle version for a reduced price. And then you can either listen or read and pick up where you left off. So if you want to read while you’re at home on your Kindle, when you get in the car the book, the audio book will pick up exactly where you left off and continue on. You can also, and this is great for young readers, you can listen to the audio book and watch the text. And I think it’s a great way for young readers, in fact research shows that audio books are a great way to get kids into reading because it’s easy at first. They can listen to great, and there’s a huge variety of young adult and children’s books on there, and then start getting into it and then become readers through it. Audible is wonderful. So try it today. 180,000 titles. Everything, every best seller by now comes out on Audible day in date with the hardcover. Oh, Ender’s Game. That is by the way a great performance of Ender’s Game. Beautifully, beautifully preformed. That’s their 20th anniversary edition. Look it’s going to be tough, but you’ve got to pick a book (laughing). Make it 2 and then you can get a sense of whether Audible’s for you. Audible.com/twit and the number 2. Audible.com/twit2 and you know it is the holidays. Maybe you’re looking for a last minute holiday gift, give the gift of Audible. You know you can give individual books which is great or you can give a subscription. But that is a great gift. My son is a huge Audible listener. He’s always—he’s in college right now. He’s a junior in college. Always found it hard to read books but he can listen to books. In fact he’s been listening to his assignments on Audible.com so he just got assigned Joan Didion’s book about Salvador. And he listened to it on Audible. It was a great way for him to get his studying done while he’s hover boarding around the campus. It’s great for hover boards. Audible.com/twit2. Try it today.
Alex: Are you a Neil Stephenson fan?
Alex: Did you read Anathem?
Leo: Yea, I loved it.
Alex: I just finished it.
Leo: Isn’t it awesome?
Alex: 800 pages of what the heck.
Leo: It feels like that might be a book that’s little less accessible of all his books. But I loved it. It’s about a monastery and kind of a weird way.
Alex: And a whole different language and form of life.
Leo: Yea. Did you like it?
Alex: I was—
Leo: Puzzled by it?
Alex: I didn’t know there was an index for the made up words until page 100.
Leo: Well I listened to it so I didn’t get that.
Alex: Oh, that’s tough.
Leo: No, no, it was easy.
Alex: Let me guess, on Audible.com.
Leo: Yea. I love it.
Alex: There we go. I just—
Leo: Want to read his best book?
Alex: Which is?
Alex: I’ve not read it yet.
Leo: It may be the best book I’ve ever read.
Leo: And it’s about crypto. But it’s really a great novel. I think he probably deserves more praise than he’s getting. He reminds me a lot of Bradley’s Rainbow. Did you ever read that?
Alex: I was told not to.
Leo: Oh, you should read Bradley’s Rainbow. If you, unless you don’t like to be challenged.
Alex: I don’t actually, no. It quite annoys me.
Leo: All right, then you shouldn’t read it.
Alex: Challenge is not for me.
Leo: Thomas Pynchon is one of our greatest novelists and I feel like Neil Stephenson reached that level in Cryptomonicon.
Alex: OK. I’ll give it a try.
Leo: Just a word to the wise. Steve Jobs’ biography, it’s good for your work too because there’s a lot of tech stuff on there. So this is, I’m sad. Because California had put restrictions on driverless vehicles. That means that Google may end moving its autonomous research division out of the state. This doesn’t matter to people who don’t live in California, but California is saying that they’re considering an outright ban on driverless cars with no human aboard. Ok, that’s fine.
Alex: I don’t mind the human rule, it’s the need for like a steering wheel and pedals.
Leo: Steering wheel and pedals.
Alex: Which is really limiting for the design process right now. I mean having a kill switch or a pull over button I get. But this seems a little excessive to me.
Leo: California Department of Motor Vehicles considering rules that require a licensed driver in the vehicle. The driver would have to have an additional rider on the license, autonomous vehicle operator certificate. And is capable of taking control which means he has to sit behind the wheel. And it has to have a steering wheel, brakes and accelerator. The main concern according to DMV director Jean Shiomoto says, “The safety of autonomous vehicles and the safety of the public that will share the road with those vehicles.” This is kind of step backward I think. And yet I want them to protect our safety, right?
Alex: For sure.
Liberty: It’s like Uber.
Alex: Yea but the California DMV can bite me, so.
Leo: Sounds like Uber.
Liberty: Just what it sounds like to me.
Leo: It’s kind of like a resistance, you want to preserve the status quo. Resistance to anything too new.
Leo: It would change everything. Poor Uber, they still are fighting those fights everywhere.
Alex: They’re worth $362 and a half billion dollars. You can’t say poor Uber.
Leo: Poor Uber.
Alex: All those poor billionaires, all their money.
Leo: What was the latest Uber issue? Oh, Austin. Austin has effectively banned Uber.
Leo: Yea. After debating more than 4 hours, the Austin city council on Friday over, approved an ordinance overhauling its rules for companies dispatched rides using smartphones. I wonder how they mean by that? All drivers will have to undergo fingerprint based criminal background checks.
Liberty: That’s not bad. Ok, that sounds good.
Leo: Yea, but I mean, ok.
Alex: Well that’s weird rule regardless.
Leo: Ok. Ok. Is that what they require of taxi drivers too though?
Lauren: Yes. So the reason that Uber and Lyft have been sidestepping the mandatory fingerprint background check, instead doing their own proprietary background check through a private company is that they contend that the fingerprint system is not helpful in catching or identifying potential criminals in the system. Which is funny because of course city regulators want them to do these fingerprint background checks because it’s actually something that is auditable by the city and actually by the—
Leo: Make sure they’re actually doing something in other words.
Lauren: Yes. Well it’s also, it means that they’re actually using a database that is public rather than a database for a system that is private. So there’s a lot of push pull between you know, what kind of information Uber and Lyft want to give out about their drivers and how they’re actually vetting the process. And if it is a public system, how does that, what does that mean for liability if for some reason somebody does pass a background check and then all of a sudden they are a criminal and they go out and they do something you know. At what point is Uber or Lyft, at what point are they liable for you know, that failure in the system?
Leo: Uber and Lyft both have said we’ll leave Austin.
Lauren: Yes. Because they don’t want to do it. Because it’s easier for them to conduct all of these background checks behind the curtains.
Leo: Do you feel less safe in an Uber or a Lyft than you do in a cab? I feel much more at risk in a cab.
Liberty: Exactly. I feel safer in Uber and Lyft.
Leo: Me too.
Liberty: I do.
Alex: Yea, I agree with that. But I don’t take cabs anymore at all.
Leo: There’s incidents in cabs as well. So no system is you know, completely safe. I just feel safer in an Uber. I don’t know why.
Liberty: Maybe it’s the fact that we’re in Silicon Valley and we think start-ups run everything?
Leo: Yea, maybe.
Liberty: Maybe that’s the thing.
Leo: But cabs are often dirty. The drivers—
Liberty: I just feel like if they don’t want to go to work, they call their friend and it’s like, “Take over my shift.” You know, you don’t know who that guy is.
Leo: It feels like you don’t know who’s driving a cab.
