This Week in Tech 553
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! Mark Milian is here from Bloomberg Business Week. Nathan Olivarez Giles from the Wall Street Journal and David Pogue is joining us from South by Southwest where it's 96 degrees! We'll talk about the President's remarks at South By, we got a little gaming segment. We'll talk a little bit about VR and the game developer's conference coming up next week and of course the Apple event. It's going to be a great show. Stay tuned: TWiT is next.
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 553, recorded Sunday, March 13, 2016.
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It's time for TWiT, This week in Tech, the show where we cover the latest tech news with the best tech journalists out there. We start with Mark Milian from Bloomberg Business week. Hey Mark.
Mark Milian: Hey Leo!
Leo: Great to see you. You're now in charge of all tech coverage there.
Mark: No, but that would be nice. Brad Stone is in charge of that. He's doing a great job. I'm helping get our new start up capitol team off the ground.
Leo: And of course when there is a Mark Milian sighting, we usually see Nathan Olivarez Giles from the Wall Street Journal. Good to see you.
Nathan Olivarez-Giles: Thanks for having me on. Thank you.
Leo: We're both dressed for rain, but David Pogue is dressed for 96 degree weather in Austin, Texas. From Yahoo Tech, David Pogue. Hi, David!
David Pogue: South by Southwest. Direct sunlight, man. I'm on the roof of the W hotel.
Leo: You're outside in 96 degree weather?
David: Yes. I was trying to find a place where it would be quiet, so they suggested the pool top rooftop area, and I'm in the corner because it's windy. I'm trying to not be too noisy.
Leo: Your panel is right after the show today. What are you going to do?
David: This is a Yahoo, OMD joint venture. I'll be interviewing a startup creator.
Leo: Oh fun! That's great. South by Southwest starts with the interactive and film and music comes later in the week. How has it been so far? You start Friday, right?
David: I just arrived two hours ago. I couldn't tell you.
Leo: You didn't get to see the President.
David: I saw him on video.
Leo: That's a big keynote for South by Southwest to have the President of the United States. I think that's got to be a first. he went to tell the techies visiting South by Southwest that we need them, that we need the tech community to get involved to help make government more efficient, more transparent, great message. I think it resonated well, unfortunately all of that completely got superseded by one of the questions towards the end of his presentation. Somebody asked him about the department of Justice versus Apple. Who wants to pick it up here? You could pick it up if you want, Mark Milian. He said we've got to stop fetishizing Smart Phones that they can't be allowed to be black boxes and the tech Industry should work with the Government to solve this.
Mark: He's right. Obviously he's going to side with law enforcement and with the Federal Government.
Leo: That's not obvious, but he's the President. I guess he has to.
Mark: They ultimately report to him, so you'd hope the boss is on the same message as...
Leo: That's one thing that's interesting. It doesn't seem like the Government is actually of one voice on this. The NSA is promoting strong encryption. NSA says we need to end encryption everywhere. The FBI says we can't enforce the laws if we have it, so there isn't universal agreement in the Government. David, where do you stand on all of this?
David: I'm not sure I took away the same message from Obama's speech. What I got from him was a typical Obama reasoned, measured effect. I heard him saying let's not slam the door and say neither one of us can move, let's come up with a solution. I have to say there must be a solution. If all the posturing went away and this weren't being done in the public eye, I'll bet you they could come up with a solution. For example, I don't know the particulars of the software code, but suppose the FBI gave Apple the phone, said don't create a backdoor. We don't need to have it, you're not going to give it out, but can you find the data on there for us? Help us hunt down a terrorist without sacrificing anybody else's privacy. It seems like there's a precedent for this, which is the warrant. If someone wants to search your home, they get a warrant by a judge who then says we need to search the home because we suspect you of something. This idea of we need to pursue our investigation through your private area is not a new idea. It seems like Obama is like where there could be some compromise.
Mark: That was the point he was trying to make is throughout the history of technology there have been ways for the Government to get access to things, whether it's going to AT&T and pulling information off of their servers from cell phone data, or whether it is having a backdoor from Skype or any other software out there. This specific Apple case, what they're asking Apple to do is to create a special version of their operating system that only Apple has access to and the Government would be able to bring phones to Cupertino and say "install that version of your operating system on it so that we can brute force hack the passcode and get access to the phone." What Apple is saying is that if we do that, then somebody might hack our systems and get access to that software and then they have a key to everyone's phone in the world.
Leo: Isn't it telling that the FBI could do exactly what you say, David? Here's the phone. That's what they used to do. Here's the phone, just give us the data, but they chose not to. I think the FBI is interested in establishing a precedent, and the precedent that worries me, the precedent they'd like to establish is not "Apple is going to help us open up this phone," but that we can compel using the courts a tech company to write custom firmware and that is I think what their long term goal is. It's not about this phone, it's about getting a tech company to do this. I'll tell you David why I disagree with the president. He's a politician. Politics is the realm of compromise and negotiation, of course from his point of view, there's always a negotiation that can go on. You can't take an absolute view on this, he says. If your argument is strong encryption no matter what and we can and should create black boxes, it does not strike the kind of balance we've lived with for 200, 300 years and it's fetishizing our phones above every other value and I think he's missing the point. I understand that. That's a good political point of view. If we sit down we can work this out. But it's not about politics, it's about math. In my opinion, the technologists he's talking to are probably thinking the same thing. We don't like this 2 + 2=4 thing, can we work it out? Can we compromise? Can we make it 4 1/2? Because the encryption exists. The math exists. There's nothing anybody can do about that. It's out there. It's done. In fact, there's a guy with a tattoo on his chest of strong encryption. There's t shirts. We've done this once before. The Government said with munitions, strong encryption is like munitions. In the mid 90's they said that you cannot export strong encryption, so what happened? We have history as a lesson here that is apparently not being paid attention to. What happened is netscape said if you're going to insist that we can't export 128 bit key encryption, we'll make 40 bit and it'll be in all our browsers. We can't make a sepparate browser for the US and Russia, so we'll make one browser. It will have 40 bit encryption. Here we are 20 years later, the fact that 40 bit encryption was in that browser means we still have to support 48 bit encryption on websites, and it has become a real security problem to the point now where many companies like Google and Microsoft are trying to force this weak encryption off the Internet, but it's hard to do. So this was an example of legislative fiat the Government saying you can't have strong encryption? So it doesn't break it for bad guys, because bad guys can access strong encryption. It's out there. It's easy. Everybody can do it. So all it does is it takes strong encryption away from normal users.
Mark: The Government has argued that Apple is doing this for marketing reasons to protect their own business... in many ways, if this were the precedent that were set, that the Government could go to an American company and say you need to build this version of your phone so that we can get into it, that really does potentially put American technology companies at a disadvantage if people do prioritize security over all else. A company like Xaimi or Blackphone or these non-American companies could get potentially a big boost from people who do prioritize their privacy. Apple and Google and the other companies would be at a disadvantage.
Leo: If a bad guy wants to have private conversations, they can do it. Nothing they can do about it.
Mark: That's what Apple cited is Telegram, which is this huge messaging service from the creator of the Facebook of Russia that has very strong encryption. It's used throughout ISIS's organization. You can't go to them and tell them to build a version of their software that the FBI can have access to, they're not going to listen.
Leo: Here's the real problem right now is WhatsApp. Forget the iPhone. WhatsApp is being used. It has strong encryption, it's used by Facebook, it's invisible to law enforcement. You can use WhatsApp for crying out loud. Free app out there. Lots of others. Wire just got updated. It's a Swiss company, OTR strong public key crypto, it's open source. How are you going to stop that?
David: It seems to me part of the problem is there are so many conflated issues to argue about. In other words, are we arguing about being spied on? Are we arguing about the Government pressuring a private company to bend its ways? Are we arguing about the San Bernardino terrorists? Let me ask you, Leo. If there were such a solution, whereby no innocent individuals could have their phones broken into, but only bad guys or suspected bad guys, so that all the other issues of this go away, would that be satisfactory.
Leo: Oh yeah, of course.
David: You're not saying even terrorists should have their privacy.
Leo: I'm saying you cannot limit terrorists privacy without breaking it for everyone. That's the real problem. Look. There's a long standing tradition, this is a tradition we all have to support, this is how society works, if a court based on reasonable cause orders a search of your home that that's legal and proper and the law enforcement can do that. The fact, up till now, we talked about this last week, there's only one place in the whole world that was protected, and that was your brain. The courts have held the one place law enforcement can't force, you can't be forced to testify against yourself. You can be forced to give a fingerprint, a hair, but you cannot be forced to divulge the contents of your brain. Courts have already said this. We're going to mark this out as a private space. The problem is... that's why I'm saying it's not a political negotiation. Of course you should be able to, with a lawful warrant, search anything. That's what our nation is based on. The problem is it's too late. Encryption exists. You can tell Apple not to encrypt iPhones, but it doesn't mean somebody can't use WhatsApp on their iPhone.
Nathan: Part of what bothers me about regular warrants and searching your home is if law enforcement wants to come into my home and search what I have, I have access to that warrant. I can know about it, I can get a copy of it. I can take it to my legal team. With all that we've seen of what the NSA is doing on spying, we don't know when they're asking tech companies already for our information. That's already been happening. That is already a precedent. If we talk about breaking encryption to getting into these devices, of course the San Bernardino shooter is the example everyone is talking about right now, he's at the center of it, but in no situation is that where this would end at all. There's been hundreds of requests that are similar, there's even dozens from the Attorney General...
Mark: Even in this Interview at South by SouthWest Obama expanded the scope of what we're talking about here. Outside of San Bernardino he also brought up the example of enforcing tax, IRS taxes. Everybody shouldn't have a Swiss bank account in their pockets. That already suggests how far does this go? Let's say I don't report my Amazon purchases on my tax return, can they then access my phone data to see that I've purchased some stuff from Amazon?
Leo: I like your hypothetical, but do you think that's possible?
David: I just wanted to clarify what we are arguing about. I know there are people on the Internet who say no access to anybody at any time. It doesn't matter if I have child porn, it doesn't matter if I'm a terrorist. It's the principle of the thing. I was just trying to peg where you are.
Leo: I'm standing back from that argument. I'm also not anti-Government which a lot of technologists don't like the idea of Government at all and think privacy should be Universal and so forth. But it doesn't even matter. Yeah, you can have different points of view on that, but I think it doesn't matter at this point. Somebody will make a strong encrypted phone. It won't be a United States company, I guess. Somebody has already made many messaging programs that are completely secure. Telegrams are a poor choice because then it's using your own encryption, which is easily broken apparently. You've got to figure that the Government, this is a little bit of a spacious argument from the Government because they've even said "we're not too worried. You've got the Internet of things coming along, you're going to be putting 20 things in your house that we can use to spy on you at any time." Remember that Harvard Berkman law center study called "Going Dark" which concluded that there's no problem with going dark. I think law enforcement... what they're seeking is a pretty broad ability to compel tech companies to re-write their firmware to their benefit. They may get it. I wouldn't be surprised if they got it and I think President Obama is right to say we should resolve this before it gets to Congress, because Congress isn't going to write a good law.
Nathan: I'm also concerned about what this will mean for other countries. China is watching it closely. That's something we've covered a lot at the Journal and there's questions about how far the United States gets in its ability to compel tech companies to create software for them to help them in their pursuits, what will that mean when China asks the same sort of thing. There's also been this WhatsApp executive in Brazil who is arrested for only a day, but nevertheless he was arrested because WhatsApp wasn't able to turn over some data that the Government requested, and the company argued that the data doesn't exist. We can't give you what doesn't exist.
Leo: We don't have it.
Nathan: There's a fundamental misunderstanding on the side of the Government as to what exists and what is possible and what is new and what is there or isn't. This guy got thrown in jail for it.
Leo: I think it's kind of unfortunate, because I really do feel like the President went to South by Southwest with a strong message, which is let's get the tech community working with Government to make government more efficient more responsive. It's gotten completely overwhelmed. You've had to move David. Are you OK?
David: A Hotel employee needed to make some adjustments.
Nathan: I got to clean this concrete block behind you.
Leo: David insists he's in a hotel, we're pretty sure he's in the Austin city jail.
David: It was time for the other prisoners to have..
Leo: Been in the yard too long, huh? It's an argument we've been talking about since this news broke weeks ago. Probably we've dealt it to death ad nauseam, but I was a little disappointed. I understand the President is a politician, he's going to expect a political solution to this, but I don't think he understands that it's not a question of political solutions. There's the math and the math is not retractable.
David: How do you think it's going to turn out? What if a judge says Apple you lose? What are they going to do? Put 13,000 employees in jail?
Leo: I wonder what happens. Let's say it goes to the Supreme Court. It'll go to the Supreme Court no matter what. If Apple wins, if Apple loses! Whoever loses is going to appeal, it'll end up in the Supreme Court, if they take it, and let's say they rule against Apple, who goes to jail? Tim Cook? Who goes to jail? I think Apple complies is what happens. I think Apple doesn't want to comply, but if it's a court order and they've appealed it all the way and they lost, I think Apple complies. They're not an unlawful company, but I think ultimately this shouldn't be decided by the courts, this should be decided by Congress. Unfortunately Congress is going to undoubtedly do the wrong thing. They've been asked before. CALEA is the template for this, the assistance to law enforcement act that Congress passed in the 90's that said telecom companies like AT&T must cooperate with law enforcement. That's why there's a secret room in AT&T in San Francisco. There's been attempts to pass a CALEA for digital providers that have failed so far. I suspect we'll see an attempt at CALEA 3 in Congress. Then, let's play this out. It's the scenario you talked about. Now any company that wants to do business in the United States has to sell broken encryption and if you are a bad guy then you go buy this black phone.
Nathan: I think it would put us at a disadvantage. I'm disappointed that the Government itself is doing this in such a public way and trying to put a little fire under Apple for this. Of all the resources that they have, they can't figure this out on their own. They're very publically saying Apple needs to do this for us, and the fact of the matter is Apple doesn't just belong to the United States, Google doesn't just belong to the United States. These are global companies that have their own, whether we like it or not, political and social power and their own influence all over the world. These other Governments are going to come at these companies in similar ways, so we might like it right now because the United States Government is trying to get its own thing, but when it spreads and this becomes the norm and the practice, then there are flawed products out there for everybody. The simple fact is that new technologies will be developed and there will be new secret ways for people to share what they need to share and to communicate and the bar will always be moved. I think it's a little bit defeatist, I think it's a little bit short-sighted, it's definitely not just about the San Bernardino shooter's phone, but it's about changing the expectation that we have as consumers for what we have in our pockets. You can see encryption as something that leaves you safe, and private, but the removing that expectation of privacy, or the want to, I think the Government wants to remove that expectation of privacy in a way that mirrors some of the state backed companies and technologies that you do see in countries like China.
