This Week in Tech 564
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiT! Before we get started, of course, it's Memorial Day weekend in the United States and I want to thank the members of our armed forces. The men and women who give so much to protect us in the United States on this Memorial Day and those especially who have given the greatest sacrifice. Let's not forget them. We've got a great TWiT ahead. Philip Elmer Dewitt, Stacey Higginbotham, and my friend Christina Warren. We'll talk about the latest news, including Google besting Oracle for now. Teslas, you know they can't jump. We'll find out what that means, and a whole lot more. Stay tuned, TWiT is next!
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Leo: This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 565, recorded Sunday, May 29, 2016.
Teslas Can't Jump
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It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech, the show where we cover the latest tech news with some of the best tech journalists in the business. We got a great panel. I'm going to have fun today. Christina Warren is here, Film Girl, from Mashable. Always love seeing you on the panel. Thank you for joining us.
Christina Warren: Happy to be here.
Leo: Behind you your Apple TV is displaying shots of San Francisco.
Leo: I love that. It's really pretty. Welcome. Your microphone is way off to your right. I don't know why. Maybe you should bring that in a little. Are you facing differently then you usually do. I like to hear you. Also with us, I think it's his first appearance with us since leaving Fortune Magazine, Philip Elmer DeWitt. I want to find out about the new effort.
Philip Elmer DeWitt: Yeah, well.
Leo: You got a new camera. That looks good.
Philip: It's the same camera; it's just in focus. I don't know what happened last time.
Leo: Minor detail. Also with us, Stacey Higginbotham, who is our newest co-host on This Week in Google. Hello, Stacey.
Stacey Higginbotham: Hello!
Leo: Stacey hosts an IOT podcast with Kevin Toeffel and we call her Stacey IOT, which does not mean Staceyot.
Stacey: It's close to Stacey Idiot. Don't do that.
Leo: Also, worked with... did you guys work together at Fortune?
Stacey: We did. I think I've edited some of his stories.
Philip: We sat next to each other a couple times at meetings.
Stacey: You were far away. Yes. In meetings.
Leo: It's great to have two former “Fortuners.” I'm not going to draw any conclusion from that.
Philip: They hired up and then they whittled down.
Leo: We don't know that.
Philip: We do.
Leo: I've been listening to Daniel Lion's Book Disrupted on his abrupt departure from Newsweek and his attempts to make a life for himself in marketing, and it's really funny. Oh my god.
Philip: The excerpts were funny. I wonder if it holds...
Stacey: It holds. I like it.
Leo: He's a funny writer. I like his stuff.
Philip: He once said he was never as funny as he was writing fake Steve Jobs. He never could do it again.
Leo: That would be a tough thing to top. I'm not sure I agree with him because he also worked for two seasons of Silicon Valley, which is one of the funniest shows on TV. What we don't know is which jokes he wrote.
Philip: He was bad at Newsweek.
Leo: Was he?
Philip: No. He wasn't good.
Leo: Oh. I'm sorry to hear that. What was bad about him?
Philip: I watch Apple. He was just wrong about Apple.
Leo: That's not hard to do, frankly. I've been wrong about Apple many times. More times than I care to even think. I was the guy who said Apple is going down because they're changing to the Intel chip. Could I have been more wrong? Can't blame me for that. That seemed like a bad idea. I remember also staying ten years ago, Apple going into retail? Are you nuts? Don't you see what happened to Gateway? Guess I was wrong there too. Now I'm saying, Apple... I remember saying well, when they were going to get in the phone business; it's the last business you want to get into. Cell phone business is a terrible business.
Philip: John Gruber has his claimed chatter list. I hadn't seen your name in it.
Leo: John is being kind. The latest is why would Apple get in the car business, that's just the worst... you're trying to compete against companies that have been in this business a hundred years. Insane.
Philip: Have you any idea how complicated a car is?
Leo: Exactly. Do you know how complicated it is?
Stacey: I can't believe they would do a full on car. You have to understand how the car works before you can take it apart. That may be what is happening.
Leo: You think they're like a twelve year old kid taking apart cars? You think that's what's going on in those secret bunkers in Sunny Vale?
Stacey: I'm going to put it out there. I can't believe they would do a car. A true Tesla style or car style car. Maybe something about transportation when we get to self-driving cars, but just... I don't know. I'm willing to be wrong.
Philip: I think they're building a car.
Leo: It feels like they've put a lot of money into it.
Stacey: They have.
Philip: They've pivoted the company. They used to make Smartphones, in the future; they'll be making cars.
Leo: You agree with that blog post that says, "Based on R and D numbers," it's from above Avalon, this came out May 11, Neil Cybert said based on the R and D numbers and the huge growth in the R and D budget over the last few years, he said it was a pivot. Pivot implies your current strategy has failed and you have to quickly turn to another one. I think he means, just as you said, Apple is looking at a new category.
Philip: Katie Huerty and Morgan Stanley lifted that chart. Morgan Stanley came out and said yeah, they're doing it. They basically did for the by side investors what Above Avalon did for ordinary mortals.
Philip: You should put my new blog address in...
Leo: What is the new blog?
Philip: It's called Apple 3.0, and the address is ped30.com.
Leo: Philip, I should point out, has a much better track record of Apple prognostication than I do. I also, as long as we're being complete, said the Apple Watch would be a flop.
Philip: I'm more cautious than you are. I try not to say what's going to happen. I wait until it happens.
Leo: It's a dumb thing to predict tech.
Philip: It's dangerous to bet against Apple.
Leo: It doesn't feel like it's dangerous these days.
Philip: It depends on whether you're talking about short-term bets in the options markets or whether you're talking about... everybody says the iPhone business is dying, so they have to pivot to cars. Ask all of Apple's competitors if they think the iPhone business is dying.
Leo: Stock market seems to be believers. Apple tanked when the quarterly results came out and they showed they weren't in fact growing the iPhone market. Now they're up 10% in the last few days.
Philip: It's Warren Buffett.
Leo: Let's be nice.
Philip: It's not just him. He bought it last quarter. It was Berkshire Hathaway.
Leo: He's quick to point out it wasn't him at all. I only weigh in on buys more than a billion dollars. It was one of his managers who spent 950 million dollars. I have to think the guy is sitting there saying, stop stop. Spend a little more; we'll have to call Warren. Let's stop at 950.
Philip: The last couple of weeks, the stock hit bottom and balanced finally. It is not Warren Buffett or even Berkshire Hathaway that is old news. What is the value investors seeing they do what Berkshire Hathaway does. The money has been moving. Also Apple, which wasn't buying back shares for a while is now buying back, shares again.
Leo: That may be more important to those investors.
Philip: Berkshire Hathaway put in a million dollars. Apple just increased the amount it's going to spend on buybacks by 35 billion dollars to give you a sense of the scale of things.
Leo: Also to give you a sense, this is not a stock market show, and I would be the last person to listen to stock tips from me or you, we wouldn't be journalists if we knew anything about the stock market. We'd be out there driving our... but I look at Apple's... I think that's what people are looking for is a stock price that is below what it should be, I look at Apple's “price to earning.” Eleven dollars and seventeen cents PDE.
Philip: That's before you take the cash out. Without the cash, it's more like eight dollars.
Leo: Amazon, what is Amazon's PDE? It's 8 billion.
Philip: You can't chart it. It's come down. It's 200 and something now.
Leo: Unbelievable. At the same time, I'd feel better buying Amazon stock now than Apple. What do you think?
Philip: It's all based on what people think is going to grow. Amazon and Google are growing like Gang busters. Apple just had its first down quarter in 13 years, so that explains...
Leo: For our purposes, and we're not talking about what you should buy or anything like that. We're talking about what companies are doing and what their future is, whether they're going to change their business because they have to. Amazon's PDE right now is 293 dollars, compared to Apple's 11 dollars.
Stacey: If you look at Apple is just selling physical goods, which is how people tend to see them, and you look at Amazon, which is in distribution, it is in e commerce, it is in banking on AI with the Echo.
Philip: And the Cloud.
Leo: It's a big business for them, even though they suck at it.
Christina: I don't think they suck at it?
Leo: Really, Christina? You think they've done a great job with their services?
Christina: I do. I think AWS has been a huge success.
Leo: You're talking about Amazon. I was talking about Apple. Stay with the thread. I'm sorry. Can you boost Christina's volume up? She's not as loud as the rest of us. You must have had some sense, Philip, what we were going to talk about. I look at the blog post you wrote I presume earlier on TWiT. Apple is doomed.
Philip: I knew that it was going to come up.
Leo: You knew this would come up.
Philip: Yeah. I forgot the little /s or whatever someone does when they are being ironic.
Leo: That's not going to work. People don't understand irony on the Internet. I would be the last person to say any company with 200 billion dollars in cash in the bank is doomed.
Philip: You have to subtract the 80 billion dollars to give back to shareholders. It's 240, so it's..
Leo: 160 billion. I'm sorry.
Christina: Bigger than the GDP of how many countries?
Leo: I love this bolts blog. I've bookmarked this because I thought it was so great. This was on Medium. Ben Einstein, product designer, founder of Bolt BC, it's a Venture Capitalist, no. You can't manufacture that like Apple does. Too many startups look at Apple's manufacturing and say I want to do it like that, I want laser-drilled holes. I don't want to see any mold marks on my plastics. I want to make a white plastic device. He says you can't. Here are a few things Apple does that can cause problems for a startup. White plastic, it's the hardest color to do. Even Apple had a hard time. White MacBook? They had to put it off because they couldn't get the parts to match.
Stacey: You'll see this if you look at your products that are white. They do a shiny finish on one spot, and where the joints are, they do a matte finish, and they say we chose this because it's like water, it's smooth, and then we went with a more gritty finish. Uh huh.
Leo: Don't do CNC. What happened when Apple wanted CNC machines, a million MacBook bodies as aluminum bodies, they bought ten thousand CNC machines to do it.
Philip: Computerized numerical controller.
Leo: How about when they wanted to laser drill holes in the MacBook Pros for the sleep light, but only one company made a machine that could drill those 20-micrometer holes in aluminum, so they bought the company!
Christina: Why not? It makes sense.
Stacey: That's what you do when you have 140 billion in cash.
Leo: The one that got me, I look at Apple boxes and I'm the guy that does the recycling in the house, and every Monday I have to break down all the boxes, and there are a ton of boxes that I have to break down. I spend an hour every Monday night, breaking down boxes for the recycling, and it's always the boxes. I spend an hour every Monday night, breaking down boxes for the recycling, and it's always the Apple boxes that you feel like I'm destroying a work of art here.
Christina: Do you remember the original iPod box, that was origami? I loved that box. The original iPod Box would fold out in different ways, and it would have overlapping things. It was a square, and you had to fold it a certain way. It was like an origami piece. I remember I kept that box for years even after I got rid of that original iPod because the box was so fantastic.
Leo: You don't want to throw them out. This is the Apple Watch box, the squares, it's like you use the CNC machine on the cardboard. This is perfect squares. Of course, it's a vacuum. Right? You can't just pull the lid off. It's tied so tight that it's a vacuum. The foam inserts, he says are four colored double walled matte boxes and HD foam inserts. I know you're going to do this any way, but be aware these kinds of boxes are going to be the most expensive line item on your build of materials. It's not unusual for them to cost upwards of 12 dollars a unit at Scale.
Philip: They spend something like 3 dollars for those rows of Chinese workers to assemble them.
Leo: But the box, you're assembling a box that costs more than you do per hour! Look at this. I break them down, because I'm not going to keep this! I feel terrible doing it... I feel like I should feed this to a starving child in Ethiopia or something. That's bad. I should not say that.
Philip: People make money making those unboxing YouTubes. They get a hundred thousand hits.
Leo: You just saw me unbox my 43-inch monitor. That was not boxed quite as tidily.
Stacey: What are you going to see on your four screens?
Leo: I don't know. I have no use for it, but... sometimes this tech stuff can get you in trouble. That's all I'm saying. I have a Jones. All right. There's a lot of Mac stuff. Somebody in the chatroom is pointing out that Apple is the Donald Trump of the Tech Journalist. It's the third rail, we can't stop touching. It's true though, isn't it?
Christina: No, because Donald Trump is awful.
Leo: I'm sure there are plenty of people who think another Apple story, really Leo?
Stacey: I was going to say, I found something my Tesla won't do. If anyone in your chatroom has any idea how to do this, it can't jump a car.
Leo: You tried to jump a car in your Tesla?
Stacey: I didn't, but I realized we couldn't.
Leo: Jumpstart it. You can't, no.
Stacey: This was something we learned today, because my daughter left the car door open, so my husband's car's battery died.
Leo: Isn't that ironic? I happen to have a 25,000-battery watt here... but I can't start your car!
Stacey: If anyone has suggestions, I am here for them.
Leo: Am I the only person who thought what she meant was jumping her car over other cars?
Christina: I thought that too, but in fairness to me, I don't drive.