Liberty: No, you don’t.
Lauren: Well, I think that that’s also a false comparison. I mean, I was a New Yorker so I spent a lot of time taking cabs here and there and everywhere.
Leo: And you felt good in those?
Lauren: Well it’s just part of, it’s what you did.
Leo: Also, if you’re African-American, sometimes cabs will drive right by you I hear.
Liberty: I don’t know, Leo.
Leo: You’ve never had that happen?
Liberty: I really do not know.
Leo: You’ve never had that happen?
Liberty: Not at all.
Leo: I have so many friends who say, “I cannot get a ride in Manhattan.”
Leo: They’ll just go right by me. And of course Uber, they pick you up. Now, Uber can also reject you before if they look at your picture.
Liberty: You know I was rejected actually by Lyft.
Leo: By Uber? By Lyft.
Liberty: And it blew my mind.
Leo: You don’t look threatening. I mean I have to say. If you were a black man it might be a little more difficult.
Liberty: I don’t, I don’t, the driver, I couldn’t believe that he passed the Lyft background check.
Liberty: He didn’t speak English. And I didn’t understand what was going on and the next thing I know, I was on the curb.
Leo: Most cabbies seem like they don’t speak English. Or speak their own version of English.
Liberty: It was something. I understood “Get out.”
Lauren: I think that the—
Leo: He threw you—wait a minute. You were in the car? Where were you?
Alex: Where were you when this happened?
Liberty: I was in the car and he threw—
Leo: Who would throw Liberty Madison out of the cab? #thatisbs.
Alex: For shame.
Liberty: I know. And you know, I was so upset I actually uninstalled the app.
Leo: Ah ha! Good for you.
Lauren: But see that’s the extent of—
Liberty: Well, let’s not high five yet. I put it back on there.
Alex: (Laughing) can I retract that?
Lauren: But see, that’s the extent of your ability to retaliate. If for example you were in a cab and they did do that to you, you could take the cab’s livery number down and you could actually call the cab service and the City of New York or the city of San Francisco.
Leo: Ah, that’s a good point.
Liberty: I called Lyft. I did. I called them.
Leo: And what happened?
Liberty: They wanted to apologize and investigate and investigate. I was like, I just want to let you know what happened. It’s not fair.
Leo: Yea they should. Doesn’t the driver--
Liberty: They asked me if I felt threatened for my safety.
Leo: That’s an important question. That’s good that they asked you that.
Liberty: I didn’t feel threatened for my safety. I didn’t think the man was going to do anything.
Leo: He was just a jerk.
Liberty: Exactly. And they don’t have a protocol for jerks.
Leo: But they do have a rating system. And that’s the other thing that I think works well with Uber and Lyft and other systems like this is the rating system is a strong incentive for the driver, isn’t it? That’s why they always have little candies.
Lauren: Yes and no. So the rating system is really strong for a driver who has just started. I mean we’re talking about someone who’s maybe only had a dozen or so rides.
Leo: Because every vote counts more.
Lauren: Every vote counts more. So and then it’s also the same thing for if you take rides of volume and you have a rider rating. However the difference is that it is up to the driver’s discretion to take a rider with a low rating. If you have a low rating as a driver, you can get fired. And that’s it. So really it depends on how you want to look at it. So if you are—
Leo: They can use those ratings ballistically, giving more weight to more recent votes. That would overcome the number of votes problem.
Alex: That would be interesting.
Lauren: They could but that would require that Uber and Lyft give transparency to the way that they have reviews and ratings. And the closest I can tell is I can ask Uber, you know, what my rider rating is and you know, they’ll tell me. But beyond that.
Leo: I feel like some of this is kind of mistrust of the company, right? Mostly this comes from a mistrust partly because of some of the jerky things that Travis Kalanick and others have said.
Leo: So we just don’t trust Uber as a company. Whereas the cab, what is the cab company? I mean do you ride in A1? Yellow Cab? Checker? Who did you ride in? You don’t know the company. You don’t care.
Lauren: You don’t know the company or care but at the same time there is an entire city service that is dedicated to the safety and cleanliness of these taxis.
Leo: They’re regulated. The taxi commission.
Alex: Yea but how effective is that service? And it exists, but.
Leo: Wait a minute. The cab’s cleanliness?
Lauren: It’s part of, it’s part of what they are supposed to be regulating.
Leo: But do they?
Alex: They don’t.
Lauren: I don’t know.
Leo: I’ve been in pretty disgusting cabs.
Alex: I have too. New York’s different. That’s a whole separate cab game.
Alex: I’m curious. Have you guys been tracking the expansion of Lyft’s and Uber’s financial performance over the last year and half?
Leo: No, tell us about that because I know you do a lot of finance reports.
Alex: No, I don’t have anything off the top of my head, I’m just curious if we love these services so much because they’re subsidized by now by venture capital drivers. I take Lyft line everywhere I go, or Uber cool whatever it is.
Leo: They’re better because they don’t have to make money.
Alex: But they lose money on that. I’m really curious once they have to actually stop losing money, how much we’re going to use them compared to cabs. Because cabs, you know maybe there’s no—
Leo: That’s called the market, baby.
Alex: No, no, I’m excited about that.
Leo: Take advantage of it while it’s good. And as soon as it’s bad, move on.
Alex: Lyft has lost so much money on me it’s amazing. I’m very thankful—
Leo: My daughter, 23, is not a great driver. The real safety issue for her is her driving. She’s had a few fender benders. And she came to me and she said, “I don’t want to drive anymore. I think I’m not a good driver.” And I said, “Honey, you’re absolutely right.” And the truth is I, and I told her this, it’s probably cheaper for you to take Uber, Lyft or even cabs then it is for you to own a car. Given the insurance, the gas, the cost of the car there is an economy to taking these. And if you feel safer, I will strongly support you.
Liberty: But that’s a trend for millennials now and a lot of car companies around are recognizing that. Millennials do not want to own cars.
Leo: They shouldn’t.
Liberty: They don’t want to.
Leo: If you live in an urban area, New York, San Francisco, it doesn’t make sense.
Alex: A parking spot in this city is $300 dollars a month usually.
Leo: I know. Well, ask about New York.
Alex: I mean it’s probably even worse there. But I mean between your math it’s totally correct. I can take Lyft’s all month and save money. So, boo hoo Ford stock.
Leo: Yea. Well no, I think a private car ownership, you know, thanks to autonomous vehicles and these ride services may be imperiled. And you know Ford’s thinking about that. And they’ve been aware of it. In fact I know they are. They talked to me about it. And they want to make money selling fleets, making urban transportation, some of it electric, some of it autonomous. They understand their business is going to change rapidly and they need to reinvent it.
Liberty: Yea. I’ve seen them selling weekend trips.
Liberty: That’s the only way you’re going to get a millennial in a car is a weekend trip (laughing).
Leo: Oh, I get it. So the pitch is buy a car so you can take a trip this weekend.
Liberty: The weekend.
Leo: The weekend.
Liberty: The weekend trip.