Leo: If you buy a Wave phone in China, you've got to presume the Chinese Government could...
Nathan: That's the thing. Well it's not private anyway, so why would you share or do certain things?
Leo: I agree with the president. There's nothing particularly special about a Smart Phone that it has to...
Nathan: It's not about the phone.
Leo: That's not what we're talking about. It's about encryption in general. Go ahead.
David: You know what's in the back of my head over this? I think it was Geoffrey Fowler of the Wall Street Journal who did this great column that I never saw coming, I didn't even think about this. Google and Apple who are competitors in some way have a very different approach towards privacy. Apple is trying to make more and more with every month about how little of your data it maintains, about how few connections there are between these various apps. Google on the other hand is like Oh yeah. We know where you go, we know your email, we know your money, we know your phone. Now we have our thermostats, knowing when you're home, and they create products that exploit all of this data in really clever ways. When you are using Google maps and you start typing in an address, I have to type in two letters of the street and it knows where I'm going. How does it know that? It also has access to my Gmail and to my calendar. It can give us things in exchange for this data and follower is saying Apple is hog tying itself by saying we're all about privacy. We're never going to make those connections. What's curious about all of this is the timing. Apple's big marketing push and I'm on the receiving end of PR missives about this all the time, every time there's a new Apple product, they're like by the way we don't maintain any of your data, but they're trying to make it a sales point. They are. In some ways that's in the back of my head through all of Tim Cook's protestations about this privacy thing. They're making a big public stink about just how seriously Apple takes privacy as a competitive advantage.
Leo: There's some merit to the department of justice saying see, Apple is using this as a marketing opportunity. There is some merit to that. It is a valuable marketing opportunity. I think it's a little bit of a misrepresentation, because we know for instance that Apple could have... they've even said. If Veruca had backed up his iPhone to the Cloud, we could have given that to the FBI, so Apple has access to all this stuff. They choose not to mine it for information as Google does. Ironically my Nexus 6P, which is encrypted by default can be protected with a strong password that Google couldn't write a back door to. This is as encrypted as an iPhone. It doesn't have that weak four digit or six digit unlock if I don't want it to, but at the same time any device you use, and this is why I worry if the Department of Justice or anybody can compel a company to write custom firmware for that device, there's nothing we have in computing that can't be cracked and opened. Google could push firmware onto an Android device that would give them access to all the data on their Android devices as well. That's the real risk and I do unfortunately think that's the precedent the Government wants to establish is in the pursuit of law enforcement under a court order, we should be able to get custom firmware written for any device so we can see what's on that device. While you're at it, why don't you just give us that firmware so we can just put it on there as necessary, that way we don't have to keep bothering you. I think that's the end game.
David: In some ways, I wonder why we're getting so hyped up over this issue on our Smartphones. There are so many other realms where we're routinely being data harvested. How do you know that Verizon isn't listening into every call you make? How do you know your grocery isn't saying "Loading up on the pastries this month, are you Leo?" Or how do you know Visa and MasterCard aren't perusing your credit card statements? All around us are things that we could be getting worried and upset about and every time a reader says this really bothers me about my privacy. If you're going to be paranoid, be rational about it. You have much bigger fields to plow.
Leo: Get real paranoid, because frankly you have no privacy. We'll use this as an example. Verizon of course is putting super cookies on all the web traffic from Verizon customers over the years, they got in trouble with the FCC, the FCC is now fining Verizon the huge amount of 1.53 million dollars and they're going to keep using the Super cookies. Steve Gibson pointed out Verizon would happily pay that every year, because they're making more than that from the people they sell that information to. It's a sad fine to be honest with you. It's a slap on the wrist, unfortunately the super cookie will continue. The FCC has said that you have to be clear that you're doing it to Verizon, and you have to have an opt-out. Here's the truth. I bet you noticed this, David. People don't really care.
David: No. And it's also really generational. The millennials are like you're going to give me a free service in exchange for my data? Traffic speeds on Google maps? Sign me up. It's just us old guys who still have one toe in the privacy thing. It really is so generational. We're going to die out and the incoming generation will be not nearly as concerned.
Nathan: I think you're kind of correct on that.
Leo: You're a millennial. I'm surrounded by millennials.
Nathan: We're taking over. The fact of the matter is, it is really easy to point to people, millennial older or younger, and say you don't care about privacy, you like getting free stuff. You like the advantage of Google maps. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of how this technology works and what we're giving up in trade for those services. The first time that someone signs up for a Google account or a Facebook account, maybe nowadays they're in Middle School. Do you think they have an understanding of what data they're giving away? You yourself, Pogue, you just said that you're looking at these people and they don't understand they're being paranoid. I think you, myself, Mark, all of us as journalists need to do a better job of explaining what the hell people are giving away, and we don't do a good job of that. Most tech journalists...
Leo: I bet it's because people don't really care. People glaze over.
Nathan: If people didn't care, why would Edward Snowden be a household name today? Why would we care about the NSA issues? Why was Edward Snowden the keynote speaker last year at South by Southwest before Obama was this year? It wasn't a mistake the president rolled through and happened to be talking about these things right as the FBI is...
Leo: I think people know that Facebook sells their information. That's how Facebook makes money.
Nathan: They do in the abstract. They know what I like and they know who my friends are and they know how old I am.
Leo: They don't understand the pervasiveness. Here's a report from a company called upturn, this is a report they put out for policy makers in Washington, DC. What ISPs can see: clarifying the technical landscape of the broadband privacy debate and the takeaways are I'd love to see this published in the Wall Street Journal or the Bloomberg Business Week or in Yahoo tech. Truly pervasive encryption on the Internet is still a long way off. For instance, 86% of health sites do not encrypt browsing. 90 percent of news and 86 percent of shopping. Your ISP can see right into that. Internet of things devices often transmit data without encryption. Most people are using messaging apps that are not encrypted by default, I guess Apple's is because they use it because that's by default and that's what Apple has made their name but even with HTPC, ISPs can still see the domains their subscribers visit, so they can collect where you're going and what you're doing. Your ISP knows... what are you worried about Google or Apple? Your ISP is the expert on what the hell you're doing on the Internet.
Nathan: They are already cooperating with the Government.
Leo: Remember Carnivore which was a big to do, mostly because of the name, this was the box the FBI was going to require all ISPs put into their network operations center to keep track of what their users were doing and keep track of it for two years just in case the FBI wanted to investigate them. They changed the name, but basically the rules are the same. Carnivore was maybe not a good name. So they decided to do something else. ISPs are required to keep 18 months of data, and they know everything, and they're handing it over.
David: To answer your question, David I think there's also a big audience question about the coverage of all of this stuff. Here we are, four men in the tech Industry all tech writers sitting here discussing what we think the masses feel about private Industry and the tradeoffs. We're not most people. We're the echo chamber of the technologencia. I think Edward Snowden freaked out the masses, because it said people could see where we went on the Internet. People were suddenly like wait, the NSA knows what porn sites I go to? That would freak out everybody, but I don't care what they say on their phones or what address they put into Google maps. I think many younger people say I don't care about that stuff.
Leo: I think your generation has given up.
Nathan: I don't.
Leo: I would if I were you. Surrender. You can call him mister Pogue, if you want.
Leo: Is he allowed to call you David?
Nathan: What is your nickname, by the way? Is it Scar? Glass half full, glass half empty. All that stuff, I look at the sort of things, people teaming up online and trying to do things for net neutrality and the movement around that. I look at popular culture, shows like Mister Robot. This is in the national dialogue whether we like it or not. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and say if they knew what was happening, they would care. When I see examples of them being enlightened to what has happened, people seem to care. People have lots of questions for me, whether it's my aunts and Uncles or my Middle School cousins, or my peers at publications, some of whom are millennials and some of whom aren't. It's just like that city hall reporter where no one reads the work that they do and local newspapers wondering why they even have that person at those meetings and as soon as the corruption comes out, suddenly people care. At the LA times, we had a situation years ago where they won a Pulitzer for exposing corruption in this small city called Bell. No one cared about Bell, but what the explosion was corrupted, people started caring and talking about it. I think right now we have this situation where it's easy to say no one cares about privacy, and all of these things, but it's in the national conversation. It's in popular culture. We're talking about it, whether we like it or not. I think as journalists, as media, the whole estate concept, it's our job. Give them the information.
Leo: Don't you think they feel helpless though when given that information? They don't like it, but what am I going to do about it?
Nathan: The Gadget reviewer, like David Pogue, I write some reviews from Time to time, part of our job is to do those service journals and to show how we should use these things and how to handle it.
Leo: Maybe that's why you started Yahoo Tech was to talk to real people about that technology.
David: I can tell you we routinely started out, we thought we would be with the Zeitgeist. We had our thumbs on the pulse of the populous and we did stories on how to set up encryption on both ends and how to get a completely anonymous web browsing experience. How to not leave tracks. We would run these stories, and guess how many people clicked on them? It's us that cares, it's not...
Leo: It's interesting, because on the radio, I'm dealing with the unwashed masses. I don't spend a lot of time trying to explain how to be safe. I don't talk about how to be encrypted or private. Mostly what I do is say you're not. So you shouldn't put it on Facebook if you don't want somebody to see it. It would be a mistake to presume you're communicating privately. Unless you really take the time and the effort to. That's the irony of this. If you're up to no good, your likelihood of being interested in this is much higher if you're a normal person.
Mark: I think people don't seem to understand the consequences. They think from a 1984 mindset, I'm not doing anything bad. They'll be able to catch the people who are doing bad things. I think a lot of people feel that way. That's not what this country was founded on. People who do care about history or about civil liberties get fired up about this stuff because they understand the differences between our country and China or Germany 60 years ago.
Leo: One of the differences is we have a court system that protects, or is supposed to, protect individuals rights while giving law enforcement the tools they need to investigate. I think that's a good thing. that's one of the strengths of this country is the rule of law. The real foundations of America's greatness. I also feel like this is moot at this point because of the ability to use strong encryption and any attempt to undermine strong encryption is misguided. I think it's a technical argument. That's not an argument politicians will ever understand. They don't ever want to say 2 + 2 is four no matter what I think. They would like it to be negotiable. We're going to take a break. David Pogue is here from somewhere in Austin. It's so great to see you. Wait a minute. Did Yahoo close down the separate tech channel? Are you folded into general coverage?
David: They shut down a few of the digital magazines like food and travel. So far they haven't shut down Yahoo Tech. We're still soldiering on.
Leo: I think you do a great job there, it's a really great site. David is at South by for his panel about startups coming up after this show, so if you're in rush hour, rush over there, wherever there is. Are you going to leave right after your panel, or are you going to have some party time?
David: This is absurd. This is a Yahoo sponsored panel at 7 tonight and tomorrow morning, I'm speaking in San Diego and the next day I'm back at South by for another panel. Big yoyo across the country.
Leo: I'm glad we could borrow some of your time this afternoon. Thank you for doing that. Really appreciate it. Also from the Wall Street Journal, Nathan Olivarez-Giles. Always great to have you.
Nathan: Always a pleasure.
Leo: Get the millennial point of view in here, you young people, and Mark Millian. I guess you guys met at the LA times. Was that story... what was the HBO show that was based on the corrupt city?
Leo: There's the new one.
Mark: Younkers right?
Leo: I was wondering if it was based on the LA Times story, because it's about a city in LA that is so corrupt... True Detective!
Nathan: That was not based on it at all.
Leo: It reminded me a little of Bell.
Nathan: I've never heard any connections to Bell directly but I'm sure they must have had some connection there.
Leo: Mark is currently at Bloomberg Business Week, and it's great to have all three of you. Our show to you today brought to you by Casper Mattress. You know what's great? It comes in a very compact box. They just bring it right back to you, you open it up. Here's mine. This is a queen size mattress in a very small box, you open it up and the mattress opens up. Smells great, feels great. It's a combination of latex and memory foam that eliminates the negatives of those and brings you all the positives, so you get this beautiful firm mattress with this supple top that breathes. I had a memory foam mattress, I didn't like it because it didn't breathe. This breathes. It's comfy. It's cool throughout the night. The nice thing is you buy this online which saves you a lot of money, because they don't have a middle man. You might say, but wait. I want to sleep on it before I commit. You can, you have a hundred days. Buying online is completely risk free, Casper will give you free delivery. You sleep on that mattress for up to a hundred days or a hundred nights I guess. If you don't like it, any time in the first 200 nights, they'll come up and take it away, refund you every penny. It is lovely. It's so nice. A good night's sleep is a critical portion of health and wellness and state of mind. While you're there, check out Casper's pillows. I have Casper pillows too, I love them. Another duel layer pillow... get the king size, because it's like a body pillow and you just wrap yourself around it. Casper's mattresses and pillows made in the USA and very affordable. Start at 500 dollars for a twin. I'm going to make it even better when you go to Casper casper.com/twit and use our offer code TWiT. You'll get 50 bucks off. Some terms and conditions apply for details. Visit casper.com/terms, casper.com/twit for the deal, Casper mattresses. You're going to love them. David, did you get a Galaxy S7 yet?
David: I have not. My reporter colleague reviewed it.
Leo: I'm looking at his review. In fact, you've got a great line up of pictures, iPhone 6 versus Galaxy S7. I've had the Galaxy S7 for a couple weeks now. I have to say, the best camera ever. Unbelievable! Of course it makes me interested in what Apple does in the fall with the 7, but the iPhone 7, but I think the S7 is finally an Android phone. Battery life is great.
David: Isn't it weird that they took away the water proof and the memory card and brought them back a generation later? Was that a marketing strategy or something?
Leo: They made a mistake. Apparently a lot of people drop their phones in toilets.
Mark: Would you want to use it after?
Leo: You rinse it off. It's 800 dollars. These are expensive phones. This phone is extremely fragile and slippery like a fish. I dropped it and it cracked. It's like a little fish in your hands. You've got to admit, even with a crack it's so pretty. It's all glass.
David: I bought this five dollar thing off of Amazon that is nothing but a grip layer.
Leo: I wish I had a grip layer. I needed a grip layer. This is so new that there are no cases. I'm still waiting for my case to come. It also has a fingerprint. I'll put it in a case and I won't have any issues.
Mark: I have an answer to our trivia question before the break. True detective season 2 was based on the city of Vernon, California. Another city of corruption that happens to border on the city of Bell.
Leo: What's funny is those of us who aren't from LA we just think of it as LA. But really it's a bunch of thiefdoms. It's like Italy. There's all these little places. There's not one LA. People from Santa Monica don't talk to Compton, and people from Compton stay away from Venice Beach and Venice Beach people are too high to care, so it all works out just great. I've been on the radio in LA since 2004, but I don't know what I'm talking about.
Nathan: It sounds like you don't. There are some people from San Francisco who don't go to Oakland. I'm one of those guys who goes everywhere, I go all over LA, I go all over the Bay Area. Always trying to get my friends in San Francisco to go out to Oakland with me. It's tough.
