This Week in Tech 559
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! Serenity Caldwell is here from iMore.com, Christina Warren from Mashable, from Engadget, Roberto Baldwin. We got lots to talk about. NAB wrap, the latest with Amazon, Google and the EU. It's all ahead, TWiT is next!
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 559, recorded Sunday, April 24, 2016.
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we talk about the week's tech news and I've got some tech gurus here. We've gathered together to chat. There's so much to talk about. Joining us, hasn't been here in a while, senior editor at Engadget, Roberto Baldwin, great to see you, Roberto.
Roberto Baldwin: Hey! Good to be on. How's it going?
Leo: @strngwys on the Twitter. Also, Christina Warren is here from Mashable. Nice to see you, Christina. Welcome, Film Girl. And from iMore.com, almost said Renee Ritchie. Serenity Caldwell.
Serenity Caldwell: I'm not Renee. Hello, Leo.
Leo: I haven't seen you since you did that incredible review of the Apple pencil drawn entirely on iPad Pro. That was marvelous.
Serenity: It was really fun to do.
Leo: I want to see more of those.
Serenity: You and a bunch of other people are going to get me to do cartoons. I'm not a cartoonist. I just like doodling.
Leo: Your doodle of you is really good. I feel like that might have been something you practiced in seventh grade.
Serenity: I've had 12, 14 years of practice on that. It's getting there.
Leo: Some people practice their married name. You were practicing your Serenity doodle.
Serenity: It is my Twitter avatar.
Leo: Christina, congratulations on surviving the layoffs at Mashable. I was so relieved when I found our you're still there. Your Beat is exactly what the new Mashable wants to do, right?
Christina Warren: Yeah. It's been an interesting couple of weeks but yeah. Focusing on Tech and entertainment and culture.
Leo: that's you. That's what you do. You are Film Girl. I was very jealous because when Apple announced on Tuesday a new MacBook, I thought great! How quick can we get it? Immediately on the Twitter and of course on Mashable, bench marks from Christina Warren. Nice. You got a day and date.
Christina: I basically had a meeting with them. They announced it and I had a meeting with them a little bit later that morning, so it was one of those things.
Leo: How do they do that? Do they say, Christina we like you so much we've got a little something for you. They pull it out?
Christina: It depends. It's a briefing. I went with Lance, we were both briefed and he received one in space gray, and I received one in Rose gold.
Leo: They gave you the pink one! That is so sexist.
Christina: No, it's not sexist. If anyone follows me on Twitter or Mashable or Instagram or anywhere else, I'm obsessed with rose Gold. It's not sexist, it's paying attention. It would be sexist if I hadn't been on record for months obsessed with everything rose gold.
Leo: That's true. Renee Ritchie posted on Twitter his complete collection. He has the full set.
Christina: I do as well. The watch is probably in a Mashable drawer some place. I loved his whole collection, but yep. I bought most of, other than the new MacBook, everything I know that's in rose gold is actually purchased myself.
Leo: You'll be happy to know that the one I bought for Lisa is Rose gold. The reason is we have the gold MacBooks from last year and it was always a problem because our MacBooks are identical. I want her to have... I'm not going to get the new MacBook. I incurred the wrath of a few Apple fans when I said I'm going to get the HP Spector instead and compare them because this is the one that is a clone of the MacBook, right?
Christina: It's a little bit thinner, but it is heavier but it has 3USBC ports and they're all Thunderbolt 3. It looks great.
Leo: Apparently it's made of liquid chocolate, at least from the video that they show of melting chocolate or something. I guess that's the copper. It's a very Apple ad. They've bested Apple in some respects. It has a lower res screen but it has this full processor it's not the M processor.
Christina: I think the big thing for me was the Thunderbolt 3 and the 3 USBC ports.
Leo: It's thinner on the edges, it's fatter in the middle. It's just like Apple's stuff where it's bowed. The bulge in the middle is... there it is, there's the melting whatever. It looks like chocolate. I think it's supposed to be copper.
Serenity: A honeycomb pattern. Is there a honeycomb pattern on the laptop?
Leo: No. It's just... design.
Christina: this has nothing to do with this at all. We just want to look relevant in the design space.
Leo: They're taking a page out of Apple's book, let's face it.
Christina: totally. And they're using that old HP logo.
Leo: I like the new logo. That's old?
Christina: It was originally part of a 2011 brand re-design. Remember when HP hubub happened, that same time they announced it was leaked a new identity thing. That was this. I like it. I think it's a great logo.
Leo: Have they split up now? The HP split is done. There's the PC division. Did the printer division go with the HP division?
Christina: Pretty sure it did, yes.
Leo: That makes sense. The merger with compact is famously referred to along with the AOL/Time Warner merger.
Christina: One of the worst mergers of all time. When Carly Fiorina was trying to run for president, she's like, "look at what I did at HP," and I was in high school when that happened. I was in high school and I'm like you really don't want to run on that. It's not a good idea.
Leo: It was followed by a number of articles, many of which said don't mention this, Carly. A few said she wasn't all that bad. You can't really blame her for what was happening to HP. Certainly since she's departed, HP is still struggling.
Christina: In fairness to her, she was not the worst CEO they ever had. That would be the German guy, because he spent 10 million dollars on Magic Beans. He bought a company called autonomy that did nothing. They had to write off the entire purchase of, and I'm betting the future of the company on this.
Leo: That's what she inherited. Carly Fiorina inherited...
Christina: No. Meg Whitman inherited that. Carly Fiorina came in 99/2000. She was the one who got them into trouble to begin with, bought compact. Then Mark Hurr took over. He had this whole inappropriate scenario thing, and now he's co CEO of Oracle, so he did fine for himself.
Leo: In his famous interview, Larry Alison said are they crazy firing him? I'm hiring him.
Christina: Larry Allison is a smart guy. Then Leo took over HP, spent ten million dollars on magic beans, and then Meg Whitman was like Are you serious? this is what I'm coming into?
Leo: Where is the board when all of this is happening?
Christina: The board that's famous is the probably the most dysfunctional board in corporate history. Ray Lane...
Leo: They were spying on each other.
Christina: I think this was under Carly when they spied on the C Net reporters, they hacked their email. Remember that?
Leo: new company. It's a new company. I had sworn for years I would never buy an HP computer because they used to be really junked up with every possible form of trial ware. This is a pretty computer, so I'll give them one more chance. In a way it's a new company, isn't it? Of course I'm going to immediately put Linux on it because I can't bear running Windows.
Christina: What Distro?
Leo: Now you're asking the geeky question. Hmmm. Whatever distro will work, actually. It's all highly proprietary hardware that nothing will work. I have to say, for a long time, pardon us while we talk you guys. Leap in any time. Christina and I don't get to talk much.
Serenity: I'm enjoying the Linux talk. I haven't heard Linux talk in a while.
Leo: It's the year of the desktop Linux. I can't even finish that sentence. We all are using it on Android, unless you refuse. Chrome OS is Linux. First of all, what Microsoft has done with Windows 10 I find so offensive that on principle, I think it's a fine operating system, on principle because of them forcing it on people which they continue to do un-repentedly, people call me all the time. Woke up Windows 10 is on his computer. Didn't ask for it. But they're doing that, they said they would do it. I think that's so unacceptable that just as a protest, I do have a Microsoft surface book. I guess I'll leave that with Windows. I don't want to buy another Windows PC. On the other hand, this is beautiful hardware. If I could put Mac OS, I would, by the way that's the new name, right?
Christina: Which is so funny.
Roberto: 10. whatever.
Serenity: 10.11, 10.12, it's weird.
Leo: Yeah. Everybody still calls it Mac OS X. That's a useful thing for distinguishing the true nerd from the pretender. I listen to an audible book about Steve Jobs called "Becoming Steve Jobs," Bill atkinson said that was his favorite out of all the Jobs books, of course he knew Jobs very well. The reader called it OSX the entire time. It drove me crazy.
Serenity: You would think somebody would have corrected them.
Leo: where's the producer? I don't expect the reader to know that, but the producer should. Anyway, Mac OS is easier. Somebody will call it "Macoss."
Roberto: I want it to be system 11.
Christina: I've been waiting for OS 11. I figured that would be the fusion of IOS and OS 10 when we would finally get an OS 11. Now we're just going to get Mac OS and watch OS and iOS.
Leo: Apple is really streamlining the whole thing. They don't even have names for their stuff. It's the iPad Pro. The Pro, it's all you need to know. You pick a size. This is the new... Mac Book.
Serenity: It's been Apple's laptops and desktops for a long time. The New iMac. The iMac with Retina display the MacBook Pro.
Leo: It only bothers us because we write about it and talk about it. We need a way to distinguish it. I guess you don't say the new Saturn.
Serenity: You don't say the 2015 Saturn unless you're the person buying that specific vehicle. Oh, you have a Toyota Prius, cool. What does your Toyota Prius have? It has the Climate control.
Leo: You don't say Prius 6.4. For those of us who talk about it and write about it, it is important to distinguish the 2015 MacBook from the 2014 MacBook. Back to that subject, Christina you liked it? It's the Core M still, right?
Christina: Yeah, which has made a big difference in performance. I noted this in my review. The one I tested last year was I guess what would now be the Core M3, that was the 1.1 Hertz.
Leo: that's phenomenally slower clock speed.
Christina: No. It's faster than last year's. My results were about 25 to 35 percent better than last year's, but that wasn't really apples to apples. Based on other Geek Binge results, you saw about a 15 to 20 percent increase. I think that's all coming from Skylake. A it's two things. SkyLake is here, there were a lot of improvements on that end. The secondary thing is this is now their second iteration with Core M so they are able to do more with it. I think you're still going to hit those roadblocks. For me, I don't think I could make it a daily driver for me. It's so close which is the annoying thing.
Leo: Just because it's not fast enough?
Christina: For me, it's the GPU stuff. I convinced my best friend to buy one of these last year and she will yell at me every time her Mac doesn't perform correctly. She screams at me. It is my fault because I was the one who told her to buy it. I said it will be great for you!
Leo: Can we just establish that we are in no way responsible for your choices with computing platforms. We will talk about things, we like things. We're enthusiasts. We might make suggestions. But I'm not your Mom.
Serenity: Don't blame us for your bad choices.
Christina: Don't blame me, but yet I do feel guilty because she bought this gold contraption. There was not peer pressure. She was asking should I get this or the MacBook air? I was like the new MacBook will be perfect for what you use it for. It turns out that Chrome are kind of memory hogs and kind of, if she doesn't restart it every day it slows down. I think the new model will alleviate a lot of those concerns but I think for what I do with having so many things open, I would be concerned about making it a daily driver, but it's getting so close. My big complaint with it, two things. One, I love the design step. I still do wish there was a second USBC port.
Leo: that was the one thing I thought they should have done.
Christina: Maybe they can't. There could be room, but it would require a big update to the design. I understand if they don't want to do that.
Leo: Because Johnny is on vacation.
Christina: What is less, OK with me, is the idea that they did not update that USB to Thunderbolt 3. They could have done that.
Leo: That is built into the chip set. That is built in. It's an odd omission.
Christina: to me, even with one port, if it were thunderbolt 3, without any question at all you would be in Dongle hell, you could have a million things connected to it and be confident in the port. My secondary concern, I was completely fine with the price last year, I felt like the price was where it is for the type of device that it is. this year, I wish they had come in a hundred dollars less. I feel like it would be an easier thing to recommend if it were a hundred dollars less expensive, just because even though it is faster on the SSD and the Processor GPU it looks the same and because it still has the one port and it still has the non-thunderbolt 3 port, I really feel like if they had been able to come in at a hundred dollars less it would have been that much more compelling because as you pointed out, Serenity, it's not just competing against other Ultra Books, it's also competing against things like the iPad Pro. I feel like the ecosystem when you're buying an ultra-portable in 2016 you have a lot more things to consider.
Leo: It's also pretty clearly going to replace the MacBook Air. That's going to be a big problem because the Air has ports and power.
Serenity: You have to remember when the Air first came out, it was derided as having too few ports and being vastly underpowered, and very expensive.
Roberto: And the one port you flip down. It was ridiculous.
Serenity: The Air brought the price down and they managed to position it as the sweet spot for this is not the laptop for power users, this is the laptop for people who want a small machine who want to travel. I think the MacBook will eventually get to that position. But it's never going to compete against a Pro Laptop. The Pro laptops are going to eventually borrow some of its design but if you want more ports on your Mac, you're going to want to go for a MacBook Pro.
