This Week in Tech 554

Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech!  We have a great panel.  Alex Wilhelm is here, Stephen Kovach, Iain Thomson.  We're going to talk about everything, the Apple event coming up, the big court case coming up.  What's going on at Google.  What's wrong with the modern investment strategy.  It is a wide ranging conversation.  I think you're going to like it.  Stay tuned:  Smart TWiT:  is next.

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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 554, recorded Sunday, March 20, 2016.

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It's time for TWiT:  This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news.  I look forward to this show all week long.  It's like I want to... did you read?  This is where I get together with the smartest people I know and we analyze the news.  Frankly, I'm the consumer here.  I want to know what people like Ian Thomson at the Register think. Welcome, good to have you.

Iain Thomson:  Always a pleasure.

Leo:  Nice accent.  RP.  You taught me that.

Iain:  Indeed.  It's a curse, but also a blessing. 

Leo:  It is a blessing. 

Iain:  You get mid-westerners coming up to you and saying "I love your accent.  It's so cute.  Say something."  Go away. 

Leo:  I love it when they get angry. 

Alex Wilhelm:  It's going to be a very interesting episode, I can already tell.

Leo:  Alex Wilhelm is here.  That guarantees it will be an interesting episode.  From... where are you from?

Alex:  Mattermark. 

Leo:  I installed some software called Mattermost.  How is it that Alex works for this company that does this messaging platform?

Alex:  That's because I don't.  I'm impressed you got the name almost right. 

Leo:  Matter something.  I literally for a day wondered why they hired Alex Wilhelm. What they do is open source slack.  It's very good.  It's really cool.  It's self-hosted, so you don't pay anything for it. 

Alex:  It's pretty cheap. 

Leo:  It's five bucks a person for a month.

Alex:  Slack is still good. 

Leo:  I love Slack.  Are they a sponsor today?  From Tech is that right?

Steve Kovach: Yep.

Leo:  Finally.  Steve Kovach is here. 

Steve:  It's our first spinoff site. 

Leo:  You have the skyline of New York on your arm.

Steve:  It's not New York.  It's an imaginary comic booky...

Leo:  Admit it.  It's Gotham.  He's actually Peter Parker... I don't know where to begin.  There's so much juicy and delicious stuff.  I have to start with you, Iain Thompson and your article.  You wrote the article that busted open the Microsoft Caper.  Game developer conference was this week.  GDC.  It's a great event.  Microsoft held a great panel on how to increase diversity in game developing.  How to get more women involved.

Iain:  It's become a thing.  And then a few hours later...

Leo:  They have a party for X Box with dancers...

Iain:  Wearing the kind of schoolgirl uniforms I wish they wore at my school.

Leo:  Plaid skirts and brassieres.  I think your article really galvanized a lot of criticism.  I wouldn't have done the story, but your here.

Iain:  I can't honestly claim credit for it. 

Leo: Were you at the event? 

Iain:  No.  It was female developers at the event.  Saying the 1970's called and they'd like their attitudes back. 

Leo:  This is booth babes, basically.

Iain:  It's kind of like the women in gaming lunch if they had chip and dales waiters waiting on them and serving snacks to female attendees.  It's that kind of level of mental disconnect.  I don't know what on earth went on...

Leo:  Microsoft has apologized.

Alex:  There was no other possible response.  If they equivocated even one iota of response, they would have gone through two bad cycles.  They only had one option.

Leo:  It does remind me of the historically boneheaded PR Xbox has had since they announced the Xbox One.  This is the same company that said it would be all right unless you're in a submarine.  So many of their PR people have blundered around Xbox.  It's a shame.  I'm an Xbox user, you all are probably PlayStation guys.  You're lucky because the other big story at GDC was PlayStation announced their VR...

Steve:  I'm going to buy it.

Leo:  That's interesting to me.  I also think a lot of people bought the PlayStation four because it was 100 dollars cheaper than the Xbox one, now you're saying I'm going to buy a 400 dollar visor though. 

Steve:  This is my easiest access to VR.  This is the only computer I own.  I don't have a thousand dollar gaming PC.  I have a 350 dollar PS4 that I use all the time.  As long as it was under 600 bucks, I was going to buy whatever they announced this week. 

Iain:  You're not a total fanboy.  You do have a price limit. 

Steve:  Oh yeah.

Leo:  Invidious said there were only 18 million PCs in the world that could run an Oculus Rift.  Tiny number out of the several hundred million.  There are 38 million PlayStation 4s. 

Steve:  They're going to be the early leader in the high end VR game.  What annoyed me about this announcement was they came out saying it was going to be 399 bucks.  Everyone flipped out immediately and you dig in and realize it doesn't come with the PlayStation camera, which is necessary for the thing to actually work.  For 399 dollars, you get a non-functional VR headset.

Leo:  How much is the camera?

Steve:  About 50 or 60 bucks. 

Alex:  It's not that much more. 

Steve:  Two days later, they announce a bundle that's 499 that has everything you need. That's the real price.  It's going to be 499, you get two controllers, the camera, the headset, and a game with a bunch of demos. 

Leo:  How much is the Rift?  599?  And the Vive is 800?  So you're still, even at 499 lower than anybody else. 

Steve:  Exactly.  Almost 40 million PlayStation 4s in the world.  They're a solid A.  I'm going to get one as soon as I can.

Iain:  You've got the interactive thing working for you as well.  Which we're still not sure about. 

Leo:  What's that?

Iain:  Well, interactive gaming is much easier.  You've got an entire community of PS4 gamers who are aching to play with you.

Leo:  For multi-player... now VR multi player is a challenge.  Was it Sony?  Someone was showing at GDC the goofiest preferences ever where you're in with other people. you've got giant clown hands.  Whoever it was says I couldn't stop laughing.  It was awesome.  I was giggling the whole way.  Did you go to GDC?

Iain:  This year?  No.

Leo:  Anybody?  We sent someone.  Which was done, I should have gone.

Steve:  It was all VR and then you balance that with Apple with what they're going to announce next week.  A smaller phone which looks like the phone from 2.5 years ago.

Leo:  We should talk about that.  We'll get to that.  It's a very good point.  Where is Apple's VR solution?   They've hired people. 

Steve:  Supposedly have hundreds of people working on it.

Alex:  I'm just really excited that if we can have a five hundred dollar VR for your house, that means Inversion 3 will be 150.  This is a pretty good starting point.

Leo:  The first Blu-ray player was a thousand bucks, so when you've got a new technology for five hundred bucks... Is it going to be powerful enough?

Steve:  The PS4?  There's an extra box.  I forget what kind of gizmos are in the extra box.  There's a little bit of extra processing.  It actually looks like a mini PS4 that you would hook into... that helps it out a bit.

Leo:  Sony was also rumored to be doing another PS4. 

Steve:  That's normal for the Consul's life cycle.  About halfway through they release...

Leo: You might say that VR while Sony will have a head start is not going to come into its own right away.  We're going to see more powerful platforms and consoles traditionally don't get updated very often, so they may get lapped quickly by newer better technology on the PC side. 

Alex:  Are we do for a console refresh anytime soon?

Leo:  Nintendo. 

Steve:  Nintendo will have something next year.

Leo:  Wasn't it ten years from the X Box to the X Box one. 

Alex:  How is that plausible?  A PC is like...

Leo:  Different product.  It's a consumer product.

Alex:  Not anymore.  X Box is not a Windows X machine with a wonky keyboard. 

Iain:  Yeah.  They want to get the maximum value out of the processors they have set up so they don't want to change the thing too much.  The technology moves on, but you're right.  If you're a PC gamer, you can swap out more quickly.  They want to get the maximum value out of their revenue chain.  They want people really aching for it and they'll give them a new console. 

Alex:  I wonder if the console model is viable now that we have crossbot in the Windows community.  Why do we need to have separate OS devices when games work across different platforms already?  It's an old fashioned way to go about it.  If we're moving fast with VR, maybe it doesn't make sense moving forward.

Leo: One of the appeals of consoles is that unlike a PC, there is one platform, so you develop to one capability.  It's easy for consumers, you buy the disc or download the game and it will work.  You don't have to download new drivers.  It works, you know it's going to work.

Iain:  It's plug and play. 

Leo:  And for a developer, you know that there's 38 million PlayStation fours with the same capabilities, so that's your market.  I think if you develop with a PC, it's hard to know what your market is. 

Alex:  Markets like Steam.

Leo:  Steam helps.  Steam makes a PC more like a console. 

Alex: A console inside your PC.

Leo:  That's why Vive will be a very interesting play thing too.  In all these cases, we're talking about gaming.  Is that all VR is going to be?  Is it going to be augmented reality that's the new UI or is VR going to move into that territory as well?  VR just for gaming?

Steve:  It can change everything, at least it's what people are predicting.  It's the final medium because it's so malleable and changeable. 

Leo:  People want to be immersed in their computation?

Steve:  Imagine going to a Micks game and you don't have to go to the Garden.  Entertainment is great.

Leo:  Productivity?  Is there a productivity app? 

Steve: The real goal here is to eliminate screens. 

Leo:  It's the mullet of technology.  VR in the front, VR in the back. 

Iain:  The problem with VR is you can't see your hands.  You can't actually create the thing, you can absorb information. 

Leo:  It's about consuming.

Iain:  Whereas with AR you can build into that.

Leo:  What about the nausea factor?  Isn't some fixed percentage of users going to get sick when they use it?  I can't think of a product that sold well that sickens its users.  Except cigarettes.  I take it all back. 

Alex:  On the entertainment front, there is a certain subset of content that exists in the world that has been at the forefront of tech innovation for online payments and video streaming.  I'm very curious.  I'm trying to keep it family friendly. 

(Censor screen appears.)

Alex:  My only thought is that is going to be an important content for VR?  And if so, where will it land? 

Iain:  I think it's going to be huge and no one is going to talk about it. 

Leo:  Porn is probably the number one thing people do on the Internet, but no one admits that. 

Iain:  I haven't experienced it myself, and I've seen videos of people who are doing it..

Leo:  I have.

Iain: Is it as immersive...?

Leo:  It's so immersive that it's scary.  You're in it.  Why is it you guys haven't tried it?  It's so easy.  You just download it and put on your helmet.  If you don't have a Gear VR.  There are a number of... all the players are doing it.  The problem with cardboard is you have to hold it with your hands.  You might want your hands free.  Can we cut this part out?  I don't know how bit it will be.  That's an interesting question.  This is in general my problem with VR is it's a considerable additional cost, it's getting used to it, the potential nausea issue.  My sense is adult content like that flourishes in an environment of easy accessibility.  The simpler it is, the better.  Not the more expensive it is, but the easier it is.  That's what's been pushing all this technology is easy access.  By adding an extra device and an extra cost and difficulty, besides that you can't tell if anybody is watching you.

Iain:  The old mother leaving the cup of tea beside you while you...

Leo:  Has that happened to you? That's a terrible thought. 

Iain:  It's an old urban myth, the story has been repeated over the Internet for two decades now of the person pleasuring himself with the headphones on and his eyes shut and when he finishes he opens his eyes and finds a warm cup of tea and biscuits by the side of the bed. 

Leo:  Just thought you might need some refreshment...

Iain:  Before I get the wrong idea about my country, I don't think anyone is going to buy a VR headset just for porn. 

Leo:  I don't think so at all.  This might be the first time that it doesn't forward the technology. 

Alex:  I'm just curious to see where version 3 of VR is-- don't laugh.  When it's cheap and pervasive.  The Smart phone revolution had a bigger cultural impact once we all had one.  It took a couple years, like five after the iPhone. 

Leo:  What Jason?

Jason:  Raymond Wong at Mashable tried on the VR porn during CES 2016. 

Leo:  We have a video of him experiencing it. 

Steve:  This is a great video, I've seen this.

Leo:  By the way, he's doing it with a gold Galaxy S 7. 

Raymond:... Experience your first threesome... woah. 

Leo:  We don't want to show this.  That's exactly my reaction is woah.  Oh, no no!  This is really not appropriate for our show...  There's a good reason why we don't talk about it. 

Alex:  That's going to be a great use for micropayments, I feel.  What we just saw. 

Leo: The first person to make a VR helmet with a quarter slot is going to do very well.  I think maybe we shouldn't do the margaritas before the show.  It's only going to get more weird over time.  Let's take a break.  When we come back, we should talk about Apple because they've got an event on Monday.  Two events.  They've got a big event on Tuesday too.  That may be a bigger show.  You may have to wait in line 7.5 hours to get a ticket to the Tuesday show.  It's even harder to go to court than it is to go to the Apple event on Monday.  We'll talk about that in a bit, but first, a word from our sponsor,  We love  As you know I've been a member since 2000.  The only thing that saved me from true road rage was that I listened to all 21 of the Patrick O'Brien books as I was driving.  That's many hours.  Audible has... the last time we checked it was almost a quarter of a million downloadable titles.  All kinds of literature.  There's fiction, there's no fiction, there's science fiction, there's periodicals.  They just acquired courses, so you can take college lectures from the best teachers in the world on subjects like relativity and medieval history.  One of the greatest courses ever, how to listen to and understand music.  Now it's available to be a part of your audible subscription.  We're going to give you two books free.  You're signing up for the platinum account, that's two books a month, plus the daily digest of the New York Times and the Wall Street journal, all read to you so you can listen in the car while you're doing your dishes, while you're walking the dog.  I love it in the gym, it really puts that treadmill time to good use.  You're going to have a month.  Two books, cancel anytime in that first month, you'll pay nothing, those books will be yours to keep.  The real idea is here's a chance to see what it's like to be an Audible listener.  I love it.  You will love it too.  I don't even know where to start.  That's the first challenge.  You want to listen to Harry Potter?  They've got all 8 books now.  Free, first two books anyway.  I'm listening because I'm going to go see Hamilton on Thursday.  That's Jim Dale.

