This Week in Tech 569

Leo Laporte:  It's time for TWiT, This Week in Tech!  Wow, do we have a great show ahead for you!  When you got Alex Wilhelm, Roberto Baldwin, and Mike Elgan all in the same room, you know it's going to be fireworks!  We'll talk about the new Windows Ten anniversary update, we'll talk about robotic deer.  We'll talk about theBuzzfeed animal vertical.  There's so much excitement ahead!  Then we'll put some tech news in there too.  TWiT is next.

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This is TWiT, This Week in Tech, episode 569, recorded Sunday, July 3 2016.

Don't Eat the Gas Station Nougat

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It's time for TWiT:  The fourth of July edition.  The show in which we cover the latest tech news of the week, and of course tomorrow is our nation's birthday in the US and at the end of this show, I'm going to pick somebody from the studio audience.  They'll get to ignite this rocket. 

Voice:  In the studio?

Leo:  Yes.  I've been told... the kid.  How many fingers do you have?  Do you still have them all?  We got a great panel today.  Alex Wilhelm is here from Mattermark. Right?

Alex Wilhelm:  Yes.  You nailed it this time.  I'm so impressed by you.

Leo:  Mattermark.  He is an EIC.  That is Ego In Charge.  @Alex. 

Alex:  On Twitter.

Leo:  No.  That sounds like a mistake.  You couldn't possibly be @Alex, but yes you are. 

Alex:  I'm also @Alex1 on Instagram.  Form one line. 

Leo:  That's an AOL user name. 

Alex:  I'm not cool.  I was very behind on the Instagram phenomenon. 

Leo:  How come the other Alex Wilhelm didn't get one?  Is he zero? 

Alex:  He's just Alex Wilhelm no number.  I had to add the kick at the end because I'm not with it.

Leo:  From Engadget, Roberto Baldwin.  He's senior editor at Engadget, @strngwys on the Twitter. 

Roberto Baldwin:  It's an old username.  Back in the AOL days I got it.  When you could only have 8 characters.  That's the reason why it doesn't have all the vowels.  I just kept it because I'm lazy.

Leo:  Also here for the last time before he heads off to parts unknown, Mike Elgan, our digital nomad.  What is it?  Nomadic life? 

Mike Elgan:  It's called  That is a site that will one day be the site for the book that I'm on. 

Leo:  We've had such trouble, and I must apologize, getting you on via Skype. 

Mike:  I must apologize too.  I've dialed in with some really rotten connections.  I feel like Jeff Jarvis.  It's bad. 

Leo:  He's the worst.  It doesn't matter where he is.  There is something... he breaks Skype.  There's something about him.  But you do a valiant effort.  You're going off to France, and then Morocco. 

Mike:  That's right, and then back to France. 

Leo:  I just saw that you can get land in New Zealand cheap. 

Mike:  They even throw in a sheep or two. 

Leo:  They OK.  I looked up New Zealand, and I found New Zealand record Cocaine seizure in horses head.  That is not what I was looking for.

Mike:  Sounds like a nice place. 

Alex:  This is the most family friendly episode of TWiT I've ever been on. 

Leo:  New Zealand town with too many jobs.  They have too many jobs offering packages of land and homes for 165K, and they say the unemployment for teens in this town is 2.  Not 2%.  Two kids. 

Alex:  Literally unemployment is 2 among the youths.  I want to go find the people who say, "I will not work."  You are going to import people to do the job that I won't do down the street from around the world.  I was going to make a league of legends joke. 

Leo:  That's a job.  That's a full time gig.

Alex:  For like nine people. 

Leo:  Playing TWITCH.  What made me interested about this is last week when Jason Calacanis was on, I said what are you and your other multi-millionaire ilk, where is your hidey hole?  Where are you going to go if it all goes to hell?  He says "New Zealand."  But you don't need to be a millionaire anymore if you have 165K.  After I read this article... tell me if you did this too, Alex.  I went and looked up the immigration requirements for New Zealand.  Did you?

Alex:  Look this up before you apply and make sure you're eligible for immigration to the area. 

Leo:  So I read the announcement, I read and looked up, and if you're an entrepreneur, so if I wanted to bring TWiT, the business to New Zealand, all I have to do is invest a hundred thousand dollars.  I'm spending five times that to build a new studio in town.  And then I could have a three year residency, and if at the end of that residency I wanted to become a full citizen, I could.  I'm moving to New Zealand.  Just wanted to announce that.  You want to come, John?  Carson?  Burke?  That's all I need.  Three people. 

Alex:  Take us out by boat for in studio appearances?  What's the plan on that? 

Mike:  You could hire those teenagers.

Leo:  You know what I actually thought about that.  I wonder if they can edit video. 

Alex:  They probably have medical cards, I'm not sure.

Leo:  Can they put out seats for our non-existent studio audience who won't be there, because not only is this in New Zealand, but this is the remotest coast on the South of New Zealand.  It's the southeastern corner of...

Roberto:  What's the surfing like?

Leo:  Surfing is excellent.

Roberto:  Is it? 

Leo:  They specifically mention that. 

Roberto:  My wife is a British citizen, does that help? 

Leo:  It doesn't. 

Mike:  What kind of bandwidth can you get?  That's the big..

Leo:  I don't know why they're mentioning Australia.  Look that up too.  So there are two undersea cables to New Zealand, this is the task cable, which comes from Australia... but there's a very good one that comes from California to New Zealand.  Yeah.  They have ADSL, the ADSL 2 and other high speed connections.  They have Fiber, and I think there's sufficient bandwidth.  I don't know if there's sufficient bandwidth to this particular island, but I think there's sufficient bandwidth... you know who moved to New Zealand is Trey Russett.  What?

Roberto:  I'm still laughing about the two unemployed young people. 

Alex:  Internationally known for being unemployed on purpose. 

Mike:  And four ashamed parents.

Leo:  What I find interesting is, not only did you read this article, but I see now it is the most popular article of the San Francisco chronicle.  Do you think there's going to be this mass exodus? 

Alex:  I'm on brand for...

Leo:  Oh, I get it.  It's a little pride joke.  I come out every day.  All right.  Now we're going to cover the tech news.  It's not as interesting. 

Mike:  There is a tech angle, which is the digital nomad lifestyle, which I have become a big... you don't have to stay in New Zealand.  You could live in New Zealand for a while and then go to Australia for a while and go wherever.

Leo:  You move around. 

Mike:  I move around.  I was, I lived for a month in Cuba, a couple months in Mexico.

Leo:  You're a writer, so there's a difference because writing you can do anywhere, you don't even need very fast Internet.  You just upload. 

Mike:  If you went to videos, it's a problem.  It's expensive what you do here, it's very difficult. 

Leo: I could go back to audio.  Do you think I could do audio podcasting?  Do you know what I can't do is live streaming.  I can record it and upload it, it might take a day or two to upload, but I can do it.  I'm thinking about it.  Only because it feels like we're going to hell and a hand basket here.  I don't know why.  Is that me?  Apple is taking the headphone jack out of the iPhone. 

Alex:  That one I understand.

Leo:  It's all over.  This is the funny thing.  Business Insider had an article saying how much innovation it's going to stimulate when they take the headphone jack out of the iPhone. 

Alex:  I just vomited in my mouth.

Leo:  Innovation! 

Alex:  CES 2017.

Mike:  Innovation is going to happen anyway. The Doppler Here 1, my god.  It's not finished yet, but the Doppler in 3 or 4 years, this thing uses... you open up the app and you go I don't want to hear the baby crying any more.  Then you silence the baby remotely.  You can silence sirens.  You can turn up this, turn down that, you can tailor exactly what you hear.  The new one, you can stream your music and make phone calls and do all the things you do with a regular ear.  It's 300 bucks unfortunately, but this is where...

Leo:  You know how much my hearing aids cost?  6,000 dollars. 

Mike:  This is a replacement.  This category of hearable, they don't like that term but I like it.  Hearable is several multi colored processors and each ear bud, this is really sophisticated audio technology and it's all going in that direction.  It'll all get cheaper, all get smaller, the battery life is...

Leo:  This is the new wearable, isn't it? 

Mike:  This is what I want.  I want to never take them out.  I want to hear only what I want to hear.  Political opinions, I don't know.  I want my own filter bubble. 

Leo:  You can't filter out.  That would be a desirable plugin.  I don't want to hear anything about the election. 

Mike:  Six months.  That would be a plugin. This shift by the end of the year, and it's fantastic.  There are few others...

Leo:  You say it's fantastic.  Have you used it?  In principle. 

Mike: Their previous product was impressive in multiple ways.  There are a few things about this product that are parlor tricks, you can have the Darth Vader voice, which is dumb. 

Leo:  Everybody else sounds like Darth Vader? 

Mike:  You can sound like anything you want.  I don't like that aspect of it.  I love...

Leo:  You think so, Roberto?  Dumb? 

Alex:  Engadget has spoken. 

Leo:  The pervy grandpa from the Simpsons.  Everybody you saw?

Alex:  Family Guy. 

Leo:  Family Guy.  Yeah.  Smart noise filters is really intriguing.  The problem... it's easy for the bows and other noise canceling headphones to work with jet noise, because that's a consistent sound and consistent frequencies.  They don't work well at all with a voice.  I'd be curious how smart these smart noise filters are.  I guess an airplane engine isn't so hard, but office chatter?  Can you really block that out?

Mike:  You can because the way they work is they work like noise cancellation where they take in the noise and oppose it.  They do the same thing on the fly with specific frequencies.  They don't have a generic, a baby filter is the one everybody likes.  We've all been on those airplanes.  It doesn't generically filter out.  It listens for and identifies exactly what that specific baby is doing and where it's doing it.  The filtering in each ear bud is different based on the location of the baby.  It's pretty sophisticated. 

Leo:  The only reason I'm a little skeptical is remember the  Froggy Dash, which was a Kickstarter for Blue Tooth headphones.  They did a lot more, except when you got them, they didn't do much.  Everybody I know who ordered them has put them aside...

Mike:  Battery life on all of these products is terrible.  3 or 4 hours max.  But I'm excited about the future of that.  I think that having a lot of processing power in your ears and wearing those things all the time is going to be pretty great in some unexpected ways. 

Leo:  That is not why Apple is removing the headphone jack.  Will they do that, Roberto? You work at Engadget.  You have to deal with this.

Roberto:  They might.  Who knows?  It's Apple.  We have all these ports on our computers. Well the audio jack isn't an essentially computer port.  It's an audio jack. It's a jack that's used by millions of products.  Everything from sound boards to tape players to everything that uses that audio jack and to remove that you're giving the middle finger to an entire industry that has been set up for I don't even know how long. 

Mike:  Are you familiar with Apple?  The middle finger to the entire Industry is what they do. 

Roberto:  But you're also giving the middle finger to millions of users.  If I get a phone and I'm paying 20 dollars a month, I can afford that.  I'm not making a lot of money, but I have a SmartPhone, everyone has Smartphones.  Everyone's computer for the most part uses mobile phones, and then to say OK. Here's computers you can buy from us, but all the things you've been using since you were born to listen to music, you can't use those any more.  We want you to use whatever insane Beats headphones we have, and then we'll give it to some third parties, we'll license it, and...

Mike:  Give someone control over what will work and what will not work. 

Roberto:  If the next iPhone doesn't have an audio jack, I am not getting an iPhone any more.  I use that audio jack for a lot of stuff, I use it to record things.

Leo:  You're a musician.  There you go. 

Roberto:  It's ridiculous.  If they're doing it, they've already done it.

Leo:  Well watch.  I don't think... is it BuzzFeed or Business week?  It might have been business week.  The story line that this is innovation.  That's what Apple is going to say.  We're innovating by taking out the headphone jack.

Alex:  The deletion of some formats of storage and data transmission has been good over time.  We've kept all the ports we've ever had over the history of computers...

Leo:  This is what Gruber said.  He got rid of the floppy drive...

Alex:  But I don't think it's the same thing.  Deleting floppy drives was a good move.  But this is different. 

Roberto:  I don't even like getting rid of the 30 pin port and we have a smaller port that's totally reversible.  Totally fine with that.  It's still using the computer, getting rid of serial ports, great.  I totally understand that.  The audio port is not a computer port.  It's a universal port. 

Mike:  that's why they want to get rid of it. 

Roberto:  They can't control it.

Leo:  More than that, they can't sell you a license to use. 

Mike:  They also can't fully water proof the iPhone. 

Leo:  Wait a minute, my Samsung Galaxy is waterproof. 

Mike:  It simplifies the phone, really.  They want to be thinner, they want to do this Apple stuff. 

Roberto:  That's another thing.  I don't need a thinner phone.  Give me battery life.  I don't need a thinner phone. 

Alex:  This is thin enough.

Leo:  the funny thing is Apple doesn't care.  They want more battery life.  By the way, all three of you are carrying iPhones.  I'm using an iPhone clone.  It looks just like the iPhone.  By the way, I don't know if Apple said this, but this will be the tenth anniversary iPhone, because the iPhone was announced January 2007.  Shipped in June 2007.  So it's not going to be the iPhone that comes out in 2017, because that will be nine months later.  It will be the one they announce in September for October release.  That will be the tenth anniversary iPhone. 

Roberto:  Will it be like the 20th anniversary Mac? 

Leo:  No value.  Has not kept its value well.  Apple is in a little tiff right now with Spotify.  I'm interested in where you guys come down on this.  I think there's two reasonable points of view.  Spotify started the Battle by complaining that Apple-- they sent a letter to Apple's legal council saying that Apple is rejecting an update that Spotify has had waiting to be released in the iOS store, causing "grave harm to users by doing so."  The letter says Apple, they released this publicly.  Apple won't approve the new version because Spotify doesn't use the company's billing method for in app purchases and subscription services.  Apple did say that, their response is we've always treated you this way.  This is nothing new.  We've always said that.  Spotify charges 3 bucks more a month if you buy it through Apple.  Which is kind of maddening.  In fact, Spotify will tell you (and this is one of the things Apple doesn't like) don't subscribe here.  Go subscribe...

Mike:  Apple's response, and I'm paraphrasing, I assure you, is that we abuse everybody in exactly the same way.  So why are you complaining about it?

Leo:  We've always abused you this way.

Mike:  In a nutshell, they charge a 30% premium for anybody who is selling stuff, but they don't charge themselves, and if they did, it would be ridiculous.  Everybody has a disadvantage against Apple. They're right.  I think what Spotify is doing is they're trying to force the issue into the public conversation, because it really is unfair. 

Roberto:  Especially for subscriptions.  Like in app purchases, but for a subscription?  It's stored on whatever random server Apple is using.  But for subscriptions?  An ongoing payment system that doesn't seem fair, but everyone bought into it.  Now they're like you bought into it before!  Why...?

Alex:  They set the terms when there wasn't really an app store or ecosystem in place.  They invent the rules that were the common methods everyone could follow. Now Spotify is saying "How much money will I pay over these millions of users every month that's just not reasonable?"  I give them that Apple has more money.

Leo:  This is the problem.  Spotify gets more than half of its customers through the app store, which means both it costs them money and they can't say "Goodbye" to Apple.   This is a big part of their business.

Alex: That's why they charge 13.  They're still getting their ten bucks. 

Leo:  Spotify launched a promotion the second time they'd done it saying that if you're new, get three months of service for a buck, but you can only get it if you sign up on the web.  And Apple apparently threatened to pull the app unless Spotify stopped pushing the deal for iPhone owners.  This is from an Engadget article.  Spotify complied, but also nixed the iTunes billing option in the iOS version that is currently stalled.  They took it out and Apple says you can't do that either.  That's what Amazon did for a long time.  You can't buy a book in the kindle app, you have to go to the Kindle store on the web.  Same thing with Amazon streaming, you can't buy movies within it, because then they would have to give 30% to Apple folks.  Is Apple going to ban the Kindle app and Amazon streaming?  That may be part of the reason... this is a complaint now is Apple has a competing service.  So it's even more in Apple's interest to slow Spotify down a little bit. 

Mike:  They haven't been super successful.  Spotify is.. Apple has dominated music since the early 2000's.  They just don't like it. They don't like another company doing a lot better on subscriptions and paid subscriptions then they are able to do.  They could buy a certain music service to get 2 million more users? 

Roberto:  If they just wait, Spotify will go out of business in five to ten years.  We'll just wait until they realize they're never going to make any money.  Then that's what happens. Google, Apple, and Amazon are going to be the only people with these services, because they can afford it.  It's secondary to the hardware and the other services that they're selling. 