Leo: By the way, Christina posted her link to her gold collection. I don't know if the Beats count. Is that rose gold, those Beats?
Christina: Of course they are. I literally bought them because of the color. I had the identical pair of headphones in red and they came out with them in rose gold and I went to the Apple store in the rain. That is how you know you have a problem
Leo: I come from an era of computing where this kind of silliness is no sense at all.
Christina: This kind of silliness has existed forever. Remember when HP had the Vera Wang laptops?
Leo: They were terrible and nobody bought them. They saw the iMac and said oh my god. The future of computers is design and color so they made a hideous green holes in it like Swiss cheese. Everybody says only Apple has the customers who will pay for this, we're going back to beige boxes. See you.
Christina: That's a good point and they still do. Remember the black MacBook? I paid the black tax.
Leo: A hundred bucks for black paint.
Serenity: It was one of the most good looking laptops that I had for years.
Christina: I still have mine, it's probably my favorite laptop of all time was my black Macbook.
Leo: Black is good.
Serenity: Matte black. You're not going to see it on the MacBook or the iPod pro.
Leo: Apple knows its audience. However, they might want to stop lying to the audience. The Apple press release claiming all sorts of wonderful things from recycling. According to Motherboard, Jason Cobler says almost nothing about the Apple Harvests Gold from iPhones story is true. Apple put out that they had got 40 million dollars’ worth of recycled gold. I don't know if Apple said that or if it was just the headline writers like CNN and Fox and Huffington Post. Apparently that is not a realistic number. Somebody else pointed out that all of Apple's recycling numbers, when you change them to metric tons are perfectly round. They released them as US pounds, which made it look like interestingly precise numbers. I don't blame Apple for trying to promote the fact that they're recycling. This is a big issue. Read it with a grain of salt.
Roberto: It's easy for a reporter to say, It's a press release, Apple's not going to lie. Someone is like this thing just popped up, can someone bust this out really quick? You write it in ten, fifteen minutes, you move on to the next article. Unfortunately, that's you get caught with that sort of stuff. It's tough when there are those 15 minute hits, trying to get them up on the site. It would be better if we double checked everything.
Leo: They played the media perfectly. They picked up the headline, ran the headline, every consumer that saw the headline remembers that. Nobody is going to see this Motherboard article saying it's not quite true. They quote Kyle Wiens. He's the CEO of iFixit. What's really going on is like Carbon offsets. They cut recyclers a check and say give us credit for recycling a million pounds. The percentage Apple is actually recycling is a tiny fraction. Almost all of the waste in the US is collected by folks like Goodwill, Municipal recycling programs. even though Apple has the stores and mail back program, they don't recycle a lot of stuff, and that poor robot, Liam, is not very busy.
Christina: He's new.
Serenity: Honestly, the thing that frustrates me about these stories is if you actually look at Apple's environmental responsibility report, nowhere in that report do they say... the words they used were amount of material recovered for reuse for takeback initiatives. Not even through OUR takeback initiatives, just through takeback initiatives, then it's just citing the amount of pounds of gold that they recycled. Then people spun that off as that's a lot of gold. Apple's making bank. No.
Leo: iPhones don't represent a significant portion of recycling. In Washington, Apple phones are 1.8 percent of the total amount of eWaste, not even just waste, but eWaste recycled. E waste is an issue because it has to be recycled specially.
Serenity: That's why they created Liam. It's a new initiative. Samantha Murphy at Mashable wrote a new thing about it. She go to write an in depth report about how it works, but that's a new thing. It only works for one mile of phone, but it will be expanded in the future, so I think that this is something they are looking towards. We'll see. Serenity makes an excellent point. IF you read the report's language. They're clear that it's not US doing it, it's just all of these things. They recognize that for the good of the environment and even fiscally it's good to have ways to disassemble and re-use these materials.
Leo: You have to feel a little bit for Title, the streaming music network that has just been struggling. Made a lot of deals with artists for exclusives. They got the exclusive on Beyonce's Lemonade. Is it good? Do you like Lemonade?
Christina: It's fantastic.
Leo: She's amazing. Didn't she just release an album six months ago?
Christina: more than a year ago.
Leo: The whole time she was touring she recorded an album and then just sprang it on everybody. Very good marketing. This time there was an HBO special and Title got the exclusive for one day and then it was on iTunes.
Christina: Christina, who subscribes to everything and got suckered into subscribing to Title for Beyonce, that subscription is getting canceled.
Roberto: I watched half of it today and oh my god it's amazing. It's really good. We should just watch it. I don't know why we're talking about anything else. We should just be talking about Beyonce and watching Lemonade.
Leo: Serenity was talking about the very political song she released last month. Formation. Was that on Lemonade?
Serenity: It is.
Christina: that was released right before her Super Bowl performance and then she dropped the album along with the HBO special last night, and of course, because she's Beyonce, she happens to do it during HBO's free weekend and it was also on HBO Go and Now. she's such a genius.
Leo: Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall? Jay Z comes to bed and says Thank you bae. You gave me the exclusive title. "Sean, I got some bad news for you."
Serenity: So it's only available for iTunes for purchase. Not a huge differentiation because anybody who likes Beyonce is going to immediately buy the album. Taylor Swift's 1989 instant buy. Yes, I'm paying money for it.
Christina: It's only 10 dollars. Adele Beyonce, Taylor Swift, they are the people who get people to spend money.
Leo: One of the reasons I brought it up is to see how these artists are managing quite well the new digital world. But it's only these mega celebrities that can do this.
Roberto: Small bands, medium sized bands. They don't make anything. Going on tour, that's how they make their money. You really have to be careful about how you tour. A band who is doing pretty well, but you're not going to want to bring 14 musicians on tour, you're not going to want a giant light show unless you're able to sell out stadiums.
Leo: Roberto, I was so jealous, because the last time you were here it was Academy Award night and I was going to go home and watch the Oscars. You had tickets to go see Prince, in Oakland, a man and his piano.
Roberto: It was so amazing. You're sitting forward and someone's telling you a great story, that was the entire night. You stand up, you sit down. This is a man who is as a musician, as an artist, as someone able to control his art and who he is in the media, it's so much about Prince that I found amazing. To see him... it's hard for me to talk about it.
Leo: I'm so sad, because I wanted to go, I knew that tickets were going on sale. I missed it, I forgot, but like most of us, we said I'll see him next time. He had a very... reason I'm bringing this up, he had a very challenging relationship with the Internet, didn't he?
Roberto: Yeah. He was the first person to be like here's a streaming service before anyone thought that was a good idea, and then he became anti-Internet at some point. The Internet is over. He pulled everything.
Leo: He sued a mom who had a prince song in the background to her dancing baby. He went crazy.
Roberto: If you're not actively protecting your art... he wanted to control his music. As someone who is an artist, I give him props for that. You want the streaming stuff..
Leo: He was angry at the Music Industry. That's why he famously changed his name to artist formerly known as Prince, used the symbol, even had slave written on his cheek. That was directed against the music Industry. The Music Industry to this day rips off artists. Why didn't he see the Internet as the savior, the alternative to that? He saw the Internet as a way the music Industry would continue to rip off artists.
Roberto: I think he just saw that people were able to listen to his music without paying for it. He put a value on his art and when people aren't... I work hard for this, why am I not getting paid for this? If you're any kind of artist, I feel like you should get compensation for that. I could just hop on to YouTube and listen to almost any band I want without paying a streaming service.
Leo: I understand that emotionally, but you also have to recognize reality. You're not going to put away the Internet by not letting your stuff be on the Internet.
Christina: You're not, but at the same time, there are very few artists, and he was one of them that could actually fight and still sell out stadiums and do tours and release music and make money that way and still have a catalogue business that would make money. His approach would not work for any new artist, but he had been around long enough that he could do that sort of thing. He owned all of his own masters, for instance, which also put him in a different situation when it comes to streaming services and to the Internet than other artists. He put a value on his music, but that value is different when you are your own masters and when you own your own destiny than when a label owns it and you're getting a small piece anyway.
Leo: I wonder what is going to happen, because apparently he has 2000 unreleased tracks in the vaults. I don't know who is going to be the executer who is going to manage the estate, but I'm curious. This is an opportunity for whoever is managing it to get the music to the fans directly. If they can just embrace this technology.
Roberto: Prince said that he didn't have one vault, he had vaults of unreleased music, unreleased videos. Thousands of songs that are going to be available.
Leo: Are they? That's my question.
Roberto: That's the question. Prince said in his will, I don't want anyone to ever see these, or he could have said, "You know what? I'm going to give you the opportunity to release these either as physical media or you can only sell it. I don't think... he made stipulations not to allow streaming. If I were Prince and that was my mindset, I would say you have to buy a record. It's only available on Vinyl. Which I'm fine with, but I'm a weirdo.
Leo: The Grateful dead have thousands of tracks, recordings of concerts in their vaults, and they have been slowly but liberally releasing those. They want to make sure the quality is good, they want to mix them and then release them. I hope that there's some vision from Prince's estate to give us this material.
Christina: He is on Title. That's the only service his entire Catalogue is on. He removed everything from Spotify...
Leo: Is that because he loves Jay Z and he wanted to support Jay Z?
Christina: That is what he said to Ebony. There is this interesting interview he gave to Ebony last year, the next day the interview is pulled. Apparently Prince claimed, and the author disputes this, that things were off the record. It was this very weird scenario that Billboard aggregated the Interview to begin with. That's what is interesting about this is he has so much control over his art and what interviews he did and his image and it'll be interesting to see not just how his estate handles things like all these unreleased vaults of music but how other interviews and projects and things he had done over the years how that will be preserved and released, or will it? that'll be interesting.
Leo: I respect his desire to keep control, and it's because he did that he owns the masters and things like that, and that was the right thing to do for him as an artist. At this point though, I wonder what happens to all of that material. It's hard to know what he would want. It' s interesting that days before he passed he said OK, you can let that Coachella performance go on YouTube.
Christina: That's what made it interesting the way the Internet covered his passing. We got over the shock and then you want to listen to the music and he's not on YouTube and he's not on Spotify. He's on Title, but nobody... Prince was one of those things like honestly, I'll get a side catalogue that Prince is on too. You're trying to find a way to mourn as fans and listen to his music and we're all relegated to buying iTunes because literally the way that you normally would like.... when David Bowie passed, you go on YouTube. With Prince, can't do that because he was good at getting those things taken down.
Serenity: Apple music did something interesting where Prince's catalogue is not on Apple music, however Beats One has a broadcast license, which covers Prince's catalogue. Starting with his passing, Zane Low did an extra hour on his show. Played nothing but Prince for an hour and then played songs inspired by Prince for 2 hours, and this entire weekend have been prince love fests. That's one of the compelling things to Beats One is Apple music doesn't have this music?
Christina: One of the Sirius channels was playing nothing but Prince 24/7 and you're right. That is where having a broadcast license is really compelling because you could turn into Beats One. It feels so retro to have to do that, but...
Roberto: The local radio station in Minneapolis was playing Prince nonstop, and it wasn't just playing Prince because he was part of that city, they were interviewing people who knew Prince, people from the band and local reporters. It's great for them, but now what?
Leo: You have to wonder what the right strategy is for an artist. It's all new and all different, but it's certainly true that I found out about it on Twitter. Of course that's where you find out about these things. I was on the new Social and it's very small. There's quitter.no and it's very geeky. I noticed there's not a lot of news, not a lot going on, and I switched over to Twitter to compare the two, and the first tweet was Prince has died and I was shocked. What's the first thing you do? You stay there, look, and verify it of course. I didn't run to the radio. I didn't run to CNN. You stay online. You start watching videos and tributes. This is what we do now. Anybody who is an artist or in the public has to think about what does that mean going forward? Does it make any sense to hold on to stuff when it's... the problem is you hold on to it and when it gets out you won't have control over how it gets out. You need to have a strategy for how it's going to get out, except the stuff in the vaults. We may lose that forever, which is probably not what he would have wanted either. But who knows? Sad, but I wanted to acknowledge it. Roberto, you're a fan. You've seen him twice in the last couple of months.
Roberto; yeah. One at the theatre in Oakland and one at the Arena. He got up and danced, he wasn't frail, he rode off on a Bicycle a few times.
Leo: apparently he liked to do that. At the end of the show, he'd go on a bike, the lights would go down and anybody who knew better would stay in the audience because he would be back but first he would ride around on the bike. What a character.
Roberto: Both shows were amazing. Yeah.
Leo: Do geeks turn to radio as an alternative...? you would have missed something really great if you didn't do that. I didn't think to do that, and I work in radio.
