This Week in Tech 561
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech! We've got a great panel. Kelly Lewis is back, Luria Petrucci joins us, along with Kurt Wagner, and my buddy Jason Snell. We're going to talk about the latest news, what's Facebook up to now with this new video thing? And a lot more. TWiT is next!
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 561, recorded Sunday, May 8, 2016.
There's Always a Steve
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It's time for TWiT: This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the week's tech news. Hello there, how are you? Good to see you. You're going to like this show because I have some really good people for you. We have gathered together, starting with Jason Snell, who drove up the rode and is joining us. Good to see you from the Incomparable and sixcolors.com.
Jason Snell: Yes sir.
Leo: Incomparable is a podcast, Sixcolors is a website. Coving, it implies Macintosh.
Jason: I've been covering Apple for 20 years. It's that and other stuff too.
Leo: Also with us, great to have him, and I think it's his first time on TWiT. Rico.net. Kurt Wagner, great to see you.
Kurt Wagner: Hey! This is my first time.
Leo: Timing is good because the newly recasted Recode website is been launched. The / is gone, baby.
Kurt: Long live the slash. I think we just pushed that live around noon pacific today. We're talking hours old.
Leo: Did you go to Recode with Kara from the Journal?
Kurt: I was at Mashable about six months after Recode became Recode. Been there almost two years now.
Leo: Has it been that long?
Leo: Must be. Almost a year since Fox bought you guys.
Kurt: We're getting ready for our big code conference at the end of May, early June. I was just thinking about that myself over the weekend, how it's hard to believe that was a whole year ago, that we found out we were joining the Fox family.
Leo: Time flies. I was just trying to think about what we should talk about this week. There's a lot of more philosophical stories. Wait a minute. I didn't introduce somebody beautiful. I'm sorry. Luria Petrucci is here. Good to see you!
Luria Petrucci: Did you just flash me up on screen to get your attention? Hey.
Leo: I forgot.
Luria: I'll just go away.
Leo: You may remember Luria as Kelly Lewis. I'm getting that out of the way because I will probably call her "Callie" at some point. You'll all be baffled. Luria is wonderful, she's up in the Pacific Northwest doing a new venture, looks interesting. Geeks University.com.
Luria: I do all my tech stuff at Geekslife.com, but we're also teaching businesses how to use livestreaming and online video for their businesses because I'm doing it for so long. I've learned so much over the years, and we are actually doing two daily livestreams on Facebook. We're the first people to do a daily live show on Facebook, and so we're doing the Geek's life daily show there at Facebook.com/geekslifenet and we're also doing a business show over there at /geeksuniversity. Geek's life and Geek's university. I love to help other people learn how to do what we do for a living.
Leo: I'm intrigued by this Facebook live thing. I think we're going to talk a lot about video today. Facebook launched, again I don't know if this is only on my app, so you can confirm this. My App has changed a lot. This is the Facebook app. You'll like this, Luria, now in addition to newsfeed and people, there's a new video button that if I touch that it shows video. Facebook is all in. You're right there. Facebook is all in on video. They're surfacing it as an equal to the newsfeed.
Luria: Mark Zuckerberg came out recently and said at the Fa8 conference how important live video is to them. They're killing it in the livestreaming space. Leo, you've been doing live streaming for years.
Leo: I'm going to buy a full page ad in the New York Times that says, "Welcome Facebook." 'Luria: With mobile live streaming, they're doing a whole lot in that space, so we want to make sure that we were in that and killing it, so we figured out how to use livestream HD 550 studio box.
Leo: I know how to do this, because it has a go live button here. that's interesting because it was a little harder to find. If you wanted to post to Facebook you'd have to tap what's on your mind and you'd scroll down and see the Go Live and for a while I didn't think this was in the Facebook for Android version, but now they've really because of this video button... You have it?
Kurt: No. They're rolling it out right now.
Leo: On the bottom of my Facebook i have "Categories." I Have newsfeed but I also have world and US news. Funny. Subject matter and I can even turn it on or off with the settings button. I think I must be in some sort of beta test of this. Sorry it's so bright, I should turn my screen brightness down.
Kurt: I think you're getting not necessarily something that's new. At the same time, i don't have that. I think you're one of the lucky few. They picked you.
Leo: It's interesting, because what it really tells me, this scroll bar at the bottom and the video category at the top, is that Facebook wants to be a media company, not a social network. Is that fair to say, Kurt?
Kurt: I think they want to do a lot of stuff. If you were at F8, ultimately, the one thing I will give Facebook is they stay true to that mission which is about connecting people and it sounds corny and cliche, but everything they do, the fact that they're trying to set up WiFi in cities, they're going to test something in San Jose, the fact that they have Internet drones, it's all about getting people onto the Internet, therefore connecting them with the different apps they have, the way they keep you coming back is through the media and entertainment part of it, right? I'm only going to log onto Facebook if I'm exchanging a message or if I have a comment on something that I posted, but the reason I post the app every single day even if I don't have those things happening is because there's great videos and stories and things that I read. I don't know if they would describe themselves as a media company, but they've married media and communication in a way that no one else has done. SnapChat is trying to do it, but that's about it.
Luria: I'll add onto that, Kurt. Very good point. Because of their add platform and how prominent that is and how much money they make off it, they have to keep that attention coming back in order to make sure people continue to have effectiveness with those ads. They're putting so much effort into people who use that, you can't be effective if you don't use it, which is a negative, if you have high engagement you can get over that. Somebody in the chatroom a minute ago said they're focusing on celebrities. They always start with celebrities, then they roll it out to the masses.
Leo: Facebook live is for everybody.
Kurt: But they're paying celebrities and they're paying media partners too. That's something as far as I know that Twitter and Periscope have never been able to do. I think you're going to assume certain things. Facebook is paying for this, eventually they're going to want to pull that back and figure out another way because you can't afford to pay people for content forever. At the same time, all the people who are broadcasting on Facebook live in the last three months, it wasn't even a thing. We didn't talk about this at the turn of the year. Now every single publisher and every single media property around is going live on a regular basis. It's working, the problem is can they transition from we've been paying you all along to we want you to do this because you want to do it not because we're giving you money. They're going to have to figure out a way to monetize it in a way that's... keeps that incentive high.
Leo: Facebook isn't paying you, Callie, right? This is a platform for you. Do you worry about going all in as you have on Facebook?
Luria: That's a valid point. You never want to go all in on somebody else's platform. It is risky. You can if you have a strategy behind you to get people onto your own platform, and that's the way we use it.
Leo: You're using it as a way to promote what you're doing elsewhere.
Luria: Not fully. We have that strategy in place and we drive traffic to our own properties. From a business perspective, you have to think about that kind of thing. From a content perspective, you don't get our content live unless you are there live on Facebook. We do release that content later.
Leo: It stays on Facebook. If you're in my feed, I missed the first show but I can see it because it's in my feed. Jason, you're a content creator as much as anybody. Would you consider creating a Facebook specific show?
Jason: I think you have to consider the power of Facebook and its ability to reach an audience. I think a lot of video producers are already dealing with a major platform that is taking up a lot of their oxygen, which is YouTube.
Leo: It's different. You create a show and put it on YouTube, which is a distribution medium. Facebook, this is why I might disagree with you, Kurt. I think Facebook does want to be a media company. Their business is broader than that, but I think they want to incentivize people to.... they want to be the place you go for information, entertainment, for everything. We know most people now get their news on Facebook. Don't you think... you said a couple things that were provocative, Kurt. One is that Facebook can't keep paying them. Why not?
Kurt: I don't think that it's sustainable. They could continue to pay... I don't think it's good business. I think what they're going to be inspired to do or driven to do is say OK. Now that you've gone on the platform, you're comfortable with how this works, you've seen the audience that we can drive because we're Facebook and we should talk about the algorithm too, because that's a whole ‘nother thing that Facebook has. YouTube does some, but this is Facebook's bread and butter that they can show you what they want to show you. You get these publishers comfortable going live on Facebook and then you say how can we both make money here so we're not losing money on this content project?
Luria: They've already said they're going to pay producers for that content. Revenue split for all users as opposed to just celebrities.
Leo: That's what YouTube does. We're going to put ads on it and you get some of that money and we'll get the rest of it.
Kurt: I think that's what Facebook ultimately wants to do.
Leo: That might be the distinction between a media company and a social media company. If you're CBS you pay people to make content to put on CBS that you can put ads around. CBS can't go to Lewis CK and say we'll do a rev share we'll put ads on there and give you 5%. That's not how it works. Is it a media company if you do that?
Kurt: We may be splitting hairs a bit. I think the subtle difference I think about is traditionally Facebook has preached that it's a platform. It's not the one creating any of this. It may be paying CNN, but it is not coming out and saying we're going to create a new show. I think they want to host as much great content as they can, because that's where they can sell advertising, but I don't think they want to be seen as, even though we all... the algorithm, they choose what we see, but they don't want us to think they choose what we see. They want us to see everything in our newsfeed is there because it's tailored towards us and there's an almighty algorithm that picks it for us. But Facebook is in control of all that, and it's easy to forget that they have a say in what succeeds and what fails. Right now they want live video to succeed and that's why it's doing so well.
Leo: I go to Facebook, and the bulk of my feed is moms. It's still that social network. It's an interesting idea though. Does Facebook see that as...
Luria: they had a drop in sharability. They saw a tremendous drop in how many people are sharing content and photos. As far as I can tell they're putting so much more effort into the 3D stuff and live video and they've said as much.
Leo: This is a response to people not sharing.
Jason: Facebook wants to be indispensable and they've built their business in large parts on selling ads against everybody's personal comments. Where do you grow from there? Every video that you might want to see, if it's all inside Facebook, why go anywhere else? Then they control everything you see, that's great for Facebook.
Leo: Here's the time where Facebook would like to say, "We're a media company." Facebook is getting a lot of heat right now for sponsoring the Republican National Convention. Google is doing it too, by the way. Facebook's response to this is "we're a media company covering the convention." Now they want to be a media company.
Kurt: When it's convenient. They want to be where the attention is, because they make their money from advertising, advertising needs, eyeballs, focus and attention fro m people. What better place than the Republican National convention with Donald Trump front and center. They won't say they're supporting any one particular candidate, that would be horrible for business for them, but this is a big place for them to be, for sure.
Leo: Of course, Zuckerberg @F8 the developer's conference, took time from his keynote to slam Donald Trump without naming him. "We want to build bridges, not walls."
Kurt: Little dig.
Leo: There are a number of people saying Facebook and Google shouldn't be pumping money into the Republican National convention. Google's response is "We're also covering the Democrats," as is Facebook. But Facebook's going to have a lounge at the RNC. Presumably they're paying money, in effect a sponsorship as opposed to CBS which is going to put up camera crews and reporters there. They aren't paying money to be a sponsor. There's a difference I'm just an old school media type, I guess.
Kurt: Let's set the politics aside and look at entertainment more broadly. Facebook did an exclusive partnership with HBO recently. They were sponsoring an HBO red carpet for Game of thrones. I asked at the time, and they told me we're not paying for this, but those are the types of deals that they are... people want Facebook there. They're going to be able to reach so many more people. Facebook wants to be there because they want the content that's going to bring people to newsfeed. Some of these are paid, some of these are handshake agreements. It's becoming a confusing relationship and it's hard to keep track of who is the objective media versus partnering media, and Facebook is in the middle of it all.
Luria: When it comes to politics, nobody cover it, and then all our problems are solved.
Leo: I wish. Twitter is doing the same thing. Twitter bought, not expensively, Thursday night Football. It's bizarre. If it was Facebook I could see Facebook livestreaming, but I don't know how it fits in Twitter at all. Twitter wants to be a media company too.
Luria: They're already putting their periscopes into the feed itself. You're going to be able to watch that stuff inside a feed imbedded in your stream. That's where they're going with that.
Kurt: I think they need to build Periskope into the main app.
Luria: It's not integrated at all.
Kurt: It's a missed opportunitiy at this point. Getting into the streams in there is great. You're gonig to be more people to watch them, but I've been watching a live Periskope stream in my Twitter feed and I've wanted to jump in and send them a heart or comment, and all of a sudden it's booting me over to the othe rapp.
Luria: You're going to lose that content that happens within that time period. In the Periskope app you can't click any of the links in their description. It's not... It's a horrible....
Kurt: I can't imagine, they go hand in hand so well, if Twitter's focus on live events, and Periskope being live. I think it's a matter of time, but right now it's my biggest beef with the live video stuff they're doing.
Leo: It does seem odd that you don't see Periskope in the moments section. CNN would run these periskopes if they had them.
Luria: For some reason they're having a hard time integrating all of that stuff because it was a company they bought. They didn't build it from the ground up. But you can have two different usernames between Twitter and Periskope. I'm still stuck with Callie Lewis, even though they just announced they have the ability to change your user name now. But you can wind up with two user names which is stupid, because it's the same company.
Leo: They own Vine too, right? There's another lost opportunity. Is Facebook video a threat to Periskope?
Leo: The live stuff? It's a lot more heavy weight, but if you're sitting with an iPhone or an Android device, you can start streaming live just as you would in Periskope. I don't know if people are doing that. You could do everything you do in Snapchat in Facebook but people don't do it. It's funny, there's something going on where this is appropriate for this tool and this is appropriate for this tool.