Jim Dale:  They were the last people you'd think would be involved in anything strange or mysterious...

Leo:  Although the British Audible has Stephen Frye doing it, which is awesome as well.  Take your pick. As I said, I'm listening to the biography of Hamilton, which is great.  I can't wait.  I'm going to be really prepared for this Broadway musical.  I'm going to know the history before I go.  I want you to go to, get your two books right now and enjoy.  You're going to love it.  I'm telling you.  Two books free right now.  Apple's event is Monday.  Anybody got an invite here?  Steve is going.  You're the only one going., they get invitations here.  Does the Register get invites?

Iain:  We've been on the blacklist for so many years.

Leo:  I was forgotten too, I believe.  That's OK.  It's one infinite loop.

Steve:  It's a small auditorium.

Leo:  In this case, you'll probably be seeing a new smaller iPhone, a four inch iPhone, as you point out, not exactly a cutting edge innovation.  Although I think... one of the questions:  will it have 3D touch?  That's weird, because it feels like the new UI for iPhones.

Steve:  Who knows?  It sounds like it's going to be a 6S stuffed into a 5S body.

Leo:  Or a 6 even.  Maybe not even a 6S.

Steve:  It's a 6.  Same processor, 3D camera. 

Leo:  The 6S has 3D touch. 

Steve: That might be the only exception.  Maybe they haven't cracked how to make it work on that screen.  My take on this is it's the cheap iPhone people have been dying for.

Leo:  We'll see how cheap. We're guessing 450?

Steve: Which is 200 less than the current. 

Leo:  8 gigs?  Or you think they'll put 16 storage?

Steve:  Probably 16, which is a major mistake.

Leo:  Nobody should buy that.  I don't think Apple expects anyone to buy it, they know you're going to buy the next one up. 

Steve:  Appel structures it such that you have to spend an extra hundred bucks from the base model.  There are a lot of people who are still hanging onto their 3.5 and 4 inch iPhones.  This is a way to entice them and say hey, we've stuffed this great stuff we've added over the years that you've been missing out on in the same form that you're used to and love, and it's 200 bucks cheaper than the 6S. 

Leo:  Probably be a big seller.  Apple is in this position now.  Companies get to this position where they're saturated.  The Samsung did this too, where they started trying weird sizes and shapes and trying to find a wedge into a newer market.  That's clearly what this is. 

Steve: iPhone sales are going to decline this quarter almost certainly.  This can inject a little artificial growth into it by forcing people who have been hanging onto a 5 or a 4S for 2.5 years, they can say it's time for me to upgrade because I can get the device I'm comfortable with.  I don't have to get this massive screen, if I don't like it. 

Leo:  What's really the case is that iPhone users are not early adopters, they're not generally cutting edge.  This is a good market for Apple to tap into.

Alex:  Which market?  Is this the US market?  The European market?  The Asian market? 

Leo:  They're such cheap phones everywhere else.  I don't think you can be without a 50 dollar phone. 

Alex:  North America and other wealthy Western nations.

Leo:  Maybe China. China sales initially propped up Apple.

Steve:  Now Wawe is running away with it.

Iain:  OK.  I'm not an iPhone user, but the prevailing trend in the Industry has been for larger and larger sizes within reason.  If you go into fablet territory...

Leo:  I remember.  People mock me for carrying a Note.  The first Note or the second note.  Now it's a normal sized phone. 

Steve:  We were begging Apple for two or three years.  Please make a big iPhone and it spurred the iPhone 6.  They shattered records.  This is a way to go back and court the people who didn't upgrade in that mega upgrade cycle. 

Alex:  I love how people who were Apple fans were like you're phones so big ha ha, and then the iPhone 6 came out and they all bought it immediately.

Leo:  The nice thing about the 6S Plus is battery life is phenomenal.  The new Galaxy S7 is great too.  You know what's really funny is all the Android people are freaking out because there was a rumor that the next version of Android... first screen shots didn't have an app drawer.  Android people are freaking out.  There's no app door, there's never been one.  You have to make a folder for your junk stuff and put it on the last page so you don't have to see it!  Ever app is there. 

Steve:  they say they're going to solve that soon.  Tim Cook hinted that you'll be able to delete files or hide them at least.  Maybe that means some sort of back door, but it's just silly.

Leo:  Apple has the resources.  Certainly they have the knowledge.  They must know that they're a little behind.  Do they not care? 

Alex:  If you went back to the initial iPhone, which I owned and pulled up the main screen, it's the same.  You can do more stuff now, I think people like that comfortability.  When they took away the start bar in Windows, (which no one used) people lost it.  They put it back in...

Leo:  This is scary.  I just got a cup of tea and some biscuits.  Oh my god.  Mom! 

Alex:  If they're going to make a dramatic change of that magnitude, I think they're going to do it slowly and get it right the first time, because you will make people so very mad if you change their home and Smartphones are our home now.

Leo:  Samsung a few years ago had an ad campaign implying the iPhone was your Mom's phone.  It wasn't so wrong, yet I don't know if it worked.  That was the year the S5 tanked. 

Steve:  That whole campaign boosted Samsung so much.  That's why we still talk Samsung versus Apple, so whether they're correct in that assessment, it doesn't matter. 

Leo:  In every way now they have bested Apple.  The flexibility of having different launchers.  Use one of many different launchers, you don't have to use the stock launcher. 

Iain:  You do wonder if Apple is starting to lose it a little bit on the design front.  Johnny Ive has not turned out... the Smartwatch is OK. 

Leo: Let me take the case off.

Steve:  It's the same size screen but it's smaller, it fits in your pocket, it's nicer to hold.  This thing feels like I'm carrying around an anvil in my pocket.

Leo:  I have both and I use both, but when the 7 came out, I put the iPhone six in a drawer.  I missed the flexibility of Android.  The Apple watch is still better than Android wear.

Iain:  Make me an Android watch where someone has gone, wow that's cool. 

Alex:  None of them. 

Leo:  We will see, Apple said the invite said in the loop.  It is literally in the loop.  Somebody said they do call those bands loops, expect a black Millanese loop.  But someone sent me an email which I thought was intriguing. What if we start seeing sensors in the bands?  Maybe these new bands are more than just bands. 

Steve:  Isn't someone working on...?

Leo:  Apple Corps?  One of the first FDA approved devices for... it measures heart.  I can't remember. 

Steve:  It's not until the watch will get really exciting when they can do more than track your steps and artificially track  your heart rate. If they can get the resting heart rate right, if they can do...

Iain: If they can do it without your phone being Blue tooth. 

Alex:  We're four of the biggest dorks on the planet and not one of us is wearing an Apple watch right now. 

Leo:  I'm wearing an Android wearable. It's round for one thing. 

Iain:  It looks like a watch from the 1800's.

Leo:  The Apple watch is better at... oh look it's raining.  The apple watch says so.  I wanted to Instagram a picture of raindrops on the Watch telling me that it's raining. 

Iain:  I did a quick countup on Friday.  We have five Apple watches sitting around the office because nobody wants to wear them.  We can't get rid of the things and the companies won't take them back.  What do you do?

Alex:  Just leave them.  If you go back to the VR discussion we were having a few minutes ago, we were all very excited, and then we brought up smart watches and we went, eh?  Energy level dropped by 50%.  We're the people who are going to buy these things.

Leo:  If early adopters aren't excited, then you're out of luck.

Steve:  But we're still excited about Smartphones, and that's why Apple's event tomorrow might seem a little boring, but I wrote this this week.  Apple is a one trick pony and its Smart phones, but they happen to make the best-selling one.  That's the only trick that matters.  VR is exciting and it's fun to see all these companies come out with it.  Is it a mainstream product?  No.  It's for hardcore gamers.  Does it mean Apple is totally ignoring the trend?  Of course not! They have hundreds of people researching this. 

Leo:  Tim Cook said we research a lot of things, but it's not really a deal.  He was talking about the car, until we've hired thousands of engineers.  A hundred engineers means mild interest for them, they've got so much money.  They've hired some of the best VR people, actually, but it doesn't mean they're going to do it, it just means we have the money we should just...

Steve:  I don't think they need to do it. Do you want to walk around with a giant headset on your face?  That's where the technology is right now.

Leo:  The pressure has to be at some point, at least in terms of to find a follow up to the iPhone, and now is the time.  Is it the iPad?  No.  I don't think so. 

Alex:  Investors are very nervous about this.  If you look at Apple's stock price over the last five to seven years, people have now realized to Steve's point that they are a one trick pony.  Mac sales, small, iPad sales in decline, Apple Watch sales modest.  If iPhone goes flat or down, what's the next upward level?  If you say Apple TV, I will laugh at you.

Steve:  It's not Apple TV, and it's not  cars either. 

Iain:  I think the whole Apple car is a huge red herring.  Coming to your point, they've got a real problem.  Unless they can get their iPhone mojo back, then Chinese manufacturers doing cheap phones that look good enough are going to ear their lunch. 

Steve:  That's been the story for years and that hasn't happened yet.

Leo:  The one we're watching right now is the new Xiaomi 5 or 4.  It's a snapdragon 820, credible phone, 250 bucks...  Unlocked.  They've never sold these in the US, but there's considerable thought that this may be the one that they introduce in the US.  Wouldn't that be interesting?

Iain:  I've tried some of their phones out, I'm really impressed, I've got some great software on them.  Whether or not they'll beat Apple in a premium market, they are cheap.  If it's a choice between spending half the price on a phone, which is good, I don't know that the IOS and the Mac IOS has enough to hold them there.  You're right.  We have been saying this for years, but it's growing, slowly but surely.

Leo:  3000 amp hour, battery 4 gigs of ram, 16 megapixel camera, five inch screen.  Snapdragon 820.  At that price, this is the biggest market in the US.  There's the premium market which we all participate in, so we're in a bubble, but most people don't want to spend 800 dollars for this phone.  That's more than their computer costs. 

Steve:  They don't see it that way.  The carriers are starting it so you pay 30 bucks a month

Leo:  People are starting to get what they're paying--- they're not subsidized anymore, and that's one of the reasons something like a Xiaomi 5 might have an opportunity.

Alex:  At 250 bucks a pop, if you dropped it and broke the screen, you could just buy a new one. 

Leo:  I already broke my S7.  This thing is slippery like a fish in your hand, and breaks trivially. 

Steve:  I have a crack on the bottom of mine. 

Leo: I put it in a case and you'll never see it, I hope, as long as I don't crack the front.  All right.  They're also going to announce a new iPad pro, ten inch version.  Again, this is like nibbling around at the corners, trying to find a new market for something that isn't growing.  It's not going to change the equation. 

Steve:  The iPad still hasn't convinced me, especially the pro.  The keyboard that came with it is terrible.  It's awful to type on.  The letters actually fade off of it when you type on it too much.  They claim it replaces your laptop.  No way.  We've learned now that you hold onto an iPad for 3,4, 5 years?  You give it to the kids and they watch Netflix or YouTube on it.  This is not going to inject new excitement to the iPad.

Leo:  Apple moved this a week ahead.  I've got to think because they wanted it to be the day before the court. 

Alex:  Very cheeky by the way.  I love it.

Leo:  Don't you think Tim Cook doing an open letter on the Apple webpage, that's cheeky as hell.  In the face of a federal court order to say we're not going to do it. 

Iain:  The FBI was cheeky as hell by the same standards.  The San Bernardino case was picked because it's a terrorism case, the suspect is dead anyway, so he's not... case law.  They set Apple up and Apple turned around and fooled them.  Good luck to them.

Leo:  I'm glad Tim Cook did that.  It turned out to be the right strategy because it's not just us, but in general the American populous is aware of privacy and encryption.  It may be a little bit of theatre.  I suspect that Tim Cook will begin the event making the case, it'll be his closing argument in effect, making the case which he's preparing as we speak for why we don't want the FBI to have access to these phones.  The whole thing is theatre from both sides, because we really live in a surveillance society. 

Iain:  I was talking to a lot of guys at RSA about this.  The feeling was universal.  Up until we started getting full encryption on iPhones and Android phones and Snowden...

Leo:  You can blame Snowden for all of this, right?