Leo: I was in Berkley, that's kind of like Oakland.
Nathan: Berkley is like the Santa Monica of Oakland.
Leo: We saw the Mark Morris dance company performing a dance oratorio. Next week, we're seeing Hamilton. Have you seen Hamilton, David?
David: I have not. Tickets are sold out for the next year and a half.
Leo: Broadway composer, don't you have connections?
David: I do. I haven't pursued them, but maybe I should.
Leo: Don't you know who I am? I have connections. I gave them a lot of Hamiltons, and that worked. A couple of Franklins in there as well, I believe. I'm really looking forward to it, I can't wait to see it. I will be leaving right after the Apple event and flying to New York City. The invitations have gone out! March 21, a whole two weeks before the event. David, did you get your invite?
David: I did. It was going to be one week before the event, because this is as you know delayed from the original date.
Leo: Why do you think it was delayed?
David: Some manufacturing hiccup.
Leo: You don't think it has anything to do with the fact that the day after the Apple event the court will rule on the FBI lawsuit? Very conspiracy minded. Complete BS, I know. I think Tim Cook thought we could have a big event, get a lot of good will for Apple, I could address the issue on stage, and then win or lose tomorrow, we'll have had our moment in the sun. You don't want to have it afterwards, and you don't want to have it too far ahead. Why not the day before?
David: You're being invited back again now?
Leo: I am totally persona non grata. I don't know what I did. I'll be watching it from afar. I meant Tim Cook. I was pretending I was Tim Cook. I do that sometimes. I roll in the money. What are we going to see? iPhone SE, which will be a four inch, based on the iPhone 6 platform. It won't have touch. No.
Nathan: If they don't put 3D touch in it...
Leo: They have to. That's the new interface.
Nathan: If they want people to see this phone as equal to the 6 or 6S, but just in a smaller size, you can't leave out what is the most cutting edge signature.
Leo: Do you use it? I always forget.
Nathan: I've gotten used to using it.
Leo: David do you press hard on your screen sometimes?
David: I have a corporate issued six. I don't press on my screen.
Leo: If you did, it would be fruitless. I press on my laptop screen all the time and all I get is dents. The iPhone SE, which is not a low cost iPhone but a small iPhone.
David: Which is smart. My wife is still using a 5S because she has small hands. I'm not getting that big phone, I'm not doing it! Meanwhile her signal strength is not as good as mine, her camera strength is not as good as mine. People will be very happy. They've already gone big, so this is the only direction they can go to expand the market.
Nathan: They have 3 iPad sizes, now 3 phone sizes. Why not? If the demand is there.
Leo: Seven days, nineteen hours and seven seconds from now we'll find out. Can you believe? The telegraph has a countdown timer on their website. They're not even in the US. That's crazy. It's funny Nate said do you have a computer I could use? What do you want? You don't have an iPad pro lying around? And I did.
Nathan: It was my request.
Leo: That would be your preferred platform?
Nathan: I've been using one. I actually do like it. I like the size, it's really light. The keyboard case is really awkward when you hold it up.
Leo: The pencil, do you use that? That's the other rumor. It'll be the new iPad. They did announce one in the fall. It won't be an iPad air 3 or 4. Whatever the next one is. It will be a little iPad pro. That would make sense.
Nathan: I wish the pencil worked on the iPad mini that I have. Little portable thing. But when you're doing real work you still need a laptop. That's the fact of the matter.
Leo: They tried to push this as a laptop replacement.
Nathan: If all you're doing is writing and checking email, that's great. But that's not all I do. Sometimes I want to edit videos and sometimes I need actual real robust software. It could get there, but it's early days.
David: I'm also hearing a refresh of the watch, and I think something not a lot of people are talking about, but I have read a refresh of the 12 inch macbook, which would be really good.
Leo: I love my Macbook. I love how thin it is, how light it is. It's a retina display. A lot of people complain about the keyboard.
Nathan: I like it.
Leo: I do a lot of type-os on my MacBook, but it is my Mac of choice. So what would you do? Would you make it faster, David? Is that what you would do?
David: I would make it faster. I wouldn't mind another USPC jack.
Leo: That's what Google did with the Pixel. That way you can power and then connect.
Mark: Speed is definitely an issue. This is the new MacBook. The one with the single USBC port.
Leo: I only buy gold things now. I even got the rose gold iPhone. I don't know why. I think it's age. I also have plastic covers on my furniture at home. Is that strange? I've never seen a gray one. It's pretty. Very nice. Very industrial. It looks like you work on it. Mine looks like I take it to ballets. It's a great size, and I would love to see an upgrade. Apple should probably upgrade all of its laptops because the skylight processor is out. I doubt we'd see that in a Macbook. Are they going to do the mobile, stick with a mobile?
Mark: Maybe MacBook Pro.
Leo: Probably do it in the Air. Sometimes Apple slips those out and doesn't do an event, this event is not a big event. What does the invitation say? Loop us in? Let us loop you in.
Mark: Infinite Loop in Cupertino. Small intimate.
Leo: I thought maybe they were going to release a loop for the iPad pro. It's a small event, it's at the Apple campus. 90 dollar loop. That's a small venue. We've been looking at the new theatre. Maybe you can help, David. I'd like to get an invitation to the first event at the new campus next year. That's the one. Have you seen? They've put the roof on the theatre.
David: That thing is looking really wild. I was looking at that exact article. Scroll down.
Leo: These are pictures that have been released. Mashable had them all in beautiful. Look at these. They're gorgeous.
David: The theatre is underground.
Leo: That's the lobby, with a 360 degree view of the apple campus. It just floats. What is holding it up? There's nothing holding it up. Glass walls. Glass doesn't hold roofs. What's holding it up? I'm not going in there. It looks scary.
Nathan: I thought you said Apple was good at math.
Leo: It's the largest free standing roof in the world. It's a carbon fiber roof, even though it weighs 8 tons, it's light for a roof of that size. It was made in Dubai. I don't know how they got it here.
David: Can you imagine the FedEx bill on that one?
Leo: Yeah. That's one thing. That would be the first event they hold there, presumably next year. Maybe around this time. Maybe the fall next year. That would be the event you'd want to go to. The first one in that beautiful theatre. I would guess, they've been coy about how they're going to name the new campus, but of course they'll name it after Steve, right? I would guess this is the Steve Jobs theatre. Wouldn't that be the right thing to do? He was the guy. He was the showman.
Nathan: The stage was his. That would be a nice little nod.
Leo: Steve Jobs theatre. Anyway. David, you're not going to pull any strings. You're standing back.
Nathan: This guy can't even get into Hamilton. Why are you asking him?
Leo: The problem is I can't offer him Hamiltons to get him to an Apple event.
David: Leo, I can get you in but I haven't heard your offer yet.
Leo: So article and business insider about Steve's widow Loraine who is a really sweet person. She's in the 50 richest people in the world. 14.4 billion dollars. Offering her Hamilton will not work. That's not the trick to get in. I met her and Steve many years ago. He was still at Pixar. They had recently married. Reid was two. He was the same age as Abby, my daughter. Wonderful person. I hope she is doing well. One of the problems with the iPad is sales seem to have tapered off a little bit and the question people are asking is a small iPad pro, is that going to make a difference?
David: That is correct. They seem to be doing a Samsung. Sales of ten inches have been slow, let's make 11 inches! No one is buying that, let's make nine inches.
Leo: Is everybody who wanted an iPad have an iPad and that's that?
Mark: I think the upgrade cycle on iPads are more like computers than they are like phones and I think a lot of people are doing more of their computing on phones and seeing less of a need to upgrade their iPad unless they need to upgrade their computers.
Nathan: I have an iPad mini, but it's the first generation. There's no need to upgrade. It's not like I'm doing real work on it. I'm watching videos and reading books, playing games.
Leo: So it isn’t that the iPad is not a success. As a platform it’s a success.
Nathan: It’s the most popular tablet in the entire world. It’s like the defining—
Leo: That’s not saying much because the other guys aren’t selling all that well.
Nathan: But it’s true. And like if you’re going to buy a tablet, 7 out of 10 times or something it’s like an iPad basically.
David: You know what I think is so weird? It seems like everybody chases each other in this industry, right? Oh, here’s an iPad now everybody else is going to have a tablet. Why is no one chasing the Amazon Echo? Why is there only one?
Leo: Oh, I agree with that.
Mark: Sonos is now chasing it.
Leo: Oh, no, no.
Mark: They got some staff and said they’re going to refocus.
Leo: They buried the lead on that one. I think that was all a spin. We’re going to lay off—oh, by the way we’re going to do voice.
Mark: Oh yea. They’re definitely trying to—
Leo: But we’re going to do voice. And they’re laying off people. We’re going to do voice. I love, look, I’m a Sonos fanatic. I have every, you know, every room in the house has Sonos but it’s hugely expensive. It’s really overpriced, let’s face it. I mean but it was the only thing that allowed you to do multi-room without an Echo, with it all synced up. They did some magic.
Nathan: And they sound really good unlike the Amazon Echo.
Leo: The Echo is not a great speaker.
Nathan: It’s not good.
Leo: And of course I immediately ordered a Dot because I want to put that on my Sonos speaker. But you have to wonder, is it too late for Sonos? You know there’s a lot of competition. Everybody’s buying other people’s speakers. If you could use something like a Chromecast audio to enable streaming. And I think the Chromecast does pretty good multi-room. And maybe add a Dot to give it voice. Or maybe Amazon—don’t you think Amazon could do something like this?
Mark: Yea, well I think it’s probably not too late, evidenced by the fact that Amazon came out of nowhere with this speaker and it’s been wildly successful. They’re working on a whole new line of them. I think you know, with the Chromecast and Apple’s like AirPort Express thing and some of the stuff they did with Apple TV on audio.
Leo: Yea, they’ve tried this.
Mark: They tried this but people just want a device that they can plug in.
Leo: Because it’s a speaker it’s easy. It’s straightforward.
Mark: Exactly, yea. And Apple has not really done a good job in speakers. They had the Hi-Fi which was a disaster. The iPod Hi-Fi many years ago.
Leo: I remember. I went to that. Steve Jobs said, “I’m selling all my high priced stereo equipment this is so good.” That’s when I thought, “You know what? This guy’s a good marketer.” (Laughing) and I didn’t really buy it that he sold his Macintosh Tube Amp and his Klipsch horns. I’m sure he kept those around.
Mark: You’re probably right.
Leo: Yea, I don’t think that Hi-Fi sold so well.
Mark: No, it did not.
Leo: All right, we’re going to take a break. Go ahead, David.
David: I was just going to say, there’s a self-help group somewhere for people who bought you know, the Macintosh TV and the Hi-Fi and all those things that quickly went away. 20th anniversary Mac.
Leo: I have one over there, David. I’m one of those guys. I have one over there, the 20th anniversary Mac. It’s an amazing thing. Isn’t it, it must be difficult I think for these companies. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. To make a product, spend years on it, really believe in the product, think it’s the greatest thing ever and people don’t buy it. It must be very like, you scratch your head. Why? What did we do wrong? Does anybody really understand the American consumer? Oh, look. Here it comes. I bought it, I ought to get some mileage out of it. Blow the dust off of it (laughing).
Mark: And it’s gold, your favorite color. Well, it’s kind of gold. Copper?
Leo: This is when—oh, don’t forget by the way, the entire computer is stored in the subwoofer.
Nathan: It looks like a precursor to the current Mac Pro.
Leo: Yea, the subwoofer is—
Nathan: It’s a trashcan.
Leo: It’s a Bose subwoofer and this is my favorite part. Give me the connector because I love the connector. This is how you connect. This is pre-USB. This is how you connect to the subwoofer. This is like an 82 pin DIN.
Mark: Is that what we call planned obsolescence?
Leo: What the what? You’ll never see this connector at Halsted. What the?
Nathan: I think they use those at NORAD.
David: A universal snake connector.
Leo: (laughing) but they had to do this because the computer, everything was in that subwoofer. And you put that under the desk and then you had this—they thought this was the greatest thing ever. Johnny Ive did this one, right? This is a Johnny Ive, one of his first designs.
Mark: Was it?
David: Wasn’t it $10,000 dollars?
Leo: Oh yea, that. So here’s a hint.
Nathan: Did you buy this new or did you get it after?
Leo: You know, I didn’t buy this. This was gifted.
Nathan: Did you use EBay?
Leo: No, I didn’t even buy it ever. One of our wonderful viewers—it appeared one day. I don’t even know how it happened. One of our wonderful viewers brought it to us. I guess he spent $10,000 dollars.
Nathan: I love stuff like this. Like this, the Nexus Q, Google Glass. I mean just these products that are full of good ideas but the execution maybe isn’t right.
Leo: Q is interesting. But Google never even shipped it. They gave up.
Nathan: Well, they had some pre-sales. They shipped it to the people who bought it and then cancelled it. So if you actually paid for it, you would have gotten it.
Leo: And people who went to Google IO got it.
Nathan: Yea, I have one.
Leo: Yea. Do you use it?
Nathan: No. You can’t anymore. They killed the Android app and support for it. It’s like this beautiful art sculpture that is useless but, man, it had like a really great amp in it and it was just too niche for its own good. But without it, would we have Chromecast?
Leo: Right, right. Exactly. All right, let’s take a break. David Pogue, he’s in the beautiful Austin area where it’s 96 degrees. I don’t know how you stay so cool, David. I mean—
David: Oh, I’m in the shade. By the way, it’s not really a jail. There’s the lovely W Hotel.
Leo: Far from it.
Mark: A white collar prison.
Leo: You know what that looks like? That looks like the place in Hoolie that wants to fire you but you’ve got nothing to do. That’s Yahoo’s special rooftop office for David.
Mark: He’s not in Austin.
Nathan: He’s just not going to comment on that at all (laughing). He’s just going to sit this one out.
David: I’m having trouble with the audio.
Leo: (laughing) What? You’re breaking up, you’re breaking up. Nathan Olivarez-Giles is also with us from The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Olivarez-Giles.
Nathan: Yes, sir.
Leo: And Mark Milian from Bloomberg Business Week. Mr. Milian, Mr. Pogue, Mr. Olivarez-Giles, my team for This Week in Tech. Hey we had a great week this week. Did you see all the stuff we did? You know what? Just in case you missed anything, we put together a small movie to show you.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Megan Morrone: Alexa, volume one. Alexa volume one. Alexa Volume one.
Narrator: This Week in Google.
Leo: So Aaron Newcomb brought us this. Now if you’re a nerd, an old school nerd you’ll recognize a 20 sided dice.
Electric Voice: That’s 13.
Leo: That’s awesome.
Aaron Newcomb: It uses Arduino. It uses an accelerometer.
Leo: And bring this to your next D & D, you’ll be a superstar.