Luria: I think what you're finding is people will just choose one of them. That's all you need anyway. The two fo them together, you're seeing them push each other. Periskope just announced the fact that they are archiving their scopes. If you use the hashtag save within your description when you go live. That was pushed partly by Facebook and partly by Catch which was a third party archiving service. You're seeing them go back and forth between feature sets, which is great for the world of live video because that means we're going to have awesome capabilities with live video.
Leo: Will people tune in a show on Facebook to watch something?
Luria: We've got full on productions. Like you do here on TWiT.
Leo: You're one of the few people doing that.
Luria: We wanted to be first.
Leo; I think that's really interesting.
Kurt: I'm not fully sold that this is even... I'm not sold that live video is going to be a major thing in a year from now. My concern is, I don't know if regular people, not brands, not media organizations, I don't think regular people have incentive to go live. It's often boring to watch regular people go live.
Leo: It's boring to watch Ricky Gervais go live.
Kurt: I think this hype around live video is just that. I can tune in and it's like we're skyping but we're not Skyping, but I rarely watch live video streams and say this is better than something that was produced for me and is high quality. I'd rather have to wait an hour to see this well produced.
Luria: I'll disagree with you on that a little bit. Some of them are boring to watch. There are a lot of bad Scopes and bad live videos out there, but the live streaming is so addictive for the broadcaster and the viewer because there's that immediacy reaction to reaction. There's no time delay. It's addicting on both sides of the wall. The fact that everybody and their mother is live streaming right now, a year from now maybe people will be used to it and won't do it as much, but like any technology, everybody jumps on board hardcore at the beginning, and then over time it will be dedicated to the people who are using it for a purpose. You will see content curation happening within the different platforms. I don't think that it'll just go away. I think live streaming started back in 2007 with Quick, the technology wasn't there for it to keep continuing, but now we've got it going strong technology wise. It'll just continue to grow in that form. I don't think it's going to dissipate in interest at all.
Jason: I think hey everybody let me show you my cat live streaming is not going to be able to hold people. Live cats are not as exciting as curated cats. Twitter moments, that is a huge difference, especially for breaking news events or sports events, when people are doing live video and you've got somebody who is switching between them and giving different perspectives, I think things could get really interesting there, and then the professionals do it. But just random people showing you things that aren't that interesting, I think people are going to lose their appetite for that, but if you put it all together, in something like what Twitter is trying to do, semi-successfully with Twitter moments you can get something interesting.
Kurt: Real quick. I should clarify, I don't think it's going to disappear, but I think it's one of those things that if you hear people talk about it now, it feels like live is the future. Someday we're all going to be broadcasting live all the time and that's going to be the main way we consume. I think it'll be around, but it'll be one of many media types that we use. It will be a specific media type, I may tune in live for... I live in San Francisco. There's a parade going on and I want to get a feel for what's happening at the parade or down the street or there's an event of significance that I want to tune into. I don't think it's going to be as big a mainstream product use case that's taking off right now.
Leo: One of the reasons Facebook wants to do it and one of the reasons Instagram is doing it, is you can do video ads. Instagram is encouraging users to post more videos. I don't think of Instagram as a video platform, but now we're seeing video ads. I saw that ad over and over again. It kept showing.
Luria: What will get interesting is when Facebook live and Periskope allow you to monetize while you're live.
Leo: You can in Facebook live. Didn't they say you can run an ad in your stream and monetize?
Kurt: You can do native and brand marketing.
Leo: I have to do one of our style ads in there and I keep all the revenue.
Kurt: I believe you can.
Leo: YouTube won't let me do that.
Kurt: YouTube should let you do that.
Leo: YouTube wants to sell all the ads. I'm just talking about YouTube live. If we stream this show live on YouTube, it's my understanding that we can't because we have ads in this show and YouTube didn't sell them and doesn't have a cut of them. We put all our content on YouTube, and they've never pulled it down. I don't know if YouTube is uniformly enforcing those rules.
Luria: With Facebook you can boost a post after the fact, but if you could boost a live video while you're live, that could have a tremendous...
Leo: You mean like buying a Facebook ad for your live video?
Luria: Talking about having that within the ads themselves. I know Facebook is looking into all that stuff. I don't think they've settled onto any one particular path. They'll probably try a few things over the course of the next year.
Leo: Let's take a break. Let's test this theory and do an ad. Kurt Wagner is heref rom Recode. His first time on TWiT. So be gentle, everybody. Be nice.
Luria: He's awesome!
Leo: Love having him. Love having you, Luria Petrucci. Her new enterprise Geek'suniversity.com has a livestream. She's still on geekslife. I see you everywhere now. Her new diggs and studio area up in Seattle.
Leo: Very different. Did you move there for tax reasons?
Luria: No. I moved because I never wanted to settle in texas in the first place and I had an opportunity to make a change and I did.
Leo: I'm thinking about Oregon myself because there's no income tax up there.
Kurt: No sales tax either.
Leo: How do they make money?
Luria: We have some tax here. I moved here six months ago. I haven't paid attention.
Leo: Also from sixcolors.com. Jason Snell. He and I are the old school media types.
Jason: Yeah. Writing and audio.
Leo: Our show to you today brought to you by Braintree. No matter what, if you're doing an app or you've got a website and you want to take payments there is but one way to do it. Braintree Payments. The nice thing about Braintree is it's an easy integration for you. It's ten lines of code, you paste the code in. You get a control panel at Braintree and you decide what forms of payment you can take. When a new one comes out, you check the box and boom. You're in. It's magic. You can take everything from pounds to Paypal, from Pesos to credit cards. BitCoin, Apple Pay, Android Pay. Everything, VenMO. It's a full stack payment platform, easily adapted to whatever is new. Makes your users happy, and by the way your users are familiar with it because they use it all the time on Uber, Lyft, Air BnB, Hotels Tonight, even GitHub uses Braintree, so why aren't you using Braintree? Easy secure payments. Works with Android, iOS and Java Script. .net, no .js. Java, Pearl, Python, Ruby. The code is elegant. The documentation is clear and it's a win for everybody. Fast payouts and your customers will appreciate the security. Ever use those buyable pins through Pinterest? That's BrainTree. You use Braintree probably every day because they're everywhere. Braintree payments.com/twit, try them today. First 50,000 dollars in payments fee-free when you go to braintreepayments.com/twit. I'm just watching Periskope streams, and you're right. It's really boring. They have a Teleport button where you just get a random stream but it feels like there's so much potential. Everybody was so excited about this and Meerkat and Meerkat is gone. They've pivoted. I'm looking at a fence, it looks like a tornado or a storm has come.
Jason: Live fence.
Leo: Live fence.
Jason: That fence is happening right now. You are looking live at a fence. Does it feel better now?
Leo: It feels like network television, actually. I'm standing out here in a field for no apparent reason.
Jason: Again, nothing happening right now.
Leo: There was a tornado here some time ago.
Jason: Fence is still standing. There will be another one soon.
Leo: There will be another one any moment. You know what I always tune in to watch live? Space X. Sticking the landing. Two in a row. Look at that. These are the rockets that put the satellite in orbit. ISS resupply. This is the launch? The landing? That looks like a launch in reverse.
Jason: Exactly. That was a tough one. They gave it a 50/50 chance of making it.
Leo: It's very impressive.
Jason: It's got three engines and boosting into orbit and having to slow down and return back.
Leo: they have young Gen Y hosts.
Jason: Those are all Space X employees. They've been media trained and they host their webcasts. For the real nerds they have a technical webcast that is just like rocket scientists wearing... That's more of your Apollo 13 webcasts. It's all misssion control, or you can watch the one with genial hosts.
Leo: When you see Elon at work and you realize it's possible to do everything right you market right, science right, do the technology right, it's so impressive. You wonder what's going on with Twitter. Is it just a really limited supply of brain cells out there. Is Elon so much better than everybody else? He just seems to be firing on every cylinder.
Luria: Leo, you know this better than everybody. It's all media and how you control the mistakes that don't get seen.
Leo: He knows that though. He really knows about... It's more than that. He's technically brilliant. What they're doing at Tesla and Space X and solar city is technically brilliant. It's marketted perfectly. The message is on point. It's impressive when you see somebody who can stick it. he's the Olympian of this. You're right, he does not ignore the important marketing end of it. Getting the video out there. It would be another thing to say Space X landed another rocket at sea. Another thing to see that video.
Jason: Nasa, I hope they're paying attention. Nasa has tried some things with social media outreach. I've done a couple Nasa socials, but the live stream production for Space X I've been impressed by. They are putting on the whole production in the way Nasa relied on the networks to do that back when the networks covered them. Nasa's video feeds now are really dry. They feel like video feeds from a large government beaurocracy. Then you see Space X, and it's like, "Oh yeah. They get it. " They get modern Internet video, and why you want to be entertaining while you're showing off your launch. Rocket launches are fun for the moments when the rocket is launching, but Space X goes all out in terms of explaining what's going to happen and piping in the applause from the audience that they've invited to show live. It's showmanship on there too. Yeah.
Leo: You know who else gets it? Donald Trump gets it. I think if you're going to get elected president going forward, you better get it. You better get how to use the media to your effect. Trump didn't have to buy many ads or any ads.
Jason: Elon musk called, he wants an apology for comparing him to Donald Trump.
Leo: Bad news. That's the key isn't it? If you're going to succeed in the future, you need to know how to pull all of these strings. Politics too.
Luria: did you see the livestream of the deepest point in the ocean? From the submersible? They went down in... what was the deepest...?
Leo: The Marianas Trench.
Luria: Yes. They livestreamed the entire thing. Going down and seeing all of these crazy looking animals and things that you would never see towards the surface. That was pretty interesting as well.
Leo: It could be Shina Ebus. It could be hawks in their nests. This is the Okianos explorer 2016. It's not gripping.
Luria: It kind of was in the moment. We watched it around here and... you definitely have to be a certain kind of geek.
Leo: It's like NASA TV. It's Space exploration, right?
Luria: They had good hosts too. There's certain moments where it was like, "What is going on over there?"
Leo: That's kind of neat.
LIVESTREAM: Remarkable find. A coral species that occurs here as well as in the Hawaiian islands, halfway across the Pacific.
Leo: They're doing this like at NASA. It's really interesting. Why not? It's the same kind of thing?
Kurt: I just don't know if I'd tune in, guys. I'm sorry.
Leo: I admit it. I knew about it, didn't tune in.
Kurt: l like the idea when you were describing it. That's a perfect use case of live video and now that we're actually watching the footage, I'm a little disappointed.
Jason: It's soothing, Kurt. It's soothing.
Leo: It's very soothing.
Kurt: You guys ever watch Planet Earth?
Leo: Love that. BBC Planet Earth.
Kurt: I'd be willing to wait for them to compile this into Planet Earth.
Leo: You know what's sad? They made Planet Earth in 1080 P. At the time this was as good as it needs to be. And now, they have to reshoot it all. It cost a huge amount of money to make in the first place, they're re-shooting it all in 4K. You know what? By the time they finish that it will be 8k. Look at that.
Jason: Kurt makes a good point. Live is also a niche audience for something that then you dress up and reach a broader audience with. That's fine. That's one of the great things about having Internet video is you can have a live stream that appeals to 5,000 people and an edited version that appeals to 50,000 people, then maybe there's a TV special that goes to 500,000 people. That's all good.
Kurt: Totally. I think live has its audience and it's going to have its uses. I just don't think it's going to be the thing that we all do.
Luria: It has to play a part in, if you're any kind of media company or doing YouTube videos, you should be doing live. You should be integrating that into what you do. You're never going to reach a massive audience without re-broadcasting that. Because of the... Leo, you've been doing live. Everybody in the chat room freaking loves it.
Leo: I feel like a slacker compared to all of these people. I'm just lazy and I should do a better job...
Luria: They want to see you on Periskope.
Leo: I've used Facebook live too. I liked Facebook live. The kind of stuff we do is more like this Marianas trench business. Very relaxing.
Luria: You can clip that up and put some upbeat music to it.
Leo: We do that. It's called a promo. Actually, you want to take a look? Show and tell. If you missed anything on TWiT this week, here's what it looked like. Much more interesting than it actually was. Go ahead and watch the promo.
PREVIOUSLY ON TWIT:
Leo: Alex can do the Wookie.
Alex Lindsay: I'll do a whole podcast in Wookie.
THE NEW SCREEN SAVERS
Leo: Wait a minute. I'm having a flashback. I thought for a moment that was Kate Metello standing here. It is! Oh my god, that's a long time ago.
Kate Metello: I know.
Leo: You're so blurry back then.
TECH NEWS TODAY
Megan Morrone: Google has been feeding some interesting text to an AI engine to make it smarter.
Alex Kantrowitz: Now it's moved on to a project where its fed over 20,000 romance novels through it's AI engine to make it sound more conversational.
THIS WEEK IN LAW
Woman: Mark has written the best legal brief ever, much of it in Klingon.
Marc J. Ramdazza: A fun thing is it does shape the way you have to think about things. How do you say "intellectual property law" in klingon? There is no word for intellectual.
TWIT: TWIT WITH YOU HEAD, NOT OVER IT.
Emmy Roane: We also had This Week in Law translated into Klingon.
Luria: Oh my god. I have to get on that program. It looks so awesome!
Leo: It's a great show. It's all about law and Klingon. We have a great week coming up. Jason Howell has the week ahead.
