This Week in Tech 543

Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! The first show of 2016 is a look back at 2015. Jason Howell and our team of crack editors and you have put together your favorite moments from 2015. Without further ado, here we go, a look back at 2015. Enjoy.

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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 543. Recorded Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Best of 2015

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It's time for TWiT, and a kind of special year-end TWiT. Hi, I'm Leo Laporte. First of all, I want to thank you all for being here for this episode and I presume many other episodes this year. TWiT is the number one station on the network TWiT, the number one show, I should say on the network TWiT. It's because it was our first show, it has a special place in my heart. I love doing it every Sunday afternoon. We're always grateful that people watch in such great numbers and we try to do the best job of the week on the TWiT show. What we've got today for you is a best of. We've done this in years past. Jason Howell worked very hard with your input with finding the best clips from 2015. We'll be back next week with a brand new full show for you, but would you join me in going through a few memories? A little trip down memory lane! Starting off, and you'll see a lot of him in this show, with Owen JJ Stone and Jason Snell and me and you may notice a little difference in my appearance in this clip. Something changed dramatically for me earlier in the year. Watch.


EPISODE 491, January 4, 2015. "Programmed to Kill Ponies"

Leo: Me too. Also here, Owen JJ Stone, Ohdoctah from

Owen JJ Stone: This is for you, Leo.

Leo: He's got shaving cream. Actually you're on because we love you. Because you're great, but you're also on to give me some advice, so we did—you may know. We did a 24-hour broadcast. Great success on New Year's Eve. We call it the 24 hours of 2015. Second row in a year we've done it, in which we say, "Happy New Year" in every time zone. All time zones in those 24 hours. In fact, we had callers from many of the time zones. It was great fun. But what we did differently this year was we were raising money for UNICEF, I think a really great cause. United Nations Children's Fund helps kids all over the world who need inexpensive things, like mosquito nets, more elaborate things, like education. It helps kids be safe from violence and exploitation and really a great cause, Charity navigator ranks it among its highest charities. We wanted to use it because it was global, so everybody who was watching all over the world could get behind it, and because it is such a well-run charity. What we planned, we thought we'd raise $20,000. That was our goal in the 24 hours, because I thought, "well, it's the first time we've done it. We have really no idea, but let's say $20,000." Jeff Jarvis, who is the wonderful host of This Week in Google very kindly said, "let me get things started. I will shave for the first time in 42 years. I will shave my beard if you raise $20,000." Amazingly we raised $20,000 before noon. So Jeff kindly let me shave him, his beard, which I did a terrible job! He had to go back and fix it up. I'm saying this as an excuse, because then I got swept away. First, then Sarah Lane pitched in. She said, "If we get to $30,000 I'll sing the song I hate more than any other song with a passion. Bare Naked Ladies "One Week." And she did. We did and she did, and that was great. So I said, "I have to ante up. I have to pony up. I have to participate." So I said if we make $40,000, I'll shave my head, and if we make $50,000, this I thought was never going to happen, I will get a tattoo. Those of you watching the video, I padded part of my anatomy. That's where the tattoo went. So we got $40,000, and ladies and gentlemen, there's nothing left up top, and we also got $50,000. In fact, we ended up, you can put us over $70,000 now. If you go to, we're at $61,000, but there's more than $10,000 from our auctions, so we're well over $70,000. I'd love to get even higher. We're going to keep that site open, if you'd like to help out. So, initially we had mine clipped. A number of people said, "you know that's not shaving."

Jason Snell: You're full Lex Luther now.

Leo: I am full Lex Luther. I am the one who knocks now. Owen you're here to help me to give me advice.

Owen: I prefer to call it black bear and polar bear.

Leo: If you were only here. I wish you were.

Owen: The best part is we could rub our heads together and create static electricity, friction.

Leo: How long have you been bald up there?

Owen: I've been shaving my head since I was 23. I don't know how old I am now, but it's probably like 10 years or so.

Leo: I am googling, last night I'm googling the first time you shave your head, what should you do?

Owen: People come up and want to rub your head!

Leo: It was worse when it was kind of short. Then it was like a little teddy bear. Everybody wanted to rub it. Now it's a little scratchy. It's like number one grit.

Jason: yeah it is. It's a little sandpapery.

Owen: In two weeks it'll be soft and fuzzy again. It'll be all teddy bear again.

Leo: That's what I'm counting on, because unlike the tattoo, and I did get a TWIT tattoo on my behind, unlike the TWIT tattoo, this will come back, I hope.

Owen: What if it doesn't?

Leo: Then I'll be you. I'll just get used to it. I was freezing last night; I realized that you need a cap. Do you wear a nightcap?

Owen: Yeah, I have to wear a hat. I don't wear a nightcap.

Leo: I don't wear a nightcap dude. I think, frankly now, this is for the first time ever, this pork pie hat looks good. This was the Breaking Bad look. So now I've decided I'm not going to shave either. As long as I'm scratchy, I'll grow it all out. We'll have a race.

Jason: See what grows faster.

Leo: See what grows faster, my beard or my head.

Owen: Let it be all even, and then you can turn into a wildebeest man.

Leo: Anyway, props to those of you who do this every day. I did actually; I go down to the Boulevard Barbers. They are very good; they knew exactly what to do. The barber there, Sara, used a straight razor on me. Have you ever used a straight razor?

Owen: I've had it done. I've never use one myself, I'd be terrified.

Leo: I wouldn't do it myself.

Owen: I have a very eloquent old gentlemen that opens his barbershop at like 3:00 in the morning and I go to him and he does. And I'm scared when I'm sitting there, but it feels amazing. It's the best kind of shave.

Leo: It was great. She used essential oils. Orange and stuff and just scraped it.

Owen: She made you feel special.

Leo: But that's it. I'm done. I'm growing it out now. I don't think there's any rule that I had to keep it for any length of time.

Jason: That's totally fair.

Leo: I'm humiliated now, sufficiently.

Owen: Grow it out all year, don't get a haircut, and donate it at the end of the year. Start over again.

Leo: At the end of the show, I'm going to give thanks because we don't, I'm the one in front of the camera, and of course we have lots of guests, but it's really people behind the scenes who work the hardest like John, who worked 48 hours, not 24 hours, getting this thing ready, getting the ball drop going and everything. I have a list of a lot of people to thank, we'll roll those credits at the end of the show. You're not going to CES, Owen JJ Stone?

Owen: No. I haven't gone to CES in like 4 years. I really find it pointless. They push so much stuff at you, half of it's crap.

Leo: Half of it never ships!

Owen: Yeah, that's what I mean. So you go there, and you're like, "I need that in my life!" And it's like, "Oh. We're never going to make that. We just brought it here and put it on the table for you to not touch and want.

Leo: I bet you, Jason Snell, because you were at IDG, you had to go every year.

Jason: Yeah, in fact I had arguments with my boss multiple years about whether I needed to go or not. Last year I negotiated I only had to go for a day.

Leo: This show, for the first show of the year, is the "Aren't I glad I'm not going to CES show?"

Jason: I was saying earlier on Twitter today, I am totally qualified to talk about CES today on TWIT, because I'm available. I'm not in Vegas. That qualifies me.

Leo: Almost everybody who goes says it's great. Almost everybody who isn't going says thank god I don't have to go. Those of us who have been more than ten times, if you've been more than ten times, then you have the right to say, I'm done.

Owen: You know what's great about things? Other people are there with you. It's not great because it's there. It's because a mass amount of people in your industry are there, and you can pick and needle and choose and talk about a subject. That's the awesome part of it. Otherwise, it's pointless.

Jason: That's totally true. I would even throw in there it's not valueless. There are lots of interesting things to see, the problem is that there is so much there and the interesting things are this tiny fraction, and you've got to get through a million people to get there, and it is not a pleasure to go to CES for me. I never liked it. I don't really like going to Vegas. Vegas when it's completely at capacity with tech people is kind of insane.

Leo: It's so hard to get around.

Jason: It's not as if there's not interesting stuff there. In fact, some of the best stuff at CES is the weird stuff. It's not the press releases about things that are new TVS that are kind of boring, it's the totally crazy stuff that you end up stumbling into and you're like, "Why does this exist? Why is this here?" Often, there isn't a good answer to that.

Leo: I want to break it down a little bit, because there are some categories. There are categories you won't see at CES this year, some categories that have been big in the past.

Jason: Oh yeah. The Smartphone industry—the phone industry in general has gone to mobile world congress in Barcelona and so as a phone show, CES is kind of terrible. It's not for phones anymore, like it used to be.

Leo: It used to be a lot of cars went to CES. Less so this year, although—

Jason: They used to have one of those huge convention center buildings for just cars and car stereos.

Leo: Although I have to say the one category that might be interesting, I would love to see more of, we've seen it in past years, but I think this is going to be the big one is autonomous vehicles. Look what Outie posted on their Instagram. This is an A7 that's designed to be driverless. They say you're pilot to CES today and I'm wondering if they might even use that to pilot some journalists around CES.

Jason: That wouldn't surprise me.

Leo: Wouldn't that be cool? Google is supposedly also going to have some stuff there. I remember a couple of years ago Chevrolet had autonomous urban vehicles. They were very small capsules that just had two seats. But the Google cars don't. I have a feeling they're—it's sort of a small car too.

Jason: Well and Nevada is essentially lawless, right?

Leo: Nevada, actually autonomous vehicles—

Jason: It's one of the states where it is legal. They do a lot of testing there.

Leo: That's going to be kind of interesting. There will be TVs there. So we are going to send three reporters. Father Robert will be there, Dick D. Bartolo, who always goes and does the junky stuff, the bottom floor Chinese pavilion—he always looks for the weird and interesting stuff. He'll be doing that. He's also doing showstoppers tonight. I'll explain that in a bit. And Scott Wilkinson, our home theatre guy, is going to be there and talk to the TV things. In the past, it's always been Sony, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, and—

Jason: Samsung. The Korean and Japanese companies.

Owen: LG is what I'm excited about.

Leo: We'll talk about that in a second, because there is some new stuff like LG and 4K that those companies are bringing out, but I'm also hoping that he'll go over, and I know he will, we're going to send him to TCL and High Sense, the Chinese companies, just as the Korean companies took over from the Japanese companies, when Samsung and Lucky Gold star said, "You know what? We want the premier business. The profit business." And took over and really have put great pain to the Japanese TV manufacturers, they're all losing money on TVs in Japan. In that same way, I think China is hoping to supplant Korea. Highsense and TCL are both Chinese companies, and both are doing some really interesting stuff, so we're going to get to—we will have coverage. We just won't have the big booth. You know mobile nations, Renee Ritchie's company, is doing a big booth with GeekBeat TV and Tom's Hardware. They're actually taking our location.

Jason: Yeah. I was talking to Serenity Caldwell. She's going to be out there.

Leo: So they'll do that. It costs us hundreds of thousands of dollars and I didn't feel like—you can actually get a better look at CES by staying at home and letting people feed you the stuff. The Internet makes CES frankly, not that useful, if what you're doing is finding out the new stuff. If what you're doing is hanging out with Owen and Jason—

Owen: Live the dream.

Leo: It's different. If it's a party—you know expense accounts aren't what they used to be. I remember going with Gina Smith on the Ziff Davis expense account. That was living. It didn't matter what you bought. As long as it was for a client, it was OK. So autonomous vehicles—we're expecting some interesting TVs like Quantum Dot.

Jason: The story of TVs at CES in the last five or ten years, it really has been: what do we do now that the HD conversion has happened? Because that was the big thing was HD conversion. And now with sort of the quest with what else can we do to sell TVs, because everybody just bought a TV, so what else can we do? 3D—

Leo: 3D, they tried 3D. Flop.

Jason: It's kind of a flop. They've done the curved screen thing, there's some OLED stuff that is kind of early but is interesting, that is to replace the Plasma.

Leo: I got the very expensive curved Samsung OLED a year ago, and it's still my best TV. It's only 55, it's not giant, it was very expensive.

Jason: Gina just did an OLED TV review and said it was the best picture they'd seen that wasn't a Plasma.

Leo: It is, and I have the old Vieras, which were the great Panasonic plasmas, and they've discontinued those. So what's out there right now is OLED and LCD, and OLED is prohibitively expensive still.

Jason: It's coming down.

Leo: LCD is the technology that they're really pushing. They're pushing 4K, and then this Quantum guy. I'm going to read you, this is what Wikipedia says Quantum dot. It's a nano crystal made of semi-conductive materials. It's small enough to exhibit quantum mechanical properties; its excitons are confined in all three spatial dimensions. I wish my excitons were confined.

Jason: Did Jordie Laforge write this article? Is that what's happening here?

Owen: This is the Marvel Universe of television. You just start coming in and telling me about quantum phazons and protons—the only TV I care about, I don't know why I do, because I hate Sony TVs, but I want a Sony TV because I can put my Playstation on my Sony without having a Playstation in the room.

Leo: Sony made the first Quantum Dot TV's, the XPR in 2013.

Owen: That's why I don't buy Sony anymore. Sony is always first with this oh, this space ads magical martial artist ninja turtle thing, and guess what? The quality of the image you put in the TV is the same quality of image you put in the TV. So unless I got Quantum physics DVDs or BlueRays, what's the difference going to be for this television? What is it going to do for me with my crappy Verizion cable that's pushing out 720 P on 80% of the channels? I can't take it.

Jason: That's the problem with the 4K stuff. It's the same thing. Yay, it's a 4k TV, what can I put on it? Nothing.

Leo: So the upshot of Quantum dots, according to Scott Wilkinson is blacker blacks, better contrast ratios, more even lighting. But the proof will be in the pudding when we see the TVs this year. He'll have the reviews of that. We also expect more OLEDs and lower priced OLEDs, but that's it. I think those are the two technologies that are survivors.

Jason: I think the Quantum Dot technology works is every show that is possibly on your screen is on your screen in a parallel universe, and one of them is the one you see.

Leo: That's good. I'll take that. It does sound, you're right Owen, a little bit of a marketing turn.

Jason: They're trying so hard to get—everybody bought an HDTV in the last ten years, and those don't turn over. TVs don't turn over very fast, and all the TV companies are like, "What do we do now to sell new TVs?" And they still haven't really figured it out.

Owen: The best thing they could do to sell new TVs is say, "Hey. We sold you a crappy new TV last year. Trade it in with us and we'll give you this new TV for 3/4 of the price. I have 3 55-inch TVs in my house; my daughter's got a 47-inch in her room. What do you have to do to get me to take it out of her room? You've got to take this TV from me. Because I'm not going to sell it to my friends for $200 after I spent $1215 on it. What do you do with all these TVs? Keep them, because they're still good. Buyback program. That's how you get me to buy a new TV.

Jason: It's like selling mattresses. We'll take your old mattress away, we promise.

Leo: We should explain—in a way, this is your preparation for what you're about to hear all week is people who are like, "quantum dot." It's still an LCD; it's just a different kind of backlight. Maybe it'll be better, maybe not. It's an LED backlight. Light emitting semiconductor nano crystals.

Owen: Somebody watched Guardians of the Galaxy this summer like everybody else did and they wrote a pamphlet on the TV. That's what happened.

Leo: We'll wait with interest to see what those look like. Autonomous vehicles. Wearables will probably be big. They were big last year but they were all horrible. Maybe now we're in the second or third generation of wearables. I think Android Wear has come a long way, but just like previous CES, Apple's not there, except in spirit. In 2010 at CES all they could talk about was the iPad, in 2007 at CES all they could talk about was the iPhone. This year, it's going to be iWatch, what is Apple going to do? And here is everything that we can think of on the shelf, and we just hope—I feel like Android wear is pretty close. There will not be a new pebble this year at CES, I'm told. I'm wondering if they're sliding behind a little bit.

Owen: LG has a really nice watch that they're putting out, I forgot what it's called, but that LG watch looks really nice.

Leo: Not the G Watch R, the round one?

Owen: Yeah, that one. That looks nice.

Leo: That's a pretty watch.

Owen: It doesn't have that stupid thing—

Leo: We call that the flat tire, yeah.

Owen: That's horrible.

Leo: I don't mind it. I have a flat tire. Here I have a watch face, of course, I’m like any TOG. There's a black bar at the bottom.

Owen: But does the black bar do anything for you? Do you swipe up with it? Does it move? I want full value for my money. I don't want a watch with 10% of it missing. I want the whole service of my watch.

Leo: You know what you have to do with the design watch face is you have to take the 6 off.

Owen: See? That's horrible. Sell that watch on Ebay right now and get an LG—

Leo: This watch in terms of pure utility doesn't bother me. I can live with it.