Narrator: Know How.
Bryan Burnett: You’ll know how to choose between a Chromebook or a Cloud Book.
Father Robert Ballecer: If this had been the netbook, the netbook would have survived back then.
Narrator: Android App Arena.
Jason Howell: Have you ever wanted to try on somebody else’s face and not in a leather face horror sort of way. That would be weird. An app called MSQRD is here to creep you out. Even Facebook agrees this app is awesome. They announced just today that they bought the company.
Narrator: TWiT. Tell your boss it’s job related.
Iain Thompson: It’s just trying to deal with secret cults making secret judgements makes me more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Jason: Ok, got it.
Leo: It’s funny. Usually he brings us British-isms but that was a Texas-ism. Our show today brought to you by Carbonite. It’s time to back up. Oh, man, I had a painful call on the radio show today. A guy calls up. Omar. He says, “We got bit by ransomware.” I said, “A business?” He said, “Yea.” I said, “Well that’s ok because you have a backup right?” He said, “The ransomware got copied to the backup so the only backup we’ve got is two weeks ago.” So the first thing I said is, “Fire your IT guy.” I said, “You’re not the IT guy, are you?” He said, “No.” I said, “Fire your IT guy because he didn’t do right by you. Next get Carbonite.” Actually Carbonite on their website, if you go to Carbonite.com and you go to resources up at the top there and there are white papers. They have a white paper on what to do to protect yourself from ransomware. Carbonite is a great solution. It’s backup done right. See, what Carbonite does is it does versioning. So even if you get stuff encrypted on your hard drive, and even if it backs up the encrypted files, you can always get back the latest version right before the encryption. It’s just the best. If you’re in business, if you’re at home, automatic cloud backup is the solution. You don’t want to back up next to—well, you could back up to your extra computer but it shouldn’t be your only backup. You’ve got to get it offsite as well in case of you know, like a big disaster, like fire, flood. Carbonite Cloud Backup will protect the files that keep your business or your home running smoothly. You know, one and a half million people use Carbonite. And this is the stat I love. They have restored 50 billion files to date. That’s 50 billion documents that would have been lost forever. That’s kind of an amazing number. Whether it’s human error or disaster, Carbonite protects you. Start your free trial at Carbonite.com. No credit card required. Use the offer code TWIT and get 2 free bonus months if you decide to buy. Right now’s a good time you get 30% off as well. Use the offer code TWIT though to get that benefit. Carbonite.com you got to back it up to get it back. Do it right with Carbonite. This poor guy, Omar, he was calling saying was there anything I can do? And I said, “No, and don’t pay the ransom either. Don’t do like that hospital in LA did. $17,000 dollar ransom.” A lot of times what happens with ransomware, it’s kind of bittersweet, is law enforcement cuts off the ransomware server so you pay them your bitcoin but the server’s down, you can’t get your decryption key. So, you know, once it happens don’t pay them. Just you know, bite the bullet and have a good backup. Have a good backup. That’s something we can tell our readers.
Leo: That’s kind of one of the most important things to do. Are you guys college basketball fans? March Madness? You got the bug?
Mark: Oh yea. Go Terps.
Leo: Terps, those are the turtles?
Mark: The Turtles, yes. It’s a type of turtle. Maryland.
Leo: (Laughing) Maryland Terrapins. But they’re called the Terps for reasons nobody understands. Are you a Terp?
Mark: I am a Terp.
Leo: And you, Nathan?
Nathan: I’m an Arizona Wildcat.
Leo: Wildcat. Roar!
Nathan: They’re going to win the PAC12 this year.
Leo: David, we just look in horror because of course our team the Bulldogs has never been to the NCAA Tournament and never will.
Mark: Which Bulldogs?
Leo: Which Bulldogs?
David: Never will.
Leo: Never will. David and I went to the best school in Connecticut (laughing).
Mark: Is there something wrong with your jaw there, Leo?
Leo: Well if you can’t go to March Madness you can’t open your mouth. You sound like this. I say, were you a Whiffenpoof, David?
David: I was not a Whiffenpoof. I was an Alley Cat.
Leo: An Alley Cat. I had a feeling you might have been one of those great singing groups.
David: (Laughing) the problem with the lockjaw like that is you can’t be a Whiffenpoof.
Leo: You can’t be a Whiffenpoof. We’re little lost lambs that have gone straight off the farm. So seriously, if you go to a school that doesn’t participate in this way you really don’t get into March Madness.
Mark: True. Was there much competition between your school and UConn?
Leo: The University of Connecticut. Those Huskies are too good for us.
Mark: You could adopt UConn.
Leo: You can root for UConn. I’m not rooting for UConn. David, do you root for UConn?
David: You know what, I’m too busy playing with the Amazon Echo.
Leo: (laughing) We’ll get back to the Echo in a second. Actually there was a big Echo story. I was just going to mention that March Madness has a split screen on Apple TV which I haven’t seen because I haven’t been watching the tournament. Have you tried it?
Nathan: No, I haven’t actually.
Leo: It looks cool. They’ve done some really interesting things for sports with the Apple TV. That’s smart. That’s really smart because those, you know, people who watch that stuff are really—
Nathan: I think it’s like maybe 60% of what I watch on my Apple TV is sports.
Leo: I can’t wait until baseball because they’re going to have some baseball features like multi-screen baseball.
Nathan: Got MLB, got NBA, got MLS.
Mark: FUBA TV just got an investment from Fox and Sky. They’re blowing up.
Nathan: Watch a little Barcelona.
Leo: Who would have thought that IPTV would have ended up being about sports?
Mark: TV is about sports.
Leo: TV is. Well, but sports which is live. It’s like kind of you can watch all the House of Cards you want but live has always been traditionally difficult because the broadcasters don’t want to give up those—you know, they spend a lot of money.
Nathan: That’s where all the money’s at in TV.
Leo: Yea. Well, good, I’m glad. I’m glad. So you’re a big Echo fan now, David? Has this taken over your life? How many—but wait a minute. Let’s see. Let’s measure. How many Echoes do you have?
David: (laughing) well so here’s the deal. I have the one that I was sent to review a few months ago. And my birthday was this week and my wife said, “It’s disgusting. You haven’t returned that thing yet.” And I kept saying, “I will! I will!” So she bought me one for my birthday to replace the one that I should have sent back by now.
Nathan: So do you use it for music? Because I think it sounds like crap for music. Or do you actually use it to like answer questions and the weather?
David: Yea, all of the above. Mostly for music.
David: I just find it so great to come into the kitchen, throw the keys and say—
Leo: The convenience is phenomenal.
David: “Alexa, play some cooking music.” And off we go.
Leo: Just a little word of warning. What you just did set off hundreds of Echoes all across the country and they were listening to the podcast and now they’re listening to something else.
Nathan: To cooking music.
Leo: Music to cook by.
David: For Yahoo Tech I did a video demonstrating all of the OX’s new commands like I can pull my Nest thermostat with it now. You can say, “Alexa, make it 72 degrees.”
Leo: Be careful about that though, right?
David: I’ll call it Bob, ok? And you can now order Domino’s Pizza. You can say, “Bob, order my favorite pizza.” And you can call an Uber with it now which is super, super convenient. You know you’re busy, you’re getting your stuff together. Your jacket’s on. You just day, “Bob order me.” And sure enough.
Leo: But then you have to eat crappy Domino’s pizza.
David: It’s good. I hate to tell you. It’s good pizza.
David: The one I got in New York was anyway.
Nathan: I’m glad you’re not a food writer, Dave.
Leo: You know it’s so funny because I have this debate. There’s a guy in the chatroom, Mike B who lives in Jersey which is the home of some of the best pizza in the world, who insists that Dominos makes good pizza. And it’s like maybe that’s the case that Domino’s in New York and New Jersey makes good pizza. But out here.
Mark: I grew up in New Jersey and around New York. There’s not good Dominos.
Nathan: I grew up in New York. No. No.
Leo: All right, can you plug in my Echo? I want to order some pizza. So I have an Echo here because we have to talk about it. I have three at home and I ordered two Dots.
Leo: I don’t want to be in a room of the house where I can’t say—you know what I use it for is not music so much as books because I have my Audible books on it and it reads to me. It’s like having my mommy in every room. So the guy, there’s this story—plug it in somewhere. Oh, yea, bring the pug too. You can’t just bring the Echo. So this guy in Jersey, he’s listening to NPR’s weekend edition and they did a story on the Echo and how it was helping customers you know, do all sorts of things including set their thermostats. So a listener wrote in to say that he was listening to NPR on his Echo and reset his thermostat to 79 degrees. Jeff—this has been going on with our listeners for a long time now because many of our listeners have them. Jeff said he was listening and she heard her name and she started playing the NPR News. And so, you have to be careful when you say her name. Although this is a problem! They’ve added, it used to be just A-L-E-X-A and Amazon were the trigger words but they made Echo a trigger word now. So I don’t know. We’re going to call it Bob. We have to call it Bob.
David: I have the same problem, Leo. After that video got posted I got dozens of tweets saying, “You just started my stupid Amazon Echo!”
Leo: Well Amazon’s doing it themselves with those ads with Alec Baldwin. I’m watching the ad and the Echo wakes up. So we just plugged the Echo in. Do I have to setup an account? Probably do.
David: Yea, you do. You have to—all it can do actually is order the last one you already ordered using the Dominos app or order one that using the app you have designated as your favorite pizza. So you couldn’t do it right now. You’d have to order one manually the 1st time in the app.
Leo: Oh. So I have to do it on the phone first. I can’t just do it.
Nathan: I guess we’re just going to have to order 2 pizzas. Damn.
Leo: I’ll have to order one on the phone. I could do that. Ok, you guys talk amongst yourselves while I download and install the Dominos app, order a pizza.
David: You know what’s a big hit at our house? I’ve still got kids in the house. We love, as corny as this sounds, we love the joke thing.
Leo: I do too.
David: The jokes are, I’ve never heard these. They’re really great, corny puns. But they’re good.
Leo: Yea, and you can have it tell dad jokes.
David: Dad jokes.
Leo: Yea. I think I set it up to say Echo, give me a fart. Oh it stopped listening. Maybe it thought I was rude.
David: You’ll edit all this out.
Leo: Echo, give me a fart. Oh, it’s not turned up. Push it back.
David: Try Nathan give me a fart.
Leo: (laughing) Jeff E will love that.
Nathan: I don’t do that on demand anymore.
Leo: Just turn on the fart skill. You don’t do that on demand anymore? Pull my finger. Ok. No, I don’t know why Echo. So the two new Echoes are the Tap which is the Echo without a plug. It’s a battery powered Echo. And they made a Dot which is an Echo with just a little speaker. The idea being you plug it into a big speaker. That’s why I ordered two of them because that’s really what I want. I want to make my Sonos Echo aware, right? But the only way you could buy it is through your Echo. Which is weird. It’s Echo inception. Why did they do that?
David: I even emailed Amazon PR to say, “Could I review the Dot?” and that was the answer even to reviewers.
Leo: Oh no, you have to order it through your Echo. There’s so many skills now that’s a problem because most of those skills—by the way it’s very easy to write skills I found out. And you can do it yourself really and Amazon provides the infrastructure for it. And only charges you when the skill is activated and it’s less than a penny. So you can easily have your own set of skills. But there are so many skills now and they have to be enabled that it’s kind of out of control. Like you need a dictionary next to your Echo to know what it can do and not do. So you listen to music. We gave one to my father-in-law and he has, like he listens to Elvis all the time. He says, “Echo, play Elvis.”
Nathan: I think I still really like hearing music sound good so.
Leo: I know, I know. It’s not the best speaker.
Nathan: If Dot could control my Sonos and play music through my Sonos that way.
Leo: It can’t though so what you have to do is turn the Sonos in auxiliary mode, plug it into the uxiliary port. Yea.
Nathan: I think it’s going to be too much pain.
Leo: It’s too much trouble.
Nathan: But that kitchen scenario that Dave brought up earlier, if your hands are messy and you just want to hear—
Leo: I use the timer all the time. Timer’s great. I use multiple timers. Echo, play some Elvis. We’ll see if she’s awake. You broke my Echo.
Mark: She’s not responding.
Leo: She’s waking up but she’s not doing anything.
Mark: And the volume’s up?
Leo: Yea normally, I mean when we plugged her back in she would say, “Connecting to the network” kind of a thing.
David: After all these years, Leo, you still don’t know the lesson of trying to do live demos?
Leo: (Laughing) you know we’re seriously thinking about whether we should do an Echo show. Lisa says we absolutely should do an Echo show. I’m thinking maybe an Internet of Things show. But mostly Echo.
David: I’m telling you. This thing is so unsung. Why isn’t there a Samsung copycat and a Microsoft copycat and an Apple copycat?
Nathan: It’s coming.
David: Everyone who gets one loves it.
Leo: Maybe Apple will announce that in March. It would be smart. They have Siri. All they have to do is make a little thing.
Nathan: Well I guess there’s a little bit of a question. I mean for Amazon, for Echo, it makes a ton of sense right now because you can buy lots of things from it.
Leo: For Amazon it’s huge. I by my stuff all the time through it.
Nathan: Exactly, exactly. But for Samsung, they have—what’s the name of their internet of things? Smart Things? Is that their name?
Leo: Smart Things. They bought Smart Things which is a great—in fact the Echo works with Smart Things.
Nathan: So if your Samsung likelihood is that you would have it control those Smart Things products, right?
Leo: But Echo already does it.
Leo: Echo works great with Smart Things. And it works with If This Than That which really makes it very capable. There’s a lot more.
Mark: It works with Nest too, doesn’t it?
Leo: Yes it does.
Nathan: I wonder though for Sonos this is where they say they are going to kind of you know, spend some money and develop and grow their company. I feel like for all the folks that already have Sonos speakers like all three of us really, I mean they’re going to have to sell some sort of device that you plug into your existing Sonos speakers to get them to control, right? I mean you’re not going to want to get rid of them.
Leo: I’m feeling like Sonos—they’re right. What they said in their announcement was, we’re laying off people. And by the way, forget that part. We realize that people are, what we focused on is playing your music collection.
Nathan: Which they already do.
Leo: And we realized that’s not the future. That most of our users are using streaming services. So they do support Apple Music now. They just added that. Paul Thurrott said it stopped working with Microsoft’s Groove. His anyway stopped working a few days with Microsoft Groove.
Mark: And what is that?
Leo: That’s what Echo says (laughing). What? I don’t think I know what you’re talking about.
Nathan: It used to be Xbox Music.
Mark: Oh, yea.
Leo: Groove is, yea yea.
Mark: And before that, Zune.
Nathan: Yea, yea, yea, yea. It’s like their 15th pivot on music.