Roberto: Twitter is what pointed me to Beats. Twitter is like, "they're playing Prince the entire time."
Leo: Twitter is this curated fountain of information, which is amazing. That's why for all its flaws it's not going away. It can't.
Serenity: Hopefully it will change a little bit.
Leo: It's not the same. You need to be where everybody else is and there's a community and there's this vibrancy.
Serenity: Speaking of vibrancy, a bunch of motorcycles just went out my window.
Leo: that was a weird thing because I wanted to watch Purple Rain that night, and I went to several sites, all of which had an error when I tried to play Purple Rian and I was wondering if they've been pulling this. The one place I was able to buy it and watch it. That's odd. AMC is re-releasing it this weekend. You'll see it in many theaters.
Christina: I wonder if there were too many people trying to buy it at once. Wikimedia had an interesting blog post about how they handle the traffic. I thought that was fascinating. How they were able to Cache that article because it had 1.85 million views in the first hour or so. How do you Cache that without bringing down the rest of the Wiki Media server? How do you serve the cache versions? Just some really interesting reads.
Leo: Here's the graph of traffic this sudden spike and in 24 hours, ten million views of the Prince web page. There's another place people go to find out how old was he. At the very least, and information. Again, another thing to thank goodness for. We have Wikipedia. What a resource that is. People were trying to edit the article, so many people tried to update the English language article that the rate of Edit conflicts spiked at fifteen per minute, which is five times the normal average. I'm not sure if that's because people wanted to put the end date on there or because they wanted to correct stuff. Really interesting how Wikipedia handles this, of course they were prepared because the same thing happened when Michael Jackson passed. Sad to say, they've had some opportunity to do this.
Serenity: It mentioned in the article they introduced this new thing after Michael Jackson passed. That was the first time they ever experienced traffic like this. I don't know if you guys remember this, but when Michael Jackson died, Facebook briefly went down. That was in 2009. I'll never forget my older sister calling me and saying Facebook is down, call me. I'm aware, I'm on the Internet, I see the TMZ article. I'm in shock but Facebook went down for 15 minutes because so many people wanted to get on and talk about it.
Leo It's a new world. That's where we meet, that's our community center. That's where we talk, Twitter and Facebook primarily. This is the New Yorker cover, which is just purple and rain. Sad. We'll continue on, lots more to talk about, great panel to do it with. Roberto Baldwin is here from Engadget.
Leo: Also joining us from Mashable.com, Christina Warren, great to see you. Film Girl, once again. And all the way from Boston, Serenity Caldwell at iMore.com. Our show to you today brought to you by Gazelle. When it's time to get a new phone, there's two reasons to go to Gazelle now. To sell the old phone, if you go there right now they give you a quote, locks them in, not you, but it gives you the chance to get top dollar, because nothing gains in value these days. All these gadgets are going down every day, so get the top price. It took 30 days to get the new phone, transfer your data over and then send it to gazelle.com. They pay top dollar for all kinds of devices even broken iPads and iPhones. They have value too. gazelle.com-- at least get the quote. At least know with that old stuff, don't throw it in a drawer. Don't throw your old stuff in the drawers, Go to gazelle.com, find out what you're missing. When you're ready to sell it, they ship it for you for free. They'll send you a box and then they'll turn it around fast if you forget to wipe the data or you can't, they will do that for you and they often adjust the value of their quote upwards. They guarantee the minimum, but not guaranteed maximum. Twice I've used Gazelle and they've upped the value they pay for something. That's nice. They don't have to do that, but they do. I really appreciate that. Gazelle.com, they’ll send you a check, Paypal credit, or if you want to get a little extra, that Amazon gift card, they'll bump it up by five percent. There's another reason to go to Gazelle. They sell certified pre-owned devices. Only the creme de la creme. They have a variety of iPhones including the six S and the 6S plus, the latest iPhones. They have iPads, they have Samsung Galaxy phones. Whenever a new phone or pad comes in that's the time to go Gazelle because it means they're going to get a flood of new stuff and the very best stuff they inspect. They put it through 30 point inspection, make sure it's not only fully functional but in great shape, and they will sell it in a variety of qualities. You can choose if you want it to be perfect or do you want to save some money and have it slightly gently used. You get the choice. Everything you buy at Gazelle is backed by a 30 day return policy and sold without carrier contract. gazelle.com, you can get financing from a firm now. That's an easy checkbox. You'll be approved instantly. They also offer warranties for cell phones and iPads powered by insurance solutions that covers not just defects but water damage and cracked screens too. Gazelle is a great place to go to sell and to buy. Gazelle.com. Google is in trouble with the EU. The EU has decided to launch a formal anti-trust charge against Google saying that they use their 90 percent market share to promote the Android operating system to force carriers to put Google software on Android. You don't have to by the way. Amazon could use Android software, but if you want to put the Google pay store on there, Google maps, then you need to go to Google and make an arrangement. The EU feels like this is wrong. Potentially fines up to 7 billion dollars. Google has taken 12 weeks to respond. The problem with this is it's moving so fast. Remember what the Department of Justice said to Microsoft in 1998. You're using your market share on desktops to enter the Internet more. In the EU the end result was a ballot when you install Windows on a computer or first boot it up in the EU, until recently you'd get a ballot in which you'd get to choose which browser you wanted to install in Windows. That was the answer the EU came up with. I feel like it's very, of course the 1998 justice department went on and on, cost a lot of money. I don't know if it accomplished anything at all. Microsoft managed to become less of a monopoly all on its own. Any thoughts on what the EU is up to?
Roberto: Oh EU. I can kind of see their point. You get your Android phone, it has maps.
Leo: That's what consumers want, right?
Roberto: That's kind of what you want. It has Google play. Let's give third parties an opportunity to put their store on there. I don't think that's a good idea. I'll be on the Amazon app store. My concern is random third parties with their app stores and malware. That's it. You've introduced more malware into the EU. Great job, guys.
Leo: This is what they object to. Requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google search and Google Chrome browser. You're not required to do that, but again, it's open source software and if you're going to put Google services on there, you have to at least do a search browser. Requiring them to set Google search as a default service. That's how you get the other apps preventing manufacturers from selling other operating systems based on the open source code. Once you’re part of this consortium running official Google Android, you can't do an AOSP version. Giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively install Google search in their devices. Ironically, this whole complaint started because Microsoft and other Google competitors including the French search engine, which no one can remember or use, complained. They're competitors. They didn't like it. Now Microsoft and Google have agreed to bury the hatchet. They're going to stop complaining about each other. For now. For a week. It's got to be frustrating. My reaction would be, fine, I won't give you Google search and see you later, EU.
Leo: That would be my reaction. OK Fine. No Google search for you.
Roberto: Give the manufacturer the option to put a forked version of Android that's fine. If there's a forked version of Android that Samsung...
Leo: Let's say you're Amazon. This is one of the reasons... I wonder. Amazon who had the fire phone... wait. Fire phone didn't have Google services on it. That sold really well, didn't it?
Christina: It was a huge hit.
Leo: Kindles do OK. Fire tablets do OK. But they're not phones.
Christina: That's the phone. You can get away with having Google maps on your tablet, even though it does become annoying, but you can't have a phone. How are they going to launch a phone without Google maps? How is that going to work? It didn't work.
Leo: That's not Google's fault. That's the market weighing in.
Christina: Amazon, their issue is a little more deep rooted. They made it so if you want to install the Amazon app store or Amazon video apps on your Android devices you can't get them from Google play, you have to go to Amazon.com and side load them and install them that way. I feel like their issues are deeper and have more at stake than some of these AOSP complaints that the EU might be talking about. I feel like it's one of those things. It's what you get for making an agreement with Google. IF you want to get all the benefits of Google Android, you've got to have their search there. That was something that when we first saw Android come to market tha twe saw from the carriers. I think it was Verizon that had the deal with Bing. You'd get a Moto Droid and it wouldn't have Google search on it. That wasn't the flagship Android phone and it had these other things on it. Google quickly realized if we don't put these provisions in place then the big things we are creating this operating system for and giving away for free for and be able to give away more information and data for users and build models about how predictive stuff works and get this information Target uses for their advertising won't exist anymore. It's kind of a push/pull. I wonder. It's interesting that it's happening now. Where have you guys been for the last 8/9 years. It's always been part of the trade-off.
Leo: There's kind of a bitter irony in this though. If Google hadn't offered a free version of Android, hadn't made Android open source, hadn't created AOSP, Apple doesn't do any of that and is not being challenged because an iPhone is an iPhone. So Apple is...
Christina: They're the only one who makes an iPhone. Perhaps it would be different if you had other companies that could make an iPhone.
Leo: They got hoisted by being more open. Apple doesn't have to worry. Apple doesn't have the market dominance.
Roberto: It's market share that they're concerned about.
Serenity: It's partially market share. It's also the collaboration of hardware and software. If you are working with other companies, it becomes dicey under EU legislation to say to other companies, "No. You're only allowed to use our software or our specific things or else you miss out." That's a dangerous precedent to set. As we've talked about with Microsoft, it's something that's come up before. Apple skirts around it not only because they don't necessarily have the market share, but even if Apple had 80 percent of the market share, I don't think the EU is going to place the hammer down on Apple because their hardware that they make runs their software that they make.
Roberto: If Apple had 80% of the market, they'd be like you need to license your software to other manufacturers.
Roberto: I could see someone coming out of the woodwork and saying you need to make iOS available to Samsung and other people. Maybe not having 80% of the market share is pretty good.
Christina: That does sound like what the EU would do, honestly.
Roberto: I'm not saying it's logical, I'm saying it's something I could see.
Leo: It really feels like the EU just doesn't like a big company. We just don't want you to get big and powerful.
Christina: They still have lightning boards. Yeah.
Leo: They made a rule that all Smartphones had to have micro USB. It was? You remember the days when different Nokia phones had different chargers. Micro USB was a lifesaver. That's the world we're in with laptops, right? Every laptop has a unique charger. I look forward to the day when everybody is Type C. That's why I really celebrated the Macbook. Apple is giving up the huge amount of money they make from selling Mac safe adapters for ten times the cost? Wow.
Christina: Now they're USPC on the MacBook.
Leo: That was a shocker to me that Apple was willing to do that. I'd love to see USPC everywhere. Apparently the quick charge devices and HDC 10 and the LG 5, which use USB C and quick charge are out of compliance with USBC. They're over voltage. You can only go so high. Qualcomm says we don't tell them.... it's up to them how much voltage they want to use. People like Benson Leon who has been the staunch defender of the USBC spec to make sure it doesn't burn out things like you're MacBook point out this is not in compliance, so you could plugin an HDC 10 to your MacBook and it would draw too much power. Could hurt your Macbook.
Serenity: It's not a good situation. I suspect Apple has some precautions built in there to the charging point. It's Apple. They think about these things. Some other laptop manufacturers, not so much. We've heard a lot about USBC's relative flakiness when it comes to chargers.
Leo: Still celebrate it. I want it on everything. I hope Apple continues with that. I don't know if they will. It's the only way you can do one port. If you're going to do one port, it has to be data as well as power.
Serenity: I will say that USBC adaptor connector that turns your USBC port into a magnetic connection, they showed it off at CES. I like the idea. I haven't seen it in practice yet.
Leo: It pulls off, just like the mag safe does, is that it?
Serenity Caldwell: I’ve sent my light laptops like flipping in the air.
Serenity: Flying so many times. Or rather I would have sent them flying had I not—yea, yea.
Leo: How many times have I told you, no roller skates in the living room.
Serenity: But it’s hard. It’s hard
Leo: (Laughing) Are you back in roller derby? Did you get back in?
Serenity: I am. I am skating Providence Roller Derby. I was actually—
Leo: I thought I saw pictures.
Serenity: Below the waist I am covered in red paint because we did a fund raiser called Gored for Good today.
Leo: Oh, dear.
Serenity: Yea, it was a 3K. So we all dressed up as roller bulls with horns. You can see it on my Instagram. And we gored, we like slapped runners with red paint as they ran by to raise money for a homeless charity in Providence.
Leo: I grew up in Providence.
Serenity: We raised like 120 – did you really?
Leo: Yea, is that where you live now?
Serenity: Yea, well in that general area.
Leo: I love Providence. My mom lives in Cranston.
Serenity: Oh really. That’s awesome. It’s my new hood. I really like it.
Leo: It’s right near Boston. It’s only an hour away.
Serenity: It is. It is. Yea, exactly. I always—yea, so I don’t live in Providence proper but it became too far of a drive to go to Boston Roller Derby. So now I’m with Providence.