Owen: You can call me and I'll tell you what time it is.

Leo: You know what this does? Hey Owen, what time is it?

Owen: It's not 6:00.

Leo: You know what this watch does that the Apple watch won't do? Maybe you know better, Jason, because you cover Apple pretty closely, will it have this different watch faces?

Jason: Yes.

Leo: It will, but they'll all come from Apple?

Jason: Either they promised a face builder kit or there is one.

Leo: The only reason they might not want to do that is Google is getting in trouble for allowing Tog Hoyer. This is obviously fake. I can also get a Rolex.

Jason: And Pebble had the same problem. Apple has a whole bunch of faces that they have licensed. I think there's a 3rd party program for that too. But it's Apple, they're going to have to approve it and they'll probably say, "Make sure you have the rights to this intellectual property."

Leo: They won't get in this kind of— Nobody is going to say, "Oh Leo. You've got a Tog Hoyer." They know it's a fake watch face.

Jason: I guess I would say if I'm Tog Hoyer I might want to make a really good face for these things.

Leo: Yeah. Rolex.

Jason: I had a Domo face on my Pebble for ages that was totally not licensed and they finally did one that was licensed and it's great. Or they finally licensed that one.

Leo: What else will CES bring us? By the way, it's not the consumer electronics show this show. They reminded journalists that CES doesn't stand for anything.

Jason: It's like DVD.

Leo: Just remember. Oh, and you're supposed to say International.

Jason: International CES.

Leo: What else will international CES bring us?

Owen: If it doesn't stand for anything it will fall for anything.

Leo: How about home automation? Apple again, this is an area we're pretty sure Apple is going to do a TV which will be a hub, the Dish folks have already announced that just as they introduced Hopper, which kind of revolutionized DVRs a couple of years ago, they plan to do something called Sage, which is a home automation hub, along with your DVR and top box. So they own sling box, they have Dish, and they're going to use this Sage platform. I presume Hopper as well, to do home automation. I'm sending Father Robert to the Home Automation pavilion this year, because I have a feeling that— in years past it's been disappointing because you've got all these different standards. Samsung is going to introduce appliances that talk to its smart things hub, so you can tell your dishwasher, "Hey, wash those dishes. I'm on my way home." I don't know why you'd want to do that.

Owen: Because people are lazy. They want to have things timed out. I want to get home and have my dishes warmed, Leo. I had my home automated, and I do it exactly the way you just said not to. All my stuff is separate. I got a Nest, I've got an Irish thing from Home Depot, and I’ve got Philips Hue Lights. You know why? I don't want these robots taking over me. I don't want to go get Samsung smart home and then Samsung says, "get the heck out of your house, we own it now."

Leo: It's actually good, if you're scared about SkyNet, it's good if the robots don't talk.

Owen: I don't want them to talk. I want to control the lights; I want to control the heats. I don't want the heat to talk to the lights and do something without me knowing.

Jason: But what if the heat and the lights hate each other, and the lights turn on and try to warm things up and get the heat to shut off. You could have a robot war in your house.

Owen: Then I could sit back and enjoy the show. But I could do one thing—you know that one commercial they got with the robot that's the thing and they're trying to turn you into home automation but the robots creepy? That's the problem. If you get one system to take everything, that robots just like, "what do you mean you're going to replace me?" And that's not the situation I want to be in.

Leo: You're right. We should cripple the situation and not let them talk together, because they might plot.

Owen: You got cars driving themselves, your robots are making you drinks, they're making that microwave thing from StarTrek that magically 3D prints food now, like, I don't know, Leo.

Leo: I want my Hue lights to talk to my Nest, Thermostat to talk to my Sony speakers, to talk to my set top box to talk to my alarm sensors, my lights out front. I think they should all talk together. That's right. That was Doctor Morbius reminds us of the very good Sci-Fi story. I think it was Ray Bradbury, "There will come soft Rains." Do you remember that? When the house takes over, it's a computer-controlled house? That was great. And that was 2026. It's only 11 years from now.

Jason: So in the next five or ten years, the stuff will become more interrelated and that will be useful, and then in about 11 years it will kill us. But for the next ten it will be pretty sweet. It's pretty sweet right now that my nest knows if I'm in the house or not and the lights can turn themselves on and off.

Leo: Enjoy it for now. We know it's over soon anyway. Actually, the house does everything. The house is cooking and working and stuff, but soon you realize that there's no people. And then he goes to the outside of the house and you see the silhouettes of the family burned in the paint because they were killed in a nuclear war, but the house lives on. It's a wonderful— if you haven't read that story—

Jason: Spoilers for Ray Bradbury.

Leo: I did just spoil it, but it's a great story. So here's something very exciting. Sony Walkman. Big banner out front of the CES Hall. Sony is bringing back the Walkman for CES.

Owen: Is it like Zound's older cousin?

Leo: Well we had a review on it on Before you Buy this year that does HD tracks, that does high res music. I don't know what this does. You can see on the left a gold headphone jack. It—I don't, and there's the Walkman logo. Isn't that great?

Owen: Unless it's super small and it fits on my wrist or my shoulder for the gym, what's the point? I have a phone. My phone plays music. Every phone plays music.

Leo: Right. That's what happened to the iPod.

Owen: Exactly, so what is the point of this, and why did you do it? I'd rather you bring out a tape deck and do something nostalgic for me as opposed to that.

Leo: What's funny is that Sony does make phones, right? Here's the video. This is called, Welcome to the New world. She's riding in an elevator but the elevator is going up and she's licking a lollipop. Wait a minute, is that Android 5? But no, here's music and sound. And there's a lizard. 5. Brilliance, the Eiffel Tower, Shadows, Hands, Rainbows, double rainbow, Iris, eyeball, eyeball looking, what's the eyeball seeing? It looks like a Walkman. Now she's smiling. Now her hair is standing up on her arm. Oh my god! She's crying! That's a giant belly and a small child. That used to be his home. Now he lives in a curtain. Welcome to the new world. Sony.

Owen: I think we just got programmed to kill ponies or something. That was a college student—that video did nothing for me except to make me hate Sony and the fact that they ended with Sony on it. You put a small child on a baby's belly? That was the only nice thing in that video. Who pays for this stuff?

Jason: I was going to say that video proves JJ's theory about how the world is about to come to an end, actually. That's a little—

Owen: I feel like something bad could happen. Like I just got programmed to do something.

Leo: It was subliminal messages.

Owen: Yeah. Owen JJ Stone arrested for kicking ponies.

Leo: Shave your head!

Jason: Well you guys are more susceptible to the brain wave mind control.

Leo: You're the only guy with hair on this show.

Jason: That's right.

Leo: I'm scaring the children now.


EPISODE 492, January 11, 2015. "The Quadfather"

Leo: That's what I looked like with hair. If you go to, click the microphone, you'll see what I looked like with hair. Gosh it was a nice head of hair I gave up. Do I look like a different person? A little bit?

Patrick Norton: You look like a different person a lot.

John C. Dvorak: You look like Ballmer.

Leo: See? Ballmer. Developers.

Patrick: I was going to say Sling Blade. Ballmer's probably a nicer comparison.

Leo: This is the other thing I've learned after I shaved my head, again for charity. I'll never do it again. Disclaimer. You can tell how old somebody is precisely by who they say you look like. If they say you look like Curly from the three stooges, they're 80. If they say you look like Telly Sevales, 30s 40s. If they say—

John: I say Ballmer. This doesn't work.

Leo: Ballmer is a special case. That's what the geek might say. If you say Uncle Fester, 50s. If you say, Heisenberg from Breaking Bad, it's a young person. If they say Pitbull, I understand that’s a rap performer.

John: You look like Pitbull.

Leo: You know who Pitbull is?

Patrick: You know what? You actually do.

Leo: If they say Pitbull—

Fr. Robert Ballecer: Jason, a picture of Pitbull please.

Leo: So really the issue was that I shouldn’t have used the mustard. There you go.

Patrick: Can you say the bigger they are, the harder they fall?

Leo: The bigger they are the harder they fall.

John: You need a soul-patch.

Leo: I need a goatee.

Fr. Robert: That’s actually uncanny.

Patrick: Yea, you do need the soul-patch.

John: You need the soul-patch and the douche bag.

Leo: Never smile.

Patrick: Oh, and a tie.

Leo: Because he’s such a well-dressed guy.

Patrick: He is a well-dressed guy.


EPISODE 493, January 18, 2015. "Adorable Kitten App"

Leo: I didn't know you were a Packers fan. I wouldn't have booked you. You know what? You've got Aaron Rogers, he's got a great two-minute drill. I think it's not over until the linebacker sings.

Ben: I looked at the times, actually. I must have miscalculated the time zone, because I was sure it would be well over by now, but that's fine.

Leo: You're not watching. What are you watching? Is somebody texting you the score?

Ben: No. You can follow the game counts.

Leo: Oh yeah. At they have a thing. I'll give you a play by play. Now a big guy in a black outfit—he looks like he's wearing tights. He's running and he's kicking the ball, it looks like he kicked it all the way down to the other end, so that's good. And then the guy is running with it—Oh my god! They're hurting him! And then, the people are running.

Ben: That's fine.

Leo: Aaron Rogers has 12 game winning drives and 37 opportunities. He's 32% for this particular situation. I'll tell you, there are not many quarterbacks you'd rather have in the NFL there. I'll tell you what. Ben, you keep watching the game. There we go. We have the footage now. Direct from the game. Number 1 is running around. Number 2 is in a fistfight, it looks like. He's fallen down now. Now number 1 is running around in a circle. He's going back the other way, and number 2 has again fallen down. That's terrible. Number 1 is just running back and forth. It's terrible. I think that's Russell Wilson, isn't it? Just the humanity.

Ben: This is cruel, here. It's the Techmobile. You basically see if you can run the entire quarter.

Leo: That's interesting. Is this Atari? Sega? What is that?

Ben: This is Nintendo.

Leo: So the idea is you just keep running until they tackle you.

Ben: Bo Jackson was basically unstoppable in this game. The goal was to do a running play on the first play and see if you could run out the entire quarter.

Leo: I guess this is a speed run, because Bo Jackson touchdown! Bo knows football. And baseball.


Leo: Where do I see those great… it’s Monk Ben on Instagram. Those pictures of amazing stuff you get to eat.

Iain: Oh I’m jealous.

Leo: I know. Look at this.

Iain: Oh, good sculptures as well.

Leo: Of course.

Serenity: This is just torture.

Leo: Malt whiskey, 21-year old.

Ben: That’s a Japanese one and it’s quite good.

Leo: Yea, Monk Ben is Ben’s handle on Twitter and on Instagram. Is that a chicken foot you’re actually biting into there?

Ben: It is a chicken foot.

Leo: Tasty?

Ben: It is good. I’m not… some people are massive fans. I’m not going to go out of my way for it but it’s good.

Leo: Crispy?

Ben: No, it’s very soft. That’s actually why I don’t like it as much. I find it too soft.

Iain: I was going to say surely eating chicken’s feet, that’s a sign that somebody has stolen the rest of the chicken.

Leo: It’s all that’s left!

Ben: We got some barbeque last night and one of the best things is chicken butt. On a skewer with four or five of them right on there. Think about it, it’s very muscular. It’s good. It’s really good.

Iain: I’m trying really hard not to think about it.

Ben: There’s a tiny bit of gristle in there which is discerning.

Iain: Oh suddenly I’m not hungry.

Serenity: Way to kill snack time, Ben.


EPISODE 494, January 25, 2015. "The Musk Who Fell to Earth"

Leo: You can also, if you like to be here, we’ve got a great group from Canberra. What’s the name of the school? Canberra Grammar School, that’s in Australia, right? They came all the way from Australia. About 20 nice young men and they’ve been here and they’ve been very quiet and peaceable. Except once I said Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie! Boy you guys are terrible! You have just shamed all of Canberra. Let’s try that one more time! Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie!

Oy! Oy! Oy!

Leo: That’s more like it. What the hell does that mean? Anything? No one knows. Showing your support for Australia which is a good thing I think, right?


EPISODE 496, February 8, 2015. "The Self Loathing Car"

Leo: Owen JJ Stone. How old is your daughter? Does she use the Internet?

Owen: She is 7, going on 38. She's all over the Internet.

Leo: What do you do to protect her?

Owen: I have her on all Apple devices and I can look on my phone to see what web pages she's going to.

Leo: So you keep an eye on her.

Owen: Every time she takes a picture on her cell phone it backs up to me. If she's on her iPad it backs up to me.

Leo: That won't work much longer. You know that?

Owen: She's 7. Let me tell you about the world that I live in.

Larry: Wait till she's 17.

Leo: 17? Wait till 12.

Owen: When I was a kid, my dad used to sneak into my room and look through my notebook. I'm going to be spying on her so bad she's going to wish the NSA could slow me down. My daughter is in Ju Jitsu, basketball. When she goes out on a date, they're going to go Mr. Stone, I'll bring her back at 9:30. You come home when you want to. She's an international spy and ninja. She will break your neck. I'm going to be up in her grill. I'm not worried about her safety. It's these other kids on the 3 DS and the computers. It's all about parents paying attention, and I'll be paying attention.

Leo: I agree with you, and you'll be wearing those shades.


Leo: We'll have more of the best of 2015 on This Week in Tech. I hope you're enjoying the show. I hope you had a great Holiday season, your Channukah, your Christmas, your Kwanzaa, your winter solstice. I hope you have a great new year as well. We're going to kick off the New Year next week with brand new shows. But we have some more highlights from the year past in just a bit, but first I want to thank SquareSpace for being a great sponsor, not just for 2015, but for many years on the Network. I'm glad too. This is the year that I'm finally listening to my own ads after doing it for years. We've used SquareSpace for many things including our Inside TWiT blog forever, but I had never moved my personal website to SquareSpace because I thought I have to know how Wordpress works and other blogging platforms. Finally I just got tired. I got tired of the constant security updates. Turned out I was spending more time on my blog updating it than I was putting content in. This is my new Squarespace site at, and I took advantage of a SquareSpace feature I love, which is the cover page. I have a slideshow on the cover page and I've been adding to it over time. That is Christopher MIchael picture. Here are me and Jeff and Gina at Google IO a couple of years ago. Wedding pictures are there too. I love that cover page feature. I also have my blog there, my photo blog. SquareSpace is a great way to share your life, to share your business, to put up an online store, and in every case it just looks gorgeous because SquareSpace is designed so you can build it beautiful. You can reflect with your personal aesthetic, you are going to start with these professionally designed templates. I almost hate to use the word templates because really what these are are starting points for you. They have design features, they all have e-commerce built in, and every one of them uses State of the art technology, so your site looks great no matter what size screen it's on. These are things that would be very hard to do yourself. SquareSpace makes it easy. If you want to get geeky, there are hundreds of options, customizable settings, fonts, colors, page configurations, even a developer platform where you can do your own HTML CSS javascript and the like. SquareSpace is the best of both worlds. It's a great site if someone like me wants to put up content, a great site for web developers who want to do more and control more. You always get such a great looking site which is totally unique, and that is important too. That's why I don't like using the word Template. This is not a cookie cutter. Every site looks different. In no case can you say that's obviously a SquareSpace site. It's obviously your site. That's what you want. Power your business with eCommerce from SquareSpace. SquareSpace is the only website that lets you create, manage, and brand your store in a beautiful way. It doesn't look like a cookie cutter store, it looks like your site. Basic plan available, advanced plan too, with additional features like shipping. Plus incredible 24/7 customer support. If you're a musician, a restraunt, a business, they've got a template for you. SquareSpace. Look. It's easy. Go to and get started. It costs you nothing. The free trial doesn't even require a credit card so you can really see what is there. You can even import some of your own content to make sure that site is going to look like you want. If you're going to buy, all I ask is that you use the promo code TWiT. You'll get 10% off, and SquareSpace will love us a little bit more and we'd like that too., ten% off when you use the offer code TWiT, but try it free right now. SquareSpace: It's the best place to build it beautiful. I love SquareSpace. Let's continue on. This is one that got me in a little bit of trouble. Steve Kovach, Jason Snell, Ben Thompson, Ben and I got in a little fight because I happen to like Android better than iPhone. In fact I even said something I might regret later, that it's objectively better. Watch.


EPISODE 505, April 12, 2015. "My Thumb Got Sweaty"

Leo: Apple probably also gets a pass from journalists who are unwilling to be too strongly critical of it, because you don't want to look like an idiot when the thing sells so well.