Iain:  If you said the Government is collecting data on everyone's Internet habits, you would have been laughed out of the room as a tin foil hat wearing nut job.  Then when the stuff came out, it was like maybe they are but I'm sure it's safe.  Apple and Google responded perfectly well for what is a customer demand for secure communication.  The FBI panicked when they realized all this lovely stuff which means we can sit in an office and scan stuff rather than going out and doing police work, then yeah.

Leo:  Neil Stephenson says relying on encryption is like a guy living in a house with a picket fence that consists of a single picket a mile high.  Encryption yes, does work, but there are so many ways... you can never eliminate the human factor.

Iain:  Encryption doesn't work on a routed computer.

Leo:  It doesn't work in general really.  Law enforcement has many means which they know very well to get around all of this.  How did they get Silk Road, Bitcoins encrypted?  Well, informants.  It's easy.

Steve:  That's Apple's argument as well.

Leo:  I think Apple is a little disingenuous too.  I think from the marketing point of view, it's great to tout their phones as being secure, but there is no security. They're giving up the iCloud backups routinely. 

Steve:  The also said that out loud.  They draw the line at the device. 

Leo:  They don't want to write firmware.  In fact, the latest story is that the programmers at Apple would walk out.  Do they face contempt of court if they just walk out?  No, they're just quitting their job. 

Iain:  I don't think legally, we've been trying to find a lawyer who can give us a straight answer on this, but legally there's nothing the FBI can do.  If you're going to force me to do this, I quit.  You can't force somebody to provide their labor for a position.

Leo:  Susan Crawford wrote an interesting piece.  She is an expert in this kind of law, I'm trying to remember her title.  It's on Medium  She's a professor at Harvard law.  Back Channel's tech policy panel.  In 2009 she served as Barack Obama's special assistant for Science technology and innovation policy.  The law is clear, she writes.  "The FBI cannot make Apple re-write its OS because CALEA specifically forbids it.  Every once in a while, Obama loses his law professor hat and puts on his I get terrifying briefings every day hat.  She said, he said what he said.  He must know as a constitutional lawyer by training that when CALEA was passed by Congress 20 years ago, it made it very clear that Government cannot, may not tell manufacturers how to design or configure a phone of software including software used by that phone.

Steve:  How has this not been brought up by Apple?  That's what I want to know. 

Iain:  They did bring it up at their last court filing.  I did a story about it.  When the CALEA hearings were first done in 1994, then the director of the FBI said we're not going to force companies to de-crypt, we'll just take the signals and we'll work it out ourselves, thanks very much.

Leo:  Just let us wiretap, that's all we ask. 

Iain:  Now director is turning around and saying, actually no.  We haven't asked the NSA if they can uncap the chips, but if you could just do it for us, that would be great.  Using a law that was written in 1789.

Leo:  The All Writs Act.  That's what she says.  They can't use CALEA, they're going to the All Writs Act.  This was part of the negotiation.  This was tit for tat.  Congress said OK, you've got to help them with Wiretapping, but in exchange section 1002, the Feds gave up authority to "require any specific design of equipment, facilities, services, features, or system configurations from any phone manufacturer."  There's no question.  I'm surprised the judge in this federal case didn't know this, by now she must know this.  This is going to be the surprise on Tuesday.  She can't rule this, because it's direct contravention of what Congress clearly mandated.  I am amazed that Apple didn't give her this sentance and say you're honor, case closed. 

Iain:  Apple is also an information services provider and telecommunications provider.  The before CALEA laws don't...

Leo:  That's the one place CALEA does apply to Apple. 

Iain:  Which explains why they went for the All Writs act approach.  This has been a botched job on the part of the FBI, and a slightly botched job on behalf of Apple because they came out saying we're not going to put a backdoor in encryption, and when you look at that specific case, that's not what the FBI was asking for, they were asking for a way around brute force.  It's clear that they've decided to go all in on this.

Steve:  Apple's argument is Brute force is only made possible by...

Alex:  For people who don't know, what's the All Writs act?

Leo:  Everybody knows that by now.

Alex:  Sorry.

Leo:  1789?  It's a mistake to focus on that. The All Writs act says a judge can do whatever a judge needs to do to get the job done. 

Iain:  When the Government issues a Write, you've got to obey it.  The FBI has decided to use this saying we're telling you to do it, so do it. 

Leo:  This has been around for a long time for exactly this purpose.  What has changed is this is going to be more theatre on Tuesday because before it was just the two lawyers arguing and the judge ruling, the Department of Justice has asked for witnesses and testimony.  I was told that means they think they have a weak case. 

Steve: That means Apple thinks the FBI has a weak case.

Leo:  It was the DOJ that asked for witnesses, right?

Steve:  The witnesses are calling Apple's cryptographer.  It's going to be a really wonky hearing, I have a feeling. It'll get deep into the nitty gritty. 

Iain:  If they're asking for witnesses from Apple, Apple can ask the witnesses from the DOJ, because the one argument they've been saying is we don't know  how to do this, it's up to you to work out how to do it so we can decrypt messages when we want it.  If they can't find a single Government representative who can give a reasonable scheme...

Leo:  There will be witnesses on both sides.  This was revealed in a conference call Apple held on Friday.  On Wednesday, the Apple lawyers and the DOJ lawyers had a conference call.  The FBI requested an evidentiary hearing, this is something within their rights to ask for.  Apple is providing two employees.  One is Eric Neunschwander, who is Apple's chief product security and privacy manager.  in other words, their encryption guru. 

Iain:  He's already given a declaration on this as well in which he is quite clear that this is utter bollocks. 

Leo:  Lisa who is their global law enforcement manager, because Apple has to have a law enforcement manager to manage law enforcement requests.  That's a full time job. The FBI will also have two witnesses and so the hearings begin at 1:00 pacific time.  The Judge has warned, they'll be handing out tickets.  There's a small court room. Court room is 35 people, half of whom will be Apple and DOJ employees, and there's an overflow theatre.  You'll have to get tickets.  Tickets will be issued at 7 in the morning on Tuesday.  You need to be there early.  They can only get ten people an hour though security or is it 30 people?  It's slow.  I've been through court room security.  They really go through it.  They say an estimated 7.5 hours to get everybody into the court room.  It's going to be tight. 

Alex:  So bring lunch, if you're going.

Leo:  They also said that.  There's no food. There's a snack machine.  Bring lunch.  I wish they would broadcast this.

Iain:  I know. 

Leo:  It would rival the DOJ.  I believe the nation is gripped.  I think they're really interested in this.  By the way, a lot more interesting than following political situations.  There's a lot of stuff that's not as much fun.  I do think this is just massive theatre.  Both sides really know that law enforcement gets plenty of information from all sorts of sources.  They are not going dark.  They know a lot about what's going on.  Furthermore, Apple cooperates with the Government routinely.

Steve:  The cooperated on this. 

Leo:  Don't say this out loud, it's a secret!  I think both parties, in some degree deserve a little approbation.  Shame on both your houses!

Alex:  What I have enjoyed a lot on the talk on encryption and privacy is it's brought out people who don't know anything about security and giving them a platform to say very foolish things in public.  Which has been enjoyable to watch.  I want a magic pony, no you can't have a magic pony. 

Steve:  It's what Obama wants.

Alex:  If the nerds would only nerd a little bit harder...

Iain: That South by Southwest talk was shaming.

Alex:  It was incredibly sad. 

Steve:  I can't comment on this case specifically, but here's another scenario that would easily apply to this case. 

Iain:  Calling your audience "fetishists" because they like their privacy...

Leo:  It's a shame.  He came to South by Southwest to do a good thing, which is to get the tech community to support transparent Government, efficient government, and then he gets asked that question and he throws it all away.

Iain:  He must have known the question was coming, and that must have been the considered response they had to that.  is this the best they've got?

Alex:  This Tech team needs to tell him they're not doing a good job of advising him.  Math works, you can't break math.  We have encryption or we don't.  You can't just have this awkward middle ground because someone told you you could.  Magic ponies don't exist.

Leo:  Maybe we can look deeper.  I think, and I don't know what we're going to find if we dig deeper, but we've got to assume all parties in this are intelligent.  Not the Congressmen.  The law enforcement is intelligent, Apple is intelligent.  the President is for sure intelligent.  I suspect there is a deeper, longer game being played here, and I can't quite figure out what it is.  I do feel like that was a dumb thing for the President to say, unless he knows better.  There's more to it than meets the eye here.  What is the long game?  What would the Government really like?  Here's one thing.  By the way, I'm going to credit Bruce Sterling. You've got to listen to his keynote at the end.  He's done it for 30 years now.  He is brilliant and he is totally cynical.  He says forget it.  The four horsemen of the Internet!  Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have created a commercial surveillance society.  They know everything.  Law enforcement has created a law enforcement surveillance society.  They know everything.  There's no dark.  What they would like you to think is there's some dark, but in fact,  there isn't.  He believes there is some hand waving between the parties.  Pay no attention to the real matter at hand, which is we know everything you're doing.  It's only getting better as you continue to put Internet of Things devices in your house.  I asked my radio audience today to look around and see how many Microphones and cameras are around you right now.  Look here.  Every one of our computers has a camera.  Every one of our phones has a camera.  They all have Microphones, your echo, your television set, and we're adding more and more all the time. All of which is accessible by bad guys, good guys, and commercial interests.  I think what they want us to do is forget about that.  We can make your phone private.  They want to have that conversation because people don't want us to think beyond it. 

Alex:  But if you don't have strong encryption you couldn't have the theoretical option of privacy.  That's why...

Leo: Mile High picket fence. There's a million other ways around.

Alex:  I still have hope for privacy.  If the technology community works on these things and we do it properly and correctly and with good walls and defense we could still have a modicum of privacy. 

Leo:  The people who end up protecting their privacy look like cooks.  They've got tape over their cameras, they carry feature phones not smartphones.  They look like they're tin hat crazies when in fact that's what you have to do if you want to be private. 

Alex:  We're not going to do that.  Us here. 

Leo:  No one is going to do that!

Alex:  But if we don't have encryption, you can't have that for anybody.  We need to have...

Leo:  That's the point.  Ted Kazinski benefits from encryption, nobody else does.

Alex:  I like it.

Leo:  I use it.  But come on.  I use it casually, you use it casually. 

Iain:  At the end of the day, if anybody wanted to get into anything on any one of our computers, they could do it.

Leo:  Easily!

Iain:  But you've got to have that base line.  You can't have them saying you don't have the right to secure communications because once you've given up that battle, that's it. You can argue that we've already lost it all anyway, but I'd like to have...

Leo:  I agree.  This is what law enforcement wants you to say. We're going to fight over it, and you're going to win and feel good because you have encryption, meanwhile everybody who wants to know what you're up to which includes commercial interests and Government interests they know exactly what you're up to.  Pay no attention. We got encryption though, we won! We will win this battle.  We will all go home fat and happy and they will be happy because in fact there was never any chance of us winning. 

Alex:  That's a little bit too cynical.  I think. 

Leo:  From Alex Wilhelm, ladies and gentlemen.  Do you not think that's the case?

Alex:  I think it's mostly the case, but if we can win this particular battle, we can move the weight of gravity more towards our direction, and the direction of privacy.  I'm at least going to operate under that assumption because I think it still matters. 

Leo:  I think it matters!  I think we have lost the ability to choose that long ago because of Google, apple, NSA, which is now giving its information to domestic law enforcement.  Alex, how can you look at that and say there's hope?  There's no hope.  Are you nuts?

Alex: I hope I'm not nuts.  That would be terrible. That would make my life harder. Commercial interests are opt in.  I use Gmail.  I don't have an ability to opt out of the NSA. 

Leo:  When was the last time your Internet service provider asked you to opt in or opt out of privacy?

Alex:  Tom Wheeler is a great guy.

Leo:  That means how hopeless it is.

Alex:  In that case...

Iain:  Look.  Tom Wheeler surprised all of us, because the guy was chief lobbyist . When he published that original net neutrality thing, oh yeah.  Here we go, bend over ,it's coming.  Actually, no.  The Industry got a little bit of help on this.  But with this and with the encryption thing...

Leo:  Doesn't it puzzle you that the guy who used to be a lobbyist for these interests is suddenly on the side of...

Alex:  No.

Leo:  Why?

Alex:  I spent time with him.

Leo:  You think he's genuine.

Alex:  I was so shocked by this.  I thought Tom Wheeler was going to be the dingo that...

Leo:  You don't think that some star changer brought him in and said Mr. Wheeler, you've been faithful and loyal servant all these years, and we would like to ask one more favor of you, would you pretend to be on the side of net neutrality and privacy and all that is good and holy.  We very much like people to think that the battle is raging here while we put rooms in the AT&T offices and we put special devices in every ISP to record all your activities for the next two years.  While we secretly do all this stuff, everybody is saying Tom Wheeler, he's fighting for the good.  Good for Tom Wheeler.  he's now in the Wireless hall of fame. the cable hall of fame and the people's hall of fame.  He'll probably retire with a nice payout, but is what he's doing... changing this...?