Leo:  Apple says the app, current app actually violates our rules.  We find it troubling... this is a letter from Apple's general council. We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions from the rules.  We applied all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half truths about our service. 

Alex:  Can you read that again in an English accent? 

Leo:  We find it troubling...  Why English?

Alex:  German would be better. 

Leo:  I think it's more like... we find it troubling that you ask for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers. 

Alex:  Bruce Seewald just went up against the Government.

Leo:  If I can beat the FBI, you ain't got nothing on me.  What kind of name is X?  I don't know.  I'm just saying. 

Alex: To Mike's point, Spotify has 3 million subscribers, Apple has 15 million. 

Leo:  But Apple is coming on strong. 

Alex: Apple is doing a great job to capitalize on their built-in on the iPhone and use that to leverage quick growth in the market. 

Leo:  I would guess behind the scenes the other thing that's gong on here is how do you quickly kill the other guys is you make the music industry squeeze them and Apple really wants to use Jimmy Iovene, Doctor Drey, their good connections in the music Industry, Taylor Swift and others, to get the music industry to squeeze these other guys.  Behind the scenes, Bruce is also writing a note to Warner Records saying it would be very convenient for us... they don't need to do that. They just make nice to the music Industry.

Roberto:  The rumored title deal is trying to make nice.

Leo: Title is the one that has all the people signed up.  Jay Z's company. 

Mike:  It's easy to make nice with the music Industry when you're Apple because you don't have to pay Apple a 30% premium, you can charge less and still make it profitable for the music Industry.  They don't have to be operating on zero margins.  Is that fair?  It doesn't violate anti-trust law to my knowledge, but is that fair? If Google tried it, it would be unfair because they don't make everything.

Leo:  I mean, let's face it.  The music Industry is run by 3 companies, all of whom charge exactly the same price.  Which is a coincidence.  Collusion is illegal, but clearly these companies collude tacitly if not explicitly with each other. 

Roberto:  With the music Industry? 

Leo:  They couldn't.  They'd never do that.  By the way, if they buy Title, they will not get Prince's...

Roberto:  They won't?  Then what's the point? 

Leo:  This is speculation.  They'll get The Life of Pablo, but will he get Prince?  Is it a good record. 

Mike:  You get Lemonade.

Leo:  Lemonade is a good record.  iTunes sells it, but you can't stream it.  Prince, according to someone in the know, it would be a matter of whether the contract said Prince's estate would have to approve any licensed assignment or not.  I imagine it would because that's a standard clause, according to a music executive, Apple would have to negotiate a new deal with Prince's estate.  In other words, Prince would not go along.  In fact, Steve Gordon, he's an author of the Future of the Music Business and is being quoted here.  They're not acquiring Title's rights to play music, they're acquiring Title's subscriber list. That's all.  You know what they're really acquiring? Jay Z's good will. 

Roberto:  Jay z is like look at all these good people I brought together.

Leo:  Jay Z says I will talk to Madonna, I will talk to Daft Punk, I will help negotiate these deals.  That's what... if Apple is smart, they are doing this, they are curing favor with the music Industry.  You're right.  They're going to let Spotify wither on the line.  Everybody else except Amazon and Google whither on the line. 

Alex:  Spotify pays 80 to 85% of its revenue back to other companies? 

Leo:  That number is selected by the record companies. 

Alex:  That's not going to go down.  It's not numerically possible.

Leo:  They've never made money.  Right?  The only question is whether the music Industry fears Apple, and they should.  Right?  The real problem, in the past they have feared Apple because the iTunes store is the number one music store by far.  Not just digital music, but in general.  Sam Goody is not even close.  So I think if I were the music Industry, I would worry, because all Apple has to do is shut down all of these competitors.  And say, by the way Music Industry, you'er getting one tenth of one percent from now on.  What are they going to do?

Alex:  That's why I would try to support Spotify if I were them.

Leo:  Exactly. 

Alex:  Apple will  come up and give you a hug and then stab you and take away your ports!

Leo:  Amazon same thing.  That's what they do with the publishers.

Alex: Microsoft has a history of doing the same thing with everything.  Embrace and destroy.  Hug, stab, but businesses, they want to make money.  Shockingly.

Leo:  You've said the most important thing of any TWiT show ever. 

Roberto:  You think your favorite phone maker or computer maker loves you?  They love your money.  They're there to make money.

Leo:  I love you, Steve Jobs.  You don't love me? 

Alex:  I'm not allowed to talk about Steve Jobs any more.

Leo:  What?

Alex:  Nothing. 

Leo:  Did you get in trouble?

Alex:  On this show. 

Leo:  On this show?

Alex:  You don't remember?  Good.  Never mind then.  That was an inside joke.  Anyway, so music industry is...

Leo:  Let's roll back the tape. 

Alex:  Let's not. 

Leo:  Play the clip!  You made him spit out his red bull.  There's a lot of sugar in that. Do not spit that on your keyboard. 

Alex:  Corporate laptop, so it's fine.

Leo:  Mattermark has dozens of them.  I noticed we got two MacBook Airs, we got an iPad and an iPhone.  I have a 17 inch laptop. 

Mike:  This thing is just plain large. 

Alex:  What's it running? 

Roberto:  It just stays here, right? 

Leo:  It's got an hour battery life.  We don’t unplug it.  I can barely get it across the studio. 

Roberto:  So when you plug it in, all these lights dim, right? 

Leo:  Yes.  3 gigs of Ram, an M.2 SSD.  It's a screamer. You know what I found out?  If all you do is run Chrome, it doesn't matter.  It's all the same.  By the way, I think Microsoft has found that out.  Which is one of the reasons this is the last version of Windows ever.  In my opinion.  Now you were an editor at Windows Magazine. 

Mike:  Yes, I was. 

Leo:  You've watched for years as Microsoft version after version, 4 or 5 years another version of Windows.  At the end of this Month, actually, August 2nd.  Exactly one month from yesterday, they're going to release the anniversary update to Windows ten and it seems pretty clear, they are not ever going to do a Windows 11.  This is the last version of Windows.

Mike:  It makes sense.  Everything is different now.  Nobody is clamoring for the next version of Windows, obviously. 

Leo:  I'll even point this out.  If you're all running Chrome, it doesn't matter if you're using an iPad, a Linux laptop, a Mac laptop or a Windows laptop, it's a thin client. 

Mike:  that was a big battle.  The kids in the audience don't remember this, but there was a time when Larry Ellison... he had this vision for this network computer, people want to own their own giant PC.  And they want to upgrade it with two more megabytes of Ram.  There was this whole battle, and nobody could imagine a future where the Internet was fast enough to do cloud computing.  That's a paradigm now. 

Leo:  Here's a blog post.  Web Informant from 2000.  The idea of a computer that's designed around a web browser is an intriguing notion, but the more I use the new Internet Computer, that's what the MIC is, the creation of Larry Ellison, the more I disliked it.  No wonder it was a 250 megahertz PC. 

Alex:  Also has Larry Ellison attached to it, so I hate it by default. 

Roberto:  He's my favorite super villain.

Leo:  I just talked to somebody who was staying at the Four Seasons on Larry's island.  He said the people of Linai, a super villain has to have an island, right?  I hope it has a volcano he can put his lair in. 

Alex:  Hawaiian island. 

Leo:  It's King Kamehameha's island.  So who knows?  But our travel guru said the people of Linai love Larry.  There's 3500 people.  It's not...

Roberto:  There wasn't much going on before. 

Leo:  Dole pulled out, it was a big pineapple plantation.  These people were all out of work, Larry moves in, buys the island, starts to renovate the hotels, builds them a baseball diamond in the community center.  Makes sure everybody is employed.  Even the people who are unemployed, he found other work for them.  They love him. 

Mike:  At least he didn't build a wall like Mark Zuckerberg.  Zuckerberg said all these people are building walls, and then he built a wall.  It's a big stone wall. 

Leo:  The people who live near him can't see over the wall? 

Alex:  He's blocking the view.  He moved in and was like, "You know what?  This is an awesome view.  The rest of you, sorry." 

Mike:  I'll look up his quote about how bad it is to build walls. 

Leo:  Mark has built... look at the size of that!  He's built a six foot wall around his ocean front property. 

Roberto: Trump must be jealous.  And he made the Hawaiians pay for it. 

Leo:  It's pretty damn ugly.  It's not even a nice stone wall.  It's in Killaweah.  He has a 700 acre property in Killaweah.  Apparently to block noise from nearby roads. There's Becky Worley!  TWiT's Becky Worley, also ABC News technology contributor.  She grew up in Hawaii.  It's a very unattractive wall. 

Alex: Have you ever seen a wall and gone, "Dang.  That wall is gorgeous."  Where? 

Leo:  Usually not six foot tall wall.  by the way, Mark is 5 foot 8.  Even he can't see over it. 

Roberto:  It's not to block road noise, it's to keep people out. 

Mike:  In April he was lashing out at Donald Trump and said that he's heard fearful voices calling for building walls. 

Leo:  This is at FFA.  He said "We believe in building bridges, not walls."

Mike:  That wasn't true, apparently. 

Alex:  Three word headline.  Area, billionaire, hypocrite.  Done.  ABH. 

Leo:  All right, we're going to take a break and come back with more great panel here.  Alex Wilhelm here from Mattermark.  What do you do at Mattermark?  You're an analyst?  You're an EIC. 

Alex:  I just write about finance in tech. 

Leo:  Mostly finance, though.  That's what your clients are interested in.  So you're an analyst, but you're a good guy analyst. 

Alex:  Independent journalist/analyst.

Leo:  That's nice.  That's the thing everybody is doing now, right?  It's interesting. 

Alex:  It's enjoyable. 

Leo:  There was a great article in the New York magazine last week on the Jeff Bezos in the Washington Post.  There is a case to be made if you're going to continue to have journalism, you might need deep pockets to fund this.  We'll talk about it, we'll get there.  Also here from Engadget.  I hear they have AOL behind them. 

Roberto:  And Verizon behind that. 

Leo:  And behind Verizon?  Carlos Flynn.

Alex:  That could be true.

Roberto:  Nothing but mean things to say about Verizon. 

Leo:  They don't come in and say "It would be nice if you were to review the new droid as a positive thing."

Roberto:  No one from AOL or Verizon has ever said anything to me about anything.  I riff on Verizon all the time. 

Leo:  It would ruin the value of Engadget.

Roberto:  I think people who say can Engadget ever be truly independent...

Mike:  If they did, that would be a great last story for you. 

Roberto:  We're all on Twitter like boom boom boom.  You know. 

Leo:  There's the real value to Twitter, isn't there?  There is always still an outlet for people to say what they think and people are reading it. 

Mike:  I got into journalism for the money.  I don't know what happened.

Roberto:  So did I. 

Leo:  Big mistake.  That's Mike Elgan.  He is a digital nomad.  You can read more at, which probably... does it re-direct to Google?

Mike:  No, it doesn't.  It's a whole site now.

Leo:  Fifth anniversary Google Plus last week. 

Mike:  Yeah, isn't that exciting?  I heard about that.  I read it on Twitter. 

Leo:  I'm curious what you think.  Our show to you today brought to you by Freshbooks.  The super simple cloud accounting software that's helping people who are freelancers work for themselves, keep track of their invoices and their money, save time billing, get paid faster.  Look.  It is no fun.  Let's face it.  You don't get into business because you're so excited about the day-to-day admin work.  You don't get into business because you like printing and mailing invoices, because you like dunning slow-paying clients.  If you're in business you need to do that so you get paid.  Five million small business owners use Freshbooks, the debt simple cloud accounting software to transform how they feel and handle their paperwork, how they feel about it, and how they handle it.  It starts with the invoicing.  That's how I started using Freshbooks more than ten years ago.  You can create and send an invoice in 30 seconds, it's easy.  It handles all different currencies, and you can import time and hours for the Freshbooks app.  The app is great.  Of course, there's branding on your invoice, you can set recurring invoices, you can even set it up with your client.  The invoice is automatically sent and automatically paid.  Believe it or not, your clients hate paying bills as much as you hate sending bills.  Nobody enjoys the paperwork.  Make it easy for them.  Your clients can even pay online, which means you get paid a lot faster, on average about five days faster with Freshbooks.  If they don't pay, auto payment reminders, make it easy to keep on track. 

Mike:  You know what, Leo?  I use Freshbooks all the time.  I love it.  It's fantastic.  It's great because you can configure every one of the fields.  I just select the publisher and it knows everything else, it knows how much I get paid for each column.  Here's the part that nobody ever talks about that is one of the best things.  It's a simple little thing.  But sometimes I worry whether they got my invoice.  They pay on monthly cycles, so if I mix a cycle it's another month.  You can just go to the site and look and it says, Yep.  They opened it.  They saw it. 

Leo:  Some clients will say, "I didn't get the invoice."  You say you did.  You opened it on Friday.  I can see it right here.  This is something new.  I don't know how exactly it works but you can invoice for a payment up front.  I was expensing stuff, it does make it very easy.  You take a picture of the receipt with your phone it automatically gets in the invoice.  This will let you request the deposit up front so that you can not be spending your own money on the project, and they'll dole it out and everything.  It's neat.  When it comes time to pay the taxes, the reports are fantastic.  You get so much from Freshbooks.  They even have an EMV chip card and a hard reader, which means, if you're doing work in people's houses, or on their premises, you can go there and create an invoice.  You can create an estimate, create an invoice, get paid right in one place.  Right there right then.  Getting things started is easy and we've got a 30 day free trial at  All we ask is mention this week in Tech in the How did you hear about us section.  I have to log back into my computer.  I have to time my add so it's exactly the sleep time on the computer screen so I don't have to log back in.  Let's see.  The ultimate Apple IO death chart?  I missed this.  This is something from The Verge. This headphone thing has been super hostile to users. 

Mike:  They built a nice chart about how when they opened and closed each of these technologies. 

Leo:  ADB!  Remember that?  The Apple desktop?  VGA, DVI, floppy. 

Mike:  It's not like a thing they got rid of and now you don't have displays. 

Leo:  Fireware.  That's a sad story.  Oh, we hardly knew ye.  Thunderbolt.  A lot of HTMI. 

Mike:  Headphone jack began in 1878. 

Leo:  It should go back farther than 74.  Was it literally? 

Mike:  The basic jack that they invented for the first telephone operators, the current jack...

Leo:  You're nodding like you were there.

Alex:  He remembers it like it was yesterday. 

Leo:  It's the same jack that the operators would go, "Your number please?" 

Mike:  It's the same general concept.  It's very old. 

Leo: That's cool.  By the way, we've mentioned before that the Moto Z doesn't have a headphone jack.  Nobody cares.  But Allen Temper sent me an email saying you know the very first Android phone didn't have a headphone jack.  The G1 from HTC.

Alex:  That's probably why no one bought it. 

Leo:  John, can you go get... you know that G1 slide up first generation Android phone?  I didn't use it for very long.  It's on the second shelf. 

Mike:  Their work around was that you don't listen to music. 

Leo:  Phones in that era, remember this was 2008?  They had a proprietary plug that you would charge it with and that had a headphone.  You're right.  Not a hot selling item.  Android N is coming and we now know it's Nougat.  Did you find it?  Let me see.  Is it a slider?  That's it. 

Alex:  Living history.

Leo:  This is the first... I saved it because it's the first Android phone.  It even says Google on the back but HTC made it... I think they sold it as the Desire or something like that. 

Mike:  Looks different now.  Doesn't it look smaller and weirder?

Alex:  It looks like a toy you get at the fun fair. 

Leo:  Because Blackberry was still hot.  This is a very Blackberry thumb type keyboard.  Let's see.  There's no... just a weird... John, now we know what that cable that we found goes to!  That weird notched cable.  I think we have that cable.  We kept it.  You know what's fun is to take your old phone and plug it in and see what's on here.  I got pictures of my butt before it sagged in here.

Roberto:  Let's find the charger! 

Leo:  I wonder what the thinking was in not having a headphone jack on that. 

Mike:  I think Apple should bring back the little plastic thing that you have to peel away. 

Leo: I'm glad to say, Android N is not going to be, what was it?  Nutella.  They were teasing it.  It's not going to be a brand name, which is good.  But you could blame it... what was his name?  Lockheimer.  What's his name?  You can blame him because he posted a nut and I'm nut going to tell you what it stands for.  Everybody was sure it was something with a nut.  I thought early on Nougat would be...

Alex:  Is it pronounced Nougat or is it nugget? 

Leo:  Nougat.   You've never had...?