Ben: That's not getting a pass though. That's being totally rational. The reality is... I think I was on before the iPhone, Leo. You were super skeptical of the sales.

Leo: I'm the idiot who keeps saying that.

Ben: Fortunately, most of the time you don't have people like me coming out and reminding you of it.

Leo: I don't mind. I honestly don't think the iPhone is a better device than the galaxy 6S Edge, it knocks the iPhone all over the place in so many ways. But that has nothing to do with why people buy the iPhone, apparently. The same thing with a watch.

Ben: Or maybe what you value in a phone is different than what a lot of consumers value.

Leo: I think anybody with an objective mind would say Android is a far superior choice.

Steve: I'm not getting into this right now.

Leo: that's objective. If you look at the two and you came from Mars and you didn't know any of the history and you looked at it, you'd say, "I don't understand why people are buying iPhones." Why would you buy an iPhone? That thing is constipated as hell. You've got a grid if icons. It's horrible!

Ben: The problem with this perspective, Leo, is the implication of that is that there are a lot of people who are dumb in the world.

Leo: I'm not saying dumb.

Ben: You are though. You're saying obviously this is better. Why are these tens of millions of idiots buying a product that costs more?

Leo: I'm not saying that because it's an insulting thing to say. They're not stupid. For whatever reason, they're buying into—look. People bought a windows for years even though it was a horrible opperating system. But that's what they bought. You buy a PC, you're going to buy a Windows. You buy a phone, you're going to buy an iPhone. It's not that they're dumb, it's they don't have time to figure out which is better. They go with a default.

Ben: No offense to Jason, but you were dumb to buy a Mac in the 90's.

Leo: I agree. OS 9...

Jason: Those were dark times.

Ben: The reality is until the Internet came along and most of our applications moved to the Internet, there was lots of stuff you couldn't do on a Mac. User experience aside, and that was changed with the Internet, which made it remove that gate. There's two different things when it comes to features. Some stuff is a reason to buy, and then there's stuff that's a reason not to buy. The reason not to buy is devastating. Windows Phone for example. Not having a competitive set of apps, and even if you do have apps, they're all inferior. That's a reason to not buy. It doesn't matter how good the user experience is, or how delightful it is to use. You're not going to consider it because there's a gate there. That was the same thing when it came to the Mac. To say that people were buying Windows because they were sheep... I think that's insulting to people. The reality is, most people aren't tech people. They're not sitting around weighing the stuff. They have stuff they want to get done. Normal people who aren't technical at all consistently find it's easier to go about their day and it's less frustrating, and they can do what they want to do more consistently on an iPhone.

Leo: I agree with you. That isn't true after 2005, 2004. But there's a lot of momentum and people continue to buy Windows. That's my point. In the 90's there was no question. I'm not talking about the 90's.

Ben: Fair enough. But you're the one who brought up the analogy.

Leo: Let's say ten years ago, 2005. Windows sold out of momentum more than anything else. Windows XP sold out on momentum compared to a Mac.

Ben: 15% of the market is the enterprise market. There remains very good reason to buy Windows.

Leo: I agree. Enterprise, absolutely. I'm not talking about enterprise.

Ben: In the consumer market in the US, Apple is not far from 50%. They are crushing...

Leo: The momentum doesn't last forever.

Ben: We live in a world with friction. The problem with an LG is the momentum is in favor of the iPhone.

Leo: Yes. Does that mean it's better? Does that... It's a silly argument. You like what you like. But I think that just because something sells it doesn't make it better.

Jason: I think that's true, but objectively you could see that for different people, different operating systems and platforms could be of value to them. I don't think an alien that came down from outer space would look at the Android eco system and say that is clearly better. I think that it would depend on what that alien's personal preferences were and how they wanted to use their phone. The difference between a platform and a product... I think you could argue that the Galaxy S6 is one of the few, as Ben mentioned, Samsung is changing their approach and pulling lots of features out of the Galaxy in order to create a product that is way closer to what Apple has been doing with hardware. People really like it. A lot of these products aren't there. A lot of Android experiences aren't that good. So it's not just the operating system platform. It's the hardware. Apple has excelled in that for quite a while now. Only now are we seeing Android phones that can match it.


EPISODE 506, April 19, 2015. "This Decade in TWiT"

Leo: But the first Screensavers wasn't—first what we called it the Revenge of the Screensavers, but the first one was just sitting around after a MacWorld at Group hub chatting. You saw that picture, Jason? Somebody tweeted the picture to David Prager of the group. You may notice there's one person missing from that group. That's Kevin Rose who was going to be here, had to get on a plane and couldn't make it. He has sent a video greeting which we'll play a little bit later. Look how fresh-faced Kevin looks. He looks so young there. Roger Chang, Patrick Norton's hair sticking out. That's where you left it. You might want to check. The still lovely Sarah Norton to your left. David Prager and me. I had a recorder, I was very spontaneous. I didn't plan this. I just said, "Hey, let's talk." We talked for 20 minutes, 30,000 people downloaded that episode. I thought, Boy it would be great—

Patrick: It was 30,000 people the first day, and then it got up to 130,000 in three weeks. You were like, "Um. I think we have a thing here... We have a situation!"

Leo: But you were all in different places. Kevin was in LA, so it wasn't practical to do a show. It was on the radio show a couple months later. Somebody called in via Skype, and wow. That sounds good. What if we could do a show and everybody would be on Skype? It was April of 2005. I said let's just try this. We'll call this.... we didn't have a name. The Revenge of the Screensavers. I have a list of things... you weren't here, John. But you came soon after.

John: I was snubbed.

Leo: You Patrick decided you were leaving Sprint for Verizon. Who is your carrier now?

Patrick: AT&T. I was on Verizon for a whopping three months because I moved into a hole in the outer sunset of San Francisco where Verizon didn't work. I had to walk two blocks to use my phone.

Leo: Verizon seems to be getting worse around here. I don't know if it's worse than San Francisco. Kevin says he hated his Trio 650. That was his phone.

Kevin: That was kind of the first Smartphone, I think. It was the first one that had a keyboard, and it had a device where you could multi-task.

Leo: He said he wants better screen resolution and a better camera. There it is. That looks like a blackberry! That's on Sprint. Everyone was excited for Verizon V-Cast.

John: I don't remember that.

Leo: What was that? I think they were going to do streaming TV on it.

Patrick: It was their horrible—the antennae or the screen would flip out of the phone and you'd be able to watch television over Verizon's network.

Leo: Robert Heron said, "I'm using Nextel, but I don't like the chirp sound when you push to talk."

Robert: It worked really well. You know what? I ended up donating that phone to a good cause.

Leo: You remember it?

Robert: It was the first color display I had on a phone.

John: What was the tax write off you took?

Robert: Nowadays I tend to save every Smartphone I have for a few generations at least.


Patrick: Don't we have a video of you with a ball popping beneath you?

Leo: I think we do. Do you want to see it? I have the clip here. Clip number 7, please.

Jason: That's the audio only one. This is the original one. It wasn't on video.

Leo: Will Harrison is talking. My exercise ball popped. People know this by now, but I like to sit on a ball during the shows, because it keeps you moving around. We used to do this whole show standing up, but I don't want to do two hours. These shows are too long to stand up, and I'm too old, so I sit on a ball. Colleen who was our chief engineer, she was our chief engineer at the time. She said, Leo, you're buying expensive balls from Gopher Sport. You can get it cheaper. There's a Chinese company that makes the same ball. So we got Chinese balls.

David: Are those the same people who made my fake tag watch?

John: A lot of people said that, Leo.

Leo: Show the video. Even after the first one bursts, you'd think I have learned. But we got a second one. This one had sprung a slow leek. I thought this will be funny. I'll ride it down. It doesn't quite work like that. By the way, notice the great book. PowerShell in Action.


CLIP LEO: I punched a hole in my ball. This is terrible.

Leo: I thought this was so funny, I'll slide down.

CLIP LEO: I'm sinking. {ball pops.}

Leo: The funny thing is if you don't hurt yourself—

Roger: Is that one of the Chinese ones? So your Chinese ball—

John: Give it to him, Roger. Don't put up with that.

Leo: The chatroom is very useful. Let them write the jokes.

John: This show is going to go lewd. That's what I'll do.


Leo: Some great moments from 2015 on TWiT. It doesn't make sense to do re-runs in podcasts because you can go back and watch any show. But I like the idea of picking out some great highlights, of moments that were exceptional. This, at least for me and for a lot of people watching was a surprising moment. This was the return of Jason Calacannis. As you know he and I had a falling out, a feud for a couple of years we didn't have him on the show. I felt bad about that, because I've always loved Jason, I've always thought he was a great guy, so I contacted him and I said come back on the show. We had a wonderful episode. 508 is fantastic, but it was after the show ended that things really got good. This is a great moment with Jason Calacannis and Georgia Dow and Harry McCracken, Owen JJ Stone is here again too, and me. Talking about life.


EPISODE 508, May 3, 2015. "Calacanis Returns"

Leo: I'm really glad that you could play tribute to Goldie. That's fantastic, because I didn't know him, but...

Harry: I didn't either, but I have been moved just reading about him.

Leo: No kidding.

Jason: Yeah, it's very interesting, like we live in a world in this industry of narcasstic champions of the world, and it's all about the singular person, whether it is Elon, or you know, Satya, or Bill Gates, or whoever it is. Some people would just go about it in a quiet way, and he was that guy who just went about it in a quiet way and was a mensch. We can all take a lesson, like everyone take a note.

Leo: They were overseas when it happened?

Jason: Yeah, he was in Mexico, yeah. It was terrible.

Owen: The best part of hearing you talk about a friend like that is that it makes you think about yourself. It's like man, should I be doing better? I could be doing better. I was telling you about how that Elon Musk changed my world earlier this week. You talking about somebody that you care about makes me think about the things that I do well, and the things that I should do better, and I should go hug my kid this week like extra because it's like that's the biggest thing.

Jason: Yeah, yesterday was like hug my kid.

Owen: That's the biggest thing. People say why don't you live in New York or San Francisco Owen? I'm like, I can't leave my kid, like that's what matters to me. I hope that one day somebody thinks that I did a good job. The way that you talked about him, that's great. It makes somebody who doesn't even know the guy feel for you and feel for the guy's family.

Leo: It's rough.

Jason: Life is very perplexing, you know. We have got to have the padre on, but it's very perplexing when the best person you know goes first. That's the thing that I have been personally struggling with the last 48 hours.

Leo: It's like why.

Jason: You know, I was talking to another friend that we play cards with, David Sax, and we were just lamenting about how god, if you took this list of like the great guys we would all put him number 1.

Leo: Wow.

Jason: And I told David, you and I would be like 7, 8, and 9 on the list. We should go first. Why does the guy who is the best go first? It doesn't make any sense. Then you think, gosh, the poor kids are going to have to grow up hearing the stories of how great their dad is. It's something horrible and tragic, but also something great that his legacy is great. As you said, even the Facebook page was very powerful. I have spent at least an hour a day reading stuff on the Facebook page, 2 hours a day maybe.

Leo: That's a phenomenal thing that that exists. That's a really great thing to have. His kids can read this 20 years from now, or 10 years from now.

Jason: I think that it's going to be a mitzvah for them to see like, gosh, my dad was this special.

Leo: He was something.

Jason: He was something. Tremendous, tremendous guy. It's just hard to comprehend. I think that you think about the unfairness of death, and I don't know if any of us will be able to comprehend. After 911 I had this very existential crisis being a New Yorker and being there, like why did these people die, and how is it fair that these people died, and what does it mean? You don't get over it, but it changes the way that you live. You can change the way that you treat the people around you. A lot of you people know me because I am a public person. I haven't always been the best person, I haven't always been nice to people in my writing, I have kind of been a little bit of a brawler in my life, and it's like I have been reassessing that over the last couple of years and trying to be a better person, and better to other people.

Georgia: What will be your legacy? That is the one lesson that you can take from that, is like our time is really precious here, and relatively fleeting. You don't know what cards are going to be dealt, you can only say what can I do with the cards I get? It's a really hard thing to deal with. Our culture does not deal exceptionally well with death. We don't have really great means of helping people through it. It's nice, the Facebook and memorializing is helpful for everyone.

Leo: Anne Lemotte wrote a book All New People, she said that every hundred years it's all new people. What that really reminded me of was that of course some of us go sooner than others, we are all gone sooner than later really. But what we have that is remarkable is that we are all alive in this space. This was our cohort of the people that we got to share the planet with. It includes people like him, like Goldie, like Steve Jobs, the people that we know around us. Some of us are going to go sooner than others, but really we are all in this cohort. This is our group, and in 100 years we are all going to be gone.

Jason: Yep, we are all going to be gone.

Leo: We are all going to be gone.

Georgia: So what do you leave on this earth?

Leo: So celebrate this cohort.

Harry: We overlap with some great people. We overlapped with older folks and we overlap with people who aren't born yet.

Leo: We have lived with some amazing people in our group, in our cohort.

Jason: And we have lived in an amazing time.

Leo: This is an amazing, amazing, time.

Jason: It's like, I think it was the Lord of the Rings, where Gandolf says all you have to decide is what to do with the time that you are given. I'm butchering the quote, but it always stuck with me. It's like we have this time, we have to decide what to do with it. It's kind of freeing in a way that you have a limited amount of time and you chose to do with it what you will. Just know that it is limited. I had this really deep conversation with my wife, and I was like, you know, all of the success and I have lucked into so many great things in my life, what am I going to do with this last 10-20 years, or months, or weeks, or days. It's like holy shit, I need to start really thinking about this.

Leo: It's not long no matter what. Even if it is 40-50 years, it is long, but it goes by really quickly.

Georgia: The coolest thing that I ever learned was when I did therapy on a very expensive old folks home, so I was dealing with the movers and the shakers of the world, people who were multi billionaires that ran huge companies. The one thing that I took from it was that they were on the last part of their life, and they didn't talk about their companies, or how much stuff they had, or how successful they were. All they said was I wish I could spend it with those that I love for a little longer.

Jason: That's interesting when people are like, oh god, you spend all of this time playing cards, you know? I'm like, yeah, I play cards once a week.

Leo: Yeah, it's a social thing.

Georgia: It's not the cards.

Jason: I see my friends every week. I check in with my friends every week.

Leo: It's a social thing.

Jason: We spend 8-9 hours playing a game and laughing our asses off.

Leo: That's great. It's not about the money or the cards. That's not it at all. It's about the cigars.

Owen: Last note, then I'm getting out of here.

Leo: Are you waving a carrot at me?

Jason: What is he waving?

Owen: I wish it was a carrot. It should be a carrot. I need more carrots. I need more carrots than not.

Leo: Meh, what's up doc?

Owen: Listen, listen, listen. Uncle Jason is talking about not being such a great guy and that kind of stuff sometimes and trying to be better. I met Jason a long time ago, and I met him at a couple of events and never really talked to him other than in passing, like hello, or whatever. I'm down here, he's up here. One day I go to get on a flight, and they are like, oh, do you want to upgrade to first class? It's $25. I said sure. I sat down, Jason sits down next to me, and he's like OhDocta. I'm like, oh, gee, Jason remembered my name. That's what's up. I talked to him for 20 minutes, he tweets out my website, he shuts my website down, he said, oh, I see you do interviews with people. Come by the studio sometime. Sure enough, he answered my email, I came by the studio, I had my little crappy equipment, he's like don't worry about it, I will videotape everything. I will format it, I will send it over to you. The guy was nice enough to let me get stuck in his Tesla. I'm seen him once or twice after that, but in my mind I defend Jason all the time because when people say, oh Jason is this and that I'm like you don't know him. You see someone on the internet, and you think that you know somebody, and maybe you had a problem with this person or this person didn't like him, but you don't know him. Again, for somebody like me, I'm not "important", I'm not special. You took the time out to talk to me, and I'm a regular dude, so you don't know somebody until you get to know them. Just being online and reading a tweet does not make you an aficionado on anybody. I've always loved you Uncle Jason, and I love Uncle Leo. You are a hard headed person. Uncle Leo is hard headed. But I'm just saying when family comes together.

Jason: The Docta is breaking it down.

Leo: This is the deepest panel we have ever had. You guys are full of heart. That's great.


EPISODE 509, May 10, 2015. "Lucas, Cover Your Ears"

Leo: Why don't you host the show?

John: Chris Parillo, ladies and gentlemen. He happens to be in the audience. Can you put the camera on him? Haven't seen you for a while.

Jolie: Chris is lovely.

Leo: We got a new host for this show. You guys just keep talking. I don't mind. Come on over.