Leo: The weekend. That’s interesting. Do we care about the Galaxy S7? Not really. I know you’re a Samsung owner but—
Liberty: No, no.
Leo: We’ll hear about it on CES which is just a couple of weeks away. I can’t believe that. Are you guys going to CES?
Alex: Not anymore.
Leo: You’re happy. You don’t have to. Come one.
Alex: CES is the worst week of the month, of the year for a tech journalist. It is an absolute cesspit.
Leo: Lauren, are you going?
Lauren: Absolutely not, no. He’s totally right. CES destroys your immune system and your wallet if you go gambling at the rate that Alex goes gambling which is a lot.
Leo: Are you a gambler?
Alex: What? What?
Leo: I thought anybody frankly who is in the tech industry would know enough about statistics to not gamble.
Liberty: What’s your game?
Lauren: No, he loves gambling. He can play his dork numbers to win money.
Leo: What’s your game? That’s the right question.
Liberty: Yea. What’s your game?
Alex: If we’re at the Aria, I’ll play poker.
Leo: Oh poker’s, see now that’s a game of skill. That’s a different game.
Alex: But, I play a lot of blackjack too.
Leo: Blackjack’s a good game.
Alex: It’s fun. I have a limit.
Leo: At least you don’t play Wheel of Fortune.
Alex: No, I have a gambling limit. I go have a lot of fun.
Liberty: Hey, what’s wrong with Wheel of Fortune?
Alex: Many, many things are wrong. Do you want a list? I can start.
Leo: (Laughing) CES is going to have significant security measures this year. In fact I heard from somebody who said, “I am not going to CES this year specifically because of the security measures.”
Lauren: That’s the only reason?
Leo: Well, he said they’re going to be onerous. They’ve announced that they’re going to limit luggage and bags. Of course that’s the big issue because a lot of people like journalists bring big bags to carry their, carry their press releases. No rolling bags. Bags will be searched. Everybody is subject to a metal detector and body pat downs when entering show premises. Heavy or bulky clothing is not helpful. So strip down. You have a body suit I think.
Alex: I don’t.
Leo: Flesh colored body suit. You should wear that.
Alex: Actually, it’s on right now on this glorious physique.
Leo: It’s interesting. So they’re very concerned. I guess they should be, but they’re very concerned about.
Alex: So CES will be full TSA essentially.
Leo: They went full TSA.
Lauren: Which makes sense.
Alex: Never go full TSA.
Leo: Not based on any credible threats they say.
Liberty: Why have they switched it from last year?
Alex: Well there’s been a few attacks since then.
Leo: Is it more dangerous now than it was last year? Probably not.
Alex: A gut check.
Leo: But you don’t want to be the one, you know be asleep at the switch.
Alex: I’m opposed to security theatre as a general concept. But I think just given the spate of stuff we’ve seen over the last couple of months, a little more caution’s not bad as long as it doesn’t infringe on privacy and so forth. I’ll walk through a metal detector no worries. That’s fine with me.
Leo: No, I don’t mind that.
Leo: I don’t mind that.
Alex: I’ve got to take out 8 laptops and 4 phones to get through the thing.
Leo: I don’t want to be frisked. I’m not crazy about being frisked.
Alex: Why not, Leo?
Leo: I don’t know. It feels intrusive, doesn’t it? It feels like it’s an invasion of my space. I’m not crazy about it.
Alex: I used to wrestle so you can’t really offend me.
Leo: Yea, see I wouldn’t wrestle for that reason.
Alex: A lot of people are a little more sensitive. I’m just curious about why.
Leo: Isn’t that interesting? So in Brazil, wow, this is really interesting. They initially decided to ban WhatsApp for 2 days.
Alex: 48 hours.
Liberty: That’s a great idea.
Leo: 48 hours. 12 hours in, never mind (laughing).
Alex: But in the meantime, Telegram got like 6 million new users.
Leo: Yea. So what happened is WhatsApp apparently did not cooperate with the courts in providing information about a criminal court case. And so judge said, “Ok, your punishment is we’re going to turn you off for 2 days, for 48 hours.” Now this is a big deal in Brazil. 93% of Brazilians use WhatsApp. It’s because text messaging is very expensive apparently in Brazil. And so WhatsApp and the reason that WhatsApp is so successful all over the world is in areas where text messaging is expensive, it’s a much better solution. So everybody uses WhatsApp. But imagine if we lived in a country where there were—the problem is the US messaging systems, there’s a lot of different ones. Everybody uses different ones but what if there were one dominant messaging system? And the courts said, “Eh, for 2 days you can’t use it.”
Alex: Chaos in the streets.
Lauren: Well, no, what would happen is exactly what happened in Brazil which is the next best thing.
Leo: They move to Telegram (laughing). One and a half—
Alex: There’s still lag time in that though.
Leo: Telegram says 1.5 million signed up. You say more, right? But I guess that was—
Alex: It was more by the end.
Leo: By the end. And I guess another judge came along and said, “This was a terrible idea.” And overturned it.
Liberty: I think the judge was sponsored by Telegram actually.
Leo: You know what? The judge in fact it probably is the case. There’s a lot of corruption that the judge was in the pockets of the Telegram companies. And that may have well had had something to do with the ban.
Alex: Well talk about your backfires. You know. Overreach followed by backfire, followed by giving up. You really showed those WhatsApp users. Well done, Brazilian judge.
Leo: Yea. But it also shows you how easy it is to jump to another platform. The key on the success of these platforms, the lock in comes entirely whether you can get your friends to move. And your family to move. Facebook’s really going all out on Facebook Messenger. Don’t you think? You’re on Facebook right now, Lauren.
Alex: Lauren. We’re filming.
Lauren: I am. I’m looking through the slideshow that’s being developed of this very show in fact.
Leo: It’s kind of difficult, by this woman here?
Alex: Where’s Michael?
Leo: Michael O’Donnell is doing it? You’re making a slideshow?
Alex: If you’re watching TWiT right now, follow @photo on Twitter. Michael is amazing.
Leo: Yea, you know we don’t give him enough credit. Michael O’Donnell I’ve known for a long time. He came to the old Screen Savers show more than any other human alive. Saw hundreds of episodes in the studio audience. And then I guess I kind of lost track of you for a while. You were about, you decided to come to every one of these shows now. So that’s good. I appreciate it. And it was through Michael that we met Liberty Madison. So I’m very grateful.
Liberty: Michael is the official photographer of Silicon Valley.
Alex: That’s true.
Leo: He is now. You know, congratulations. When I first, when we first met you were working at Radio Shack. Now I think a career at Radio Shack really has some upsides.
Alex: Unlike Radio Shack stock.
Lauren: All the cables you can ever want.
Leo: The battery club alone has got to be worth something. But no, I’m glad that you—he was a photographer for them but got more serious about the hobby. Now what is it? Twitter.com/
Leo: How did you get photo?
Michael O’Donnell: They gave it to me before they launched. I thought you knew that.
Leo: You’ve had it since 2006?
Alex: He said they gave it to him before they launched which is kind of a really awesome humble brag about how cool I am.