Leo: Nice. I recognize the deciduous—well, doesn’t your fiancé live down there?
Serenity: Yea, he does.
Leo: That’s why.
Serenity: So when we moved in, yea.
Leo: Yea, yea. So here she is in her red paint with horns. The running of the bulls.
Serenity: That’s an excellent photo of me. I definitely had fun going up to the 9 year old kids and being like “Rawr! Here’s some paint. Rawr!”
Serenity: Didn’t wear the Apple Watch though. I was afraid to get the Apple Watch covered in paint.
Leo: I know. There’s rose gold and there’s red paint.
Serenity: Yea, I definitely got my rose gold 6S, got a little bit of red paint on it.
Serenity: Yea. Got a little bit splattered.
Leo: IBookery is reminding me that since I left Providence they now do a thing on the river where they dump fire on it, right? Have you seen that?
Serenity: Water fire. I have not yet. But I’m really excited this summer. All right, so it’s not directly on the water. I think they have it like little boats and they play music, like live music. And it’s orchestrated and coordinated. It’s supposed to be really fun. I’ve never seen it so it could be lame, but.
Leo: Water fire. From the braziers.
Roberto: In my brain it’s just a guy with a big jug of gasoline just like pouring it into the river. And then just flipping, like throwing in there. There you go guys.
Leo: Well they do that in Yosemite. I don’t know if they still do that. Remember the fire fall at Yosemite? Do they still do that? No.
Serenity: Oh God, yea. Not since the 40s. Although there is something called Fire Fall but that’s about the sun hitting a waterfall like at a certain point in February. It’s no longer let’s dump a campfire down a waterfall and take pictures of it guys.
Leo: I does seem like kind of not the best thing to do (laughing). All right we’re going to take a little break. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Why did I say that? It’s silly. Nobody smokes any more. That’s silly.
Christina: We all use vapes now.
Roberto: Yea, we all vape.
Leo: Vape. Vape it if you got it. That’s even more disgusting.
Serenity: I just think of Larry Sanders. No flipping.
Leo: No flipping. There’s another one we lost. It’s been a crappy year and we’re only in April.
Christina: It really has.
Serenity: It’s been a terrible year for great, great people.
Leo: What’s sad to me is they’re all my age. That’s what really scares me.
Serenity: If your support goes away I’m going to be really sad.
Leo: Hey by the way we had a great week. We have a best of I think from the week just past and then we’ll talk a little bit about what’s coming up. It’s going to be a big week on TWiT. Watch.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Father Robert Ballecer: Hello and welcome to the TWiT Live Special at NAB, National Association Broadcaster’s show. We’re here with the entire team. If you are in content creation, if you are a broadcaster, if you at all love the process of creating, of imagining it an bringing it to the screen, then well, this is the place to be.
Narrator: TWiT Live Specials.
Jason Howell: We are surrounded by cameras here at the ZCam booth.
Male: We actually synchronized all 48 cameras in a very precise manner and then we can come up with a real time effect.
Fr. Robert: This matrix looking squid-like device you tell me is actually the perfect VR system.
Alex Lindsay: This is the first camera that we’ve really used that just feels like a production camera for live.
Narrator: iOS Today.
Allison Sheridan: I’m going to show you guys an app called Ricoh Live’s Multi Cam.
Leo: That’s the camera on the internet.
Allison: Right. But what’s even cooler is I’ve got Megan on the same network so I’m going to tap here in the bottom right it shows Megan’s iPad.
Leo: So you’re doing a multi camera shoot with iPads.
Allison: It’s a $5 dollar app.
Leo: $5 dollars.
Leo: Our guest, I’m thrilled to have him, Matthew Wood, supervising sound editor at Skywalker Sound. Give us a little General Grievous.
Matthew Wood: I’ve been trained in your Jedi arts by Count Dooku.
Narrator: TWiT. I’m your father.
Leo: But he’s actually General Grievous, Jim. That’s the difference. That was a lot of fun. If you didn’t see that Triangulation with Matthew Wood it was really good. He has edited all the Star Wars movies including the most recent one. He is a sound editor and just a remarkable fellow. And he’s young. And he’s been directing Skywalker for 26 years. He got the job when he was 17. Big week coming up. Jason Howell has the latest.
Jason: Hey thanks, Leo. Here’s a look at a few thing we’re going to be watching in the upcoming week. First it’s earnings-palooza. There’s Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Nintendo, LinkedIn, Sony Corp, honestly that’s just naming a few. There’s definitely going to be more nuggets falling out of those trees so we’ll keep an eye on that. Also Samsung is holding its developers conference in San Francisco April 27th -28th with a focus on mobile, the internet of things and of course what Samsung event would be complete without virtual reality in there. And speaking of VR, the 3rd annual Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference and Expo happens April 27th – 29th as well. That’s touted as the world’s largest professional conference for consumer virtual reality. We have a few kind of product-y things happening. On the 27th the Kindle Oasis begins shipping to reading maniacs everywhere. And starting May 1st, Google begins to retire Picasa for good with migration to Google Photos kicking into gear. Megan Morrone and I will be following these and a whole lot more on Tech News Today all week starting at 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern at TWiT.tv/live. That’s a look at the week ahead. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Thank you, Jason. It was a really fun week at NAB this week. We’ll talk a little bit more about some of the things we saw in just a moment. Our show today brought to you by Braintree. If you’re a mobile app developer, the last thing you want to do is write your own payment system. Please, please do not write your own payment system. Security issues, it’s a lot of work and there’s a much better choice out there. Braintree Payments. Whatever the payment system your customers want, Braintree has it. Android Pay, Apple Pay, Bitcoin, credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, they’ve got it all. And when the next big thing comes along, all you’ve got to do is check a box in the control panel and your app will have it too. It’s a full stack payment platform easily adapted to whatever the future holds. You get it all in a secure fashion. These guys are the kings. They’re the ones behind Pinterest’s buyable pins you see everywhere. They are the ones behind the payments on Uber and Lyft. They do it all. Airbnb and Hotels Tonight. GitHub uses Braintree. Accept anything from pounds to PayPal to that next big thing. All you have to do is go to Braintreepayments.com/twit. Sign up today. Your first $50,000 in payments are fee free. For iOS for Android, for Java script so you can use it on the web too. .NET, Node.js, Java, PHP and Python and Ruby, it’s Braintree. Braintreepayments.com/twit. Don’t do it yourself. Let Braintree do it. We’re talking about the week’s tech news. Joining us Serenity Caldwell from imore.com. Great to have you.
Serenity: Great to be here.
Leo: Yea. Christina Warren from Mashable. And from Engadget it’s Roberto Baldwin. We’re talking about all the week’s news. What are you laughing at?
Roberto: I wasn’t smiling the last time we did the lineup so I felt like I had to do something crazy.
Leo: Did you have a cheesy?
Christina: He did. It was good.
Roberto: I mean it’s just this is just cheesy to begin with so I just kind of amped it up a little.
Leo: You’re a good looking man. No, you’re a fine looking fellow. You’ve got that Kirk Douglas chin thing.
Roberto: I have the super chin. I can hold things between my chin and my lip.
Leo: (Laughing) damn I’ve always wanted that.
Roberto: Hold on, hold on.
Serenity: You can hold an Apple Pencil between your chin and your lip.
Roberto: Ah, this is too slippery. If I had a pencil here I could hold it. I should go get a pencil.
Leo: Oh, dear.
Serenity: Oh, boy.
Leo: How did we get to this? How did this happen?
Roberto: I have a million art supplies down here. Hold on.
Leo: But are your legs red?
Leo: Amazon—I saw this article. I thought, “Wow, this is really interesting.” Ann Christy who is a Navy commander by day and writes romances at night wrote an interesting article about scammers on the Kindle Unlimited. So Kindle Unlimited is your subscription, you know your Netflix for books. I keep getting tempted. I haven’t yet done it. Does anybody use Kindle Unlimited?
Roberto: I do.
Christina: I did and I forgot I had subscribed for a number of months and then I unsubscribed. It was fine.
Leo: Because you never used it.
Christina: I never used it because the problem is they’ve got some good books but a lot of, the selection is kind of what Netflix was in its early years. Where you’re like you have some limited—
Leo: But if there’s an author, if there’s like you know, if Ann Christy and you’re a big Ann Christy fan and you could read all of her books then that would be worth it, right?
Leo: It’s a monthly fee. Unlimited. So what’s interesting is how authors get paid. And until Christy wrote about it, I had no idea. So the theory is that all the money that goes into Kindle Unlimited goes into a communal pot which is divided up not based on the price of the book but the number of pages. This seems very equitable, right? If you write a great page turner of 500 pages you get more than if somebody writes a book and only 20 pages are read. You get paid per page in effect. But there are scammers. And apparently there are thousands of books on Kindle Unlimited where the book is Win an iPod, right? And what happens is on the first page it says, “Ok, jump to page 3,000.” And it turns out the way the pages are counted is not sequentially, but just the farthest page anybody got to in the book.”
Serenity: Oh, no.
Leo: So these scammers, you go, “Oh, I’m on page 1. Ok, jump to 3,000 to win my iPod.” Which of course nobody ever wins. Now Amazon says, “Oh, wow. They read 3,000 pages.” And that scammer gets that much more of the pot per page. It comes into about according to Christy a $1.57 for a 350 page book. That means like $15 dollars for a 3,000 page book. That’s a big chunk of change. So what a huge scam. I did not know about this.
Roberto: A it’s a scam, B I want to write a choose your own adventure book.
Leo: I know. That’s tempting now.
Roberto: The first choice is like two pages at the end of the book and then you just have them going back and forth.
Serenity: Page 740.
Roberto: As long as they hit that last page, I’m in the gold, so I’m quitting my job.
Leo: I know. I haven’t seen a response from Amazon but I would guess, and one of the reasons I’m giving this blog post some publicity, I would guess that once they hear about this they’re going to do something because that’s not fair.
Christina: I sure hope so.
Leo: Because that’s not fair.
Christina: I’m looking at this blog post now. She was saying that one of the scammers actually created a YouTube tutorial about how this works.
Leo: How to make a scam book.
Christina: It showed that this person made like $70,000 dollars in one month. I mean and it’s crazy because this reminds you of the early Ad Sense scams you know from 12, 13 years ago. But you would think that, you can sort of understand how that happened in the early days of online apps and how people could scam the system that way. But you would think that Amazon—if you’re going to have a system like this, then you should have provisions in place that would prevent this from happening. Like this just seems so obvious. It’s disappointing that they didn’t foresee that obviously that this would happen.
Serenity: It’s bad coding. It’s bad coding. It’s coding emission.
Leo: Well remember the Kindle’s not very powerful. It’s not going to sit and watch you turn the pages. You’ve got to find a way to make that work.
Roberto: But Whispersync. I mean Whispersync is telling you where you are. Whispersync sees you go like one to like 700. I’m still holding a pencil by the way.
Leo: Put it on your chin. Put it on your chin, let’s see. Oh, yea, bravo! There you go. There’s the album art for the show (laughing). Sorry, Roberto. You win. By the way I think you’re also going to get the title of the show, EW EU. So you’ve got to perfect it here.
Serenity: It’s Robbie’s special hour.
Leo: Robbie’s special hour.
Roberto: Oh. I’m sorry, everyone.
Roberto: It’s like I wasted an hour of everyone’s time.
Leo: No, you’re not. People love it. You know it’s so funny because people really don’t want us to talk about news. They want us to entertain them. The news is just the spine.
Serenity: We can do both.
Leo: I know.
Serenity: We can be informative and entertaining.
Leo: I think that’s the goal here.
Leo: You know what would be really entertaining? If you showed us your red legs.
Serenity: (laughing) Oh my God, they’re not-no.
Leo: That’s the equivalent of jumping to page 3,000. I just want to say. Oh, wow.
Serenity: You can see like—
Leo: It looks like you were beaten. Don’t go to the hospital. Geez.
Serenity: I washed it all off my face thankfully.
Roberto: I wish you were wearing the helmet right now.
Serenity: It’s in the car.
Leo: Where are your horns?
Serenity: It’s in the car.
Roberto: Go get it. Go get it.
Leo: I always wanted to go to that—what is it? Diwali? What is the celebration where there’s all that pink, all that colored—
Roberto: The Color Run?
Leo: Is it the Color Run?
Serenity: Oh, yea, when they spray you with all of the different basic paints?
Leo: Yea, I’ve always wanted to do that but then I think that’s got to cause cancer.