Jason Howell: Thanks a lot, Leo. Here's a look at a few things we're going to be keeping an eye on in the week ahead. Oracle and Google are set to return to court on Monday, May 9 in a re-trial of Oracle's copyright suit charging Google used Java in Android without a license. We can expect to see Larry Ellison and Eric Schmidt to take the stand once again. On Monday, May 9, also Tech Crunch disrupt New York kicks off. One thing to look out for is the unveiling of the highly anticipated VIV AI assistance, created by the ex-founding members of the Siri team. They claim Viv is what Siri was supposed to be before Apple bought the company and made the technology their own. A few earning reports to follow with electronic arts. You know what? I'm guessing plenty more tech news will break all week long, so catch Meghan Merroni and I on Tech news Today at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern, 12 PM UTC at TWiT.tv/live. That's a look at the week ahead, back to you, Leo.
Leo: thank you, Jason Howell. Every Monday through Friday. Got to watch it. Oracle Google trial is interesting. I interviewed James Gosling a few weeks ago, the creator of Java. He said in Sun, we thought that what was going on, what google was doing with Android was slimy. He said, the whole issue comes down to whether Google's implementation of Java Dalvek was a rip off of Java. They tried to license Java and declined after something went wrong and wrote something that was identical. He was of the opinion it wasn't exactly clean room. He said if you looked at the code it's pretty obvious that they slimed us. Gosling said we never were willing to go to court over it. Jonathon Schwartz, the last CEO at Sun who oversaw Oracle wasn't willing to take on Google, but Larry Ellison sure as heck was. Then the interesting thing, the lawyers, once they got to the case, decided that there wasn't a case they could argue about stealing the code, so the case ended up being against something Gosling thinks is a terrible precedent, which is copy wrighting an API. He's dead set against that. What Oracle is saying is Google didn't copy the Java code, they copied the Java API, that's provable. That's how you make compatible code, you have to copy the API. As you may remember, this case ended and is back again. Now Oracle wants 9 billion dollars in damages from Google.
Jason Snell: What if they do the case in Klingon? I think that would be more entertaining for all of us.
Leo: The first trial was a win for Google. The judge found that APIs are not eligible for copyright. But the court of appeals overturned it, and the court of appeals said APIs are creative works. APIs, this is not the code, this is the description of what the code should be looking for, what you should say to the code so that you can talk to the code, that also is creative. It's unfortunate, it's the US court of appeals for the federal circuit. Google petitioned the Supreme Court. Google got support from Yahoo, HP Red Hat. Microsoft EMC and Net App told on the other side said you should let the Federal Circuit ruling stand. The Supreme Court did, they re-buffed the appeal and now it's back to the Jury. Even though the court said APIs aren't copy righted, it didn't say how the use of the 37 APIs in question was fair use. Imagine this. we just found 12 people off the street, and we're going to ask them.
Jason: Isn't that the problem with a lot of law involving technology today? It's not necessarily even that you can't prove something, it's can you get a jury... and attourneys and judges and juries to understand some of these incredible technical and esoteric things. It's a tough job to do that. Invested in everything that they're judging. They're also judging these companies. This is Oracle run by Larry Ellison, how you keep that out of your mind if you're a juror while also understanding the technical details. That's why there's weird law when it comes to cutting edge tech stuff is that you get strange rulings by people who often don't understand everything about what's going on.
Leo: Joe Mullen who is writing about this in RS Technica said a big oracle win would be an extinction level event for small companies who can't fight these court cases.
Jason: It's another battering ram for people trying to create compatible software where the company that made the base line, platform is not willing to work with them. By copyrighting APIs, you could mash out a whole sector of people trying to make compatible software.
Leo: We wouldn't have a PC industry if Phoneix and Compac and others hadn't been able to duplicate the functionality of IBM's bios without duplicating the code. They were able to, they made the PC compatible. Thanks to that, we have a personal computer Industry, it would be IBM dominating still.
Jason: We're saying can you copyright the compatability with our thing. I get why Gosling thinks that's a problem. He feels like Google did a slimy thing. This is the wrong way to do it.
Leo: This is the outcome no one wants. This is what the lawyers felt would be a winnable case. You know what? They weren't far wrong. They're doing OK so far. Brazil, speaking of court, in Brazil, this was earlier in the week, WhatsApp was shut down by a single judge in Brazil who said the Judge was mad that WhatsApp was encrypted and that Facebook wasn't helping and decided to shut down WhatsApp for 72 hours. It's not the first time it's happened. The last time it happened, a higher court over ruled the judge. Same thing happened. Marcel Maya Montavo of a small town in the state of Serejipe. Two months ago put Facebook's VP in Latin America in jail for failure to cooperate with a subpoena issued as part of a criminal investigation. They want the content of WhatsApp, and of course after that, it wasn't much longer after that WhatsApp announced, "We're going to encrypt everything." It's all encrypted. That hasn't held back the Brazilian courts. They shut it down for 12 hours, and then again the higher court came in and said there's a hundred million people. 93% of all adults in Brazil use WhatsApp. You're turning it back on.
Kurt: The guy who was arrested, multiple issues arresting an executive on his way to work. He was a Facebook executive, not a WhatsApp executive. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, but not even involved in the product or business in any way. You can imagine that ruffled some feathers on the Facebook side of things.
Leo: The Judge said the arrest was justified by Facebook's failing to comply with judicial orders, but it wasn't Facebook, it was WhatsApp.
Kurt: It's owned, of course. I think these issues are concerning for Facebook as they move. They spent a lot of money on WhatsApp.
Leo: It's not just going to be Facebook or WhatsApp if they're going to court, they're going to court with a lot of other companies and people.
Kurt: The trend towards total privacy, total encryption. You're right. Shortly before this incident but after the last one was when they formerly announced they had rolled out to end encryption for their WhatsApp users. They've been close to that for some time now. Most, especially now, all the messages you're sending on WhatsApp, they exist on your phone, and the person's phone you sent them to. That is angering these Governments that want more control and to be able to see what people are talking about.
Luria: It angers me that the governments are having a problem with the fact that I want to say what I want to say and nobody else should be able to read it. Come on!
Leo: It's happening here in the US, but that's the point. It's happening all over the world, it's happening to everybody. Feinstein Burr bill, which is the Senate attempt to, it's very sneaky. It doesn't say, "Ban encryption." It doesn't say provide a backdoor. It says any company served with a legitimate judicial order must provide the information the court order is asking for, but the implication as geeks as we understand it is you can't have encryption because WhatsApp can't provide that information and they would be liable under Feinsteinberg. Now Julian Sanchez, writing for the Cato institute says that would actually ban your browser, because your browser has SSL built into it. You can't go to google and say, "what was Jason Snell looking at last night?" Because it's an SSL. You can't. This bill, as far as I know is still flying high, would make TLS security illegal because no company could then provide that information to a court order.
Luria: We're in a risky spot right now. I'm sure you guys have talked about it quite a bit.
Leo: I like bringing it up again and again, because it's not going away.
Luria: It's partly our fault as consumers and as geeks. We get so excited by all these new technologies that can do this and that and we can do cool new things and we give away our privacy without even thinking about it in favor of a cool new technology. I do it too, but it's something that starts with us as consumers and geeks.
Leo: Yes. But, are you going to want to stand up and say by the way, law enforcement shouldn't have any tools to fight crime or terrorism? Should they be unable to wiretap? Should there be communications...?
Luria: If you look at it, what they're using all these tools for is not what they claim. That's a whole other discussion. It's not being used to protect us like they want us to think it is. It's a complicated subject, for sure.
Kurt: I'm curious what you guys think. Whose responsibility is it? Is it Facebook or WhatsApp in this case have a responsibility for how their platform is used? Who else is responsible?
Leo: Isn't it provocative for WhatsApp to put encryption in all of a sudden and say "neener neener?" They might be thinking it. You can't encrypt it.
Kurt: I think the timing is probably not ideal for folks who think they're doing this just to stoke the fire. They had been working on this for some time, so it's not as if the Brazil ban happened and they said we're going to get back at them by ending encrypting everything on the app. That was already in the works. The timing probably looks worse than it is, my guess is the whole reason they ran into this issue before is they were halfway done or more encrypting everything. That's why they weren't able to hand over messages to begin with, right? I think the encryption happened before the incident and the encryption got completed and it looks more menacing or malicious then it is.
Leo: Let's not forget at least one of the candidates for President of the United States said, "To think Apple won't allow us to get into that cell phone; who do they think they are? We need to take back the Internet from terrorists." That's Donald Trump. Before you vote for somebody in any election, you might want to ask, "What's your position on encryption?" I should find out what Clinton's position is on encryption.
Luria: I want my Facebook and WhatsApp services to encrypt my stuff. I don't even do anything bad, but at the same time, have you guys ever watched... I think there was a documentary. "Terms and Conditions" something? It has "terms and conditions in it.
Leo: Oh yeah.
Luria: Some journalist, a writer for a TV show gets arrested for something because he looked up how to murder your wife. He was writing a drama series about where that happened in an episode, right. So I mean all that stuff can be taken out of context and bad things could happen. So like so I personally want my stuff encrypted.
Leo: I don’t know if privacy is the right angle either. It’s one angle but the other angle of course is security and the problem is if you know, this is what protects us from hackers as well, not just from the government. This is what protects us from bad guys.
Jason: These are security features.
Jason: I mean let’s not forget this is math. And you can’t outlaw math and the bad guys—
Leo: Oh, you could try.
Jason: You could try but—
Leo: You saw the Ivy League professor that was almost kicked off an American Airlines flight for doing math.
Jason: For doing math, yea. We’ve got to stop this epidemic of math on airplanes.
Luria: Wait, what is this?
Leo: Ok, he’s a professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s Italian but he does have a beard so he could be an Arab, I don’t know. And he was writing math equations on a piece of paper while waiting for his American Airlines flight to take off. A passenger sitting next to him looked over there, said, “That looks like Arabic.” Got up. Told the flight attendant. The plane was delayed on the tarmac for 30 minutes. The economist was removed from the aircraft and questioned by airport security. And the woman who turned him in never got back on the plane. He was able, was allowed to get back on the plane. The plane didn’t take off.
Jason: It sounds like the airline people were pretty embarrassed about this because they realize that he was a professor and it was math. And that she—
Leo: And they could see it.
Jason: I think the report I read said she faked being sick because she was worried about him. And she apparently just walked away.
Leo: After reviewing the situation a spokesman from American Airlines said the captain determined the flight should continue. We apologize to our customers. They never did find the woman who turned him in. He’s a nice looking fellow. He’s Italian. That’s practically a terrorist.
Jason: He’s curly haired and olive skin doing math. Watch out.
Leo: Curly hair. Olive skin. He’s got a beard doing math. You know where math comes from?
Luria: Wait, I’m half Italian. Hang on I’m half Italian.
Leo: Oh, I am too. I’m a quarter of Italian.
Jason: But math was largely invented in the Arab world, so.
Leo: That’s right. It’s called algebra for a reason. Uh huh. Let’s take a break.
Jason: The world we live in.
Leo: It is the world we live in, sad to say. Our show brought to you by—by the way, great panel. Great to have you. Kurt Wagner is here from recode.net newly recast, looking great, looking sharp.
Kurt: Yes. Thank you, thank you. Go look at the change. Recode.net. You’ve shown a few of our stories on the broadcast so far and I’m still getting used to it.
Leo: Oh, I live on Recode.
Kurt: You show it and I’m like, “Hey, that looks pretty sharp.”
Leo: That’s my story but it doesn’t look like I though it did.
Kurt: Doesn’t look like what I saw before.
Leo: (Laughing) no Recode is absolutely a go to every single day for me. I read it religiously.
Kurt: Thank you.
Leo: As I do sixcolors.com. Jason Snell’s wonderful. Mac focused-- I don’t want to call it a blog. That sounds demeaning.
Jason: It’s my website. It’s an independent site.
Leo: It’s an independent publication.
Jason: Yea. Sure.
Leo: On the internet.
Jason: Sounds good.
Leo: And Luria Petrucci. You may remember her as Cali Lewis for so long at Geeks Life and now geeksuniversity.com. Great to have you as well.
Leo: And yes, she does math and she’s Italian. So watch out. Watch out.
Luria: (Laughing) I’m just going to put it out there. I just use my phone’s calculator. I don’t write down math.
Leo: (Laughing) Our show today brought to you by the place I blog, Squarespace. And I have a blog. Although it could be a publication. Actually Squarespace has recently unveiled some beautiful magazine style templates for people who want to do publications. Grid style landing pages which will allow you to see all the posts in one place. It’s got that infinite scroll now that everybody’s doing where you just keep going. You know, it’s not paged. You’ve got related posts at the bottom encouraging visitors to explore more. There’s author profiles, search field right in the header. And it’s perfect. If you want to create a publication, but you know, Squarespace is perfect no matter what you wanted to do on the web. If you’re a photographer and you want a portfolio. If you’re in business, you know our new business Artisanal, we just created our Squarespace site. My blog, leolaporte.com, that’s on Squarespace. I started with a cover page. I love the cover page feature because you can put your images there and it’s full bleed. The template that I’m using goes all the way to the edge so it really is great. And then I put my blog there and the blogging tools are fantastic. Actually this last post I just put up I emailed to Squarespace. They made it so easy. I just blog by email. I love that. Squarespace is also great if you want to sell. They’ve got fantastic e-commerce. In fact it’s one of the few places where your store really looks a part of, as a piece of your website. It’s the same design and everything. It’s not just something hanging off your website. Now members who have built or contribute to three or more active Squarespace web sites have access to something new. It’s called Squarespace Circle. Circle membership includes advanced guides, optimized support, 6 month trial periods for new projects. Wow, 6 months and a lot more. They really want to thank the people who use Squarespace a lot. And you’ll also appreciate they’re now a domain registrar. If you are wanting to make a website, you know some of these domain registrars they put they, you know, the holding page and it’s the worst. It’s embarrassing. You’ll get a Squarespace page when you get your domain name from Squarespace Domains. A clean, spam free parking page so you don’t have to start building right away. It’s just awesome. Squarespace Domains, more than 200 top level domain names, domain designations are available there. It’s a really nice registrar. And it looks as good as Squarespace does. Squarespace is the best. For hosting, for software and now for domain registration, Squarespace.com. Make sure you use the offer code TWiT to get 10% off and show your support for This Week in Tech. We’re all in on the Squarespace. All right, Cali, you’re from Texas or were.