Alex:  I don't want to conflate what the FCC does and what the NSA does. those are two very different things.  tom wheeler's argument about why he made the choices he did with net neutrality is because his customer is now the American public so he's operating as if that's... he's a very moral person because he took fire from his former allies and employers for this.  The best part was Congress got involved and held a number of hearings and got whacked around by Tom Wheeler which I enjoy watching, but on the NSA side it's a separate thing. I'm not mad at the NSA because of Tom Wheeler or vice versa.  They're very different entities and responsibilities. 

Leo:  I don't know when I became this conspiracy addled.  I'm not that guy, I'm the optimist.  Listen to Bruce Sterling and you tell me how you feel.

Iain:  You've got a black cap and before Snowden if you suggested the things the Government might be doing to Government spokes people, they would haul you out to your face.

Leo:  The irony was we knew that was happening.  We didn't have proof, we could stick our head in the sand and say it couldn't be happening and then unfortunately Snowden ruined it.  He said take your hands of your ears because I have something to tell you. 

Alex:  If you're watching this, do a google search for Room 641A.  Look that up. 

Leo:  Somebody says it's not been there in 20 years.  Oh no.  Don't kid yourself.  Great conversation thank you. Alex Wilhelm from  It's a great place.  Now you really cover investments and investors and money. 

Alex:  Startups, but I still really care about politics and privacy, which is why I'm here.

Leo:  This is a great panel.  The millennials on this half.  Anybody have a funeral you'd like to go to...?

Iain:  It's been a busy first three months of the year.  I never thought Lemy was going to go.

Leo:  Us old farts have to put up with a lot.  Haven't we?  Iain Thomson, the Register.  Steve Kovach, Tech, more to come, but first I want to talk about GoToMeeting, the powerfully simple way to meet with your coworkers and your clients right from your computer even your Smartphone or tablet.  Imagine holding a meeting in your garden using your iPad.  You can see each other in HD crystal clear video, you can hear each other, you can all be on the same page sharing a document, collaborating on a document. This is the time of year, you know. Spring is today. First day of spring. Get out there. Less time in the office, spend a little more time watching, I don’t know, basketball? It’s time to get work done and get back to your bracket. That’s the new slogan (laughing). Easily collaborate with clients and colleagues from anywhere so you can be a meeting MVP. It’s easy to try free for 30 days. Just go to, click the button that says try it free. You’ll be up and running literally in a minute. The nice thing is even your clients will be. They don’t have to jump through hoops to see your presentation, to join your meeting. They just click the link in their email and boom, you’re there. Easiest way to conference. In fact, conference calls, as long as you’re going to do a conference call do it with Gotomeeting and then if you want to turn on the cameras, or you want to share a screen it’s there. It’s all in there and it’s free for the next 30 days. We thank them so much for their support. Wow. This is interesting.

Steve: And intense.

Leo: Who thought that I would be the cynic and you would be the pie-eyed optimist?

Alex: It does feel kind of strange. It’s like I put on someone else’s skin, walked out backwards.

Leo: I never suspected that. Do you guys have an Echo?

Alex: I do not.

Steve: Not anymore. I had to give mine back.

Leo: Oh.

Steve: I need to buy one.

Leo: Are you going to buy a Dot maybe?

Steve: I don’t know. Because I bought a Sonos only because it had Spotify.

Leo: I know.

Steve: At the time Echo didn’t have Spotify. And then Echo got Spotify and I was kicking myself.

Leo: But see the Dot you could hook up to your stereo. Because the problem with Sonos is the speaker’s not so good. I worry about Sonos. I think that—

Steve: Well they’re going through a big shift now.

Leo: They’re firing people. And they say that they’re going to add voice but.

Steve: They can put Alexa inside Sonos. There’s nothing stopping them from doing that.

Leo: I think Amazon should just buy them.

Alex: Oh, that’s interesting.

Steve: That would be very interesting.

Leo: There must be a play with the financial.

Alex: Yea, but aside from the Kindle, Amazon’s hardware projects have always done—

Leo: Well, that’s why you bring in the guys from Santa Barbara to do the thing.

Alex: Ok. I can see that. How much money would you pay for that?

Leo: Not much.

Steve: They have pretty high revenues.

Leo: Do they?

Steve: Yea.

Leo: Why are they laying people off?

Steve: They’re not. They’re refocusing. It’s not really—no, I’m serious.

Iain: You bought that, did you?

Steve: Yea, I did buy that.

Leo: We’re not firing people, we’re refocusing.

Steve: Look at the history of Sonos. They were so far ahead. They made a big bet 12 or thirteen years ago.

Leo: And won.

Steve: And won. That streaming audio was going to be a thing. And we probably thought they were idiots. We’re still listening to CDs back then. They were totally right. And now—

Leo: And now they’re going all in on streaming. They’re just saying share your library stuff. That’s not a big deal.

Steve: Well, whatever. But now they realize, whoa there’s this burgeoning trend of the Alexa’s and the smart assistants in the home, they don’t have anything there. And they realize we need to double down, refocus, move people around where we need to move them and get into this space because it’s the next big thing and I bet next year we start seeing Sonos’ with Alexa built in or something very similar.

Iain: Ok, so now that Leo—

Steve: That’s my positive side.

Iain: Leo has now put me on the old fart side of this. I’ve got to ask. I know people who have tried Echo. I know people who have tried a bunch of these different devices. Is it really that good that you’re willing to have that amount, and expensive bit of hardware always listening in your house that you wouldn’t rather just go to a laptop and press play?

Steve: Yea. It’s really cool to come home and say, “Alexa, play me some Weezer.” Or “Alexa, play me some—“

Iain: You’ve got to find a better band than that.

Leo: “Alexa, play some Nickelback.”

Steve: No, it’s really cool.

Leo: But the way, we’ve now started a Weezer stream in half of our audience and the other half’s listening to Nickelback.

Steve: There we go.

Alex: We’re not really nice I don’t think.

Leo: That’s mean. No, and there’s other things. Because you can say, “Alexa, set a timer.” I’m sorry, I keep saying Alexa. “Echo, set a timer.”

Iain: Two finger strokes.

Leo: No, you are sounding like an old fart now.

Alex: I’m on his team. Can we change chairs?

Leo: You’ve always been an all fart way before your time.

Steve: You don’t get it until you try it. And I was on Tech News Tonight the other night and I said the exact same thing but when I got rid of mine to send it back with my review—

Leo: You missed it.

Steve: I missed it.

Leo: You missed her. You didn’t miss it. You missed her.

Steve: It was very strange to come home and not like start playing music and say, you know, do this for me. And it was interesting. It was like I’ve lost a leg.

Iain: Now I do like the voice search. I think that’s a great application. But the idea of just having this hardware in my house constantly listening to the conversations around the house, and I’ve got a bad sense of humor in some respect—

Leo: It will tell you bad jokes by the way.

Iain: Yea?

Leo: Yea.

Steve: If you say tell me a joke it will tell you a joke.

Iain: Here’s a bad joke.

Leo: You can say tell me an Obama joke. Tell me a Clinton joke. They have all these—you know what’s interesting is it’s very easy to write additional skills for the Alexa, for the Amazon. So they’re exploding. And that’s one of the problems actually that they’re having is there’s so many skills it’s hard to keep track of all the things it can do.

Alex: Well I mean when Siri came out we all found the Easter Eggs in Siri and it was a lot of fun. Tell me a joke. Will you date me? Do you love me? And that was fun for about a weekend. And then I haven’t found a new one yet because I don’t use Siri because it doesn’t work. And so I’m just skeptical of this.

Leo: It’s not as good, be honest, it’s not as good as Google or Siri. But it’s your house listening. And that’s sort of a cultural difference that I think is a very big difference. That you’re not talking into something or manipulating something, you’re just standing there doing what you’re doing and you say to you house, “How much gas is in the car?” And it tells you.

Steve: It’s very passive and it’s easier than looking at a screen.

Alex: It’s kind of an ambient intelligence layer in your domicile.

Leo: And it’s a dumb intelligence layer but you know, I can see the say when it’s Scarlett Johannsen’s voice and it’s more interactive and it does more and it’s just the beginning again, of something pretty amazing.

Alex: Is this is the start of a house OS if you will?

Leo: Yea.

Iain: Definitely.

Alex: Now I understand better what we’re talking about. Ok, cool.

Steve: That’s exactly—I mean we were talking about this before when I was on TWiT a couple days ago—

Leo: That’s got to be the end game for Amazon.

Steve: They screwed up with the Fire Phone. It was a total flop. They missed smartphones. So they’re like, “We need to find a platform that we can just dominate.” And they stumbled on this.

Leo: And by the way it helps you buy stuff on Amazon. It’s really, really good (laughing).

Iain: Well, what happened to those little buttons?

Steve: The Dash buttons? Yea, they’re still there.

Leo: But it’s better than a Dash button because I can have a Dash button to buy toilet paper which I do. Or I can say, “Echo, buy some more toilet paper.” And it will say, “You last bought a 12 pack of Cottonelle. Would you like me to reorder that?” And I say, “Yes.” And it says, “What’s your code?” Because you have to give a PIN code. And you give it the code. And it’s ordered and it arrives in two days. Talk about friction free, that’s a pretty amazing experience.

Steve: Or you get the Brita filter that automatically knows that it’s time.

Iain: How long before that’s gamed in the same way that printer ink cartridges been gamed over the years?

Leo: Well, it didn’t take long for my 13 year old to figure out that every time he pressed the button, toilet paper arrived in 2 days and we went through a period of several weeks where we got toilet paper every other day. But then—

Alex: That’s a pretty good troll actually.

Leo: And then I hid the Dash button.

Alex: Go to a friend’s house, hit it four times, you know?

Leo: No, it only, see that’s the thing. You have to live there because it only orders it once until it arrives. And then it resets. So as soon as it arrives you can order again. That’s why he would go every couple of days pushing the button.

Alex: That’s dedication to the joke.

Leo: I know. That’s awesome. I couldn’t get mad (laughing).

Iain: Toilet paper in people’s houses is a thing over here.

Leo: Oh my God, you’re right. Oh my God, you’re right. Amazon is enabling—it’s a prank company. I’m sad to see that Google is putting it’s robots up for sale. The scary robots?

Alex: Have you seen the video where they knock it over?

Steve: I feel bad. I feel bad for the robot.

Leo: Do not anger the robot. I don’t feel bad. I feel bad for humans once the robots—

Steve: This is what they’re going to use to recruit.

Iain: The robot’s lying on the ground, “I will get my revenge.”

Leo: It’s going to be on Robot Tube. You know it is.

Alex: Robot Tube?

Leo: Robot Tube. They’ll all be saying, “Get the humans. You see what they did to us.”

Iain: On one level, Boston Dynamics did lose the BigDog contract and that’s not going to happen for years.

Leo: They lost the BigDog contract?

Alex: It was too loud.

Iain: Yea, it was too loud.

Leo: It was a gas motor.

Alex: It’s the one with four legs, looks like a mutated poodle.

Steve: The one that looks like a cute person is just so creepy.

Iain: Yea, but that’s still being used in the DARPA Grand Robotics challenge and that could actually have some use. But that’s a fair ways down the line. BigDog, it was one those great concepts. It was like, “Yea, a man can go out and this robot will follow it.” And you’ve got to fire up a petrol engine much like a scooter would sound.

Leo: Not that men haven’t fired up petrol engines to go out into the wild.

Iain: No, but when you’re going out and trying to be stealthy and creep behind enemy lines, it’s not a good idea to have a slow, clumsy quadruped behind you.

Leo: I think it’s scary. It’s a scary as heck combat robot, though, right?

Alex: Oh yea, I would totally like to have that on my team.

Leo: It’s relentless. But don’t do that.

Iain: You know, I can understand the point they’re making about—

Leo: I think they’re selling this company because they’re mean.

Steve: Well I think, one thing that Bloomberg reported I think shortly after their report came out that they’re up for sale is that this video went viral and everybody’s like, “Look at these creepy robots Google’s building.” And they don’t want that PR mess. That we’re building military robots that can crawl everywhere and they look like humans.

Leo: Yea, I think that’s the real reason. It was a problem when they bought them and they were quick to say, “No, no, no, the military contract is over, it’s going to run out.”

Iain: But it didn’t help them because the first conference after they made the buy, they had people standing up in the keynote having infiltrated the conference with banners at the keynote going, “You’re building murder machines.” We’re really not, but you know, when has rational—

Alex: The other rationale behind selling Boston Dynamics is that it has no marketable products for a long time. And now that Ruth is the CFO of Google and certain costs are being curtailed, I’m not shocked to see a revenue free division be sold off. And tech is awesome. We all agree that tech is really cool. But if there is no revenue, Google’s like, “Ok.”

Steve: I think that’s why Andy Rubin left and he was in charge of this whole robotics thing.

Iain: He was recruited to bring all these 15 companies together. When he walked it was kind of like, yea.

Steve: So they were probably left with like, “Ok, so what do we do now?”

Leo: This is so Google. They are, can a company be ADD? They are the most ADD of companies.

Steve: Buy Motorola. Sell it a few years later.

Leo: It’s sad because you want to go all in on some of this stuff. You want to say, “I believe in this.” And then they lose interest.

Alex: And then he knocks it over. Watch this.

Leo: Oh, don’t.