Leo: Maybe that’s what happens. Sonos lost track of the name. But it does work with Spotify very well. It works with Amazon Music. Your own collection with titled music. So Sonos does do a good job but I just feel like they say we’re going to try to—how do you go from zero to sixty with voice recognition?
Nathan: Honestly I don’t think it will be that hard if you’re Sonos. You’re like a premium brand, right? You make really great sounding hardware that sells at a high price. So it might be a small market before Wi-Fi speakers.
Leo: Yea but where do you go? Do you just hire some guy and he writes a voice recognition system?
Mark: You buy services from Nuance.
Leo: Nuance does a lot of this right? That’s what S Voice from Samsung is.
Mark: Like the Echo, it’s not really like a conversational AI so much as it’s a command base. So once you have the ability to transcribe text from audio.
Leo: You also need to have array mics. Now what’s interesting is that the newest Sonos Play5 has microphones that are not enabled.
Nathan: Yep. Yep it has those mics.
Leo: So clearly they’re aiming at this.
Nathan: Yea, just like—
Leo: But I bought, I have—I’m not going to buy all new Play5s.
Nathan: Which is why if you buy something like the Dot that works with your Sonos speakers that has the sound card built in or has Nuance built in or someone built in. It could—
Leo: Why doesn’t Amazon let this ecosystem just go everywhere? Because after all really I’m sure where they’re make money is in sales. I’ve ordered—you know, I ran out of batteries so I say, “Echo, buy some more batteries.” And it just does. And they come two days later.
David: And you just made 14,000 people buy batteries.
Leo: Oh, God, I’m so sorry. We have done that. We have done that.
David: You just caused a spike in Energizer sales right there.
Leo: We had Jason Calacanis on and he decided to really troll everybody and he issued like 20 Echo commands in a row, really loud, really fast. And it was like a mess. I don’t know—I feel bad she’s not working. Echo, self-destruct.
Nathan: Oh, my God (laughing).
David: Leo, I have a tech support question for you.
David: So I just got Sonos for Christmas and fantastic. But the one thing that boggles me is it doesn’t seem to tap into the regular OS audio controls. So if I want to pause it or—
Leo: No, right.
David: Or skip I have to go into—I have to unlock the phone, go find the app, and burrow into it. Is that really the way?
Leo: Is that crazy? Yes.
David: There’s no easier way?
Leo: No. Well of course they could do it I would think. Well even if they couldn’t do it on an Apple they could do it on an Android device.
Nathan: They could do it on an Android device and Apple would be a little tougher because those controls are for what the phone is playing. And the app is a controller that sends commands to the speaker itself, not the phone.
Leo: I think what you’re seeing is a small company that made a premium product that was successful in a niche market because it was very pricey that people like. It was much like Amazon’s Echo. The tech people who have it, the people who own it were, or Tesla or something like that where it was a small group but they were passionate. And I’m one of them.
Mark: And there was nothing else like it.
Leo: And there was nothing else like it but –
Nathan: They created their own market.
Leo: I don’t think that it’s, I think that the day may have, the competition may have passed them by. I don’t know.
Nathan: I think there’s still time. I mean we don’t have Samsung’s version of this yet. We don’t have Google or Apple’s version just yet. And those AI, those you know, artificial intelligence assistance or whatever are much further along and more capable than Alexa is. I mean the utility here is awesome. And the price is cheap and affordable. So it’s super accessible. But—
Leo: It’s still not cheap. It’s $200 bucks for the Echo, right?
Nathan: But it’s AI can’t do as much and it isn’t as smart as Google or Apple.
Leo: Well that’s what’s funny. We all have this in our phones but it somehow it’s qualitatively different. David, I always quote you because when you were talking about, you, the first I ever heard you really explain why drones were so interesting to people. Because for the first time they were seeing their everyday life from a 3rd dimension. And it really resonated with me. What do you think the secret? So you’re clearly good at just kind of figuring out why these things catch on. What do you think the secret is? Why is the Echo so much better than, better speech recognition than Google Now or Siri?
David: Well I mean for the Echo, I think there’s two magical elements to it. One is its vocabulary is so small that it’s very accurate.
Leo: That’s ironic. Right.
David: It has a very small number of things it needs to understand.
Leo: And speaker independent. So anybody in the room can talk to it without training.
David: That’s right.
Leo: Which is hilarious!
David: And also, people underestimate the engineering that had to go into those 7 or 8 microphones to be able to hear you and cancel out the echo of the room.
Leo: It’s amazing. Well here’s a tip, David. Once you get to the multi Echo situation, we have one in the gym and one in the kitchen, they both respond all the time. So you can’t, you have to put them distant from one another (laughing).
David: Can you name one Echo and one—
Leo: Yes. That would probably be the solution is to give—you know what? That’s why they added a 3rd name. Because people were starting to get more than one Echo. Yea. That’s probably why.
David: Leo, do you know what Viv is? Have you heard about Viv?
Leo: No. V-I-B or V-I-V?
David: V-I-V. The 3 guys who developed Siri and were bought by Apple.
Leo: Oh yea, Viv.ai. Yes.
David: They left Apple and they created this next generation Siri where it doesn’t just look up information, it actually executes it. You can say, “What liquor store has Veuve Cliquot that’s on my way to my brother-in-law’s house?” You know, so it needs to know the inventory of every liquor store. It needs to know who your brother is, where he lives. Or you can say, “Buy me an aisle seat to Austin this Friday after 6:00 PM and returning the following Monday.” And it will know what all that is.
Leo: This is what’s really frustrating. Because Apple bought Siri and then took some of those features out. You used to be able to make reservations with Siri when it was an app. Then they took it out. So good for them. So they must have cashed out. They got their 3 years with Apple. Got their stock vested. And they’re going off to do it, once again, right this time.
Nathan: SoundHound has one called Hound.
Leo: I’ve used Hound and I like it.
Nathan: It’s pretty good.
Leo: It’s pretty smart. Fast. How is it so fast?
Nathan: Insanely fast. And it can do like hundreds of different commands. And you can stack the options like that kind of conversationally so you can say, “Find me 5 star pizza restaurants that are open until midnight tonight.”
Leo: I found a Domino’s Pizza near you.
Nathan: (Laughing) Damn it.
Leo: You’re wrong.
Nathan: Why is Dominos so good?
Leo: Why don’t robots know about good pizza? SoundHound, you know what? That actually kind of validates your point that Sonos could come up to speed pretty quickly because SoundHound, how to they—I mean they had the technology I guess to listen to music.
Nathan: Well they’ve been working on it for about a decade.
Leo: Oh. Ok.
Mark: It was like a Shazam app before.
Nathan: So I’ve spoken with the CEO of this and what he said is that this was their goal the whole time. They’ve been working on it for the last decade. But SoundHound was the product that they needed to put out there to create a company and to have DCs and stuff.
Leo: That was their interim.
Nathan: And they were able to build a little bit of the speech recognition and things like that. So, this they say was the goal the whole time. But it works quite well. And they have open APIs. So Sonos could come up to speed really quickly. I think what they need to do is like as just as Dave mentioned—
Leo: Buy somebody.
Nathan: Is get those array mics. Well the whole hardware. Get it out there.
Leo: Boy, I think it’s harder said than done. I don’t think that it’s something that’s going to happen right away.
Nathan: But in the next year? I think Sonos could have like a small little device. And like you mentioned, they have those array mics in the current Play3, right? Or Play5. Current Play5. I mean they’re already making steps in that direction anyways.
Leo: David, you’re one of the first people I knew back in 2006 you were using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to—I thought that was cool. You would write your books like normally. But then you’d do the index with speech recognition, with speech to text.
David: Yea, I have a long history with speech recognition, not by any foresight on my part. I got a horrible wrist ailment called tenosynovitis. It’s like some inflammation thing. And I couldn’t type. In the late 90s I was having serious—I only do two things, right? I type and I play the piano. Those are my two careers (laughing).
Leo: Great, great.
David: And the doctor said, “It’s simple. Just stop using your hand.”
Leo: (Laughing) great.
David: So I started with the Power Secretary.
David: A $2,500 dollar program, the very first speech recognition from what is now Nuance. And you spoke like this. You had to just separate words. It was unbelievable. So that’s how I started. At the end of the day I’d be like, “Hi. Honey. How. Was. Work?”
Leo: (Laughing) period. Exclamation mark. New paragraph.
David: So I do consider myself something of an expert, yea.
Leo: Google—I know we have to let you go pretty soon because you’ve got to get to your panel in about half an hour so I’m not going to keep you much longer. But it’s great to have you and it’s always great to see you, David. Come up and visit us sometime and good luck with your panel.
David: Well thank you so much sir and good to join you, gentlemen.
Leo: Always a pleasure. David Pogue, founder of Yahoo Tech, tech.yahoo.com. Oh, oh, can’t forget the book. Love your new book, Pogue’s Basics: Life Essential Tips and Shortcuts That No One Bothers to Tell You. This is such a great book. It’s all these little weird hacks like you know, using pinhole fingers to see without glasses.
David: Oh, that’s the thing.
David: It sure is. But you know if you’re over 40 and you need glasses.
Leo: Yea, you guys don’t need to know about this.
David: You know what, Leo? Like when you’re in a hotel shower and you can’t read the little bottles.
Leo: Uh huh. What the hell is that?
David: It’s perfect.
Jason Cleanthes: I do it all the time.
Leo: Do you?
Jason: I do it all the time.
Leo: Jason Cleanthes our producer, wow. So anyway this is a great book. It’s available on Kindle, available on Amazon. It’s out in paperback. Pogue’s Basics: Life. David’s written the missing manual for years and years and years and usually those are about technology subjects. This one’s about life. The missing manual for life. Nice.
David: You have very good taste in books, Leo.
Leo: (Laughing) I have mine. I love it.
David: You actually have a copy of it?
Leo: Yea, they sent me a copy. I was so pleased. I didn’t buy it. They sent me one. I would have bought it if they hadn’t. They, I don’t know who they is. It’s not Apple because they don’t send me crap.
David: I’ll make sure you stay on the list.
Leo: (Laughing) I’m just teasing. Thank you, David. Always great to see you.
David: Thank you. Take care.
Leo: Take care. David Pogue, Yahoo Tech, tech.yahoo.com. And Pogue’s Basics. We’re going to take a break. Come back with more. Nathan, you can stay. You don’t have a South By Southwest panel to get to?
Nathan: Unfortunately not this year, yea.
Leo: Have you done the panels?
Nathan: Oh yea. The last couple of years I was in them. Yea.
Leo: How come you’re not going this year?
Nathan: I just had some things that I need to take care of here.
Leo: I have to say, we stopped covering. We used to go. Remember I did this body surfing?
Mark: Oh, yea. That was a big event, right?
Leo: Yea. At the barbeque there. But it just turned out to be a party instead of an actual work event, right? There wasn’t that much to cover. There would have been this year. They had the GamerGate all day panel yesterday. We could talk a little bit about that when we come back. The president spoke. So there would have been more news there this year. But we just felt like there’s other events, like we’re going to cover NAD and we were at Mobile World Congress that we could cover more usefully than a big party for the tech industry.
Mark: In the late, mid to late 2000s—
Leo: It was amazing.
Mark: It was actually seen as a launching pad for some of the most important apps.
Leo: Yea, Twitter launched in 2007.
Mark: Twitter, Foursquare which we thought was going to be a huge sensation.
Nathan: Which it was for a little bit.
Leo: You know what? I still check in. I still check in places. I use stickers. I’m the mayor.
Nathan: I used to care so much about being the mayor and then I just don’t care anymore.
Leo: You lost interest.
Leo: What’s on the front page of all my phones? Swarm. That’s the check-in version of Foursquare. All my phones.
Mark: The breakout apps of the last few years have been Meerkat.
Mark: Meerkat last year.
Leo: That was a year ago.
Mark: Remember Highlight?
Leo: Meerkat’s dead already. Highlight? Oh, that was fun.
Nathan: Well, Twitter kind of killed Meerkat and Periscope.
Nathan: The idea was so—
Leo: I got to say, even Periscope—do you really think people live streaming is all that?
Mark: I think celebrities like it but it’s not really Snapchat.
Leo: Because you know, like the Galaxy S7 comes with direct streaming to YouTube. You can stream live right from the phone. I mean, I’m on camera all the time so I don’t really need to. I think everybody uses Snapchat. That’s all they really want.
Nathan: I use Snapchat a lot.
Leo: Do you go to Periscope and look at stuff?
Jason: When there’s breaking news. When there’s things happening around the world.
Leo: Like CNN. Oh, all right.
Jason: And I’ll go into the map mode of Periscope and see like the fires that happened in Dubai, the hotel. The CNN was covering their thing and I was like let me see what the people on the street are doing and they had like 8 different angles of it.
Leo: You know I was wondering because there’s a Periscope App on Apple TV. And I thought well what would that be for? Because people like to watch.
Mark: But isn’t it vertical?
Leo: I know, that’s a little strange. You can shoot sideways now, can’t you? Yea.
Nathan: I feel like I watch a lot of Periscope video in those breaking news situations in the Twitter App itself. I don’t really go to Periscope itself for that.
Mark: Yea me too.
Nathan: I’m just not the typical user or something. I don’t know.
Mark: Same with Vine. Like I’ll watch the 6 second Vines when they show up in my Twitter stream but I don’t ever go and look at the Vine App.
Nathan: And that’s especially great for sports when you want to watch that awesome play over and over again.
Leo: Where’s that coming from? Is that me?
Mark: Outside I think?
Leo: Is that outside?
Mark: It’s a car.
Leo: Is it a tsunami warning? Is it me? Did I have a burrito for lunch?
Nathan: What part of you would be honking?
Leo: (Laughing) I don’t know. Wait until you get old then you tell me.
Nathan: You shouldn’t have had that Dominos for dinner last night.
Leo: I feel bad now. People in the chatroom are saying, “How can Leo—I can’t believe Leo doesn’t like Dominos.” I’m going to have to go get some Dominos. No? I’m right?
Mark: No. No one’s saying that.
Leo: No one’s saying that.
Jason: You’re fine. It’s ok.
Nathan: Aw, poor Dominos.
Leo: Could it be that I’m not giving them the benefit of the doubt?
Jason: When you have New Yorker pizza why would you go to Dominos?
Leo: We have good pizza.
Jason: And it comes from New York.
Leo: Yea, Sal comes from New York. Sal is a New Yorker. Used to have a pizza place in Brooklyn. Then he came to California. Came to Petaluma. Now he makes it here. No one wants cheddar cheese on their pizza. No one wants hot dogs in the crust of the pizza. Although initially that sounds like a great idea.
Nathan: I actually really want to try that. I want to try that so bad.
Nathan: I haven’t tried it but I know it’s going to be bad.
Leo: Do they have it here yet? Is it here yet?
Nathan: I don’t know. I know it’s going to be terrible but I just want to try it and see what it’s like and just to know that it’s terrible.