Luria: Luria (laughing).
Leo: Luria. Cali.
Luria: It’s ok.
Leo: Cali’s from Texas. Luria’s from Portland. I understand.
Luria: (Laughing) right, right, right.
Leo: And they’re both from Italy. Go figure that. Uber and Lyft support—this is so confusing to me. Support Proposition 1. Put $8 million dollars into campaigning it. Proposition 1 lost by a wide margin. Proposition 1 was to eliminate regulations the city wanted to impose on Uber and Lyft, fingerprint registration, things like that. I think regulations that aren’t a bad idea. 10,000 drivers are going to lose their job now because they lost and Uber and Lyft said, “Bye-bye, Austin.”
Leo: Bye-bye, Austin. You don’t want us. They avowed to stop operating in Austin on Monday morning and Uber says that will put about 10,000 drivers from both companies out of work. They didn’t get their way on Proposition One.
Luria: And Uber was using all those cool, like they were doing the pedal stuff as well I believe in Austin.
Leo: Oh, that’s right. Remember that? That’s right. I took the Pedicab at South By, an Uber Pedicab. I don’t know if that’s like, was that just for South by or?
Luria: I think they were doing it like long term, not just South by. Maybe I’m wrong but I guess this leaves it open for a new company to come into town. I mean Austin’s not a bad place to kind of start to chink away at Uber and Lyft if they’re going to leave.
Leo: Kind of wonder why they’re against civic regulation. Were they onerous regulations? Are they impossible for Uber to live up to that the city wanted to—I mean I understand it’s complicated because a lot of times a city will have incumbent cab companies that lobby hard against Uber and Lyft coming in. And so maybe the city council wanted to do something that would be hard on Uber and Lyft. I should ask for more information. It does seem like Uber and Lyft came in with $8 million bucks and said, “No, no, no. You don’t want that.” They circulated a petition. 60,000 signatures.
Kurt: Can you imagine—I always am shocked when I think about the regulatory you know, red tape that Uber, Lyft, Airbnb. I mean they’re dealing with this stuff in like every city in the world.
Kurt: And I can’t even imagine working on one of those legal teams at one of those companies. Like how you keep it straight and how you keep your energy up. I mean they must be dealing with lawsuits.
Leo: Constantly. Yea. That’s where all their money goes.
Kurt: Every day.
Leo: So here’s what happened. The Austin City Council in December passed 9-2 an ordinance aimed at regulating Uber and Lyft more like traditional taxi companies. 5 hours of debate, the council voted to require drivers for vehicle to hire apps like Uber and Lyft to pass fingerprint based background checks. Uber and Lyft at the time said, “We’re going to leave if you do that.” The ordinance started February 1st but it was a 12-month phase in. So there was time and Uber and Lyft decided, “We’re going to see if we can get the community up in arms against this. We want to self-regulate.”
Jason: Sure they do. Doesn’t this sound a little bit like a professional sports team threatening to move if they don’t build them a new stadium? It’s just like they’re holding the city hostage because they figure they’ve got them over a barrel. They’re not going to, they’re going to relent because everybody’s going to be grumpy about this high profile thing. But I agree with Luria. I think this is an opportunity, right, for competitors maybe or if Austin is that attractive then they’ll be back.
Leo: Uber said—
Luria: I don’t know, I mean I think if I’m understanding it correctly and I haven’t researched this story at all, but if Uber is saying no because their drivers don’t want to be fingerprinted, then competition would have the same problem then, right?
Leo: Well, yea, and so what I’m not clear on and I’m trying to understand is that if taxi companies have the same requirements. In other words if taxi drivers have the same fingerprinting requirements.
Luria: Yea, they have to go through all kinds of things.
Leo: I think they do. I think this just makes Uber and Lyft the same kind of regulations. Uber said, “We won’t be able to get drivers.” This begs the question of why. They won’t be able to get drivers if they’re required to get fingerprints. “We won’t be able to sign up drivers.” And Lyft says, “We do not operate in any market that requires the drivers to be fingerprinted.”
Luria: I want my—the chatroom is talking about Uber wanting to be different but I want Uber to be different. I don’t enjoy taxi car rides. I enjoy Uber rides.
Leo: Well taxi drivers now are, I’m seeing this now in the chatroom and I think it’s probably accurate. Somebody says, “In Austin you do have to be fingerprinted and background checked to be a taxi driver. Why should Uber and Lyft be any different?”
Luria: I mean where did the original law come from for taxi cab drivers that they had to do that?
Leo: Well, according to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, a lot of sexual assaults happen in the City of Austin.
Luria: Which Uber has had to deal with and what is it, Chariot for Women is starting to come out?
Leo: But they they’re going to get sued out of existence instantly because they don’t pick up men. They have female drivers and female riders and of course that’s some say discrimination. I think it’s a great idea frankly. I would encourage—if there were a chariot around here I would encourage my daughter to use it. I don’t think, I think most drivers are harmless. I’m not saying that there’s something about being a driver attracts a bad class of people.
Kurt: But you said, Luria, you guys mentioned competitors jumping. I mean do you really think at this point there’s going to be anyone besides Uber and Lyft getting into this space? And I realize that I’m probably going into a horrible trap right now by saying, “No one could ever go against Uber and Lyft.” But like the amount of money they’ve spent, the progress they’ve made. We’ve already talked about all the legal hurdles that they’re constantly going though. I just can’t imagine anyone else would want to get into this.
Leo: I know in New York there are many competing companies.
Leo: Yea. And even the taxi companies in New York now have apps and they’re multiple apps. I mean it’s gotten—clearly people look at Uber as a very successful unicorn and say, “Boy, I’d like to get some of those billions in my pocket.”
Luria: I could see a company coming in and you know, especially, well I don’t know if Austin would fly with this, but I could see a company coming in to a place that Uber and Lyft are not and if they focused on the customer service, customer safety issue you know, everybody is background checked. But at the same time, we’re still better than taxis and we, our cars are clean, you’re not going to get stinky back seat rides. Like I could actually see somebody coming in and doing that. I know that a lot of people have an issue with the fact that you don’t know who you’re getting with Uber. I’ve never had any types of problems and I don’t really walk in fear of doing that. Like I’m not going to not do something just because I don’t know who it is.
Leo: I’m wondering if the issue is that Uber is attracting, given that these are border areas, undocumented immigrants who don’t want to go through a background check because they can’t. But would otherwise drive. Not that they’re unsafe people.
Kurt: You couldn’t get a license though probably if you’re—
Leo: Oh that’s right. They’d have to have a driver’s license.
Kurt: I’d imagine.
Leo: Uber uses and Lyft uses 3rd party background checks. The City of Houston for instance says, “We’re not thrilled about these because they don’t catch every criminal.” In fact Houston has required fingerprints and they’re have been at least several cases where drivers who passed a background check were then incriminated by their fingerprint because their fingerprint was in a criminal database somewhere. So you know it’s a complex thing because there’s also the issue of traditional Yellow Cab companies. Both Austin and Houston are limited on how many vehicles they can have. The medallion system!
Jason: And we deal with that in San Francisco too. And that’s why these companies are big in the Bay Area because San Francisco kind of blew it.
Leo: There aren’t very many cabs. And those medallions are worth—in New York a medallion’s worth a million bucks. And it’s an artificial way to keep the demand high.
Luria: I keep hearing about this medallion thing and I don’t actually have any idea what that is or how it works.
Leo: It’s a license to have a cab.
Luria: Right. Why is it worth a million bucks?
Leo: Because well, it’s not that the cab drivers are buying medallions, but investors buy medallions and have fleets of cabs.
Kurt: Because they’re limited. There’s a limited quantity, right?
Leo: It keeps it limited and it keeps it more valuable because you don’t want a million cabs on the street. There are reasons. I mean New York traffic is terrible and I know some New Yorkers say it’s because of all the Uber and Lyft vehicles. Although there was a study commissioned by the City of New York that came out the last couple of weeks ago that said, “No, it’s not Uber. That’s not the cause of it.” You know, this is a complex issue but I do feel like passenger safety has got to be paramount.
Jason: I think they’re afraid of the president, that they’re going to have to do this everywhere.
Jason: And so they’d rather at least threaten to walk away from a market. Although again, if that market is worth it to them, one or both of them will come back. Right?
Leo: Right. Yea they’d haven’t left Houston which also requires fingerprinting and no one’s sure why. Maybe it’s a better market for them. I don’t know.
Luria: I’d be curious to know what the percentage of issues that both Lyft and Uber have had. I don’t, I’ve heard that they have had issues, but I don’t have any idea what percentage of people are complaining, or is it a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage because it doesn’t seem like a big issue.
Leo: Do you feel afraid as a young woman, do you feel afraid of taking these?
Luria: I actually have been more scared in the back of a cab for my safety than I have with any Uber driver. Like I have had tremendously good experiences with Uber versus cabs and that’s while I’ll always choose that if I can.
Leo: Yea, I encourage my daughter to use Uber actually, or Lyft.
Luria: I just feel like they’re—I mean I don’t know what it is, it’s just I think that taxi cabs are so ubiquitous and have been around for so long that there’s no effort put into it, right? And I guess Uber could become that over time too.
Leo: Uber introduced competition. This is the classic case, right, of kind of a complacent industry where the cabs are ratty and experience wasn’t great and—
Jason: You can’t get them.
Leo: You can’t get them because you’ve got to hail them and along comes a company, comes up with a better way, an app. And somehow manages to get its drivers to drive nicer cars and be cleaner and that’s competition. And they won in that regard. I don’t know, I haven’t seen any stats that say Uber is more dangerous than a cab. I don’t think that’s the case.
Jason: I wonder if the cab distinction’s going to go away at some point too. At some point, like in Portland for example, they have whatever taxi magic is called now. I think they rebrand it. But it’s basically you know, they’re cabs but you get an Uber like experience. It’s getting there in terms of ordering them. At some point maybe all the cars are on demand this way. Or most of the cars are that way.
Luria: I could totally see that happening.
Leo: Now there are a lot of drivers, I’ve talked to Uber drivers a lot. And some drivers hate Uber. Most drivers hate Uber. Because a lot of times I think these drivers do it because I think almost they have to. But they don’t make as much money as one might think. They don’t get tipped. Now, this of course everybody knows this by now—
Jason: They can ask now.
Leo: I assumed that every—didn’t Uber in the beginning kind of imply, “You don’t have to leave a tip?”
Leo: With the implication, apparently only implication, that they were doing it. There was no tipping ever. And now because of their consent decree with the FDC they’re allowing drivers to put up a sign that says, “You know, I don’t get a tip if you want to tip me.”
Luria: I didn’t realize they did that.
Leo: I didn’t either. I feel like a jerky jerk. For years.
Kurt: I thought it was built in. I thought it was built in.
Leo: You did too.
Leo: It’s not just—ok.
Jason: You’re not even allowed to ask for or receive a tip.
Leo: No, you are. Now you are. You can ask for and receive.
Jason: You can’t tip in the app which is still a problem because a lot of times you don’t have cash with you.
Luria: I don’t have cash.
Leo: Well the Lyft app allows tipping. There’s a button that says, you know, give them 10, give them 15% but the Uber guys say, “We’re not going to add that to the app.” Because you know what? They want to imply it’s cheaper.
Luria: Yea. I ask every Uber driver that I get in the car with if they drive both Uber and Lyft and if they, what their experience is and they open right up you know. And I’ve seen about a 50/50 kind of split on the happiness with Uber. Some of them think that Lyft, they definitely get paid more. But other Uber drivers have way more success with Uber. So I’m going to guess that’s time of day, whether you have—
Leo: If your black car over x makes a difference, I’m sure, right?
Luria: So all those different factors.
Leo: Jason, you’ve driven for Lyft? My producer, I didn’t even know this. You’ve driven for Lyft and Uber?
Jason Cleanthes: Yea.
Leo: I didn’t know that.
Jason C: Yea.
Leo: Is that now? Do we not pay you enough?
Jason C: No, it’s not that. That’s not why I wanted to bring it up. I just wanted to speak from experience.
Leo: Well, tell me. It wasn’t that recently I hope.
Jason C: No, no it’s been—I was doing it when I first moved up here to get settled in.
Jason C: Yea around here in Petaluma and San Francisco.
Leo: And what’s your experience? Is it better to drive for one or the other? Is it a good job? Is it a bad job?
Jason C: It’s a great job. I mean it’s fun.
Leo: Because you set your own hours, right? You decide when you want to work.