Serenity: It’s Crayola paint. It’s supposed to be nontoxic.
Leo: Oh, it’s Crayola. That’s got to be ok. Yea, there you go.
Robert: There we go.
Leo: That cannot be good. Breathe that stuff in? They do an autopsy on you and you’ve got purple in your lungs? That can’t be good.
Roberto: He was just coughing up a rainbow. We don’t know what happened.
Leo: We don’t know what happened. We thought it was a Snapchat filter. I don’t know. So this is like an event, this Color Run is an event. Ah. They’re going through Queens in a couple of weeks if anybody wants to run out there. I see we can go to San Jose at the end of May. The kids today, they’ll do anything. Anyway, where was I? Oh, I just learned, today I learned Uber drivers don’t get tips.
Leo: Didn’t they imply that part of the deal on Uber was the tip’s built in?
Christina: Ok, so they did like 5 years ago and then they stopped implying that once it was apparent. They’re like, “Oh, no actually.” What they used to do is in the early days of Uber as I recall, some of the language kind of implied that the money, that you didn’t need to tip your driver because the payment you gave included some sort of extra.
Christina: But they got rid of that language probably 4 years ago. Lyft does let you tip if you’re done. But yea, you’re right. That was something I think for early Uber users.
Leo: But now I feel like a total jerk. Because I’ve been getting out of the car going, “Hey, see you later.” Never tipping anybody.
Christina: Well they don’t have a way for you to tip in the app.
Leo: No, you have to throw a 20 at them or something.
Christina: Right which I’m going to be honest with you. Part of the reason I use Uber is because I don’t carry cash. So that’s a problem.
Roberto: And a lot of times the drivers won’t take them either.
Leo: Well they will now because apparently, get ready, they’re going to put signs in the Ubers saying “I don’t receive tips. Please tip me.” And this is part of the settlement that Uber just made.
Christina: The settlement for $100 million dollars, yea.
Leo: Yea. And they can’t, Uber can’t yell at the driver for doing that. Lyft has it in the app, right?
Christina: Yea, it’s smart. Because you don’t have to tip a ton. I mean you can just give a dollar or two, you know? Because they’re still getting whatever their cut is for the thing and then you feel good about that. I always just feel weird because in a cab, like 20% I can just give 20%.
Leo: I always give them 20%.
Christina: Same, same. But if I’m being totally honest and this is where I feel like a terrible person by admitting this on the internet, so this is going to haunt me, I don’t know if I would always want to tip 20%.
Leo: (Laughing) for those of you listening, we are zooming in.
Serenity: Hilarious, Leo.
Christina: I wouldn’t tip 20% in a Lyft or Uber because then it would be more expensive than a cab and that defeats the purpose.
Leo: That’s exactly why Uber refuses to update their software to include a tip button.
Christina: But I would give a few dollars. I would do that. I’m just not saying I would always give like 20%.
Serenity: You know there’s a place at my local café, they have like a pseudo-Square that I think is run on Samsung and it flips over and it says, “What would you like to tip? 5, 10, 15 or 20%?” And then it shows it on those various things. And granted, I think that’s a way to guilt yourself into paying 20.
Serenity: Yea, because you’re like oh, $5 dollars. Yea, I don’t want to be a super stingy person. But that might be a good way of just like, Uber, how—or, tie tipping to rating maybe? I feel like that would get messy fast.
Christina: Because there’s like some situations where like—and here’s the thing. For a shorter trip I might tip more, you know what I mean? Like if it’s a $5 dollar ride I might be like here’s $3 dollars because that’s what I usually do in a cab. But like if it’s a $50 dollar ride, I don’t necessarily—
Serenity: You don’t want to live 20% on a $50 dollar ride.
Christina: Yea. Yea.
Serenity: But I also feel, yea. I feel terrible. I feel terrible. I have so many feelings about the sharing economy.
Leo: I feel terrible because I assumed they were getting tipped and I never tipped. Now I feel like I’m a jerk this whole time.
Christina: They could just raise their prices and build a tip into it. And I think that that would be ok.
Leo: Uber made me feel like a jerk. I’m taking Lyft form now on except those stupid mustaches are even jerkier.
Serenity: At least they’re now in the little, they’re little electronic mustaches and not on the front of the car.
Leo: I found out, you know what I just found out? And I’m also chagrinned about this, it’s my cousin who invented the giant pink mustache. David Eyler, he’s the guy—David Eyler’s the guy. He’s my cousin. He’s the guy who’s responsible for stunts. Or is it Ethan? It’s David or Ethan. I can’t remember which one. He’s responsible for stunts. Well, they’re brothers. It’s one or the other. At Lyft, he’s the guy that came up with not only the pink mustache, but the April Fool’s pranked Uber, Lyft. Do you know about those?
Roberto: I tried to ignore those things.
Leo: I have never ridden in a Lyft because I feel like it’s going to be some guy in his Toyota Tercel.
Christina: Well they used to be. In the early days.
Leo: It’s Ethan, not David.
Christina: In the early days how Lyft worked was honestly I was not a fan. And they were like, “Sit in the front and do a fist bump.” But I’m like—
Leo: Yea, I don’t want to fist bump you. Just drive me somewhere.
Christina: I don’t want to fist bump you and I kind of don’t want to sit up front with you because—
Leo: You’re my driver. You sit in the front.
Christina: Well that’s sort of the thing. I’m actually paying you more than a taxi to take me to where I want to go. And I’m happy to do that. But part of that agreement is that we’re not friends.
Christina: No, I’m perfectly happy to have a conversation with you but don’t like make me sit in the front.
Roberto: Yea, that’s weird.
Christina: That just—
Roberto: The first Lyft I sat in the back seat. I sat in the back seat on my first Lyft and the guy was like, “Oh, oh you can come up front.” And I’m like, “Na, that’s good.”
Serenity: It’s awkward.
Leo: Now you feel like a jerk. I keep wanting to say the other word, the D word but now you feel like a jerk because you’re now like this elitist scum that’s not going to even sit with his driver. What’s wrong with you?
Christina: But you’re hiring a driver. You’re hiring him to drive you.
Leo: It’s different if a woman does it. It’s different if a woman does it. In some ways it’s worse because now you’re implying that he’s like going to put his hand on your thigh. Hey stop it (laughing)! I have the pink mustache.
Serenity: No I mean I honestly don’t even think it’s a gender differentiator, it’s just you’re hiring somebody for a service. And while I have lots of mixed feelings about the service economy, it’s still, you know if I’m hiring somebody who’s putting themselves out there for a service and the service that I am hiring them for is a service that I would normally get from a taxi, I am going to treat it like a taxi service.
Serenity: I’m not going to be like just because it’s $3 dollars cheaper I’m going to sit up front and we’re going to gossip about our days. Unless it’s somebody I know who’s also a Lyft driver. If I’m like yea, then we can do some business. But strangers?
Christina: I’m happy to talk to them if that’s what they want to do. But yea, you’re right. I don’t want to sit up front. I mean if there are like 4 of us travelling in the car and somebody’s got to like sit up front like that’s totally cool. But like otherwise, it is a Driving Miss Daisy situation. That is part of the agreement you make when you hire someone to drive a car for you.
Leo: Ok, this is what I do. Maybe this is going too far. I bring a little hat for him to wear. Is that too much?
Christina: (laughing) that is too much.
Roberto: No one ever wants to be the person that sits in the front seat of the cab. If you have 4 people—
Leo: I know. It’s the worst job. And most of the time in a cab the driver goes ugh because he’s got all his crap sitting next to him. He’s got to move all the falafel wrappers. That’s like his shelf. That’s like his storage shelf.
Roberto: If a Lyft driver makes you sit in the front seat, go through their glove compartment. Change the radio.
Leo: That’s what I would do. I’d change the radio station. Just reach over and punch it.
Roberto: You know what I like? I like this. Hold on, I’ve got to tape. Give me a second.
Leo: (Laughing) I brought my own mix tape. Do you mind? This is my group. We’re learning tube and throat singing. You don’t mind if I play this? So this is—but my cousin, Ethan Eyler does for Lyft. He’s like their prank guy. So did you know that on April Fool’s Day in L.A., New York and San Francisco ou could arrange a prank. And there’ll be weird practical jokes. There’s prank mode. Like for instance, let me see here. This is the article about my cousin the guy who came up with—so an actor in burned clothing covered in soot and ashes and chicken feathers gets in the car carrying a live chicken in a cage, ranting about explosions of chickens. And then—so you’re in this car with this person. And then of course your friend gets to say, “Ha you should have seen your face when.” And apparently this happened to Andre Iguodala who’s the Golden State Warrior’s—or no Festus Ezeli. His Lyft driver turned on the radio and a fake talk show began reporting the news that he’d been cut from the team.
Serenity: Oh my God.
Leo: Meanwhile his teammates were in on the gag, began texting him their condolences. But then there was cake and balloons so everybody was ok.
Serenity: Oh, boy.
Christina: So literally this is Punk’d on wheels.
Roberto: That’s dangerous.
Roberto: Because then he realized, you know what? The coach, I’ve got some things to tell him. You know.
Leo: The thing is, Ethan actually had a company called Carstache that made mustaches for cars. And then got hired by Lyft and brought the mustache along with him.
Roberto: Was it an acqui-hire?
Leo: An acquire. They said, “You’re good. But you can’t—“ Have you seen the cars? I just saw one today with fake eyelashes on the headlights. You’ve seen those, right?
Christina: Oh, yea.
Leo: That’s kind of weird.
Serenity: Those are painful. Maybe he can design something that makes the Tesla Model 3 front end look a little bit fancier.
Leo: You don’t like it?
Serenity: I like—I love the Model 3. I put down a deposit for a Model 3 but—
Leo: Did you—yea.
Serenity: Yea I did, I did.
Leo: Welcome one of us.
Serenity: Wow. That’s a—
Leo: That’s a cute bug.
Serenity: Maybe not that much.
Leo: Herbie the Love Bug. So the Model 3 doesn’t have a radiator because it’s an electric car, right? So—
Serenity: It’s got this interesting front end. It looks like a shark.
Leo: Yea. It does look like it’s coming for you. What number is your reservation? Do you know?
Serenity: I don’t know.
Leo: They didn’t tell you?
Serenity: All I know is that I’m on the East coast so I’m essentially screwed.
Leo: You’re not going to get it.
Serenity: Yea, exactly. It’s going to be a while which is why I ended up leasing another Prius because I’m like—I leased a Prius back in 2014 when I thought, “Oh, I just have to get two years and then the Tesla Model 3 will be here.” And then it’s two years from now and now there’s no Tesla for at least 2 more years. So I’m like ok, I guess I’m getting back into a Prius.
Leo: Tesla, you’re not buying a car, you’re buying an experience. And this is part of the experience.
Serenity: Waiting and waiting and waiting.
Leo: I’ve had a Model X on order for some time. I finally wrote an email to Tesla and it said, “Where’s my car? Because this should be done by now.” And they said—
Serenity: Well you want a car that works.
Leo: That’s what I said. They said, “Well you mentioned that your lease wasn’t expiring until September so we’re going to have it for you in September.” I said, “That’s good. Thank you. I’ll see you in September.”
Serenity: And hopefully it will, you know it will work properly.
Leo: All the bugs will be worked out.
Serenity: Yea, exactly. You don’t want one off the line.
Roberto: Doors will close.
Leo: Or doors will open because that’s part of the problem is sometimes they open, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they open when you’re driving. Sometimes you can’t get out.
Roberto: It’s a feature.
Leo: It’s a feature. It’s software. Hubris, that’s all. That’s what they called it. Hubris. A million people access Facebook from Tor every month now.
Leo: Isn’t that interesting?
Christina: It’s so interesting because just like, I wonder where those people are coming from. Like that would be interesting to see would be the geographic breakdown. If it’s people who are in countries where they’re afraid that they’re account’s being monitored so that’s why they do it. Or if it’s paranoid people in the United States or what. But that’s really interesting.
Leo: Or you just do it because you can.
Leo: But a million’s more than that. So it’s Facebook.onion, right? And you have to be running a Tor browser. Facebook’s been doing this for some time, about a year and a half. And the idea is that with Tor as I think you all know, your identity is, not completely invisible but it’s, you know, it’s making some effort to keep yourself anonymous. Although anonymous on Facebook? Facebook know who you are. They know everything. They know what color underwear you’re wearing. Or if you are wearing.
Serenity: I think it’s a country specific thing. Not necessarily that you want to be anonymous. It’s that you don’t want your country snooping on your Facebook traffic.