Leo: Here’s what I think. I think by talking about Dominos on this show we have just sold millions of pizzas. Like people are going to be eating it for dinner tonight. This is going to be the thing. I want a hot dog stuffed crust pizza. This is in the UK. Of course they could sell this in the UK.
Male on Video: Quite a few things from Dominos. We have a local Dominos branch out—
Leo: This is not inspiring me to want to eat a Dominos pizza.
Nathan: I am having flashbacks to my high school mustache though.
Leo: Yea, really. He’s going to feed it to his dog. Oh man, talk about drawing it out. This is the unboxing of a hotdog stuffed crust pizza.
Male on Video: Pepperoni, jalapenos.
Nathan: How much tan can one person wear? This guy’s killing it.
Leo: At least he’s loyal. He bought a Dyson vacuum so he’s loyal to his people.
Male on Video: It feels very fresh and hot.
Leo: We should not mock this. This is good. This is what YouTube was made for. (Laughing) the dog is staring at him as he chews. All right. I don’t want to be this kid tonight.
Nathan: Him eating the cheese off his lip kind of reminded me of, what was it?
Mark: Oh, Taio Cruz at the—
Leo: Look, there’s hotdog in there. There’s a hotdog in there. Oh, shut up. I’ve had enough. Thank you very much. Deep, rich nothing.
Nathan: That actually makes me not want to eat the hotdog pizza anymore. I take back all the stuff that I said.
Leo: (Laughing) that’s why I played that. It was a public service for you.
Nathan: Thanks for curbing that terrible urge for me.
Leo: Guys, but I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you something about beards. You still have to shave, don’t you. You don’t just let it go crazy. You’ve got to groom around the beard, right? You don’t want it to be the neck beard. I’ve got to get you Harry’s. Where’s my Harry’s? Look at this. Here we go. We’re going to get you—I’m going to give you this. Harry’s makes the best razors and they sell them to you at about half the price of the drugstore blades. In fact they come to you direct from the factory in Germany. Harry’s when they started they said, “Where are the best blades made?” Well, there’s two companies. There’s two factories in Germany. Ok. Let’s buy one. And they did. And they engineered the blades for performance. They engineered the blades for sharpness. Man, this is a great blade. I have the Winston set at home because—in fact I got the Winter Winston with the copper handle. It’s beautiful. They have the Truman set. This is a Truman with a plastic handle. Winston sets are metal handles. But really it’s the blades that really are what matter. Everything is beautifully designed and they come right to your door and if you’re paying $32 bucks for an 8 pack, forget it. Get Harry’s. Now here’s a great deal. This is something new. For a limited time, they’re so confident you’re going to love your Harry’s shave they’re going to let you try it for free. So go to harrys.com/twit. Sign up for a shave plan. So you’ll subscribe to blades and either the gel or the cream. I like the cream but a lot of people like the gel. And that will be shipped to you depending on how often you shave. Every month or every other month. But when you do that they will then send you a beautifully crafted kit with a razor handle, with fly blade, cartridges, starter set of foaming shave gel and travel cover. All you have to do is cover the $3 dollar shipping charge. So it’s a great way to try Harry’s. You know if you didn’t like it you just cancel the subscription. You don’t have to worry about it. But I think you’re going to like it. It’s the best shave ever. And everybody I’ve given Harry’s too including you, Nathan Olivarez-Giles, it’s time to clean up that neck beard. I give you your first Harry’s kit. Harrys.com/twit. I’ll have one for you next time.
Mark: All right. I’ll take you up on that.
Leo: All right. Actually we probably have another one. Can we get another kit for Mark?
Mark: It’s ok.
Leo: No, we keep them in stock. It’s a parting gift.
Nathan: Hey, I didn’t know I was going to get a gift.
Leo: (laughing) Harry’s. You’re going to love it. Harrys.—how are you fixed for blades? Are you good? (laughing) just kidding.
Nathan: That army green handle is pretty sharp.
Leo: Yea, isn’t that nice?
Nathan: It’s nice.
Leo: I like that one. They have different colors but I like that one.
Mark: Can I elect to take a hotdog pizza instead of a Harry’s? I mean Harry’s sounds great and all.
Leo: Let’s see, is he still eating it?
Mark: He’s still going.
Leo: He’s still eating it.
Nathan: You need to hook him up with a little Harry’s action too.
Male on Video: Hotdog crust, guys, this is what you want to know about so let’s get straight to it. The hotdog stuffed crust is back.
Leo: Oh God. The dog’s really interested. The dog is so—
Male on Video: That’s a nice accompaniment I will say.
Jason: The dog’s interested because it smells like Alpo.
Leo: (Laughing). Oh shut up. Oh shut up. Go away. Hey some sad news. Actually an interesting story. A guy named Robert Palladino who taught for many years calligraphy at Reed University. And that’s where Steve Jobs credits him and that calligraphy class his sense of designs. Steve as some know went to Reed. Couldn’t afford to stay there. Only went there I think for one semester or two. But ended up after dropping out, continuing to go to classes. He audited Robert Palladino’s calligraphy class and became a lover of great fonts and typography. Palladino was a Trappist Monk for many years. A Roman Catholic priest and a calligrapher. And he passed away I’m sad to say on February 26th at the age of 83. For years he would give babies, he baptized, baptismal certificates that he had hand written out. That would be something to have. And of course you know there’s a font called Palladino in the Macintosh and that’s a tribute to Fr. Palladino. He says, “I never met Steve Jobs.” He says, because he taught him, and so I guess he met him. But I don’ t think he really kind of remembers Steve Jobs. But he was very glad that he had some influence on him. Although he never owned a computer.
Leo: Nope. Had no interest. He liked to write by hand.
Mark: He did have an iPad Pro.
Leo: (Laughing) no he didn’t.
Nathan: I wonder if he would have liked the Pencil, you know? I wonder. It’s kind of a shame that he passed away but that would have been cool to see if he liked it or not.
Leo: Yea. He was asked in 2013 what he remembered of Steve Jobs. He says, and this is how he knows he doesn’t know Steve Jobs. “He was most pleasant.” Well, maybe Steve as back then. He was just a kid. Have you been following the Google AlphaGo computer that’s playing—
Mark: Yes. This is epic.
Leo: This is a great – isn’t this epic? Amazing story.
Mark: It’s like our modern Deep Blue. IBM chess.
Leo: It is. So as a chess player I was really interested 20 years ago when Deep Blue beat the world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. And it really roiled the chess world because people didn’t like the idea that a computer could best the best human in the world easily. Well, fast forward 20 years, they’ve never been able to make a Go-playing computer. It’s very hard. It’s a 19 x 19 board. There’s only one kind of piece. It’s just a stone. You place pieces on the board. You take turn placing pieces. And the goal is to occupy territory. You know there’s small versions of Go kids often play with a 5 x 5 board. Same idea. You surround territory to command it. If your pieces are in there and your opponents are around you can take your pieces off. At the end of the game you count how many squares you control. Whomever controls the most squares wins. A very difficult game to play for computers. Humans too.
Mark: And people. It’s a complicated game.
Leo: Yea. Never really took off in the US but it’s very big in Japan and China. Lee Sedol is a Korean player who is 18 times the world champion. He’s the highest ranked player. He’s a 9-dan. They rank them on a scale. He’s 9-dan.
Nathan: He’s like the Michael Jordan of Go.
Leo: Yea, you might say that, yea. He’s not currently the number one ranked player. In fact there’s another guy who is number one. He says, “All right. I want my turn.” AlphaGo created by a company called Deep Mind, Google bought Deep Mind in the fall of last year, was the first computer designed really to win at Go. It played a bunch of games against less proficient players. More importantly it was a learning AI. It played tens of thousands of games against itself. And taught itself to play which is fascinating. It was a 5 game match. Game one, the computer wins. Shocking. But he said also, “Well, wait a minute. I didn’t play that well.” Game two, the computer wins. Shocking. But still there was some question, is the computer playing well or is Lee Sedol thrown by the computer’s style which is non-human. Game three which was on Friday night, the computer wins again and this time for the first time I heard a number of Go players say, “You know what? This computer played better than any Go player has ever played.”
Mark: And that’s it. 5 games, the computer won 3.
Leo: It won 3. It was over. Lee Sedol said, “I want to keep playing.” They played another one and he won. Game 4, Lee Sedol won. So even though AlphaGo has won the match already because it’s the best of 5. Wow.
Mark: And then game 5 is Monday night. Final match.
Leo: There will be a lot of interest in that. Some think that Lee Sedol figured out how the computer played and he stayed up late. He stayed up until 6 am analyzing the game with his teammates.
Nathan: Pounded Red Bulls. Listened to music. Obsessing over this.
Mark: Have you tried playing the game before? I’ve never played it.
Leo: I have played it. It’s a beautiful game. But it’s very hard. As a serious chess player, that’s easy compared to Go.
Mark: They talked a lot about how it’s a game of intuition and how it almost requires a human-like mind to—
Leo: In chess, you can look ahead and you can kind of calculate. And a computer of course can calculate better than a human. But Go, there’s so many possibilities. It’s very hard to calculate a win. So you really got to, the computer has to do a lot of pattern recognition.
Mark: One of the big surprises from some of the people who have watched, who know how go works, as I’ve heard, I don’t really know a whole lot about the game, but they say that he doesn’t, the machine doesn’t play like a human.
Leo: Like a human at all.
Mark: At one point in one of the matches the machine made a move that was so unusual, Lee Sedol got up from his seat and left the room just to contemplate.
Leo: He was shanking.
Mark: He was shaking. And he’s still on the clock. I mean it’s a lot like chess where you’re on the clock. And so it affects you, the wait. But he as just, yea.
Leo: So we have on The New Screen Savers we had the president of the American Go Association to talk a little about his because you need to have a Go player to explain it. He said, “One of the things that happens with Go is as you’re playing the game as a human, you’re always calculating, well how far ahead am I? How many more pieces? How many more squares do I control?” And you, even if you’re 19 ahead, you kind of continue to build. If you’re 19 behind you work harder. So the computer doesn’t work that way at all. It’s calculating its chance of winning the game. It doesn’t care about the current standing. It’s just saying, “What’s the best move to win the game, even if I only win by one square, I don’t care.” And that’s not how humans play Go. There’s also a lot of tradition in Go. Verge had a good Verge piece. Let me show you, of the game of Go.
Mark: I like the random shot of the movie I-Robot.
Leo: Yea, well you’ve got to throw that in. Yea, if you’re going to do it you’ve got to throw in an I-Robot.
Mark: Any Will Smith reference you can pack in in a short video.
Nathan: Well, one of the greatest actors of all time.
Leo: Will Smith?
Nathan: I like Will Smith.
Leo: (gibberish) I love Will Smith. Yea. So it’s a huge AI step frankly because it’s neuro networks that they’re using and it’s very sophisticated.
Nathan: I’m kind of, I think this is really cool. I don’t think I’m as fascinated by this as everyone else supposedly seems to be. Maybe it’s because I don’t care about the game Go very much. I know it’s like a huge milestone for AI. But it also kind of feels like when IBM Watson’s beat a human being in Jeopardy, or like the chess situation you talked about. It’s like, maybe I’m jaded or have seen too many science fiction movies but it’s kind of like, “Well, this was going to happen. This is inevitable that a computer could reach this point.” And so—
Mark: What surprises me is how quickly. I mean there were people who had been following the developments of some of these AI. Thought it wouldn’t happen for another 5 or 10 years.
Nathan: Yea, but I mean it’s just kind of like if you look at the way technology works, you’re constantly building on what other people have done and what comes before. So you know—
Mark: Facebook’s also working on a Go playing IA.
Nathan: Yea. So it’s like—
Leo: More because it’s an AI challenge than because they want to win at Go obviously.
Nathan: Yea, yea. But these are like basically stepping stones to building like an actual useful AI. And so just in the same way our smaller drones are way more powerful than anyone could have predicted a computer could have been in a pocket 20 years ago or whatever. The kind of guesstimate of when we would get here means less to me than just the milestone itself. So I kind of feel like it’s cool, it’s neat. And I’m already like well what’s next.
Leo: 60 million Chinese watched the first game.
Mark: This milestone from about a year ago was a little more interesting.
Leo: That Google invents an AI system that plays video games (laughing).
Mark: And it would watch it. So this is, you can pull it up on your screen. It’s like it has the progression where it shows what it was like early on in the process of trying to figure out how Breakout works. It was terrible. And after—
Leo: Is it a little creepy? Do you find it a little creepy to watch these things learn?
Mark: Very freaky.
Nathan: I don’t think it’s that creepy. That’s what they do. They figure out something and then they try and they fail and they figure out how to get around it by failing. It’s like ok, this path did not work. Let’s try this path. Did not work. Let’s try this path. Did not work. This path worked. This path worked. So they’re able to build on that and it’s just kind of a process of elimination.
Leo: Did you ever see a screensaver called breveWalker or breveWalker? B-R-E-V-E? So this in another actually pretty old AI thing where it’s a great screen saver. I don’t know if you can still get it. My kids used to love it. It gives you a creature. And the creature’s goal is to learn to walk. So it tries many, many strategies of legs and walking. It’s got four legs. And it learns to walk. But it takes a long time. But watching it learn to walk is fascinating and creepy at the same time. But by kids—breveWalker. My kids loved watching it. Yea, you can get it on the App Store.
Nathan: Awesome. I’ll have to look that up.
Leo: So you can now get your very own breveWalker. That’s what it looks like.
Mark: Apple has updated December of 2009.
Leo: Yea, it’s old. Hey, what’s wrong with that, you know? It’s learning.
Mark: it’s a throwback.
Leo: It’s a throwback. That actually is newer than the one I was using which was a screensaver. Want to watch a little video? Sure, let’s watch a little video. These are the breveWalkers. So what’s creepy is, it’s not doing so well. It’s like a little—
Mark: They’re all over the place.
Leo: Yea. What it shows you is AI can evolve and that thing can learn and eventually over time it actually does learn to walk. And in the meantime there’s some pretty funny failures. Just like the DARPA, the Grand DARPA challenge where the robots fall over. Don’t kick them though because I think we really shouldn’t exasperate that problem that we’re going to face in the near future. Oh, I was going to mention this before we had to let David go. Google is working on voice recognition that’s offline. And because it’s offline it’s a lot faster. Like 20 times faster because it doesn’t have to go to the server. And isn’t that really where Siri falls down a lot is I can’t get on the network. What did you say? What’s interesting about this is only 20MB. So you don’t need to put a lot of data on the computer. I’m sorry, It’s only 7 times faster.
Mark: You know, Apple used to have a version of this.
Leo: Of Siri?
Mark: Of voice control that would work with offline access. It would only respond to set commands. But I think it was faster.