Leo: That is, I did not know that, Michael.
Liberty: The photographer for Silicon Valley.
Leo: Follow. Follow.
Alex: Oh it’s you, look. You’re in a heart.
Leo: And look there’s some magical stuff going on there.
Liberty: That’s me.
Alex: That’s also you, Liberty.
Leo: Nice. Yea. Yea, one thing I do know about Michael O’Donnell, he does have an eye for a beautiful woman. He’s very good at finding those. What is going on with this? Lots of gestures going on here. This is fun. Smile for-- #removethelenscap. I like that. This is fun. Thank you, Michael, for posting here. That’s great. No I was starting to talk about Facebook Messenger. Now let me ask you young people. What do you use Lauren, for messaging?
Lauren: A combination between—
Leo: Probably Apple’s messages right, because you have an iPhone.
Lauren: That and Facebook Messenger, sure.
Leo: And Facebook Messenger as well.
Leo: Same with you there, Mr. Wilhelm?
Alex: No, I don’t use Facebook nearly at all. I turn off my news feed; I don’t have Messenger on my phone or Facebook. I use Twitter DMs and iMessage.
Leo: Twitter DMs. That’s interesting.
Alex: Yea. I’m a big Twitter fan.
Lauren: Which makes him absolutely impossible to find for instance if you are double parked outside of his apartment trying to get to the TWiT studio and he’s not answering his phone and you have to DM him on Twitter. Let me tell you something, guys.
Leo: That’s not a real time communication system.
Liberty: That’s real specific.
Lauren: It’s almost like it happened today. It’s almost like it happened today.
Alex: (Laughing) all right, all right, all right. Noted but I’m hard to get a hold of by design because I want to be left alone.
Leo: No, I’m the same. I know what you mean. I know what you mean. I know what you mean. And Liberty, what do you use? Do you use—you don’t use Apple Messages obviously.
Liberty: I don’t . I do not.
Leo: How do you message people? Text?
Liberty: To contact people?
Leo: Yea when like do you stay in communication with people?
Liberty: But I prefer text over phone calls. I don’t like phone calls.
Leo: No, I love texting.
Liberty: Unsolicited phone calls freak me out so, yea.
Leo: I would say I’m almost all texting.
Liberty: All text. Or Twitter DM.
Alex: Twitter DM is amazing.
Liberty: Twitter DM or text.
Leo: That’s a terrible way to do it.
Liberty: Because then if I Facebook Message you, you want to be my friend. And then you want to add. It’s kind of scary.
Leo: But do you both have it set up so anybody can DM you?
Leo: No. You have to follow them before they can DM you.
Alex: See my laptop, I have Facebook turned off. So I have cat feed. So I don’t even get my news feed.
Liberty: Oh wow. I’ve never seen that before.
Leo: What’s cat feed?
Alex: It’s supposed to give you cat GIF instead of your newsfeed. Because I don’t want to see what you’re doing.
Leo: Wait a minute. There’s a Chrome extension.
Alex: Called cat feed.
Leo: That replaces your Facebook—
Leo: With cats?
Alex: With cats. And therefore I can’t see if you have a kid. I don’t care about your new car. I get left alone entirely from boring people’s boring existence. I don’t care about them. I don’t want to see them.
Leo: You don’t care about Michael O’Donnell’s beautiful slideshow?
Alex: He’s my friend. He knows where I live. Like it’s fine.
Lauren: Yea. But it also makes it incredibly difficult to speak to on a real time basis.
Alex: That’s true. Sorry.
Alex: I’m not sorry at all.
Leo: Sorry, not sorry. He doesn’t want to be. We share this. This is good.
Lauren: No, I find Messenger to be a pretty effective platform for one to one communication. My boyfriend actually calls me through Facebook Messenger for some unknown reason but he you know like, it just makes sense. He’s on an Android phone and he switches between phones often so Facebook Messenger is one place where we can continue to have our conversations and their archived and also he can call me.
Alex: Yes but Lauren, you actually have friends.
Leo: Can I make a plea?
Lauren: This is true. I have actually many friends.
Alex: Wow. I’ve got like 2 maybe.
Leo: I have no friends.
Alex: Ok, there you go.
Leo: Can I make a plea to bring us all together. Let’s just all you know, give up and all use Facebook Messenger?
Liberty: I’m out of that.
Alex: No. Absolutely not. The audience agrees.
Liberty: No, we’re out.
Lauren: And also I really just enjoy having regular texts.
Leo: (Laughing) we’re getting a rebellion from the audience here. No.
Alex: I’m Mark Zuckerberg and I’m asking you to use Facebook Messenger.
Leo: Well what do you want to use?
Alex: Twitter DM.
Lauren: No, Twitter DM is not good.
Leo: Telegram? Telegram.
Liberty: Telegram? You use Telegram?
Leo: If the choice—it’s the intern again. I use Telegram. I like the stickers. It’s the choice of terrorists everywhere.
Alex: Wow. Wow.
Leo: No, it’s not.
Alex: Good scare monger on the encryption front there, Laporte.
Lauren: Also Telegram got hacked like a month ago. They’re not eve that secure anymore.
Leo: Yea, turns out their encryption—well, it never was. They made up their own encryption which is never a good idea.
Lauren: Are you telling me that’s all I have to do in order to make dollars?
Leo: Make up your own encryption?
Lauren: Yea, I’ll do it. I’ll do it. It’s going to be called Glitter Encryption and—
Alex: Glitter Encryption?
Lauren: Instead of getting any kind of information, you just give glitter to people. That’s how it’s going to work. I’m working on it.
Leo: That’s terrible.
Alex: And then for $10 million dollars.
Lauren: A million dollar idea. A million dollar idea.
Liberty: I think someone just registered the domain. Yea.
Leo: So what—I mean the advantage of SMS is that you can reach any smartphone. So SMS is, but here in the states, most of us have plans that give us unlimited SMS. In many other areas of the world, it’s expensive. It’s 20 cents a message. So people use WhatsApp or whatever. But the problem is unless we all agree on a separate, a standard platform, they’re all siloed. So I can’t talk to you on Telegram if you use Signal. So can’t we just, we need to all pick one.
Alex: It’s a big question in Asia where there’s like LINE, KaKao Talk and so forth that’s country specific. And so you can’t really go across borders.
Leo: Yes. WeChat in China, everybody, and LINE, everybody in Japan.
Alex: KaKao in Korea and so forth, yea.
Lauren: But that’s different though because those are national like WhatsApp in Brazil. I mean those are like national uses. You’re not necessarily talking to someone internationally through KaKao Talk. You don’t need to because 98% of the population is on KaKao Talk. You know I think that we sort of use—
Leo: But we don’t have that in the US.
Lauren: No, we use propriety SMS.
Liberty: Do people still use Viber?
Lauren: My dad texted me this morning.
Liberty: No one’s using that?
Lauren: So my dad’s learned how to text.
Leo: Viber’s big. Your dad just texted you.
Lauren: My dad learned how to text actually. He texted me some hot takes about the new Star Wars movie.