Alex:  I may have had it and pronounced it wrong.  What is it? 

Mike:  It's a chewy thing with nuts in it. 

Alex:  Like Laughy Taffy.

Leo:  No, it is not like laughy taffy.  It's a confection made with sugar, honey roasted nuts, whipped egg whites, and occasionally chopped candied fruit. 

Alex:  I don't think I've had Nougat. 

Leo:  Nougat is.. there's torrone, which is Italian Nougat.  There's a town in France, you'll probably be there that is famous for Nougat.  They're so famous for Nougat I remember when I was there in the 60's, you could buy Nougat everywhere.  The gas station had giant nougat sculptures in the windows.  But don't eat gas station nougat.  It's not good. 

Alex:  Can you get it infused with weed?

Leo:  You probably can. 

Alex:  But don't eat the whole bar then. 

Leo:  Whatever you do.  That's a conversation.

Alex:  Leo, what's in Nougat for Android?

Leo:  Walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts.  I don't know.  N is the name they unveiled of course, as they do.  The Android statue is standing on a giant Nougat bar.  There you go.  That's your picture of Nougat, Alex. 

Alex:  What's less attractive?  Android's interface or that statue? 

Leo:  They probably have outgrown that logo.  But we're all attached to it now.  You can't get away from it.  When you update Android it's got little antennas going up like this.  Oh my god.  This is, when you're upgrading Android it's got the nuclear belly  They put the thing in the nuclear belly.  If you think about it, it's not really something you want. 

Roberto:  OS Chrome's disease or something. 

Leo:  That's disgusting.  There really isn't news associated with that. The only news is that...  they made such a big deal about it.  We don't know what it's going to be...Internet name it! 

Mike:  It's not even the name.  It's the code name. 

Leo:  It's Android 7?  We don't know.  There is rumor afoot that Google will do it's own phone.  Not like a developer handset like the Nexus phones, but actually a top of the line flagship phone. 

Mike:  I have a conspiracy theory for you about why they might do this.  Because it does make sense. Ron Amaddio did a good column about why it doesn't make sense.  They've got things going their way.  They would be competing against direct competitors.  Initially I thought, I know what they're going to do!  They're going to build Project Tango in every phone and make it cheap.  That doesn't make sense.  I think this is what makes sense. They're under fire around the world, especially in Europe but they're also talking about it in the US again around anti-trust and Android because Google wants, they're paying some companies to add, in other cases they're not paying, but they're trying to get all the Android handset makers to build in all the Google stuff.  Right?  They want that.  That's the whole point of Android. 

Leo:  You can download the open source AOS P version of Android, but it has no Google services in it.  That's free. Anybody can make a phone, that's what Amazon does.  They modify it and they make their fire tablets, but most customers want Google services.  They want Google playstore, they want Google maps, and as a result, Google says you can do that, but here's the rules.  A, you got to get our approval and B, you can't make a phone without it.  That's the thing the EU doesn't like.  The EU says that's monopolistic.  If you didn't say to Amazon for instance, OK.  You can make a standard Android phone with Google services, but that means you can't make a non-Google AOSP phone.  That's Google's rules.

Mike:  Here's the conspiracy.  I think that they, one reason to come out with a phone themselves is they themselves can build everything in it.  Just like Apple does! It's a kind of bludgeon to get the OEMs to voluntarily put that stuff in.  For example, let's say Europe says no.  You can't coerce handset makers to build anything.  They can do whatever they want, there's nothing you can do about it.  There's no point for Google to have Android in that market.  So Google can say we have a problem then.  We're going to sell our phone in Europe, only, and so knowing tha this exists, the OEMs are going to be like, we're going to play ball.  We don't want to have to compete with you directly where you're going to be selling a subsidized phone.

Leo:  No OEM is worried about Google.  No OEM, look the Nexus phones don't sell like crazy. 

Mike:  But consumers want the vanilla Google experience.

Leo:  More and more they do, but that's what a handset manufacturer can do! 

Mike:  But they're not doing as much as the consumers want.  Google can have the most vanilla thing.

Leo:  Really there's only one OEM that matters at that level, and that's Samsung.  They do crap up their phones with Samsung stuff.  Less and less though, each generation.  The next Samsung we think will be the Note 7.  This fall.  People aren't going to say here's a Google phone I can get instead of that Note 7.

Mike:  I think in general observers of the tech scene underestimate the panic that companies like Google and Apple have that they're going to be locked out a situation.  Apple is building a car for crying out loud for one and only reason!  So that they don't get locked out of all cars. Google came out with Android for onereason, they didn't want to get locked out of Smartphones.

Leo:  No!  Apple's not doing a car because they're worried that people won't put...

Mike:  It's a content consumption experience.

Leo:  They think of a car as a content consumption?

Mike:  It's a living room. 

Alex:  This to me is the intersection of software platform companies, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon trying to interact with the real world with very little success. 

Leo:  Apple's a hardware company.  Apple has always been a hardware company.  

Alex:  Apple is a platform company that has always done well in hardware, and better than their opponents. 

Leo:  They did software because they felt it was the best way to sell hardware, and it's only recently that they've started to consider having a future beyond selling hardware, and that's partly because their services, weirdly enough because they're crap, are a big part of their profit center now. 

Alex:  What percentage part of the iPhone?

Leo:  iPhone is still killer, but services, I can't remember what it was, is like a 6 billion dollar business. 

Alex:  Accounting fees is part of that number?

Leo:  And iTunes sales.  Yeah.  Not just iCloud, obviously. 

Alex:  iClouds isn't part of that total?

Leo:  No, because everybody who buys an iPhone also gets coerced into buying more iCloud storage for a buck or two bucks a month. That's a nice annuity.  Apple is now more of a platform than it used to be, but they really were a hardware company. 

Alex:  True.  But in Google's case, for example, they are going from software to hardware and that's a much harder jump.

Leo:  And that's exactly right.  That's why I don't buy this. 

Alex: They bailed for a reason, they got several billion dollars of good will for a reason.  I don't see how this is anything different. 

Leo:  I don't think they're going to do it. I think this is a phony rumor.  I don't think they are contemplating this.  Look, every company tries stuff.  This is one of the problems that's hard to cover Apple because yeah, they are making every possible product somewhere inside of Apple, but it doesn't mean they're ever going to release anything. 

Roberto:  You're not going to get an HD Apple TV? 

Leo:  No.  You may not even get an Apple car. 

Roberto:  They don't have to make a car. They could get all those people in there, figure out what they need, partner with Volkswagen, Honda, whoever, and have the dash.  A lot of these auto makers are concerned about losing the dashboard to Apple or to Google or to whoever. 

Leo:  That's a perfect analogy for what Google is doing.  Google makes software and they've up to now, even this was made by HTC.  Up to now, they're partnered with traditional OEMs, not Ford and GM, but HTC, LG and Samsung to make their devices.  That's the only reason that this is a news story is that Google might make their own. 

Mike:  But the core of this is why did Google acquire Android?  And why do they have Android?  It's completely wrecking the relationship with Apple and Steve Jobs. 

Leo:  Doesn't matter. They are selling far more Android phones worldwide. 

Mike:  But what's the advantage? 

Leo:  Google services.... so they do the open source thing.  As a little tip of the hat...

Mike:  They have a hedge against the world in which they get attacked for anti-trust, because they didn't have the open source version. 

Leo:  Sam reason Bill Gates gave Apple 150 million dollars not to go out of business just so that they wouldn't be a monopoly. 

Alex:  That wasn't altruism?  Oh my god. 

Leo:  First of all, I'm not even sure what the distinction is because if Google is not going to make it there in Mountain View with a hammer and chisel.  They're going to go to fox con, the same place all these other people are going to go and have it made there. 

Alex:  Amazon's Fire phone, complete disaster.  Google's Motorolla purchase and Nexus experiments, so far lackluster.  Microsoft's partnership with Nokia is a disaster. Apple is sitting around going ha ha ha.  I can pull this off.  Whenever these other companies go back into this market, I expect losses and lower volumes than they anticipate.  The service project will now finally work.  How much money does service take for Microsoft to get it right?  If they keep doing this episodically as Google has, how can they build the momentum to break into it?  I'm a pessimist as always.

Leo:  I said the same thing about Apple.  When Apple was sitting pretty making Macintoshes and iPods in 2007, the iPod was King and people said they were going to do a phone, I said, "That's not a business you want to be in.  That's a terrible business."  At the time, it was a terrible business.  Because they were brilliant, because they created a platform that was significantly ahead of the pack...

Mike:  Because they didn't want to get locked out of content consumption experience.  They would have been.  They knew that in the future, in the year 2000 whatever, people would watch videos and listen to music and eventually do VR and all these content consumption.  Apple does all these different things primarily for content consumption.  I see that as their business model, and I think they do too.  Since Steve Jobs came back and launched the iPod, they learned hey.  This is what we do.  I said the same thing.  This is nuts, they don't know anything about the phone business. Why are they doing this?  It's crazy.  The phone is a major place where billions of people will consume content they may or may not be paying for.  So Apple is facing a future where they're irrelevant because people are getting their content. 

Leo:  Wouldn't it be prudent of Google, instead of trying to get in now on the SmartPhone thing to look at what is next?  Right? 

Roberto:  They tried that with that thing in your face that no one liked.

Leo:  Oh God, you're right.  Mike liked it.

Mike:  Hey. 

Leo:  Mikey will wear anything.

Mike:  It was dumb looking, but it was cool.  I'm still holding out for the Luxodica, sunglasses thing with it built in.  Have you seen the technology, who are the lens guys? 

Leo:  Zeiss.

Mike: Karl Zeiss has a thing that takes that whole chunky thing around the outside and builds it into the lens itself.

Leo:  That's how it should be, a heads up display.  That's never what glass was.  It was a screen over your eyebrow. 

Mike:  The thing of having screens beamed into your eyes, that's coming.  That's going to come in for mainstream consumers.

Leo:  That'll be very interesting.  Of course, Google is looking at contact lenses as well.  We were talking earlier about the wearables in the ear.  I agree with you, Wearables as a category is worth investing in, but that's what's really interesting.  I am sure that Apple in 2007 looked with great trepidation at this big bet they were making on the iPhone.  I doubt very much Steve Jobs said in ten years we are going to be the largest company in the world, because we are going to have hit on the next big thing.  It was as much a gamble for them as glass was for Google.  It happened to be a very good gamble, but...

Roberto:  They went all in.  Apple went in and bullied Singular.  You know what?  We don't want any of your bloatware, we don't want your logo on the back and Singular went OK.

Alex:  Glass was not all on Bet.  Glass was an interesting addition to Google's life. 

Leo:  Google doesn't go all in.  They're the opposite.  Throw as much spaghetti as you can. Maybe you need more wood behind those arrows you can use that in your net..

Alex:  I will indeed.  Hashtag Leo's advice. 

Leo:  I hate that phrase. 

Alex: You have a show that's just advice, right?  The Tech Guy?

Leo:  This is it.

Alex:  This is an advice show, we're really sorry everyone. 

Leo:  My advice to you, Apple... you know what Apple does.  Whatever Leo says, let's do the other thing.  Leo said the phone business is a terrible business.  Leo said opening retail stores, gateway went out of business opening retail stores.  You'd be nuts.  I said, Intel?  What's wrong with the power PC?  That's going places kids. 

Alex:  We can use this.  Leo, repeat after me.  Apple.

Leo:  Apple.

Alex:  Remove the headphone jack.

Leo:  Remove the headphone jack.  No one wants a headphone jack.  That's crazy talk.  Why do you still put holes in your hardware? 

Alex:  I'm not in trouble this time, that was all Leo. 

Leo:  Take a break.  I'm all in on this thing.  This is so cool. This is so funny, because I see more of these around, and when I see these I go, "Oh you don't want to lose your stuff either, do you?"  I have one on my keys, it's called theTrackR, and it lets you track your belongings with Blu Tooth.  So what happens is you get a TrackR.  This is the TrackR bravo, which is very slim and elegant.  My keys aren't here, but Ill open this one up.  What color do you like?  You should have a different color for every device.  Animals, you can put them on your cats because they are so small and thin and light.  The TrackR Bravo comes with a little quarter sized battery that will last all year.  When you get the TrackR Bravo, you pair it up to your phone, there's a little button on it.  You put the TrackR up on your phone.  Here's what happens. It's a two way separation alert.  If your phone and your keys part company, it will alert you.  If you leave your keys on the beach and you walk away, your phone will go beepbeep beep.  Your keys are out of range.  If you leave your phone behind, the TrackR will go beep beep beep, and here's the cool thing.  You can push the button on theTrackR and it will set off an alert on your phone, even if your phone is silenced, and your phone will start ringing at you. You can make it anything you want. I have Black Sabbath’s Iron Man on my phone.

Roberto: Good choice, good choice.

Leo: Do, do, do, do, do when I hear that—

Roberto: Oh, stop. You can’t, you don’t want to pay licensing.

Leo: I only played 4 notes. How many notes do I get?

Roberto: That was more than 4 notes.

Leo: (Laughing) What’s cool, your phone can track up to 10 devices at once so you know, get a bunch of them. These things are fantastic. Now here’s the other thing, the only TrackRdoes and I love it. They have the largest crowd GPS network in the world. So you might say, “Well, Bluetooth, that only is good for about a hundred feet, right?” Right. But if you get past that range, let’s say you leave your keys on the beach and you go home. Now you know you’ve lost your keys, but how does your TrackR know? Well, first of all it knows the last time it saw them. But then if anybody with a TrackR walks by your keys, the TrackR on your keys talks to their smartphone app and says, “I’m here. Tell Leo.” And I get an alert saying, “Somebody just walked by your keys. They’re on the beach.” That is huge. And with a million and a half devices out there, this network is everywhere. So there’s a map, scroll down a little bit, Carson, you can show them the map. This is where all the TrackRs are all over the world, all over the country I guess. So that is really, really, cool.

Roberto: That’s creepy.

Mike: Don’t lose your stiff in Nevada.

Leo: It’s like the desert. Because nobody lives there.

Roberto: Nevada test site.

Leo: Yea, that’s Area 51. Don’t lose your TrackR in Area 51. You’ll never get your stuff back. Look at the Bermuda Triangle on the right. Nothing there either. TrackR uses Bluetooth LE so the battery lasts a year. They have water resistant cases so you can put it on your pet collar. You can even add a laser engraved message to your TrackR Bravo so you can put your pet’s serial number or name or whatever on it. They just introduced the TrackR Atlas. This is also new. It works with the Bravo or 3rd party Bluetooth trackers to pinpoint your item on a floor plan of your home. So one of the problems of course, you might say, “Oh, I know my keys are at home but I don’t know where.” Well with the TrackR Atlas, you know where. Oh, yea, they’re stuck in the cushion. You can actually see a floor plan of your house and see where your keys are. I’m going to glue one of these to the back of the remote. That’s what I really need.

Mike: Well I really need this because I move every 3 months.

Leo: I know. You’re the TrackR.

Mike: I’m so paranoid I’m going to leave stuff behind.

Leo: Where is everything, yea.

Alex: How much stuff do you own then?

Leo: He’s really pared it down.

Mike: Yea, we have, I have this backpack right here and a rolling back pack—thank you.

Leo: For your backpack.

Mike: Thank you.

Leo: Would you like one? Don’t say no. Don’t say no.

Roberto: I don’t lose things. I’m not old.

Leo: Fine, I’ll keep it.

Roberto: I don’t lose things.

Leo: I don’t lose things. Oh, boy, is that going to bit him in the ass. The hardest thing to find right now will be the website because they spell it funky. There’s no E at the end there and use the promo code TWIT. You’ll get 30% off your entire order. That is a very, very good deal. 30% off at thetrackr, code TWIT. You are watching This Week in Tech with a great panel. Mike Elgan,, he’s about to leave for France in a week. South of France.

Mike: South of France.

Leo: Fun.

Mike: Yea, Nice, Marseilles, and X.

Leo: We’re going to be there next year.

Mike: Really?

Leo: We’re taking a river cruise up the—

Mike: I’ll warm them up for you.

Roberto: The one from PBS?

Leo: TBS?

Roberto: No, PBS.

Leo: No, I am taking the PBS cruise in the fall though. Julia Child’s going to be on it I hear. I get all excited and then they said, “Previous guests include.”

Roberto: Oh.

Leo: So no, I am taking, believe it or not, it’s just a coincidence that I’m taking a PBS cruise to the Baltic. I can’t wait to see who’s on board. Maybe Garrison Keillor, I don’t know.