Steve: Poor guy.

Leo: See?

Alex: And everyone in the room has a gut feeling like that’s a jerk move.

Iain: Yea. They will use that against us when the robot wars come.

Leo: And the worst part is it gets right back up.

Iain: Yea. The speed, that was the other unsettling thing. The speed that it actually got back up.

Leo: Extraordinarily unsettling.

Iain: I just started thinking Sarah Conner and—

Leo: Yea.

Alex: Actually so Leo, on your point about ADD, it’s kind of an interesting point for all major tech companies because they have to do everything.

Leo: Right.

Alex: I mean—

Leo: The market expects them to. Well, what is the issue? That the market expects insane growth?

Alex: Insane growth and the platform effects are very important so if you miss a platform, you might miss the next 4 or 5 platforms.

Leo: Good point.

Alex: So voice recognition is not that useful in Siri right now but if Apple doesn’t learn that tech, they can’t put into anything else they do down the road. So you end up with this really broad companies that can only exist with hundreds of billions of dollars of cash and capital. And so it’s almost perceived like the creation of new mass conglomerates inside of tech.

Steve: That’s what Google is now with Alphabet.

Alex: With Alphabet, exactly. It’s a pretty good encapsulation of this trend that I call the platform wars.

Leo: Have you been following the argument, you cover finance, that really the problem is a structural issue due primarily to index funds?

Alex: Keep going.

Leo: So an index fund as many of us know is the smartest way to invest, right? Because it’s very low fee. Because it’s just matching the performance of the stock market. The stock market tends to perform well over long terms. So it’s an inexpensive way to invest money. But it’s a passive way. A guy named, a professor at Harvard Law who I happen to know, Einer Elhauge, wrote this article. He says a passive way to invest that rewards big companies, because they tend to be large cap stocks.

Alex: Yes.

Leo: And encourages a certain kind of performance from large companies that isn’t necessarily in the best social economic interests.

Alex: You’re saying that economic patience by investors using index funds to purchase equities are companies that make socially dubious choices because they’re not under activist investors.

Leo: Exactly.

Alex: Ok. I mean maybe.

Iain: That’s been going on for a while I think.

Alex: I’d like to see some data on that.

Leo: Well he says it’s getting worse.

Iain: I mean it starts with I mean, you had the corporaters in the 60s and 70s who divorced the idea of, who came up with the idea that the sole purpose of a company is to reward shareholders rather than to serve any other kind of function in there. And yea, maybe that’s moving a little faster but there’s always been an element of that in capitalism surely.

Leo: Yea.

Alex: Profit over—

Leo: Elhauge, who is an antitrust expert—

Iain: Free markets are great for going for short term profits. They’re lousy at long term planning.

Alex: That’s a function of just like capitalism in general. You have competitive forces over time into profit sources. But now we’re getting pretty far in the weeds on the finance side.

Leo: You should read the article, it’s by James Ledbetter in The New Yorker, “Is Passive Investment Actively Hurting the Economy?” And I think it’s an interesting case to be made. But here’s why I bring it up, with the tech angle which is related to this issue. And I’m just saying maybe it’s a larger issue what the market expects from tech companies is a larger issue. And I almost feel like, wouldn’t it be great if we rewarded companies who said, “Look, we’re only going to be around for 20 years. We’re going to pick a technology. We’re going to express it the best we can. We’re going to ride its cycle and then we’ll go away. And for that reason, we don’t have to be ADD. We don’t have to be constantly seeking the next platform. We can just serve the platform we’re serving.” The reason I mention this is it’s kind of my plan with TWiT. I’m not trying to build a media company. I’m not casting around for the next big thing. I’m merely riding this particular wave into the ground. And I think that a lot of companies doing that might be a more efficient way to run an economy.

Alex: Maybe. But it’s not the way it’s worked out so far. I mean Standard Oil was big for a reason. And it wasn’t because they wanted to do 6 oil wells in one state.

Leo: But didn’t—you can say, “Well we’re going to beat the business cycle.” But you never do, do you? Standard Oil didn’t, Xerox didn’t.

Alex: Apple beat one.

Leo: Polaroid didn’t. Apple debatably.

Alex: Close. It worked out in the end.

Leo: It almost is two different companies really. But ok. They went through one cycle they got within 100 days of going out of business and then they got a new cycle.

Alex: The thing about Google, there’s essentially a search company with experiments attached to it. Apple is an iPhone company with experiments attached to it. Microsoft maybe has two things, Office and Windows with other stuff attached to it. I don’t thing using cash flows from functional products to build up new things and try new stuff is bad. I mean here’s kind of one example of why. So Microsoft Research does what’s called basic research. Which means they do stuff in a non-commercial setting just to discover stuff. And that’s a huge money pit probably. But they pay for it with essentially software sales from other parts of the company. And good stuff comes out of it. So when they wanted to build Connect, they were like, “Can we try bones in motion?” And the team was like, “Oh yea, we did that 5 years ago. Here it is.” And then Connect came out of it. But see that’s cool.

Iain: Same with encryption as well. It was a huge research project which is doing very well. But the one thing I would say is that those kind of things are very good but at the same time for every company you’ve got, Microsoft and Google doing that, you’ve got the tech companies that are spending the bulk of their profits buying back their own shares to keep shareholders happy, to pay off expensive investors.

Steve: IBM.

Alex: IBM.

Iain: IBM, classic case. And that doesn’t produce anything. It produces returns for shareholders and that’s about it. If a company is willing to invest in research, fair play to them.

Leo: Take as an example the airline industry. Elhauge brings this up. 80% of all stocks in the airline industry are owned by a handful of investors. He argues institutional investors with an emphasis on indexing funds are playing an outside role in the sector and that’s why we have higher air prices for travelers. Because of this kind of pressure, this ownership concentration, this pressure to return results for the stakeholders in the short term not in the long term. And I – look, we’re using all of us are using computers that are based on an operating system that was created by AT&T’s Bell Labs, their Blue Sky research division, right? And if it weren’t for UNIX I think there is a lot of this that we are enjoying today that wouldn’t exist. So I agree Blue Sky R&D is not a bad thing. But is it best done by these big companies? But look at Google where they don’t give robotics time to mature and they have to move quickly. That didn’t work. Then what’s next? What’s next? What’s next? That isn’t really a very long term point of view. And I don’t think societal that’s necessarily the best thing for R&D.

Alex: So I think that’s a really interesting point. But I think that the obvious but kind of lame answer is maybe it’s not possible any other way. And maybe there isn’t a second option. I mean if you design these kind of single rocket ship companies that you outlined and did one thing, maybe that just wouldn’t work out. Because companies tend to not turn over.

Leo: They’re never going to act that way.

Alex: Yea, because you’re acting that way in a suicidal run. It’s like a game studio. A game studio will do Age of Empires and then die.

Iain: Yea, Zynga’s entire process of being one whole level of massive peak and then a slow death.

Leo: It’s not that they didn’t want to. It’s not that they wanted to, I mean they wanted to have Age of Empires 2, 3, 4, 5 and whatever is next. But I think there is an actual business cycle for a lot of businesses that you cannot get around. It’s just the way it is.

Alex: Also we don’t say Zynga out loud anymore. That’s been banned.

Iain: Unless we turn around three times and spit.

Alex: No you cannot.

Leo: (Laughing) let’s take a break. Lots more to talk about. Smart panel, that’s always the best on TWiT. Iain Thompson from The Register, from Mattermark, Alex Wilhelm and from, Steve Kovach. We had a good week. I think next week’s going to be a really interesting week.

Steve: I can’t wait.

Leo: Yea. But here’s what you missed if you missed anything this week on TWiT.

Narrator: Previously on TWiT.

Father Robert Ballecer: It’s been a long day here at the Silicon Valley Comic Con, its first year ever. And actually Wos is so excited, he actually stood in here for us to do this segment, to show how dedicated he is to Comic Con. Hey is there anything you want to add?

Patrick Delahanty: He’s speechless.

Fr. Robert: He’s speechless.

Narrator: Windows Weekly.

Leo: Well I’ve talked to numerous people now who say overnight that Microsoft upgraded my Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Mary Jo Foley: So they are saying there is not a bug. I think it’s trickery and I think even though they say, “You know what? We’re doing it for the good of the customer because it’s a better operating system, more secure.” I think you should have the option to choose.

Paul Thurrott: There needs to be an option that says no.

Narrator: TWiT Live Specials.

Fr. Robert: We’re here in San Francisco at the Game Developer Conference. I managed to pick up a stray. That’s right, folks, it’s OMGchad.

OMG Chad: If there is one thing that I could pull away from GDC is that VR, it’s so close. Everyone is behind it. Everyone is doing something it seems like every single platform has something. All we need are games.

Narrator: TWiT. Rack ‘em up.

Fr. Robert: So Chad is currently floating through space, happening between planets and then licking them out of existence.

Leo: That was disgusting. Did you see this? It’s a controller you lick.

Steve: Ew. Does it taste like anything?

Leo: Yea, it’s sherbet. It’s like a Popsicle. Then you replace it. It’s not like you lick somebody else’s. You buy one of those little things and then you put it in the controller.

Iain: It will kill social gaming.

Leo: Whose idea was that? That was a terrible idea.

Iain: I suspect drugs were involved. Because there’s no other explanation for it.

Leo: (Laughing).

Alex: When are they not involved in Silicon Valley though?

Iain: I know. There is that. As we sit here with our margaritas.

Leo: These aren’t drugs. That’s alcohol.

Alex: Alcohol is definitely a drug.

Iain: Yea.

Steve: A delicious drug.

Leo: A delicious drug (laughing). What’s ahead next week? We talked a little bit about it, but let’s see.

Megan Morrone: Thanks, Leo. It’s going to be a big week for Apple. First up, UNI will becoming a big event tomorrow where we might see announcements about some small products, including a $600 9” iPad Pro and a new 4” Phone. But even bigger Apple news might come on Tuesday, March 22, when Apple gets its day in court. The hearing before Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym, of the Federal District Court for the Central District of California is scheduled for 1:00 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday and Jason Howell and I will be sure to bring you all the details on that on Tech News Today. On the lighter end of tech news, Silicon Valley Comic Con is going on right now and Padre and Patrick Delahanty are there. Look for some news next week about what came out of Steve Wozniak’s inaugural conference. Next week is also Y Combinator Demo Day when a bunch of eager startups try to show off why they’re worthy of your money. Judging by the recent funding apocalypse that seems to be going on in Silicon Valley these days and the fact that there were no startup darlings coming out of South by Southwest Interactive last week, we are really curious how this will play out. Look for this news and a whole lot more with Jason Howell and myself on Tech News Today every day at 4:00 PM Pacific. Back to you, Leo.

Leo: I picked a bad week to go on vacation. This is going to be a very exciting news week. I’ll be here through MacBreak Weekly but I’m taking the rest of the week off. I’ll be back on Saturday for the shows though. Make sure you watch TNT Monday through Friday, 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern time and remember we are now on summer time even though not all of you are. So we have moved, we sprung forward an hour.

Iain: Yea. I know the U.K. still has a week or two.

Leo: It’s very confusing. Our show brought to you today by Gazelle. Now anytime there’s a new iPhone or an iPad ready to come out, I urge you to go right now, go to and get a quote on your old one. Even if you don’t know if you’re going to get the new phone or the new tablet because I can tell you one thing that doesn’t take a soothsayer to figure out. Your device, any device is not getting more valuable. Every day it goes down in value. So get the quote now. Here’s the beauty part. It’s all in your benefit because Gazelle’s locked in now for 30 days on that price. You’re not. You don’t have to. But at least you have the price and they guarantee that they will pay you at least that much for your old iPad, iPhone, tablets from Samsung, Microsoft, Blackberries, lots of different devices. It’s also believe it or not a good time to buy a used device. See, Gazelle is going to get a flood of older phones, you know, year old iPhones, year old iPads and sell them, the very best of them, to you. So they have a variety of iPhones including the 6S, the 6S Plus, iPads, Samsung Galaxy phones to choose from. In every case the devices are fully inspected, a 30 point inspection guaranteeing that not only are they fully functional but they’re cosmetically good, there’s no big scratches or anything. There is of course a 30 day return policy. You don’t extend your carrier contract but they do work with all the major carriers. Go to See what your old device is worth and then check it’s worth and then check out the selection of certified pre-owned devices today. If you’re buying they offer financing on all devices from Affirm. You can do this in checkout. So you just provide some basic information. Instant approvals available. You can pay in 3, 6 or 12 months though a bank transfer, a check, a debit card. Just select financing with Affirm at checkout. And they also now offer an aftermarket  12 month warranty for cell phones and iPads powered by Assurant Solutions. That covers water damage, cracked screens, hardware defects. This is very nice. You don’t have to but you can. Help is available too, 24/7 in case you want to process a claim and return  your device they’ll help you do that. Give new life to used electronics. Trade them in for cash, buy certified preowned, pay it forward. It’s the best way to recycle. You saw that little promo that one of the things we talked about this week, and finally got confirmation is that Microsoft is, kind of hard to believe, upgrading people who have Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 automatically to Windows 10 without their permission.