Leo: Oh nice.
Alex: Your dad sounds cooler than my dad.
Lauren: My dad was great. He said to me and I quote, “I liked it a lot. Not pleased with people when they saw the old characters appear the first time. Do you know much about the plot? It was annoying to have all these people clap. The movie characters were never going to hear them clap.” That was my dad’s review.
Leo: No, it was the coolest, I have to say, no spoiler again, but you want to see if you can see the movie with a group and you probably will in the 1st few days anyway, with a group of people who are fans and a full house if possible. Because that is a good moment, isn’t it when somebody comes out and everybody goes, “Oh!”
Lauren: Yea. It is. Except for not my dad. That’s not my dad’s lifestyle. He also still signs the text messages like I don’t know they’re from him.
Leo: Dash, dash dad?
Lauren: Dad, yea. He’ll say, “How are you doing today? Dad.” I’m like, “Dad you’re the only person who” (laughing).
Leo: I do the same thing. Does he use punctuation? Like does he have a period at the end of sentences?
Lauren: Yea. He’s nailing it. He’s really learning though and that’s like a good thing. He’ll be like, “Did you see I texted you the other day?” I’m like, “Hmm mmm.”
Leo: Nice, dad.
Lauren: Do it.
Leo: My mom can’t stop texting me. It’s horrible.
Alex: Blessing and a curse if you will.
Lauren: You’re mom’s like, “What are you doing?”
Leo: She’s realized that it’s pointless to email me or call me so she writes email length text messages.
Alex: Oh, my mom does that too. The novels that go on for like 3 screens.
Leo: Yea, 3 screens at least.
Alex: I should call her more often apparently.
Leo: I think so. And I call Mom. I talked to her twice on Friday and Saturday for hours.
Alex: You are a good son.
Leo: I was hard because I didn’t want to yell at her, but I was trying to show her, I gave her an iPad Pro for Christmas and she opened it early. So I was trying to show here some stuff. How to split the screen, right? And you swipe in from the edge, from the right edge and it’s hard. I agree. I understand. You’ve got to do it just so and it doesn’t work sometimes. It’s really actually dopey. Thank you, Apple. But I was, but she said there’s no white edge. And I said, “No, wait a minute, Mom. You know, the bezel.” She said, “No, there’s no bezel.” I said “You’re telling me the picture goes all the way to the edge of the iPad?” “Yea.” I said, “Mom, where’s your home button?” She said, “It’s on the edge there.” I said, “The white edge.” “No.” Now this is when I had to mute the mike and say, “Arg!”
Lauren: You just have to let it happen.
Leo: Well then somebody once told me, “Look. She taught. She wiped your butt for two years. She taught you how to walk. You can take a little time and help her with her iPad.” Right? That’s hard to hear because—
Alex: That’s very hard to hear.
Leo: Because it’s absolutely true. I don’t know how she had the patience with me but it’s hard because you know, there is—finally she said, “Oh, you mean the white bezel?” “Yes!” (laughing)
Lauren: It’s ok, it happens. The, I mean, one time my dad talked to me for ten minutes trying to walk me through how to send an e-mail attachment. And all I did, it was already done, I was waiting for him and he would just be like, “So go into the file and click attach and then you’re going to see the folders. And I want you to—“ And I’m, email is already, the attachments are already all set. What did I do? “Hmm mmm. Yes, Daddy. Hmm mmm. Yea. Hmm mmm. Oh, look at Daddy, I found it. Great. This is great. I think I got it. Thank you.”
Leo: Thank you, Dad.
Alex: Wait. You bought your mom an iPad Pro? That’s pretty cool.
Leo: Yea, I know. I’m a good son.
Alex: You’re a good son. Although I have had that Windows 8 problem you’re describing. The windowing thing?
Leo: Yea, it’s hard. John Mayer, you remember John Mayer?
Alex: The guitar player.
Leo: Yea. Talking to his dad. TMZ got him outside the concert hall trying to help his dad.”
Liberty: How long ago was this? John Mayer does not look like that now. Is this 10 years old?
Leo: Yea. He says, “The top left of your screen.” (laughing).
John Mayer: Your hard drive. It’s on your desktop. Like anything, click anything other than—
Jason: I feel like I’m listening to myself.
Leo: I know. We’ve all been there.
John Mayer: There’s a red dot, a yellow dot and a green dot. Now click on anything other than that dot. Find it. Good. Go in your hard drive. No, no, no. Entourage is there. It’s just not in your dock. Your dock.
Leo: (Laughing). This is, you almost feel like it’s made up. This is a rock star and he’s doing tech. At one point he says, “Dad, you can do this. You can do this.”
Alex: I have faith in you.
Leo: I love it.
Alex: You can click the buttons in the right sequence.
Leo: Yea, this is kind of old because he doesn’t look like this anymore. This is 2008 TMZ. But you know what? I love it because it’s something we’ve all done. But I’m going to say something. I think your dad’s probably younger than I am.
Lauren: My dad just turned 61.
Leo: Oh, we’re the same age.
Lauren: Oh, I’m sorry. He’s turning 61 tomorrow.
Leo: Yea, we’re one year off.
Liberty: Happy Birthday, Dad.
Leo: Happy Birthday, Dad.
Alex: Go dads.
Lauren: He’s good.
Leo: Now I’m really impressed.
Lauren: They did the thing where he got his cake and the switched the numbers and they texted me and it’s like, “I’m 16!”
Leo: I’m 16. Ha ha. Yea, that’s good.
Lauren: Yea, Daddy, you look great.
Leo: That’s good.
Lauren: For 16.
Leo: Where does he live?
Lauren: Here in Sacramento.
Leo: Oh, so not far.
Lauren: No, not at all.
Leo: You can visit him. You should visit him more often.
Lauren: I will actually be going for Christmas.
Lauren: I’m the only child who’s going home this year, so.
Leo: Good for you. You’re the only good child.
Liberty: You’re the good daughter.
Leo: The good daughter.
Lauren: Well, yea.
Leo: Let’s take a break. This is fun. I’m really having a blast. Lauren Hockenson is here from The Next Web.
Leo: Just great. Lhockenson on Twitter and LaurenHockenson on Instagram.
Lauren: L-A-H-O-C-K on Instragram.
Leo: Oh, I’m sorry. @L-A-H-O-C-K, lahock.
Leo: Was that your nickname in high school? Lahock?
Lauren: No, it wasn’t. But I was called Hock Jr. because my dad is called The Hock.
Leo: I like it. The Hock and Hock Jr. Also with us, Alex Wilhelm from Tech—formerly, soon to be formerly of TechCrunch.
Alex: Well, it’s sad when you say it that way, but yea.
Leo: Yea, it is. How long were you there?
Alex: About two and a half years.
Leo: That’s a long time.
Alex: It’s a really good job. I loved it, had a lot of fun.
Leo: It’s a great blog. It’s a great blog. But you’ll be still covering the tech scene and we’ll still have you on.
Alex: More of finance than the breaking news cycle, but yea.