Roberto: Maybe some Muppets.

Leo: Some Muppets (laughing). That’s Roberto Baldwin mocking me.

Roberto: I’m not mocking you. I’m not going anywhere.

Leo: Yea. You’re not going anywhere, buddy boy.

Roberto: I’m jealous. I’m just—when I’m not talking I’m just going Facebook.

Leo: When’s your next—aw, don’t do that.

Roberto: That’s a lot of food. I’m very hungry.

Leo: It’s your FOMO feed.

Roberto: Yea, this is my FOMO feed.

Leo: How’s the band doing?

Roberto: Doing well.

Leo: Next performance?

Roberto: Friday.

Leo: Where?

Roberto: At The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. We’re doing a Prince show.

Leo: A what?

Roberto: Prince.

Leo: Oh, you’re going to do the Prince show.

Roberto: Doing the Prince show.

Leo: Have you done that already or is this the 1st one?

Roberto: No, this is the 1st one.

Leo: He’s learning where, Where Doves Bleed? Cry?

Roberto: Cry.

Leo: Cry.

Alex: Where doves explode?

Roberto: (Laughing) Crash.

Leo: I’m going to say get it right. You’re going to do that with a synthesizer.

Roberto: We have a vocoder and a synthesizer.

Leo: Are you going to learn the strange vocal things that he would do?

Roberto: Yea. Yea, I’ve been working on my Prince screams.

Alex: You want to give us a sample?

Roberto: Ugh. That’s all I got.

Leo: (Laughing).

Alex: Good. Very good. Is that like you got punched by a Smurf? Ugh.

Roberto: That’s the sort of—that’s the beginning of a couple songs and in the middle of a few songs.

Mike: Are you going to wear the whole Prince outfit, the purple with the?

Roberto: No, I like a purple tie.

Leo: Are you Prince?

Roberto: I think I’m doing a bunch of the songs but we have other singers in the band.

Alex: What’s the name of your band?

Roberto: Controversy.

Leo: Controversy.

Alex: So this is not North American Scum?

Roberto: No it’s not North American Scum.

Alex: I had the wrong Twitter handle so I’m glad I asked.

Leo: Many bands. He’s a band of many members.

Roberto: Yea, I’m juggling three bands right now.

Leo: Wow.

Roberto: Actually 4 if I think about it.

Leo: Don’t think about it.

Roberto: No, it’s just 4.

Leo: Those guys in band 4 are really feeling bad.

Roberto: That was the band I did the Bowie show with.

Leo: Oh, a Bowie show.

Roberto: I did the Bowie show.

Leo: So you only do dead artists now?

Mike: They don’t sue you.

Roberto: We’re doing it next year then. We’re doing a Devo show and they’re, well most of them are alive.

Leo: Devo. Mark Mothersbaugh’s alive and kicking.

Roberto: Have you seen Devo? Like even lately, amazing.

Leo: They are.

Roberto: They are amazing live. Unbelievable.

Leo: That’s what I hear. I hear they’re still good. Are they wearing planters on their heads still?

Roberto: I’ve seen them like at music festivals and they have the 20 year olds, “Blah, blah, I’m so sad.” And then Devo comes out and just kills. And you forget about all the other bands. They’re unbelievable.

Leo: There’s a little Tech TV tie into this because when we launched in May of 1998, we had a big party and they wanted to book the biggest act they could afford which was Devo.

Roberto: Wow.

Leo: Yea.

Roberto: And did they?

Leo: They did. That would be a bad story.

Roberto: We wanted to but we couldn’t afford it.

Mike: A mix tape, they played a mix tape.

Leo: No, John, my Devo hat is in the kitchen. It’s actually in the mixing bowls.

Alex: For those of you who don’t know, Devo is an American New Wave band formed in 1973. 25 singles and 9 albums. I had no idea. And they wear traffic cones on their heads.

Leo: You never heard of Devo?

Alex: No.

Roberto: Wait, you never heard of Devo?

Leo: Are you not a man?

Mike: (Laughing).

Roberto: That’s so…

Alex: You have weed on your shirt. Don’t talk to me.

Leo: I do not have weed on my shirt. That is a palm tree.

Roberto: I am very confused by that. My wife met somebody who didn’t know who Bob Marley was, so. I think Bob Marley has a larger—

Leo: I shouldn’t tell this story because my wife’s sitting right there.

Mike: Don’t do it, Leo.

Alex: Sing me a Devo song. Not one.

Leo: Should I tell it? He’s saying tell it, so I’m going to tell it. It’s his fault. So we’re going down to meet with an old friend and the friend says, “Would you mind if Paul Simon joins us for dinner?” And I said, “Mind? No. That’d be cool.” And I said, I come running in, I can barely contain myself. I said, “Lisa, Paul Simon’s going to be there.” She said, “Who? Who’s that?” I said, “Paul Simon.” “Yea? The economist?”
“No, no, Simon and Garfunkel.”

Mike: Does Garfunkel mean anything to you?

Leo: And she said, “No, no, not recognize it, no.” So I ended up—this is where Spotify really comes in handy. I literally played her every Paul Simon and Simon and Garfunkel song until I found one she—“Oh, The You Can Call Me Al guy? Yes.”

Mike: Me and Julio. Oh, yes.

Leo: The guy with the diamonds on the soles of his shoes. He’s going to be there. Oh. Actually she hit it off with Edie Brickell, Paul’s wife.

Roberto: Nice.

Leo: Edie Brickell, yea, they got along gangbusters.

Alex: There’s no economist Paul Simon but there is a German architect.

Leo: No, no, no there’s a Paul Simon. Who is he? Am I wrong? See, now here she comes. I’m in trouble. He said it. He said I should say that story. That guy. Right there.

Mike: Today we’re throwing the whole front row under the bus.

Leo: I told, I made them sit in the front row. I said, “This isn’t school. Sit in the front row.” And now they’re sorry because—I said, “This is not a Gallagher show. You don’t have to wear a poncho. I’m not going to hit a watermelon.”

Mike: Would have been a good idea.

Leo: Google is changing how—ok, explain this to me. You probably understand it better than I do, Mike. The ads. In the past they’ve used information that they know about you from search and all that stuff to power Google Ads on Google sites but they never did that on 3rd party sites. They’re about to do that on 3rd party sites, right, starting today. But it is opt in.

Mike: Yea.

Leo: What?

Alex: Who’s going to opt in?

Mike: Nobody.

Leo: I am. Because I want better ads. No. See—

Alex: I’ve never heard someone say that before. That’s what I want. I want more of the crap that floats over the entire world.

Leo: No, you’re going to get the ads anyway.

Alex: No, you’re not.

Leo: Wouldn’t you rather have ads that are something that you are interested in than ads that you have no interest in?

Mike: I know an ad blocker guy when I see one.

Alex: Yea. Ad blocker guy.

Mike: And this guy is one.

Alex:  Yea, because I use the internet. Yes. Awkward silence. It’s fine. But I’ll take it.

Roberto: I like the internet.

Alex: No, no, ad blocking technology is effective. Leo is saying that he’s stuck with ads. They really should be better.

Mike: Let me explain the silence. This house was built with advertising.

Leo: With ads.

Alex: I don’t block Leo’s ads. I can’t block them because they’re part of the same file.

Leo: Ah, clever. It’s part of the same file. There’s no 3rd party ad blocking that will work.

Alex: Amazing how that works.

Leo: Yet—but let me ask you something.

Alex: Ok, I’m here.

Leo: If there were, would you use it on podcasts?

Alex: No, some things that I like I support. I turn off ad blocker for certain sites.

Leo: There you go. Lately I do also use it. Lately I have been mostly because sites are being really annoying about this. I have been turning it on. I mean, you know, disabling it I guess when I get to for instance. They now say, “Aw, come on, man.”

Alex: And Bloomberg and The Guardian and everyone.

Leo: And Bloomberg. But you know who I don’t do it for is Forbes because—

Alex: They won’t let you into the front door anymore because of their blocker.

Leo: And then, you get malware. So that’s not good. And I think this is something people overlook because people don’t just run ad blockers because they don’t like ads, they run ad blockers because there are security issues with ads. Not my ads.

Alex: Ad networks are just lazy as—

Leo: They’re bad. So ok, so anything more to say about this?

Mike: All I have to say about this is this is part of a larger trend where the big companies like Google, Facebook, Apple etcetera are in the business of building a better user. So what they’re trying to do over time is get you used to more and more cookies—

Leo: Does that sound creepy? I want to build a better user. Isn’t that what Frankenstein said?

Mike: Yes, exactly.

Leo: I want to build a better user.

Mike: So they’re methodically going in this direction, but mark my words. 3 years, there’s going to be no opt in, they’re just going to do this whole thing all the way and everybody, nobody will care.

Leo: That’s the real truth of it is if they did this without making an opt in, nobody’d notice either. I guess so there’s a new page called My Activity. I may or may not be turned on for you. It’s going to be, it’s starting to be turned on today. It’s really interesting because 9 to 5 Google said, “Hey, great news. Google’s new ad technology is opt in.” And then Wired said, “Uh oh. Google expands ad tracking.” (laughing). So there really is a variation on how people view all of this. My attitude is if we’re going to get ads, wouldn’t you rather have ads that are of more interest to you?

Roberto: I think we’re a weird, we don’t count. Because we’re all searching for so many weird things for work that the ads that are pushed to me and then I use, I killed all the trackers and all the cookies.

Leo: It’s my position that the reason people don’t like ad tracking is not because it’s effective but because the tools, the recommendation tools are so crappy.

Alex: Thank you.

Leo: They’re creepy. They recommend stuff you just bought over and over again. Like I already got those Levi’s. I don’t need to see them anymore. But that’s not, that’s just poorly implemented recommendations.

Roberto: Yea. I’ve been recommended something, I bought something on Amazon and then on Facebook, it recommended me to buy that thing.

Leo: Terrible.

Roberto: I’m like I just bought it.

Leo: I just bought it, dude.

Alex: You can only have 4 microwaves per house. After 4 microwaves, it just—

Leo: If you bought a microwave and then it recommended Hot Pockets, wouldn’t that be of interest to you?

Alex: That’s true. Don’t be Frodo because that would be too much power.

Leo: Yea, I’m just saying that it’s not ad tracking that people don’t like. If the ad tracking and the recommendation engines worked, the people would actually appreciate that. The ads would be more relevant to you.

Mike: But this is a huge problem. This is the elephant in the living room with all the data they harvest. They keep harvesting all this data and where are the relevant ads? We’ve been waiting year after year. And they’re terrible at it. They’re horrible at it and that’s one problem. I think the bigger problem is just a cognitive bias against a human being understandingwhat actually happens with a so-called tracking. There is no tracking. There is no committee of conspiratorial people, “Oh, look, look. Alex Wilhelm just did this. Like he just bought some weed on whatever.” No, that’s not happening, right? That is not happening. It’s just—

Leo: We anthropomorphize more technology because technology, our brains are designed to act on human interactions. We don’t have the biology for machine interactions.

Roberto: But the data’s in a—if they can’t even, the malware. If that’s insecure, then the data that’s being held somewhere—

Leo: Who’s protecting that?

Roberto: Yea, who’s protecting that data. That’s my concern.

Leo: What are you worried that’s going to happen?

Roberto: Well they can track where you go, what you’re doing, what you’re buying.

Leo: And then what?

Roberto: And then that just builds a more robust system to help them hack you. Everything, every little bit of information that you put out there is more information someone can use to attack you.

Leo: I noticed that you have a Chiquita Banana sticker on your camera for instance.

Roberto: Yea.

Leo: Alex, you do not. I do not.

Alex: I don’t think anyone’s going to hack me because I’m pretty boring. So I don’t worry about it too much.

Leo: But are you really—why are you worried?

Roberto: I also report on security.

Leo: Yea.

Roberto: So and—

Leo: That does make you a target.

Roberto: My Google account, I get about 3 alerts a month that’s someone’s trying to hack it.

Leo: I get that too.

Roberto: I get spear phishing from my, I think a lot of people have been getting a lot of spear phishing from Twitter lately. But my Google account gets hit all the time.

Leo: The Twitter tweet directed at you with the payload that’s aimed at you?

Roberto: It’s an email that says “Oh, there’s something wrong.” From “Twitter.” That says, “Oh, there’s some weirdness going on with your account.”

Leo: And you say that’s spear phishing because you think it’s targeted at Roberto Baldwin?

Roberto: Yea, because the funny thing is they send it to the wrong email address.

Leo: So you know it’s not real.

Roberto: Because they send it to which doesn’t go anywhere.

Leo: It’s a real address but it’s not anything you’d ever use.

Roberto: It’s a real address but nothing—

Alex: Did you just give away one of your actual email addresses?

Leo: That’s the one he ignores.

Roberto: Send me some emails. I don’t care.

Alex: All right. That’s dangerous.


Roberto: My emails, my emails—

Alex: It’s fantastic.

Leo: (laughing).

Alex: I used to make light of the broader worry about hacking things, but my voicemail got hacked once. And that was a really huge pain. Somebody actually hacked into my voicemail and changed my voicemail recording that I left. Then the next one I joined Engadget. And I found out because my girlfriend called me. She was like, “Did you leave your job?”

Leo: Almost certainly that prank is somebody who knows you.

Alex: If I find them, we’re going to have a chat.

Leo: It is because they knew enough about you to do that, right? They knew you.

Alex: And they knew I hadn’t set up my voicemail when I moved here from Verizon. So it was insecure. Oops. Classic dorky move.

Leo: I guess one point is that there’s nothing you can do to prevent hacking, really, right?

Roberto: If you’re targeted—

Leo: If somebody says, “I want to get Roberto,” they’re going to get you.

Roberto: Yea, I’m talking about a nation state or—

Leo: Not even a nation state.

Roberto: Or by a group of hackers.

Leo: Look what Kevin Roose did at Fusion.

Roberto: If Lizard Squad wants to hack me, they’re going to get to me. What I’m trying to do is—

Leo: Lower your surface.

Roberto: Yea. It’s like when someone, when a thief is walking down the street and trying every door knob and they’re like, “One of these is unlocked. This is the one. This is the house I break into.”

Leo: You don’t leave your purse in the front seat. You put it in the trunk.

Roberto: Yea, I take—

Leo: And we all do that.

Roberto: Yea. But if I’m, if Lizard Squad wants to get me or NSA—

Alex: North Korea, China, Russia.

Roberto: Yea, anybody with a lot. You know if you’re a target, you know--

Leo: I guess we are going to have to worry a little bit more about casual kind of malicious hacking.

Alex: Why isn’t it worse though? Why hasn’t there been more systemic and internet wide disasters on privacy? I feel like it’s usually constrained to like Target customers.

Leo: Here’s my guess. My guess is it’s happening a lot for high profile subjects. And of course if it happens to you, the last thing—you guys are journalists. You’re going to write about it. But the last thing Scarlet Johansson is going to do is talk about it in any form or fashion. Her experts are saying, “Don’t. Don’t. Didn’t happen.”

Roberto: I’ve seen Hulk Hogan, Justin Bieber, Scarlet Johansson, a bunch of celebrity’s social security numbers.

Leo: Right.

Roberto: Just freely available on the dark net.

Leo: And you know, they can change them but it’s not easy to change it.

Roberto: Well they have people who, that’s their entire job is to make sure, they know that their information’s out there, to keep everything they have secure. And you’re just constantly changing phone numbers. You’re constantly changing email addresses.

Leo: I would love to talk to somebody who is a major celebrity, major—and I’d like to put this out to anybody who wants to volunteer. But a Stephen Fry or somebody who’s just a major celebrity. You know who would be interesting to talk to is Neil Gaiman because he’s well known among geeks, he’s a geek icon. And ask them, “What do you do?” Because for sure there’s some 18-year-old geek who’s attacking you constantly, right? And what does it cost you? How much effort do you put into it? What do you do? Are there, I’m sure, in fact I know there are firms that do this. I’ve been told there are firms that do this. I’ve been told that there are firms that you can hire at great cost who will track the hacker down, who will actually—a counter hacker, working on your behalf that will more effectively and probably because they’re willing to break the law, more effectively track down the miscreant and threaten to break their legs. I think that you can pay for that.

Mike: There’s what Roberto brought up which is you know, everything’s in the cloud now so a lot of the hacks we hear about, we don’t really see the consequences in a big way. But you hear some hospital system company or insurance company or all the government agencies have been hacked by the Chinese and Russians and so on. But if everything’s in the cloud, which brings us around to, I think is always an interesting conversation, does Apple do what they say? And is what they say they do the right way to go? Keep all the information on the phone and send the rest to the cloud.