Alex: Dun, dun, dun.

Leo: Mary Jo Foley called Microsoft and said, “Is this a bug?” I thought it was a bug.

Alex: An accident? Oops?

Leo: Yea, at first I thought, oh it’s not happening, people are clicking ok. Then I heard from enough people who said, “No, no, no. It happened.” So Mary Jo called Microsoft. They said, “No, it’s not a bug. We told you that we were going to do that.”

Steve: They did? What? I don’t recall that.

Iain: I don’t remember that either.

Leo:  No, you missed the meeting. You didn’t get the memo. They said, “We’re moving the Windows 10 Upgrade into recommended updates, Windows updates.”

Iain: So that’s when there’s an update you have to go to doing automatic updates to manually picked updates.

Leo: Well you’re going to have to. Most people didn’t.

Iain: Yea, and this is why.

Leo: And the default setting is to install critical updates and recommended updates so a great many—now, the fix is by the way immediately go to Windows Update, continue to take critical updates. I think you have to do that. But you might want to turn off automatic recommended updates. What will happen is if you have recommended updates, and most of them, you know, it says update in the middle of the night, 3:00 AM, you’ll wake up and you will be faced with a ULA saying here’s the license agreement for Windows 10 and if you say ok, you’ll have Windows 10. Because it’s already been installed. You only see the ULA after they install.

Alex: If you decline?

Leo: Then it has to uninstall Windows 10.

Alex: So you get penalized.

Iain: But if you’re on a tight data cap, basically that’s—

Leo: That’s 3 GBs down the tubes. And the roll back is not 100%. So I’m shocked really that Microsoft would do this.

Alex: It’s going to, I mean people are going to be very mad. Microsoft looks bad. But they have to hit this one billion units or device—

Leo: Is this the market again?

Alex: Basically, yea.

Leo:  Geez, Louise.

Alex:  You sound like a socialist today, Leo.

Leo: I’m feeling the Bern.

Steve: It smells Berny over here.

Alex: So Windows 10 was on 200 million devices as of January 4, 2016. So that’s 20% of the way to the one billion.

Iain: That includes though Xboxes, and a bunch of other devices as well.

Alex: Devices. That’s a very broad term for a reason.

Iain: Yea, exactly.

Leo: Because really, let’s face it. You’re not running Microsoft Office on your Xbox One.

Alex: Well If you are you’re a moron. Stop doing that. Just don’t.

Leo: (Laughing) but the universal Windows platform is designed to make developers happy with a broader base.

Alex: Yea. Which is a smart move actually. I like it.

Steve: I’m still so skeptical of that.

Leo: Really? It only makes sense for app level things like, I don’t know, I don’t even know what app you would want to run both on your Xbox One and your Windows PC.

Steve: Exactly. No, that’s my point.

Alex: Skype? Skype?

Steve: True.

Alex: Slack.

Leo: Yea, maybe. I don’t know. Do you really want to chat on your Xbox One on Slack?

Alex: If I had Alexa so I could talk to it?

Leo: If you could talk to it.

Alex: Or Cortana. Sorry, sorry Microsoft fans. Whatever.

Steve: I’ve never bought this argument. They’ve said for years that this universal platform that’s going to suddenly spur a ton of innovation in the mobile app store. I don’t think Snapchat is suddenly going to decide to make a Windows 10 app. I don’t think Instagram is—

Leo: Oh, but it would be awesome if they did.

Alex: True.

Steve: It would be great. But it’s not going to happen.

Alex: Also it works great for games. For games it makes a lot of sense.

Steve: Games it’s great.

Leo: But remember, some gaming developers are not thrilled about this. Epic Games, because he says well I want to be able to—now, Microsoft by the way made everybody feel bad. But he said I don’t want to have to sell in the Microsoft store. That really limits what I can do if you can’t download a game and install it from a website. Microsoft said, No, no, no, no, no. We’re not going to force people to use the Universal Windows Platform.

Alex: Right. Because that would kill off Steam.

Leo: No, that would be crazy.

Alex: Because that would kill off PC gaming forever.

Leo: Yea.

Steve: Yea.

Iain: But this is what I don’t get because Windows 10, ok, it’s not the worst operating system in the world. We’re not talking a Vista or an ME here.

Leo: No, no, it’s not a bad upgrade. But you can see also it’s completely legitimate that somebody may say, “I don’t want it.”

Iain: Well no, but they’ve been pushing it down people’s throats right from the start. The annoying nag screen windows, changing the update recommendations on there anyway.

Leo: Well, here’s an example. A critical update for Internet Explorer on patch Tuesday this month, not only installed security fixes for internet explorer, but installed a giant green banner saying, “Hey, wouldn’t you like to go to Windows 10 now?” That is unconscionable because they’re putting that in the critical update.

Alex: That’s how you lose friends.

Iain: Exactly. But it’s not just that. They’re putting adverts in the startup.

Leo: Yea.

Iain: That you’ve got to turn off if you actually—

Leo: GWX Control panel, a little public service, a free and very good utility that will turn that off. But and then also you should turn off recommended updates. But you know, see, our audience A probably upgraded to Windows 10 anyway, right? Or understands how to turn it off. This is, what this really hits is the vast majority of normal users who are going to say, “What the hell happened?”

Alex: They’re not going to understand how to use Windows 10, its advantages, its disadvantages. They think Windows is the only OS in the world because they’ve been using Windows 7 forever.

Leo: And lots of them have like 10 year old printers that are going to stop working. Scanners that are going to stop working. Software, funky-ass software for their knitting machines, they’re going to stop working. And they’re not going to know what happened.

Alex: People still use printers?

Leo: Yes.

Alex: Wow. All right.

Leo: Shocking though that may seem.

Steve: Just not millennials. No one at this table uses a printer.

Alex: I don’t even know if we have a printer at Mattermark. I’ve never seen it.

Iain: Really?

Leo: Really?

Alex: No, we have, you know, we type on the internet. Works pretty well. Then you hit save and it’s in the cloud and it stays there. It’s pretty cool actually.

Leo: See all this paper that I get.

Alex: I draw with my hands when I’m bored in meetings, but.

Jason: Physical media, Leo.

Leo: Physical media is dead.

Alex: Long live social media I guess?

Iain: Oh, God, no.

Alex: But I mean a small point though. I like Windows 10. Like I like Cortana, I like Windows. I use it every day at my house. So the whine here is only that you should always have a choice, not that the OS is worse.

Leo: No, and I agree, 100%.

Iain: If you look at their recents, much better than Vista, miles better than ME. Actually I mean you could make a case that it might be better than 7 but that’s two very different operating systems.

Leo: It’s better than 8.

Iain: It’s a design question.

Leo: No question it’s better than 8.

Iain: Anything’s better than 8.

Alex: Yea, if you’re on Vista or 8, go to 10, right? Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 dollars.

Leo: But it’s my right to decide and I shouldn’t be coerced into doing it or bullied into doing it.

Iain: I wonder whether this is a hangover from the Burma days where it’s just like, “You will do it, peon, and otherwise you will like it.” Because that doesn’t seem to be like a strong operation.

Leo: It just really irks me.

Iain: I don’t understand why they’re pissing off so many people, pushing it so hard.

Alex: Well, I mean, how many people are they really pissing off? Like what’s the rate at which they’re doing this? Is this an early trial of response to it?

Iain: I am dreading the 8:00 AM phone call from my mother when the Windows 7 operating system she has learned painfully to use for the last 2 years is gone and she’s now stuck with Windows 10. And when that happens, I know I’m going to be spending an hour on tech support. And God love her, she gave me birth but she’s the most frustrating person on tech.

Alex: You should bill her for tech support time, like $100. I lost an hour, you give me $100 bucks.

Iain: Yea.

Leo: So is this, so somebody in the chatroom said, “Well how is this,” Reverend Dan Go Braugh, obviously celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for a few extra days, says, “How is this different than Google forcing Picasa using Google Photos?” They’re discontinuing Picasa.

Iain: Because you’re talking the base operating system of a computer. The very UI that you have to deal with in day in and out to do everything. Now, yes, Picasa and Google, that wasn’t a great move, but if you’re going to change from Windows 7 to Windows 10 which is a big change for people who aren’t really that good with computers, you can’t force that on people. They’ve got to be able to choose it.

Alex: It breaks some sort of trust you had with the software and the user.

Iain: Unfortunately without that kind of user, than they’re all going to go, “Right, well I’m going to go install and download Debian from now on.” They don’t have the technical skills to do it. They don’t have the inclination to do it. So, maybe Microsoft thinks they can get away with it that way. But it’s just a really bad way to lose trust.

Alex: But it’s hundreds of millions of devices. It’s not like 84 people in like Pakistan. This is everyone around the world that runs Windows which is most people.

Leo: You raise an interesting point, though. I mean this has been going on for a couple of weeks and I don’t hear huge howls of protest. I mean I hear them and Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott, our Windows hosts, hear them. But it’s not like you’re reading this in NBC Nightly News. Windows Updates for millions.

Alex: Nerds rejoice.

Leo: So maybe it isn’t such a big deal. Maybe we’re making it into that.

Iain: NBC Nightly News, pretty much any tech story is going to get knocked out by look at this kitten with a bow around its head. Isn’t it adorable?

Steve: We hear when a new iOS comes out or a new Android comes out. People are excited. Like, “Oh my God! iOS 9, I can’t wait.” For some reason.

Alex: Wait. No. Really?

Steve: Yea.

Alex: I hate iOS updates. I get them all the time.

Steve: Ok, you’re the only one then.

Alex: Ok, that’s happened before.

Steve: People like their phone updates. They get cool new stuff.

Alex: Oh, that’s your point. Yea, I agree.

Leo: Although I have seen a number of pictures from menu boards and train stations and airports and other places, they’re running Windows 7 and there’s a big screen that says, “Your Windows 10 update is here.” And of course the software is dead in the water and no one knows when their train leaves. All right, maybe it’s, you know, maybe it’s just us geeks who are not thrilled.

Steve: I suspect it’s just the geeks.

Leo: Yea. Maybe.

Alex: Our core audience.

Iain: Exactly.

Leo: Well, yea, people who are listening, exactly. Just looking for other—did you see Mark Zuckerberg’s Smog Jog? (laughing). It’s not really a news story but I guess Zuck is in China, he’s in Beijing and for reasons no one understands on one of the most polluted days of the year decided to jog through Tiananmen Square without a mask.

Alex: Is that a security guard right behind him?

Steve: Yes.

Alex: Ok.

Leo: Oh, those aren’t just happy Facebook employees jogging with the boss?

Steve: Well doesn’t he have a thing where he jogs a mile or something every day?

Leo: A mile?

Steve: He jogs something.

Leo: I could jog a mile every day. That’s not—of course it immediately the meme began, you see pictures of Mark jogging in front of the famous Tiananmen Square tanks, in place of protesters. Mark, just anything he does is going to be food for internet fodder.

Iain: Well I think a lot of people have been kind of concerned about what he’s planning with the Chinese government. Because he’s desperate to get Facebook into China and it’s exactly—that is a very good point.

Leo: It’s a nice Photoshop job, yea.

Iain: Ye, but I mean.

Leo: He’s smiling happily as he’s running with the tanks.

Alex: He’s running away from the tanks, though, that’s the problem.

Leo: Well that’s good.

Alex: You’re on the wrong side of history there.

Leo: Yea. Run to the tanks.

Iain: Also a clear day. On the day that he was jogging—

Leo: Yea, the air was much worse then.

Iain: The pollution monitor on the US Consulate there was apparently reporting, I think it was the equivalent, they just breathing in and out in Beijing that day was the equivalent to smoking like 20 cigarettes.

Steve: Amazing.

Leo: So that’s the BuzzFeed headline, “Mark Zuckerberg takes up smoking.” The real question—

Iain: (laughing) no the BuzzFeed headline would be, “You wouldn’t believe what Mark Zuckerberg has done next. Number 27 will amaze you.”

Leo: What is Mark Zuckerberg inhaling these days? You won’t believe. The funny thing is he posted it on Facebook where of course normal Chinese people cannot post. And so there’s some question how is Mark posting this?

Steve: He probably has someone here who can do it.

Leo: Maybe he just emailed the picture to an employee. It’s kind of rude, to post on Facebook when you’re in China.

Alex: It’s his company. I think you get a free pass once you own stuff.

Leo: Ok. People do ask me. They say, “You know I’m going to China and I want to Tweet and post on Facebook.” And I say, “Well there’s ways but I’m not sure it’s a good idea. You know, you’re in a host country. You’ve got to follow the rules of the host country, don’t you?”

Alex: Also be extra insecure back to our earlier point.

Leo: Yea, can you imagine? I mean you don’t want a (knock) on the door of your hotel room at two in the morning.

Alex: It’s not room service.

Iain: I have left a laptop in my hotel, a locked hotel room in Shanghai when I went out for a meal. When I came back it was switched on.  And when that happens you’ve just got to basically burn the inside of it.

Leo: That’s a good point. You can’t use that laptop can you?