Jason C: Right. Right. And literally I have the app, I turn it on, I say, “Go.” And I’m online. And I wait for a call. And I go out and I drive around. And you know, I could be sitting at home playing Xbox or I can be driving around making a couple of bucks an hour.
Leo: Yea, see that’s not so bad.
Jason C: And I can work weekends. Like I usually do the pub crawls, like Friday, Saturday nights from like Cotati down to here. And I’ll make like $250 bucks.
Leo: I never knew this about you.
Jason C: It’s just fun. I’m not sitting at home.
Leo: Now imagine if I called an Uber and you showed up. How would I feel?
Jason C: (Laughing) I think I actually drove your daughter once.
Leo: Really? I hope you said hi. Actually I find it frustrating when there are not enough Ubers around. I really want them to be around. I like it. It’s so convenient.
Jason C: I mean I could go on the app right now and it would take me in a second.
Leo: Now, did anybody ever tip you?
Jason C: Uber, people offered me tips. I’d always fight them. Tell them no. I’m like, “Don’t worry about it. Just give me a good rating.” Because ratings rule.
Leo: Ratings worth more than a tip.
Jason C: Ratings worth way more.
Leo: I always give 5 stars. Always. Even if you’re crappy I give you 5 stars.
Jason C: Wow. And then Lyft, I tried Lyft but there’s just not that much demand for Lyft up here.
Leo: Yea, interesting.
Luria: One of my drivers told me that if somebody throws up in the backseat or because you mentioned pub crawls, if you have an accident—
Jason C: I’ve had that happen.
Luria: Ok, so they pay, they said that they paid for that cleanup. Is that correct?
Jason C: You pay for it outright and then you file a claim. And they reimburse you.
Luria: Oh, ok.
Jason C: I have doggy bags now.
Leo: Hey but you know what? You’re doing God’s work because that person should not be behind the wheel and the fact that you’re taking them home is great.
Jason C: That’s why I like doing it.
Leo: It’s one of the reasons I tell my daughter—I don’t want my daughter behind the wheel at any time, let alone when she’d drunk. At any time. She’s 24. She’s old enough to have a beer or two.
Jason C: And you know, I’ve got that van so my pickup on Friday nights from Sonoma State, I’ve got music playing in there, it’s fun.
Leo: It is fun. Yea. I’ve had great conversations actually with Uber and Lyft drivers.
Luria: Liz Day Motion in the chat says that Lyft actually pays faster.
Jason C: Yes.
Luria: I don’t know if that’s true, but ok.
Kurt: You guys remember the very beginning of Sidecar when everything was donation based.
Leo: That didn’t work too well.
Kurt: No, it didn’t last very long. But I remember being in San Francisco and literally driving around and they would just say, “You know we recommend you give them $10 dollars.” And I could give them anything I wanted really.
Leo: See you are the kind of guy, and I think I am too, we would give them more than the minimum.
Jason: Sharing economy days. The idea was we’re all sharing our cars instead of no one paying for a service.
Leo: There’s a lot of dopes who would say, “Oh, good, I can give you 5 dollars then,” and would do that.
Kurt: Oh yea, I’d always ask you know, how often do you get stiffed? And each driver had you know, I’d say maybe once or twice a night they’d drive someone. Could you imagine driving someone and they just get out and don’t pay you at all.
Leo: Sorry, man. I don’t have to pay you. This is a sharing economy.
Kurt: Yea. No wonder it didn’t work.
Leo: Thank you for sharing (laughing).
Jason C: We could do a whole show on that, just stories from Uber drivers.
Leo: I think so.
Jason: It’s like Taxicab Confidential except with an app.
Leo: Ok. Good, good conversation. Thank you everyone. All right let’s talk about TV because everybody—now Apple for years has been trying to get a deal to do cable over the Apple TV basically, over the top television. Now all of a sudden the story that YouTube’s doing Unplugged, YouTube Unplugged. And it’s the same darn story and it’s probably—Kurt, you probably cover this, equally unlikely, right?
Kurt: I just think that this ties back to the thing that we were touching on in the very beginning with Facebook and Twitter’s deal with the NFL. There’s just so much demand for controlling the content that we all watch. And it’s not at all surprising that someone like YouTube wants to kind of graduate from user generated video library to something that’s more professional and something that’s you know, the Netflix model, right? Like Netflix has really put this whole idea that we need to buy cable on its head and shown people that hey, let’s pay for what you actually want. Maybe Netflix isn’t quite like this but at least when it started it was.
Leo: Isn’t the problem though that they’re just never going to get these guys to agree to this? For instance, NBC is owned by Comcast. There’s no way Comcast is ever going to let anybody do an over the top service.
Kurt: Well, I’m hesitant to say never because you have to look at—you can be stubborn all you want but you’ve got to look at where people are actually consuming, right? I mean so many—
Leo: So the risk is that they’ll all just watch YouTube and not watch you at all.
Kurt: Sure, or you know, look at the NFL. If you had asked 5 years ago, hey is NFL A going to give up streaming rights to anybody that’s you know, I think what they sold on Yahoo did a game. Now Twitter’s obviously going to do 10 games.
Leo: But Twitter’s non-exclusive and it’s just a million bucks. It’s like a million dollar extra. It’s a test.
Kurt: It’s a test thing, right? Sure but my point is, is that the idea that the NFL would be that freewheeling with it’s rights, again, 5 years ago would have been ridiculous.
Leo: They’re acknowledging the climate, yea.
Kurt: You got to go where people are, right? You got to go and you got to find where people are going to, what they’re willing to pay and where they’re willing to pay for it and I think this idea that we all want specific channels and not others and we want to watch them on the internet, I mean that’s a real thing and it’s only a matter of time before someone comes in and figures out the model that’s going to work or has the relationships built in place where they can convince a Comcast or someone like hey, you know, we can help you with distribution and make this say an important part of your business. Because there’s a lot of people that actually want this, so. I don’t know when it’s going to happen.
Leo: Hulu might have an inside track and apparently they’re also trying to put something together. Because they are partly owned by the networks. They’re owned by Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox, Comcast, NBC Universal is a silent partner in Hulu but that’s only because they were required to shut up by the FTC. Be interesting to see if they could put this together. They may be the first company to be able to do this.
Luria: Now YouTube isn’t trying to take that stuff and put it on TV, they’re just trying to-
Leo: No, they aren’t.
Luria: From my understanding—oh, are they?
Leo: Yea, they’re trying to create—
Luria: I thought they were trying to curate topics within YouTube and the set top boxes.
Leo: No, they’re doing that as well but they want to be—so the whole idea is, ok so if people are going to cord cut, how are they going to watch TV? And all of these online services like Apple TV, Hulu and YouTube would like to be the new way you watch TV.
Luria: Well the problem is everybody is offering something for a different price so we think it’s cheaper but I don’t—
Leo: Well the Hulu service would be $40 bucks a month. So it wouldn’t be cheaper. It wouldn’t because you have already, you still have to pay for your internet, so of course the cable companies whom most people get their internet, Comcast is number one, have been slowly jacking up the internet prices because they know they’re going to start losing the premium TV subscribers. All right, no problem. We’ll charge you $60 bucks and then we’ll get a little chunk of the Hulu $40 dollars.
Jason: And put in some bandwidth caps too while they’re at it.
Leo: Now here’s the good news. They just raised those bandwidth caps.
Jason: Yea, but still it’s you know, like Comcast’s looking at a terabyte which is fine now but will probably, we will end up in a cell phone kind of tariff state at some point.
Leo: Sure. Yea. Well they’re going to, one way or another, Comcast is not going to lose money. By hook or by crook, they are going to make the same revenue.
Jason: They own the pipe, right?
Leo: Right. They own the content and the pipe.
Luria: I do love the fact that we’re kind of moving towards a society where we’re willing to pay for the actual content that we enjoy. I think that’s a long time coming and needed. And so I think that’s, I think what we’re seeing is definitely a move towards that direction. I would like to see it kind of—there’s a new browser, right, that’s—actually there’s been a couple of browsers and apps that allow you to pay for the content that you actually consume and—
Leo: Yea, Google Contribute is one and folks at the ad blocker Ad Block Plus are going to do the same thing where you pay a little. I actually do Google Contribute. It’s maxed out at $10 dollars. And I see little putty tats wherever I would see—not putty tattoos, putty cats where I would see—well, you’ve got to be careful with this crowd. Where I would normally see ads that Google would provide, and then the publisher gets a little slice of that. And I like it because I have little kitty cats everywhere.
Luria: I think that’s really cool.
Leo: Yea. So YouTube wants to put together basically a bundle of cable channels that would be—they want to be your cable company basically.
Kurt: Google’s doing this by the way. They have Google Fiber.
Leo: Well yea they’re doing it where they are your cable company and then kind of like—
Kurt: Alphabet’s doing it is what I should say. It’s one of their main businesses.
Leo: It’s like AT&T’s U-verse or they have Verizon Fios, they offer TV service, cable service.
Kurt: Right. It’s more of a Comcast competitor.
Leo: It’s traditional, yes.
Kurt: A traditional, direct Comcast competitor. But I mean it shows that Alphabet is interested in this idea so I guess it does not surprise me that another Alphabet property, YouTube, would be trying to tackle the same thing but in a different way.
Leo: Triple Ed nailed this in our chatroom. I said, “I don’t want to buy channels. I want to buy shows.”
Leo: And I think that’s really what users want.
Jason: But you can do that now. You can buy shows on iTunes or Google Play and it adds up fast. If you only want to watch one or two shows, it’s a better deal to do that than to pay for cable. But if you watch 10 shows, it suddenly becomes a terrible deal.
Leo: Yea. I know you’re right. I bought, like to buy Game of Thrones it’s like $50 bucks or something. It’s ridiculous.
Jason: Yea and what does HBO cost for the entire run of Game of Thrones?
Luria: But you can do that sure, on iTunes with you know, big shows, but you can’t do that with your favorite—you can through YouTube Red for instance, but it’s doesn’t, it’s not the same. In my view it’s not the same thing. Going through iTunes to get a big show that’s out there like—I don’t know any shows that are out there.
Leo: You need to watch more TV.
Jason: My point is that buying a show doesn’t scale very well because if you watch more than a few shows, this is this fallacy of I’m going to be a cord cutter and I’m going to save money because they’re not going to charge me for the channels I don’t watch. But the economics don’t work. Eventually unless you don’t watch very much TV at all, you’ll pay anyway. You’ll just be paying for the specific stuff you want to watch. Which might be, you know, it’s more freedom but it’s not like you’re—a lot of people aren’t going to save any money because you know, it doesn’t scale if you watch more than a couple of things. Again if you’re a cord cutter and only literally once in a while watch HBO, great. Or Netflix. Great. But then you start adding in other programming and it gets messy really fast.
Leo: I really would want this direct drive between the viewers and the creators where just as you would like to see this with the music industry and of course it’s a long way off. But we’re, but a few artists, like Jonathan Coulton, I pay him directly. I like his music. I buy his songs. He gets the money.
Jason: You know my website has a subscription and we’re going to put together a membership thing for The Incomparable Podcast. We’re going to do one for that. And that’s direct, right? And that, I think that works although again I worry that ultimately people are going to tire of having a whole bunch of $5 dollar a month subscriptions to their favorite things.
Leo: The 50 podcasts I listen to, each one is $5 bucks that’s a lot of money.
Jason: That’s a lot of money.
Leo: We’re actually going to talk about podcasts in just a little bit because The New York Times had a front page story today in the Sunday Times. It was all wrong. And as podcasters, I think we need to explain what is wrong. It’s coming up in just a little bit. Our show today brought to you by GoToMeeting, the meeting MVP. Take your meetings to the next level with GoToMeeting. It is the way to have a meeting, whether it’s just a conference call, like usually if I’m setting up a conference call, we’ll set up a GoToMeeting. I can meet with anybody around the world, of course clients and colleagues. Ah, but if I want to turn on my screen sharing, now they can see my screen. They can see the power point presentation or we can collaborate on a document. And if I turn on my camera now they can see me and I can see them. And suddenly it’s like a face to face meeting without any of the inconvenience or expense of travel. I love GoToMeeting for this. Start a meeting with a click of the mouse. And by the way, very easy for your clients. You don’t want to make them jump through hoops to meet with you, to see your sales presentation. And they won’t. They get an email. They click a link. 30 seconds later they’re seeing you. They’re seeing your presentation. Clients prefer it. They prefer it. No more 8 martini lunches and you know, I got to talk to the guy. They just want to see what they’re offering. You can pass off presenter duties with ease so it’s really easy to have multiple presenters in multiple places. You can share your screen. Share your video. Even send private chat in video links. GoToMeeting. Time to put on your best performance and be a meeting MVP. Your free 30-day trial awaits. GoToMeeting.com. Go there right now. You’ll see an orange button that says Try It Free. Click that and I’m telling you, within two minutes you’ll be up and running with GoToMeeting. We’re talking about the week’s tech news as we always do on a Sunday afternoon with some of the smartest people in the tech business. Luria Pertucci is here. Her new enterprise Geeks University.
Leo: What do I learn at a Geeks University?
Luria: So we have free content and free courses. We actually, we teach people how to use live streaming and online video to grow their business, to get more traffic, more fans, more sales, all of that good stuff.
Leo: So it’s what we were just talking about with Elon Musk. He knows, really knows how to pull those strings and how to do it. You teach people how to do that.