Leo: Right. Right, right, right.
Roberto: (Laughing) Yep. That’s my agreement.
Roberto: No if you’re in a country with oppressive internets or—you still want to be able to tell, talk to family who have gotten out of that country and Facebook’s a great way to tell them what’s going on. You know I’m still concerned about Facebook’s requirement that you have a real name, especially for people that are in these countries who are using Tor.
Leo: True, true.
Roberto: Yea, sort of this weird thing. But you know, the fact that it’s there is nice and sometimes I get extra paranoid about stuff and I’ll use Tor. So. If I want to go on Facebook.
Leo: Have any of you turned on—actually hold that thought. I was going to ask you if any of you have turned on the Facebook bots because I have. And I feel like I’m just going to kill them. I’m going to kill them. I’m going to kill that bot.
Roberto: They’re not good.
Leo: They’re not good.
Roberto: You’re like, “Oh, I could talk to this bot for five minutes or I can open this app and get it taken care of in 20 seconds.”
Leo: Whatever you do don’t turn on Poncho. Poncho—
Christina: I was going to say. I love it but yet it is, yea.
Leo: Oh, so annoying. So Poncho’s a—go ahead.
Serenity: No I was just saying remember the early AIM bots.
Christina: Yea, of course.
Serenity: We’ve come a bit of a ways.
Leo: What were the AIM bots? What were they for? Are they like psychiatrists?
Serenity: Some of them were fun. Some of them were silly. Some of them were the old Alice thing.
Christina: Some of them were creepy. Yea, but no, but Poncho is the weather bot and I really like it. Except it comes sometimes at inopportune times. Like you can tell their servers are sometimes hit with things because I’ll get a jillion Poncho notifications at once. And the one annoying thing I do have to say is that you’ll get your Facebook bot verification on all of your devices. So if I’m like at home it will hit my iPhone, my iPad, my computer, like my other iPhone. And I’m like, really? Really? I don’t need it on all these things like right this second.
Leo: Oh crap. I clicked on it. Now he’s back. So the thing about Poncho that’s really annoying is you can’t cancel it. I type Stop. I said cancel. I said go away. Stop bothering me. And all he comes back with is nonsensical stuff. And the weather forecasts are even kind of nonsensical. Like weird weather forecasts and stuff. So finally I figure out that you can actually block him like a stalker.
Christina: Yea you have to block him. You have to block him. Yea.
Leo: He should have an off command. You shouldn’t have to block him.
Christina: No, you shouldn’t. Because the one thing I did like about it is there were like pollen notifications built into it which actually for this time of year in New York is actually helpful. And that’s actually more helpful than what you would get from the just typical weather things. Like your pollen situation today is pretty terrible. Ok, good to know. I can’t really do anything about it but now I can like plan my route better.
Leo: Yea. I know why I’m sneezing. Yea.
Christina: Precisely. But yea, the lack of a stop command. But then I don’t know about you but you feel weird blocking him then because you’re like well, I might want to use this again but, yea.
Leo: I blocked him. Because I couldn’t cancel him.
Roberto: Well it’s a bit like—right now they’re at, they’re not as fun but they’re a bit like the cat facts prank from a few years ago. This guy started you know, he got a new phone number. He started texting his friend cat facts. And he’s like, oh, if you want to end cat facts rely with stop. And the guy replied with stop. And he would just reply with more and more cat facts.
Leo: (Laughing). Facts like what? A fact about cats?
Roberto: Yea, facts about cats. And it was a great prank. I laughed and it’s pretty much where Poncho is right now but not funny.
Roberto: It’s like the worst cat facts prank.
Leo: Yea. Because Poncho tries to be funny. There’s nothing worse than trying to be funny.
Roberto: Poor robot. No one wants a funny robot.
Roberto: Siri’s tried. They all tried, just.
Leo: Yea, I think bots will—
Serenity: Be a useful robot.
Serenity: Be funny if you can’t answer something. Like if it’s a command that you don’t know how to parse, sure you can be sarcastic.
Leo: I’m not asking Poncho anything he just sends me like weird, like nonsensical like 55% of Netflix users hate 60 degree weather. And that’s what you’re going to get. I mean it’s literally like that. I don’t have any because I blocked it and now it’s deleted forever but it was that stupid. It’s like why are you telling me this? Go away weather, go away.
Roberto: Look how menacing he looks.
Leo: He’s actually creepy.
Roberto: He’s got a little thing on.
Christina: He’s a Poncho Cat. He’s cute. I think.
Leo: He’s cute until you say stop and he goes what do you mean?
Serenity: Those eyes are watching me.
Leo: I say cancel and he goes I can’t do that. Then he stops being so cute.
Roberto: I can’t quit you, Leo.
Leo: I can’t quit you.
Roberto: I have to tell you about the 60% of Netflix users that hate the weather.
Leo: Yea. It’s like my creepy boyfriend or something. He just won’t ever go away.
Serenity: The eyes just look like they’re staring at me. Just like come to me. Let me tell you about the weather.
Leo: I’m Poncho.
Roberto: No matter where you move he’s watching you. Like his eyes follow you.
Leo: Are they following? Oh they are. Oh my God! Ah! Our show today brought to you by something that will relax you (laughing). Headspace. Have you ever meditated? Meditating is so cool. I think sometimes people go, “I don’t want to do that thing where you go, you know they got the bell and you.” Well, meditation of course has thousands of years of tradition. Headspace is very modern, not airy fairy at all. In fact you’re going to love it. Andy Puddicombe is the guy who created it. He was a monk for many years. But he’s very straight forward and this is so great. It’s a free app you put on your iPhone or your Android phone. And you get 10 free meditation sessions. And that’s really all you need to know what this can do for you. Meditation focuses you. It reduces fear and anger and stress and anxiety. You’ll feel your relationships get better. Your life will get better just from 10 minutes of Andy’s voice. We should play some of Andy’s voice on this because it’s so, he’s so—you can actually listen to his TED talk if you want to do that before you join Headspace. It’s free right now though. Why not? You can go on the web. You can do it on your phone. And it’s nice on your phone. You know I will either listen on headphones so it’s kind of more private. Or you can also put it on speakers. It’s very relaxing. And you feel very good afterwards. But don’t do it while you’re driving a car. Headspace.com/TWiT. Andy Puddicombe and if you search for his TED talk it’s all about meditation and stuff here. Let me play a little, a little session.
Andy Puddicombe: Training the mind is often quite different to how people imagine it to be.
Leo: I love his voice.
Andy: But maybe they have an idea it’s about stopping thought. Or eliminating fear of things. But the reality is a bit different. An easy way to think of it is to imagine yourself sitting by the side of a busy road. The passing cars representing thoughts and the failures.
Leo: I just love it. Headspace.
Andy. All you have to do is sit there and watch the cars.
Leo: It’s the gym membership for the mind. He’s Andy Puddicombe. And he’s in your head. He’s in my head now. And you know what? When I get stressed out I hear Andy’s voice and I get better. 5 million users now. Headspace.com/twit be one of them. Emma Watson uses it. Jared Leto. Gwyneth Paltrow. Headspace. Have you noticed? I’m calmer now than I used to be. I’m more relaxed. I feel better. “The internet is broken,” says Edward Snowden. He says, this is a long, actually a long piece. I’m not even going to try to recreate this. It’s in Popular Science. And it’s worth reading. Put this in your pocket or your instapaper or your readability and spend some time with it because it’s more of an article by Edward than a conversation. But he says really the way we’re doing this instead of going after individual criminals and terrorists, we’re going after everybody. And we can’t, you know, we can’t get our privacy. Actually, did you—Engadget wrote about it. I though really good article about the 60 Minutes piece last week.
Roberto: Oh yea, Violet Blue wrote about that.
Leo: That’s right. Violet wrote that, yea.
Roberto: She’s my security reporter hero.
Leo: She’s great.
Roberto: Yea, she’s great. Anytime I can hang out with Violet I’m really happy because she fills my brain with knowledge.
Leo: Yea. So 60 Minutes, I didn’t know this. I learned it from the Violet article. 60 Minutes took a piece that they had done in Australia a year ago about the SS7 hack which we’ve known about since 2007 by the way. And that is a genuine hack. That is a flaw in the base band radio in every single phone and it’s been known for 9 years. And nobody’s paying any attention to it. So that was legitimate. But then they took that and they mushed in some stuff from DEF CON.
Roberto: From DEF CON last year. Last year.
Leo: Yea, a year old DEF CON.
Roberto: I was like watching and I’m like wait. I went to this DEF CON. What’s going on? I was looking for a video of me. That’s what—
Leo: Yea and it scared people reasonably. In fact now there’s going to be a congressional inquiry like.
Serenity: Oh, God.
Leo: And of course they used somebody from Lockout, or Lookout, I’m sorry. Somebody selling security software as an expert saying, “Oh, you need security software.” Well yea (laughing). Anyway, Violet does a good takedown on it. What she points out is while the SS7 hack is real, it is a difficult thing to do and probably would have to be a nation state, or you know, a big actor. It wouldn’t be just some guy going after you in a coffee shop. Also we should point out you don’t have to really run out and buy Lookout security for your Android or iPhone. But a good piece.
Roberto: It’s basically they make it sound like everybody is going to be hacked like this. And it’s not. You know if you’re the president of a large company or a CEO or you know, you’re dealing—if you’re a huge target then maybe you should be concerned about this but 99.9% of us are just like.
Roberto: No one’s going to hack the network, the telephone network so they can listen to you talk to your friends.
Roberto: And the only time I use my phone is to actually order food. So no one’s going to, you know—
Leo: It was typical TV. They really dramatize it. You know they had the hacker sitting around in a dark room and they gave—talk about histrionics. They had an iPhone and they gave it to a congressman. And then they gave the phone number to the bad guys to use SS7. And the bad guys start playing the congressman’s phone calls and text messages. And that’s like, so it’s dramatic. This is how Violet wraps it up. “Don’t get me wrong. SS7 surveillance, network spoofing, phishing and spurious product placement are all very real issues that consumers need to be on top of. But 60 Minutes got it all backward in the name of drama. The show may as well have told people to soak their phones in bleach before burning them after there next sext for all the uselessness and flat-out fakety-fake hysteria in ‘Hacking Your Phone.’ There are a million great, truly chilling and unbelievably urgent hacking stories to be told. Ones that desperately need to be addressed by the FCC and congressional investigations. Stories that can be all those things only when they’re told accurately. After this, I don’t think we’ll see any of this on 60 Minutes.” So just a little take away. We talked about it on Security Now a little bit. We had covered the Chaos Computing Club’s revelations about SS7 2 or 3 years ago. But as, I didn’t know this, but as Violet points out we’ve known about this since 2007. This is not new. It is an issue.
Roberto: The only place I’m worried about someone spoofing a cell tower is at Def Con. That’s the only place where—
Leo: Yea, that’s the most dangerous place, yea (laughing).
Roberto: I have a burner phone with burner accounts. I have a burner computer with burner accounts. Like when I’m at Def Con like nothing—like, yea. I love Def Con but at the same time.
Leo: It’s awesome. It’s fun, yea. Don’t bring your computer. You don’t want to be on the wall of sheep.
Roberto: Yea, the good old wall of sheep.
Leo: Embarrassing. But there’s people there every year. Viber now joins WhatsApp with end to end encryption and hidden chats. Viber is another widely used kind of Skype kind of messaging app. Around the world a lot of people use Viber. So this is, we’re heading towards that.
Christina: And they’re interesting.
Leo: Go ahead.
Christina: And what’s interesting I was going to say about Viber is because they’re a Japanese company, any of the you know Feinstein-Burr encryptions stuff won’t get passed anyway. But let’s just pretend that it did, would be irrelevant in this case. Because it’s a Japanese company.
Leo: Right. So exactly. It doesn’t look like Feinstein-Burr is going to go anywhere does it?
Christina: No, no, I don’t think it will. But this is just I think shows how silly and short-sighted and frankly dangerous those bills are because they’re saying is they’re basically penalizing American companies for trying to make products secure when what will happen is that companies that have, that operate in other places, and Viber was formed by a place in Israel and then was bought by what is it, Rakuten the Japanese e-commerce.
Leo: Rakuten, yea.
Christina: The Japanese e-commerce bought them. You know it will just be, all that stuff will just move to foreign companies. And those companies will continue to sell apps or offer apps that people can download and use. So all you’re really doing is just moving the way you communicate to other services and hurting American companies from even offering a secure solution.