Leo: That’s the new question that we’re all going to be asking after WWDC and the announcements about differential privacy and on-device, Apple wants to use information about you but they think or assert they can do it privately. But that’s marketing speak. They will at some point, Apple always does, will white paper which might be more forthcoming.

Alex: Apple wants us to keep more of ourselves on our phone, and yet still sell us 16GB options.

Leo: Well they might not do that on the next phone. There’s a rumor they’re going to start at 32GB and up.

Alex: That would be lovely.

Leo: Yea.

Alex: But do you think it’s going to happen?

Leo: Yea.

Alex: Ok.

Leo: It is.

Alex: I’ll bet you a dollar.

Roberto: Oh, see I told you he was gambling.

Mike: The inadequate one though is—

Leo: Pinky bet.

Alex: There we go.

Leo: Pinky bet. Is that binding?

Roberto: I believe that’s a legally binding pinky bet.

Leo: In 4 states.

Roberto: Because it’s also been recorded so you have—

Leo: Did you take a picture, Michael O’Donnell?

Roberto: Yea he took a photo. Like the people in that room saw.

Alex: Yea.

Roberto: Anyway now you’re worried about that dollar, aren’t you?

Leo: No. I just remember there was somebody like O’Donnell in the audience when Tim Cook and Bano did their famous finger touch and that became an image that will never, never go away.

Mike: Sadly.

Leo: And now, it’s you and me and pinky bet.

Alex: Because we’re just as handsome and wealthy.

Leo: Yes.

Mike: And people care as much.

Alex: Also equally untrue.

Mike: But anyway, to a certain extent, the worst case scenario for Apple just to zip this up is the pandering to the public ignorance about stuff. It’s in my hands therefore it’s secure. Well no, unless I leave this is a taxi or whatever.

Leo: Well I can give you an example. Apple has, everybody knows if they read between the lines that Apple has the key to your iCloud storage and if asked by law enforcement, by duly ordained—how do you? It’s not ordained.

Roberto: If law enforcement asks.

Leo: If law enforcement, if the right people ask they will give your iCloud contents to them.

Mike: Here’s another way to look at it.

Leo: But they don’t, they act as if that’s not the case.

Mike: Right. Right. Again, public perception.

Roberto: They’ve been very public about it. We’ve, I’ve been on calls with them. You’ve talked to them. They’ve said that they will give it over.

Leo: Well the first time I heard them say that publically was in the San Bernardino case where they said and it felt a little self-serving, “Hey had the FBI only asked us and not changed the password, we would have just said, ‘back it up to the iCloud and we’ll give it to you.’”

Roberto: Well that was also the FBI.

Leo: That was very self-serving.

Roberto: I don’t even talk about the FBI.

Leo: But I think the general populous doesn’t know that when you back up your phone to iCloud, you’re giving the entire contents of the phone, encrypted or not to Apple which can then and will then give it to law enforcement if asked. Or it can be hacked.

Roberto: Well there’s stipulation that they’re not doing that. They encrypt it because they have the keys to that encryption in the iCloud. But there’s speculation that they’re not going to have the key anymore. They’re going to do the same thing on the phone.

Mike: They’re going to swallow it.

Leo: When they do that, they will announce that.

Roberto: Oh yea.

Alex: Because it’s a huge publicity wave for them.

Leo: And I thought they might announce something at WWDC and to me the fact that they did not tells me that Apple’s trying to have it both ways. That they want—look, it’s also bad PR with a lot of the American public to say, “We’re not going to help you in your investigation against terrorism.”

Alex: Because #freedom.

Leo: So I think Apple wants it both ways. I think they want the general consumer—it’s actually as you said. They are kind of obfuscating it. They want the perception to be that they’re protecting you. They also want it to be clear to law enforcement and anybody paying attention that in fact, if law enforcement needs it. And you may even say, and I think a lot of the public says, “No, no. That’s fine. If the FBI asks you should stand and deliver.” But what people don’t get is well if that’s the case, it also means that it is less secure for a bad guy. That somebody, a misbehaving employee at Apple might have access to that. And hackers might have access. And in fact, that is what happened with the naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence.

Roberto: That was a phishing campaign.

Leo: But they got in through, those were iCloud stored photos, right?

Roberto: Yea, because they phished them.

Leo: Well we don’t know exactly.

Roberto: No we did. We found out.

Leo: They phished them? All right.

Roberto: They phished them.

Leo: It wasn’t social engineering? Because I thought some of it might be—

Roberto: Well phishing is social engineering.

Leo: Yea but I thought it was someone was calling Apple reps and how I’m getting some information from them. Maybe not.

Roberto: Matt Honen’s hack was phishing.

Leo: That was social engineering.

Roberto: That was Apple, Amazon.

Leo: They used social engineering with Apple and Amazon to collate information.

Roberto: It was super easy because we had a dude research it.

Leo: But Apple changed it. And Amazon changed it they say. But that’s my point. If Apple can see the data, if Dropbox can see the data, it doesn’t—yes they can say, “Well we’re only going to hand it over to law enforcement.” But in fact, it makes it less secure.

Mike: Right. Exactly. And one of the things that helps you understand Apple’s decision making process is they are very, very good and almost unique in the industry at looking at the long game on every single aspect. They look ahead in the future and I guarantee you, they have meetings and they say, “Ok. There are going to be large numbers of really, really horrible hacks with lots and lots of data. What are we going to say?”

Leo: What will be our response?

Mike: That’s scenario one. We need to be ready for that. And then here’s another scenario. There’s going to be horrible terrorist attacks where catching the bad guys are going to involve using a phone. What are we going to say? So they have a story for both of those. The story on the one hand is they asked for it and it’s legal and it’s a warrant. We’ll give it to anything. The other thing is, oh, we don’t put things in the cloud. The cloud’s dangerous. If we keep everything on the phone, it’s secure. You know, all that. That’s their story for that. But they’re looking, and they know events will take place that will put them in the spotlight at some point. Meanwhile, what’s the most secure device that is generally available to consumers? It’s a Chromebook. It’s all cloud. And that’s super secure because Google is super secure. And by the way, I’d like to, speaking of Google +’s 5th year anniversary, I’m gladSundar Pichai got hacked on Twitter and Quora. Because he’s been using Twitter instead of his own Google + and has Google + ever been hacked? No.  Well the reason—

Leo: How did Google + come up?

Roberto: Do we know if Google +? I mean it might have been hacked. Who cares?

Leo: There’s never been that false post in Sundar Pichai’s account.

Roberto: Well if someone hacks your email account they have access to your—

Leo: So we know how—

Alex: They just don’t care.

Leo: We know how Sundar got hacked and we know how Quora got hacked. 3rd party apps that had been given permission to post on their behalf. But somebody hacked a 3rd party app who had permission to post to their Twitter account and then used that to post.

Mike: Of which there are none for Google + and we’ve been suffering for the last—

Leo: And by the way, so it’s secure because they don’t allow that.

Mike: Exactly.

Alex: This happened to me recently, actually. A tweet went out form my account, like the official Foursquare service that was like gobbledygook. And so I was like, “I haven’t used Foursquare since I was like 14.”

Leo: I’ve had that happen to me.

Alex: So I was very confused. So I went to my Twitter account and turned off undo 3rd party app access and over the years—

Leo: It was a lot.

Alex: It was like a hundred and fifty things that were allowed to post to my account. I killed all of them.

Leo: That is by the way, the moral of that Sundar Pichai story which is you should go through Facebook and Twitter and look at the app permissions and kill anything that you don’t use.

Mike: It’s not that you should use Google +?

Alex: No, sadly. No one will give you that advice ever.

Leo: I think that you can’t pat Google + on the back and say how secure it is because they don’t allow write access to 3rd party apps.

Mike: I think the CEO of a company should use his own. That’s all I’m saying.

Alex: Well fine. Then Zuckerberg should use Friend Feed.

Mike: I eat his dog food. He should eat it too. That’s all I’m saying.

Leo: Incidentally, a story that came out a couple of days ago on the full disk encryption on Android. Most Android phones are now encrypted by default. All of Google’s are. However it turns out, and by the way, this post was complicated and somewhat above my paygrade but according to this post and I haven’t seen anything to contradict it, they figured how using a flaw kind of in the way Qualcomm enables the secure store in the encryption and there is a way, not an easy way, but there is a way. If you understand this chart, you too can crack the new—

Roberto: There’s always a way. They can be like our software’s secure. But yea, but is your hardware secure? Are you building your own hardware? There’s always a way.

Leo: To Apple’s credit you can say there isn’t a way to break Apple’s encryption. But I guess we know there is because the FBI got help, right? Is there? I don’t know.

Mike: Yes, they can do it.

Roberto: Yea, the NSA should have—they’ve been right about how they’ve had it if you want to work with the FBI.

Leo: If you read this article, it does compare how Apple stores the encryption key versus how Google does it. And Apple does seem to have a better scheme than Google’s scheme. This is Apple’s scheme involving something called Entanglement.

Mike: Sounds complicated.

Leo: It entangles your password with another thing.

Roberto: Sounds like an episode of Game of Thrones.

Leo: Oh what a tangled web we weave.

Roberto: The battle of entanglement.

Leo: Let’s take a break. I want to talk about the new Facebook feed. I might have buried the lead. There’s actually some very big stories that we didn’t talk about including of course the 5th anniversary of Google +.

Mike: Yea that’s a huge story.

Leo: Cannot, cannot forget that. I want to talk about that. I’m talking of course about the Tesla fatality.

Mike: Yes.

Leo: And lots more. And this little public service announcement, whatever you do, don’t eat gas station nougat. Our show today brought to you by Braintree. Braintree is the solution for the mobile app developer who wants to add payment to their apps. You know I think if you’re writing a mobile app, and you know you want to have customers use your app to buy things, to pay for things, there’s a couple of ways to address this. One would be to write a full stack solution yourself. I think if you’re a developer, you know, EH- that’s not the right way to do it. Not only is it hard to do, it’s hard to do right unless you’re really an expert. And even then, it’s a pain because then somebody adds a new form of payment, you’ve got to go back in the code and write the whole thing. So what you’re probably going to want to do is go out and look and see what other people use. You might check, for instance, well, you know, what’s the best payment experience out there? Uber, right? It’s great. You get out of the car and you’re done. So what does Uber use, you might ask. Or what does Lyft use? Maybe you use GitHub. Of course you do. What does GitHub? These guys are smart. What they use. What would Airbnb, Hotel’s tonight? You know what? The answer’s the same in every case. All of those services, Casper and Boxed and everybody use Braintree. Braintree. You know, buyable pins on Pinterest. This is amazing. This is everywhere. It’s Braintree. Braintree Payments because it’s a full stack solution. A few lines of code you can easily integrate. They keep it up to date. They’re security experts. You don’t have to worry about fraud. They’ve got full-time fraud protection built in. Your customers like it because they’ve used it before. They know it’s safe. And when there’s a new form of payment, it’s easy. You flip a switch. You just click the box in your control panel and you put the new app out and boom. You’re done. Just update a few, little things and you’re done. From pounds to PayPal. From Bitcoin to credit cards. Braintree does it all. In iOS and Android. In Java script. That means you can use it on the web, too. .Net, node.js, Java, Pearl, Python, Ruby. It is the best. I don’t know if you’re the decision maker in your team but please bring this to the one who does. Your program manager, your boss, whoever. Your product and if they need a little more incentive, tell them, “Oh and by the way, your first $50 thousand dollars in payments are fee free.” It’s the best way. That’s why everybody uses it. to find out more.

Leo: You know it’s such a sad story, I don’t want to make fun of the story in any way. But I do think this is, as far as I know, correct me if I’m wrong, the first time an autonomous vehicle has killed a passenger.

Mike: Was it an autonomous vehicle?

Roberto: It’s semi-autonomous because it’s auto-pilot. So you’re supposed to be, the driver is supposed to be in charge of the vehicle at all times, blah, blah, blah.

Mike: You’re not supposed to be watching Harry Potter.

Roberto: Exactly.

Leo: Tesla Model S, it was a very challenging situation whether you’re a human or a machine. Cruising down the highway. We know because he blew by a few other people who reported he was going at least 85 miles an hour which is over the speed limit in that area. He, a tractor trailer turned, made a left turn across the freeway and it was white. And according to Tesla’s records, neither the driver nor the auto-pilot could see it. The brake was not applied. The car hit the tractor trailer at full speed. And it was an unusual situation for an auto-pilot because the tractor, as many trucks, in fact this is against the law in Europe. I’m told they have to put baffles at the bottom of the truck. This truck was very high off the road.

Alex: Oh, that’s why they do that.

Leo: Yea, that’s why they do that so that you can see it so what it looked like perhaps to the auto-pilot is a sign. Because it could see road and then there’s something blocking it. That’s pure speculation on my part. But for whatever reason, maybe it was the light, Tesla in their blog post said, “It was a white truck. It was a bright, sunny day. For whatever reason the brake was never applied. The car hit the truck and the passenger was immediately killed.” Chilling effect on autonomous vehicles or—

Mike: No. The opposite.

Leo: Business as usual. The opposite?

Mike: The opposite. Here’s why. Look at all the information that Tesla has about what happened, ok.

Leo: This is amazing. They know everything.

Mike: As we know with software in general in open source software in particular, if you’re constantly refining, getting data in a good way, in a meaningful way and refining what you do, this is how self-driving cars ultimately will be essentially perfected. Because it’s—this is something that would—

Leo: Yea but nobody wants to be the one that died.

Alex: Well, no.

Leo: To make a self-driving car better.

Roberto: But no one wanted to be the one who died before we had anti-lock brakes. Or no one wanted to be the one who died before we started using seat belts.

Mike: This was clearly the driver’s error. He was not supposed to be watching movies. He was supposed to be watching what he was doing.

Leo: Ok, to be fair, we don’t know he was watching movies. The truck driver reported he heard the Harry Potter movie playing when he went back to see what was going on.

Alex: Not a bad signal, that it was playing.

Leo: Yea, but I don’t want to impugn the driver and he had eight tickets and blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to impugn the driver.

Alex: Understood.

Mike: Why don’t you want to impugn the driver, besides the fact that he’s dead. If you’re driving the car, and the brakes should be applied to avoid hitting something, it’s your responsibility as the driver to apply those brakes.

Leo: He didn’t, right.

Mike: He didn’t.

Leo: He didn’t. Because he trusted the car. He admittedly made a mistake trusting the car.

Roberto: But they have been very forthcoming, do not trust the car, especially if this person was a Tesla enthusiast, saying, you know, you need to be in control—

Leo: He actually posted a video to show how well the auto-pilot did. The Tesla says, oh no, in fact they have a lot of mechanical restrictions. You have to keep your hand on the wheel and blah, blah, blah or we’re going to slow down. But a lot of that feels like legalese like we got an autonomous vehicle. Don’t trust it, whatever you do.

Roberto: Semi-autonomous. There’s a difference.

Mike: To me this falls—

Leo: But don’t you think that scares people now because I’m thinking, “That’s going to happen to me.” See, here, I’ll tell you why it’s germane. And why I don’t want to impugn the driver. Because the truth is, most people say, “I think autonomous vehicles are great for the other guys because they’re crap drivers. I am an excellent driver.”

Mike: It’s cognitive bias.

Leo: That guy was a crap driver. Of course he died. But I am an excellent driver. So I am not going to trust an autonomous vehicle because I’m a better driver than that.

Mike: That, Leo, is why we need to get to actual self-driving cars.

Leo: (Laughing). Because you’re not an excellent driver.

Mike: Exactly. Because, no, because people are delusional. That’s why we can’t trust them to drive a car.

Leo: Is there anybody here who is not an excellent driver?

Alex: I am a bad driver.

Leo: You’re pointing at the teenager in the crowd.

Mike: There’s a consensus actually. Yea, we know teenagers are bad drivers. Are you an excellent driver? I think you’re an excellent driver.

Roberto: My auto journalist friends say I’m an excellent driver.

Leo:  See he’s got a—Are you Alex, an excellent driver?

Alex: I am—no, I’m terrible. I don’t pay attention at all. I’m just thinking about other things and singing along and then, “Oh, a stop sign. Crap.”

Leo: So you know you’re a bad driver.

Alex: I stopped driving for a reason.

Leo: Oh, you don’t drive.

Alex: Well I haven’t really in 7, 8 years.

Leo: Oh, well ok.