John: Looks like we got a live one.

Leo: Sit right there. There's the microphone. Chris Parillo, ladies and gentlemen. Enjoy the show.

John: Somebody in the chatroom says, "Is it really Chris?" Come on, chatroom. Of course it is.

Leo: What's your name?

Boy: Lucas.

Leo: Lucas, how old are you?

Boy: Eight.

Leo: You are adorable, and I like that you're wearing a TWiT pin. Are you a fan of TWiT?

Boy: My Dad is.

Leo: He didn't know that he was coming to this particular show, did he?

Leo: When you see blasting caps, what are you going to do?

Jolie: Lucas, ignore that propaganda. You play with those blasting caps. Blowing stuff up is fun.

Leo: Thank you, Lucas.

John: Might as well watch the blasting caps.

Jolie: Do we have any blasting caps in the studio?

Leo: You learned your lesson well. He said, "Don't touch them." He knew.


EPISODE 512, May 31, 2015. "The Wombat Test"

Mathew: The thing that's great about Google photos--I'm like you. I've got 50,000-60,000 photos; I don't have time to tag all those photos. You can't find the one you want, you remember oh yeah, it was a photo of so-in-so or maybe it was in Paris, or maybe... at least this gives you the ability to go through them without taking hours to find a single photo or tag a photo.

Leo: I just typed Australia. Normally I would go in the Lightroom, I would go through all the photos, and I would create a collection. I didn't have to do any of that. Here's all the photos I took in Australia. By the way, what is that animal? What do you call that?

Iain: Koala? Wombat?

Leo: I think it's a wombat. Here's a test. Wombat. We know there's a wombat picture in here somewhere. Oh my god!

Jason Howell: It passed the wombat test!

Leo: It passed the wombat... I did not expect that.

Mathew: There's the name of the show there.

Iain: The Wombat Test.

Leo: There's more than one wombat picture. It didn't get them all. It's only a moderate wombat test pass, because there's another one, but that's a wombat from behind. You can't expect it to know. That could be a ball of fur. It got the big one.

Mathew: You didn't say "wombat behind." You just said "wombat."

Leo: I'm not going to say "wombat behind," but let's try "Tasmanian devil." You think it'll recognize that?

Mathew: Oh yeah.

Leo: If it did "wombat." Tasmanian devil from behind... uh oh. Did I spell "Tasmanian" wrong? I think I did. Got to spell it right. It did pass the wombat test, but it failed the Tasmanian devil test.

Iain: Hang on. You went all the way to Australia, and you didn't get a picture of a drop bear. What is going on?

Leo: What is a drop bear?

Iain: Drop bear is a terrible beast. They drop out of the trees and attack you. You can only deal with them by smearing marmite on top of your head.

Leo: You are such a liar.

Iain: They always tell Australian tourists, beware the drop bear.

Leo: You know the Tasmanian devil is scary enough, I got to tell you. I don't know why Google didn't know that that was a Tasmanian Devil. Maybe it thought it was a cat. I should look through the cat pictures and see if it's an angry cat.

Mathew: That's a mean looking animal.

Iain: Pretty much everything in Australia is deadly for you. Even the beer.

Mathew: There's spiders that will paralyze you instantly.

Leo: That's great.

Iain: My favorite is the tiny shellfish that's got a stinger in it. Some people have tried to kill themselves from the pain.

Leo: Something to look forward to.

Mathew: Extra feature.



Leo: We're going to have more in just a moment. I'm having a grea time going down memory lane with some of the best moments from 2015. As I mentioned, a brand new show next week. Don't worry. We only do this once a year, but I think it's fun to do this. Boy. Big kudos and thanks to our editors and especially Jason Howell who was for the whole year my technical director and managing editor for the show. Jason put together a bunch of great shows, but he also put together this best of, and I think he picked some wonderful clips. Thanks also to your input at our best of page. Jason is leaving the show. He's got his own show now. We've created a new TNT, our Tech News Today show. It's now hosted by Jason Howell and by Meghan Mironi at 4 PM Pacific, 7 PM Eastern time, Monday through Friday. So your tech news is now in the Afternoon, but I think that's a better time because we'll get the whole day's tech events and we can get that show out in plenty of time for you to download for your drive in the morning. I'm excited about the new TNT and I know you're going to love what Jason and Meghan do with the show. Jason will continue with All About Android and Android App arena. We wish him the best and I thank him for a couple of great years on TNT. Jason Cleanthis will be replacing him who we met first in the chat room and he came up to work with us a couple months ago. He's going to be taking over TWiT starting next week. Before we get to another clip, the next clip is a fun trip down memory lane for me. I'll be talking about the one and only time I got an Emmy award, but first let's talk about WealthFront. What a great idea WealthFront is. Wealthfront reinvents how you invest and it does it in the modern age. This is 20th century investing built for the way we need to invest. You've got to be saving for retirement. The government is not going to take care of you. Have you seen what you get in Social Security now? It's not enough to live on I don't think. Or maybe you want to buy a house or put your kids through college. We all need to save money for the future, but you don't want to just put it in a savings account or a certificate deposit. That's not a sensible way to do it. You need to invest to maximize your returns. But are you going to be paying attention to your investments? Re balancing, re-jiggering it? That's a lot of work. Most of the time, at least in my case, I would just blow it off for years at a time. Well, all right. You've got a better idea? Go to Traditional Investment Advisor. Problem with that is he's going to take huge chunks of your returns, between 1 and 3% of what you got under management, not to mention the hidden fees for transactions and changes. That means you have to earn that much more! Bad idea. How about Wealthfront? Wealthfront is a way for you to grow your investment as fast as possible with a management fee that is extraordinarily low. One quarter of one percent a year and never any comissions or hidden fees. That's it. That's less than five bucks a month for a 30.000 dollar account. It's not just any old management. This is doing stuff no human advisor could do. This is monitoring your investment 24/7, re-investing, re-balancing. Harvesting. Indexing and optimizing your after tax returns. Stuff that is very sophisticated. It's based on some of the best investment advisors in the world. Wealthfront has taken their genius and built it into the software to optimize your investment for the best risk adjusted return net of taxes and fees. We've heard from so many TWiT fans who have used WealthFront. I get emails all the time, people saying I love how we get diversified portfolios, we can buy into them and participate in the hot companies like Facebook and Apple and Amazon, and all commission free. 1 quarter of one percent a year. No wonder they've grown over 20 times in the last two years. They've got 2.6 billion in client assets. I think this is brilliant and I want you to try it out. There's a couple ways you can do that. As always, I highly recommend you go to and read up on what they're doing. I think you'll be very excited. I was. You can also get a free portfolio from them personalized just for you when you go to You'll answer a couple questions about risk aversion, time frame, that kind of thing. Then they'll give you a portfolio for free, saying this is what we would invest based on what you told us. There's one more thing you've got to know about. Just for TWiT listeners. If you sign up, and by the way, you can start for as little as 500 dollars, I tell my son this. But I can't retire on that. But Henry, if you put away 100 bucks a month every year because you're starting young, it will grow, you won't believe how much it will grow by. That's the key. Your first 1500 dollars entirely free of charge for life. That is a good deal. Not one quarter of one percent. Zero for life. So many TWiT fans have seen huge success with WealthFront. Really is a great idea. One of the things I mentioned, I won an Emmy a long time ago as one of the first virtual characters to appear on national television. Real-time animation. It was on a show I did for MSNBC in the mid 90's. I was a character called Dev Nel. It was a use of technology that is fascinating using expensive Silicon Graphics computers, but it can now be done 20 years later with off the shelf PC technology. Greg Panos is an expert in this technology and he stopped by to tell me what the latest is to talk about Dev Nel and something called "Baby X." Watch.


EPISODE 513, June 7, 2015. "Bathed in Structured Light"

Leo: An old friend is here. Not really a tech journalist, but a guy who certainly knows a lot about what's going on in technology, Greg Panos. Nice to see you. I've told the story many times about running into you at CES a few years ago and you said, you know we could do Dev Nol, the virtual reality character I used to inhabit on a site in the mid-90s, we could do that on a PC today.

Greg Panos: Oh yeah. We could do it on a Smartphone.

Leo: Isn't that hysterical? We bought a half million dollar silicon graphic Onyx.

Greg: Right. Reality engine.

Leo: Protozoa made the character. Somebody, I think I met Brad in a men's room... I know where it was. It was at the webies. I still have DEV on a hard drive somewhere. That character could come back ladies and gentlemen on a Smartphone.

Greg: We called it performance animation. It was really hard to get people in the Industry to adopt it because a lot of vendors were trying to sell motion capture hardware so they would always refer to it as motion capture which is not a live performance. You perform live and it's recorded and tweaked, but performance animation, you set it up and you just perform and the character is performed and animated live.

Leo: It was real-time.

Greg: Yeah. It's a lot harder to do.

Leo: That's why MSNBC wanted it, is because Soladet O'Brien could sit at the coffee bar, which was real. She was real as far as I know. She would sit at the coffee bar and stare at a dot. She could hear me. She had an earpiece in, so I could talk to her, but instead of seeing a dot, the viewers at home would see a virtual character animate. There he is. The most annoying. I take credit for it being annoying. The technology was a little primitive, but it worked. The thing is, it worked in real time. You didn't go back and spend days, weeks, months, years animating Dev Nol.

Greg: There were a couple of companies that really ruled the roost in that whole area.

Leo: But it’s so ugly. But you think nowadays you could make it look more realistic?

Greg: Oh, absolutely. Yea, yea. There’s—I don’t know if you’ve seen Baby X but that’s a research project that Mark Sagar’s been doing in New Zealand with the University of Auckland and—

Leo: It’s creepy as hell. Talk about uncanny value.

Greg: He digitized his daughter and then they built a complete brain model of a child and it reacts and responds with a web cam. It can listen to you. It can recognize characters or photographs of animals. And it’s really cute. I mean little baby animation is all done I real time, it’s all run by virtual AI brain model. So it learns.

Leo: He’s smart though because one of the problems with AIs is they aren’t adult humans. But if you were a baby, you might be able to impersonate a baby (laughing), a small child.

Greg: Yea it’s very effective. There’s a couple of YouTubes out there showing Baby X with him interacting with the virtual baby and it’s just mind blowing.

Leo: That is just—it is a little bit uncanny.

Greg: So there up to 3.0 now.

Leo: Yea.

Greg: The baby was scanned using like a connect when she was asleep. So she looks pretty good. And then the performance is all driven in real time.

Leo: Is that her voice?

Greg: It has a voice model in there as well.

Leo: So she’s saying, “Dada.”

Greg: Yea, and if he stares at the camera and starts smiling and saying hi and paying attention, then she’ll start smiling.

Leo: That’s so creepy.

Steve Kovach: That’s really creepy.

Leo: I am so creeped out right now.

Greg: It’s just the beginning. I mean—

Leo: Well, I know.

Greg: I call, they use the word avatar to describe a virtual character.

Leo: Right.

Greg: But it’s a very generalized term and I created a term using a persona form which is one that’s supposed to be very, very photo realistic of an individual. And this would be a construct that you digitize yourself throughout your lifetime and you add it to one unified database and then you leave it behind.

Leo: When you die, you exist.

Greg: Right, and there will be a platform that would be able to run one of these constructs and it will be a virtual story telling machine of you and your life.

Leo: We should talk. Because what I would like to do is after I die, TWiT could continue because frankly if you digitized a few hours of TWiT, you’ve got it. You got the whole thing of me going, “What? No. Really?” And then you just bring in hosts. Other hosts. Co-hosts.

Greg: So yea, as some of the other aminations, the other animations—

Leo: She can play Pong?

Greg: Yea, it shows the brain model working and all the various factors.

Leo: The smile is so, it is so Chuckie.

Steve: This is like, I guess you can practice being a parent before you’re actually a parent.

Leo: But what, the goal really would be to have artificial intelligences that appear to us like humans.

Greg: Right. Well that would—

Leo: Why not make it not human? Why not make it like a nice little round, you know, ball or something. Because the human is what is creepy.

Greg: Yea, until you get past a certain perception.

Leo: You get really good at it.

Greg: We have a lot of circuitry in our evolution and recognizing faces and notice when things are wrong and they call that the uncanny valley. So there’s like, I was a consultant for the Casa Blanca Elite Modeling Agency a long time ago when they started digitizing Gisele Bündchen and trying to be a realism consultant.

Leo: Wait a minute. I thought Gisele was fake for years.

Steve: Right. She’s actually been an avatar all this time, yea.

Leo: She’s actually an avatar. No, but they obviously if you were a modeling agency you would love to can these models.

Greg: Right. Michael Creighton wrote a movie about it called Looker back in the 70s where they digitized the models. But of course they would kill them afterwards. So they didn’t have to pay them. It was a thriller.

Leo: It’s a thriller. You wouldn’t have to be killed. You just retire.

Greg: Yea, well they retired them, bang bang (laughing). New movie.

Leo: So this is autonomous which is interesting about this. This is not capture like they did with Rise of the Planet of the Apes or Gollum.

Greg: Yea.

Leo: It’s not Andy’s Circus with a camera in front of his face, these are completely—

Greg: Right, they actually structure the bone models and set up all the readings in advance and then they have facial automation coding system which drives the model.

Leo: Wow.

Greg: And then the AI drives the facial coding system. So its behavior is in line much more perceptual sense of what’s going on in the real world. And then the animation is driven by the typical rules that normally apply to our own bone structure in our face.

Leo: Right. Very interesting. And also very creepy.

(This Week in Tech #515)

Leo: Tom Merritt has the week ahead (laughing).

Tom Merritt: Ok, on June 23, Blackberry earnings, also that day, O'Reilly Solid kicks off, the Redhead Summit kicks off that same day in Boston. June 26 an IPO for and then looking ahead to July 8, this is for you high-tech Ag pilot, the Ag Tech Summit in Salinas, California.

Leo: Holy cow., that's where you'll see it all.

Baratunde: That was awesome.

Leo: It's amazing. It's like falling off a bike, isn't it? You get all scraped up.

TOm: You got to put that Bactine stuff on it.

Leo: Terrible

(This Week in Tech #521)

Leo: My son used to play this song that starts out "Teen drinking—“ you would know this, OhDoctah. “Teen drinking is a very, very bad thing. Yo, but I got a fake ID though." Did you ever hear that? I don't know what the song is. But anyway. I don't know why I'd say you would know it. It was rap. You're a big rap fan, right?

Owen: I've heard it before yes.

Leo: Yes, you might have heard that.

Owen: I can't remember who it is. It's going to bother me now for the next half hour.

Leo: You know what, chatroom will tell us within seconds.

Owen: Crowd sourcing.

Leo: Drinking is a very bad thing. Yo, I got a fake ID though. I got a real education from my son, driving him to school in high school. I learned all about rap. He would teach me. Old School, new school, Lil’ Wayne. All that stuff.

Owen: You need to go download-- if you have Apple Music, you can get it free. Go listen to Little Dicky.

Leo: Little Dicky?

Owen: Little Dicky. He's a comedic rapper. He just kickstarted his album and got fully funded. Dropped his album on Friday. On a Friday, weird day. But he's awesome. He's a comedian rapper. It's really weird funny stuff.

Leo: It's Tipsy and Jaqon. Is that right?

Nathan Olivarez-Giles: Yes, that is right. Jaqon is a largely irrelevant Saint Louis rapper. Yea.

Leo: Why is he irrelevant?

Mark Milian: He on this with—

Owen: That would be the best way to explain it.

Mark: With rap genius, we worked with him to analyze hip-hop musics this week.

Leo: No kidding.

Mark: They helped us figure out who were some of the most popular apps in hip-hop songs. Twitter has about 850 mentions recently in popular hip-hop songs.

Leo: Well that just shows you. It’s big.

Mark: Instagram is big, Uber is big.

Owen: Instagram is big, and Instagram you have to search the gram. Most every time I hear it in a rap song, it’s "the gram."

Leo: The gram.

Owen: The gram. That’s what rappers use it as.

Leo: Oh, instead of Instagram, they say the gram.

Owen: The gram.

Nathan: I mean, isn't that what you call it? That's what I call it pretty much every day.

Leo: Tindr, Snapchat.

Owen: It was Instagram. You don’t call Twitter Twits.

Leo: I think Bacardi did so well because it rhymed with Party. Instagram would be smart if they would rhyme with something.

Owen: Well, it's the gram. Gram rhymes with a lot of stuff.

Mark: Ham. Scam.