Leo: There may be a reason why congress is so clueless. A good article Wired. Kim Zetter writing that they fired the Office of Technology Assessment more than 10 years ago. Actually almost 2 decades ago in a round of budget cuts. This was a body of independent technical and scientific experts who were there to advise Congress on technology. It was so good it became the model for other countries to create their own Offices of Technology Assessment. But part of the contract with America that Newt Gingrich put forth in the 90s defunded. And that was that. And now only about 4 members of congress have any technical expertise, any technical—4% of federal law makers have a technical background of any kind and the rest have no one to ask when it comes to things like encryption and metadata and email and SS7 of course. A sad, sad state of affairs. We had—the budget was not huge. $20 million dollars a year. There were 140 permanent staffers. And then they would supplement them with subject matter experts from the outside. They were known for their rigor, their quality and they were, according to the Washington Times, the voice of authority in a city inundated with statistics and technical gobbledygook. Well now all we have is the technical gobbledygook. It was bi-partisan. Crazy. That explains a lot though.
Roberto: Yea, Kim’s another giant brain that—
Leo: She’s great.
Christina: She’s fantastic.
Roberto: I love Kim.
Leo: So the interesting thing she points out is really members of Congress didn’t want some smarty group of smarty pants telling the world that their stupid Feinstein-Butt encryption idea was a boneheaded idea that just made everybody look bad.
Serenity: No. Totally.
Roberto: Oh, no.
Leo: So now it’s my job (laughing).
Christina: The emperor has no clothes. You don’t want anybody telling anybody the truth especially in government right. We don’t want anybody to actually know what’s going on.
Leo: Darn eggheads. Ruining everything.
Christina: Ruin everything.
Leo: That’s our job now. Did you read the expose of—well so Kevin Kelly, who I really like, wrote a very nice piece, been working a long time at Magic Leap, kind of promoting this technology without really revealing in any way how it worked. Nilay Patel did a great job I though on the Verge saying here are five questions that remain unanswered. What the hell is it? And here’s the picture from Wired of a Magic Leap engineer in a photonics lab doing what Nilay calls “appears to be cool engineer stuff.” But what is it? And what’s it running on? He says, “Is there a giant fridge sized super computer under the table? Is there a new Magic Leap operating system? What is going on here?” And then he said, “Of course there’s video that is billed as shot through Magic Leap technology.” Nilay writes, “So, you know, how does that work? What did the camera rig look like? Did they really just mount the glasses in front of a DSLR? Why can’t you see the frames of the glasses or any pixels at all? How did the camera know what to focus on? Is the content we’re seeing live? Is it pre-rendered? Wait a minute. Is that the Google Hangouts Icon? Is there a Google Hangouts App or integration? Does Magic Leap know how to parse the contents of that message and then pull related data?” Now I love Kevin. I think Kevin’s a great guy. And he’s a knowledgeable guy. But it does feel like he maybe, this was not the most thorough investigation of what Magic Leap is up to. Have any of you played with it or seen it? Or all we’ve all seen are these demo videos?
Serenity: I have not.
Roberto: The video reminds me, I remember the Google Glass demo that came out.
Leo: Yes, the guy running along and—
Roberto: And that was insane. And I end up talking to like AR experts who are like, “How the hell are they doing this? I’ve been doing this for 10 years. Unless they’re projecting right into—no.” And then of course Google Glass came out and we’re all like, “Oh.”
Leo: It’s a simulation and serving suggestion. It’s like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Some day you will. So anyway, the reason it’s an issue is because as a number of people have pointed out, between Theranos and other kind of you know Kickstarter’s become the poster child for this, kind of suspicious technologies, it feels like we’re falling for a lot of stuff. And of course there’s so much money flying around in Silicon Valley that they’re getting funding.
Christina: I mean the Magic Leap has taken so much, is valued at so much for none of us to know what they are, you know and they are so secretive which is why the article was interesting. We at least got some sort of insight into something. It’s just that, as Nilay pointed out, we still don’t know what the hell this stuff is. It’s really interesting but we don’t know what the hell it is.
Leo: Maybe someday.
Roberto: Finger’s crossed.
Leo: I mean I would love it. I think part of the problem is we look at that and go, “That’s what I want. That’s what-- that’s what I want.”
Serenity: That is the future. That is Minority Report, right?
Serenity: But until it is actually—
Roberto: But is it really what you want?
Serenity: I honestly don’t know.
Roberto: I don’t want stuff on my face all the time. I don’t want—that’s not relaxing. Like I can relax at home and watch a movie. I can do that on the couch. I can look at my TV. I don’t want to look on the couch, I’m like oh, and then take it off and now I have zits like all around my face.
Leo: Well we’re all just going to have to get used to raccoon face. You know we all have to get used to that. We’re all going to have it.
Serenity: You know what I would love? You know the Broadway singers in shows, they have like the little head mics?
Serenity: I wouldn’t mind something like that where it hides right here and then it—
Leo: Someday you’ll have a little thing. You’ll look like one of those angler fish that has the thing that’s hanging out there. There’ll be something beaming into your eyes at all times.
Christina: See I want it built into my contact lens. If I could have it built into my contact lenses I would be good.
Leo: Yes. I think that has potential, right? There’s potential there.
Serenity: As long as there’s no camera.
Leo: You mean pointing out?
Serenity: Read only information, yea.
Leo: Oh, come on.
Serenity: I don’t want to—unless I’m a spy I don’t want to take pictures with my eyes.
Leo: You’ve all seen Black Mirror, right?
Christina: Yea, yea.
Leo: Do you remember that—it was like the 2nd or 3rd episode of Black Mirror where everybody has a built in recording of their whole life. And they spent a lot of time like viewing, like great moments of the past. They’re all looking like this. Everybody’s looking in the half distance with their remote control going like this all the time. It’s really good. What a great show that is.
Serenity: It’s a phenomenal show.
Leo: Wasn’t that good? Black Mirror.
Serenity: It’s modern day Twilight Zone.
Leo: That’s exactly what it is.
Serenity: Super eerie.
Christina: It really is a perfect description.
Leo: Yea. That one was excellent. And what is it? The guy gets mad at his wife because she’s reviewing moments of passion with some other guy that happened in the past, right. And he’s like well I want to see that. She says no. Delete it. No.
Serenity: They were in inside out land where it’s only up here.
Leo: Yea it’s only up here. You can’t see it.
Leo: So good. So good. Speaking of TV, tonight’s the night.
Roberto: Bob’s Burgers?
Leo: What? What? What? No I’m not talking about Game of Thrones or Veep I’m talking about Silicon Valley. It’s back, baby. Yea. I did not get invited to, maybe you did, the premier showings the other night. Anybody here on this panel?
Roberto: No. I kept getting emails.
Christina: Carissa Bell from National went.
Leo: Did she?
Christina: She did. And I only know that because I saw her Snapchats and she sent me snaps from it and I was like of course.
Serenity: Yea. Only secretly being like you.
Leo: You jerk. How’d you get to go? Man. Apparently—
Serenity: It’s a great show.
Leo: One of the, Ed Costello, the former CEO of Twitter is an advisor now for the show. And he says, “I keep telling them you’re not going far enough. It is much worse. It is much worse. We’ve done worse things than this.” I love it.
Christina: Well I mean they did have the dick bar. I mean you know.
Leo: What? Really?
Christina: The dick bar. The Twitter dick bar. It was that stupid bar they had at the top of the Twitter app that would show trending—
Leo: They called that the dick bar? No.
Serenity: Well because it was full of obscene things for a while.
Leo: Oh, I guess it did. You’re right.
Roberto: Also his name was Dick.
Leo: Well that I remember.
Christina: Well that was the whole thing. It worked on multiple levels so it was funny.
Leo: We’ve got another one of the writers of the show coming up on a Triangulation soon. When is Dan Lyons going to come on? Next week? The week after?
Jason Cleanthes: May 4th I think.
Leo: A couple of weeks.
Jason: Yea, May 4th.
Leo: Talk about his book.
Christina: His book was good.
Leo: Was it good? He blows the lid off HubSpot.
Christina: I enjoyed it. Well, I mean you know, the one critique I will make about the book because I thought it was actually a really good and he makes really interesting observations about anybody who’s worked at a startup I think can relate. I would be a little bit remiss to try to extrapolate his experience at HubSpot, a company in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Silicon Valley because I don’t think that those are really the same. But it was a really interesting read. I thought it was good. A lot of observations are things that I think as I said, anybody who’s worked in a startup environment which is employed by a lot of people that it’s their first jobs or you know, they’re just starting to build a business. It was interesting. It was very funny. I thought it was a really good read. I read it two weeks ago.
Leo: I have to read it before I talk to him but I have it on my list.
Jason: May 9th, May 9th.
Leo: May 9th. He was of course the fake Steve Jobs and he wrote for Newsweek? Time? He wrote for a news magazine.
Christina: Yea, Newsweek.
Leo: Newsweek. And then lost his job. And you know, middle aged guy, good luck finding a job in journalism in 19, or I’m sorry, 2010. So he took a job at a startup, HubSpot. And I even, I talked to him round about then. I thought what are you—you’re a journalist. What are you doing at HubSpot? And he couldn’t really explain it (laughing). I guess now I know what he was doing. He was gathering material for a book. HubSpot very famously went through all sorts of skullduggery trying to get copies of the book and stop it.
Christina: Well that’s the best part. That’s the funniest part is that the epilogue, he’d spent a lot of time kind of using code names for some of the people in the book. And most of the people in the book have kind of code names. And then he was able to kind of reveal who at least 3 of those people were because they were all implicated by you know, the weirdness where they tried to get a hold of the book beforehand. And there was like an FBI investigation and the ridiculous thing. And then the stupid thing is that he probably thought that this was idiotic because again it’s not the best portrait of the company. The company doesn’t come out looking great but it’s not like they were running a Ponzi scheme or anything. They were just kind of—
Leo: Just bros, man. Just bros.
Christina: Exactly. Totally. A bro-ish company in Boston. Like, ok. You’re company doesn’t look fantastic but they don’t look terrible. And I think enough people will probably write off the negative kind of portrayal at somebody who just didn’t fit in by his own admission for a lot of reasons. They ended up doing themselves a tremendous disservice and giving the book a tremendous amount of publicity and a really great coda by being, you know, so terrible and trying to get a copy of the manuscript before it was done. When that story broke last year, I couldn’t stop laughing because I was thinking, oh my God, I’m sure that for Dan it was probably terrible to think that some people might be spying on you and you don’t know, you know, how far they got in information about you. And that genuinely I think would probably be a really unnerving experience. But at the same time, I was just thinking if you’re him, you’re just so excited because it’s the best publicity a book could ever have.
Leo: You dream of this (laughing).
Roberto: When’s the last time any of us thought about HubSpot before this book came out?
Leo: I still don’t really know what their business is. It’s CRM, it’s marketing, it’s sales. It’s just kind of one of those nebulous like, what the hell is it that you do? But maybe—
Christina: A disclosure probably has been probably 5 years. But they used to sponsor you know a series of posts on Mashable. So there would be times when I would write like 20 text me themes you should use for your coding.
Leo: Brought to you by HubSpot.
Christina: Yea. That’s my only connection.
Leo: Well I’m not going to turn them down if they want to buy ads. I’ll be glad to write ads for their company which I don’t know what the hell it does. Anytime. No, actually I probably wouldn’t.
Roberto: Whatever you do, we’ll take your money.
Leo: Whatever it is you do, we’ve got something for you at a mere $800 dollars a month. It’s an integrated solution for professional marketers. Ooh. (Laughing) what the hell is it? Anyway the book is called, what, Disrupted: My Adventures in the Start Up World of Start Up? Dan Lyons, we’ll talk to him. Actually coming up tomorrow, Bill Atkinson is back. We’re going to play part 2 of our interview of the man behind QuickDraw on the Macintosh, MacPaint and HyperCard. He was extraordinarily generous giving a three hour interview. We had to chop it up into 2 parts. Part 2 is tomorrow. And he’s coming back in the studio. We’ll broadcast this live. He has an app he said is the best thing I ever did. But he says, “This is the one thing I miss about working for Apple. They had a great marketing arm. And I’m no good at marketing. I’m just an engineer.” He’s got an app which I love called PhotoCard for iOS. It lets you make beautiful printed post cards which he then mails. And incidentally he may kind of, you know he’s a very, very good photographer. If he sees that he can help that photo by a little bit of, a little nudge here and there on the slider, he’s going to do that before he prints it out for you. Anyway it’s really cool. He’s going to give us, he said, “Look, what I really need is a video on how to use this.” I said, “Come up. We’ll do this. We’ll make it for you. You can use it in any way you want.” So that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow if you want to watch and we’ll do it. There it is. PhotoCard by Bill Atkinson. He’s my new best buddy. I am so crazy about him. And he was such a sweetheart. Such a sweetheart. So that will be tomorrow, 11:00 AM Pacific, 2:00 PM Eastern. The return of Bill Atkinson. We’re going to take a break. Come back with some final words as we wrap up today’s episode and get ready for—ok, Game of Thrones, too. Are you a Game of Thrones fan, Serenity? I think you are.