Alex: Because I don’t like it. It’s very annoying.

Leo: So let me put it this way. Anybody who’s still driving thinks they’re an excellent driver?

Alex: Thank God for Uber by the way.

Leo: Are you an excellent driver?

Mike: I’m probably a very safe driver. My wife tells me that I drive too slowly and stuff. My wife is an excellent driver but I don’t want to be driving. I want to be taking a nap and playing video games.

Leo: I do too, but will you now, looking at this, think, “Gosh I hope no white trucks drive across the road.”

Mike: No.

Roberto: We’re talking about, I mean full autonomy is 10 years out into the future. Right now we’re just doing baby steps. The problem with what happened here is that it’s the nightly news. The nightly news keeps saying, “Autonomous Driver Kills Man.” And that’s the news that people are going to here.

Mike: That’s the falsehood.

Leo: It’s not true?

Roberto: Man who doesn’t put brakes on when he goes barreling towards a truck.

Leo: No, because the car was in charge.

Roberto: No, you’re in charge. It tells you.

Mike: And also there’s another cognitive bias going on which is how many people are killed by other people?  It’s huge.

Leo: Well Tesla pointed out in their blog post, they have driven, Teslas have driven accumulatively 130 million autonomous—no million. 130 million autonomous miles. This is the first fatality. They point out that in the US that number is 96 million miles per fatality and in the rest of the world it’s 60—

Roberto: It’s already safer.

Leo: In America we’re excellent drivers. But in the rest of the world they’re crap drivers.

Mike: No. No. No, no, no, no. They’re better drivers abroad but what they don’t have is 6 lane highways. They have 2 lanes and you’ll have to pass into oncoming traffic.

Leo: No, they’re crap drivers that’s why—have you ever seen how those other guys drive (laughing)?

Alex: Leo, you’re about to get invaded by the EU. Also, I wanted to apologize. It was 130 million not 130 thousand.

Leo: That’s a lot.

Alex: I was incorrect by a factor of a thousand.

Leo: Well we corrected you already but thank you for also.

Alex: No, that was my formal apology. I fact checked you.

Roberto: So apologize to the numbers.

Alex: I did.

Leo: But that’s an important point. And in fact somebody else told me when I was telling this story on the radio, and also in the weekend that’s gone by since we heard this story, how many people have died on American highways? Thousands, literally. I think it’s 36,000 a year. So this is going to get all the attention even though many thousands more have died because they drove into a—

Mike: That’s why we must speak out as we’re doing so here today.

Leo: In favor of the autonomous car.

Mike: We need to speak out in favor of autonomy even semi-autonomy.

Leo: But aren’t you going to be really scared when you get into that car to drive?

Mike: Terrified.

Leo: Yea. Yea. Are you not going to sweat and hold your hand over the—

Roberto: Well that’s what you should be doing right now.

Leo: No, you know what? Google says, “We’re not going to put a gas pedal, a brake pedal or a steering wheel in our cars.” You know why? Because most of the time when the driver takes over, they blow it.

Mike: They won’t be allowed to do that. Not in the state of California where you require a steering wheel.

Alex: It will be 10 years. To Robbie’s point, this is going to be amazing, awesome and I can’t wait. Yea. To me the future hear is rather obvious and that’s exciting. That has me really stoked.

Mike: You won’t own one. Car ownership will be like boat ownership. Like you have to be rich, an enthusiast and all that stuff. And you know, they’ll be cheap and you just—

Leo: I don’t think that’s such a bad world.

Mike: Yea, it’s a great world, yea.

Roberto: I love driving. I despise commuting. I’m happy to drive outside the city, in the mountains.

Leo: And I think that’s where most of the Tesla autonomous miles are, are in stop and go traffic because it does, it will handle that quite well.

Roberto: Freeways are super easy. Well, not super easy. Freeways are easier. It’s in the city. It’s surface streets. That’s where it’s going to be super difficult because you’re going to have everything coming at you.

Leo: When all vehicles are autonomous, it will be much—the truck for instance, would not have made that turn. And had it made that turn it would have somehow communicated presumably to other vehicles in the area, “Hey, I’m stuck across the lane here. Don’t run into me.” All autonomous would solve this also, right?

Mike: Right.

Alex: And complete networked capability of all the vehicles on the road, presumed in your model. But I totally agree. When all cars can talk to each other and say, “Here’s my GPS coordinates. I can see you. You can see me. We can talk.” You have to really mess it up to maybe spear phish it to use your earlier term. Really hack at it to make it break. But I mean that’s awesome. And it saves tens of thousands of lives a year and is just more convenient that Huzzah for the future.

Mike: I’m going to hack my self-driving car to make sure if there’s a, if it’s either the pedestrians or me, it’s going to be the pedestrians that get it. Because right now, they—

Roberto: (laughing).

Leo: You know, this comes up a lot.

Mike: Selfish driving.

Leo: I have a contrarian point of view, maybe just because I’m dumb. But—

Roberto: Apple’s listening.

Leo: It wouldn’t be the 1st time. So everybody’s always talking about the ethics. Oh, you know, the bus scenario, the trolley scenario. And how are you going to program that, and oh, oh, oh. Would anybody buy an autonomous vehicle that would sacrifice their life to save a bus load of school children, etcetera, etcetera. And there’s a lot of thought about, well, they must be working hard on this. Here’s my thought. I bet they’re not.

Roberto: There are like, there are universities that are working on it.

Leo: Yea, let them work on it.

Roberto: Mercedes is probably working on it.

Leo: If I am Mr. Autonomous vehicle Google—

Roberto: That’s more of a middle ground, really.

Leo: They’re thinking about—

Roberto: Everything’s autonomous? Then everyone will know to stop.

Leo: Here’s what I would do. I’m writing the program for the autonomous vehicle. I’m just saying do the best you can period.

Mike: Try to save everybody.

Leo:  You don’t right in, “Oh, but if that’s a school bus full of children, just go off the cliff.”

Mike: Sorry, kids.

Leo: You don’t write that into the code.

Mike: With those comments, right?

Leo: You write just do the best you can not to get into an accident. Period.

Roberto: (Laughing) but what are the ethics of doing the best you can?

Alex: I want to see that code. Just do the best you can, computer. You only have two options. One or zero but just pick the middle option.

Leo: No, no, no, no. The computer has a tree that says if there’s something there, don’t do that. You don’t write into the tree, oh, there’s a bicyclist, he’s wearing a helmet. Hit him instead of the one not wearing a helmet. You don’t write that into the code. You just write code that says as best you can, do the best job you can.

Mike: But extra points for the guy in the recline bike, right?

Alex: No, he gets hit every time.

Mike: Exactly. Target him.

Alex: The recumbent bicycles? Those are shoot on site in my book. Are there going to be like death penalties for like car AI technology?

Leo: Are you the guy? So I’m riding my recumbent bicycle down the street the other day and somebody threw a water bottle at my head. Was that you?

Alex: I’ve been found out.

Mike: His car did it. His car.

Alex: It had a little eject button.

Leo: I would like, I would really like to hear from somebody who is actively involved in coding autonomous systems for vehicles, if they write in any kind of ethical conundrum crap. Or they’re computer programmers. They go, “What are you talking about?”

Mike: Do they have a point system of values for the various types of lives?

Roberto: Somebody else does that.

Leo: Yea, that’s some guy in a university that never wrote a line of code in his life. He’s just thinking about it. He’s not writing it. If you’re writing it, you just say, “Just do the best you can, ok?”

Alex: But the definition of best is so fraught.

Leo: No it’s not. You know what the best is? Don’t hit stuff.

Alex: Ok, good. We all agree on point one, Leo. Wait, I shouldn’t hit everyone that’s alive? But by point 57, where it’s actually complicated.

Leo: Isn’t that your rule though in life? You don’t hit stuff. If there’s something coming at you, you’re not making the calculation, well if I turn to the left, I’ll kill 4 people, if I turn to the right I’ll kill one person. But either will just kill me. You jam the freaking brakes on.

Alex: And then you get hit from behind.

Leo: Yea, but you don’t think about that. You just jam on the brakes and hope—

Alex: Yea, you just jam on the brakes and all of a sudden you have a CS degree and Leo was your professor. You just tell it to do the best it can, guys. Come one. Just code it in.  It’s easy.

Mike: So here’s the scenario.

Leo: There’s no ethics in computer programming.

Mike: You’re on a cliff. You’re on a cliff and there’s a bunch of hikers in the road and you’re only choice, you can’t stop in time and you’re only choice is either drive off the cliff or plow through the hikers. And that’s a scenario where doing the best you can means you drive off the cliff.

Leo: No, it means you jam on the brakes and you hope for the best. You do not actively put a line of code that says, “Oh, don’t hit those guys. Drive off the cliff.” You do not.

Roberto: You’re imagining a world where there aren’t blind turns, where—

Leo: They write code that handles the best they can.

Roberto: But if you’re doing 60 around a blind turn and there’s something in the way and you don’t have a choice which is why people hit tons of deer every year. They’re doing the best they can.

Leo: Right.

Roberto: But they still plow into that deer. They still stomp on their brakes. They still roll their car.

Leo: That’s as good as you can hope for.

Mike: You should teach a class on the ethics and it would be like a Trump seminar. It would be like 2 hours, in and out.

Leo: This car is really great. It’s not going to hit anything.

Alex: We need autonomous deer.

Leo: Autonomous deer would solve the problem.

Alex: That’s amazing.

Leo: And why did Google sell Boston Dynamics? Here was the opportunity I think we all—

Roberto:  They didn’t like it because they didn’t go all in.

Alex: Going back to the empathy point before about robotics and human technology. There’s some fun you were having before you trumped it and I forget what it was now. Dang.Oh, Trump, yes. That was hilarious. Well done.

Mike: Thank you, thank you.

Leo: Thanks for bringing that back.

Alex: Oh. We have Trump Man in the chat. We have live chat here.

Leo: You know when Google sold Boston Dynamics?

Mike: You can see they’re already getting tired of it.

Leo: When this video aired.

Alex: Oh, not this one again.

Leo: Is when Google sold Boston Dynamics.

Alex: You feel bad for the robot though, every time.

Roberto:  Maybe we shouldn’t have these guys in the same building as us.

Leo: He pokes the robot with a 2 x 4 and knocks it over.

Alex: But watch, watch, it gets up. It’s resilient. It takes no, no, no for an answer.

Roberto:  You know what it does? It remembers.

Mike: It never forgets.

Leo: I’m leaving.

Alex: Back into iCloud.

Mike: I’m going to another company.

Leo: This is when, that’s when Google, I’m telling you, that’s when Google sold Boston Dynamics is when that video—not because they didn’t understand it. But because they went, “Oh, crap. Perception is everything.”

Roberto:  That was bad. They should have kept them because then they could have apologized. Now I think it’s like Toyota owns them or invested in them so Toyota will be like, “You know what? Google’s been working on these cars. Send some of these guys over there. Bust them up a little bit.”

Mike: All these robots were designed for the military and then when Google bought them they say, “Ok. We’re not going to do military applications.” And then so everybody in the robotics department said, “Well, what are we doing these for?” And the Pentagon said, “Well, we need a robotics company to put billions of dollars in.”

Leo: And by the way, you have a contract that says you’re going to continue to do this.

Alex: Their first commercial model, the little rabbit sized one was too loud right? Was a problem that it was just too noisy?

Roberto: It had a diesel engine.

Alex: Like this stealth robot that’s like “I’m here. I’ve arrived.”

Leo: But they got quieter.

Roberto: It has this two stroke engine, bop, bop, bop.

Alex: Shooting oil into the sky.

Leo: Either there’s a robot coming to kill me or somebody’s leaf blowing on the battlefield (laughing). Either one or the other.

Alex: Then put its cue, dun, dun, da.

Roberto: There’s no leaves.

Alex: Where were we?

Leo: Om Malik writing in the New Yorker, I’m kind of—come on. Admit it, guys. You’re pissed. Om Malik retreats. He sells Gigaom. Becomes a venture capitalist and he still gets to write for the New Yorker. Be pissed. I am pissed for sure.

Alex: He’s too nice.

Leo: I love Om, but come on. He shouldn’t get to write for the New Yorker.

Roberto: Leave some for the rest of is.

Leo: Leave some for the rest of us, thank you.

Roberto: Chill.

Leo: Yea, Om, stop owning the world, Om. So this is an article, came out yesterday. Facebook’s news feed: Often Changed, Never Great.

Mike: Yea, yes. Nice.

Leo: That’s well done.

Alex: That’s journalism right there.

Leo: And I don’t think when you write for the New Yorker that some other person writes your headline. I think you get to write your headline don’t you?

Alex: Probably not.

Mike: It’s the most heavily fact checked publication in the history of mankind.

Leo: At most newspapers you don’t write your own headline.

Roberto: That’s like 3 days of not talking about your headline.

Mike: It’s people with actual pencils.

Alex: What?

Leo: Facebook announced this week that it will tweak its news feed. Does it have a news feed? Because that’s—

Roberto: It does if you’re following the right people.

Leo: Not on Facebook. It felt all too familiar. Facebook makes changes. People howl. Fortunes are lost. Facebook gets stronger but then Facebook reconsiders and starts tweaking its feed again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And that’s exactly what’s happening. This time Facebook announced this week, “Oh, guess what? You know we were saying to the Washington Post and the New York Times and BuzzFeed and Vice, you should publish all your content on Facebook and it will be a really great place for you to reach viewers? Guess what? We’re going to prioritize our feeds, our posts from your friends and family. Forget it, you guys.” Now first of all, this must have come as a surprise to people who joined Facebook and thought that’s why they joined Facebook, to see posts from their friends and family.

Roberto: Those people.

Leo: And by the way I think they really did do it because I noticed in my Facebook feed, I’m seeing people I friend mostly, not—

Roberto:  Facebook feed is a garbage fire right now.

Leo: Is it?

Roberto: It’s the same 4 posts just at the top every day.

Leo: Do you have a browser on there?

Roberto: It’s on your internet.

Alex: Mine’s turned off.

Leo: Turn on the internet.

Alex: No, my feed’s turned off.

Leo: All right. So there’s my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law. They’re at a ballgame. There I am with Michael O’Donnell and brownie rainbows. Here’s my wife posting pictures of berries that she’s apparently going to graze for a while at. That’s on the way to work. She must have—

Mike: Who says the BlackBerry’s dead?

Leo: Yea. Here’s one of our employees.

Alex: The momentum of the show has declined a little bit I feel.

Leo: So I haven’t seen any news. There’s my first high school girlfriend.

Alex: Aww.

Roberto:  Aww.

Leo: Ever wonder what she’s been up to?

Roberto: That’s creepy.

Alex: I’ve never actually thought about my old girlfriends in my life.

Leo: There’s a guy I used to know, Mike Elgan and there’s his serial number.

Mike: I Glimpsed the trip all the way from Santa Barbara.

Leo: You drove here from Santa Barbara?

Mike: Yes, yes. Well, I’m flying out of here tomorrow. It wasn’t just for you. I would have done it just for you, Leo, but I didn’t.

Leo: I feel guilty. That’s a long trip.

Mike: It was great.

Leo: Here’s the guy who used to do I can have cheeseburger, now does boring posts about—

Alex: Oh, Ben Huh.

Leo; Ben Huh. Huh?

Alex: Careful.

Leo: No, I love Ben. I love Ben. Don’t you think though a lot of times people who are really boring wear white glasses frames to look like they’re hip?

Alex: My mother wears clear frames.

Roberto: That’s really boring.

Leo: I just feel like that’s a hipster thing to do, wear a scarf.

Alex: No. Now I’m going to get in trouble.

Roberto: (Laughing).

Mike: Infinity scarf.

Leo: Anyway. So what happened if you’re a news organization, are you now going, “What the what? We’re all in on Facebook.”

Roberto: Everyone’s been sort of scammed on Facebook. Businesses were scammed because they were told to make pages. And then your pages, when you post to pages—

Leo: And they stopped showing them.

Roberto: And then suddenly those stopped. Musicians the same thing. They’ve had the same problem.

Leo: Imagine you’re a little company called Zinga. And you’ve built a billion-dollar business on Farmville. And all of a sudden, Facebook doesn’t do that no more.

Roberto: If we can get everyone in. Like come and do this thing. Awesome. You want to grow your audience. It will be awesome.

Leo: I want to meet the guy who wrote Super Pope. Where is he now?

Roberto: Aw, poor Super Pope.

Leo: Poor Super Pope.