Stacey: I like that you have that visual of me.
Leo: You have a Tesla. You have a Model S?
Stacey: I do have a model S. I bought it used because I am not crazy and I buy all my cars used. It doesn't have the auto pilot features, which makes me sad. I'm over it. I still love the car.
Leo: You're probably better off.
Stacey: After seeing all the stories about I'm going to summon my car into another car, I'm happy about that.
Leo: What I find interesting is there's at least two people now who say the auto pilot has driven me into something, caused a wreck or whatever and in each case, Tesla's response is well we happen to have the data from everything you've done and you can see you made an error here. It's like...
Stacey: You're basically arguing with a computer.
Leo: They know everywhere; apparently have every bit I do as being logged in your Tesla.
Philip: That's what happened to that New York Times Reporter that tried to drive from Washington to New York or something and ran out of juice, and Elon Musk said I'm looking at your record, why did you go here, why did you go there?
Leo: Does that not bother people?
Stacey: It's something I think about whenever I review a connected device. I am super, hyper conscious of taking notes, video-ing things, because I know if I can get something wrong by virtue of human error, all the data, in some ways it's accuracy, in other ways it's disconcerting.
Leo: This is a different era. I don't think there's any precedent for a consumer product phoning home and telling the company that made it what you're doing with it. That's never been possible before.
Stacey: Tesla doesn't always give the data. There was a guy in Norway who wanted to use his Tesla data to fight a parking ticket.
Leo: They won't tell him. Holy cow. I think people thought it was bad Apple could look at a test strip in your phone and tell you that you got it wet. This goes far beyond that. I'm sorry; you seem to have dropped your phone in the toilet on 43rd and Broadway. At 4:30 AM you were in a men's room. Do you want to talk about that? Never mind, I'll take it home, it's fine. Yet, we live in this era where people are so concerned about privacy. I guess if you're a Tesla owner, you accept that's the price you pay to own a Tesla.
Philip: Speaking of the price you pay, can't you get Tesla to start your car for you?
Leo: that's the problem. It was the other car.
Philip: I see. I had to get a hybrid, not a Prius. I forget the name, started, because somebody had left the light on for a week in an airport-parking garage, two things were weird. This car has a huge battery in it, but it can't be used to start the car. To start its own car.
Leo: They can't use the battery in the hybrid to start the starter?
Philip: The starter runs on a separate battery. When that one goes dead, they could, but they haven't connected the two batteries. The second thing is when the guy came to open it up, neither of us had a manual, and it was quite tricky finding where the plus and minus were. They're not big red buttons with junk all over them. They're under little things you have to flip up and then they don't look like the normal things. They look like USB port, sort of. It's a whole new world.
Leo: You wrote an article on pivoting from Smartphones to smart cars, in which apparently a car is jumping another car. So...
Philip: That was GW saying we're going to bury Apple. It was also Horace dedeu saying that when Apple gets into it, they're not going to make 50 thousand units like Tesla, they're going to make 2 million units a year.
Leo: Isn't that what Elon Musk said? We're going to jumpstart this Industry, but ultimately we want it to be a mass market, whether it's us or somebody else.
Christina: He needs it to be, of course. Will it be is a much different question. I don't know if they can get the scale that's necessary.
Leo: there's the Bolt, Chevy Bolt, which is a 30 thousand electric vehicle with similar range to a Tesla. Chevy seems to have some expertise in car manufacture.
Philip: I drove one of those.
Leo: The new one? Not the Bolt. The Volt!
Philip: I drove the previous one. It didn't have sufficient range.
Leo: That's the new one. The Volt has a gas generator in it to charge the battery, the Bolt is all electric, and they say they're going to have a couple hundred miles range, don't they?
Christina: Was it 165?
Leo: In the ballpark. That's significantly more than the current crop.
Stacey: It's still not very... it all depends on how you drive. Mine is rated for 265.
Leo: What are you getting?
Philip: Age of the battery changes too. You lose miles.
Leo: They're estimating more than 200 miles of range on the all-electric Chevy Bolt EV.
Stacey: I get about 200 when I drive.
Leo: That's enough. It depends on where you're going and what's at the other end. I guess you would be nervous. It's not like you can call Triple A and say bring me a galleon of electricity.
Christina: I desperately want my mom to get a Tesla, and that's her fear. They live in the suburbs of Atlanta, and there are some stations in Atlanta, but they're forty miles away from their house, and if they're driving a lot... this would probably not work for the distances they drive. They would probably frequently freak out about am I going to make it to get charged up enough.
Leo: It's not for everybody.
Christina: That's the biggest thing, even beyond mass production that needs to be solved. Making it so that there are charging stations that are accessible everywhere, so people can pop in and charge up.
Leo: Of course, that's what Elon Musk tried to solve with the super chargers, they're free fill ups for Teslas, but they have to be near you.
Stacey: They have to be near you and there's only one between Austin and Houston that we stop at. I think it's got six ports or six whatever you want to call it. Plugs! That's it. It's fine, most of the time, but during a busy travel weekend, it might get full. The other thing is once the Houston floods happened, it was flooded, and I'm still not sure if it's ready, but before we take the Tesla down to Houston, we've got to check.
Leo: It's complicated, I guess.
Stacey: It's an extra thing to think about.
Leo: You probably still want to have a Gasoline powered car for the time being. And jumper cables and a nice neighbor.
Philip: We're at the early stages of a transition. Five years from now, we'll look back and say those weren't that hard to solve.
Leo: you think? Sometimes they are hard to solve. Five years from now we may look back and say what were we thinking?
Philip: In this case, we're talking about putting up charging stations roughly where you have gas stations now. If the gas station...
Leo: Even with a supercharger, you have to sit there a couple hours, right?
Stacey: The supercharger is 20 minutes for 80 percent.
Leo: It's that last 20 that takes an hour and a half.
Stacey: We've gotten it almost all the way up in about 35, 40.
Leo: That's not bad. But that's a super charger, and Tesla says don't use that too often, because it's more for, they told me I can't use the super charger in Petaluma because I live here. It's not intended for you. It's not like you have a free gas tank you should go over and fill up at.
Philip: It's the model of the iPhone. You've got to plug it in every night.
Leo: I got a special plug put in my garage. No Tesla, but I got the plug. Halfway there. 1/1000th of the way there. Let's take a break, and then we'll talk about Google Oracle. We can also, there's lots to talk about. I have many a topic on our list here, but I also want to defer to you guys, because it's always fun. We get people on the show, and it's Stacey's second time on the show. Philip has been several times, and Christina is a regular, but it's fun to let you guys choose what you want to talk about, so I'll open it up to you in a second. Meanwhile as long as we're talking about car tech, I want to talk about something you can do with your car, any car made since 1996. That's this. This is the Automatic. This is so cool. Every car in the United States and all over the world, since 1996 has a port underneath the steering wheel, you never notice, called the on board diagnostic porter. OBD 2. If you do notice it, you think that's when I take it into the shop; they're going to plug it in their computer. Did you know you can plug in your own device? This is the automatic. Plugs right into it, easy to do. There's no tools or anything, and it just snaps right in there. Then you pair it to your phone with Bluetooth, iPhone or android, and suddenly you know what's going on inside your car. Everything from what is that light that just comes on and where is the nearest gas station? A repair shop to how hot your engine is, how fast it's revving, how much gas you've used. How much that last trip cost you. The Automatic also knows what gasoline costs at the gas station you used last, so they know how much it costs. If you have an Amazon Echo, you can say to the Echo, ask my Automatic how much gas is in the tank? You have half a tank left. Thank you. It'll work not just with your Echo, your nest software; it'll work with Freshbooks if you want to track mileage for business. If this then that, I use it all the time. I have an If This then That script that when I pull up to the studio, tweets, Hey Leo just pulled up, let's get something going. It would be just as good for your teenagers, if you wanted to keep an eye on them. There's even a 24/7 crash response feature which helps you know that Automatic is keeping your loved one save on the road at all times. They have software for teenagers that ties in with the Automatic. Works with the Apple watch and Pebble too. You might look at this and say how much a month? Nothing. There's no subscription fee. Nothing. It's 99 dollars, and that's it. We're going to make it more affordable, by the way, they never sell your data. Your data is yours. If you go to automatic.com/twit, you're going to get 20% off when you use the offer code TWiT at checkout. I love my Automatic. I just love knowing... I play a game with it. If I can get a good score. You got 80% driving to work today. I try to get 90% next time. That just means you're getting better mileage and you're a safer driver. Automatic.com/twit, 20% off when you use the offer code TWiT at checkout. Philip Elmer DeWitt. ped30.com. Not 2.0, 3.0.
Philip: Business 2.0, now I'm read into it what you want. It's been fun, I tell you. It's great to be on my own and not having to worry about Fortune. Can you hear me?
Leo: Tell me about it.
Philip: I think we talked about this before. When I started doing this stuff for Fortune, it was me and a couple other people and they weren't paying attention. After the spinoff, after Time Warner let timing go.
Leo: They started paying attention.
Philip: They realized they had to make money on it. They got into the same business that every legacy media is in now. It feels like a death spiral where they have to get more ads. They're trading print ad dollars for Internet pennies, and they have to pump a lot of ads past a lot of eyeballs to make what they used to make on dead trees. It's a tough business. What they did at Fortune is they staffed up. They got some good people. Stacey and others from Giga Om, but they also hired kids and put them in a bull pen in something they called the Speedwagon for search engine optimization and it's the Huffington Postization of Fortune magazine where they... they're going for the stuff that gets clicks.
Leo: It's what everybody is doing now. It feels like the death knell of journalism, click bait journalism. Let's talk about Gawker.
Philip: My particular thing was these kids were chasing Apple stories, which I would too if I were them. I get up in the morning and think what am I going to write about today? One after another, the subjects that I was going to do, one of the guys had claimed, I was navigating every time I had to pick a topic, I had to navigate this thing. It's so great...
Leo: It's not so bad to have competition among your writers. Is it?
Philip: It was a little crowded. It's good to have some competition, but I'm competing already with a hundred other people who write about Apple every day. I didn't need to compete with my own team. They, I think we talked about this. They said you can't just write about Apple any more. You've got to broaden your scope, and for me, it took a long time to build a reputation as someone who covers apple. It was like walking away from my niche, it didn't make sense. I did what I had been talking about doing for a long time, which was going off on my own which Stacey has also done. a lot of other people, the Ben Thompsons of the world, John Gruber is the classic example.
Leo: Was Gruber a journalist before? Snell was a journalist and he's gone his own way with sixcolors.com. Stacey has done that too. She's doing Stacey on IOT. I did it. I still keep my foot in the mainstream waters with the radio show. TWiT for ten years now, the main reason I did it wasn't so much because I saw the writing on the wall, it was more I didn't want some idiot to tell me what to do. I didn't want to have to work hard as we did at tech TV so that some guy could say I'm tired of this and sell it. You don't own your own destiny when you work for somebody. At the same time, come on. It's scary doing what we're doing.
Stacey: It's hard.
Philip: I'm old enough, and I sucked enough money working for decades. I've got a long runway.
Leo: That's why I still do radio; by the way, that's my safety net. I go by McDonalds and I see a help wanted sign, I make a note of that. It sounds like a joke, but it's real, isn't it, Stacey?
Stacey: I am so...
Leo: Were you a Barista?
Stacey: I could be.
Leo: I always keep that in mind when I see a help wanted. Just in case. I worked at McDonalds for years and I know how to flip a burger.
Philip: Two things I've discovered, and then we can talk about something else. One is that owning the emails of the people subscribing to you is what it's all about.
Leo: That's why Verizon wants to buy Yahoo.
Philip: The other thing is I didn't realize how much I care about my readers. These guys who send me ten bucks every month and the guys who put a hundred dollars in, I love these guys! I love getting the money, I love that they're sticking around. It's been a wonderful experience.
Leo: That's the more genuine reason to do this. You know your audience is not being served by the way things are working, and you see an opportunity to serve them properly. If you say it that way, it sounds better.
Stacey: I had people call me up after I file stories asking me all these follow up questions, and I'm like I know the answers to this, I should just give it to them, but efficiently. Not a one on one conversation.
Leo: to some degree, there's been disappointment in what the Internet has become. A lot of us thought this would be an amazing voice for democratization. Everybody is going to get a voice, the oligarchs, the plutocrats who controlled media will be disenfranchised, it's going to be Democratic, information will flow freely, and all of that did happen, but what we didn't anticipate is what a problem it would cause for the old media in such a way that so many traditional and useful things disappeared. I guess we lost as much as we gained. Christina Warren, you're a child of the Internet. You’re an Internet native. Mashable is the king of Internet native. Do you look back and feel we've lost anything?