Leo: You know I actually like the finance input so we’ll have you back because I like the numbers. @Alex on Twitter. And brand new, and you fit it beautifully, Liberty Madison.
Liberty: Thank you.
Leo: LibertyMadison.com. She’s #thattechgirl. How long have you had that?
Liberty: The hashtag? For at least I would say 4 years.
Leo: Wow. Well, it’s yours now.
Leo: Should I be thattechguy?
Liberty: You are the tech guy.
Leo: I am the tech guy. I am the tech guy.
Liberty: That tech guy.
Leo: It’s nice to know. In fact, I don’t own that. I’ve already been informed should I leave the Premier Radio Networks that they will retain the title of The Tech Guy. And I will be severed from my Tech Guy. And I will not be able to use it.
Lauren: You need to renegotiate that contract.
Leo: I know. It’s not a good deal. But it’s all right. I’m never leaving, so.
Leo: It’s how they keep you. They keep your brand, they’ve got you. See you have your own brand. You’re smart. Own the brand. It’s just like Metallica. They own the tapes. You’ve got to own your stuff or they can take it back.
Alex: How did you know that Metallica owns their own stuff now? It’s kind of a weird fan factoid. And yea, under Blackened Records, their new label.
Lauren: Fun fact, Alex flipping loves Metallica.
Leo: Do you really?
Alex: I’m a huge metal fan across all different sub-genres.
Leo: Hatfield lives just down the road. You want to go down and visit him?
Alex: Yea, we’ll just knock on his door and he’s shoot me with a shotgun. I’ll be like, “Hey, James,” and pow.
Leo: Actually I know him. He’s a nice guy. He won’t shoot you.
Alex: You know James Hatfield? Stop.
Leo: He’ll say, “Hey, Leo, come on in.” Ok, I don’t want to talk about it. It’s a personal thing.
Lauren: He’s going to cry now. You’re going to make him cry.
Alex: This is the end of my life.
Lauren: He’s actually really about to cry.
Leo: Our show (laughing) – that’s cute. Our show today brought to you by Gazelle. This is a very good time of year to know about Gazelle for 2 reasons. Of course you can bring your old gadgets there and get cash for them. I know you’ve got something special waiting for you under the tree. Maybe you’ve got something for Hanukah and it’s time to not just throw that old gadget in the drawer, but to get the money for it. You wouldn’t throw a hundred dollar bill in a drawer to gather dust. What are you doing with that old Galaxy or iPhone or iPad? Go to Gazelle.com You get a 30 day quote, guaranteed for 30 days. That gives you time to get the new device, transfer the data over. Make sure everything’s working. And then sell it for top dollar to Gazelle. They’re really, they’re really good at this. And they will, by the way, if you forget to or can’t wipe your data. The reason I say can’t is because they buy broken iPhones and iPads. Yea, they’ll buy broken ones. So that way if you can’t wipe the data they can do that. They will also often, and this is a weird thing but they do it, and I know because they’ve done it to me twice, give you more money than they quoted if they get your device and say, “You know, this is in better shape than you said. We’ll give you more money.” They’ve upped my offer several, twice now for a considerable amount of money. They also sell. So this is kind of cool. So they’ll buy used gadgets. Remember them for that. But it’s also a good place to go if you lose your phone or you break your phone or your kids lose their phones. You don’t want to buy a brand new phone. But you can get a phone that’s in the same condition as the one you lost, certified pre-owned, in fact maybe better because Gazelle runs them through a very vigorous inspection to make sure everything is fully functional, no scratches on the screen, that kind of thing. And they’re backed by a 30 day return policy so you’re never at risk. This is a good time to buy because the new iPhone is out, the new iPad is out and so there’ll be a lot of iPhones and iPads on the Gazelle marketplace for you to get a good deal. iPhone 4S through 6 Plus, iPads, the standard, the Air, the mini models and the Android phones, Samsung Galaxy all for sale. Guaranteed by Gazelle. You can save more money. There’s a variety of conditions. They don’t, there’s no carrier contract but they do—you can choose ones that will work with whatever carrier you choose. I love it. It’s a really good idea to buy or to sell. G-A-Z-E-L-L-E. Give new life to used electronics. Trade it in for cash or buy certified pre-owned at Gazelle. Gazelle.com. Today.
Leo: Samsung, speaking of Samsung, going to the Supremes. They paid almost half a billion dollars to Apple. Wrote a very big check. $548 million, it’s actually more than have a billion. $548 million dollar check. But they say they don’t feel they got fairly treated in court because design patents are hard. And juries can’t be expected to understand the ins and outs of design patents. And a judge can’t be expected to instruct them properly. So they are going to the Supreme Court. In a statement they said, “Samsung is escalating this case because it believes that the way the laws were interpreted s not line with modern times. If the current legal precedent stands it could diminish innovation, stifle competition, pave the way for design patent troll litigation, negatively impact the economy and consumers.” So interesting point of view because on the one hand, you know, they lost. And it’s pretty obvious that from day one Samsung attempted to copy the iPhone right out of the box. And yet on the other hand, is it fair to say, “Well we own rounded rectangles?” You know? And you know, $548 million dollars is not an insignificant amount of money to pay. They were going to pay almost a billion. But that got reduced. Is this something the Supreme Court should decide?
Alex: I just, when these large mega-corporations that have tens and hundreds of billions of dollars in cash get in these kind of slap fights over smaller sums, I just don’t care that much.
Alex: I mean—
Leo: I care because we learn stuff in the disclosures.
Leo: Those are great.
Alex: If Apple gets $500 million more dollars they’ll have $210 billion point 5. A billion point 5. Whatever. Is this a suite to change how design works or it is really a financial litigation? I’m not sure.
Leo: You know, I mean I think they’re clothing it in very, you know, universal language. But clearly they just would like to get $500 million dollars.
Alex: And I would too. Don’t get me wrong. But I mean what would Apple do with that money that they couldn’t already do now? So is it a chance to stifle the ability to stifle their products? Maybe but I mean how do you actually—I’m not going to be a hater at all but I’m curious how you patent some of the things they have in the design side.
Liberty: I agree with that.
Leo: Well I think that’s why I like this, right? I think this should be resolved in the Supreme Court.
Liberty: Definitely. Without a doubt.
Leo: And yet, somebody pointed out and it’s true, that for instance the Galaxy S7 we think will have something very similar to force touch on your iPhone 6s, 6Ss. It’s some sort of pressure 3D touch kind of thing. And somebody pointed out, yes, Samsung knows they’re copying. Everybody knows they’re copying. But the way the legal system works, the length of time it takes to resolve, Samsung will make so much more money than they will lose in an adverse decision that it’s worth just copying.
Alex: Oh, for sure. Financially it makes a lot of sense form that angle, yea.
Leo: And that makes Apple mad.
Lauren: Well it makes a lot of sense, right? So you have a situation where you want to create like a proprietary phone but as we know, when it comes to technology patents and the people who hold them that probably if you’ve thought about it before, I mean computers are patented. The electronic communications systems are patented. Photo distribution systems are patented.