Leo: Here's Beyonce. Every girl in here, get to look me up and down. All on Instagram, cake by the pound. That's good, I like that. Here's Jay Z. When I was talking Instagram last thing you wanted was your picture snapped. Kanye he instagrammed his watch like #madrichalert. Did he say the words Hashtag?

Mark: I think he does.

Owen: Yes he does. Hashtag mad rich alert.

Leo: It kind of scans. It scans. ASAP Rocky, couple of Instagram likes, now she famous. Jay Cole, Cole on Twitter. Beep. Can't get a follower. Wow.

Owen: You should have your own show reading rap lyrics.

Leo: I should. Because I read it so, I’m like.

Nathan: It sounds like I’m sitting next to Jay-Z.

Leo: Hit me on my snip chat. Hit me on my Nextel chirp says Childless Bambino.

Owen: Why would someone chirp. What is chirping? Are they birds?

Leo: Wale says...

Nathan: Wale, Wale.

Leo: I’m sorry (laughing). It’s spelled Wale.

Nathan: It’s Wale.

Leo: I’m an old guy, don’t—I.

Owen: Wale has an album out with Jerry Seinfeld. He’s old school too.

Leo: He’s old school too. I use an Uber to scoop me to SLS. What do you expect? A little groupie to see my crib? It sounds cryptic to me. It’s cryptic.

Owen: Well you're reading it instead of—

Leo: And now, from Wale. Enough. Enough. The hippy hoppy hippity-hop hip hip hop to the just can’t stop.

Leo: Maybe you’ve heard of the hitch hiking robot.

Nathan: (Laughing) oh my God.

Leo: What?

Nathan: Yea, I heard about it. American’s are terrible.

Leo: So he hitchhiked all the way across Canada no problem. This is a little robot, HitchBot, built by researchers from Ryerson and the University of Toronto and he’s been going – so the deal is he can’t move. But he can talk. So he sits by the road with his thumb out, cars pull up and he says, “Hey, give me a ride.” Actually I think I have a video somewhere of the robot. And he hitched all the way across Canada doing this.

Nathan: Was Canada the only country? I thought he made it across another country too.

Leo: He’s been doing a lot of this.

Mark: Canada would be a good place to start. They’re very nice.

Leo: See, that’s the problem is that maybe that gave Goron the wrong idea. Goron, I’m sorry, HitchBot. Do not let your dog hitch alone.

Mark: I don’t have to worry. He can’t get into the car.

Leo: Maybe that gave him the wrong idea because he had such success going across all of Canada. The Canadians picked him up. And Europe too. He went across Europe. He’s not going to make it across the United States. He left just a week ago, left and went through Boston. Much of New England. See there he is going from Halifax to Victoria. No problem. But just last night, I’m sad to say, HitchBot met his unfortunate demise in Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love.

Mark: But not robot love.

Leo: He was torn asunder.

Owen: Uncle Leo, let me tell you something.

Mark: Look at that picture.

Leo: That is so sad.

Owen: You don’t know what this is. This is a paddy wack. This is an old thing that cops used to use instead of billy clubs.

Leo: Yea, they called it a cosh. You hit somebody in the head with that. Yea.

Owen: I keep one of these in my office. I’ve got a bat downstairs. I’ve got stuff in my car.

Nathan: It looks like a flip flop.

Leo: Yea, it’s a flip flop with lead in it. That thing’s got lead in it.

Owen: This thing will knock you out. But I’m just saying. You’re worried about Skynet. In Philly we don’t play that. We’re going to kill every single animatronic robot that we don’t know nothing about. I’m not worried about Skynet taking over Android all that kind of stuff. Because you come out here to the east coast?

Leo: (laughing) You killed HitchBot.

Owen: We’re killing everything. Everything dies. See that little trash can looking at me funny? I don’t know him. Probably worth some money, I’m going to open it up and see what’s inside. I’m just saying it’s America.

Leo: Two weeks.

Owen: Americans are evil. Evil Americans.

Leo: It got through—it started at Marble Head. Got through Boston. Got through New York City.

Owen: It got through New York? I’m surprised it got through New York.

Leo: Got to Philly and that was –

Nathan: Couldn’t make it through Philly.

Leo: Couldn’t make it through Philly.

Owen: Killadelphia. It wouldn’t have made it through Chicago either. It wouldn’t have made it through Texas. Like there’s like 4 spots in the United States where you should have avoided. You should have come through Jersey if you wanted to live. You don’t go through Philadelphia. You don’t go through Chicago. You don’t go anywhere near Texas. Like those are dangerous places.

Nathan: What’s the 4th? What’s the 4th? I want to know what the 4th is.

Owen: L.A.

Nathan: L.A. (laughing).

Owen: L.A. You see the traffic in L.A.? Do you see the people in L.A.? Nobody cares about anything in L.A. L.A. is a dangerous place to be if you’re a robot.

Leo: If you read this, read his Twitter feed. He had thousands of followers on Twitter. “Oh dear. My body was damaged. But I live on with all my friends. Sometimes bad things happen to good robots.” And finally, “My trip must come to an end for now. But my love for humans will never fade. Thanks, friends.”

Nathan: Can you do your rap lyrics in that voice?

Leo: (laughing).

Nathan: I want to hear the rap lyrics in that voice.

Leo: I like big butts and I cannot lie. Those other brothers can deny. When a robot walks in with an itty—

Mark: Itty-bitty tin.

Nathan: Yes, itty-bitty tin.

Leo: I go sproing. Hmm. I like robots and I cannot lie.

(This Week in Tech #516)

Iain Thomson: It’s probably quite awkward now to go for a business meeting at Apple because that watch beeps after 55 minutes and says, “You should stand up and do a bit of jumping around now.”

Georgia Dow: And everyone stands up.

Iain: Yes, exactly.

Georgia: Leo stands up during the show. Right in the middle during live (laughing).

Becky Worley: You know I was his producer when we started at TechTV a hundred years ago and while other people were doing their segments he was on all these fitness kicks. So Martin Sargent or somebody would be doing a segment and he’d be jogging. And once he stripped down and took his shirt off and streaked behind the set while someone else was doing their piece so.

Georgia: Now Becky, what did you tell him? Were you like, “Stop” or were you like, “Go for it, Leo. It’s ok.”

Becky: You know, we were so desperate for ratings. I thought it might, we might rub off that behavior on some of the other talent also.

(This Week in Tech - #543)

Leo: I’m going to kill Becky Worley, I’ll tell you. Every time she comes on here, she tells way too many inside stories about our past history. We’ll continue on with some of the Best of 2015 on This Week in Tech. Hope you’re enjoying the show today. Coming up in just a little bit, we’re going to talk about I think one of the biggest stories of 2015, virtual reality. But first, let me tell you about something that’s going to save your business. FreshBooks. Saved my life as a free-lancer because the worst thing when you’re a free-lancer is that end of the month thing where you have to fire up Excel, fire up Word, create invoices. Go back through your receipts, gather them all together. It’s just—the paperwork. It’s annoying. It’s not why you got into business. It’s not why you do what you do for paperwork. I was complaining on the set of Call for Help up in Toronto about this one day. In fact, I was telling the story of how I had forgotten to bill Rodgers for 6 months and how upset they were to get a bill for 6 months’ worth of invoices. And Amber said, “Don’t you know about FreshBooks?” I said, “What?” She said, “Oh, Leo.” This was in 2004. Now 5 million people use FreshBooks. But at the time it was brand new to me. FreshBooks makes it easy to create and send professional, beautiful invoices in minutes. It was so easy. I invoiced immediately, you know, automatically at the end of the month. You can do stuff now that you couldn’t do when I first signed up. Things like take pictures of receipts with the FreshBooks app and just put them in there for your expenses. It handles currencies great. I was billing in Canadian dollars and US dollars so I had to figure that all out. FreshBooks made it easy. Track your time almost instantly. And now they have some new features like, you can request a deposit ahead of time in FreshBooks so that you get paid upfront for out of pocket costs. No more do you have to pay ahead and let them reimburse you. I love that. They now have a card reader. So if you invoice, if you provide services or you sell stuff and you send invoices out, now you can actually present you FreshBooks invoice right from the app, plug in the reader and they can pay you with their credit card instantly. It’s chip or swipe. So it does both. It’s EMV chip card enabled. Of course it has to be state of the art. And wherever your business takes you now you can quickly and securely get paid from your iPhone in minutes. This is awesome. The FreshBooks card reader. That’s what I like about FreshBooks. They just get better and better and better. Don’t wait. Do it right now. 30 days free when you go to And when they say, “How did you hear about us?” Don’t forget to day, “This Week in Tech, Betty. This Week in Tech. That’s how I heard about it.” FreshBooks. Try it free for 30 days. If you’re a freelancer or a small business, this will save your life. It saved mine. I love them. VR. Big story. Episode 521. Mark Milian, Nathan Olivarez-Giles. OhDoctah. We’re in house to talk about it and to kind of school me in the whole thing. Watch.

(This Week in Tech #521)

Leo: OK. So HoloLens. I'm excited about VR.

Nathan: I'm big time excited about VR.

Leo: I am, I am. I kind of came around. I was more, I was saying AR was going to be the thing, the HoloLens style of thing where you impose images on a real world. Now having used VR a little bit with a Galaxy Gear VR. I actually bought the thing for my Galaxy S6 and watching movies and stuff.

Mark: The cardboard?

Leo: No, no, no.

Mark: Oh, the white--

Leo: You strap it on and you put your phone in it.

Nathan: It only works with Samsung phones.

Leo: Yea. It's from Samsung for Samsung. In fact I only think it works with—

Mark: In cooperation with Oculus I think.

Leo: Yea. Oculus is using, I didn't know this, but the Note was engined for the Oculus. It's not like they ported it. It's actually how it works. And Cardboard. Did you do the virtual press conference that OnePlus did for the announcement of the OnePlus 2? How was that?

Nathan: It was cool.

Leo: So you put on Cardboard and you're looking around.

Nathan: It only worked on Android. It was kind of neat. It's I think a little bit of a gimmick but it’s kind of just a nice--

Leo: Did you feel like you were there?

Nathan: No, not quite. It still feels like you're watching kind of a 360-degree video. It doesn't quite feel like you're there, but it's cool. If nothing else, I just like the idea that here's another company kind of saying, “Yea, VR is a thing.” You know?

Leo: I feel like we're making such fast progress now that it's going to happen sooner than later.

Owen: What's fast progress?

Leo: Well, don't you feel like it's accelerating?

Owen: I feel like everybody is talking about it and everybody’s jumping into the field. I don't feel like anything is useful or really working yet.

Leo: Oh, I don’t know. Have you played with it? Have you used it?

Owen: I've only used it one time and it made me sick. But that stuff has been fixed apparently.

Leo: No, it still makes people sick. In fact, on my Gear VR, when you download apps, they actually have a nausea rating. On how, like ok, for most people, this is going to make you sick. Seriously, I get a little queasy. What I find is I get a little more queasy if I'm moving around. If I'm sitting still... it's because my body thinks that I’m, you know, my eyes are saying I'm moving and my body’s not, or vice versa. I think that's what causes it. When I'm sitting down and, like there's a Cirque du Soleil video and the performers are all around you and so you can look behind you. And if you look at them, they act as if they are suddenly performing for you. They’re looking right at that, whatever it is, that ball camera. And it's really cool. Nokia announced a new one called OZO this week that is a ball camera. It's coming out in the fall. Of course GoPro has one.

Mark: That they made with Google.

Leo: Google Jump technology. The OZO is interesting because it does a live version, a low stream, low bit-rate live version. And then you can also save it and do an on-demand version after the fact. And I'm told by people who have played with it that the audio is spectacular. They have microphones all over it. And that's something that is going to be a big improvement. When you turn your head, now I can hear what is over here. Or now I can hear what’s over here.

Mark: The jump is only horizontally; this one has cameras pointing downward and upward.

Leo: That's what I mean, Owen. I feel like the technology is rapidly improving.

Owen: I'm not saying to that. I'm talking about there seems to be so many people in the space now that you feel like it's going to be the next big thing, but everybody keeps pushing off when you're actually going to be able to use it for something.

Leo: Well that’s just what happened with Microsoft. You’re right.

Owen: So, you keep telling me, for a long time, we keep talking about this subject. But I just want it to be in somebody's hands, I want to have it, I want to use it.

Leo: Well, I have it. I have the, you know, it was $200 bucks.

Owen: Are you using it?

Leo: Yeah! It's great for adult videos.

Owen: You're using it for one purpose only. That's it.

Leo: The worst purpose.

Nathan: I'm sad that I touched this now.

Leo: No, not that one. It's 200 bucks, you have to have a Galaxy S6 or there's one for the Note 4.

Nathan: There's separate headsets for the phone.

Leo: You slide it in, it fits in very well. They have controls, there's a back button, a touch button, you can hear. There's headphones that you can put on. And it works really—you know what? I've used it a lot. No, not for adult stuff. But I've used it for, there's a limited amount of content. It's kind of like when HD came out, but there's enough content that you really—like this Cirque du Soleil thing. There are games, there's a really fun game where, I haven't played it yet. I've downloaded it. I'm trying to get people to play it with me. Where you, as the victim, you're disassembling a bomb. Disassembling a bomb. But you don't have a manual. Your friends who are not wearing the helmet have the manual, but they can't see what you're seeing. So you say “Should I cut the red wire?” and they're going, “Well, let me look.” And there's a paper manual. And they’re going, “Well let me look.” Isn’t that fun! I think that's a great idea. I think we're starting to see some very interesting uses for this. It is immersive. It's not perfect yet. Far from it. In fact I can see, there's a screen door effect. I can see the pixels and everything.

Owen: Virtual tour city. You want to rent an apartment? You want to buy a house?

Nathan: I think that will be a big thing for real estate. For education, for tourism in general. It has huge potential.

Leo: So this guy who is doing the drone racing is a VR expert. He's got a PHD in VR and his company is doing VR tours of cities and stuff. Now, the GoPro is probably a few thousand bucks, the OZO is about $5,000 bucks. This is relatively affordable. You can make these videos and you can put them on YouTube now. YouTube works with Cardboard. If you have Cardboard, which is inexpensive, you can really do this. I feel like we're very close. I don’t know. I just feel like, in the next—

Owen: I’ll check back in 2016 of July and we’ll see.

Leo: No, when I say close, I mean the time frame is five years. Everybody will have one.

Mark: I think 5 years from now it will still be a pretty geeky thing. Maybe the next game consoles will--

Nathan: A lot of the focus right now is gaming. Oculus with their new rift headset is outstanding.

Leo: Well that’s what’s going to drive this. Gamers will spend money.

Nathan: Gamers are early adopters. We don't have a problem dropping 4 or 500 bucks on something that we don't need.

Mark: And you're used to being in your living room doing something that you look stupid doing something already. If you're playing Call of Duty you have the headset in.

Leo: You’re already a dork.

Nathan: We have zero problem with that. It's the perfect place to start, right? And, since some of these headsets are going to work with established game consoles, you have content there. You can port it over. It's kind of a shorter jump than, ok well what’s broadcast news going to look like? What’s a feature film going to look like? What’s sitting and watching sports going to look like?

Leo: I don't know if I want to watch a movie this way. But I would definitely want to play a game this way. HTC says the Vive is going to be out this year. That's the partnership with Valve. They have already shown demos of games. It makes a lot of sense. If you're in a cockpit flying a star fighter, it makes a lot of sense. It's a natural use.

Owen: Games of tourism is where I see the big thing for this. Being able to see places and feel like you're interacting with it and not go there.

Leo: I could see, it would be very easy to make movies this way, by the way. Because you have a single camera that is recording all around you, and you just tell your actors, “You’re on camera anywhere in this sphere, so perform! Act as if this is a real room.” Almost like theatre, right? I can imagine watching a movie where I can look around. You can kind of do that on a big screen anyway. Look around. Imagine somebody starts talking and you look over here, they're having a fight. Wait a minute. The guy has a gun over here. That would be very exciting.

Owen: That's a long way away, Captain.

Leo: Really? I don't know.

Owen: First of all, never mind.

Nathan: It's not that long away.

Leo: I think it’s easy to do.

Nathan: Oculus just premiered a film in Los Angeles this week. I think it's called "Henry."

Mark: It’s an animated film.

Nathan: Yea, it's about a little hedgehog. Depending on where you're looking and when you're looking, the cartoon character will react to what you're doing on screen. It's not just being in the room and looking at it.

Leo: Is it programmatic? It will change what happens? That's interesting.

Nathan: I mean I haven’t seen it. I was in LA. I didn't get to go down for the premier. But I can’t wait to try it out. It's going to be on Oculus when it comes out next spring.