Christina: Yeah, sort of. I remember when I started writing professionally, I chose to do web rather than print. I started off doing both and I made the decision to do web versus print because I feel that was the future and I was fortunate enough that when I started writing you could make a name for yourself online because even though it was the mid-2000s, Legacy media was still down on blogs but didn't understand that this was where everything was going. It became very clear once everything started moving from Print to digital, that the establishment was not going to be willing to give up what was there. I do feel like we've lost certain things. You'd look at all the great newspapers that have closed and great journalism goes away and that's really disappointing, but you look at websites and media is just hard. That's the long and the short of it. There used to be a business model that works differently and there used to be people who would fund media for different purposes that doesn't quite exist anymore.
Leo: I thought we had gained more than we lost. I'm starting to get discouraged by the state. For instance, the idea that there could be a thousand blogs covering Apple and all the different angles and facts would come out and as users we'd have more information and be more informed.
Christina: The problem is that you can do that, but that doesn't really... at a certain point you want to get the best content.
Leo: they're all chasing each other now! You read one story and it's the same 18 blogs reporting the same story.
Christina: It comes down to certain Industries, especially business and tech journalism; there aren't as many interesting stories to tell if we're going to be honest. You can always argue there are things unreported and uncovered, fine. Cover that. But there are things that people are interested in and you are chasing eyeballs. You want to get what people want, and the truth of the matter is there is this kind of middle 80% in your bell curve stuff of stuff people want to read about.
Leo: Everybody is going to write that stuff.
Christina: At that point, you have a thousand different sources, but you're all competing for one another and the biggest ones are going to be the ones that succeed.
Leo: We cover the same stories everybody else does, but we try to add value with context, with intelligent people.
Christina: And I think the people who do well with it either add something or they get there really early. It's difficult.
Leo: We don't break stories.
Christina: I do wonder how different this is. You guys will have to let me know, because I don't know this from any professional or personal experience, how different is it when there might be 3 or 4 local newspapers that came from Chicago? I remember in Atlanta when there was the journal and the constitution and they merged. Aren't they just chasing one another to report the exact same things and fight for the same stories? I wonder how much of it is feeling nostalgic for time past that wasn't different than where we are now. If you had a bunch of local newspapers that were writing the same stories.
Leo: Is it just nostalgia?
Stacey: There was a little bit more room for smaller stories. No. I'm going to change my mind.
Leo: It's all nostalgic bullsh**.
Philip: I think of it as the best of times and the worst of times. It has really democratized media.
Leo: Look at YouTube. Everybody can make a video. Everybody can write a blog.
Christina: But look who is successful on YouTube.
Leo: Yeah. But Philip said I don't want to do this, I'm going to create my own blog, it's going to be rough going, you have to win an audience, you have to create a brand. There's a lot of work to that. But there's the opportunity to do it.
Philip: It is the worst of times in that this is the generation of journalists who are out of a job. Newspapers across the country have folded, it's mostly the work of Craigslist because the dirty secret was these papers are being funded by legal ads and help wanted ads. Classifieds. It has created huge opportunities, but I am disappointed that anyone can now own a press and enjoy freedom of the press, I'm disappointed in how it's turned out. I think the Echo chamber is a real and worthless thing that 9 to 5 Mac will get some scoop and it will be embarrassing, 45 stories about it the next morning, adding very little value. They've learned that pays. They can just re purpose a 9 to 5 Mac scoop in three paragraphs and they'll sell enough ads that justifies it. It's not taking journalism anywhere good. The question that remains is who is going to pay for the reporting? In the old days, I worked for a magazine that used to have bureaus in Bangkok and Hong Kong and Baghdad and Paris. Every major city in the world had a time magazine correspondent in there or stringers who could be counted on to deliver reporting whenever needed. Those boroughs have almost all been closed, along with the boroughs for the LA times and the Boston Globe and the smaller major newspapers. Now we have the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal are the only serious national newspapers in the US and we have USA today for the Hotel rooms, and it isn't like it used to be. Some of those are killed off by television, some of them were killed off by radio, but nothing like the damage that happened when the Internet disrupted and pulled the rug out from under the business model. It remains to be seen. I think that there is great stuff being done on the Internet, and I won't hurt anybody's feelings by naming names, but I think the people who know they are doing good work know it, and the people doing shlock page click stuff know it as well. We can only hope the market rewards the people who are doing good work. Now maybe is where we talk about Gawker, because it is probably...
Leo: We will. Stacey, we interrupted you had changed your mind, but we didn't find out what you had changed your mind to.
Stacey: I was changing my mind to say the opportunity is still there. I think what people are confused about is how to match that to the right business model. If you can, what I'm doing is never going to be a massive media empire. As long as I can keep it up, I can make a living wage for myself.
Leo: Haven't we seen this? The Music Industry, where it was ruled by a handful of multi-platinum artists who took all the money out of the ecosystem, but now we are in a different world where you're not going to get a multi-platinum, as many artists, but many more musicians can make a living. Isn't that a better situation?
Christina: Except that hasn't happened for the music Industry. You have three artists. Adele, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce. They make the money. What they've had to do is shift and go. There was a period of time, about 20, 30 years, where you could make a lot of money selling music. That has changed. That is no longer the case. Touring is where they make money.
Leo: The long term opportunity of Spotify and the new music ecosystem is more bands can make a little money. No? They're not making any money.
Christina: You have bands who happen to get high in the Spotify... It actually makes sense with newspapers and with traditional media in general in that in both cases, they were disrupted. It wasn't so much that it wasn't an opportunity for them to fight the disruption, it's that they refused. You look at legacy media, and I look at it and go obviously Craigslist was able to...
Leo: We're in the middle of a transition, so it's hard to say where we're headed. Certainly we can see disruption, but I think in ten years, if you're an artist, you're going to say, "I'm not going to sign with a label. I'm going to do my own thing, I'm going to have a website, and sell directly to the fans, I'm going to build a community that supports me, not because they have to buy my music because they don't. They can steal it. But because they want to support me by buying my music. They'll come to my shows." There are artists now already starting to do that. More and more, that's going to exist. I think of Jonathon Colton and... I think a lot of unsigned groups are going around now making a decent living. They're not going to sell a hundred million albums, but they're making a decent living. I only bring this up as a metaphor for what democratization could ultimately be, which is fewer people get really rich, but a broader base for journalists like Stacey and Philip and me to make a living doing what we want to do, serving an audience directly. And that's the key, by the way, is direct relationship with the audience, so the audience wants to support you by patronizing you.
Stacey: Maybe. You do have to give up a lot of yourself. I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I think that is something...
Leo: Not everybody can do that.
Stacey: A, it costs money. B, it requires a certain mentality.
Leo: There are a lot of artists who are space cadets who aren't going to do this. Those people relied on the music label to do all the work so they could space out. You know it's going to be the musicians, the journalists, the plumbers, who can create a business and understand the need to build an audience and a community that will succeed. It's not just that one skill any more, being able to play a guitar. OK. I don't see that as the worst thing in the world. I do worry about those people that have that single skill. But maybe kids growing up today will understand that better.
Christina: What does that say for art?
Leo: Picasso was a businessman. I don't know if he was a better painter than Van Gogh, but he made a hell of a lot more money.
Christina: That's the point. He wasn't but he had people supporting him.
Leo: If it weren't for his brother, he would have died earlier, and he still died young and poor, and then his art was worth a lot of money. Picasso didn't want to become Van Gogh and was a good businessman.
Christina: I worry sometimes that we move into that place where we prioritize business over...
Stacey: The skills that make for a good journalist are not the same skills that make for a good publisher.
Leo: They never are. Same thing for a musician, right?
Stacey: I have no idea about being a musician. I'm an abrasive, abrupt, awkward person sometimes. I don't always answer my email, which is why someone else does all my advertising, because...
Leo: That's what I did too. I hired somebody else.
Stacey: That's an expense.
Leo: I think it's an interesting world. I'm going to say something controversial. I may not fully believe it. I think of Andrew Sullivan's article about America has never been more right for an authoritarian government. His contention is that it was the elites protecting us, I'll extend this to journalism, that what we lost with the democratization, was this sense that, think about network news. Edward R Murro created a brilliant news organization at CBS, even though that was going to be a money loser. It was prestigious, and the elites were interested in creating a prestigious, important thing. Putting commerce in a different realm. The problem is when it's a bunch of us little guys and we all have to make a living, it's democratized. We can't do that. We can't say we're going to do this because it's right, not because it makes money.
Christina: That's where you have things like First Look Media and people like Pierre Midear who are doing interesting things and are potentially trying to bring that back. I'm not saying that has to be the model. I don't think it scales; I don't think it works, but I'm not opposed to it existing if it means good things can still be done.
Leo: I feel like, maybe it's because I am an elite, I went to the best schools and white male... I'm a media elite, that losing the media elite, losing the elite in any area is a loss.
Philip: Are you talking about publishers or editors?
Leo: It took both. The publishers had to say we're willing to do stuff that loses money as long as we can build a business that makes money because it's right. CNN has closed all its international boroughs. Even Vice closed its London Borough. These things are expensive, you do them not to make money but because it's the right thing to do. You can only do that when you have a plutocrat who says I'm willing to spend money on the Washington Post, I'm willing to spend my Amazon billions on the Washington Post because it's the right thing to do, rather than the profitable thing to do. Should profit drive journalism?
Stacey: I feel like not every journalistic organization was started by someone who was an elite searching for the right thing to do. Usually, if you look at Sheldon Addison... Adleson.
Leo: What is he seeking? he's not seeking the right thing to do. He's seeking power.
Stacey: You could look at Hearst.
Leo: Same thing.
Stacey: Right. I think that's one aspect of it, two the "elite" who have money and freedom and privilege to spend time not worrying about survival, you can afford morality.
Leo: Morality is at the top of the pyramid, right? If you're busy surviving, you don't get to be actualized, that's later.
Philip: The history of the press is a lot of rich lords who decided to start a newspaper. The best ones are often family owned and the New York Times family keeps it alive.
Leo: Washington Post for years.
Philip: The Interesting example is the Herald Tribune, which is a better newspaper in many ways but the family at some point stopped caring about it and they kept taking money out of it, just before WWII, when the New York Times was pouring money back into the operation, the Tribune was closing down boroughs, and when WWII hit, the Times had people on the ground ready to report the biggest story of the century, and the Tribune didn't. They blamed their death on the Unions, but it was really that they stopped paying for the reporting. It's a different group of guys now. The plutocrats that you're referring to, the Internet billionaires, and what we learn is that they can save newspapers like the Washington Post by buying it with Amazon money, or they can close down an operation by tying it up in lawsuits.
Leo: Or Chris Hughes with the New Republic where it was a toy for him. He trashed a great magazine and then got tired of it and sold it.
Christina: He went it buying it for prestige. Frankly. I remember speaking with him when he bought it and you got the sense that he...
Leo: He was a Facebook founder. Had lots of money to spend.
Christina: Got the sense that this would be yet another thing to add to this... Then realized this is actually a complicated situation, this is a brand that has been through a lot that has already been damaged and suffering. Then there's the price of bringing in new leadership and having a mass exodus because that didn't work and it never does. Then just got rid of it. Sold it. It does seem like the person it was sold to was at least trying to take it back to what it was before, but it's always hard to go back when you've tried to evolve into something different.
Leo: We say all this is prologue to the next story which is Peter Teal, one of the founders of Paypal, got a lot of money, became a venture capitalist. Early investor, very early. Maybe first investor to Facebook. Made a little money there and now is taking some of his money, what was it? 40 million dollars to fund Hulk Hogan and perhaps others lawsuit against Gawker. He's admitted this. I'm glad I am surrounded by journalists, because this is one that is very difficult for me. On a personal level, I loathe Gawker and I understand why Peter Teal hated Gawker. They outed him against his wishes.
Christina: I think it's important to say the reporter who wrote that story feels very strongly that he did not out him. He was already...
Leo: He told all his friends, so I'm going to tell the rest of the world was his attitude.
Leo: Which is BS, and I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Gawker, by the way, is the King or rationalizations. Every single crap article they've published has a similar rationalization. Oh, no. Oh, no.
Christina: I would say though in this case I mean, Owen Thomas has been very clear from the beginning. He doesn’t feel like it was out—
Leo: Owen is an ass. Nick Denton is an ass. Those are the worst kind of people ever. They’re horrible. And talk about going for the money as opposed to going for the self-interest. And then they justify it with, “Well, you know Silicon Valley’s never been covered. And they deserve to— “And that’s BS. And yet, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s completely wrong for Peter Theil to fund lawsuits against them, either openly or covertly. I’m very torn on this. And I believe in the First Amendment. The last thing you want is billionaires deciding, “Oh, even if there is no merit in this we’re going to sue these guys out of existence because we don’t like what they’re saying.”
Philip: Gawker has done horrible stuff.
Leo: They’re horrible.
Philip: Well I actually know Owen Thomas from way back and I’ve got to say, he’s a sweet guy.
Leo: Yea, everybody who knows Nick and Owen and all the other, Sam, says they’re nice guys. I’m sure Hitler was a nice guy in the bunker.