Serenity: I am.
Serenity: You know I go up and down with the show.
Leo: Who doesn’t?
Serenity: I have some feelings about certain things—
Leo: After the red wedding I said I will never watch this show again.
Roberto: Aw. Did you read the books?
Leo: I read the first book and that’s when I started—I had read the book so I started watching it. And then I tried to read the 2nd book but it was a little, it was getting, it was wearing on me. So I thought “Well, I’ll watch the show.” And now apparently has nothing to do with the books at all.
Roberto: Every time something big would happen because I read all the books my wife would just turn to me.
Leo: You didn’t tell me. You did not tell me.
Roberto: Why didn’t you tell me? I don’t want to spoil it for you.
Leo: You bastard, they killed Kenny.
Serenity: Well now we’re all on the same page. This season is ahead of the books.
Leo: Yea because it’s made up.
Serenity: We’re now ahead of the books.
Leo: You know what? He’s enjoying life. He’s not going to write any more books.
Roberto: If he doesn’t write any more books, you know that’s fine.
Leo: How many Greek fisherman caps does a guy need? He’s set.
Roberto: If he writes more books I’ll be really happy. If he doesn’t then you know, that’s fine.
Leo: There was plenty.
Roberto: Yea, you’ve given the world 7 million words about these people, so.
Leo: Is that actually how many there were? I wonder.
Roberto: I don’t know. There’s a lot of, like every paragraph. Like if he wants to describe like a cat, it’s like 3 paragraphs. The books are very long.
Leo: (Laughing) wait a minute. I’m Googling how many words in Game of Thrones? How many words were used in—this is a Quora section. How many words were used in George R. R. Martin’s novels—
Serenity: Of course it’s in Quora.
Leo: Of course. In George R.R. Martin’s novel A Song of Ice and Fire. 1.7 million. Game of Thrones 298 thousand, A Clash of Kings, 326 thousand, A Storm of Swords 424 thousand, A Feast for Crows 300 thousand, Dance of Dragons 422 thousand. That is 1.77 million words. However, there’s apparently—that’s the official. I don’t know. Somebody put it in Microsoft Word? Ok. What?
Serenity: That’s a very official—
Leo: That’s a good way to break Microsoft Word.
Roberto: I can’t even write 3 words in Microsoft Word without it crashing.
Leo: That’s like crazy. How long did that take? A forum post said 1.3 million + 422 thousand. I don’t know. It all sounds right. It’s a lot. A lot of words. How many words do you guys know? Because Rene Ritchie actually keeps count of all the words he’s written.
Serenity: Our CMS keeps count of all the words we’ve written.
Leo: Is that how Rene knows?
Serenity: That is how Rene knows because our CEO actually sends like here’s an update.
Serenity: And when you hit a million words at Mobile Nations you get a standing desk, so.
Christina: Oh really?
Leo: There’s a reward?
Serenity: I don’t know what happens when you hit 2.
Roberto: That’s a weird reward.
Serenity: Yea it is.
Leo: Give me a chair. I need a chair, not a standing desk. I’m tired.
Serenity: I want a bean bag. I’ve got a standing desk.
Leo: All of Proust is just 1.3 million according to Knox-Harrington, so he’s written more than Proust. That’s saying something.
Serenity: Has he written more than Dickens?
Leo: Ah. Good question.
Serenity: If you want to talk about people who are very descriptive.
Serenity: Or really wordy.
Leo: How many words in Dickens (laughing). It feels like I should have, there should be a Wolfram Alpha graph.
Roberto: Oh yea.
Leo: Yea. By the way, did you see the great obituary of Shakespeare that the New York Times ran?
Serenity: It was wonderful.
Leo: Wasn’t that awesome?
Serenity: It was wonderful.
Leo: I guess because it’s the anniversary of his death.
Serenity: 400 years, yea.
Leo: The 400 year anniversary of his death which is a weird thing to commemorate.
Roberto: Good job, Shakespeare.
Serenity: We don’t really know when he was—we sort of know when he was born.
Leo: We don’t know. We know when he died? All right. It’s the only number we got. We’ll take it.
Roberto: Good enough.
Leo: Good enough.
Roberto: It’s a number.
Leo: Google Doodle, that’s how I found the New York Times Obituary. I was like why is Google got a doodle about Shakespeare? Oh. And then I found the New York—it’s very well written. Our show today brought to you by GoToMeeting, the meeting MVP. GoToMeeting is what people use when they can’t all be in the same place at the same time. Like right now, a lot of times you can’t. People work all over the world. Your office itself may be spread out. But GoToMeeting, you’ve got to have meetings. GoToMeeting makes even those conferences as good as an in person meeting. In fact whenever I have a meeting, I’ll just start with GoToMeeting and then if we need to, we can turn on the screen sharing so they can see the document. I can see the document. We can collaborate together. We can pass off presentations. And then if you need to, you can turn on the HD cameras because then you’re seeing your colleagues, you’re seeing their screen. It’s like being in the same room. I’ve used it to rehearse speeches. I’ve used it to do sales presentations. I’ve used it to find out what’s going on with colleagues and clients, you know even just for meetings for our company. It’s so great. Step up your meeting game. Do your best work with GoToMeeting. It’s kind of fun, if you’re in a meeting you can send private chats and video links behind the scenes. GoToMeeting.com. Now’s the time to put on your best performance. Be the next meeting MVP. Your 30 day trial awaits. It’s free. Just visit GoToMeeting.com and click on the button that says Try it Free. That’s all you have to do. You’ll be up and running in minutes. You’ll be having your first meeting in minutes. And you know that’s true also of your clients, the people you’re sharing with. They don’t have to have the software. It’s very easy. They just click a link in the email and boom, you’re there. You’re presenting. GoToMeeting.com. Try it free today. We’ll wrap up with some good news. We should have some good news. Kind of a cool story coming out of UC Irvine. A doctoral student, Mya Le Thai, was messing around with lithium ion batteries. The problem—I did not know this. We all know that lithium ion batteries have a limited life cycle, right? Typically they can be charged and discharged 500 times, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. And that’s why after a couple of years you can’t charge your iPhone or your laptop. It just won’t take a charge. What I didn’t know is the reason is they are using really fine nanowire conductors. And these conductors get brittle and break after 500 cycles. They just wear out. So she was messing around. I’m not sure what the context was but she said it was totally serendipitous. She wasn’t trying to do anything. She sprayed the wires with the gel, which polymerized on the wires as the heated up and protected them and gives them virtually infinite life. Lithium ion batteries that don’t wear out. And this is in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters. It’s been verified. It is pretty amazing. And the only question in my mind is, when’s this going to happen? All nanowire capacitors can be extended from 2,000 to 8,000 cycles to more than 100,000 cycles simply by replacing the liquid electrolyte with a gel electrolyte. Bada bing, bada boom.
Roberto: It’s like the contra code for batteries. Just up down, left, right, AA, BB, left, down, up, right, select, start and now your battery lasts 100,000 cycles.
Leo: So much stuff is serendipitous. You know the famous story of the discovery of the sticky note adhesive. The guy was trying to make at 3M, trying to make ladder treads, step ladder treads that would keep you from slipping off. And so he’s trying all these different things. And he found an adhesive that kind of was easy to remove, didn’t leave a residue behind. And I guess somebody said, “You know, if you put that on paper, you could make a sticky note.” It’s just weird. Anything else you guys want to talk about before we wrap it up? I think we’re ready to go watch some TV.
Roberto: We’ve got an hour. So we’ve got to get our food ready.
Serenity: Prep some food, yea.
Leo: Some food.
Roberto: Gotta get some food.
Leo: Did you see—
Serenity: I’m about ready for 2nd dinner.
Leo: 2nd dinner.
Leo: Hey, you know, not much to be remembered, Taco Bell will not have much to remembered about in the future, but they at least will be remembered for 2nd dinner. Thank you, Taco Bell. You saw the Joy of Tech comic. Phones and all devices turned off. Do not disturb sign on the door. It’s a young couple. Curtains drawn and the lighting just right. We’re both showered and bathroom breaks taken. Pillows and blankets, fresh and ready for comfort. Tissues at the ready in case we need them. Do you have all the… um… toys? Giggle. Yes. Remember, once we start we’ve agreed to keep going. Agreed. No stopping. Let’s see this thing through. Are you ready? Oh, I am so ready. Let’s turn it on, baby. Time for Game of Thrones. Thank you Nitrozac and Shaggy. You, you guys are great. Serenity Caldwell from iMore.com. She of the red legs. What’s your roller derby handle?
Leo: R2D2-nate ladies and gentlemen.
Leo: Man, you’ve got to love it. Christina, you got to get out there on the plywood track. Spin around.
Christina: No. I am not coordinated enough for that. I would fall on my face and it would be bad and embarrassing.
Christina: You would have fun but I would get so—no. I would fall and it would be bad.
Serenity: Next time I’m in New York, Christina, we’ll go roller skating. Not roller derby, we’ll just go roller skating.
Leo: Yea, just skate. You don’t have to have derby. That’s how it starts. Christina Warren, Mashable, thank you. And while you guys are roller skating, Roberto and I will just measure chins. Such a good chin. Look at that. Look at that my friends. Roberto Baldwin, a man of many talents, senior editor at Engadnet. Thank you. You guys are great. What a fun show this was. Thank you for being here today.
Serenity: Great way to spend a Sunday.
Leo: Yea, that’s what I say.
Christian: Really good way.
Leo: Remember that next time we call. Say you know that was a good way to spend a Sunday. I ought to do that again sometime. It used to be—yea, right. It used to be easy to get people to the show when it was an hour, half an hour. Now that it’s like 8 hours long it’s a little harder to get people on. I admit it. It’s my fault. But I just don’t want to stop talking when we’ve got such a great panel. Thanks to our studio audience. Nice to have you all here. You can be in the studio audience. We’re still in the brick house for a few more months if you want to see your brick and join us in the studio, please email email@example.com. We’ll make some room for you. You know, I think we’ll be moving in this summer, although—so, we’ve leased a space, interesting enough owned by Broadcom. And they keep saying they’re going to leave but they won’t. So I don’t know when we’re going to get in there. It may not be August at this point. But we do have to move eventually because where I’m sitting right now will be a giant barrel of mash, of hops because it’s going to be a brewery in about a year. You can also watch the show live. We stream it live as we do all our shows on twit.tv/live or live.twit.tv. We have the two pages because it turns out if you’re a government worker, twit.tv/live doesn’t work because the player we use, JW Player is widely used by porn sites. Who knew? So we have another page that doesn’t use the JW player. That is live.twit.tv. Pick one. It’s the same show on both pages. You can also get the show after the fact on demand.
Roberto: Is it really?
Leo: Yes. Well, it’s a little more adult on the JW Player.
Roberto: I take off my shirt, you know.
Leo: A little more nipple there.
Roberto: At the end of the show, Robbie takes off his shirt.
Leo: A little more chin action.
Serenity: (Laughing). Oh, boy.
Leo: Oh, boy. On demand versions on audio and video because you know, we like it if you watch. We like to watch and we like you to watch, available at twit.tv/ whatever the show is. I don’t know what this show is. TWit.tv/this-weekin—tech-dash.
Jason: Just TWiT.
Leo: Whatever. And then you can also get it on YouTube. I don’t know. You’d think I’d know but I don’t know. You can get it on—this is our first show of our 12th year.
Leo: Thank you. The first show of our 12th year.
Roberto: Special show.
Leo: Wow. Is that amazing?
Roberto: You set a high bar.
Christina: 12 years, yea.
Leo: 12 freaking years.
Serenity: 12 years.
Leo: And I look younger every year. I don’t know how I do it.
Roberto: Oil of Olay?
Leo: No, I have a special serum made from the tears of unicorns. What else was I going to say? Oh, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time. 2200 UTC on Sunday afternoons if you want to watch live. But get it after the fact anywhere, anytime. Thank you for being here. We’ll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can. Go Tyrian Lannister!