Roberto: And then they’re like, eh, we’re not going to do that. And those people are just like, “Well now we’re there and we kind of have to stay here because it is Facebook and everyone’s here.”

Leo: Everyone’s here.

Roberto: And every once in a while, Facebook will appease their readers.

Mike: That’s exactly what it is.

Roberto: They’ll say, “You know what? We’re going to make it so it’s just you and your friends. It’s just your friends and family. All that other stuff you’re not going to see. Well, I mean, you are going to see the ads that we’re using.”

Leo: Oh yea, you’ll always see those.

Roberto: You’re going to see all those ads. And of course if those pages are, you know, if they want to give us money to post their, to boost their post, you’ll see those. But really, it’s just about, you know, you and your loved ones.

Alex: It’s the Apple Music, Spotify thing again. Bait and switch. When you depend on someone else’s platform, they can change the rules and you are materially impacted.

Leo: And yet it’s so attractive, and so desirable you keep—it’s like Charlie Brown and the football. Lucy, as many times as Lucy yanks that football away, you’re going to go back and try to kick it because it’s so, it will feel so good when you hit it, when you finally hit it.

Mike: And the general public doesn’t see social networking and social media as a platform. They don’t see themselves as content creators or any of that stuff. They just say, “Oh, well that’s what people, how I find out about people.” But here’s what—

Leo: That’s what everybody thinks that Facebook is.

Mike: But here’s what bugs me about all this. So essentially what happened was they made this big—so, I wrote a column about this. It was social media and social networking. Social networking is kind of on the decline and social media is on the rise because it’s easier to get more money out of social media. It’s easier to get more money when the New York Times has fast, mobile pages and all that kind of stuff. And so they—

Leo: So Facebook which was created as a social network says, “Wait a minute. We should now be a news source.”

Mike: Exactly. So what happened was, it became, everybody started talking about Facebook as a social media platform that they were paying publishers to do this, paying publishers to do that. Favoring publishing, publishing, publishing. People were like—it was bad press essentially.

Leo: Well and also it bit them in the butt because then conservatives said, “Oh, no, no, no. You’re espousing your political beliefs through manipulation of the news feed,” which I don’t think they were doing.

Mike: The real criticism was the lack of transparency. And this, that is exactly what bugs me about this whole story. In the spirit of transparency, they came out with a bunch of BS that means nothing. They said, “Oh, we’re really about this, that and the other.” You don’t know, for example, let me just—so there’s social media that’s put on the network by the social media. The New York Times puts an article there. Ok, there’s also Uncle Fester can put a New York Times article there. Are they favoring that when it comes from Uncle Fester now? We don’t know. There’s no transparency.

Leo: I don’t see any news articles anymore in my Facebook feed. They’re all gone. Uncle Fester—

Mike: Ok, they change their algorithm every day.

Leo: Every minute.

Mike: Right.

Leo: This is what—I think Om made a very good point. He says, “Google interacts with users by a search. Those signals are strong. They’re good. They’re powerful. They’re useful for the most part. Facebook interacts with its users via its news feed.” He says, “That feed, it’s a random collection of events, information from acquaintances, news links, videos, photos, all sorts of stuff including advertising. These create a large number of variables. It makes it difficult for the company, Facebook, to create a perfect personal experience and still meet its corporate objectives. Its artificial intelligence is clearly not intelligent enough.”

Mike: Right.

Leo: It’s just too stupid.

Mike: Right.

Leo: It’s too hard to do what it’s doing. So it’s never going to get better?

Mike: It is always getting better for Facebook. Because if you look at the numbers, the amount of time that people spend on Facebook, it always goes up. And they’re light years ahead of everyone else in terms of the amount of time. The only thing that even comes close is YouTube.

Leo: So it is working for them.

Mike: It’s working for them. This whole system is working for them.

Leo: Even changing it constantly works for them?

Roberto: Because all the people. They already have got all the people on there. So they can keep changing it. Well, we’ll change it. We’ll make it a little different. You’re like, oh, now we have—more people will go back to Facebook who may have left Facebook. But the reality is we’re all opening—

Mike: They see the needle moving and they get in front of it.

Leo: At some point there is going to be some user fatigue where people are going to go, “I don’t know what I’m going to get on my Facebook feed. I give up.”

Mike: Not by their billions. I mean I think there will always be people, people do that all the time. Some people even quit Facebook.

Leo: But in the net it doesn’t matter.

Mike: In general, people go to Facebook and it’s pretty satisfying to see what’s going on there when they see what they see.

Leo: Because Facebook knows how satisfying it is based on how long you stay. And so they just keep doing it. In fact, Om says at the end, he says, “In what might have been a rare bit of unintentional corporate honestly, Facebook’s Mosseri wrote, ‘We view our work as only 1 percent finished.’” So even though we’re confusing users, we don’t seem to have a very good handle on this and Om writes, “And decided to prioritize one kind of post over another for reasons that seem to have little to do with what the individuals are asking for, Facebook is once again confusing its users. And it doesn’t matter.”

Mike: It doesn’t matter.

Alex: The 1 percent thing is not a new trip. I mean Google has said for years they’re in development, 1 percent done with search. You know we’re only starting on this path to improve search.

Leo: Yea, Google’s still in Beta, right.

Alex: Yea, but it’s obviously not. I mean so I feel like it’s a cheap way to say like we’re still figuring things out when in reality you do have a very large moral requirement to a billion users monthly.

Mike: Google’s not referring to the 1 percent of the information out there that they haven’t indexed. They’re referring to the 1 percent of your time that they’ve got now and they want a hundred percent.

Leo: They want 100 percent of your time.

Mike: And it’s great for them because it’s ultimately about ad dollars. And every time they get 5 more minutes of your time, it’s 5 less minutes that you’re spending on Google or somewhere else.

Alex: Right, so combine market and mind share at the same time.

Mike: Exactly.

Leo: So next month are they going to do something different?

Roberto: Oh, probably, yep.

Mike: Yes.

Alex: I bet this scenario has happened 25 times. Remember the last 8,000 shows?

Leo: It has.

Alex: Because I mean this is Facebook trying to do—

Leo: But what’s funny is I remember when they started prioritizing news and they did their instant articles and I—you know, Jeff Jarvis said, “Yea, get in there. It’s a land grab. Every news source in town should do it. Look how great Vice and BuzzFeed have done based on this.” BuzzFeed, Johan Peretti even said, “We don’t have a website anymore. We just make articles.” Of course BuzzFeed doesn’t make money on its articles. They make money selling viral videos to companies, right? That’s kind of where their profit center is. I think it’s not really—

Roberto: They make all their money on their animal vertical.

Leo: I think you’re right.

Roberto: Yea. I’ve heard stories about their animal vertical on BuzzFeed is—

Leo: It’s hot. It’s so hot.

Roberto: And when I go to BuzzFeed I’ll read like a really, you know a well reported article from the tech team or the political team. And then I immediately go to the animal thing and browse like 5 cat—

Leo: It’s funny that you should say that because—

Roberto: Or the dogs that look like they’re from Westeros or something.

Alex: But BuzzFeed News and news at the capital end does do a hell of a job.

Roberto: They do. They do an amazing job.

Alex: Their news team is fantastic. I want to make sure that’s out there.

Mike: They’re going after the whole demographic.

Leo: For example, I went to read John Paczkowski. They hired one of the best journalists away from Re/Code. Great guy. Apple Slams Spotify. I went to read that. Oh, wait a minute. I have to turn my ad blocker off to get the really, the full effect here. And then of course you’d think because I’ve come here to read news, that there would be more news articles to follow. But no, it’s How to Conquer SW Florida in a Weekend. 14 Travel Hacks.

Alex: That’s just 3 bottles of tequila and a shot.

Roberto: Well, there’s news right there.

Leo: At least 120 people killed in a bombing in Baghdad in the news today or would you rather read He Thinks He’s Untouchable: Sexual Harassment Case Exposes Renowned Ebola Scientist.

Alex: I read that that was depressing.

Leo: (Laughing).

Roberto: That’s actual news.

Alex: No, it was news.

Leo: Where’s my animal vertical? I want more animals.

Roberto: Go to the top. Go to the top.

Leo: It’s up at the top?

Roberto: Go to the top. This is BuzzFeed 101.

Leo: That was my mistake. I went to the bottom. 12 Signs Your Cat is Actually Your Child.

Roberto: Exactly. So you can click on more.

Leo: Wait a minute. I want to read 12 Signs That My Cat is Actually My Child.

Roberto: I’ve been snookered into this. Animal vertical. Boom. Your day is set.

Alex: I’m already happier.

Leo: It says feed. Is This a Puppy or a Polar Bear? 14 Dog Snaps Your Dog Would Send on the 4th of July.

Roberto: See?  You’re set for the weekend.

Leo: 22 Dogs – wait a minute, here’s a trending article.

Alex: Click on it.

Leo: 22 Dogs Who Are Too Awkward For Their Own Good.

Roberto: I already looked at this by the way. I already read this article. I’m not kidding.

Audience: (Laughing).

Alex: Robbie, look. It’s you at the club.

Roberto: That is me at the club.

Leo: Every time I see stuff like this I say, “Why did I do TWiT? Why did I build this empire? Why did I even bother?”

Roberto: Look at the dog.

Alex: But they have Leo’s high school yearbook photo. How fantastic is that?

Leo: (Laughing) this dog, his tongue. Oh, Lord. Every time. I would make so much more money if I just did this.

Roberto: If you did it, yea.

Leo: Why am I covering tech news?

Alex: Because Ben Huh already tried making money off this.

Leo: Oh, Ben’s probably just retired traveling the world, enjoying life.

Mike: This week in Click Bait.

Roberto: But it’s not click bait because it delivers on the promise.

Leo: It delivers (laughing).

Roberto: If it delivers.

Leo: Why do they even bother having news because that’s how they got me and then I went to the animal vertical.

Alex: Because editorial’s worth a million costs.

Roberto: They are—

Alex: So sad that two people—

Roberto: They are them.

Leo: Are you-

Roberto: They are the television model. Like TV, 90% of television is crap.  You have reality TV.

Leo: That’s what people really watch even though they deny it.

Roberto: Then you watch 60 Minutes or 20/20 or Frontline or the news. You know, Charlie Rose, you watch these little, itty-bitty segments. But they don’t make any money. They make all the money on those horrible reality TV shows.

Leo: So essentially, you at BuzzFeed, Alex at Mattermark, you’re like the—

Roberto: No, I’m at Engadget.

Leo: At Engadget. You’re like—same thing. It doesn’t matter. Why do you even make the distinction? You’re like the barkers in front of a strip club.

Roberto: Come on.

Leo: You’re not the actual live nude girls but you’re the guy in front who says, “Come in here. You’re going to love it when you see. How about a little news before you go in there?”

Roberto: (Laughing).

Leo: I’ve got a review of the—

Alex: Would you like some financial analysis before you go inside?

Leo: Read the—yea.

Alex: This is why we don’t have friends but yes, that’s a very apt analogy. Well done, Leo. You cracked the code.

Leo: And my mistake, idiot that I am, all barker, no nude girls. I don’t got no animal vertical.

Roberto: You need a show that’s just animals.

Mike: I think they’re both the nude girls and the barker. But when they write the headline, they have to be the barker. Like we’re all pushed by our editors I think to do a headline that’s not click bait exactly but does exactly the things that click bait does.

Leo: 15 reasons why you’re going to love the new Droid Turbo.

Mike: And ultimately as Lindsey Turrentine always likes to say, she’s the editor-in-chief over at CNET, click bait just means you’re trying to get them to read the article. That’s what a headline is for, supposed to do that.

Roberto: It’s always go with the headline.

Mike: It’s a fine line.

Roberto: It’s newspaper. But it is. It’s a fine line. When I click on something and it doesn’t deliver what was promised, I get so mad.

Mike: And technically that’s what click bait is.

Leo: So this is ok because it delivers.

Mike: This is fine.

Alex: It says exactly what it is.

Roberto: Look at that dog.

Alex: These are 19 photos of dogs.

Leo: (Laughing).

Roberto: Look at him.

Alex: Hashtag squad bulls.

Roberto: That’s your new show. He’s like scrolling though pictures of puppies looking awkward.

Leo: We’re going to do that. We actually did a show, we’re going to do the best parts of Reddit.

Roberto: Oh, nice.

Alex: Oh, I have some submissions for that one.

Leo: Yea but except that we realized that everybody just goes to Reddit to do that (laughing).

Roberto: That’s what Reddit is.

Leo: You don’t need a show for that. They already got it. It’s called Reddit.

Roberto: It’s called Reddit.

Alex: A separate site for Top 10 BuzzFeed

Roberto: Top 10 BuzzFeed Lists. It’s got to be an odd number.

Alex: 11.

Roberto: There you go (laughing).

Alex: What time is it?

Leo: This is so mean to the audio audience because we’re just sitting here looking at bad dog photos. Our show today—it’s time to do an ad. I want to thank Alex Wilhelm and Roberto Baldwin and Mike Elgan. You guys are great. Always fun to have you here. Our show today brought to you by Wealthfront. You know everybody knows they need to save, right? I mean you’ve got to save. You’ve got to save for the future. You’ve got to save for a rainy day. You’ve got to save for your nomadic, your digital nomadic life coming up. You’ve got to save for college. But the problem is, how? Do you just put the money under your mattress? Do you put it in the bank? You might as well put it under your mattress if you put it in the bank. You get nothing. Nothing. So everybody says, “All right. Well I know how you do it. You invest.” Yea, but that’s where your troubles begin. Are you going to go out, but a library of books, read all about it, learn how to invest, what to buy, all the wisdom of the world and then you take your money and you open an account at Schwab and you start investing. And then about 10 years later you go, “Oh, I forgot.” I wonder how those investments are doing (laughing). And the shock sets it. Ok. No, we’re not going to do that. All right you’re going to hire an investment advisor. Some smart cookie, got an office in the strip mall downtown. And this guy, man, he knows what he’s doing, right? That’s why he has an office in the strip mall downtown because he is a genius at investing. And this guy is going to charge you one or two or three percent of everything that he manages for you every single year. Which means this genius is getting you this stock, by the way he might be getting a commission. He’s certainly getting a little transaction fee and 3% and if that stock doesn’t do 3% better than anything you pick, you just lost your money. So there is a better way. I’m telling you all the ways that people do it. Don’t do it that way. Go to is amazing. It’s a computer. Computer software designed by some of the best minds, the guys who wrote those books you bought like this one, A Random Walk Down Wall Street. Own it. Burton G. Malkeil, Charles D. Ellis’ Winning the Loser’s Game, great books. They take that knowledge. They encapsulate it into the software. And the nice thing about software, software doesn’t charge you. Software’s cheap. It doesn’t work for one, two or three % of year. One quarter of one percent a year. One quarter of one percent a year. You can start investing as little as $500 but I’m going to tell you something else. I don’t want you to invest. I want you to go to and read up. Read up. You can take advantage of some free stuff. For instance, you can go through the question process. And by the way, they’ve got a very simple process. They’ve really got it down. Not dozens of questions, some simple questions to identify risk aversion and long term goals. And then they’ll give you a free portfolio. They’ll say, “Ok, this is what we’d invest in. Thank you.” That’s free. That’s free.  They will even let you enter in all your existing accounts and tell you what you’re spending on fees, how diversified it is. So they give you some real information about what you’re doing. All that’s for free. Read up about it. They just introduced by the way their 529 college savings plans which is a really good way to save for college. You can invest after tax dollars. It’s like a ROTH IRA and save for a child or grandchild’s higher education expenses. Wealthfront now has $3 billion dollars in client assets. It’s growing really, really fast because this is a better way. I don’t know if you saw the article in the Wall Street Journal. The storefront brokers, even the big brokerages on Wall Street are terrified of Wealthfront because you know what? It works. And they have no way to fight it. It’s Wealthfront. Find out more What they’re going to do for you, again, I don’t want you to buy right away. I want you to read up. If you decide to invest you can start with as little as $500 dollars. And your first $15,000 dollars is free of charge for life. Not one quarter of one percent, but free forever. Now that’s a great way to start that college savings plan, that nest egg. Or your retirement fund or your rainy day

Leo: Aww. Look at the little puppy in sneakers.

Roberto: Aww.

Leo: I don’t think dogs would wear leather shoes though. Maybe. I don’t know.

Alex: He’s full of irony I feel.

Leo: He’s a husky. He’s a carnivore. Here’s a dog in the laundry. Aww. Isn’t it cute when dogs help?