Mark: I don’t know about-- it would be cool. You know, your favorite movie. You get like a five-minute scene that you get to like live in and look all around. But I can't imagine watching a feature film and having to turn my head the whole time. Look, they're over there now.

Owen: That's my point. If someone is making a movie for it to show you the possibility, then making a movie where people have to make money from that action? I just see that as a far-off thing. Maybe somebody, they’re paying them--

Leo: It's soon. It's happening, it's going to be here. It’s soon.

Owen: I'm just anti-this lifestyle. I like the world. My eyes work. I like looking at things for real.

Leo: That’s fair. That’s actually really fair.

Owen: I'm a grumpy old man and I'm sorry. I just don't care.

Leo: I didn't like 3D. I think it's a joke.

Mark: I didn’t like 3D either.

Leo: This is not 3D. This is immersive, you're in the room with the actors as this is happening and you're looking around and going wow. Oh my god he's coming down. There's Tom Cruise on a wire. It’d be very exciting.

Owen: I don’t want to see Tom Cruise coming at my face.

Mark: I think the dark horse in this field is magic Leap, which is already hiring people in Hollywood to work with movie producers and directors. They could do something cool. But that's more augmented reality. So that's a whole other layer to try to figure out for the film Industry.

Nathan: Hopefully, what will be so cool that will get us to spend whatever money it is to buy these headsets will be something that we haven't even thought of. Because right now, a lot of the stuff we're talking about is what we know movies to be and then imagining that to be a virtual reality headset. And it’s like, “Do I want to wear that thing on my face for 2.5 hours, do I not?” So, hopefully there is something else.

Leo: Maybe it's a half hour.

Nathan: Maybe it’s a half hour. But--

Leo: And maybe it won't be in a theatre. Maybe it will be Netflix doing it.

Nathan: But think about the Smartphone or the tablet, or the PC. Why did any of this stuff take off? It took off because it let you do something you couldn't do before.

Leo: You can't do this.

Nathan: But maybe there’s still-- I'm hoping. I’m just hoping there's something still in virtual reality that's out there that we don’t, haven't even thought up yet that will be so cool.

Mark: I think it's the new Apple Beats virtual reality headset that OhDoctah has right now.

Leo: OhDoctah invented this. He's the first to use it.

Owen: I'm selling these bad boys for 6K right now. You can get a 10% discount using the program code TWiT. Just go to my website and buy...

Leo: Imagine this. From our chatroom, Alexandria in Virginia. Daredevil. You're watching Daredevil from Netflix and you can watch it on a flat screen or you can put on the helmet, and now you're in that fight scene.

Mark: It will be cool for the fight scenes, for sure.

Leo: Well that's all Daredevil is.

Mark: Yea, that’s true,Fight scene; bandage them up, another fight scene. Bandage them up. Another fight scene. It's worse than UFC. At least the UFC is over quick.

Owen: You know what? That's where you might get me.

Leo: What if I could put you in the ring?

Owen: You put me in a ring. There you go, you just sold me. Put me in a ring with some classic fights where I'm Ali and I'm beating somebody up and I get to see somebody get knocked out from a first person perspective, or a football or a basketball game where I'm on the court.

Leo: Make a punching machine where you're actually getting the punches. Feel like you're getting punched.

Owen: That’s the future I want. If I can feel something. Give me that 4D experience. I want to smell burnt popcorn. I just love life. I got my eyes lasered. I can get glasses in front of my face so I could be more close to the world. I don’t want to put more glass on my face.

Leo: That's the point. You can't be in Vegas for the big fight, except you can! And you can be right in the middle of it. Imagine sports when you're on the field. You're at Wimbledon and you're a line judge. I mean, that's what I'm talking about.

Owen: Leo, let me ask you a question. You just went to Germany, correct?

Leo: Yes, sir.

Owen: I went to Germany.

Leo: Yes, sir.

Owen: Would you prefer to do this to Germany?

Leo: No, I want to go to Germany.

Owen: Or would you want to go to Germany.

Leo: I admit, of course, you would always prefer the live experience. But how many times, who has ever offered you to be sitting on the court at Wimbledon? There are some things you're not going to get to do, but we could put a little thing in the studio here and you could be part of the TWiT and you could look around. You could see what John is doing. You could see what's happening.

Owen: Jason is sitting there looking at a screen with a bunch of buttons, there's people sitting on the chairs watching you...

Leo: This isn't the best example. All right. Super bowl! You could be on the 50-yard line!

Mark: It's gimmicky though. Even on TV they've tried doing the field cam where you're behind the players and the thing that ESPN has on the string above the field. But it's not a good way to watch sports. You've got the best angle pulled back.

Owen: I just want to be there.

Leo: It bothers me a lot. I'm watching Colin Kaepernick and I really want to see him making his progressions. And instead the director decides, “Let's go see what the long safety is doing,” or something. And I’m saying, “No, no wait. I want to watch.” Wouldn't it be great if during a game you could look around like you do? If you go to a football game, nobody chooses the shots for you at the game.

Owen: If you watch your games at or Network, they've got all the camera angles. And you can pick which camera angles you want to watch.

Leo: Now put it in your helmet, and you just look around!

Owen: Like I said, I'm a grumpy old man.

Leo: No, I'm a grumpy old man. But there's something about this that captured my imagination.

Nathan: You're both grumpy old men, all right?

Owen: True story. True story. There's enough room for everybody.

Nathan: We can agree on that.

Leo: Thanks, Nate (laughing).

(This Week in Tech #522)

Leo: Wall Street cut 60 billion dollars off the value of major media companies based on this kind of cord cutting fear. Somebody, who was it who was talking at a conference and said—

Harry: It was ESPN.

Leo: It was ESPN. Their revenues are down for the first time.

Harry: It sounds like the TV business is finally acknowledging that cord cutting might impact their business over the long term. Which until recently they were in real fierce denial mode about.

Leo: Well it’s confusing because you read these statistics. ESPN which is traditionally the cable channel people will pay the most for, they make the most money, something like 6.25 per subscriber. For them to make less is a big deal. But then you also hear statistics that people are watching more broadcast television than ever before. So I don’t know which is true but obviously media stocks really took a hit. Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Viacom, although the CEO of Cablevision said, “Not so fast, it’s not that bad. We don’t see,” they told the Wall Street Journal, “we don’t see a landslide of cord cutting in the near term.” James Dolan. And of course he’s talking to investors. So he’s trying to shore up the stock. He says, “I don’t think the sky is falling quite yet.” Nevertheless Cablevision shares fell 2.7% on Friday and 5% over the 2 days.

Om: Leo, the key way to think about any of these changes is we’re beginning to see a whole generation think about television not as television but as something on demand. And then you have a generation behind them who think of video only in terms of devices which they can hold in their hand and they can touch.

Leo: I think that’s exactly right.

Om: And so 10 years forward these guys may stem the losses for a little while, do some financial engineering. 10 years down the line the behavior of the consumer is very different. That’s when it’s not cord cutting. It just is a different behavior.

Leo: They’re not watching television at all.

Om: Yea. And I think this whole notion that live sports are going to save their bacon and live events. I don’t know. We don’t know like what the consumers of tomorrow are going to adapt to these things or not. I don’t know. I am really interested in trying to figure out how people can view television in the next 5 years. To actually make a reasonable call on what the future looks like but one thing is for sure. The way things were, that’s gone. That 60 billion or 600 billion on their market cap? That is just irrelevant. These companies have been sitting and doing absolutely nothing. And that’s why they’re beginning to suffer.

Jill: You know there’s been some--

Leo: Well cable companies are first and then the networks next. I think the networks are in denial about the fact that people aren’t even watching TV. Go ahead, Jill, I’m sorry.

Jill: There’s been some really great stories about MLB which was one of the 1st leaders I think in getting to the online space. So the MLB TV people, Major League Baseball, were really trying to offer some kind of online experience early on. They knew that they had a worldwide audience of people watching baseball who couldn’t always watch it because they didn’t have US network television. So in the early days of MLB TV it was awful. It was like watching a pixelated video game, you know, frame by frame. It was terrible. But they stuck with it and they developed it out. And we’re an MLB household so we use it quite frequently. But HBO did—

Leo: At 3 in the morning unfortunately (laughing).

Jill: We have actually, I have to start the game because I’m allowed to see the final scores.

Leo: Ah.

Jill: So I’m in charge of starting the game.

Leo: I see.

Jill: But yea, after the fact. But what happened is that HBO hired some people from MLB who had worked on that product.

Leo: Right, HBO Now was based on MLB, yea.

Jill: Exactly. And they said we really need someone who has expertise. And nobody had any expertise.

Leo: Including their own giant, in-house, very expensive HBO Go team up there in Seattle.

Jill: Right. Except for the MLB people. So I think, and I think HBO has been a huge story this year. Once they offered that ala carte service. That’s going to be a real—I think it’s going to set the tone for a lot of every channels.

Leo: ESPN went over the top with Sling TV.

Harry: I think Sling has been an epic deal. I think we’ll look back at Sling as having been really important.

Leo: Yea. Yet I think the real problem is exactly as Om points out. I look at—I have 2 kids. 23 and 21. The 23 year old will watch Netflix, she’ll watch—she’ll sit down in from of a TV set. She’s a cord cutter in that sense. She’s not watching live programming. She’s watching on-demand programming off the internet. The 21 year old won’t do that. He watches You Tube. And that’s it. And I feel like that’s really – you’re missing the boat if you’re thinking, “Oh, the next thing is over the top.” I think you nailed it, Om, which is TV watching itself has changed completely and people are using mobile devices. They’re not watching TV. They’re consuming content in some completely different way.

Om: I think that what it does is it basically all the economics of our television and entertainment ecosystem is built on mass audience, right?

Leo: Right.

Om: And we are going into more you know, like fractional audience over a long period of time. And there will be hits and there will be some people who will do very well with the hits. Like you know, HBO and True Detective or Soprano’s type of shows—

Leo: Do you think there’s a future for that kind of programming, that kind of event programming?

Om: Absolutely. I think great story telling is great story telling.

Leo: Yea.

Om: Whether you tell them to, you tell them as a poem or you tell them as a movie or a running TV series. Great stories are great stories. There will be far—the focus has to be on finding that interesting thing that people are glued to. But most of the viewing is going to be fractional. So the economics of the industry changes not from mass audience, which is like mass audience with lots of television, charge lots of money and go home. Fractional is everything is just up for grabs. Maybe we need to be thinking really, really hard about paid content, subscription models, which are entirely different than what they are today. I think Netflix works because it is actually interesting business model. Not because it has the best content. It’s like they figured out that for $10 a month people are ok putting up with a lot of average content as long as they find something to see on a daily basis.

Leo: We don’t really care as long as there are colors and people moving. It doesn’t really matter what it is (laughing).

Om: But think about it this way. How much time do you have in your day anymore to watch television? Like that state, what’s happening in our society right now? If you don’t have full time jobs in the middle class, people are going to work 2,3,4 jobs. They’re going to do – right? To make ends meet. They’re not watching television. They will watch television. But then you know, all these things that they are doing and finding—we’ll have to steal time to entertain ourselves.

Leo: Does that mean short form is going to be more successful?

Om: Not like 2 minute videos definitely. But I’m sure there will be—like somebody will come up with a new format.

Leo: It’s hard to tell a story—in fact you’re seeing really the opposite when you think about the fact that these HBO shows like Game of Thrones or True Detective really are 30 and 40 hour movies. They’re not, they’re not even 2 hour movies. They’re spread out. But they’re a lot of hours. We’ve gotten better at a long story arc than ever before. We like those long stories.

Om: How about like a 2 hour New Screen Savers?

Leo: It is 2 hours (laughing). As a matter of fact.

Om: Well it feels like it’s like half hour or so.

Leo: Good, I like it. Thank you, Om. Rock on. Yea, I—

Jill: You know when you start to look at some of the TV shows that are coming out exclusive on Vimeo and You Tube I think they’re breaking away from the idea of having a format at all. They say, “Let us tell the story in the amount of time that we need.”

Leo: Oh good.

Jill: So shows like High Maintenance for example, which is on Vimeo, and there’s a few others which have very short programs. I think that’s a good experimental way to go. But I think we also have to remember that we’ve been programmed to consume content in certain blocks. So a half hour show is usually actually somewhere between 22 and 26 minutes in the US because of commercial breaks. And if you watch on Netflix, right, you’ll like watch those 22 minutes straight through. And then there’s the difference between an hour long show on network which is usually about 46 minutes, and an hour long HBO show which is actually more like 58, 59 minutes. And I think we’re acclimated to watching in those breaks. And writers start to get used to writing in those breaks, right? So you have 14 minutes until your plot twist, and you have 8 minutes of resolution. You know what I mean? So I think we have some forms that are more ingrained in our behavior for consuming media than we realize. And I would say the same thing about movies, too. So you know that the movie studios are pushing for a certain amount of time on a movie because they know that the consumer going to the theatre wants a certain length of an experience to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. So writers are taught to pace their stories based on that block of time that they’re given. So I think some of those issues are going to be harder to overcome in new media. I think new media helps them a lot but I think getting used to the idea that we the consumer want to have certain things happen in our story, in the plotting and the pacing, just because we’ve been accustomed to that, that’s the way a story is told.

Leo: It might even be biological. Ira Glass says that there’s a natural, of this American life, says there’s a natural beat structure that’s almost built into our biology. I think its 45 seconds. He has a whole talk he does about this natural structure. You know what comes to mind? This is very similar to our conversation about messaging earlier. Which is essentially that we are moving into a fragmented world where there are lots of different flavors and you pick the flavor that suits you. I’m looking at High Maintenance. It’s interesting. This is on Vimeo. It’s a – have you watched this, Jill? It’s a series.

Jill: Yea, I’ve seen a little bit of it. It’s a story about—

Leo: It’s $1.99 an episode. It’s the same as a real TV show.

Jill: Yea.

Om: It is a real TV show.

Leo: But it’s on Vimeo.

Om: Yea, so that doesn’t mean anything. Right?

Leo: I guess you’re right. Wiz in our chatroom keeps on saying, “You guys are missing the point. It’s about cost. The cable companies are charging us so much, we’re just trying to save money.” I don’t think that’s the case.

Om: I think that is. That is the case too, right?

Leo: It is?

Om: They keep charging for things we don’t want.

Harry: Totally.

Om: People would happily pay for the things they want, right?

Leo: It’s much like the music industry selling you an album when you only wanted one song. As soon as you can go ala carte you will.

Harry: It’s like 100 channels you will never, ever watch. At least if you buy an album it’s all by the same person.

Leo: I do think we’re willing to pay for our content though. You know what I’m saying? I think that people don’t want free content if it’s good—I think people will pay for Game of Thrones. HBO Now as far as I can tell is a success, right?

Harry: HBO is doing well because it set the standard so very high.

Leo: Right.

Harry: That people are willing to pay for it.

Om: But not everybody can be HBO or New York Times, right? Let’s be very clear.

Leo: Well that’s the scarcity frankly is talent.

Om: Right, right, right.

Leo: The scarcity is writing and acting.

Om: And also the quality. I think HBO has done a great job in maintaining the quality and what they—and being very clear about what they stand for. I think New York Times has done a good job so far. But I see that they’re starting to go down this path where—

Leo: They’re stumbling.

Om: Yea. That they’re starting to miss out who they really are and why we are getting to pay for them. I think that’s the other thing. You know the thing which we have never talked about or people don’t talk about is like how story telling will actually be different going forward because the technology is different, right? So Jill was talking about 26 minute blocks or 58 minute blocks. But think about it this way. Today we can stop and have a video sync to another screen at any time. Like so we don’t watch—like I have not sat down and watched a single movie end to end. I just maybe watch 10 minutes here, and 15 minutes there.

Leo: No, you’re right. Interstellar which I watched at the theater was interminable in the theatre. But we watched it over 3 nights again and it was great (laughing).

Om: Right?

Leo: 3 chunks.

Om: And that’s where the story telling is. Right there, that’s where the idea of what is video content is different. You know, the idea of television as we know it doesn’t make any sense because we are in full control of how we experience it, right? How we experience it defines what is going to happen to the medium and it is not going to be a mass medium as a result effect. And I think that most of the television industry misses the point about that. Completely misses the point. Like we are in charge. We the end customer is in charge of how. That’s the beauty. I think people talk about cord cutting. DVR was the most disruptive thing that happened to television.