Luria: Yea, I’ve been doing it for 10 years and so I, we take all of that, all the lessons learned and teach people step by step how to do it. We actually have a free course out right now at GeeksUniversity.com/livestream where we teach people the 3 biggest mistakes that people make with live stream. So you’re doing it, you can—
Leo: I’m probably making all three of them, aren’t I?
Luria: (Laughing) You can avoid those mistakes, yes.
Leo: Don’t be old.
Luria: That’s what you learn. I’m big on live streaming and all that fun stuff.
Leo: GeeksUniversity.com/livestream. Jason Snell is here. Good friend. I was just—you know Kate Botello was out here. She said to say hi. And I said, “You know Jason?” She said, “Of course. He did the Mac tips on Call for Help.”
Jason: You were showing a clip on what happened last week of you guys being blurry and I was like I was on that show. Absolutely back in Z days.
Leo: It’s hard to believe. We’ve been doing this a long—you know, May 11th which is what, 3 days away, is the 18th anniversary of Tech TV with ZDTV. 18 years ago. Wow.
Jason: It’s hard to believe.
Leo: It was a long time. Doing it longer than that because I started doing just technology radio in ’92 so this is my 24th year. Ha ha ha ha. Eye, eye, eye.
Luria: (Laughing) Don’t you still love it though?
Leo: Oh, you know what? It’s the best beat ever because it’s fun. I mean this stuff is great. I can’t wait to see the new—just got the HTC 10. You know the reason I got into it back when I started writing for magazines, I bet you have a similar story. Back, I started writing for magazines in ’78. And so I could get free software. Because I couldn’t afford because stuff was expensive. You know, floppy discs and all that stuff. And I said to myself, I remember very well, I would like to always have the latest and greatest stuff. And how can I do that? And that’s how I got—one of the reasons I got into tech journalism. Also because I loved it. And as it turned out I was kind of able to talk about it in a way that normal people could understand. But Kurt, why did you get into this business? Where’d you come from?
Kurt: You know, I was destined to be the centerfielder for the Seattle Mariners.
Leo: Oh, man.
Kurt: And all of a sudden, for some reason—
Leo: Your dream was—
Kurt: That didn’t work out. Exactly. And so I kind of got into journalism as doing some sports writing in college.
Leo: Oh neat.
Kurt: Then I edited the school newspaper. I was editor in chief and so I moved kind of more into news because if you’re the editor, you kind of got to be able to do a lot more than just sports and when I got out of school I had some opportunities in Silicon Valley to do tech and business. And once you kind of get in that pipeline it’s hard to transition. But it’s been good. I like it a lot. I like to cover that scene so it’s good.
Leo: Are you getting tired of it?
Kurt: No, no. I mean I have different—I would say whereas a lot of tech journalists have a strong passion in tech, I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily a passion of mine, but I think that’s actually better.
Leo: I agree.
Kurt: Because it kind of puts, you know, lets me look at it through a lens of someone who doesn’t necessarily think of this as a huge part of my life outside of work. Whereas with sports of course, that is a passion of mine. So maybe I wouldn’t have been as objective or it would have been harder to cover. No, but yea. I like business writing. It’s fun.
Leo: We need, I think we do need people who are a little more objective. If people like me and Jason have a failing it’s that we love this stuff. And so you kind of are rooting for it all the time. So that is a disadvantage in some respects.
Jason: You’ve got to try to bring some skepticism whether you come with that perspective or you force yourself to have it.
Leo: Dvorak taught me that. He hates everything.
Jason: He does.
Leo: So I realize—and generally speaking he’s right, right? I realize you can say, you could just make your rule be everything sucks. And about 80% of the time, you’d be right. You’d have a very good track record. So I learned that you should be skeptical out of the box almost always. We just got the HTC Vive and I have to say that is really interesting. That’s the one that has hand paddles and sensors around you. We’ve been playing with it in the other room and there’s something that I was skeptical about for a long time and I’m starting to get the VR vision.
Jason: It’s good to start in a place of skepticism though, right? Like prove it to me. Show me why this is something.
Leo: And you probably all do this. I don’t want to be a cheerleader for something that ends up being a flop.
Leo: Which has happened for sure. But you really don’t want to get people to buy stuff that then they go, “Leo, you were wrong. This thing is crap.” So.
Luria: I like to focus on only tech that matters, you know? Only stuff that really impacts, you know, your life.
Leo: Well we all hope to do that. It’s hard not to become a fanboy. Anyway so this HTC is nice. And I’m a fan of the HTC company. I wanted them to do a phone that they—and I love the M7 and the M8, the original HTC Ones. But there were thing missing on that and I think we’ve really—Android is very interesting. It’s really matured the Android space to the point where there’s not much to distinguish this from the other top of the line Android devices like the LG G5 or the Galaxy S7. It’s a tiny amount of differences between them.
Jason: There’s some beautiful premium Android phones.
Leo: Yea, if you’re willing to pay 6 or 700 bucks for a phone. That’s the problem. They’re expensive. But this is the—if you’re a HTC fan I think you’d like this. The battery life not quite as good as the S7. Camera not quite as good as the S7. Screen not quite as good as the S7. And so I still think the S7 is the phone to beat these days. But it does have a Type-C connector. I long for the days when Apple and everybody else shifts over to this new connector. I don’t know if Apple will do it. They kind of, they just changed.
Jason: Right. It might happen someday.
Leo: There’ll be a backlash of all those people who bought lighting.
Jason: I think you’ll see it on all the Macs first before you’d see it on the iPhone.
Leo: Yea, you are seeing it on the Mac.
Jason: I know somebody with the big iPad Pro. I actually kind of think—
Leo: It would have been better.
Jason: They missed the boat by not having USB-C on the iPad Pro, yea.
Leo: It would have been better. Because you get not just a charger and not just a USB port, but you get really fast connectivity, up to Thunderbolt 3 connectivity which is 40 gigabytes per second. Or 40 gigabits per second. But you can also put video out of this at the same time. So it’s really the do all port. It’s really an amazing port. But, somebody’s asking in the chatroom, Galaxy S7’s the one. It’s still the one. The one to beat on the Android side. And I feel for you, Jason, because you will never be allowed to carry an Android device.
Jason: I have a what, a Nexus 5X I use as my Android reference.
Leo: Oh, that’s good.
Jason: Yea. I can see how bad Apple Music is on Android.
Leo: All right we should talk about Apple Music. Because I am interested in this story and we were debating this. I was debating this earlier today with the chatroom. You probably all saw the post on Vellum by a composer who kind of echoed what Jim Dalrymple had said about Apple Music’s loosing, Apple losing his music. The guy on Vellum is a composer who said, his piece was titled “Apple Stole My Music. No Seriously.” This is James Pinkstone. This is very similar to what Jim Dalrymple said.
Jason: Yea it gets some details wrong is the problem with it. Serenity Caldwell wrote a nice piece at iMore saying, “Apple probably didn’t delete your music off of your— “I think this is Apple’s fault. And probably not even because it’s a bug but because Apple’s service, especially their matching features and the way that the software is written in iTunes and the dialogue box you get when you actually press the delete key. You get this bizarre dialogue box that gives you these choices, all of which send, other than cancel, send your files to the trash. And not understanding how Apple Music matches your music and how your downloads work, it’s so complicated and you can very easily get to a point where you lose the music that isn’t protected and that all the music you’ve got is protected, DRM-ed and if you cancel you lose your files. You can get there without realizing you got there which is what I expect happened to the person who wrote this story.
Luria: That’s ridiculous. I mean that can’t happen from a company’s perspective.
Leo: Well A, I wouldn’t assume user error because I always hate to assume user error.
Jason: Yea it’s—the problem is his story is very much like I talked to an Apple genius who said this is totally a feature. And it’s not a feature.
Leo: That’s wrong.
Jason: He’s absolutely wrong about that. That Apple person was wrong in telling him that. And—
Leo: Actually let me give you the story.
Jason: So it’s either like I said. It’s either a bug or it’s a misunderstanding. Either way it’s bad and it’s Apple’s fault, yea.
Leo: Here’s what happened. He, as many of us do, apparently used Apple’s iTune’s Match feature.
Jason: Yea, although there’s a match feature in Apple Music that will do it.
Leo: So Apple Music is similar. He had his own compositions because he’s an amateur composer so he had his own compositions on the hard drive. They were in iTunes. He also had, and this to me seems more likely, he had rare versions of some songs like Fountains of Wayne’s I’ll Do the Driving. Now there’s a Fountain of—he had a Fountains of Wayne’s—
Jason: Yep. I’ve got that song. One of those versions.
Leo: Live, kind of like a piano demo.
Jason: No, it’s a—yea it’s an earlier version that’s mixed differently. I’ve got the two. Same song.
Leo: And then he also had—
Luria: Why don’t you give it to him then?
Leo: The problem is Apple—the good news is he had backups. So he did not lose anything. But he said what happened was Apple Music matched that to the single not to this rare original version and deleted it. And this is the real question mark because he asserts in here and I don’t think this is the case, but that Apple deletes music once it’s matched.
Jason: That’s not true.
Leo: I don’t think this is true. And he claims that an Apple person told him this. I’m sure that’s not true. What he says is “When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my massive collection of MP3s and WAV files, scanned Apple’s database for what it considered matches,” and we all acknowledge those matches could be wrong easily.
Jason: And often they are wrong.
Leo: And often they are wrong. But this is the thing I question. He says, “Then removed the original files from my internal hard drive. Removed them. Deleted them. If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize—which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself—it would then download it to Apple’s database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen. That’s not behavior that iTunes does.
Jason: That’s not how it’s designed. Now is it possible that there’s some weird bug in iTunes that caused this to happen? Yea. I suspect we would have heard about it sooner.
Leo: Probably user error but I hate to judge it. And God knows iTunes is buggy enough and Apple Music has enough problems. And Jim Dalrymple who is not an unsophisticated user had a very similar experience.
Jason: The difference is, so what happened with Jim is that his metadata all got messed up and then also if you’re on a machine—
Leo: He claimed originally that a significant amount of music was also deleted.
Jason: Yea, but again I’m unclear whether that happened because it deleted it or because he misunderstood.
Leo: He deleted it.
Jason: Because seriously, the dialogue box that when you hit delete, one of the options is Remove Download? Which implies it’s this transitory file that you downloaded from the internet. What it really does is it throws your music in the trash. See there it is. You’ve got it.
Leo: Are you sure you want to delete this song? I would say, not, right?
Jason: So delete song is scary. Remove Download. Ok, well that sounds safer because it’s just a download. That’s fine. I can get it back. But if it’s mismatched it, then that download is actually your original file even if you ripped it from an MP3 or created it yourself and then it will just throw it in the trash. And the next time you say, “Hey, I’m short on disk space. I’ll empty the trash,” boom, you’ve deleted your files. And you can’t get them back because the ones that Apple keeps up on the server are wrong because they’re a mismatch, like that Fountains of Wayne song.
Leo: So there’s no question that there’s mismatching happening. But that happens, ZDBD would do that all the time too.
Jason: Yea, I think, I mean I think Apple was overconfident about its ability to match songs and if you’ve got live albums it will match them to studio albums. You’ve got rarities it will mismatch them. It happens all the time. It’s a mess. And the biggest problem is, although that should be better and Apple should be less confident in it, there’s also literally no way to say, “Uh, uh. You’ve got this wrong. Just take my freaking file and put it in the cloud.” You can’t override iTunes Match or iCloud Music Library.
Leo: Well that’s a flaw.
Jason: You can’t say, “Please just put my rarities in the cloud.” You can’t do it.
Leo: Yea. So I think that probably Pinkstone is wrong asserting that Apple, and maybe Apple did tell him this, some renegade service.
Jason: Yea. But it’s not, if you look at the description on that website—
Leo: It’s not what’s supposed to happen.
Jason: It’s not supposed to happen. Right, this is not a policy. And I think he, understandably angry because he lost his files but it’s not like this is Apple’s policy to find your music and destroy it. That’s not it. Either there’s a bug or it’s just terrible design. And it all comes back to the fact that you know, it’s merging your library with what’s on the cloud in the music service. And probably, there was another piece that Serenity wrote on iMore this week that was basically maybe Apple should stop. Stop trying to match your music with the cloud and just let you have your music and let you have Apple Music and the cloud and keep them separate because then this stuff wouldn’t happen.
Leo: Yea. New York Times article, front page of the Sunday Times. I was all excited. I saw, oh podcast surge on the front page of the New York Times, Sunday Times. But producers fear Apple isn’t listening. When I saw that I thought, “Huh?” So the article I think got it wrong in almost every respect. Thank God for Marco Arment who wrote a response in which he said Apple, The New York Times got this wrong in almost every regard.
Jason: It’s very rare when you see content creators say, “Hey, we would like a new—“ I mean this is literally like saying we would like someone as powerful as YouTube or Facebook to be the intermediary and take control of what we’re doing. Like—
Leo: This worried me because first of all the Times did not interview me and didn’t interview you. And I don’t know anybody they interviewed but they say they talked to many of the big podcasters.
Jason: Right, most of which are NPR people.
Leo: Well that’s the problem. In New York City they think podcasting equals NPR.
Jason: Former NPR people, current NPR people.
Leo: Interviews with over 2 dozen podcasters and people inside Apple reveal a variety of complaints. The producers—and this is true, although I don’t complain about it because we have a good relationship with iTunes, but the podcasters say that they are relegated to wooing a single Apple employee for promotion. That’s true. That’s Steve.