Iain: No. Because you could put stuff on.

Leo: Only bring burner laptops to China.

Iain: Exactly. The Register’s going up to China next month. He’s already getting his burner laptop ready to go.

Leo: Wow. I went to China with my son in—by the way, loved it. What a great country. I just adore it. And I think it’s a fascinating study. We had a wonderful time. But this was I think 2009. When I entered the country, you could still post to Facebook and Twitter. And by the time I left 2 weeks later, you couldn’t. And it was they had the Ürümqi uprising in the west and I guess they decided. I remember we were watching in the hotel. We were watching international CNN and all of a sudden it just goes dark. Three minutes later it comes back. They did a story about the Ürümqi uprising and the censor was like just go ahead push that button.

Alex: How many people do they have to have watching all the things all the time to make sure that they can pull that off each time?

Leo: I would guess they get sent a text message, “Hey that Ürümqi story’s coming up in about five minutes.” They’re doing business in the country. They’ve got to, right? If you want to be on the hotel channels, you’ve got to play by the game. That’s the problem with companies like Google and Facebook and Apple, participating in the Chinese economy. It doesn’t matter what we think about the rules, that’s the rule. Just as we expect Apple to obey the laws in the US, they’ve got to obey the law in China.

Iain: Yea, a couple of dissonants got 10 year sentences after Yahoo gave up their emails to the Chinese.

Leo: It’s horrible, isn’t it? But what do you—I mean, you can’t as a company go into a country and act as a dissonant yourself?

Alex: Well you can. You’ll just get kicked out really quickly.

Leo: Remember Google said, “Fine, we’re not going to do business in China.” Are they really not in China?

Iain: Well they went to Hong Kong where there is a different. This comes back to what we’re saying about the Apple encryption case. If at the end of the day Apple did develop it’s government intel as it’s called for law enforcement, the Chinese would be perfectly within their rights to turn around and say, “Well, give it to us.” And if they said no, it could be like interesting. Remember those factories you used to have? Yea, terrible shame about those.

Leo: It will come back to the United States.

Alex: Have you seen that video of Donald Trump saying China over and over again?

Iain: No.

Alex: It’s like all the times he’s said China in a 2 month period. It’s so amazingly good.

Leo: China, china, china.

Iain: I say of my overseas friends, that’s the one question they ask.

Leo: They ask you about that? Who is this guy and why?

Iain: And they’re serious. Are you sure this isn’t a joke? Ok. April the 1st is coming up, you know.

Leo: I’ve got somebody who yelled at me because I follow Trump. I follow all the candidates on Facebook. Somebody yelled at me saying, “Why are you following Trump?” You should be following Trump, too. Everybody should be. This is an important election coming up and you should follow all the candidates, right? Don’t you want to know what’s going on?

Iain: I would be curious to go to one of his rallies and see what it’s like.

Steve: Careful as a journalist they could hit you and punch you.

Iain: I was going to say, I’ve got a nasty feeling before this campaign’s over, someone’s going to get killed at one of his rallies.

Alex:  There’s an article written about that, actually. That eventually they will get beaten up enough. You’re a white male. You’ll fit right in.

Iain: Yea, I know, exactly. I mean I guess I could black out but—

Leo: He sounds like an Englishman.

Alex: Oh, just don’t talk.

Leo: Shame!

Iain: Geez, man I guess I can. No, I’m screwed.

Leo: All right. I didn’t mean to get into politics but there you go. It’s kind of hard not to when you’re mentioning.

Alex: I really want to give the NSA to Trump. He would totally be irresponsibly.

Leo: Well that does bring home, that does bring home the issue of why you want some checks and balances because an overreaching government is always a possibility and always a risk.

Alex: Obama, the current president is a technocratic, constitutional lawyer—

Leo: And he’s still doing it.

Alex: Yea, exactly. What if we had a crazy hair do?

Leo: Yea. Let’s take a break and we’ve got the seeds and the stems, the stuff that settles to the bottom of the rundown when we come back. Actually sometimes that’s the best stuff.  The shake. It’s sometimes the best stuff.

Iain: My mother’s watching this. Please.

Leo: (laughing) no that’s the beauty of this. She has no idea what I’m talking about.

Iain: Yea.

Leo: Maybe she does.

Iain: I know. Then she’s on me even more trouble.

Leo: (laughing) would you like some tea and biscuits? Our show today brought to you by, a great place to make your next website. That’s where I make my home at we use it for our inside TWiT blog and so many other places because Squarespace has some real advantages. The best hosting ever. It never, ever, never goes down. You can try, you just can’t kill a Squarespace site because they’ve so tightly integrated the software, the content management system with the serving that when your site gets hit by a lot of traffic, let’s say you suddenly get them the ultimate viral post we’ve all been hoping for, they just spin up more bandwidth, more servers and boom. They handle it. Your site looks professionally designed regardless of your skill level. You don’t have to be a web wonk to have a great looking site. That’s because they’ve used the best designers and the best engineers to create the template you start with. You get all the benefits of that and then customize to your heart’s content. There are, if you want, hundreds of customizable settings including fonts and colors, page configurations. Every Squarespace site looks different. It’s all in a unique little snowflake reflecting your particular sense of style and your needs. Whether you’re selling, maybe you’re a band and you want to have your concert schedule on there. Yes, they’ve got a template for that. Sell your digital music on there or CDs even. They can do it all. Commerce on every single template. And one of the nice things is, it’s the only platform that lets you create and manage and brand your store in a beautiful way that matches your site. It’s not some afterthought hanging off your website. They’ve got a basic plan and if you’re really getting into the e-commerce an advanced plan that really has features your growing business will appreciate. I love Squarespace. You will love Squarespace and all I have to do is tell you try it free right now. You can even import data from your old site. Use the promo code TWiT to get 10% of when you buy, show your support for the show. Squarespace, you should, you should Rick Osterloh leaving Lenovo. It’s kind of sad. But is it unexpected? He was the CEO of Motorola who really I think kept Motorola on track through the Google acquisition, through the sale of Lenovo, kept the business in Chicago. Then Lenovo said, “No, we’re going to move Motorola to China.”

Steve: He was the only executive that really stayed throughout the whole thing. Google implanted Woodside, right?

Leo: Yea, Dennis Woodside had left.

Steve: And then Osterloh was kind of the rock there.

Leo: But I loved Rick. I thought Rick really got it.

Iain: Yea, I’m not sure that he’s a Lenovo man though. That’s the thing.

Alex: Can you define a Lenovo man for me?

Iain: Someone who toes the party line, doesn’t answer back when management does something stupid. He’s a smart guy and he would say, “Look, this is not the way to do it. This is the way to do it.” I don’t think that’s what Lenovo’s looking for in this company.

Alex: That’s quite the compliment actually.

Iain: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.

Leo: I almost feel like a Lenovo Motorola phone, I mean it’s over for Motorola in a way. I don’t—

Iain: They just want the brand. I mean that’s really all it is. Gets them a foothold. They get the brand and allowed to sell in the west. And that’s really all there is to it.

Alex: But how much more weight does Motorola as a brand have for say consumer products.

Iain: These days.

Alex: Exactly. Think Blackberry.

Leo: They invented the mobile phone.

Alex: Good job. 45 years ago. I was negative like 18.  I don’t know, whatever.

Leo: You millennials, you’ve got no regard for—

Alex: History.

Leo: History.

Iain: Back in our day. I was 3 when the first Motorola phone was created but—

Leo: Really? I remember it. I wished I could have one but they were too expensive.

Iain: Yea, I mean Motorola traditionally just bumbled along by you know, they produced one really great handset and things would fall off. Then they would produce another great handset and things would fall off again. And Lenovo are all about getting manufacturing costs down, shipping good enough pieces of kit out there. So yea, I mean, it might work, it might not. It gives them the brand and the distribution points in Europe but they’re coming up big in China certainly.

Leo: Little disappointing that NPR has decided that you can’t, if you’re a NPR host you can’t promote NPR podcasts or the NPR One app on the show.

Alex: To keep the radio audience in place?

Leo: I don’t know. Yes. It’s a strategy tax, right?

Iain: Are they doing a Kodak?

Leo: They’re afraid that people will stop listening to the radio. NPR is very political because it’s not just the national organization, there’s every NPR station. And the stations make their money on not the podcasts but on the radio shows.

Alex: Ours is KQED, right?

Leo: Yep. So it’s stations like KQED are saying, “Well don’t promote the podcast. Who’s going to listen to the radio?” But this is something we went through in radio years ago. And any smart radio station immediately developed podcasts and internet streams and everything they could to go digital before terrestrial just disappeared entirely. Sad. That’s strategy tactics where the existing business keeps the new business, the innovative business from growing to protect it.

Iain: It’s the old adage of when you see a storm coming you build windmills not windbreaks but yea.

Steve: We see that in all traditional media that we see print. That’s the obvious.

Leo: I guess that’s true.

Iain: It’s like everyone, no, this internet fad won’t really last.

Steve: You know what’s promising? You see this week I think it was, CNN announced that they’re going to dump a ton of money into digital.

Leo: Good.

Steve: So great for them. They’re finally catching up. A lot of the TV networks are learning to catch up to this notion that wow, digital is a real thing. VI just lost its executive editor to CNBC and he’s going to head up digital for CNBC. So the traditional media companies are slowly realizing this is a thing. No, JR. No, sorry, by mistake.

Iain: Where are they putting this money that irks me because a lot of traditional media organizations are getting a digital media operation but they’re not putting the same effort into the news side of it. It’s all about responsive content and native advertising which is a nice way of saying let’s screw over our readers. So I mean, I’m not sure I trust some of these larger media companies to actually do a good job for the readers. I think it’s more going to be yea, here’s something that looks like an article we’ve written and if you look very closely at the bottom, it says sponsored by XYZ Company. But I mean, The Atlantic got a division now doing this.

Steve: Yea, all the big media companies do.

Leo: The Atlantic’s doing a good job I thought.

Alex: Didn’t they do the article on Scientology?

Steve: Yes. That was a few years ago.

Alex: Do you recall this, Leo? Yea, they put the advertorial for Scientology and then everyone lost their mind and then took it down.

Leo: Yea but they realized it was a terrible idea and they haven’t done any native content since.

 Alex: I don’t know but it hasn’t been bad enough to cause a ripple in the media world.

Leo: That was a terrible one. They did lose some good people, like Kevin Roche went to Fusion. But I think The Atlantic—Alexis Madrigal—but I think The Atlantic has a really, to my mind, still is very relevant and I read a lot of its digital content. They don’t make any money off of me.

 Alex: I just read their print edition recently.

Leo: That’s still around?

Alex: I actually just bought the magazine in an airport. And read it. Like pages.

Leo: How was that for you?

Alex: I always do that.

Leo: What?

Iain: No, I’m a subscriber to The New Yorker, the paper edition.

Leo: Yea. I still read The New Yorker but I got to do it digital.

Iain: I don’t know.

Leo: Don’t you feel guilty? There’s this pile of New Yorkers you haven’t read?

Steve: It makes you look smart when people come over they can see that pile.

Iain: No basically I read them, we read them, we recycle them.

Leo: That’s nice. Speaking of high culture, Hulk Hogan. Did we mention that yet?

Alex: We almost got away.

Leo: (laughing)So but no. I’m going to put you guys on the spot here because—so Nick Denton who runs Gawker, and Gawker has some titles that are quite respectable because Gizmodo, Jalopnik.

Alex: Jezebel.

Leo: Jezebel. That’s great. DeadSpace.  Dead Spin. And Gizmodo. But they also have Gawker. And for a little while they had Valley Wag, gossip rags.

Iain: Well Valley Wag’s been up and down like the Estherian Empire. One day it was in, one day it was out.

Leo: Yea, but when they killed Valley Wag they just rolled all of the content into Gawker so it didn’t really change anything.

Alex: Well back when it was hush hush and Sam Bittle was very active publication. Now it’s the occasional pot shot from Bittle about somebody he doesn’t like.

Iain: He did actually break some stories in his day.

Alex: And we make fun of people all the time. You kind of read about yourself in a very negative light which I enjoyed.

Leo: So Hulk Hogan had a sex tape I guess, Bubba the Love Sponge reported it.

Iain: How did Willie Nesboroughs not write this?

Leo: Bubba the Love Sponge is a shock jock. I guess Hulk was having an affair with Bubba’s wife, Missy the Love Sponge.

Steve: But it was all coordinated.

Leo: Was he?

Iain: Yea, the video. Bubba took the video of this guy shagging his wife.

Leo: Yea, he was there. But I don’t know, maybe he was like a nanny cam in there.

Iain: And then tried to market it around various publications.

Leo: Gawker didn’t hesitate to buy it and run it.

Iain: Yea.

Leo: Now Hulk Hogan is a public figure. And traditionally if you’re a public figure—what is the law?

Steve: It as to be true. That’s the number one thing.

Leo: Well, it’s a tape so obviously it’s not a lie.

Steve: The number one barrier that you have to cross is is it true?

Leo: So libel means you have to say something untrue with intent.

Steve: With intent, yes.