Leo: We need patents. But design patents are a little different. Design patents are not the same as invention patents.
Lauren: Yes and no. They work in the same manner, right?
Lauren: So you have a situation where if somebody claims ownership, whether that’s a hardware or a software or a feature or a trademark, whatever it is, they claim ownership of it and they sue them, right? So you have this situation where Apple is trying to put some distance between them and Samsung and say like, “Oh well, in the US the way that we do things here is that you are going to get dinged for every time you try to copy us.” And Samsung may or may not care. But it’s just that ability for Apple to be put on essentially the right side of this argument to sort of say like, “We have a right to—“
Leo: It’s not about the money.
Lauren: No, of course it’s not about the money. It’s not about the money and the other thing is that you know, Samsung is a Korean company and Korea does patents and inventions in a completely different way. And they might not even care in the end.
Leo: It used to be that the patent system, you had to bring a model. Like a—you invented the steam engine, you have to bring to the patent inspector a model of a working steam engine. Say, “See, this is what I invented.” And they keep that on file. But then what happened, and fairly recently, was patents got extended beyond that, software patents and design patents. And that’s a little bit harder to evaluate and prove and I think Samsung’s point is well taken. A jury shouldn’t be expected to understand the subtle nuances of a design patent.
Alex: The Supreme Court’s average age is like 78.8 years. So are they going to do a better job being technologist?
Leo: They’re not making the—I think in the long run they’re not going to be asked to is make that decision on that particular design patent. But on the notion that a design patent is a legitimate thing.
Alex: I think that they’ll vote yes on that. They’re quite conservative as a body.
Leo: Yea, I think they will. Although they’ve been, they’ve been interested, of late they’ve been kind of interesting in the surprising ways they’ve—
Alex: They’ve been better than usual.
Alex: Or better than before at least.
Leo: Tonight’s 60 Minutes, Apple will be on. Tim Cook will be interviewed and apparently he loses his cool on 60 Minutes. He’s being interviewed by Charlie Rose.
Alex: Oh, I love Charlie Rose.
Leo: And Charlie, let’s face it. 60 Minutes is not famous anymore for being confrontational. I mean they, you know, when Jeff Bezos granted them an interview and Charlie Rose walks in and goes, “Wow. This is amazing. A Drone.”
Alex: It’s been PR-ed to hell.
Leo: It was yea. However in this case I think it’s interesting. Charlie goes after Tim Cook over Apple’s international tax strategy. So this of course is Apple has a significant amount of money, off-shore money that they, in interesting ways, but fully legal, channel out of the United States. For instance, and a lot of, Google does this too. In this case it’s the—I can never get these right. It’s the Irish Turnaround and the Dutch which they—
Alex: No, it’s the Double Dutch with an Irish Sandwich I think.
Leo: It’s something like that. So what they’ve done, is they’ve opened a branch in Ireland where the corporate tax rate is low and it’s very favorable. Zero in fact.
Alex: I think it’s zero.
Leo: And you transfer the patents and the intellectual property to this Irish subsidiary. And then the money, and then license it back from them. So then, in order to make your iPhone, you have to pay the Irish subsidiary it’s license fees thereby offshoring profits to a zero tax country. And there is something going on with the Indonesia—
Alex: You move it around to Holland, back and forth. I wrote a post on this once. It took me 3 days to figure out.
Leo: It’s complicated.
Alex: But the gist is, ha ha, no taxes.
Leo: And Apple’s done this so successfully that they’ve parked $181 billion dollars overseas. But to be fair, every company does this because it’s legal.
Liberty: This is just good business practice.
Alex: Or it’s just bad tax policy. But I mean they’re not going to lose money on purpose.
Leo: Charlie Rose asks him about this. Remember that Cook had to testify before a Senate sub-committee a few years back though, this is Philip Elmer-Dewitt writing, 2 hours of grandstanding and name calling by the politicians responsible for the rat’s nest that is the US tax code. Cook said, “This is a tax code, Charlie, that was made for the industrial age, not the digital age. It’s backwards. It’s awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago. It’s past time to get it done.” Subtext, but meanwhile we’re going to take advantage of this for as long as we can.
Alex: I mean who can blame them for trying to make more money? But I mean—
Leo: It’s legal.
Liberty: Right. Exactly. It’s legal.
Alex: Apple actually borrows money in the US to pay dividends and buy back shares because it’s cheaper to borrow money here, like 2% than to repatriate cash at 35% corporate tax.
Leo: 40%. 40%. So in fact he got Cook to say that the reason that $181 billion dollars is parked overseas is because Apple, that’s the largest amount of any US company, so it’s appropriate to focus on Apple. Google and Facebook do it too. Apple doesn’t want to pay, and Cook admitted this, 40% in the taxes it would cost to repatriate it.
Alex: Surprise. Who thought he did? I mean who was like, “Oh, he really wants to bring it back. It’s all tied up in accounts.” No, obviously not. It’s such a huge penalty.
Leo: Rose read, quoting from the Senate sub-committee’s report, this quote which really pissed off Tim Cook. And you’re going to watch for this on 60 Minutes tonight. “Apple is engaged in a sophisticated scheme to pay little or no taxes on $74 billion,” it’s now much more. It’s more than twice that. “Of revenue held overseas.” Cook responds, “That is total political crap. Apple pays for every tax dollar we owe.” Well, yea, nobody’s saying they didn’t. And he pointed out, “We pay more than anybody.” Of course because they’re worth more than anybody. They have more to pay.
Alex: Did Tim Cook just shout for like the first time ever? That’s—
Leo: Tim is so laid-back.
Alex: I know.
Leo: But I want to watch this tonight, so.
Alex: Let’s go home right now then.
Liberty: It’s airing on the East Coast right now.
Leo: Shoot. That just got everybody to tune out.
Alex: Bye everyone. It’s been real.
Leo: Yea, hope you enjoyed this episode of TWiT. Go watch 60 minutes (laughing).
Alex: A ringing endorsement. Charlie Rose, next on TWiT.
Leo: That’s why, by the way, that I saved that story for the very last story of the show (laughing).
Alex: Smart. Smart man.
Leo: Hey, you guys are great. Will you come back and do this some more?
Leo: I am enamored of you. Even that guy.
Lauren: No, nobody likes him.
Leo: No, I know. It’s hard to believe.
Alex: It’s true. No, no one does. It’s sad.
Leo: Alex Wilhelm. TechCrunch. What’s the new company?
Alex: Mattermark. I will be at Mattermark.com/blog I think as of the 4th of January.
Leo: So you’ll be blogging in effect.
Alex: Yea, I’m still writing. I’m still writing quite a lot. Just—
Leo: In a way this is going to be your own place.
Alex: That’s the whole idea I think. But I haven’t started yet. So I’m hoping that I’m not going to—
Leo: So you aren’t going to have a big team? It will be—
Alex: It’s me for now. But I think I get to, well I don’t—let me start the job first.
Leo: I look forward to this. I think you deserve.
Alex: I don’t want to give excuses.