Jason: Steve Wilson.
Leo: Great guy, love Steve. And that’s true. In every country there’s a Steve, a different Steve but there’s a Steve.
Jason: There’s always a Steve.
Leo: But you shouldn’t be relying on Apple promotion in iTunes. If that’s what you’re relying on anyway. The thing that scared me a little bit more is according to The Times, Apple brought seven leading podcast professionals to the campus last month to air their case to a room full of employees. The people would speak only, blah, blah, blah. The company made no promises but several pressing issues for podcasters were discussed in frank terms. And after the presentations, Eddy Cue arrived for a closed session with the company’s employees. Now the reason this scares me is because they’re saying Apple should do better, should give us information about our listeners. Apple should count our downloads. Why isn’t Apple doing more for us podcasters? And I don’t want that.
Jason: Yea. People don’t realize, Apple doesn’t serve podcasts. Apple is a directory of RSS feeds.
Leo: They’re simply a directory.
Jason: And then they’ve got their own podcast app. And they could do stats from their podcast app. They could, right, and in fact they know those stats already. Like what you listen to. They may be monitoring that. But even if they are, that’s going to be what, 50% maybe of the podcast market not 100%. So, yea.
Luria: They have to monitor that because they have to curate. And they have to show what’s hot, what’s—
Leo: Ok, so this is important and nobody understand this properly and it really bugs the heck out of me. Yes, they have a billboard style list, right, of the top podcasts. That is a simple count of the number of times the subscribe button is pressed and it heavily weights if not 100% weights, nobody’s really sure, the last few weeks.
Leo: So for instance, and I think if you looked at that you would assume oh, the number one podcast, which is always This American Life by the way, the number one podcast must have more listeners than the number 100 podcast. That’s not necessarily true. In fact it’s not true because I know, because I know what my numbers are.
Jason: Right because it’s a subscription relationship, it’s not a pop music hit single relationship.
Leo: It’s like Billboard. It’s how many button, times the subscribe button was pressed this week basically.
Jason: Right and Apple, also MP3 podcasts and MP3 downloads basically. They’re file downloads. And what Apple does not seem to be doing in their podcast app or in iTunes is radioing back like where you are in the file. Or that you got to the end. Or that you listened to the ad.
Leo: Advertisers would like that.
Jason: They would love that.
Leo: But no podcaster wants that information (laughing).
Jason: I’m not sure the listeners want that either.
Leo: And that’s the bigger issue. I know my listeners don’t want us tracking. You don’t want us tracking how much of the show you listen to. You don’t want us to know that information or more demographic information about you. We don’t want to know that and I don’t want to be in the position of asking Apple for that. And I don’t think Apple wants to be in the position of collecting that.
Leo: The only people actually asking for that would be advertisers.
Luria: I don’t think Apple wants to be in the business of it. And I don’t want Apple to be in the business of it. But at the same time, I do want that. I do want that information. I want to know kind of where my listeners are. I want to know what people are actually paying attention to more and more. Now with iTunes, you’re absolutely right. It’s a podcast directory, right, so I get that information from elsewhere. The one thing I would like to see from—I go back and forth on this. I often find myself wanting more of a connection with the people watching on iTunes or listening on iTunes because you know, even a simple kind of social commenting system or something like that. But then I always come down to the fact that that’s not how people use iTunes. It is purely a grab and go system, right? So I can see where other platforms, other podcasters and big companies are wanting that. Because I often find myself, like I can’t get to the people watching on iTunes.
Leo: Well I would just point out that that’s what screwed up the web. And that desire for blogs to know everything about you is what created Ad Tech and what created ad blockers. And this is not an arms race that I want to get into. And I think any reasonable podcaster would want to get into. We do surveys every year. And if people want to participate they can. And that’s all we need to know. We don’t even really need to know much. We actually have decided on our next survey to ask far fewer questions. We don’t need to know that much. We’d just like to know a little demographic information in general because advertisers would like to know. But we do not want to get, and Marco says this, we don’t want to get into a situation where advertisers know whether you as a podcast listener searched for a new refrigerator yesterday or whether you listen to ads or whether you listen to it at all. Big publishers and advertisers might want this but I can tell you right now, this is exactly what we as users don’t want, right? And we don’t want to require, for instance as I think some would, oh you have to use the iTunes player so then Apple can just give us information about how many people heard ad 3.
Jason: Some podcasters have decided, I would argue that they’re not podcasters anymore when they do this, but like they build their own ad, or their own app.
Leo: Right. You have to listen in our app.
Jason: And they’re like, “You have to listen to things in our app.” And I feel like some of the motivation of them going to Apple and talking about this is like, Apple’s podcast app and iTunes are so big—
Leo: Why can’t your app do this for us?
Jason: It’s an open system, right? It’s totally open and so as long as Apple is just letting people listen to podcasts and not measuring everything they do, it will be very hard for them to get a really good control of the data of podcast listening. And so they’re like, “No, no. Help us out here.” And I—this is one of those cases where Apple’s actually been a very good steward of podcasting.
Jason: They haven’t always been super engaged.
Leo: Because they’ve been hands off.
Jason: But maybe that’s all a good thing, right? Ever since 2005 or whenever they put this in. They just sort of keep the directory there. They did roll out some new features for podcast publishers in the last few weeks. You can now get access to your iTunes information on the backend and change it and add Podcasts and things which was previously sort of a secret that only a few people had access to. And that’s good but you know it is un-Apple like in a lot of ways because they’re basically just, you know, they don’t serve any of the content. All they do is provide the directory and it’s pretty good.
Kurt: Do you think—if I can jump in real quick, do you think all of that is basically because up until now, podcasts were not really a big business? I mean I feel like in the last year or two is when podcasts really became a more mainstream thing versus a niche thing I suppose. And maybe I’m, my ignorance is showing here in that that’s kind of when I started getting involved in podcasts or listening to them. But do you think that now that it’s like hey, this could actually be a business, all of a sudden there’s a need and a realization that we need to be able to know who’s listening, how long they’re listening, in order to make this a reality.
Leo: And I can tell you, by the way, you know the New York Times says—there’s some funny. That the business is worth, what do they say in advertising business and podcasting is worth something like, what do they say, $57 million dollars. And if that’s true then I actually own 25% of the podcast revenue in the world. That it is a good business. It’s been a very good business for us. And as one of the actual large podcasters, and one of the few people making money in this business, the last thing we want to do and I am with you, Marco, if you’re listening, I am so with you, is to—his last sentence is in his blog post is “Let big data and the desire to make money off of podcasts do to podcasts what it did to the web.” This is not where we’re going and I can promise all of our listeners that we will never go that way. And we do just fine, thank you, without using big data and spying on you and keeping track of you. And I bet you, Jason, you would agree that this is not the direction you would want to go in.
Jason: Absolutely. It’s an open system right now. The last thing I want to do to podcasters is end up having to work with a bunch of huge providers that are going to use my data and take advantage of it. And that’s really what people are asking for here. And also, yea, we can see what’s happened to the web and the model was—
Jason: Give everything away and measure everything. And you actually lose. And it’s not just like we’re trying to get away with something. That’s not the case. There’s a lot of stuff that gets devalued when you only measure things the way that web ads are measured. And when you look at TV ads or print ads or billboard ads, there are lots of ads that are not directly measureable. You use indirect means to do it. And those businesses are relevant advertising businesses. Not everything needs to be a text link that you click on and get a referral link on.
Luria: I definitely fear the direction that we’re going where people put more attention on those numbers than on the actual effectiveness. It happens across social like you know, everybody’s like, “Oh you have 2 million social media followers. Awesome.” But what’s the effectiveness of it? We have to spend more effort pushing that. And Leo, you do that wonderfully, you know, but than any kind of number based system. But I am kind of curious, since we’re talking about kind of ads and retargeting and all of that stuff, from the audience and from your guys’ perspective, when I’m, as much as I want my privacy protected, I also appreciate when I see an ad that’s specific to what I want. Like I don’t actually pay any attention to ads until, right? That’s just natural behavior.
Leo: So much advertising is wasted because it’s advertising to somebody who’s never going to be buying that product.
Luria: Right. And I guess, I mean if we go with what we’ve all done for years, it’s based on the host and the producer to decide to talk to the audience and decide what ads are most relevant, but—
Leo: We do something and I think you do the same thing. I know Jason does this. It’s very different from the traditional model which is we try to bring advertisers to people that we know our audience wants. And we know our audience because we’re niche broadcasters. Although I guess I’m bigger than I thought because according to the New York Times, there are 46 million Americans listening to podcasts each month, and since we have 12 million, I think we actually have a large share of the podcast—yea.
Kurt: Good work.
Leo: These numbers are wrong. They’re just wrong. And it’s all because—you nailed it. It’s Serial and Gimlet and all of these New York focused ex-NPR people who are unfortunately not, they are not—podcasting is a grass roots movement. It’s not—
Jason: I can try to channel them a little bit. I get what they’re saying in the sense that right now it’s very hard to get even consistent numbers in terms of like what’s a download? What’s a listen? What’s your subscriber base. How is that calculated? And I get trying to find out. NPR people have been trying to do that. They’ve made a document that’s like, here’s what we think. Listenership should be defined as. And it’s a new medium. That’s going to happen. I get that. I just, I kind of can’t get the idea that they’re saying, “Hey, you know, Apple, why don’t you come in here and be heavy handed. Stop it with this light touch. Why don’t you take control like you did with the music industry and with—“
Leo: Please, please.
Jason: It’s a terrible idea.
Leo: This is 50 shades of podcasts. Please take me, Mr. Apple. They talk with a woman from a podcast called Call Your Girlfriend. And she says, “With data like listener counts and listening duration similar to what Apple provides app developers, the industry could accelerate quickly.”
Jason: Oh good. Can you imagine that?
Luria: The benefit of how iTunes is structured is that you as a podcast producer can drive traffic to your own property and not be owned by a YouTube or something.
Leo: Right, right.
Luria: So you could still drive traffic regardless of what platform you’re on. If they go down, you go down if you put all your eggs there, so.
Leo: Yea and what we really don’t want—and of course Marco who has some experience with the app store, we really don’t want Apple to create an app store experience out of podcasting. That is really not the right way to do it.
Jason: No, podcasting is free. Anybody can do it. They don’t need to go to a particular provider. You put up your feed. You put up your files. People can find you in the iTunes directory and the Google Play directory and other places. And it’s a pretty great thing right now. And I—
Leo: I feel we’re hippies. And that Wall Street’s a-coming.
Jason: Just chill out, man. Come on.
Luria: I think it’s actually, because we teach online video and stuff to people just getting into it, because we’ve been around this world for so long, people just getting into it, they find iTunes extremely confusing.
Leo: Oh, it’s horrible.
Luria: Because it’s not like YouTube. It’s not like Facebook. With those it’s very simple to figure out. Ok, you create a channel and you upload your stuff there. They take care of all the hosting. And then you go to iTunes and you want to be there. From that perspective it’s actually very confusing from a platform stance.
Leo: So Steve Wilson, and I know you listen, Jason and I, we love you. Keep up the good work at iTunes. And don’t listen to whatever those people you brought in told you. We don’t want—we like what you’re doing just fine. Just keep it the way it is.
Luria: Steve does awesome work.
Leo: You know him too.
Jason: Apple has done right by podcasters for a long time in terms of being open. And I’m not saying like kickbacks. I’m saying like they’re open to whomever and have really embraced that they’re, that the next great podcast can come from anywhere not just from somebody who used to work at a public radio station.
Leo: I like Steve’s boss James Boggs too. He’s a nice, he’s a really nice guy.
Jason: I feel for those guys because they’re in the New York Times, too.
Leo: All of a sudden.
Jason: They’ve got a whole bunch of email coming they’re way.
Leo: Hey, I have a podcast. Maybe you can help me. Let’s take a break and we’ll wrap this up with some light, airy, fluffy stories to leave you with a wonderful—
Luria: Kitty cats?
Leo: Kitty cats. A wonderful taste in your mouth. That’s the deal. I want to talk about Stamps.com. Somebody in the chatroom said, “I’m a 59-year-old white male. There’s nothing you can advertise that I would be interested in.” I bet this is. Do you ever as your business, you mail brochures, bills? Do you send out you know packages? Do you sell on Etsy or EBay or Amazon? And you’re using the postal service. I’ve got so much of a better way to do it. Stamps.com. It’s everything the post office brings you without leaving your desk. So it’s starts by of course buying and printing official postage from your desk using your computer and printer. No postage meter. Your computer and your printer. But it gets even better because with Stamps.com, the Post Office loves Stamps.com. And with Stamps.com you get discounts you can’t get at the post office. You can use their digital scale to make sure you have exactly the right postage on any kind of postage whether it’s media mail or a box or an envelope or a post card you can, it’s just awesome. Stamps.com, I’ll walk you through it. Go to Stamps.com, click on the microphone on the right. Enter TWIT. You’re going to get the Stamps.com kind of no risk trial offer. That includes that digital scale right there, the USB scale. You get a $5-dollar supply kit. You get $55 dollars in free postage, too. So you plug the scale into an USB port. You log into your account. You click on print postage at the top of the page. You can print on plain paper. You can print right on an envelope with your company logo, the return address. You can print a Stamps.com label that you slap on the package. It looks pro. It looks great. You know exactly what the item weights. You know exactly how much postage. And by the way, Stamps will suggest mailing options. All classes of mail including certified mail and tell you how much it’s going to cost and you choose. It’s so awesome. And then the mail carrier comes and picks it up and takes it. You never got up. It takes all the guesswork out of getting postage. It is a better way. And it makes you look more professional. That’s really important. If you’re an Etsy seller, an EBay seller or an Amazon seller, you will look pro. And it’s saving you time and money. Go to Stamps.com. Again, click the microphone, use the promo code TWiT. You’re going to get the 4 week trial. You’re going to get the $110 dollar bonus offer, that includes the postage and the scale. That is a much better deal than is on the front page so make sure you do that. Click the microphone and use the offer code TWIT at Stamps.com. We use it all the time. It was actually Carly showing off the Stamps scale.