Leo: So you know how they trained it? Three million anonymous voice samplers, 2,000 hours from Google search. Each voice sample has 20 distorted versions created by extracting noise from YouTube videos. It’s a learning machine. This is all, boy, this is the key, isn’t it?
Leo: AI and any day now it’s over. I hope you’ve enjoyed your pathetic little life in the last 30,000 years on this planet.
Nathan: Hope you’ve enjoyed your Dominos.
Leo: Yea, that’s what happens when you eat hotdog crust pizza. There’s no future. Chris Poole, founder of Fortune went to Google. He’s now working on Google+.
Mark: On Google+.
Mark: That’s the punishment for creating Fortune.
Nathan: Pay your debt to society.
Leo: Wow. It’s like, well that’s worse than the G.L. David was in. That’s like, hmm.
Nathan: The Google+ team is on a roof somewhere.
Leo: I swear to God. I think that’s Yahoo’s Hoolie right there. I put my Android N on my Nexus 6.
Nathan: I was so pissed I couldn’t get it on my Nexus 5.
Leo: Yea, you have to have a 5X or and SP. You can put it on your, do you have a—what was the little TV thing? Not the one you have but the newer one.
Nathan: Oh, the Chromecast?
Leo: No, the Android TV device. I like, actually you know it’s interesting. They’ve never done this before, a public beta. And you can just go to Android.com/beta I think and say, if you have one of those devices, the Nexus Plus. I put it on my Pixel C too. The split screen makes the Pixel C quite usable I think. It’s a revolution. But what’s interesting is how stable this is. This is the first release. It won’t be out until what is it, fall?
Leo: Or later. And it’s working pretty nicely. There’s a few little glitches here and there. I like how it consolidates notifications into a single chunk and then you can expand the chunk and see what all of the notifications are. It really helps a lot.
Nathan: Is there split screen on the phone as well? I thought I saw that.
Leo: There is. There is and I’m trying to—
Nathan: Is it useful at all?
Leo: No, I think it’s too small a screen to be useful. Great on the Pixel. And I couldn’t get it to work is the other thing. So it may be that I don’t know. Maybe it isn’t on the phone. Because you’re supposed to long press the recents.
Jason: Remember Jeff had it?
Leo: He got it to work.
Jason: Yea on the 6.
Leo: This never worked for me. It works fine with the Pixel C.
Jason So you go to the recents and there’s some—grilled cheese.
Leo: Yea, if you long press the recents you get the grilled cheese. But it’s not happening. That sounds strange when I say that.
Nathan: I love grilled cheese. I don’t know what you’re talking about right now.
Leo: So the hamburger menu is three lines?
Nathan: Oh yea.
Leo: It’s a 2 line hamburger menu so we’ve decided that’s a grilled cheese.
Nathan: I like it. I like it, yea.
Leo: It’s better than a hotdog stuffed pizza, I can tell you that.
Mark: I still don’t know what you’re talking about.
Nathan: The hamburger part is like buns.
Leo: The hamburger. Three lines? They call it the hamburger because it’s like a bun with some meat in it. You’ve seen a hamburger menu.
Jason: Have you held an Android phone before?
Mark: Hamburger menu?
Nathan: No, it’s like when you see—on Google Maps in the left hand corner—pull up Google Maps.
Leo: It’s like talking to my Grandma.
Nathan: Pull up Google Maps.
Leo: What the hell. You don’t know what a hamburger menu is?
Mark: I do not know this one.
Leo: See that? You’ve seen that.
Nathan: It’s the hamburger menu.
Leo: Oh, the hamburger menu.
Mark: That’s just three horizontal lines.
Leo: it’s called a hamburger. Because it looks like a hamburger, right? Now that you’ll see it, you’ll never unsee it.
Nathan: So grilled cheese is two. It’s just the bread or something.
Leo: Yea. It really shouldn’t even be a grilled cheese. It should be a bread sandwich.
Nathan: Bread sandwich.
Leo: But I can’t get it to do the bread sandwich for some reason. So, I don’t know. Maybe there’s something wrong. Anyway, nice, and it’s good that they released it. And while I wouldn’t recommend it on a phone that you absolutely need to have, I haven’t had any problems with it which is surprising. That means it’s closer. And I think it’s one of the reasons they released it. It’s closer than we thought. As to what they will name N, they’re not saying. It’s got to be a dessert that begins with the letter N. Ok, here’s a quiz.
Leo: That’s what I think. But here’s a quiz. Can you name all of the Android desert versions?
Nathan: Oh, I can do it.
Leo: I won’t make you start—A or B was never released.
Nathan: There was no A or B.
Leo: First one is C.
Nathan: Donut, Éclair, Fro-Yo.
Leo: That was only for tablets.
Nathan: Ice cream sandwich.
Nathan: Jelly Bean.
Leo: Did you say a bad word (laughing)? And K is—
Nathan: KitKat. And L is Lollipop and there was Marshmallow.
Leo: Marshmallow. Where we are now. So what is N going to be? Hiroshi Lockheimer is in charge of Android, kind of teased it in his blog post. Not by the way on Google+. Boy this is just the end. On Medium.
Mark: Take that, Chris Poole.
Leo: No kidding. Even Hiroshi’s not using Google+. At the end he says, “As to what we are going to call Android N, the burning question on everyone’s mind, what will the N release be named? We’re not telling you.”
Mark: I think Nutella.
Leo: You think Nutella? Or Nutty Buddy. How about Nutty Buddy?
Leo: Yea quick. Use Google. See if Google can search it.
Mark: Oh, Nutty Buddy, yea.
Leo: Nutty Buddy. Nutter Butter.
Mark: Nutty Bars.
Leo: I think it’s Nutella.
Jason: If it’s a dessert, I think it’s nougat.
Leo: Nougat would have been so much better. Nougat has nuts in it. Nut Job.
Jason: Nut Roll.
Leo: Nut Roll, no, no, no, no one ever would upgrade to Google, Android Nut Roll. They all have Android Nut Roll.
Jason: Are you rocking the Nut Roll?
Leo: Ken from Chicago is right. They should have named it Nerds.
Mark: That’s a good one.
Leo: That would have been appropriate.
Nathan: Nerds would actually be really good.
Mark: That’s more of a candy than dessert, right?
Leo: Could be candy.
Nathan: KitKat is like a candy bar.
Leo: Could be candy.
Nathan: And who the hell eats a honeycomb by itself anyways?
Jason: When is the last time you ordered jelly beans as a dessert?
Leo: Or a Nut Roll. Now I want a Nut Roll (laughing). We’ll take a break. Come back with some final words. Our show today brought to you by Stamps.com. If you’re the type that sells on the internet you’ve got to ship on the mail or whatever, right? You’ve got to use Stamps.com. I cannot tell you how many time I get, even from big PR firms, it looks like a bomb. A package wrapped in brown paper with twine and hand licked stamps on it. It’s not the way to do it. You’ve got to go to Stamps.com. This is a great solution, if anyone’s in fulfillment. Here’s the deal. First of all you don’t have to go to the post office. So that’s great. You have what you need. A computer, you’ve got it? Yep. A printer? Yep. Not a special printer, not special ink. Just a printer. You can print on the envelope which means you can even put your logo and the barcode for the stamps are there. You can buy and print your own legal postage right from your computer and printer. But it also does packages. It does any kind of mail. It will even help you choose your kind of mail. When you get the USB scale you plop the thing on there, you never have to worry about—here’s Carly with our Stamps. This is the kit you get at Stamps.com. I’ll tell you how you get this for free in a second. So it comes with a USB scale. Then it will say, “You know is that a book? Because you can go media mail. It will be a lot cheaper.” It will print out the mailing. It even fills out forms. So if you’re sending certified it will fill out the form from the website. So if somebody buys something on your Etsy site it takes the information, fills out the forms. Even email your buyer with the delivery information. It will fill out return receipts. Even international customs forms. All done automatically with Stamps.com. You’ll save time. You’ll save money. You’ll get discounts you can’t get at the post office like discounted package insurance with one click of the mouse. It imports addresses from all the popular PC address books. Uses cost codes to track postage spending by customer. Get automatic address verifications. The Postal Service loves Stamps.com. You will too. And you never ever have to bring your packages to the post office because they just come and get it. Stamps.com. So here’s what you do. Go to Stamps.com. Up in the upper right hand corner you’re going to see s microphone, says, what does it say? “Heard us on the radio or podcast? Click here.” Yes you did. You heard it on TWiT, right? So write T-W-I-T in the offer code. T-W-I-T. click go. You’re going to get $110 dollar bonus offer. $55 dollars’ worth of free postage. You get the scale. Now you do pay shipping and handling on the scale. It’s about $5 bucks but they’re going to give you an activity kit and a bunch of stuff to make up for that. And of course a free trial of Stamps.com for a month. And the scale’s yours to keep no matter what. Stamps.com. Click the microphone in the upper right hand corner. Use the offer code TWiT. $110 dollar bonus offer waiting for you at Stamps.com. It’s what we use. It’s what everybody should use. If you’re using the mail to send, you know, fulfill stuff, Stamps.com is the way to do it.
Mark: The chatroom is still naming foods that start with the letter N.
Leo: What is the—oh, it’s called Biscoff. Biscoff.
Leo: No, they grind up cookies and they make a peanut butter out of it? You know what I’m talking about?
Nathan: Yea, I know what you’re talking about.
Leo: That’s not with an N.
Leo: (laughing) It’s so good. It’s called Biscoff. Nilla vanilla wafers. See I wonder if they’ll do the brand names again. I think that the KitKat was—
Nathan: Well for N what else do you have? You have nougat, you have Nutter Butter, Nutella, yea.
Jason: What if they just wrote one with the N for Ndroid.
Leo: Ndroid. Nutmeg would be ok. It’s better than Nut Roll.
Nathan: Everything’s better than Nut Roll.
Leo: I still want (laughing). Did you get your Nut Roll upgrade yet? Necco Wafers.
Jason: Not me. I’m still rocking the Marshmallow.
Nathan: There’s like Neapolitan Ice Cream. But that’s kind of, Neapolitan’s like, eh.
Leo: Very good Ice Cream I think. Amazon’s going to do an air cargo service. It was just a matter of time. Poor UPS. You know you’ve got to figure like they’re the number one user of UPS. Facebook is—this is a good use of artificial intelligence. They’ve created a bot to pick up slang before it’s popular. So they’ll know ahead of you. They actually have a patent for social glossary technology that detects slang, acronyms and other neologisms. So that what, they’re ready for it? I don’t know.
Nathan: So they can help you make words uncool faster?
Leo: I think so they can understand what you’re talking about if you’re a teenager so they can serve you with proper ads.
Nathan: That actually makes a ton of sense.
Leo: Yea. You’ve got to understand the language of the youth, of the Ute. I think we can—oh, this one’s driving me crazy. I want to know what you guys think. So we’re hearing a lot of people say that they are now being upgraded from Windows 7 and 8.1 to Windows 10 like without permission. We’ve said for a while, watch out because first of all they put that really annoying ad on Windows 7. When you’re ready. Ok, that was bad. But then they moved the Windows 10 upgrade to recommend it in the update process which means for a lot of people if you have, I think it’s even the default in the Windows Recommended Updates are automatically applied. But even then it would download Windows 10, that’s annoying enough. And then put up a thing saying “I’m ready. Are you ready to go?” And you still have to say yes. Except I’m hearing more and more from people who say, “No. It just—I woke up one morning and I was using Windows 10.” That’s wrong.
Nathan: That’s terrible.
Leo: And now they’ve done even another bad thing. This is from Woody Leonhard on InfoWorld. They just pushed out a patch Tuesday, KB 3139929. It’s a security patch for Internet Explorer. And it says, “This security update resolves several reported vulnerabilities in IE. The most severe of which could allow remote code execution.” Yikes. That’s bad. Got to patch that, right? “Oh…Additionally this security update includes several non-security related fixes for Internet Explorer.” Well you know what it does? It adds, it says, “This update adds functionality to IE 11 on some computers that lets users learn about Windows 10 or start an upgrade to Windows 10.” Now what you’ll get is a blue banner when you open a new tab in IE saying "Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10." Now here’s the worst part. This is a critical update. You have to take it. And you can’t separate out the blue banner. You’re going to get it.
Nathan: It kind of reminds me when Chrome tells you to upgrade Chrome. Although you’re using Chrome so you might want to know that versus—
Leo: Well Chrome and Firefox do. And I think IE does it now, is they automatically upgrade and then it will say, “Ok, restart.” That’s appropriate because that’s security.
Nathan: But if you don’t have the automatic upgrades set up—
Leo: You can turn that off?
Nathan: It will send you a little banner that says upgrade.
Leo: As it should. Upgrading your browser is important. Upgrading your whole operating system?
Nathan: It’s a whole different level.
Leo: It’s another thing.
Nathan: People should just stop using Internet Explorer.
Leo: (Laughing) I think there’s the solution.
Nathan: Just use something else. Firefox of Chrome.
Leo: All right we’re going to wrap things up with yes one more hazard to virtual reality. Hard lesson on leaning on virtual desks. This poor kid is using a Vive. He knows there’s a desk. You can see behind him on the video. He’s trying to touch the desk. Well, it’s a kid. He’s wandering around. Oh no. He falls right over. Because there isn’t a desk. It just looks like a desk. So here’s our public service announcement. Do not lean on virtual desks. You’ll fall over every time. Watch this. It’s coming up. No, no (laughing).
Nathan: That’s mean.
Mark: It’s mean but let’s watch it one more time.
Nathan: That’s mean.
Leo: 1.5 million views in 6 days. Somebody is watching it. That’s just mean. The poor kid. Ok, one more time.
Mark: Ah, I think he’s going to get it this time. Aw.
Nathan: That’s like you falling on that Casper mattress.
Leo: It is. It’s relaxing. It’s too bad he didn’t have a Casper mattress. He would have felt much, much better. Anything else? I want to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
Nathan: I’m excited for virtual reality.
Leo: I am too. I ordered a Vive last week and I have an Oculus Rift on the way.
Nathan: Do you have a gaming PC for both or?
Leo: Guess what? We’re building a $5,000 dollar ultimate VR gaming machine on The New Screen Savers. Every Saturday we add another component. We added the RAM yesterday. It’s an Intel based motherboard, a beautiful motherboard. I love the motherboard from Asus. We’ve got Asus Strikes Graphics Card in there. We’ve maxed that out. We’re going to have the hard drive still to come. A beautiful case with a window. It all lights up. Water cooled. It’s going to be a very nice system. And then we’ll just be waiting.
Nathan: What about the PlayStation VR? I have a PlayStation 4. Mark has a PlayStation 4. I could see myself buying one of those. I don’t know if I want to buy a PC specifically.