Philip: No, Hitler was not a nice guy.
Leo: (Laughing) I’m just saying there’s a difference between what you’ve personally apprehend about somebody and what their output is.
Philip: Well Gawker’s rationale is if you know, we’re going to dig up anything that we find interesting that we think people will click on. And it’s not that different from most websites except most websites have better taste.
Stacey: I would say, so there’s a legitimate—ok, I’m not saying it’s completely legitimate. But having someone report on the people who are in power in Silicon Valley makes sense because those people are dictating all kinds of things.
Leo: His sexuality is not germane in any way and whether or not he told his friends is not appropriate. Sorry.
Christina: I don’t know, I mean in that case, in the concept of that article I agree with you. But just to make, I mean I’m not in any way advocating the outing of anyone at all. Having said that, at all. But I don’t think that you can say that sexuality in some of these issues are not germane to certain things, especially when there were bills like Prop 8 happening at the time and people who are quiet or not quiet. I mean Brenden Eich was fired for good reason I think from Mozilla because he backed Prop 8. And when that came into account he was fired from Mozilla. Are we going to say that that was something that shouldn’t have been public, that there shouldn’t have been reporting about the fact that he had given money to anti-gay causes and then wanted to be the CEO of a company? I think that it’s more nuanced than that. Sometimes people’s personal lives and what they support and what they say can have an impact on the bigger picture and what their investments are and what you know, the things they stand for are. I would never have published what Owen published. And I never would have written that. And I don’t know if I’d ever want to work at a place that would have done that. But I don’t think that it’s as cut and dried to say that the things that Gawker has published didn’t have news value. Because I think that many of them even as distasteful as they may be totally do.
Leo: I might disagree with you on that. And by the way, I think, I don’t think it was Gawker that outed Eich on that.
Christina: I don’t think it was either. But I’m just saying that to reach the broader point of their—
Leo: I’m not sure if somebody’s politics are germane to whether they should be the CEO of a company or not.
Christina: I don’t know.
Leo: But maybe that’s fair, maybe that’s fair game for—
Stacey: I think we’re in the middle of a big historical shift on quote unquote important issues. So like if you think back into—even Kennedy, covering President Kennedy and all of his affairs. Everyone in the press corps knew it but no one wrote about it because it was a different time.
Leo: And that’s shameful. I agree. I agree.
Stacey: And we can look back on this perhaps as you know, as people who are normal.
Leo: And Theil was an entrepreneur not the President of the United States. A case you would make for Kennedy being, sexuality being reported on is because he’s the President of the United States and perhaps you’d be vulnerable because of this.
Leo: You know, I don’t know. And by the way, it’s all moot because we have the First Amendment and I really would hate to see money being thrown at people just trying to put them out of business because of their reporting. So my point is I hate Gawker. I’m not a fan of any of those people. But at the same time they have the right to do it, God damn it. Right?
Stacey: Yes, but I’m sure people who are writing about Peter Theil now will think twice.
Leo: Well, precisely. And you saw, I love the Joy of Tech comic where, you know these guys are really good. Disclosure, they do all our album art and we love them. What’s so wrong that Peter Thiel, the tech billionaire has been secretly bankrolling lawsuits against Gawker? It’s scary. It’s a treat of freedom of the press. Look, Gawker’s evil and publishes horrible things. As far as I’m concerned, it’s Karma. Ha. One billionaire decides he’s offended by something so now he’s litigating it off the face of the earth? The guy’s no hero, he’s a bully. But, um, Gawker has ruined many people’s lives and reputations, wouldn’t you agree? That doesn’t matter. Theil’s actions are a corruption of our legal system. It sends a chilling message to other members of the media to be very careful about who they are, who they’re writing about and what they say about them. Why are you kicking me? Why do you keep looking over there? Oh, OMG, it’s Peter Thiel. Oh. Hi. Nice day, isn’t it? You’re looking sharp, sir. Can I just say that I love PayPal and Facebook? Please don’t sue me. I think that kinds of sums it up. And who was it? Was it the New Yorker? I think it was in the New Yorker, one of their writers wrote a love letter to Peter Thiel because now it’s like—
Christina: It was Wired.
Leo: Wired, that’s right, Wired. And it’s a satire obviously because nobody’s really doing that. But it does have a chilling effect that oh, I better not write about this guy because—and absolutely the new, these are the new, very powerful, very rich people who would very much like to operate in secrecy in private. And so we do need good journalists to write about them. I’m not sure their sexuality is fair game and that’s the problem I think people have with Gawker is they didn’t draw a line at what was fair game and what wasn’t fair game. In fact the more clicks the better, right? Not the more—
Stacey: Gawker is the TMZ of—
Leo: Right. So and I find it very disingenuous of Nick to say, “We’re just speaking truth to power.” No, you’re not. You’re buying clicks. That’s all. That’s not truth to power.
Philip: In some cases by speaking truth to power. That’s a good business model too.
Leo: Oh, I would love it if that’s what they did.
Stacey: Gawker has said for a while, I don’t think this is their model now, but for during that time period, especially they had a model of you work on something investigative and fun but you kind of finance that time with click-y articles.
Leo: Right, right. Right.
Stacey: So in that case, every page view for them is a chance to spend time on something real that reported. And they do actual real reporting.
Christina: They do.
Leo: And I should point out that we know this because we’ve had Roberto Baldwin on the show, and he used to work, he worked for TMZ and Harvey Levine in the early days, that there is frankly a well-known and an encouraged symbiosis between stars and starlets and their coverage by TMZ. They want that coverage. You know, Britney Spears doesn’t wear underpants because she wants to get a picture taken of her. It’s good for business. And so there’s a symbiosis that’s very different from what Gawker’s doing.
Christina: Although I would say having spoken with Owen in the past about this, in the early days of least of Valleywag for some of their stuff, there was a symbiosis between what was happening with certain members of the valley. And Valleywag too, they were after the same things. Do you think that they wrote all those stories about Julia Allison because she was that interesting? No, it’s because she was a fame whore who was emailing them tips about herself all the time. There’s I think and I think this is the case with all the press, there’s this certain symbiosis where you get pitched things and people try to kind of put things in your ear and say, oh, this is really interesting. That’s how stories break. So I think that—
Leo: Denton has suggested a debate with Theil. Will that happen?
Stacey: That would be so amazing if it did. Peter Thiel would be crazy stupid to agree to that.
Christina: Peter Theil doesn’t need to do this. I mean the thing that bothered me the most, I’m actually not that bothered that Peter Theil wants to back a lawsuit of Hulk Hogan even if it has nothing to do with him because that’s a fact of our legal system is that you can be supported by 3rd parties and I don’t have a huge problem with that, even though I think it’s distasteful to try to put somebody out of business simply because you don’t like some of the things they wrote about you and your friends. But what bothered me about it was frankly the fact that it was done secretly. The fact that you know, this has been something that’s been under wraps for years and we just now found out about it this week. That to me is very troubling because I do feel like if you are facing the sort of lawsuit that they were facing against Hulk Hogan you should be able to face your accuser, which in this case Hulk Hogan is a proxy. And the real person is Peter Thiel. And that makes it very different I think. And as the public, as anybody, you should be aware of who’s actually accusing you.
Stacey: Yea and it changed the legal strategy on the case, I mean like not settling. It kind of distorts the way you would view the arguments even, so, if you were going to read that closely into the case. I don’t know. Should we talk about Oracle? Because that’s—
Leo: Yes. I’m going to take a break. But I will quote the phony Voltaire quote, “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” And as journalists I think we have to question Peter Theil’s motivations and support the First Amendment. But I’m really mad at you, Nick Denton, for putting me in that position. I’m sure Owen’s really nice. Is Peter Thiel nice? Isn’t he—he was the model for the weird VC at the beginning of Silicon Valley, right? The kind of on the spectrum strange person.
Philip: Yea the one who discovered hamburgers. Do people like hamburgers?
Leo: (Laughing) well that’s satire, but see that I like.
Philip: And then he cornered the market in sesame seeds or something.
Leo: Because people like hamburgers and there are sesame seeds on the bun of the hamburger (laughing).
Philip: The guy who played him died.
Leo: I know. Very sad because it was a great character. And he knew, well this I didn’t know, but he knew he was dying when he created the character. He knew he had cancer. And it was kind of his last work. And wow. What a great job he did.
Philip: What a funny show that is.
Leo: Yes, it’s very good.
Stacey: Great show!
Leo: See? See? That Dan Lyons guy isn’t all bad. Just teasing! We’re going to take a break, come back. Let’s talk about, yea, I mean we’ve been burying the lead here. The big story of the week, Oracle and Google. Did the good guys win? Our show today brought to you by Headspace. If all of this is raising your blood pressure, you know words, thoughts can raise your blood pressure, can increase your fear and your anxiety and your stress. I say the word Gawker, my heart starts pounding. I get excited. I get upset. That’s why I have Headspace. Mindful mediation made simple. A thousand year old tradition, sure, but there are thousands of scientific studies that show the positive effects of mediation. It improves focus. It improves relationship harmony. It decreases anxiety and stress. And man, there’s nothing like Headspace. Created by Andy Puddicombe. You might have seen his TED talk. 5.5 million people have. You may have—play the audio on this. This is Andy’s voice. He has such a—
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Leo: I just love Andy, and I love having him in my head saying—it’s not froufy, it’s not you know all mystical. It’s really just down to earth, lovely mediations. He guides them. He knows his stuff. Sure he was a monk for 10 years. I mean he understands you know kind of the deep roots of meditation. But he does it in a way that that is just really accessible and fun and very effective. They have a Take 10 Program, 10 days of guided meditation. Just 10 minutes a day and you can do it right now for free if you go to Headspace.com/twit. I’m not kidding. You will sleep better. You’ll feel better. You will be happier. Train your mind for a healthier, less stressed life. Start and it’s free. Why not do it? Download the app, iOS or Android. Headspace.com/twit. 5 million users now including I’m told, let’s do a little TMZ, Emma Watson. Yea, Hermione. Is that Hermione?
Christina: That’s Hermione.
Leo: Hermione does Headspace. Jared Leto. Gwyneth Paltrow. They’re all Headspace happy, Headspace users. All right. So boy this Google Oracle thing has been going on for years.
Christina: 6 years.
Leo: It’s an absurdly complicated case that boiled down to the least important part of the whole case which is ridiculous. Do I need to give the summary or you’ve seen it enough on all of our shows that I don’t have to tell you how this started. Java was written by Sun, blah, blah, blah. Android used Java. Maybe the copied the code. They said they didn’t. They just copied the API. Talked to James Gosling, the inventor of Java. He says, “We felt like the slimed us. But we weren’t going to sue them over it.” But then the Oracle lawyers arrived during the acquisition talks and Gosling says, “Yea, we feel like they copied the code but we’re not going to sue them, are we guys?” And he says the lawyers eyes lit up. And they said, “Hmm there’s some gold in that there Sun.” Of course Oracle did sue Google saying you copied Java. But they did it in a weird way. Apparently the lawyers, well at first I think that they had 9 lines of code. They said, “Look. They’re exactly the same.” It was an array bounds checking. The judge, Alsup, learned Java and wrote is own array bounds checker just to say you know, it’s not that unique. He kind of, he felt that this was not really theft and ruled in favor of Google. Oracle appealed and using a loophole, I guess I am going through the whole story, using a loophole managed to get the appeal not to go to the 9th circuit court out here on the West coast that knows a little about this stuff and probably would have ruled in Google’s favor, but instead got it sent up to the Federal court which is charge of patents. And because of some patent law here, they got the case. And they said, “Well, no. Oracle can copyright the code. And furthermore, the API. And Google violated the Oracle—maybe they didn’t copy the code but by violating the copyright on the API, they, we rule in favor of Oracle.” Google appealed. The Supreme Court said, “No, we’re not going to take this case. Send it back down to Judge Alsup saying, ‘You’ve got to first figure out—no, we’re not debating whether Google stole the code. We’re not debating whether you can copyright and API. That’s been decided. You can copyright an API.’” Which is a stupid idea, but anyway. What we’re trying to figure out is, is it ok that Google copied the copyrighted API because it’s fair use? And that’s what the case was all about. A jury of 10 people, none of them tech experts because Oracle made sure there were no tech experts on the jury, deliberated for 3 days and decided that no, in fact it was fair use. Google was—even though the API is copyrighted it was fair use and Google’s off the hook. Now Oracle says, “Well, we’re going to appeal.” And it’s going to go right back to the Federal Court. Did I accurately describe that scenario? I always feel like I did something wrong.
Christina: That was impressive. No, that was really impressive.
Stacey: Yea. But you didn’t say that this happened, that this came down before Memorial Day weekend so all the tech journalists can write their stories and relax.
Leo: Nice of them. Thank you, jury.
Stacey: Yes, it was nice.