Leo: Have you been following, has anyone followed the Bitcoins, Satoshi Nakamoto soap opera? I’m just loving this. Just loving this. Dr. Craig Wright says, “I’m Satoshi. Yep. I am. I’m him. I am. Really. And I’m going to prove it by posting a screen shot of some UNIX code, some LINUX code. That will prove it. And maybe I’ll cut and paste a cryptographic signature from somewhere else that looks real.” And the sad thing is, The Economist and BBC kind of fell for it. And probably because Gavin Andresen who was the former director, I’ve interviewed him on Triangulation, former director of the Bitcoin, and one of the few people who have corresponded with the actual Satoshi Nakamoto some time ago, and when Nakamoto dropped out of site in 2011, took over for him to run Bitcoin, said, “Oh, yea. It’s Satoshi. I recognize him anywhere.” I think Gavin’s backed off a little bit. He’s the chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation and Dan Kaminsky, he’s one of hackers, wrote a great article. He was a little puzzled. So he emailed Gavin and said, “What’s going on here? There’s clear, unambiguous, cryptographic evidence of fraud and you’re lending credibility to the idea that a public key operation could, should or must remain private?” So even though oddly Gavin did not post this on his blog, he responded to Dan Kaminsky and said, “Yea, what the heck? I was as surprised by the proof as anyone and don’t yet know exactly what’s going on. It was a mistake to agree to publish my post before I saw his. I assumed his post would simply be a signed message anyone could verify.” It wasn’t. So he’s backed down a little bit. The whole thing is just another one of those stories like Newsweek’s story a couple of years ago saying we found him. No one has found him. Mostly because it would be very easy to prove you are Satoshi Nakamoto.
Jason: You’ve just got to spend one of those Bitcoins from the first block.
Leo: Spend one of those Bitcoins. Yep. And Craig Wright can’t, won’t do it. So bye-bye, Craig. By the way, he’s fled the country. He was in Australia and he fled the country because he’s being investigated by Australian tax authorities. Oh there—ok.
Jason: Yea, goodbye.
Leo: Where is that? Is that Gavin’s blog? No, it’s Craig’s blog. He says, “I’m sorry. I believed that I could do this. I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me.” Classic con man. Never admit, never admit guilt. “But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I can’t do it. When the rumors began, my qualifications and character were attacked. When those allegations were proven false, new allegations have already begun. I know now that I am not strong enough for this.” Oh that’s it. It’s not that I can’t do it, I’m just not strong enough. “I know that this weakness will cause great damage to those that have supported me, and particularly to Jon and Gavin. I can only hope that their honor and credibility is not irreparably tainted by my actions. They were not deceived, but I know that the world will never believe that now. I can only say I'm sorry. And goodbye." Oh, man.
Leo: I didn’t see that. Thank you for pulling that up, Jason. I hadn’t seen that. Oh, I could do it. I really could. But I’m not gonna. Ok. A little light comedy. Anything else you guys want to talk about before we wrap this thing up here? I think you’re flagging.
Leo: Cats. Kitty cats?
Jason: Cats. Content.
Leo: You want to know how I do that?
Jason: Cats with context. Curated cats with context.
Leo: Tribute.google.com. Everybody should do this. This is a good solution. Oh. Nevermind.
Luria: (Laughing) Nice.
Jason: We’ve reached the end of the internet everybody.
Leo: Well, we’ve done all we can. The internet’s over. Obviously it’s google.com/contribute. If this is wrong, then I’m just going home. I’m sorry. I don’t have the strength to go on. I believed in what I was doing but apparently you don’t. What the heck? Is it gone? Am I getting it wrong? Contributor.
Leo: Thank you. Anyway the idea is—geez Louise. You see fewer ads and you support the sites you visit. Is Recode one of these? I think it might be because I think I see kitty cats.
Kurt: I don’t know. I wish I did know, but sorry I don’t. You’re speaking to the wrong person.
Leo: It doesn’t have to be kitty cats but I happened to choose kitty cats. So you see, I’ve contributed $10 bucks. And I’ve only spent $.077 cents. They give you the money back at the end of the month if you haven’t spent it. That’s because I’m running an ad blocker too. Whoops. Whoops. Shouldn’t do that. These are all the sites that get a little bit of money every time I visit them. And then in your settings you can choose, instead of the ads, what you’d like to see. And I choose kitty cats. It doesn’t have to be. I could be anything. But see, wouldn’t you like that, Callie?
Luria: I would. I would very much like that.
Leo: So here’s your choices. Replace ads with neutral, transparent, or kitty cats. Well why wouldn’t you choose kitty cats?
Luria: Why not? Come one.
Leo: You actually can provide your own image if you wish but.
Luria: But what’s the fun in that? I mean they’re random cats, right?
Leo: Oh, it’s different every time. It’s awesome.
Leo: And it’s really good on mobile. Because you know, for some reason, sites with mobile, with ads are worse on mobile. There are just ads everywhere and now I get kitty cats everywhere. Highly recommended.
Luria: And they make your day.
Leo: Silicon Valley engineering interns make good money. Interns. These are not employees. The average intern in Silicon Valley makes $81,000 dollars a year according to Rodney Fultz who’s going to be an intern at Yelp soon. That’s almost twice what the average wage is in the United States. So, get an engineering degree. My son I’m glad to say is going to be a Silicon Valley intern this week, this summer. Very happy.
Kurt: Smart man.
Leo: Smart man. I think he’s gunning for Patriot. I think he wants to work at Patriot. And I think he’s going to do that. I think I sent them a note. I sent Jack a note saying hey. All right, I think we’re done. I think I’ve used up all your energy, all your resources. Your blood sugar is low.
Jason: And all the cats.
Leo: All the cats.
Kurt: Send chocolate.
Leo: Send chocolate fast.
Kurt: And Gatorade please.
Leo: I warned you, Kurt. I warned you. It’s great to have you. Kurt Wagner from Recode, recode.net. What are you covering this week? What are you looking at?
Kurt: You know I actually have a big story set to run tomorrow morning in honor of our new design, our new layout.
Leo: Oh but you’re not going to tell us.
Kurt: I can’t say a lot but it’s—
Leo: Top secret.
Kurt: It’s on my beat which is Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, social media, that stuff. And it’s, I’m very excited. I’ve been working on it for quite a while, so.
Leo: Nice. Did they ever have you on the podcast? Did they ever let you do the podcast or is it just Kara, just hog the whole thing?
Kurt: You know she likes to let people guest host. I actually hosted my first episode but it hasn’t been produced yet.
Kurt: It was just last week. I chatted with a man by the name of Maverick Carter. He’s the business mind, the business and branding mind behind LeBron James.
Leo: Oh. See, fascinating.
Kurt: So it was a lot of fun. Kind of a sports business marketing conversation and we taped it last week. And hopefully it will go up in the next week or two.
Leo: Boy, is that in your wheelhouse.
Kurt: Oh, it was great. I was pushing for it. And Kara calls it every sport is sports ball to her.
Leo: Yea, yea.
Kurt: So she was more than happy I think to pass this one over to me.
Leo: Most importantly, is she going to get another cameo in Silicon Valley this year?
Kurt: That’s a good question. I actually don’t think so.
Leo: I think it’s Calacanis this time.
Kurt: Yea, I don’t think she’s in this season. But a handful of us got to go to the premier a few weeks ago.
Leo: Oh, fun. Oh, did you go to that?
Kurt: Yea. I was there.
Leo: How’d you get a ticket to that? I wanted to go to that. That looked fun.
Kurt: Yea, Well I guess you’ve got to know the right people. I guess. I don’t know.
Leo: Know the right people. I’m interviewing Dan Lyons tomorrow and Triangulation.
Kurt: Are you?
Leo: He’s one of the writers. You’d think—I’m going to put him on the spot tomorrow.
Kurt: Next year you’ll get to go then sounds like.
Leo: Dan, where was my ticket to the premier? It’s still a good show and I just love it.
Leo: Somebody was saying after last week’s episode it was too real. It was actually, it was like, ah you know when the CEO who’s saying “You know we’re going to take your, we’re going to pivot. We’re going B to B now.” It was like, oh, this is painful. I’ve been there. I can’t watch. Recode.net. Jason, it’s great to have you. Jason Snell. So many podcasts, The Incomparable.
Jason: Yea, if you can find them.
Leo: Pod for Ham which is all about Hamilton.
Jason: Yea, we’ve got that. We’re going to do a little song about that Feinstein-Burr bill. If it isn’t Feinstein-Burr, sir. We’ll work on it. We’ll work on it.
Leo: You should. That’s good. I like it.
Jason: You and me. We can do a duet.
Leo: Gotta call Lin Manual.
Jason: Nerdiest duet ever.
Leo: (Laughing) and of course sixcolors.com.
Leo: Great to see you. Thank you for coming up. I appreciate it.
Jason: Always a pleasure.
Leo: And my dearest, my sweetest, my most wonderful friend, Luria Petrucci. It’s so good to see you doing so well.
Luria: Thank you.
Leo: And the humidity in Portland is great for your hair.
Leo: All that rain.
Luria: It’s wonderful weather up here. It’s been awesome.
Leo: Yea, nice. That’s great. And everything’s going well at geeksuniversity.com. Get your free trial, geeksuniversity.com/livestream.
Luria: Free mini course there for everybody. And then also some free other courses on mobile video at geeksuniversity.com. You just sign up as a limited access member. But we also are doing The Tech Show Daily on Facebook so that’s at 10:00 AM Pacific.
Leo: I think that’s awesome.
Luria: And it’s just Facebook.com/geekslifenet so.
Leo: I’ve got to do that. I don’t de enough live video. I want to do more.
Luria: It’s (laughing)—
Leo: I told—you know what? I actually have a killer idea. And I’ve told people this before so I won’t belabor it. But you know I ordered that MiVO camera that Mark demoed at F8, the camera that kind of follows you automatically. You don’t need a switch. You can switch on the iPhone but it also will follow you around. And I figured out, I was thinking, “What can I do with this on YouTube video?” And I’m going to do Hot Tub Tech Machine. And if you would like to come be my guest in the hot tub, anytime.
Luria: (Laughing) Hot Tub Tech Machine.
Leo: Hot Tub Tech Machine. Join Leo in his hot tub talking about tech.
Luria: Oh boy.
Leo: It’s a good show. That’s from the pilot.
Leo: I did learn a lesson from the pilot. Wear trunks. I’m just saying I wasn’t—from now on.
Kurt: Good life lesson.
Luria: And keep the camera far from the steam.
Leo: Good life lesson. Yea.
Luria: You want to make sure you keep that camera far from the steam and use the MiVO app in order to zoom in.
Leo: To switch. No, no, don’t zoom. No zooming.
Luria: No, no, no (laughing).
Leo: Zoom out.
Luria: I’m just going to shut up.
Leo: (Laughing) Great to see you, Luria. Thank you for joining us.
Luria: You too, Leo.
Leo: I didn’t call you Callie more than a couple of times. That’s pretty good. I’m happy about that.
Luria: You’re getting better.
Leo: I’m getting better.
Luria: I mean heck—
Leo: It’s getting in my head.
Luria: You and I, you know, we’ve worked with each other—
Leo: I’ve known you as Callie for a decade.
Luria: 2006 I think it was when we worked together so, yea.
Leo: Yea. Luria hosted, co-hosted with me our Call for Help show in Canada for a couple of weeks, right? You came up for a while. A month.
Luria: It was a—yea, I did 3 months there.
Leo: 3 months (whistle).
Luria: I’m excited to hear you don’t remember all of them.
Leo: No, they were good.
Luria: I’m just teasing.
Leo: You were great. You’re the greatest. Thanks to everybody who’s in our studio audience, great studio audience. You were wonderful. Very patient (laughing). If you want to be in the studio audience, you too could join this marathon of pain. You just have to email email@example.com. We’ll make sure we put a nice comfy seat out for you. Or maybe not so comfy. Sorry about that. We can’t afford good chairs, ok. We also do the show live Sunday afternoon and that means you can watch on the internet live. Not on Facebook yet. Maybe I should probably think about that. But on our stream at live.twit.tv. 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 Eastern time, 2200 UTC. Please do watch live. Join us in the chatroom at irc.twit.tv. We’d love that. But if you can’t, on demand audio and video is always available after the fact at our website twit.tv. But you can also get it at iTunes and every other podcasting application. There’s even TWiT apps. And you know what? We didn’t write them. So we don’t use them to collect information on you. I don’t even know who you are. Just, I don’t know you but I love you. Get the app. Subscribe. Be here every week. You don’t want to miss a minute. Thank you for joining us; we’ll see you next time! Another TWiT is in the can. Bye-bye. I don’t know you but I love you.