Leo: So it’s not libel. I mean there was intent, but intent you know, to get some hits. But it was not untrue. Does anything go? Like in this case?

Steve: No, but for me—

Leo: And by the way, no love lost for me. Gawker has twice, not once but twice written really scurrilous stuff about me that I would sue them over if I wasn’t smarter than Hulk Hogan.

Steve: I think that they’ve gotten a little—

Leo: If he gets $115 million dollars, I’m losing. He won’t see a penny I think. But we’ll see.

Steve: It depends on your definition of a public figure. Are you a public figure? Kind of.

Leo: Sam Bittle thinks so.

Alex: I think you are.

Leo: Yea, no, I think I am and so as a result—

Steve: But is the CEO of Conde Nast?

Leo: Now that was unconscionable. That’s a lawsuit that should happen.

Iain: I think this comes down to you can be a public figure, and that gives you maybe slightly lest rights to privacy, but absolutely no right to hypocrisy.  Now Hulk Hogan had been going out and campaigning for the traditional marriage and divorcees to be stoned in the streets, this would be wide open.

Leo: No, I don’t think so.

Iain: The guy’s never made a big thing about his sex life so why should the fact that he’s knocking off his best friend’s wife—

Steve: No, he did make a big fact about it.

Leo:  He did?

Steve: Yea, he was bragging about it, Hulk Hogan, the fact that—

Iain: But he didn’t circulate the video.

Steve: He didn’t circulate the video but he talked about the fact that he did.

Iain: In public?

Steve: Yea, in public to TMZ.

Iain: Well in that case, screw him.

Leo: Gawker wanted this law suit to happen in New York where they’re headquartered. It happened in Florida around the corner from Hulk’s house. The jury was very sympathetic. Those New York guys are not well loved. But Hulk Hogan is.

Alex: Of course this happened in Florida. It’s perfect.

Leo: Now come one now, come one. So they awarded him more than he was asking.

Iain: And made Denton and his mate personally liable for it.

Leo: $115 million dollars. $55 for economic injuries, $60 for emotional distress. Yes, it’s not over.

Alex: But there’s not enough money available from Nick or Gawker to actually pay this. They made it like—

Leo: And worse, in order to appeal this they have to file a bond.

Steve: Of 50 right?

Leo: Which they don’t have either. So they want to appeal. And you know what? They would win on appeal because the Federal Court would say, “Now come one. This is the first amendment. You don’t have any protection and as reprehensible as it is, that’s the way it is in this country.”

Steve: But Gawker’s learned a valuable lesson between this, the Conde Nast CFO, all the turmoil they went through last summer. They realize it’s time to grow up anyway.

Leo: And they stopped doing gossip.

Iain: But I don’t understand why their lawyers allowed some of these people on the stand. When they get on the stand they’re just like, “So, would you consider publishing a video, a sex video of a child?” They said, “Well it depends how old they are.” Give me a figure, like 4? You don’t make jokes like that in front of a jury or a judge. You really just don’t really do it.

Alex: Or on Slack. Or in private. Just don’t do it.

Leo: The argument that I’ve heard is that Nick comes from Britain where there’s a different kind of cultural rule about this kind of stuff. Libel laws are different of course.

Iain: I can’t speak for my people, but yes.

Leo: Can you speak for your people?

Iain: The libel laws are massively different and libel is a very stupid case in English case law where if you accuse somebody of libel, they have to prove that they didn’t libel you in a way that caused you harm. So the burden of proof—

Leo: Ah. So there’s definite harm here, right?

Iain: Yea, the burden of proof is always, it’s switched around from the accuser to the accused. At the same time we’ve always taken the view that if you’re a public figure, you have a more limited amount of privacy, particularly if you use your public image to push particular products and services. So it’s—

Leo: I’ve been told that Denton kind of comes from this Tattler tradition of anything goes.

Iain: There’s a long tradition certainly in the British tabloid media of publisher be damned. And yea, we’ve got lawyers for sorting out the payment schedule afterwards.

Leo: So Denton coming to the United States maybe he brought that tradition to the US.

Iain: Could be.

Leo: I mean they’ve done quite well. Valley Wag I’m sure did well and Gawker’s done well.

Iain: Yea, because they were prepared to write stories that other people weren’t.

Leo: Sometimes there’s some merit.

Iain: Which is good but occasionally they, it just turns around and bites you on the ass.

Leo: Is this a first amendment case? Is there really, I mean, isn’t the Federal Court just going to overturn this?

Steve: I think they’ll win in the appeal.

Iain: I can’t see how it will stand particularly that large chunks of the evidence weren’t allowed to be given to the jury.

Leo: And also you don’t want the courts to decide what can be printed and what can’t be printed.

Alex: You definitely don’t want that.

Iain: No.

Leo: So as reprehensible as Gawker is, as much as I am rooting for them to die—

Iain: It’s called holding your nose and supporting it.

Leo: You have to hold your nose and support it. Kind of sad.

Iain: It is, it is, but you know the difficult arguments when it comes to privacy and free speech are the ones that make the best cases.

Leo: Right.

Iain: You know it’s everyone I’m sure with half a brain cell wishes Westboro Baptist Church to fall into a smoking hole into the ground.

Leo: But they have the right to protest.

Iain: They have the right to say and protest what they say. It’s one of those things.

Leo: And for me to defend Gawker is just—

Alex: The irony is stunning.

Leo: The irony.

Steve: Now that’s saying a lot right here when you say that.

Leo: Yea, but you have to because I don’t want to be the next one that a court comes along and says, “Oh by the way, you can’t say anything about Microsoft.”

Alex: Too late, but anymore about Microsoft.

Leo: (Laughing) it wouldn’t serve anybody. It wouldn’t serve society. We need to have free, untrammeled press as reprehensible as it sometimes can be.

Alex: Yea, and especially with corporate interests that bully publications into more positive coverage and so forth. It’s not just the government we’re talking about.

Leo: Yea, they do try that though, don’t they?

Alex: They do try. But we have a very good precedent and case law in place, thank heavens.

Iain: One difference I have noticed between the press over here and the press over back in the UK is when a company tries that in the UK, all journalists in other publications will circle the wagons and go off with all guns blazing. Whereas over here, there doesn’t seem to be that sense of brotherhood if you like.

Steve: It’s because Gawker is Gawker and they’re such a polarizing publication. And I’ve seen journalists who are very smart and very liberal and well respected who are totally want Gawker to lose this.

Iain: To hell with them.

Steve: And I think it kind of is where Leo’s coming from, they’re just trapped. They’ve burned so many bridges, how can you feel bad for them?  You almost want to see them die.

Leo: You don’t want courts to decide what can be printed. But at the same time a company like Gawker does damage to good journalism, right? There’s some responsibility on the part of the journalists to do a good thing, right? Isn’t there?

Alex: It shouldn’t be illegal.

Leo: It shouldn’t be illegal but you should have good taste.

Alex: I can say don’t be a jerk but I can’t ban you from being a jerk. I mean maybe I could if I would.

Leo: So I think that’s what people are saying about Gawker. Well, they were jerks, they’re jerks, don’t be a jerk, it’s bad for everybody. But, you have the right to be a jerk. I’m sorry to say.

Iain: Whenever you hear someone say, “It’s my first amendment right to say that.” It’s just like, well no, it’s the first amendment right that the government doesn’t have the ability to bar you from saying that. I can still think you’re a wanker for saying it, but you know, that’s the way it is.

Leo: Yea, you can’t force people.

Steve: It’s like internet commentaries. Oh, you deleted my comment; you’re taking away my first amendment right. No, you can write on your own blog whatever you want about me.

Alex: And I’m free to not read any of it.

Leo: Folks, we’ve come to the end of another fabulous edition. I want to thank you all so much for being here. Alex Wilhelm,

Alex: There you go. You got it right.

Leo: What else you want to plug?

Alex: Nothing really.

Leo: Good. That saves time.

Alex: Curfew.

Leo: (Laughing) From, Steve Kovach, anything else you’d like—what are you out here for? Because you’re in New York, right?

Steve: Yea, I’m here for the Apple events tomorrow and then turn around and go right back home but you can follow Tech Insider tomorrow for all the Apple news or just my personal Twitter @stevekovach.

Leo: Good. And we’ll be following with great interest as we broadcast. What we do is we anchor the stream, we run the Apple stream probably illegally and I shouldn’t say that. It’s not illegal. It’s commentary, right?

Steve: No, you’re fine.

Leo: My free speech right. We run the Apple stream and then Megan Morrone and I and Alex Lindsay will give you analysis and commentary. That of course if you want to watch the Apple stream  you can do that without commentary or you can watch our commentary. That’s 10:00 AM tomorrow Pacific Time, 1:00 PM Eastern, 1700 UTC. I’ve heard people say, in fact who is it? 9 to 5 or somebody has a spoiler free zone so that—there apparently are people who after doing this like Game of Thrones. So I’m at work. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know what happened. I want to go home and watch it as if it’s live.

Alex: I want to die.

Leo: That’s sad.

Alex: I don’t want to live anymore.

Steve: Keynotes are so boring though.

Alex: It’s one big commercial.

Leo: No spoilers. It’s a commercial.

Alex: It’s a very long, drawn out pretentious commercial for something I’m not even going to buy.

Iain: Usually there’s Apple staffers in the background going Woo!

Leo: It is a commercial.

Alex: And there’s these dramatic pauses as they wait.

Iain: And you wait for them to say and one more thing.

Leo: But you know what? You watch because he will start, Tim Cook will start talking about this event and as soon as he finishes those comments, a lot of reporters run from the room and file because that is going to be a big national story. Not as much as what Apple announces product wise but what Apple says about that court case.

Iain: Oh, that’s going to be absolutely key. And it’s not like Steve Jobs is giving a presentation. Tim Cook is many—he’s a great chief operating officer, he’s very efficient, he knows where the company’s going, but he doesn’t have a lot of charisma. I mean I don’t know if you remember when he took over, The Onion ran a headline, “Steve Jobs launches new iPhone.” Came on stage. Showed the phone. “This is the new phone. Isn’t it great?”

Leo: (Laughing) He’s gotten a little more polished.

Iain: He has. But at the end of the day he’s not a showman in the way that Steve Jobs was.

Leo: No, no.

Iain: So I think the FBI thing is what he says and how he says it, is going to be as interesting as anything Apple launches that day.

Leo: I agree. It’s going to be huge. Here’s Tim Cook. What’s he doing?

Steve: Probably some dad jokes.

Leo: Yea. Oh, he’s hugging.

Steve: Oh, we should look out for Eddie Cue’s shirt tomorrow.

Leo: Eddie Cue’s getting out of control.

Steve: He’s going to show his navel.

Leo: The two-toned collar and the rolled up cuffs and the big hair. Well Craig Federighi  has the big hair too. He’s the big hair guy. It seems like Microsoft’s got a couple people like that that wear funny hats. There’s Joe Belfiore who has like a Beatles haircut. Is that kind of a thing? A tech company thing?

Alex: They’re trying to be hip with the kids and the Snapchat.

Iain: It’s called the hippie holdout. It’s that one thing you have like the belly ring or the hair that shows you haven’t fallen to the man.

Leo: I’m surprised you don’t have a man bun.

Iain: Are you kidding? It’s the mullet for this generation. It’s just horrible.

Leo: There’s one guy who wears a fine man bun and his name is—

Iain: Oh, he’s not here, is he?

Leo: No, the star of Hamilton, Miranda.

Alex: Lin-Manual.

Leo: Lin-Manual. Now he may have a man bun because he is Hamilton and Hamilton would have had a man bun.

Alex: Also he can do anything he wants and I’ll still love him.

Leo: I think it’s ok if he has a man bun but me and you, no. Iain Thompson from The Register, Love having you on. Always a pleasure.

Iain: And you added tequila this time which I thought this could go either very well or very badly.

Leo: I think it went well.

Iain: It’s the former, yea.

Leo: I think the experiment was a success. I hope you all do to. Thank you for being here. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern Time, 2200 UTC. The math gets hard after a couple of tequilas. 2200 UTC. If you want to watch live.  You can also be in the studio. We had a great studio audience. Thank you all for being here.


Leo: We applaud you. All you have to do is email We’ll put a nice chair out for you. If you can’t be here in person or in spirit you can always watch after the fact. We make on demand audio and video of all of our shows available the website. Or use your pod catcher or one of the TWiT apps on every platform and make sure you subscribe so you get every single show. Tomorrow we will be doing live coverage of the Apple event but we also have a Triangulation we pre-recorded and haven’t aired yet. So I’m excited. If you’re on the Triangulation feed, you’ll get my interview with Ian Bernstein the creator of Sphero. He’s the CTO and he’s going to talk about how they made that very good deal Lucas to make the BB8.

Steve: Oh, I want to watch that.

Leo: It’s a great story. It’s a great story so that’s tomorrow on Triangulation. Next week on TWiT, Will Harris, Devindra Hardawar, Jason Snell, that will be a lot of fun. I love doing this show. We get great people on the show. Thanks for joining us! And we’ll see you next time. Another TWiT is in the can. Bye bye.


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