Leo: Yea, of course Joe Mullins from ARS was in there and there were a number of journalists had to sit through all the testimony.
Christina: Sarah Jeong.
Leo: Sarah Jeong, that’s what I was trying to remember.
Stacey: Sarah Jeong.
Christina: Her live tweets were fantastic.
Leo: They were fabulous. And of course, speaking of hamburgers, former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, trying to explain what an API is somehow managed to put hamburgers on a breakfast menu and it was very confusing. Anyway, and the judge by the way was confused, said, “That’s silly. That’s stupid.” And then mocked the fact that GNU, because I guess they were trying to explain open source too. Because part of the--
Christina: They were trying to explain GNU and wait, so wait. GNU, the G in GNU stands for GNU. It was great. It was the fact that recursive algorithms, acronyms rather—
Leo: I think Judge Alsup kind of knew, because he was, by the way, I didn’t know this, but he has his BS in mathematics. So you know, he’s—I give more credit—
Christina: And he presided over the first case.
Christina: He’s one of the—
Leo: He’s the guy that learned Java.
Christina: Yea, exactly. He ruled in Google’s favor the 1st time and back in 2012. And then it got sent to the Federal circuit and sent back. So yea, I have a feeling that he might have known. But I just love the fact that recursive algorithms, or excuse me, recursive acronyms were an actual thing being discussed in open court. That’s the greatest thing ever.
Leo: By the way, Oracle’s response to this is, “Oh, this is really bad for open source.”
Christina: (Laughing) I’m sorry. That’s really funny. As if Oracle cares about open source at all.
Leo: Yea, I’m not really sure I can follow the logic but it has something to do with the GPL and if you can’t copyright APIs. I don’t know. I can’t even repeat it it’s so convoluted. But they said, “Oh, this is going to be terrible for the GPL.”
Christina: It might not be fair for the GPL but I mean that’s why there’s so many other permissive open source licenses other than the GPL. I mean this maybe isn’t the GPL version 3. Version 2 I think is probably fine but who knows.
Leo: Anyway, anything to say about this? The good guys won. I think we all agree, yea?
Philip: Well it’s not over.
Christina: Yea, that’s true.
Philip: You’ve got to overturn, or it got sent back at the Court of Appeals the first time. You know, Florian Mueller, do you know who he is?
Philip: He’s usually pretty good on this stuff. But sometimes he’s in the pay of one of the parties and I think in this case he was—
Leo: He was an expert witness.
Christina: Oracle’s been paying him this whole time. So his analysis for me totally fair even though I agree with you a lot of times he’s good on this stuff, I can’t take seriously just because, I mean he’s an expert for Oracle. That’s all.
Leo: He says no reasonable, properly instructed jury could have found for Google.
Philip: He says that the judge gave a really, an overly broad definition of fair use.
Leo: It was rigged.
Christina: And he could be right. Look, there probably are grounds for appeal. I’m sure that Oracle will appeal. It might go to the Federal Circuit again and then from there it might go to the Supreme Court. You never know. But I mean—
Leo: The thing that’s so troubling is the fact that APIs could be copyrightable. Well we know they are. But is that ok, Stacey?
Stacey: No. I mean I think that’s a dumb decision.
Stacey: But we’re stuck with it.
Leo: Well I guess the Supreme Court could change that or Congress.
Christina: Well the Supreme Court refused to hear it.
Leo: Well, no, they said they could review it. They sent it back to the lower court for this decision.
Stacey: Oh, and they’re paying it back now that that’s decided?
Leo: That’s decided so now they can if they wish, of course the Supreme Court can do anything they want, but they didn’t say “We’re not going to talk about it.” They deferred it.
Leo: They deferred it.
Christina: Ok, I wasn’t aware of that.
Leo: That’s what Denise Howell who’s our resident attorney.
Christina: I would trust her. I would trust her then. I wasn’t clear on that. I knew that they sent it back for the fair use question.
Leo: They didn’t reject it entirely. They said, “We’re not going to rule at this point. We want the lower court to rule on this fair use first.”
Christina: Gotcha. Ok.
Leo: So the idea of a copyrightable API, I’m going to use, I’m not going to use a hamburger in a breakfast menu. Let me use the automobile. Thank God everybody has agreed that the gas pedal is on the right and the brake is on the left, no matter what car you drive, you get in the car. The steering wheel might be on the other side, but the gas pedal’s always in the same place. That’s like an API where we’ve all agreed this is how you do it. It doesn’t mean you can’t build a gas pedal that works differently. It doesn’t mean brakes have to be drum brakes or disk brakes, it just means that for the purposes of the people using your car that there is a standard for how you interact with it. Failing that, you’ve got no internet. You’ve got no computers. You’ve got nothing because I can say, “Well I have an API but you can’t use it because it’s copyrighted.” Now that seems to me problematic.
Stacey: Well now companies, what happens when a company is not opening up their API?
Leo: That’s fine we have, for instance, we do that. We wrote, our website has an API, public and private. In fact that’s very common. You have a public API and a private API. You keep some, well you’re not going to give out the API for doing stuff that we don’t think an app would undo because that’s ours and we are the ones that should be able to name a show for instance. There may be an API to do that, but we’re not going to make that public or give people—and by the way, it’s not merely the knowledge of it that’s needed, you also need a token and you need to have a system that the API can actually do that. Unless you’re us, you can’t. So not only do we not reveal it, it’s not publically usable. That’s fine. We’re not saying that. But open source requires publically usable APIs right?
Christina: Yea and there are cases where people will reverse engineered and do clean room implementations. You know you look at something like Samba for file sharing where they took SMB which was the Windows file sharing protocol and did a reverse engineer of that and created the Samba protocol. It’s at this point I don’t think it would be in Microsoft’s best interest to even sue that project. It’s been around for a long enough time and it’s become a core part of LINUX and of other POSIX operating systems. But you know, you do worry that with the API copyright ability thing, even though it was a clean room implementation, even though they did not use any of Microsoft’s code that they because they re-implemented the API and kind of built it on their own, that could become, there could be legal challenges against things like that. And that’s a concern.
Leo: Florian says that the judge mis-instructed the jury making the hurdle of fair use too low. He said, “It’s actually, it’s an exception. The hurdle should be fairly high.” And he also points out, and this is important that a trial is not, a jury decision is not precedent.
Leo: So it doesn’t set any precedent of any kind. So it doesn’t resolve the question of copyright APIs and whether APIs can be copied.
Christina: Well, no, that has been because the Federal Circuit did say that.
Leo: They did, yea.
Christina: So what it says though is just because it was deemed fair use in this case does not mean that it would have any bearing in a future case. Meaning that if you did want to sue over someone using your API and you wanted to claim it was fair use, the fact that this jury ruled in Google’s favor would not have bearing on that in most cases. That’s the argument. And that’s fair. And so that that kind of thing, even though it’s a good thing that Google has won so far, this is not over. And this probably won’t be over until we get some sort of definitive ruling, you know one way or another from a higher court.
Leo: Florian said that mismanagement at Sun really was the problem. That they allowed Google to incorporate Java’s API into Android. That was against the law then and they should have pursued it. So Google doesn’t have any fair use exemption or license because of ineptitude on the part of Jonathan Schwartz who he called one of the industry’s worst CEO’s ever. So.
Christina: There’s probably something to be said there in the fact that when Google was developing Android and they were using Java’s API, they didn’t want to pay for Java’s some of their whatever the mobile Java stuff was at the time. And frankly, when it came out, when all this came out and it was so clear that they were kind of reverse engineering the stuff that was already available from Sun, Sun probably should have stepped in at that point and said, “Hey, actually this isn’t ok. You need to pay us a license for this.” That probably would have been the best thing to do and probably and frankly a much better business decision for Sun to do at that time since they’re server business was all but dead and no one cared about Solaris. They could have—and I think at that time, 2007, 2008 you know, Google might have been more amenable to paying the licensing fee. You never know. But they didn’t push for it and it took Oracle buying them and as you were saying actually kind of looking and realizing, no wait a minute, there are actually some potential legal things that we can sue over that made this court case what it is. And by that point it was huge.
Philip: A dumb question. Is there any sense that Larry Ellison brought this suit to help his buddy Steve Jobs?
Christina: You know I don’t think so. I mean that’s an interesting question. I thought about that too. I don’t think—I’m trying to remember the timing. I think that Steve Jobs’ thermonuclear comments about Android after this. But that does kind of—the timeline would not be wrong.
Leo: Whether they planned it, they certainly were in alignment.
Christina: Definitely. Definitely. And I mean and I think you do look at, I think it’s conspiratorial thinking, but I think it is a valid question to ask when they bought Sun because they immediately got rid of the Sparks stuff because that wasn’t making any money. That was an albatross. And they got MySQL which was already starting to come up against Oracle’s database stuff. And they got Java. If you wonder, doing their own due diligence as a company, if Oracle realized that one of the main reasons that they would spend what they spent on Sun was for the potential legal benefits in taking on Google. I don’t know. But then I think it probably—I don’t know. I have a feeling that any lawyer who would be looking or any business person that would be looking at the assets of Sun to buy it, you would have to think about are there potential patents or royalty agreements we can squeeze out of other companies that aren’t already being executed that way. And can we make money that way.
Leo: I want to encourage anybody who wants to know more, read FOSS Patents, Florian Mueller’s post, several posts on FOSS Patents rejecting this whole thing and saying this is a dumb move by the jury, that fair use is not a defense and that Google in fact did act inappropriately and intentionally in their commercial interests and to Sun’s and later Oracle’s detriment. Because he does make some good points. It’s not as cut and dry as maybe some of us think.
Christina: I think he makes some good points but I mean I think ultimately he is someone who is being paid by Oracle to kind of play this out and write the posts that he writes. So I don’t reject his opinion. I just think we should all be aware that he’s obviously being paid by Oracle to say this. So of course—
Leo: Well I’m not sure that’s the case. He was paid by Oracle at one point. I don’t know if he’s currently being paid.
Christina: I don’t know if he currently is. He used to be. He was a consultant and has testified at their other trials. So he’s not a disinterested party is all I’m saying.
Leo: Right. Fascinating stuff! I think that’s enough on it though. Don’t have anything more to say about it. Anybody? Anything?
Philip: I’d like to hear more about Stacy’s project. What are you doing, Stacey, and how are you making money?
Leo: Oh, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it (laughing).
Stacey: That is. Man. I’ll do the quick rundown because I think most people know. But I’m doing a podcast on the Internet of Things.
Leo: A very good one, by the way.
Stacey: A podcast. It’s awesome. Everyone should watch it or at least listen to it. And then I do a weekly newsletter that’s free and it’s just everything about the Internet of Things plus a startup profile and an essay. And I sell advertisements because I didn’t want to go the Patreon kind of please give me money route. Because I hate asking for money.
Leo: I know.
Philip: I went the other way because I hate advertisements.
Leo: You know they’re both completely legitimate choices. I think that there’s room in the world for both, right?
Stacey: I feel validated. Thank you, Leo.
Leo: Yea. Well, no, you know so we started doing what you wanted to do, Philip, which is what I thought, well we’ll just go directly to our listeners. And we were able to raise a decent amount of money. But not enough to grow. So we would have done one podcast. I mean, you know that’s the difference is how much you can make that way. And we would have been able to do one podcast and that would be it. And so we ended up, I initially remember talking to an ad agency saying “We will never take ads.” And after only a few years, I said, “You know what? We’re going to take ads.” Because in the long run that’s the only way we can grow. And we’re just going to try to do it in a responsible, respectful to our audience manner. But I think both makes sense. Nowadays I mean had Patreon been around and other crowd funding options, maybe I would have done it differently. But—
Philip: Well your ads are different from the ads that pop on a newsfeed.
Leo: Yea, they’re targeted.
Philip: What do they call the ones that are interstitial?
Leo: Interstitial, yea.
Philip: Yea, yea. And that—you know it’s like the old Arthur Godfrey radio model right?
Leo: I’m very influenced by Arthur Godfrey. Only you and I have ever seen Arthur Godfrey but I’m very influenced by him.
Philip: I used this razor. I love it. You’ll like it too.
Leo: Yea. It’s a very old fashioned way of doing ads.
Philip: Right but it flows and you know you might go pee but you might listen to the ad. It’s different than the stuff that pops in your face and if you try to block it, then they say, “Then we’re not going to show you any content unless you turn off your ad blocker.” And all the others, the movies that start themselves, that’s what I’m trying to get away from.
Leo: Oh, I don’t blame you. And by the way, Stacey’s ad model is exactly the same as ours. Most podcasts are I think.
Stacey: Because you have a—hopefully you have a link with your listeners. I love hearing from my listeners and they talk to me, I talk to them.
Leo: It gets down to what I was saying earlier which is the way to—in the long run the way to monetize and this works for both models by the way, is by building a relationship with your audience and getting an audience that wants to support you in doing what you’re doing. And they can, you know, ads or donations. It’s very similar. I think a lot of our audience says, “I want to support you so I patronize your sponsors.”