Leo: Yes. As soon as you didn’t have to watch it live everything changed. And you could pause it. And let’s not forget, you could skip commercials. And that’s a big issue for advertisers and the monetization. Do you think we’re going to go paywall and everything will be for pay? That the idea of free advertising supported media is threatened by this, Om?

Om: I don’t know. I mean –

Leo: I’m hoping you say no because that’s what we’re doing here today.

Om: Ok, no.

Leo: (Laughing) I knew I should have gone into that preaching thing. I really feel like that—I blew, I missed. Yea, I missed the bet.

Om: Yea. You’re doing a good job, though.

Leo: Of preaching?

Om: Yea.

Leo: Well you know if there’s this thread—the through-line through all of this is that the technology has completely disruptive. And what’s really interesting is that human behavior is as much disrupted as the business models. Business models have to accommodate these new human behaviors. And it’s a moving target. I watch, you know, I watch my kids –I love using my kids as an example, but I watch them go from – you know, when we were teenagers, we were on the phone while we did our homework. I watch my daughter be on instant messenger while she was doing her homework with music playing, to watching my son be on a multiple conference call with Skype while he’s doing his homework. I mean, and that’s in a couple of years. It’s changing so rapidly. I don’t blame NBC and Viacom and ESPN/Disney for having some trouble figuring out what the hell we want and where it’s all going.

Harry: And by the time they do figure out we’ll want something else.


(This Week in Tech #523)

Leo: Jason Snell is here (laughing).

Jason Snell: I'm being haunted by my past.

Leo: Jason of course from Six has also gone the freelancing route. It's odd, because it looks like, it couldn't be, John C. Dvorak is standing behind you right now.

Jason: I've had nightmares like this.

Leo: And there’s scrambling going on.

John C. Dvorak: I could leave and take this lens with me.

Leo: Could you come back next week? That's when we thought you would be here. But no, you know, I’m thrilled. Give me my lens.

John: You’ve got that 45?

Leo: I’ll talk about that later. Come on and have a seat. We didn't expect you. Actually we were worried. We thought maybe you thought you were supposed to be here this week.

John: I did.

Leo: That’s good. You can be here this week and next week if you want. You can be here as many weeks as you want. Normally John sit’s here.

Jason: This is John’s spot.

Leo: How do you feel about sitting over here?

John: I don’t mind sitting over here.

Jason: It might throw me.

John: Well good.

Jason: Everything you say might be right from over there.

Leo: We were talking about next week. Because we had arranged a show just for you with your favorite people. Old, white old men.

John: Do you want this?

Leo: Yea, but I don’t have the 45 with me.

John: You're the white old man.

Leo: I didn't expect you this week. Welcome.

John: Well I’m saying that because brought this lens.

Leo: Thank you. I appreciate it. God,it's hot. Is it hot out there?

John: No. Not really.

Leo: John C. Dvorak from No Agenda Show.

John: Is there a computer somewhere?

Leo: Yeah, we'll get you a computer. And finally, last but certainly not least, from Mashable, Christina Warren is also here.

Christina Warren: Hello!

Leo: Unfortunately you've been slid out over onto the edge. So we’re going to-- have some pineapple tarts if you like.

John: I don’t think so.

Leo: I brought them just for you.

John: No you didn't. You didn't expect me to be here apparently.

Leo: But how is it that I have pineapple tarts, you may ask.

John: I don't like pineapple tarts, so they wouldn't be for me. Do you want to try one?

Leo: I don’t even know what they are. So, wow. It's great. Nice to see you.

John: Good to be here on the wrong day. Thanks.

Leo: That’s good. You know what I can tell you? We have a vast studio audience. It's larger than usual because it's air conditioned inside. They're thrilled. There was an audible gasp when he walked in the room.

Jason: He has that effect on people.

Leo: Like the ghost of Marley.

John: Just here to screw something up. Ok, here you go.


(This Week in Tech #543)

Leo: I love, Dvorak’s such a character. I’ve told him that he should drop in anytime. And I’m convinced he will do that at some point. He’s been invited to be on TWiT many times since. He says, “I’ll be on when I’ve done my vinegar book.” So he’s still working on the vinegar book. But we will have John C. on TWiT as soon as he—but, I’m fully expecting, and I hope he might drop in anytime. You never know with Dvorak. We’re going to take a break. Come back with a few more memories from 2015. But first a word from Citrix GoToMeeting. Look if you’re a business you going to have to have meetings. Meeting are really vital. They break through, they kind of cut the Gordian knot of confusion. We kind of have a rule that if more than 3 emails are exchanged on any topic, that’s it. No more emails. Let’s talk. Meetings are a great place to brainstorm, to get work done if they’re managed properly. But part of the problem nowadays is teams are distributed all over. And so are your clients, right? That means a lot of travel if you want to meet. Or it means Citrix GoToMeeting. Eliminate the travel, meet more efficiently, get more done. Co-workers love it. The clients love it too because you’re not taking up their time. If you have a sales presentation, you want a system that’s going to make it easy for them to see what you’re doing. A system that lets you look at them and them look at you. That’s really important. We’re human beings. We need to see each other’s faces. GoToMeeting does that. The HD quality webcam makes it seem like you’re in the room. You share your screen so they can see your PowerPoint. You can collaborate on documents together. You get feedback in real time. And it is super easy. You don’t want to make a client jump through hoops to be in your meeting, to be in your sales pitch. With GoToMeeting they get an invitation in the email. It gets added to the calendar. They click a link. The software’s automatically instantly installed. They’re ready to go. No fuss, no muss. And here’s the great part. You can not only meet from a computer, but your tablet, your smartphone. I can present from an iPad anywhere in the world. With GoToMeeting everybody sees what you’re seeing so you’re on the same page and you see each other face to face so you get that real personal contact. This is the solution. You may have tried others. I want you to try GoToMeeting today. I think you’ll agree. Free for 30 days. There’s no offer code or anything, just go to the website click the try it free button. Citrix GoToMeeting. Click the try it free button. Your first meeting will be ready in minutes before the show’s over. And your clients will love you for it. click the try it free button for 30 days free. This was a big story. And a story that I think kind of galvanized the world on both sides. It was one of the—it wasn’t a big story in the sense that was a massive, you know it wasn’t a terrorist attack. It wasn’t the World Cup. It wasn’t a story like that. But it was a story that really captured people’s interest, imagination and we spent a lot of time talking about, of course, Ahmed and his clock. The high school student who was busted for a clock that looked like a bomb. Owen J.J. Stone’s back. OhDoctah. Larry Magid from CBS. Erin Griffith. Here’s the story of Ahmed and the clock.


(This Week in Tech #528)

Leo: Little 14-year-old Ahmed brings a clock. Actually, what he does we found out, is he takes apart a clock, a clock that was very popular at radio shack in the 80's, takes it apart, jiggers around with it, brings it into school to show his engineering teacher. He's brand new. He’s a freshman. Brand new at this high school and he wants to establish himself. The engineering teacher looks at it and says, "That's very nice. Put it away and do not show anybody your clock." Unfortunately the clock made some noise in another class and the teacher said, "What's that?" He's got it in a case, a metal case. He opens it up. The teacher freaks out. Principal comes and grabs the kid, brings him back, they call the police assigned to that school because the school has official police officers. The police come and question him, which by the way isn't legal procedure without his parents present. Handcuff him, and take him in. His parents are called. Before he has to serve any time in a jail cell he's taken home. Very controversial. He became a celebrity. Even the president said “Hey Ahmed. Cool clock. Come to the White House.” One of the reasons it's a hot button is because Irving, Texas isn't a bastion of tolerance. I think the Mayor of Irving, Texas made a scandalous anti-Muslim speech. So think there's a little bit of sensitivity there. It was clearly not a bomb. The kid never said it was a bomb. The kid repeatedly said it was a clock. And in fact, one of the police officers perhaps foolishly said, "Well, it looks like a movie bomb to me." Because of course in the movies, they always have a big clock on the bomb so the hero can disarm the bomb with 007 seconds left. But in fact if you were going to make a bomb, a couple of things.First, you probably wouldn't put a big clock on it. Second, you might put some explosives in it. It was obvious. No explosives in the bomb. I love the fact that after this story came out somebody reminded me in the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs, Wozniak tells a story of doing almost the exact same thing in high school. He took a metronome, he liked how it went click click click. It was an electronic metronome. He put it in a locker and he wired it up so that if you opened the locker it would speed up. And he stripped the labels of a couple of batteries because he knew, he's a smart guy, a bomb requires explosives, to look like exposives. He made something that really looked like a bomb. Got called into the principal's office and couldn't help but laugh when the principal said “Is this a bomb?” He said, “No, it’s not a bomb.” He spent a night in Juvie. Of course it's Woz, so he taught the other inmates to strip the wires from the electrical lighting and wire it to the bars in the windows so it would zap anybody who touched them. Woz went onto fame and fortune. I think Ahmed might too. He's been offered a lot of things as a result.

Owen: Ahmed's clock didn't work. So let's just start with that. Let's not put him in the Woz category. HE got a whole bunch of gadgets and toys, but the kid made a clock, not only was it not a bomb, but the clock didn't clock.

Leo: Did it not work, really?

Owen: No. Apparently the clock didn't clock.

Leo: I didn’t read that part.

Owen: The clock wasn't fully functional. It didn't work properly. On top of the fact...

Larry: Erin, I think your mic is off.

Leo: Unmute, Erin. Erin is using the best mic stand we've ever seen on this show, which is a cardboard box. But unfortunately. So let me ask you, OhDoctah, is this an example of engineering while brown? Is there racism or anti-Muslim feeling behind this?

Owen: First of all, the fact of the way they treated this child was wrong. Once you realize it wasn't a bomb, you still questioned him without his parents there or a lawyer there. He repeatedly asked for somebody to call his parents. They didn't. Secondly, Wozniak actually made a bomb, he goes to juvie. That's the proper thing to do. Whatever. Somebody else posted a thing where seven other kids that did the exact same thing at other schools across the country and in some instances some people even thought it was a bomb. They didn't call the cops, they called the parents. Whatever, it was quelled in like five minutes.

Leo: Although, I don't know if you can use that as an example because we can also pull up examples of kids who pointed their finger like a gun and got suspended. This is unevenly enforced across the nation. It’s sad, because in the post 9/11 world, people are scared. I have to think it has a little to do with the fact that the kid has apparently an Arabic sounding name.

Owen: Yes. And where he lives. If he lived in... I guess New York's not a good place because New York is New York too. It's just sad. Whether it's racist or not it’s just sad.

Larry Magid: I don't blame the teacher for being concerned. Once the police showed up and determined it wasn't a bomb, it seems to me it should have been over. And second of all, if they had to take him out of the classroom, why do you put handcuffs on a skinny little 14 year old kid? I mean, that's ridiculous to begin with. The teacher I think maybe had a cause to want to look into this to make sure it was OK and then move on. The cops I think way over-reacted.

Owen: If you need to put handcuffs on the kid, then that whole school needs to be evacuated. You don't stand around getting pictures taken in the office. Because if you really think it's at the point where this kid needs to be locked up, that school should be a ghost town ASAP. But they stood around talking, yipping and yapping, asking the same questions over and over again, knowing it wasn't a threat but treating it like it was a threat. It was just poorly handled. Whether it was racist or not, he gets free gadgets and toys out of it, he's gets to go to some cool places, he's not going back to school. He made a celebrity and those guys look like idiots in that school system. It's sad. It's so annoying that I've got to see this kid get all this stuff because he made a broken clock and it's a big deal. It shouldn't even be a big deal.

Larry: I think part of the president's point is to encourage kids to be makers and to tinker and to do things like that. That's cool, whether this kid is exceptional as people are making him out to be and whether he deserves a job in Silicon Valley or a free ticket to MIT, I don't know. It seems to me he ought to be competing for those spots like the rest of the kids do. But, you know, we basically made a martyr out of him for a moment and he became a celebrity. Good for him.

Leo: He certainly is getting more benefit out of it than the momentary embarrassment and pain of being arrested. He's been invited to the White House, he will be going. He received a message of support from Hillary Clinton, an offer to stop by Facebook to meet Mark Zuckerberg and an invitation to be an intern at Twitter and I think even MIT got involved. Some have said, though, and the New York Post, a bastion of journalistic sensibility, Kyle Smith is writing how Ahmed's clock became a false, convenient tale of racism. There's been a backlash. A couple of points we'll kind lay to rest here. People are pointing out, in fact we had the guy on The New Screensaver’s yesterday who works at Make Magazine, who was the first to observe that's not a homemade clock. That's a disassembled clock that you can buy at Radio Shack in the 80s. I even had one. It was a Micronta clock, I think. That doesn't mean he's not a maker. That's how makers start. That's how you start. You take apart stuff, you assemble it. Richard Dawkins of all people weighed in saying, “I think the guy was trying to go viral. This was an intentional, viral thing. He knew what the response would be.” I don't know if I buy that.

Owen: Listen to this, Uncle Leo. Take that one step even deeper. Imagine foil on my head and say what if he, Ahmed is a Manchurian candidate and he figured the best way to get to the president is to get a Muslim on the inside...

Leo: He’d be sure to have a clock with him that time.

Owen: And then you get him to visit Facebook. He shuts down Facebook, he shuts down Twitter, he shuts down the White House. Propaganda, Man. The word is out there.

Leo: A couple of questions: first of all, if he never, ever, if he always said, "It's a clock. It’s a clock. It’s a clock." Surely, teachers must have looked at this and apparently teachers are--OK. There's illiteracy if you don't know words, innumeracy if you don't know numbers. What is it if you don't understand technology at all?

Larry: Technology illiteracy.

Leo: Technologically illiterate because they looked at this and thought it might be a bomb when the first thing that comes to my mind, where's the explosive? Right? There's nothing that could blow up. What it shows is, unfortunately he's got teachers who don't understand this is what the inside of a clock looks like. They've never gone inside anything.

Larry: We should teach teachers, teachers should be taught how to build bombs so that they would know in the future what a bomb looks like.

Leo: And he police who said “It looks like a movie bomb to me.” That's just sad (laughing).

Larry: So they knew. They figured out very quickly it wasn't a bomb.

Leo: Of course they knew it wasn't a bomb. They didn't clear the school.

Larry: That is ridiculous. Why did they take the guy away in handcuffs? Why didn't they say “False alarm. Good bye. Thank you very much. Go back to class, shut up.”

Leo: If they thought this kid was pretending it was a bomb, that it was a hoax and was kind of trying to scare people, then it might have been appropriate to do that, right?

Owen: Apparently he said repeatedly “It's not a bomb. It's not a bomb. It's not a bomb.” You know, it's just sad. I had to go take my Little Bits away from my daughter for a week. I’m like, “We can't make anything.”

Leo: What? You didn't do that.

Owen: I did too. It paranoid me. She's brown. She’s brown.

Leo: Are you afraid she'll bring something to school and the same thing will happen to her?

Owen: I do not let her take electronics to school. Not because I was worried about that per say, I was more worried about either kids stealing stuff because she's got cool things more so than anything else. But you know, it’s sad.

Leo: You have a daughter. You have a daughter who gosh darn it is wonderful, who is playing with electronics, who is using Little Bits, who is learning about that stuff. What kind of lesson, I hate to say, does she get out of a story like-- she must have seen this story, right?

Owen: Yea. Well she was really upset because she wants to be an engineer. And she was like, “Why did he get in trouble? Why is it such a big deal?” You try to explain to a kid, “Well they thought it was something dangerous.” And the first question that a kid asks is the simple stuff. “Well, when they found out it wasn’t, what's the big deal? Why are we talking about it?” And I said, “I don't know.”

Leo: Is the number one error here just a lack of common sense really? I mean isn’t that really what this is about?

Owen: They took it too far. Like I said if they just stopped, if they wouldn’t have broken his rights. That's why people are talking about race. They’re like, “Ok, well, you're not supposed to be questioning this kid. You already knew it wasn't a bomb. He's asking for his parents. He's telling you what it's not.” And you're still hand cuffing him and grilling him. Like come on. At some point, do your job. You're a police officer. You have a job to do. Rules to follow. Follow the rules. Maybe then it wouldn't have been such a big deal. But when you take it past a certain point, it's a problem.

Leo: Yeah. Have you ever been accused of driving while black?

Owen: Of course.

Leo: You get pulled over?

Owen: All the time. 9 times this year.

Leo: What?

Owen: I haven't been pulled over in the last 2.5 months, but for the first 6 months of this year, I was pulled over an average of 17 days. I got one ticket out of those nine stops.

Leo: They were just checking you out.