Leo: Yea, you kind of have to, don’t you. I looked at all my machines. And it was funny when Palmer Lucky, the founder of Oculus was asked, “Why don’t you do Oculus Rift for a Macintosh?” He said, “We’ll do that as soon as Apple doesn’t make a crappy computer.”
Nathan: I really love that response. I don’t totally agree with it but I just think it was so ballsy.
Leo: No Apple computer on the market today supports, has enough graphics card to work.
Mark: Very few computers on the market today.
Leo: Well that’s the problem.
Mark: I think it’s something like 13 million computers in the world by the end of this year.
Mark: Will have support for it.
Nathan: If the PlayStation 4 can support. I’ve tried Rift.
Leo: Sony’s supposed to be pretty good, too.
Nathan: It’s outstanding. It’s fantastic.
Leo: What games? Have they said what games are going to work with that on the PS4?
Nathan: It’s just all demo so far.
Leo: it’s all demo so far.
Mark: But if they can get a solid lineup, I mean Sony’s the dark horse. And there are more PlayStations out installed in people’s homes than there are computers capable of playing on.
Leo: And isn’t that interesting? Isn’t that interesting. And how much is it?
Nathan: They haven’t said how much it’s going to be.
Mark: But they have an event on Tuesday.
Nathan: They do.
Leo: Tuesday we’ll find out.
Nathan: Hopefully. I hope. But if they could come in at like $400 bucks. I mean they might have to sell it under cost but if they can do that that could be really awesome. Especially considering what Oculus Rift is $600.
Leo: It’s $700. Or $800, yea. So we’ll be at GDC. That’s where they’re going to do this announcement, the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. We’re going to have coverage, live coverage. Actually Owen G. Chad, Chad Johnson will be joining probably Robert Ballecer. I think it’s Wednesday our coverage is of GDC. That’s going to be very interesting to see what Sony announces. I hadn’t really considered that but you’re right. They’re the dark horse. They could really, because they can own it because a lot of people have PS4s.
Nathan: And especially with E3 coming up. I mean—
Leo: You know what game I want? I want No Man’s Sky.
Nathan: I want No Man’s Sky so bad! It’s really cool.
Mark: Yes, yes, yes.
Leo: 19 billion planets and you can go there and walk around and eat.
Nathan: We’ve been waiting for that game for what? 2 years now?
Leo: 19 billion planets you can throw up on.
Mark: No, that’s going to be an incredible game. In VR.
Leo: It feels like it’s got to be a VR pedal. They haven’t said that.
Mark: There’s that space VR game, Valkyrie for Oculus.
Leo: And that makes sense. Oculus is showing--
Nathan: I’ve seen that one. It’s great.
Leo: Is it? You’re in a cockpit. So it kind of fits. You can’t move around which is one of the problems with VR is you say that kid walking and falling over. You want to force people to sit down and just look around like this. It does very well with that. And so that’s what you’re in. You’re in a Valkyrie cockpit and you take off. But I think No Man’s Sky is the one. I keep talking about that.
Nathan: Video games take place in 360 degree worlds anyways. You just move the viewpoint with your joystick. So it doesn’t seem like it should be that technically impossible or difficult to make a video game a 360 degree version.
Leo: That’s what I thought. You’re already generating, you’re already creating that environment. You’ve got all the voxles.
Mark: It’s a lot easier I think for games than it is for movies for example which you know, Spielberg and some others are experimenting with some ways to do that. But it’s a complicated question. Also like the reason the director is there is to show you what to watch. You’re not supposed to be like, oh Jurassic Park looking the other way from the T-Rex.
Leo: Oh, what happened over there?
Nathan: I played an early version of this last year.
Leo: No Man’s Sky?
Nathan: And it was awesome. It was really, really great. It was beautiful.
Leo: This is a fractally generated universe. It’s unique so you see it and it’s just unique. But there are other people, it’s a MMORPG, right? There are other people in it but the chances of you meeting them are minimal because there’s so many worlds. Billions.
Nathan: I think though that when this game comes out they’d have some sort of online component so you can find your friends and do things together, right? I mean solo play—
Leo: And all these planets are different so you’re landing on a planet in this video and all these, you’ve discovered.
Mark: You discover. You get to name it. And you can discover creatures.
Leo: Oh, this is an ice planet. So I’m very intrigued by these ice planets. You can’t stay outside too long because you’ll freeze. Some of them are inhabited. Some of them are not but all of them have sentinels that will get you if you do bad things. I think this is—this to me begs to be a VR type. Because you’re really in the submersive world.
Nathan: Yea, I’m excited about this game.
Leo: Yea. I don’t even know if it is a game. Is it a game or is it an experience.
Mark: Is there a story and do you shoot things or?
Nathan: If there’s a story they haven’t talked about what it would be so far. But yea, you can shoot. And so Leo brought up the sentinels if you do bad things. There was one planet I went on and just to see what would happen, terrible—
Leo: You shot an animal. Don’t shoot the animals.
Nathan: And the sentinels came out.
Leo: And they try to kill you. And the thing is, if you kill the sentinels they get stronger and stronger. There’s more and more. And then there’s big walkers that come after you. I think the best thing to do if you shoot an animal is get off that planet right away. Right away. It could be Spore. Remember Spore, how excited we were about Spore? How we thought this is going to be a great guy and a great team and it was terrible. This could be that. Or—
Mark: But you played it. You said it’s cool.
Nathan: It was cool. But it was also just like one level. It was just flying through space, arriving at one planet.
Mark: The thing with Spore is I don’t think anybody got to play it before it came out. There was like a veil of secrecy.
Leo: Oh really? Interesting.
Mark: And Will Wright was talking about this was going to be the game to end all games. It was like sort of that guy Peter Molyneux who does Fable and Black and White who just oversold the game before it came out. I think Will Wright has learned his lesson.
Leo: Here is the VR roller coaster at Six Flags.
Nathan: I don’t understand.
Leo: Are you in an actual roller coaster but you’re also wearing Oculus? You’re wearing the Gear VR at the same time?
Nathan: So you’re looking at something where you’re not, yea.
Jason: I’ve got it cued up here.
Leo: Go ahead. Fire away, Jason.
Male 1: This is our first time riding. Let’s hope it’s good, so.
Male 2: Let’s put it on and what do I see here?
Jason: Do you still have yours?
Leo: Yea. So wait a minute. So you’re on an actual roller coaster but it looks like you’re in a horrific dystopian future with evil monsters. So boy, that’s got to be scary because you really are moving. I mean I’ve been on VR rides like The Simpsons ride at Universal Studios, but you’re never really going anywhere. You’re just being shaken up.
Nathan: This one’s like Star Tours, yea.
Leo: This is—if these kids throw up I’m not.
Jason: Here they go.
Leo: Are they going to throw up?
Nathan: If they don’t throw up I won’t be happy.
Leo: They look like they will. I would. This looks horrible.
Jason: But it maps out the roller coaster so.
Mark: The graphics look like Wolfenstein 3D or something.
Leo: Well that’s the problem. They can’t do.
Mark: They’re not great.
Nathan: How many Gs and go arounds can that headset take without that phone flying off.
Leo: Well the good news is that the headsets are cheap.
Jason: And they put a chinstrap on them too.
Leo: A hundred bucks. Do they provide the phone or are you supposed to provide your own phone?
Jason: No, it’s Six Flags.
Leo: Six Flags has a phone?
Jason: Yea. And they provide the chinstraps.
Leo: And the really weird thing is they get off the roller coaster and Mark Zuckerberg was sitting next to them the whole time.
Leo: That’s the thing.
Mark: Eating a hotdog pizza.
Leo: Eating a hotdog pizza. And they go, “Oh, wow, man.” They didn’t throw up. I’m disappointed. Well, I’m not really. Ok. There you go.
Nathan: Regular roller coasters are pretty great anyways.
Leo: I think we should end every TWiT with a game segment. That’s a good way to wrap it up.
Mark: I’m down for that. I like games.
Leo: I’ve got the millennials here.
Nathan: Do you have a PS4, Leo.
Jason: I think he got a new VR instead.
Leo: I don’t. And you know what I’m thinking I should get a PS4 for? There’s something coming out I really want. It’s only on PC and—I have an Xbox One.
Nathan: Oh, ok. What game? Because we’re talking about getting Division.
Mark: Division’s solid, yea. That’s a good game.
Leo: I’m not a big first person shooter. I kind of like—I was playing a wonderful game which I don’t think you guys have called Unravel. We were talking about that yesterday where you’re a—actually when I say this it doesn’t sound great. You’re a ball of yarn. And you’re rolling around.
Mark: Does it got like Katamari Damacy which came out for PlayStation like a decade ago.
Nathan: Is it a game or is it an experience?
Leo: (laughing) or an experience. Yea. No, I should get a PS4, shouldn’t I? I have a PS3. There it is. This is Unravel.
Mark: It’s time. Oh, yea.
Leo: It’s actually a great game. Is it on the PS4?
Nathan: I don’t know.
Leo: It’s on Xbox. I think it might only be Xbox one.
Jason: It’s so beautiful but I don’t play it that much.
Leo: You know I have a PS3. I could get, I could be talked into a PS4.
Nathan: Well if you get one let us know. We can trade gamer tags.
Leo: Ok, dude. Oh, you can drown in this, see?
Nathan: Yea, you’re like a little yarn character.
Mark: Like a little yarn ball.
Leo: Yea, and you have to get more yarn because you run out of yarn as you go.
Nathan: It kind of reminds me of Limbo. Do you remember that game Limbo? I love that game.
Leo: It’s a platform puzzle game.
Mark: Kind of like Yoshi’s story.
Nathan: Yea, yea, yea.
Leo: Interesting. I like, what I like is you’re not killing anything.
Jason: And the graphics are amazing.
Leo: Yea. It’s really immersive. This would be fun to do in VR as well. It’s all really puzzles.
Nathan: But it looks like it’s kind of mimicking real world physics. Kind of like Little Big Planet was doing.
Leo: A lot of physics.
Leo: Yea, I loved Little Big Planet. Now there was a good Sony game. That was awesome.
Nathan: It was great.
Leo: I played that like crazy.
Nathan: Huh. Cool.
Leo: All right. All right. That’s our gaming segment. Hope you enjoyed it (laughing).
Nathan: But we don’t know if that’s on PS4? I guess we can look.
Leo: You know there’s a thing.
Mark: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows.
Leo: There you go. It’s on everything. You can get a ball of yarn for Christmas. Thank you everybody for joining us. This was fun. I love having you guys on. You get me in touch with the young, the youth of the world.
Mark: The youths.
Leo: The youths. Mark Milian, Bloomberg Business Week. Good to have you. Nathan Olivarez-Giles from Wall Street Journal. What’s your beat on the Wall Street Journal? Tech, right?
Nathan: Yea, consumer tech.
Leo: But you got this new guy Geoffrey Fowler to go over. Is he good? Do you like him?
Nathan: So Geoffrey Fowler.
Leo: What’s he do?
Nathan: We have Joanna Stern. They’re both—
Leo: I love Joanna too.
Nathan: Personal Tech. And then—
Leo: And then you take whatever’s left over? The crumbs!
Nathan: We basically break a pool cue in three.
Leo: (laughing) whoever lives?
Nathan: So I cover a mixture of news and I do some reviews as well. So we’re on the same personal tech team.
Leo: It’s a great team. I have to say you guys have done a great job. I read it religiously.
Nathan: Thank you.
Leo: It’s great to have you on, Nate, Mark. Thanks to David Pogue who had to leave us a little early. But it’s always great to have him on too. I’m glad to see him again. Didn’t really ask him the tough question. I kind of did.
Mark: What is Yahoo?
Leo: What’s going on with Yahoo? I didn’t want to put him on the spot.
Nathan: That was kind of you.
Leo: Well I figured this way I’ll get an Apple invitation or something. I don’t know. It doesn’t work that way, does it?
Nathan: Those Hamilton tickets.
Leo: (laughing) Hey, no, I’ve got those. And he can’t have them. Thanks to everybody who joined us. We do the show every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern Time, new time because we’ve set the clocks forward. We didn’t talk about DST. What a horrible thing that is. Daylight savings time.
Mark: I hate it.
Nathan: We actually talked about it.
Mark: I’m tired right now.
Nathan: I just try to have no one tell me and my clock sets automatically. I don’t want to know. And then every year.
Leo: But you can’t help but know, right? Or can you.
Nathan: And then I’m like, “Hey, we lost an hour.”
Leo: I want to give a plug for stopdst.com. Every year we do, every time this happens, twice a year, everybody gets all het up for about a day.
Mark: It’s terrible.
Leo: Let’s stop it. Let’s end it. Let’s write a law. But this time let’s really do it. And by the way, the impact of daylight savings time, 17% rise in fatal traffic accidents on the Monday following the switch to Daylight Savings Time. $9 million, now they did a study in Indiana. Indiana kind of, some of it’s daylight savings time, some of it’s not. They did a study in Indiana. This doesn’t save energy. It costs them an extra $9 million in energy. This is why we did it in 1918 to save energy. It doesn’t save energy. It’s for the farmers you might say. No, farmers don’t care. They have electric lights now. They don’t care. This is, this is acting as if we haven’t changed how we consume energy since 1918. 68% increase in days lost due to workplace injury on the Monday following, tomorrow. Please, folks, take care tomorrow.
Nathan: No, wait. So you’re saying it’s a good day to call in sick.
Leo: Yea. It’s also a good day to have a heart attack. 25% increase in heart attack risk. Because of lost sleep. Who uses energy like it’s still 1918? The hashtag #stopdst. Let’s write our members of Congress. It’s actually a state by state thing. So write your local state representatives. Maybe we can stop it here. And there’s no DST in Arizona, right? And you love it, Evan, right? Yea. The Navajo reservations for some reason observe it. But let’s leave time alone, shall we? I think it’s time. Stopdst.com. That’s our public service announcement. So because of that we are now at a new time if you, I don’t know. It’s so complicated. We are still at 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time but because UTC doesn’t observe DST, we’re at a new time UTC and I have to do the math. We are at 2200 UTC if you want to watch live. Do the math. You can also be in the studio. We have a great studio audience. For some reason many of them stood the whole time. I don’t really understand that. Or are you all sitting on high stools? Oh, you’re on stools. You know, you don’t have to stand in the back, we’ve got chairs in front. If you want to be here, firstname.lastname@example.org we will be glad to host you. We love having groups in here, so a lot of fun for us to have a live audience. And of course you can always watch on demand. TWiT.tv is the website. We put all our shows up there, audio and video and of course on your favorite podcast channels.
Nathan: You’ve even got a couple of Apple TV apps.
Nathan: I was surprised at how many there were.
Leo: We didn’t write any of those. They’re all—we have apps we’re working on but really all the apps that you see right now on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Apple TV, Roku, those are fan written. And I’m really grateful. Thanks to all of you. Thanks for joining us! We’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-Bye.