Stacey: Yea, I put ads for sponsors for people I like.
Leo: But I think ultimately in this new medium, any new medium you’re going to have to succeed by—and that’s what’s great about it. It’s a direct connect. In the days of mass media, it was not a direct connection. And that’s why you’re like this, Philip, is because you’re hearing from your audience. You’re talking to them directly. It’s not intermediated by a publisher and a press and a large organization. And I think for musicians it’s going to be the same. I think for everybody it’s going to be the same. It’s about finding an audience. And to do that you find your voice. You have to find your passion. You have to be knowledgeable. I think you have to operate with integrity. Although I guess it’s different if you were a comedian or something, integrity doesn’t matter. You have to be funny then.
Philip: I always cared a lot about my comment stream which was very frustrating because Time didn’t and they’re killing off, they’d use a different platform and I’d lose all my readers. So one thing that I’ve done in the innovation on Apple 2.0 is this real names only.
Leo: Oh, I like that. I think that’s very effective by the way.
Philip: It makes it a safer place, safe for women too. I have a lot of women subscribers and they’re not as active on the boards as the men but the men aren’t going to go calling women, what was that study? You know they’re not going to be calling them names because they’re using their real name. And you know there’s a shame in acting badly when a real name’s attached. So anyway it’s a much—I’ve seen so many you know, you and I, we’ve been around for a long time, Leo. We’ve watched boards go bad in all sorts of ways. And one of the great ones was The Well where you had to use your real name and people were respectful.
Leo: Isn’t it sad? Yea, I really—and The Well had its share of flame whores but at least you knew who was flaming you.
Philip: Right, right. And then you can look up and see who they were.
Leo: Yea. And I think Godwin’s Law was actually created for The Well in 1990 (laughing).
Philip: I noticed that you violated it.
Philip: And I picked up on it right away.
Leo: Yea. No, they know Godwin’s Law very well and I—you know, by the way, he wrote an article a few days ago saying he created it, it wasn’t a prediction it was a warning. Godwin actually wrote about Godwin’s Law a few days ago on IBT. He says, “Based on my early experience of online arguments I came up with this mock law which was meant to have the sound and seeming inevitability of a law of physics or mathematics: Quote as an online discussion continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or to Nazis approaches one.” In other words, 100%. He says, “I admit to being a prankster.” He was actually intentionally trying to create something that would take on a life of its own and become a law. And you know in the sense of memorable and he says he based it on computer bulletin boards, so.
Philip: I noticed the New York Times on the front page today had a long article about comparing Trump to fascism.
Leo: There you go.
Philip: And I wondered how long it was going to take people to do that because it’s—you don’t want to go there because once you’ve invoked Hitler, it’s like people go nuts.
Leo: Well that’s why I think they’re more—it started with Mussolini. So they (laughing) have somewhere to go. He was fascist but he wasn’t that bad yet. You know, that kind of thing. It’s going to be bad, but it’s not yet. Anyway.
Philip: But I was surprised. If you read the whole article they have a long paragraph of all the people comparing Trump to Hitler and it’s quite a few people.
Leo: Yea, a lot of people went there. Godwin says, “I designed Godwin’s law not to be predictive but to be memetic. Not to show that debates would invariably become overheated but to spur debaters to invoke history mindfully, through a meme, with deeper analysis rather than with glib allusion.” In other words, he was trying to prevent that from happening. And by making his law a meme he didn’t expect it to become true. Unfortunately, it has (laughing). He thought the law would discourage people from invoking Hitler.
Stacey: He’s giving people way more credit than they deserve.
Leo: Yes, he is. We’ll take a break, come back. We will talk about Twitter and their misogyny problem. I think that was probably what you were thinking of in the back of your mind. A study by a UK think tank which found in just a 3-week period 10,000 explicitly aggressive, explicitly aggressive and misogynistic tweets in the UK alone. Shocking. There’s gambling going on, on Twitter? Shocking. Our show today—ah, let me reach over—is brought to you by this. Let me—it’s my keychain. Well it’s not brought to you by my keychain but the fact that I have my keychain is thanks to this. This is the TrackR. It’s a coin sized tracking device. Kind of pretty, the new TrackR Bravo. Anodized aluminum tough and light, very thin and what happens is it’s Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth Low Energy, pairs to your phone. The battery lasts a year because it is LE. They can, you can even get a water resistant case. You can put it on your pet. You can put it on your keys. You can put in on anything that you lose a lot. And then you’ll know when you get separated from it. In fact there’s two way separation. Because it will let you, the TrackR will let you know when you get separated from your phone and the phone will let you know when you get separated from your keys. Press the button on your TrackR and your phone will ring even if it’s on silent. There’s all sorts of—you can choose your own ringtone. I know our former producer Jason used to have like a Klaxon horn. And then they do something really interesting. Because as you know, Bluetooth only goes 30 meters, 100 feet. But TrackR has the largest crowd GPS network in the world. Show the, scroll down a little bit, Carson, on their website. You can see the map. The current map of TrackRs. A million and a half TrackRs in the real world and when you come anywhere near, it’s not on our—there it is. There it is. When you come anywhere near a TrackR—so let’s say I leave my keys at a truck stop in Modesto. Now I’ve drive away, my phone will know the last place it saw the keys but maybe that’s not it. Maybe somebody picked them up and moved them. Whenever another phone that’s got the TrackR software gets near my keys, it will register its location and I’ll get a GPS update on the map. So I’ll know if my keys move, where they went. They also have, this is another thing. It’s great. You know your keys are in your house but where in your house? They have the TrackR Atlas which works with your TrackR Bravo or your 3rd party Bluetooth tracker to pinpoint your items on a customizable floor plan of your home. In the cushions? No problem. TrackR will tell you. You just ask TrackR Atlas, “Where are my keys?” and you’ll get an answer. You don’t even have to look for them. This is so cool. I want you to go to the trackr, T-H-E-T-R-A-C-K-R.com, no E in the TrackR and never lose your possessions again. And if you use the promo code TWiT, you’ll get 30% off your whole order. 30%. Thetracker.com, promo code TWiT for 30% off. I love this little thing. What I do by the way, notice my keys are on a chain, is I attach it to my backpack or my bag, whatever I’m carrying around so now I’m doing double duty. If I leave my bag behind it will let me know as well as my keys.
Philip: Will it work for my dog?
Leo: Yes. Now we, our dog’s pretty little. I guess I could put this on Ozzie. It’s pretty light.
Stacey: My dog has tried to chew of their TrackR.
Stacey: That’s my dog’s special talent.
Leo: Your dog ate your TrackR?
Stacey: The generic TrackR. But yes.
Leo: Well, these TrackRs, you should try these TrackR. They’re not as tasty.
Stacey: There you go.
Leo: They’re anodized aluminum. I don’t think they’re going to take a bite.
Christina: I don’t know. I once had a dog that ate exterior lighting.
Leo: (Laughing) That’s deeply disturbing.
Christina: It was, it was. He literally ate the lights. He was a special dog. He was very, very sweet. So sweet. Yea.
Leo: I don’t even know if this is a news story. New study shows the scale of Twitter’s misogyny problem, here’s the only thing that’s a little surprising. A surprising number of women may have contributed to the abuse. So it turns out, this is that what you were talking about. Being anonymous, people will do horrible things on Twitter because no one knows who you are. And in fact it turns out that of 1.5 million tweets sent in the UK during a 3-week period from April, mid-April to May, the research team lifted out conversational or self-identifying tweets to focus only on those with clearly aggressive language aimed at another user. 10,000 explicitly aggressive and misogynistic tweets, you know, you slut, you, you know that thing, directed at 6,500 users. There were more than 20,000 tweets using the same terms directed at 80,000 users internationally so if you’re just UK it’s a smaller set but here’s the weird thing. Half of them were sent by women.
Philip: That made me think that it was maybe sista to sista talk.
Leo: Sistas. Sistas don’t call other sistas sluts.
Christina: I don’t know.
Leo: No slut shaming here.
Christina: Ok, first of all you have to always wonder, are the people—
Leo: Are they really women?
Christina: Are they really women?
Philip: Ah, good point.
Christina: So that’s number one. And number two, I would say as a woman there are plenty of other women out there who can be pretty terrible to people online. It’s people are people. It does not come down across gender lines. I know because it’s popular to say that but people can be terrible regardless of their gender or whatever norm or whatever you want to fall in that spectrum. So you know, people on the internet are terrible is I think is kind of my big take away.
Leo: I don’t know if I buy this but the researchers say, “No, we could tell if you’re a woman by how you talk. We think it’s about 85% accurate.”
Stacey: Ok, well 85% accurate is still not that accurate.
Leo: Still not that accurate.
Leo: And you know, you don’t need a study to know this.
Stacey: It’s, I mean yea, people tend to yell at women online.
Stacey: Other women yell at women.
Christina: Other women tend to judge other women more often times than men do in certain circumstances. And that’s always been the case.
Leo: Knock it off, everybody. Just be nice.
Philip: Well it’s worse than that. Women have been chased off the internet, right?
Leo: Oh, yea. You know what?
Stacey: I’m still on the internet.
Leo: Can I just say, Stacey and Christina, I admire you because I know, and my wife too, I know a woman in public is considered by some percentage, small I hope percentage of people, to be mouthing off just by virtue of being in public. You know, to be a loud mouth and they will go after you just by virtue of being in public. There are terrible, terrible-
Leo: And I don’t know of a single woman who’s in public on the internet who hasn’t seen—I see enough abuse for myself, far worse stuff than I’ve ever seen. Far worse. It’s horrible.
Stacey: This particular survey I thought the words they picked are probably, that might be the higher incidence of women because women tend to call other—if you picked like rape threats you’d probably see more men.
Christina: I would agree with that
Stacey: So that’s—
Leo: Yea, ok, so we can throw that out. Who cares anyway? We don’t know if there were other women shaming women or if it was just people shaming women. But it’s just sad. I mean it feels, it’s so saddening to me as a father of a daughter, as a husband, as a- I have a mother and a sister. I just—it’s sad.
Stacey: Say something.
Leo: Well should we or? This is a big argument. Ignore it or do something?
Christina: No do something I think. People worry about—go on.
Stacey: Ok. Om, when I worked at Gigaom, there was somebody who came on in comments I want to say and said something about me that was just completely—it wasn’t even, it wasn’t like a rape threat or anything it was just him being a jerk to me online. And he got it. He was like, “You offer no value here. F off.” And I was like, “Holy cow. I can’t believe he did that.” But then in another instance, you know someone, I don’t know, it was a picture of me that ran with something it was like, “Nice legs” or something like that. He was like unacceptable. And he just deleted it.
Leo: Good for Om.
Stacey: He put it on Socialcast and he was like this is completely—you know but you should say those things. And my best defender is often in our comments where other men have. They were like, “Shut up. Stacey knows what she’s talking about.”
Leo: On comments if someone is really bad you can get rid of them. You can’t rid of someone on Twitter. They will remain.
Christina: No, but usually you can report them.
Leo: Yea but they just come back.
Christina: And so get in the whack-a-mole game. I think there is some value in publically saying whether you’re men or women, but I think men, I think anybody when you see people badgering others sticking up and saying, “This is not ok.”
Leo: If we all did that I think you’re right. If anytime somebody publically posted something just horrible on Twitter, everybody responded to them, “You jerk, you,” that would make it go away?
Christina: For some people, yes.
Leo: Some people like the negative attention. In fact I think the worst trolls love it.
Christina: Of course they do but I think a lot of—
Leo: Then aren’t you pouring fuel on the fire?
Stacey: Ok, sorry, go ahead.
Christina: Yea, no, no, no. I was just going to say that for some people, those people you’re never going to have any chance of reaching. The worst trolls are going to troll regardless, ok. Those people you’re never going to reach. But I think that there’s a broader amount of people who say terrible things on line who do it for two reasons. One, they don’t actually see what they’re saying as, the person they’re targeting as being an actual person. And I’ve gone through this myself with people who have said some terrible things to me, when I’ve had kind of an actual conversation with them back and they kind of realized, “Oh, you’re not just this person, this user name and this photo on the internet. You’re a real person.” They’ll often apologize. But I think that the other thing is that people feel like their certain behavior is allowed because it’s the internet. And there is something to be said about standing up and saying this is not ok. Again, you’re right. The people that are going to hate on and just want to do it because they want the world to burn, they’re never going to stop.
Leo: And that’s probably a really small number. Truthfully, a very small number of people. A lot of people in my experience, some of these people are surprisingly horrible are kids. They’re like 15 year olds. And they just really aren’t properly socialized yet. And a little bit of appropriate censure might actually turn them into nice people. And maybe that’s what—we owe them that.
Stacey: And maybe it’s not—I mean if someone’s threatening to like chop off someone’s head and do something horrible to them—
Leo: Well that you can do something about. That’s illegal.