Owen: I live in a very nice neighborhood and I bought a new car and apparently my car looks nice.

Larry: I have a friend in the same situation. Driving while black, driving a Mercedes in a rich town. And he gets pulled over all the time.

Owen: The guy is like “Oh your tail light is out.” I’m like, “It's a 2015, my tail lights aren't out.” I was like, “If you come back with a ticket for a taillight, I'm getting out and taking a videotape of it.” He comes back. “ Oh, I gave you a warning for that taillight. Get it fixed.” And I’m like, “OK.” Stuff like that happens.

Leo: Did you read Ta-Nehisi Coates book?

Owen: No.

Leo: Are you interested in reading it?

Owen: I'm about to look it up, so yes. If you tell me I should read something, I will.

Leo: You should. He wrote a book for his son, basically. He's an African American. I think he’s-- is he a journalist? Is he an educator? He's a staff writer at the Atlantic.

Erin: Writer.

Leo: Writer. Oh, hey, we got you back, Erin.

Erin: Yay.

Leo: I'm sure you have quite a few things you would like to say about this.

Erin: You guys covered it.

Leo: All right. Anything to add? Where do you come down on this? On the one hand you could say, “Look, I'm trying to be reasonable. Everybody got scared. The kid, OK, yeah, his name is Mohammad. He's brown. We don't know. Maybe he wears a turban at home at night. He made something that looks a little weird. Maybe we're scared. So we just want to check it out.”

Erin: The whole thing’s really frustrating to watch it play out, but the thing that frustrates me the most about it is that these incidents continue to play out the exact same way on the Internet. There's outrage, and there's outrage to the outrage, and then there are truth-ers that come out. And they’re like, “He wasn't a model citizen and he didn't make the clock, his parents made it, or whatever.” It's the same pattern and people on both sides of the argument just reinforce their own beliefs. It's just a reflection of the filter bubble that we have on the Internet. I just Googled this as we were talking about it. The top stories now, because the original outrage has kind of died down since it happened earlier in the week. And the top story now is all right wing truth-ers that are like “Ahmed didn't make the clock and this is just another sort of like liberal uprising.” All of this stuff. And it's just sort of frustrating to watch play out, because oh brother. Here it goes.

Owen: Everybody has got to get their clicks.

Erin: It doesn't feel like anyone really learned anything. It doesn't feel like this is not going to happen again now as a result of this.

Owen: It's going to happen again. And that's why I said it's just sad. The problem is that it was a problem. As a school, you were scared. Ok, do your job, follow procedure and end it. But taking it to the umpteenth degree is the problem. You know, because kids get-- I've had kids get arrested in my school for all kinds of stuff! I've had a kid in my high school who had a gun. And guess what? The cops came, they arrested him, it was over in 30 seconds. I had another kid who had a pocket comb/knife. They realized it wasn't a knife, the cops left. Everybody was fine. There was never a big deal about it. But when you take it and handcuff the kid once you already know the problem is over, like those are the things where it’s like, well now we have Facebook. And there’s a Facebook Mom group that says, “Not my child. Never again.” And they’ve got like a billion people to go—like you said, the way it plays out. who needs their clicks?

Erin: It becomes National news, yea.

Owen: I need clicks for, I need clicks against. I need clicks in the middle, I need clicks for the clicks that you got earlier. So let's get new clicks. Everybody is making money, Uncle Leo. Take that ad blocker.

Erin: Takes on takes on takes on takes.

Leo: no, it’s not a dislike button.

Larry: Yea, I know.

Erin: It’s an empathy button.

Leo: An empathy button. Thank you, Erin.

Owen: It’s a troll button is what it is.

Leo: No, because, the problem is—

Erin: It’s going to be like Slack.

Larry: Erin’s right. Erin’s absolutely right.

Erin: It’s going to be like Slack. Like you know, you can react with a little emoji. There’s probably going to be lots of different kinds.

Leo: Aww. Can you go, “Aww?”

Larry: If somebody’s dog died you don’t want to like it.

Leo: Right.

Larry: You want to acknowledge, “I hear you. I feel for you”

Leo: That happened to me recently, yea.

Erin: And I think that they probably thing that because people don’t feel awkward sharing, you know, uncomfortable or bad news on Facebook because they don’t want people to like it. They don’t want to think about how many likes is this going to get. I think that it’s preventing people from sharing some of the more, you know, difficult or more intimate things. And Facebook wants to stop anything that could ever hinder sharing. So ultimately it’s all about more engagement or whatever. But it’s another mode of communication, of passive communication.

Leo: What is it going to look like? Is it going to be like… (laughing).

Erin: A shruggy?

Leo: Eh?

Owen: Sadly, sadly I sometimes think people are unkind.

Larry: It’s been a long term project—

Leo: But they haven’t—I think what’s stopping them is what the hell’s the icon going to look like?

Larry: They’re trying to figure it out, how to.

Leo: Right. I mean how hard could it be to implement? They own the platform. All they have to do is turn it on.

Erin: But they can choose from any of the hundreds of emoji’s. You know there’s like the praying, the hands up, the praying hands, the handshake, you know.

Leo: What is that hands up emoji really mean though?

Erin: (Laughing) I don’t know.

Leo: See?

Erin: The official term for it is like, or actually sorry, I can’t even remember. There was, there’s been lots of articles exploring what those hands up mean and I think it’s supposed to be like crazy—

Leo: Is it Japanese? It’s celebration.

Owen: It’s celebration. It’s excitement. But I just think that sometimes we give people more credit than that. A friend of mine fell, broke her face, took a picture of her in the hospital. And her face, she looked bad. There weren’t any likes but she had like 130 comments of people saying, “Wish you well.” All that kind of stuff. Like I feel like how is it going to still promote something when it’s diluted? So if like 30 people want to go and say it’s funny, 30 people want to be angry at it and say, “Oh this is you know, I’m against Donald Trump.” Like how is it going to get that congruency of—either it’s got a lot of comments or it’s got a lot of likes. Like—

Erin: Well in the new one I think the ideal would be that people wouldn’t be commenting because they’re commenting because they want to acknowledge it but they don’t want to like it. And the idea would be, or this new sort of iteration, the idea would be there wouldn’t be so many comments, but there would be, you know reactions that were like, you know, condolences, feel better, we’re sorry, or you know a variety of reactions like that. If you use Slack they’re doing this now where you can react with like lots of different emoji’s. It does fragment it.

Larry: I like comments a lot more than I like likes. I mean frankly if I’m feeling lazy, and if I really care I’ll comment. And—

Leo: Which is mostly, mostly what I do on Facebook. I don’t have to type anything in. I’ve just got to go, “Hey, thumbs up.”

Larry: But I like it when people take a moment to actually like something.

Leo: I know. Who has time for that? I’m busy.

Owen: Well we don’t express ourselves anymore. “Hey, how’re you doing today?”

Leo: I’ve got another cat video to look at. I don’t have time to type a comment.

Erin: I know. It’s the equivalent of a grunt, you know.

Leo: (Laughing) Oh, that’s what we need. Actually I was thinking we should have a “Meh” and an “Aww” and but see emoji’s—ok, by the way I’ve learned something today. Emojipedia. is a wiki all about emoji’s. This is called the halleluiah emoji. Also known as the magic emoji, praise hands emoji, festivus emoji or two hands emoji. And actually you know, depending on who’s doing your emoji illustration, with Apple it’s just 2 hands and a bunch of confetti.

Erin: Is that the Google one, the weird neckless one?

Leo: The Google one is the one—Apple’s the top one with the necklace. The Google one is the—

Erin: I know. That’s like a person with no neck.

Leo: Oh, neckless not necklace. I got it.

Erin: Yea, sans neck.

Leo: No, the no neck guy is Android. Microsoft has a grey ghost which is really weird.

Owen: Uncle Leo, to make you happy I’m going to turn my mic off and do the rest of the show like this.

Leo: (Laughing) Is that empathy? Is that, what is that?

Owen: I can’t explain myself because I can’t make comments anymore. I have to make gestures, so.

Leo: I don’t know and I don’t care.

Owen: I’m going to stop talking and then we’re just going to do this the whole time. And that’s how we’re going to talk to each other.

Leo: I hadn’t seen this emoji, this hands up emoji until I started using Telegram. And then there was one that was very common. Telegram gives you stickers that reflect emoji’s. So you can add an extra something-something by having a sticker that’s like hands up.

Owen: I make mine brown and just do it as a hands up, don’t shoot.

Leo: Yea, well that’s what—you know depending on—Facebook’s really does look like a don’t shoot. In Emoji One, I don’t know what Emoji One is, but I really don’t know what’s going on there. It looks like drops of liquid or something going on there.

Owen: Yea, that’s weird.

Leo: It is weird. But the weirdest one is definitely Microsoft Windows 10. What the hell is that?

Erin: It’s a guy going down a roller coaster.

Leo: Is it? With the blue man crew? Oh, that’s what this is. Now see that’s the thing. Depending on how you illustrate it, it can really be different things, can’t it?

Owen: I think of it as the amen. Like when people say, “Oh, man, we’re going to McDonalds. Amen!”

Leo: Amen, brother. Amen, brother.

Owen: That’s what I feel like that is on everything.

Leo: It is known as the hallelujah emoji, so.

Owen: Well, there you go.

Erin: If you’re ever, if you’re ever confused though, you can make the, you can make the iPhone speak the emoji’s.

Leo: Oh.

Erin: If you turn it onto hearing impaired mode and then you send that or you just like highlight it and say, you know you can make it actually speak. So the iPhone will tell you what the names are. For example, the very popular poop emoji, the official name according to Apple is Smiling Pile of Poo.

Leo: (Laughing) I want to hear that in Siri’s voice.

Erin: Yea, or in the, there’s a British voice that’s the best.

Leo: Really? You like the male voice? A smiling pile of poo.

Erin: I like the British.

This Week in Tech #529

Leo: Somebody said if you say buffalo 7 times something happens.

Alex: Isn’t that the longest sentence that is actually English correct using one word?

Leo: What?

Alex: Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo.

Leo: Because there’s 7 different meanings of the word buffalo?

Alex: I think that sounds right. Chatroom, can you help us out? Can somebody explain this?

Leo: That is obscure.

Alex: Yea, yea, yea. It’s on Wikipedia I think.

Leo: Well it must be true.

Alex: Yea, well the internet is always accurate. Everyone knows that.

Leo: I’m going to past buffalo in 7 times. 5, 6, 7 and see what happens.

Alex: Yes.

Leo: A Bison engaged in a contest of dominance. That’s what it means. Because the bison is a buffalo. I don’t know. It’s a grammatically correct sentence. An example of homonyms and homophones. Teach this to your kids. The City of Buffalo, the noun buffalo, the verb buffalo. So you’d have to know what each is.

Alex: So a buffalo from Buffalo—

Leo: Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo.

Natali: Can you shuffle off to Buffalo?

Leo: (Laughing) buffalo.

Alex: Now we’re just saying the word too much. Who thought this up? Like who sat down and was like, “I know, I’ve got it guys. I’m going to use buffalo in a sentence.” Because they must have a lot of time on their hands to think this up.

Leo: Who wrote this article?

Alex: The Wikipedia page is longer than the bible.

Leo: (laughing) ok, I’m sorry. I’m getting distracted.

Alex: Is this a show or something? What’s going on?

Patrick: This week in grammar.

Leo: It’s all about the punctuation. All right. What happens if you say Betelgeuse 3 times?

Patrick: I don’t know. Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo.

Natali: Or Bloody Mary.

Leo: What happens then?

Natali: If you say Bloody Mary in the dark, she appears. Hello.

Leo: If you just say it once?

Natali: No, you have to say it in the mirror three times. I think—you guys know the urban legend, don’t you?

Alex: No, this is a revelation.

Natali: Really?

Leo: Turn the lights down. Natali Morris is going to tell us some ghost stories, ladies and gentlemen. The highlight of the show. Go ahead, Natali.

Natali: Heck no!

Leo: (Laughing).

Alex: (Laughing).

Patrick: (Laughing).

Alex: That was your moment to shine.

Leo: I think she thinks it’s real.

Natali: I’m up here alone in my attic and if she appears over my shoulder I will pee in my chair.

Alex: Natali, behind you!

Leo: I think you’re, oh my God, it’s in the house!

Patrick: It’s coming from inside the house.

Leo: That’s so mean. I’m sorry. We shouldn’t say that.

Patrick: You’re children are inside the house.

Leo: Somebody in the chatroom says, “If you say Donald Trump three times he gets elected president.”

Alex: Oh, gosh, no one say it. But don’t you know what’s going to happen?

Natali: You guys zoomed in behind me, looked like someone was here.

Leo: Creepy. We’re creepy that way.

Natali: My sister has never forgiven me for locking her in the bathroom and saying Bloody Mary. She swears she saw something and… it’s supposed to be a real thing.

Leo: Ohhhhhhhhhh.

Natali: I wonder, I’m not even going to Google it. I’m too scared.

Leo: Actually isn’t Clayton like really into ghosts?

Natali: Uh, yea, he’s really into scaring people.

Leo: Or is it you two?

Leo: No, he’s really into—yea, we’re both into, you know, very into like—

Leo: Does he, do you believe in ghosts?

Natali: Oh yea.

Leo: So you think that actually Bloody Mary could show up?

Natali: I don’t really believe in nefarious ghosts anymore.

Alex: So only like Casper the Friendly Ghost?

Natali: No I believe in the afterlife and sort of like—

Leo: Right. Well, that’s not odd at all.

Natali: But I don’t believe that—and I believe certain spirits sort of get stuck in certain places before they move on.

Leo: But Clayton like goes ghost hunting and stuff, right?

Natali: He’s actually going—for some reason, Siri just turned on. I didn’t—

Leo: Bloody Mary is in the house!

Alex: Do you have an axe?

Natali: Yes, right here. He’s going ghost hunting with The Ghost Hunters next week. Somewhere up eastern—

Leo: Yea. Is he going to be on TV or is he just going, like going with them?

Natali: No, it will be on TV. It will be on Fox.

Leo: Oh my God. Bloody Mary is hovering now—don’t look now over your right shoulder. It’s Bloody Mary! Oh, wait a minute. That’s the good kind with celery.

Natali: I actually—these things, they really do sort of creep under my skin.

Leo: Ok, I’m sorry. We’ll move on.

(This Week in Tech #538)

Leo: You like that iPad? I find the iPad pro awfully big.

Harry: It is large, but I'm trying to use it as my primary computer, so doing serious writing it’s good for, great big spread sheets.

Leo: Makes me long for my mini. Actually, if Berk or somebody would get my iPad Pro and the pencil and everything. I also got the Apple keyboard and I got the Logitech. I like the Logitech better, but it's so big and heavy.

Harry: Yeah, it's a little bit cumbersome, just in terms, not the size of the keyboard but the whole package.

Leo: But the Apple keyboard is hard to... it's a chicklet, so it's hard to type on. The keys don't move.

Harry: It looks really chicklet-y but after using, it took me about two days until I was able to go at the same speed with anything else.

Leo: Your fingers aren't sore?

Harry: Nope, not at all.

Leo: You think it's going to be a hit?

Harry: I think for certain type of people including me, it is ideal. The big question is how many of those people are there? Most people are not going to buy this and a laptop, because that's the price of a pretty nice laptop.

Leo: Yea, when I think about what I pay for this thing, I weep.

Harry: I think artists will go ga-ga for it. Pencil is just great.

Leo: That's what I think is going to happen.

Harry: Pencil is fantastic if you like to draw.

Leo: This is much like you were saying, Philip, for the Apple Watch. If the apps appear that support this unique form factor-- by the way, how does this work? You’ve got to--

Harry: When you snap it on, you have to put the iPad on, so it looks like it's upside down. Then you go like yay. You have it on backwards, I think.

Leo: $170 bucks and it's an accordion basically. All right, there. I got it, there. There we go!

(This Week in Tech #543)

Leo: I really want to thank Jason Howell for making this possible. Jason, you rock. It’s been a great year and a half with you. I look forward to seeing what you and Megan to with TNT. Thanks for putting this best of together. Thanks to all of you for your support through the years. TWiT is now in its, we have completed, this is hard to believe, 10 years. We are in our 11th year. For any show that is a landmark. But this show has continued to grow and grow in popularity. And it’s all because of you. So thank you so much. I hope you have a fantastic 2016 and know that we will be here right here with you every Sunday afternoon for This Week in Tech. Thanks everybody. I’ll see you next week for a brand new show. I’m Leo Laporte. Another TWiT, say it with me, is in the can! Bye-bye.




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