Leo: You know what? This is, as good as TechCrunch is, originally it was a bully pulpit for Mike Harrington. And it was a personal blog and it was his voice. And I liked it for that reason. I think it’s really what TechCrunch’s reputation was made. I think you deserve, because you’re as—
Alex: Be careful now. Be careful.
Leo: You’re as exciting as Mike Harrington is. You deserve a place where it can be the Alex Wilhelm show. I think this is great. I hope it is.
Alex: It will be the Mattermark.com show.
Leo: Yes, yes.
Alex: But I will do my best to not mess it up entirely.
Leo: Don’t you think he deserves his own bully pulpit?
Lauren: I think he already has one. It’s called twitter.com.
Leo: Oh, is that where he pulpitizes? Sermonizes?
Alex: It’s where I ramble is what she’s saying.
Lauren: It’s where he talks about nerd numbers and bourbon and—
Leo: I can’t do the Twitter.
Alex: Oh by the way for the audience out there. There’s no bourbon in the TWiT office right now.
Leo: What? Oh, there’s tons of bourbon. You should have told me that.
Alex: Oh. I had to drink tequila all show which is a war crime.
Leo: Will you get him some bourbon? What kind of bourbon you want?
Alex: I don’t care.
Leo: You know The Angel’s Envy is quite good.
Alex: I love Angel’s Envy.
Leo: Ok. We have that. We have Blanton’s. We have Blanton’s. We have Bulleit. We have all kinds of bourbon.
Alex: Now I will come back. Is it in the kitchen?
Leo: It’s in my office.
Alex: Oh, ok.
Leo: Of course it’s not in the kitchen.
Lauren: He was rooting around your cupboards. He was rooting around your cupboards like a little bourbon gnome trying to find where you keep the good stuff.
Alex: You brought the shade today, L Hock.
Leo: You were drinking Rye last time here.
Alex: No, tequila.
Leo: Oh. I thought you had a Rye—
Alex: Oh, maybe I did.
Leo: You did.
Alex: It’s all gone whatever it was.
Liberty: I am so out of this conversation.
Leo: We have some Black Bush. We have all sorts of stuff.
Lauren: Spoiler. He’s been drinking the whole time.
Alex: Ah yes.
Leo: Actually that’s Scotch, isn’t it?
Alex: Simmer down, simmer down.
Leo: Spoiler alert. You two are like brother and sister. Like a little rivalry going.
Alex: Yea but I’m the younger brother and she just punches me a lot.
Lauren: You’re not the—you’re older than me. How’s that possible?
Leo: She’s punching you with her little wiener fingers. It’s ok. It doesn’t hurt.
Leo: Here we go, there’s some Bulliet, there’s some Blanton’s. There is some more Bulliet.
Alex: It’s a Christmas miracle.
Leo: There’s some—
Lauren: Congratulations, Alex on going to the dark side.
Leo: Woodward, that Woodward is very good. Woodward reserve, have some of that. A little Orphan Barrel. You know—
Alex: Orphan Barrel’s fantastic, too.
Leo: He’s now, he’s now a happy boy. He’s got a bottle with a horsey on it.
Alex: It’s true.
Leo: Lauren (laughing). Lauren—
Lauren: You all right?
Alex: Oh man, I need to get a new job.
Leo: Woodford Double O. That’s what he went with by the way.
Lauren: Oh, wow, wait two weeks.
Alex: That was the joke, Lauren. Thank you for making it for me.
Leo: Can I get you anything?
Liberty: I’ve got water. I’m fantastic.
Leo: Oh that’s good then. That’s the smart thing to drink. Lauren Hockenson is of course with The Next Web. It’s great to have you.
Lauren: Yes, it’s fun to be here.
Leo: And come back and do The New Screen Savers and be around and just be part of our family because unlike that guy we really you.
Lauren: Oh, thank you.
Leo: No, I love you both.
Alex: You can’t offend me, man. It’s all good.
Leo: I love you both. And you, Liberty Madison, rock and roll. That Tech Girl. Please, you have an open invitation. Come back as often as you want. Considering this is your first time and you didn’t really know what to expect, you did fantastic. You did fantastic considering nothing, but it’s nice. I mean that’s hard to do. I know, it’s a lot of posing.
Liberty: Well thank you so much for inviting me, Leo. It was fun.
Leo: Good to have you. LibertyMadison.com. Not to be confused with that other Madison. And you keep your, you keep all your sign up records completely confidential I’m sure.
Leo: We do TWiT (laughing)—I’m just teasing. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time, 2300 UTC. I hope you’ll watch live, be in the chatroom. I forgot to mention tomorrow on Triangulation, 11:00 AM Pacific, we’re going to interview the guy who wrote this book The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Simon Monk will help you take charge of your environment, escape eminent danger, communicate with other survivors. It’s the book that needed to be written. Surviving the zombie apocalypse by making great stuff. And don’t forget we had a great New Screen Savers yesterday. Their Star Wars episode, zero spoilers just like on this show. Zero spoilers. We did talk to Devindra Hardawar / Film Cast. And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you probably know already about the de-specialized edition, the attempt to get back to the original 1977. We talked to the guy who’s doing it, Harmy, Petr Harmacek joined us, explained some of the techniques he used. We’ll also talk to NORAD about the Santa Trakcker. So it was awesome. We’re going to do a New Screen Savers marathon on Christmas Eve, starting Christmas Eve. Because I think you’re going to go all the way to Christmas Day. How many hours do we have? 50 hours. So 11:00 AM Pacific, 2:00 PM Eastern time, 1900 UTC on December 24th and going through Christmas day. John Slanina our great studio manager figured out that if you took all of the New Screen Savers episodes and stacked them end to end, it would get to Christmas, end of Christmas day. So that’s going to be fun. More than that. You get to Boxing Day. Yea, that’s awesome. Next Sunday our Holiday Show. Again, we pre-recorded it but you can see it with Owen J.J. Stone, Paul Enstorm, Dick DeBartolo and musical guest The Dynaholics. The Rat Pack revived. You would like these guys.
Alex: I don’t know if that’s true.
Lauren: Yea, he likes metal. I thought we—
Alex: I like Jazz as well.
Leo: Next year, next year we’ll get a Metallica tribute band in for you.
Alex: I would be very much in favor of that, actually.
Leo: That would be fun, wouldn’t it?
Alex: I’ll wear my Slayer t-shirt and shave my head. It will be good.
Leo: Slayer, baby.
Leo: If you have not yet subscribed to TWiT, you would do me a great service if you did. We’d appreciate it. You can do that anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you do. Just subscribe on iTunes or The Apple TV Apps. There are 4 of them now. The Roku app. TiVo. Whatever it is you use to watch or listen to podcasts. Just get it every week because this is a great show. And it’s always interesting. Thank you everybody for being here. Thank you, our amazing studio audience. If you want to be in the studio audience, you can meet Mike O’Donnell. And maybe he’ll eve take a picture of you. Tickets@twit.tv, email. Thanks for being here; we’ll see you soon! Another TWiT – and Merry Christmas!—is in the can. Bye-bye everybody.