Stacey: Yea. But it’s the more insidious things like the assumptions that you would never, like a girl could never know about tech. Those are the kinds of things—
Leo: Those are hard to fight, yea.
Stacey: You just say no. I mean that’s—
Leo: Well then of course it’s the dog whistles and the very subtle things that sometimes we don’t even notice that can really be damaging in the long run, too. Let’s talk about Windows 10, speaking of horrible things (laughing). So Microsoft says, “No, no. We meant to do that.” We’re talking about—I’ve got to find the picture because I want to ask you guys what you’d think would happen here. So let me, Carson, let me find this picture. I’m going to do a search for Windows 10 upgrade dialogue box. This changed the behavior. The behavior changed this week. And there are people including our friend Paul Thurrott who hosts our Windows Weekly show who said Microsoft is being disgusting and damaging not only the reputation of Windows 10, but their own reputation. So here’s what happens. As you all know, Microsoft decided that they wanted everybody to run Windows 10. So they offered a free upgrade a year ago, July 29, 2015. And anybody who was running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 could get a free upgrade. Nice. Then they started nagging people. They started putting up dialogue boxes that said “You’re eligible. Want to upgrade? Want to upgrade?” But it all really went to hell a couple of months ago when they moved the Windows 10 upgrade into recommended updates. For most Windows users, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, their recommended updates are automatic. They happen. And that means there are a great many people, and I’ve talked to half of them now, who got upgraded to Windows 10 without their knowledge, without their consent, without their permission. Carson, you did? It just happens. You did too, Chris? So you’re sitting there running Windows 7, happy as a clam. All your software’s working. Everything’s just great. You love it. And the next morning you get up and there’s a popup that says, “Congratulations. You’ve been upgraded to Windows 10. Do you agree?” And if you don’t agree to the license agreement you say, “No, I don’t agree,” then it has to uninstall Windows 10 which can take a long time and often fails. Now the last piece of the puzzle, this dialogue box. “Windows 10 is a recommended update for this PC. Based on your Windows Update settings,” as I referred to earlier, “this PC is scheduled” listen to the words carefully. That’s the problem, people don’t. “Scheduled to upgrade on Sunday,” in this case it says, “May 22 at 11:00 PM. Click here to change upgrade schedule or to cancel scheduled upgrade.” Now if you didn’t read that carefully you might be tempted to click the OK box. Well wait a minute. No, no I don’t want the upgrade. Let’s see, the cancel button. No, the cancel box says Upgrade Now. Well both of those would do the upgrade. Either accept it or do it now, do it sooner. Let’s click the close box. And this is what’s getting people upset. The presumption I think by the way, mistaken that when you click that X it cancels that. No. When you click that X it puts the window away but it’s still scheduled for Sunday, May 22 at 11:00 PM. The only way to not be updated to Windows 10 is to click where it says, “Click here” and cancel. Microsoft said that’s exactly our intent. But a lot of people are saying, “Well, no. Wait a minute. That X box did use to cancel it. When did you change that and why? You’re tricking people into installing Windows 10.” Your thoughts.
Stacey: I think we’re going to see this a lot more often. Sorry.
Leo: Not just from Microsoft, but from everybody.
Stacey: From everybody. I think this whole issue of getting upgraded against your will to features that you’re like, “What?” that’s been the software world forever.
Christina: Thank you, Chrome.
Leo: Yea. But that’s different. That’s Chrome 49 to 50. That’s not a big change. You might not even notice the change and frankly we need to do it because Chrome is a browser. It’s your interface to the internet where all the bad stuff sits.
Christina: Don’t you need to upgrade Windows? I’m not defending this but—
Leo: You’re safe with Windows 7. There’s also, it’s also—it’s more than just upgrading a program. And it takes time. It’s not 100% perfect. And some of your stuff may not work including some of the hardware Microsoft didn’t test for compatibility. And you know I’ve talked to people. I talked to a guy whose wife is a teacher. She had a whole class presentation she needed to do. She got up in the morning, Windows 10 is on her system and she’s like, “I can’t do my, I can’t run it.” That’s a big deal for people. I think that Microsoft did this wrong. I think I understand what they did here. But don’t they owe it to people not to kind of trick them into upgrading? To make it very clear. There should be a big cancel button. Or, no I don’t want to do this button.
Philip: Did they tell you to backup first?
Leo: No, of course not. They don’t tell you anything they just do it.
Stacey: Again, you’re going to see this more often at all levels. I mean my car updates itself, it changes its location.
Leo: Well, yea, you drive one of those cars where they’re watching you at all times.
Stacey: Exactly. Well and as someone who has all these connected devices in my house, I can tell you there are plenty of times I wake up in the morning and my light switch doesn’t work because it updated and broke whatever connection it had.
Leo: (laughing) Stacey@iot.com. You chose this.
Stacey: I did. I live this so I could—but that’s why when I see what Microsoft’s doing and I mean you see it—let’s see, someone just wrote about Uber trying to—I mean there was the Google engineer who wrote about how software companies and tech companies are trying to influence your decisions via design. This is clearly one of those examples. Uber just is starting to do this with pushing people to Uber Pool and I think it’s Washington DC. And so it’s a nudge but we do this in policy all the time to get people to do what we want. The question is do we want giant tech companies making these decisions?
Leo: It’s different from policy. I mean I thought these companies were, you know don’t—we’re the, what happened to the customer’s always right and customer centric business?
Stacey: You’re not the customer for—ok, in Windows we are. But for a lot of these businesses, we are kind of this ancillary, we’re either a source of data or we’re a source of—
Philip: Or the product.
Leo: To Google in other words we’re not business, just a product.
Stacey: I think a lot of companies have that mentality even when they’re selling you a product. I’ll be honest.
Leo: Clearly Microsoft does. And by the way, if I’m Microsoft I understand this. They want everybody to get Windows 10. They want everybody to use Windows 10. It’s easy to get application developers to support it. You probably make the case it’s more secure. Certainly they’re not going to want to continue to support Windows 7 forever.
Christina: And I think too they did say for a long time that you would have a free upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8 to Windows 10 and now they’re saying ok at the end of June or whenever, that’s when they’re cutting that off. So if you do want to upgrade now is the time to do it. I’m with you. They should make it really clear. And you should have a really clear way to opt out and not do that. But I mean a lot of people don’t like change and there were a lot of changes to Windows 8 and less to Windows 10 but still changes. And so I mean I think this is kind of they’re in a weird situation. They need people to upgrade. But I’m with you. They could probably do this in a way that would be less shocking if you’re—by clicking an X button, let’s put it this way. You shouldn’t click an X button and then still have it install anyway. That’s not correct behavior. It’s kind of like what we were talking about on MacBreak Weekly a couple of weeks ago about iTunes and its terrible design trying to delete a track, whether it’s from your library or cloud or whatever. These things should be really clear. But I do understand why they’re trying to get everyone onboard to Windows 10. Here’s my question. Has anyone come up with an app that you run on Windows 7 or I guess Windows 8 although I don’t know anybody who would want Windows 8 and not Windows 10, that will disable this sort of update.
Leo: Yes. I have it for you and it was created by our very own Steve Gibson who hosts Security Now. He is a staunch Windows 7 user. He’s called Windows 10 a flying turd. He does not want to upgrade to it.
Christina: Never 10?
Leo: Yea, Never 10 is the name of his product. Good news about this is he’s doing it the right way. Microsoft did publish instructions. Mostly in Enterprise and IT Pro who wants to keep all her machines at Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. So Microsoft said, “Well, yea, you can do it with group policy edit or you can modify these registry keys.” But of course no normal user has access to group policy edit or wants to modify their registry. So Steve does it for you. This is a small assembly language program about 80K. It also has a button to remove. Because one of the other things Microsoft does is download 3 gigabytes worth of Windows installer and then expands it to 8 gigabytes on your hard drive before it even does this. So you may, many of you sitting and watching this may already have 8 gigabytes of your hard drive used up by Windows 10 installer files. So he has a button to remove those as well. And as long as Microsoft doesn’t change their policy which I think they won’t because it would really hurt their reputation in Enterprise, this will always work. And you can delete it once you do it. You change the registry and you just, it’s done and you delete the program. So Never 10. If you Google it, it comes right up. It’s very popular. So there is a way to stop it but probably to just the people who watch TWiT. Another good reason to watch our shows. So you know, ok, so I think I did use this service because I instead of just showing this dialogue and saying, “Isn’t this terrible?” I kind of justified it. And I think I successfully justified it. But I don’t think the average user is going to look at that and say, “Oh, no, no. I don’t want that.” I think the average user’s going to say, “Well, I’m going to click that X because I don’t want that to happen.” And it doesn’t fix anything. There’s only one way to stop it and that’s to click here. And that’s in smaller type face than the other stuff.
Stacey: It is. They’re totally nudging you to like letting it go. And they’re kind of lying to you with the click.
Leo: Yea. It’s deceptive but you have a good point, Stacey. It’s where we’re headed.
Stacey: I’m not saying that I like it. I’m just saying that it’s going to happen.
Leo: By the way, Microsoft according to The Register says, “Yep, that’s exactly—Leo’s interpretation is right.” They didn’t say my name, but that’s exactly what we intended and we’re not going to change it. And we don’t even think it’s deceptive.
Stacey: I would argue on the last point. But basically that’s screw you, you guys.
Leo: Yea. They emailed The Register to say, “Hey, that’s how the UI of our,” get this, “the UI of our quote your upgrade is scheduled end quote is nothing new, including the ability to just X-out of the notification with no further action needed to schedule your upgrade. It’s been part of the notification UI for months. Based on customer feedback, we confirm the time of your scheduled upgrade and provide you the opportunity for cancelling or rescheduling. That’s what customers said. And that’s the way it’s going to be. So there you go. I don’t use Windows.
Philip: I’m such a sheet that I always upgrade when Apple tells me to upgrade.
Leo: Well you’re different. Apple people—see this is why people say, “Well, Apple does the same thing.” Apple does do the same thing but you don’t have to because everybody who runs Macs wants the update.
Stacey: I never update.
Stacey: Ok, I update eventually but I always wait to see what—because everything breaks on an update. If you wait like 2 or 3 weeks.
Christina: I even beta test them out though.
Leo: You’re just, you’re just—yea. iOS 9.3. what was it? The most recent update broke some proportion of iPads.
Christina: 9.3.2 yea. I mean I run iOS beta on one device just for testing but I mean for one of my Macs I always run the beta version of OS10. And that actually I haven’t had any problems with. And in fairness, OS10 is pretty done at this point. It’s pretty stable so it’s not like they’re making huge fundamental changes to it the way that Windows is. So there aren’t as many things to break when you get an update from 10.11 to 10.12 or whatever.
Philip: Although I found a Forbes writer who every time there’s a new iteration of iOS, he writes a headline about there’s a nasty surprise in iOS 9. And there were like a dozen of these headlines. He did it every time.
Leo: I know who that writer is and he’s widely reviled in Apple circles (laughing). They’re on to him. We’re going to take a break. When we come back, our last story, an argument why VR will never succeed. But first, if you missed anything this week, oh, you missed a bunch of stuff. We’ve got a little mini-movie to show you some of the highlights. Take a look.
Narrator: Previously, on TWiT.
Narrator: TWiT Live Specials.
Father Robert Ballecer: Are you a maker? An inventor? A tinkerer? An engineer or an artist? If so, I’ve got just the place for you. I’m Father Robert Ballecer, the digital Jesuit welcoming you to Maker Faire 2016, San Mateo.
Narrator: Windows Weekly.
Paul Thurrott: These Get Windows 10 advertisements, this weird stuff that Microsoft’s doing to try to literally fool people into upgrading to Windows 10 by mistake is the wrong way to treat customers.
Leo: You also have to acknowledge there’s plenty of people who have perfectly good reasons for not upgrading and should not be tricked or forced into it.
Paul: They should bring back Clippy. And then Clippy could say, “Hey, it looks like you’re trying to upgrade to Windows 10. Would you like me to get that thing going for you?” And you can be like, “No.” And then he’ll say, “Ok. Let’s install Windows 10.”
Narrator: Tech News Today.
Jason Howell: So it’s time for a double dose of hey, we’re investing in ride sharing companies too. Toyota struck a pretty strategic partnership in Uber allowing drivers to lease Toyota vehicles and not to be left out, Volkswagen announced that it has invested $300 million dollars into Gett.
Megan Morrone: This sounds to me like the weeks leading up to the senior prom where everyone’s like, “You know, you’re fine, you’ll do. Let’s pair up. Let’s just do this.”
Jason: You’re better than nobody.
Narrator: TWiT. We love you!
Leo: And we do. We really do. Going to be a big week ahead. Jason Howell, what’s happening?
Jason: Hey thanks, Leo. Here is a look at a few things we’re going to be keeping a close eye on in the week ahead. First off, Computex actually kicks off in Taipei. You usually see some interesting Windows 10 developments, devices. Also some Android devices there so I’m sure we’ll see a couple of devices rolling out. Also Augmented World Expo happens starting Wednesday, June 1st. This is the world’s largest AR and VR expo. Man, I wish I could go there and check out some of the stuff. We’re actually going to have a team there to cover the event. So someone’s going there and we’ll have lots of coverage for you next week. Developer’s building Apple Watch OS apps should mark June 1st on their calendar. That’s the day that Apple requires that Watch apps be native apps meaning that they can be untethered to a device. So if you’re developing Watch apps, definitely want to look out for that. Also on June 1st, June 1st is a big day, Comcast opens up its data cap from 300 Gigs to 1 Terabyte of data. That might save you if you’re thinking about getting an unlimited plan or whatever. Comcast is opening it up and that’s a good deal. Check out Tech News Today. We record every Monday through Friday at 4:00 PM Pacific, 7:00 PM Eastern, myself and Megan Morrone, we’re on set talking about all these stories and a whole lot more. So you should definitely check it out at TWiT.tv/live. That’s it for the week ahead. Back to you, Leo.
Leo: Thank you, Jason Howell. Monday through Friday, 4:00 PM Pacific as he said, 7:00 PM Eastern. Tech News Today. Our show today brought to you by our Ring Video Doorbell. Oh, I love this thing. I love my Ring. I have it on my front door. You have it on your backdoor (laughing), Stacey. This is, no it was, who had it on the backdoor? Was it you, Philip? It was you, Stacey.
Stacey: It is me.
Leo: Yea. I love it because it’s a doorbell that connects—it’s an Internet of Things device that connects to your Wi-Fi, replaces your existing doorbell. One of the problems with doorbells of course, I can never hear it in the house. The chime goes thunk, thunk. So this replaces it and not only does the chime still ring, but your phone or your tablet or everything rings. They’ve got Ring apps for iOS, for Android. They even have a Ring app now for the Macintosh. And so you’ll never miss somebody at your doorbell, even if you’re not at home because it is attached to the internet. So you hear the phone ring, I hear it here at work, then of course it’s got a wide angle HD camera on it, a microphone and speaker too. You can talk to who’s at your door. You can say, “Oh, sorry, I’m in the shower so don’t break into my house, bad guy.” Which by the way, happens a lot. They tend to come, apparently, they tend to come, I didn’t know this but the stats say they come, that 95% of burglaries come during the day. The bad guy comes to the door, knocks on the door, rings the doorbell. You don’t answer. Goes around the back and breaks in. Well now you’ve got crystal clear video of the bad guy and you can tell him, “Go away. I’m inside,” even if you’re not. The Ring Video Doorbell, it’s easy to install. I installed it myself. Looks great. They have a variety of finishes. Go to ring.com and get free FedEx shipping on the original Ring Video Doorbell at ring.com/TWiT. This is just a great idea and I feel like it would be great not only for you but for family members. Maybe your parents or whoever. Give them a little sense of security. Ring.com/twit. We thank them so much for their support of our show.
Leo: Great panel today from Mashable, Christina Warren, always is wonderful to have Film Girl on the show. From Stacey on IOT and the IOT Podcast, Stacey Higginbotham, iotpodcast.com gigastacey on the Twitter. And of course Philip Elmer-DeWitt, PED @ped30.com. Last story. Steve Baker writing in Quora. Now Steve Baker is a designer of simulation of aircraft simulation, flight simulators for pilots. He’s been doing that for over 25 years and he says “Forget about it. There’s no way VR is ever going to work.” These devices have been around forever and he says, “I’ve been using them for years and years and years.” And the problem isn’t latency. It’s not screen resolution and all the things that companies like Oculus and Vive say it is. The problem is depth perception. And he says the problem is that your eyes are converging really close but the objects you’re looking at are sometimes distant. You have a disconnect in your caveman brain. He says, “What happens when the convergence system says an object is 2 meters away and the focusing system says it’s 6 meters away?” Well according to our caveman evolved brain we’re hallucinating. We must have eaten something terrible. Throw it up. Your brain goes into panic mode, tries to empty this substance. Now he says, “This is going to happen. People will always get sick with VR displays unless the content is further than around 3 meters from them.” And of course that excludes any kind of application that happens inside a building because the floor is always less than 3 meters away from you unless you’re a nine foot tall alien. And he quotes, not just his own thesis but the United States Navy and the US Army, both of which did extensive studies on sim sickness. And it’s even worse than you might imagine even without nausea. And maybe not everybody gets sick but there’s a measurable degree of confusion and disorientation after prolong exposure to VR experiences. The US Military advises against flying a plane or even driving a car for 24 hours after being inside a simulator. Quote “One question still not answered is the actual time course of the symptoms experienced by the aviators in the simulator and the reoccurrence of delayed effects. Anecdotal data continues to be received indicating that there is a part of the aviation population that experiences delayed problems beyond the simulator exposure and for periods that exceed 6-8 hours. That’s approximately 8% of the population and for a smaller group, 1 to 2 days. Studies should be conducted to determine which scenarios are linked with simulator sickness and methods to prevent, prepare aviators to deal with these scenarios but you shouldn’t be driving a car, let alone piloting an aircraft. So Baker points out, “Look, we’re going to put a lot of these devices in people’s hands, not just the Oculus and the Vive but also the Play Station VR which is due out.” I love them. But he says, “If you go to the labs where they’re making these, guys don’t wear them for very long. They know.” And we’re going to have all sorts of problems of people driving under the influence of VR (laughing). What do you think? I have to say—Christina, I bet you played a lot with these. What’s the longest you’ve spent?
Christina: I have. I don’t know, maybe like an hour and a half.
Leo: And when you took it off, were you disoriented? Was life—
Christina: A little bit.
Christina: A little bit but I didn’t feel drunk. I mean look, I don’t drive again so I kind of feel safe.
Leo: You’re safe on the subway, yea.
Christina: I’m safe on the subway. Yea, but I mean a little bit. I have to say over time it’s gotten a lot better. I’ve seen huge improvements just from the like the original DK2 Oculus to the shipped version. And I think the Vive is a good experience too. So I understand the concerns and I think they’re really valid but I always feel weird about any prognostications that this is an unsolvable problem, because I feel like technology moves so quickly and we thought this about other things in the past. And then it turns out that there are solutions. But I do think it’s a valid concern and I do think it’s one of those things that we do have to consider as VR becomes a bigger and bigger deal. And I think that this is one of the things, why there are so many people are hesitant about VR, right, because it’s not just nausea but it’s depth perception and other things. People—the general consensus is not that this is going to be necessarily be the next big thing. It’s kind of a toss-up between is this 3D TV or is this smartphones. And I don’t really know the answer of what it’s going to be yet but I definitely think that what he wrote has, raises a lot of interesting questions and are definitely things that I’m sure everybody at all these companies, I’m sure they’re thinking about these issues and are investing in heavy research and development to solve these sorts of problems too.
Leo: He says we’ve had 20 years. We’ve known about this forever.
Christina: Well, I mean that’s fair but at the same time I mean like they’ve had 20 years and yet it was a kid who kind of helped come up with the modern implantation.
Leo: Yea, but the modern implantation, the big story there is really that he improved VR but he got the price down. Because I remember 30 years ago getting a VR, you know, rig and riding a pterodactyl at Seagraf 92. And it was exactly the same experience. In fact probably, arguably he says a better experience. Lower latency, higher resolution displays, more accurate head tracking. The big advance of Palmer Lucky and the rest is they got the price down. Because it used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Stacey: I get sick every time I’m in VR, so—
Leo: So does my wife.
Stacey: I wish I didn’t. Everyone’s like, “This is the way to be.” And I’m like after about 5 minutes, and everybody’s like, “it will go away over time.” But so far it hasn’t. So I feel like if this is the next big thing, I feel kind of screwed as a reporter.
Leo: What the industry tells us is, “Oh, no, no, no, we’re getting the latency down between turning the head and the picture moving and that’s going to fix it.” I don’t think it does. Now, he points out that Cardboard, Google’s VR doesn’t have that problem as much because most of these applications where you’re not moving, you’re just turning your head around.
Stacey: Right. That makes sense.
Leo: I also should point out that people said that 3D movies and TV would die for a similar reason, that your eyes are converging on one distance, your focal point is a different distance. So the theatre screen is 60 feet away but you see a twig 3 feet away and your brain is saying you can’t converge at one distance and focus at another distance. Throw up. You’re hallucinating (laughing). I find this fascinating and it’s a big story because frankly this is going to be a multi-billion dollar industry and if it makes people nauseous or worse, causes car accidents, we’ve got a problem.
Philip: Maybe it will be a 30 billion dollar. It’s not the smartphone and just because the smartphone is so huge. I mean to be able to put the internet in your pocket, that’s a hard thing to match for any technology. What I’m, my only experience is with the Cardboard. And showing the Cardboard to people and what’s so cool is you show them this and it’s really cheap technology and it’s like the scales have fallen off their eyes. And they say, “Oh, wow this is amazing.”
Leo: I agree.
Philip: But then they don’t, so then what’s next? And I can see it for gamers. That’s definitely a market. And I can see it for porn. And maybe for training airplane pilots. But you know, how big is that?
Stacey: So like the internet, so the smartphone put the internet in your pocket, right? The idea behind VR and why everyone wants to spend so much money on it is because you can conceivably put the world in your pocket. Not today, but it’s more like the PC. But I mean, if your biggest problem is you know, the internet changed distribution models, you know, sending digital bits around, VR’s a way to kind of turn atoms into bits in some way. Not exactly. You can’t do—
Leo: It will put you places. Yea. Yea.
Stacey: And that’s exciting.
Stacey: But I still get sick.
Leo: Yea. I think some percentage of people will always get sick.
Stacey: No, I can’t be one of those. I’ll be left behind.
Leo: No, I don’t think you have to feel bad about it. I don’t think you have to feel bad about it. Lisa gets sick. She can’t do it. I’ll be looking at stuff and say, “Oh, this is so cool. You’ve got to try it.” She puts it on she goes, “Oh.” Because you guys have, you have a better evolved system to prevent eating magic mushrooms than we do.
Stacey: I feel like I can do that just fine.
Leo: (Laughing). I don’t know. You know, I don’t know. It was an interesting article I thought I found. It was on Quora you know, which is a strange place to find something like that but I thought it was quite interesting. Folks, we’ve run out of time but we have had a blast. And I’m so glad that you all were here. I thank you, Stacey. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of you on TWiG. We’re thrilled to have you as part of the team. You can find Stacey’s podcast at the IOT, what is it, iotpodcast.com. I don’t want to say the. IOTpodcast.com. That’s the show she does with Kevin Tofel. Kevin’s a regular, right?
Stacey: Yea, Kevin’s on every week.
Leo: Yea. And you’re already up to episode 60 which is nice, very nice. And of course you can read about her IOT stuff at Stacey—is it Stacey on IOT?
Stacey: Yes. That’s the newsletter.
Leo: Oh, that’s the newsletter. And where do we get that?
Stacey: You go to staceyoniot.com to sign up. I don’t have a web place yet because I haven’t figured out my strategy there. I know.
Leo: Well, I will follow you anywhere. Sign up for it. It’s free. Staceyoniot.com. And Philip Elmer-DeWitt, leaving his cushy job to start his own thing and God bless you for doing it. I think it’s a great idea. P-E-D-3-0.com and anything, you know what are you working on?
Philip: Oh, you know, the news never ends with Apple. Let me just say about the website, it’s $10 bucks a month or $100 bucks a year but if you don’t want to pay, wait three days and the pay wall lifts and it’s all free.
Leo: That’s a clever way to do it.
Philip: Yea, if you’re behind a pay wall you sort of become invisible on the internet so this is my way around it.
Leo: Yea. I look at people like Ben Thompson and I really feel like there’s an opportunity for some of somebody smart and has a unique voice to do just fine in a situation like this. Jason Snell, absolutely. When are we going to get you out of your day job, Christina Warren at Mashable.com?
Christina: I think about it. I think about it.
Leo: But you have such a good job.
Christina: I do have a good job so yea, so it is always one of those things, especially when I talk to people like Stacey and Philip who are kind of doing it and looking at what Jason’s done. It’s always one of those things you think, “Could I? I don’t know.” But in the meantime…
Leo: It’s always tempting. But let me tell you, and I’m sure that Stacey and Philip will agree, there are also some serious challenges. And it’s a little scary frankly, you know? Things are going well, no reason to—here’s the thing. Don’t tell Cashmore this. But the truth is, and people do this to me too, you’re using his platform to build your brand.
Leo: And just continue to do so and at some point your brand is big enough that you can, you know, you’re getting, you’re building up steam, you’re going down that runway. Any moment now you can lift off. You know just get that brand to the point where you lift off. That’s all. Use me. Use me too. We love having you on. We’ll see a lot more of you, I know. Christina Warren, thank you.
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