Alex: Tomorrow morning people are going to commute, or be commuting and just hear us talking about cute dogs while they’re stuck in traffic.

Leo: Is it as good to talk about cute dogs as it is to see them? I don’t think so.

Roberto: No, you’ve got to see them.

Leo: This is why I can’t compete with BuzzFeed. That’s why Jonah Peretti’s raking in the big bucks.

Roberto: Dollar, dollar bill, yo.

Leo: Winner, winner, chicken dinner. I can do that too, you know. Robots are taking divorce lawyer’s jobs. I don’t care (laughing).

Roberto: (Laughing).

Leo: I don’t care.

Alex: Don’t show that to my wife please.

Leo: (Laughing) you’re married?

Alex: No, you’re married. That was me being you.

Leo: Oh. I shouldn’t have been that surprised. I apologize. I didn’t mean to be insulting.

Alex: (Laughing).

Roberto: You’re married?

Alex: You’re like wait, who would put up with that?

Roberto: A person, huh?

Alex: Robot.

Leo: I don’t know. I don’t think there’s any other stories worth—Windows 10th Anniversary. I mean Windows 10 Anniversary update. I mentioned that.

Mike: Yes.

Leo: August 2nd. 350 million devices and they’re still acting like a carnival barker saying, “Come on, you wanna upgrade don’t ya? You wanna upgrade. I know you do. Come on in. Come on. They’re naked inside. You’re gonna love it. No cover charge.”

Alex: I can imagine that in Frank Shaw’s voice or Terry Meyers and saying that aloud.

Leo: Come on.

Mike: They’re in a pickle though because the users don’t want, don’t see any reason to upgrade. They don’t want to upgrade. And their developers must see an upgrade or the platform is—you know, so—

Leo: As much as 350 million users sounds, it’s less than, it’s like a little more than a quarter of all Windows users. It’s like it’s still a fraction.

Alex: They’re still ahead of schedule though. If you look mathematically—

Leo: They’re doing fine.

Alex: At devices per year they have to hit. But of course it’s easier to sell them devices when you’re selling them upgrade for free. So the question is how—

Mike: And forcing them on people.

Alex: Also a different story.

Leo: Did you see the Raspberry Pi that defeated the Airforce Colonel jet fighter pilot?

Roberto: Maybe he was just really bad. Just because he’s a colonel doesn’t mean—he could have failed up.

Leo: He’s retired. Gino Lee. It’s in a simulator of course. They didn’t do this in a real airplane because that would not be a good idea.

Roberto: You can’t wear a tie in a real airplane like that.

Leo: The pilot AI was running on a Raspberry Pi and they pitted it against a professional fighter pilot with decades of experience in a series of flight combat simulations. The AI successfully evaded Gino and shot him down every time. Lee called it, Colonel Lee, I’m sorry, called it the most aggressive responsive dynamic incredible AI I’ve seen to date.

Roberto: Skynet. And yet they can’t get the AI to fix the Facebook news feed.

Alex: Yea, this is why I’m not afraid of AI. If it’s so bad at doing very mundane tasks like newsfeed management.

Leo: It’s easier to do a dogfight than it is to manage—

Roberto: It’s easier to hunt you down and kill you than it is to show you relative posts on Facebook.

Mike: There’s actually two levels to this story in terms of military technology. On the one hand, they’re outgunning a human but then the other thing is they, one of the problems with human pilots is the planes are so fast, turn so sharp they need special suits so they don’t pass out. Machines don’t have those problems. You can invent a plane that just like does crazy turns that would kill a human.

Roberto: Yea, Gs you’d actually just pass out.

Mike: Yea, exactly so AI—

Leo: Predator drones.

Mike: Predator drones don’t dogfight so dogfighting AI makes, you know, it’s inevitable. It’s absolutely going to happen.

Roberto: And then we’ll just have planes in the sky fighting each other. Robot planes.

Leo: But this is—is there an ethical conundrum because we as a rich nation will have these. No humans will have to be put at risk. But meanwhile—

Roberto: It is a deterrent.

Leo: The bad guys who are poor.

Alex: War’s always unfair. We have nukes, they don’t.

Roberto: Also I mean, how many—

Leo: That’s probably a good thing, right?

Roberto: When it comes to dog fighting. Who do we do dog fighting with anymore?

Leo: We don’t do dog fights.

Roberto: When the AI can—

Leo: If a Raspberry Pi can win, it’s like forget it.

Alex: They’re like $5 dollars.

Leo: That’s why I stopped playing Go. It’s like, what’s the point?

Roberto: If AI can you know, determine and stop ISIS. That’s when it becomes you know—when it can, ok, this is what they usually do, this is their MO. All right now we can figure out how they do their—

Leo: ISIS is more like the Facebook News Feed. A lot harder.

Roberto: Yea.

Alex: Mutating, hard to kill and somehow part of our lives.

Roberto: Yea.

Alex: So the headline for the show is “Is Facebook Like ISIS?” There we go.

Leo: Uh. Gizmodo really rubbing salt in the wound. Can you tell which of these baseball stories was written by a robot? Can’t tell. But that’s baseball stories. That’s not the kind of stories that you guys write.

Alex: So there was a bot that came out that did financial reporting that would take off initial like quarterly report and distill it down to the core facts.

Leo: How did that do?

Alex: It does ok. I got kind of sad. I went, “Dang, I get paid to do that.” And then I realized all it could do was the stuff that was actually the most boring part of my job which is grabbing certain numbers and putting them into little boxes. And so for me just personally, I’m like, “Hell, yea. Take the drudgery out of my life I can do more creative stuff on top.”Great. If that’s where we get the products to. For now I’m just not concerned because human’s can’t write, so humans they can’t write. Some computers who know how to write don’t really scare me.

Roberto: Yea and those financial reports, whenever someone hands me, like my editor’s like, “Hey can you do the Apple financials?” I’m like, “No.”

Alex: I’ll do it for you. I miss it.

Roberto: If I could get a robot to do that.

Leo: You don’t get to do that anymore?

Roberto: And then maybe like throw a kicker at the end like a joke and I get the robot to do it.

Leo: So Crackberry.

Alex: What?

Leo: Crackberry. Remember that? So there’s Bomble which is another blog, reprinted an email that was sent to staffers saying “BlackBerry has informed Verizon and AT&T that they are not going to make BlackBerry 10 devices, OS10 devices anymore. They’ve been discontinued. Future carrier order fulfillment will not be guaranteed. BlackBerry device support will continue for the foreseeable future but we are—we have this many BlackBerry devices left.” Staffers after that, “I’m sorry, you’re going to have to use a Samsung Galaxy S6.”

Mike: And the day before Canada Day, too.

Leo: Aww. That’s a low blow. BlackBerry’s response, “No, we’re not. Uh uh. No we’re not. The statement about the discontinuation—“ They are really shaded here. “The statement about the discontinuation of BlackBerry to AT&T and Verizon is incorrect. BlackBerry device strategy is based on a cross platform model where we’ll continue to support our BlackBerry 10 platform while expanding our device offering including Android based devices. We are focused on software updates for BlackBerry 10.”

Alex: You know I love that it’s the government that’s the last group that’s using BlackBerry. Because you know it’s going to be the people writing the technology rules that are using old technology. Because they’re going to be the least informed, the least up to date.

Leo: You know the staffers are going, “Yes.”

Roberto: I use a BlackBerry 10 for DEF CON.

Leo: Oh, that’s smart.

Roberto: That’s my burner phone.

Leo: Not that it’s not hackable, just nobody cares.

Roberto: Yea. If anything gets hacked on it, it doesn’t matter. It’s a burner account, it’s like everything on there is burner.

Alex: Well taking actual stuff to DEF CON is like a death wish.

Roberto: Yea, I don’t take this. I have like Faraday cages and stuff.

Alex; Do you have a computer to take when you travel abroad to countries you don’t really trust like Russia and China?

Roberto: Well I haven’t gone to Russia or China but I do have a burner laptop.

Leo: The real concern is not in country. The real concern is crossing the border where they take your electronics. “Excuse me, but we need to—“

Alex: (Laughing) You do so many voices.

Leo: “We need to check this for a moment. Stay right there.” And then they come back a minute later and you don’t know what the hell they did. But they probably put a keystroke logger in there.

Roberto: Yea, all they got to do is put the—

Leo: “Excuse me, what does a remote access Trojan mean?”

Roberto: (Laughing).

Alex: So you go to your hotel and just type in death to the government 85 times and see what happens.

Leo: They’ll show up at your door.

Roberto: Oh my God, no, that’s not what you do.

Leo: That’s not the good test.

Roberto: No.

Alex: I think it’d work.

Roberto: No.

Leo: “I have pictures.”

Roberto: When you leave the United States you realize that other—yea.

Leo: Yea, but that really is a concern. And now you come into the US, you don’t have to worry about that, but you might have to start worrying about that if you’re a foreign national coming into the US they ask you for your social media accounts. Or they going to. They want to anyway.

Mike: As you know I went to Cuba and I actually thought it would be so smart for Cuba to look up the social media activity of people coming into the country because if they’ve seen what I’ve written about Cuba, they would not let me in for sure.

Leo: But they didn’t.

Mike: No, no, they didn’t.

Leo: Well you might get it the other way.

Mike: Exactly. And I—that’s bad. That’s such a—yea, exactly.

Leo: “Excuse me, what is Twitter account, please?”

Alex: Mine’s—what the hell is your handle?

Roberto: Mine is @alex. You see, that’s why you have a different one.

Leo: “Oh, you invent Twitter?”

Alex: It’s like no, I’m poor.

Roberto: I have @robertobaldwin. There’s no tweets on it.

Leo: Do you?

Alex: What’s your actual handle? Is it S-T-R-A-N-G-W-Y-S?

Leo: It’s a Smith song. You had to be there.

Roberto: It’s a reference to a Smith song.

Leo: You had to be there.

Alex: I wasn’t there.

Leo: No, you weren’t even born.

Roberto: You don’t even know who Devo is so you’re still—

Leo: Doesn’t know Devo.

Alex: I apologize for my lack of cultural reference.

Leo: Alex Wilhelm, he is not a man. He is Devo. He is actually at where he is the Ego-In-Chief.

Alex: Close enough.

Leo: He is @alex on the Twitter. So great to have you.

Alex: Always good to be here.

Leo: Thank you for coming in your pink San Francisco Chronicle come out t-shirt. You come out every day. Now did you work at the Chronicle or do you just wear the shirt?

Alex: My friend is the editor of the business section, so.

Leo: Love that shirt. That’s nice. It didn’t have to be pink though. That’s kind of insulting.

Alex: It was a gift. I did not look it in the mouth.

Leo: Ok.

Alex: Horse, teeth, mouth thing, you know.

Leo: Roberto Baldwin is the lead singer of a Prince tribute band.

Roberto: I am not—

Leo: No, that’s not true. That’s not true.

Roberto: No, it is true.

Leo: Is it true? Ok. He’s the lead singer of a Prince tribute band among other things.

Roberto: Among other random bands that I’m in. I’m in a lot of bands.

Leo: And Friday, where?

Roberto: Friday at the Rickshaw Stop.

Leo: I’ve got to go.

Roberto: Doors open at 9:00. Rickshaw Stop. $12 bucks. 18 and over. It’s an 18 and over show.

Leo: I’d love to see it. That just means you can drink.

Roberto: Well, they have—I don’t know how they do it. I don’t know how they figure out who’s who. Probably with IDs I suppose.

Leo: IDs. There’s a way. Check your Twitter feed.

Roberto: But yea, Rickshaw Stop. Friday. If you like Prince, Dangermaker’s opening for us. They’re a big local band.

Leo: That’ll be fun.

Roberto: Yea.

Leo: Sounds like a great show.

Roberto: I’m going to scream and go “Eh,” a lot.

Leo: Senior Editor at Engadget as well and you can find him most days reading the animal feed from BuzzFeed (laughing).

Roberto: Yea, yea. They’re like, “Where’s that article?” I’m like, “Hold on. I’m looking at these.”

Leo: I’m looking at the animal vertical. Mike Elgan, I’m sad to say is here and now he’s gone again as always.

Mike: Yes, yes.

Leo: He is in town briefly and then off to Paris, France.

Mike: Off to France.

Roberto: The south of France.

Leo: Aix-en-Provence.

Mike: That’s right. That’s right.

Leo: A-I-X, you pronounce it X.

Mike: That’s right. That’s right.

Leo: Not aee.

Mike: According to Google Translate you pronounce it X.

Leo: X.

Mike: Which by the way, have you used Google Translate recently?

Leo: Does that work? Do you use that? Is that working out for you?

Mike: It is so good.

Leo: That’s neat.

Mike: My wife is fluent in Spanish and we did this demo to everybody because they can’t believe it. She talks Spanish, she speaks English and it’s instantaneous. It’s like such a great app. And it will of course do—

Leo: You can have conversations, that’s what’s amazing.

Mike: Real time conversations and it really works. And one time we forgot it was on and she was going on and on and on and on and on in Spanish and it perfectly translated literally the whole like 3-4 minutes of constant talking.

Leo: No kidding.

Roberto: Was she mad at you? Is that what--?

Mike: No.

Roberto: Ok.

Mike: Sadly enough.

Leo: Was it accurate though? She said it was kind of—

Mike: Perfectly accurate.

Leo: Perfect.

Mike: Amazing.

Leo: Wow.

Mike: It’s amazing. Anybody in a foreign language country or situation, try Google Translate. It will blow your mind. It is so good.

Leo: And Mike’s website if you want to follow is travels,

Mike: Yes, yes.

Leo: And I love the images that you post on Instagram. I follow that as well because that’s fun. Hey guys, it was a lot of fun. You’re fantastic. What a good panel. Thank you. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Roberto: Thank you, Leo.

Leo: And I can’t say that’s always true.

Roberto: Oh.

Alex: Who do you hate the most as a guest?

Roberto: Yea, which is--

Alex: Who’s like the worst guest, aside from Lauren Hockenson? She’s like my best friend. Calm down.

Leo: She’s adorable.

Roberto: How dare you?

Alex: I was making a joke.

Leo: That Shirley Temple’s such a bitch. Oh!

Alex: Leo, you can’t swear on the show.

Leo: I know.

Roberto: Lauren, did you just—

Leo: By the way, somebody will do that. Twitter has become the tattletale place, where you go to tattle.

Roberto: I can’t do anything on Twitter.

Leo: That’s too bad. Thank you all. We’ve got a great live audience. We appreciate you all being here. Michael O’Donnell who was, held the record for being at the most Screen Savers episodes is now—you’re going for it with TWiT I think. I sense. He’s great. And he posts a lot of pictures every time he’s here. Where’s the best place to see those pictures? Is it on you Twitter feed? Say again?

Michael O’Donnell: Shiny Red Photos.


Michael: Or just follow me on Twitter.

Leo: Or follow him on Twitter which is michaelodonnell?

Michael: No, photo.

Leo: Photo. That’s right, he’s @photo.

Alex: He’s got the best handle.

Leo: I thought @Alex was cool.

Alex: No, it’s nothing compared to that.

Leo: @photo. Very nice. We do TWiT every Sunday afternoon, 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time. That’s 2200 UTC. You know what? I’m going to need a volunteer to light the candle here. Burke? Is Burke still here?

Mike: Please form a single file line, people.

Leo: I wanted—we can’t do it inside. But we thought we’d put it out on the street there and—John, you want to do it? You got a match? Nobody has a match. Burke’s the only guy who smokes in the whole place. Burke left already? Burke! He’s probably downstairs.

Roberto: He doesn’t want to leave.

Leo: He likes to hang out. He lives down there I think. Anyway, I want to light this before I say the closing thing. We do this 3:00 PM Pacific, 6:00 PM Eastern time, 2200 UTC every Saturday, every Sunday I should say. But if you can’t be here in person, you can’t be—Burke, you have a lighter? Got a camera? Go out there. We’re going to light this because it’s the 4th of July tomorrow and we’ve got to celebrate gosh darn it, the best darn country in the whole wide world. Because we have fireworks. And by the way, this is a legal, this is—we’re legal here for fireworks.

Roberto: In this town?

Leo: Petaluma.

Mike: It’s legal.

Roberto: Burn it down.

Leo: (Laughing) Burn it down. It is legal.

Roberto: City council members are like, “This is awesome.”

Leo: They raise money for charity. They raise numbers and oh, the 4 fingered mayor, 4 fingered Dave Glass. Love him.

Alex: I feel like I’m missing some references in the last two minutes here.

Leo: No, we’re making them up.

Alex: Oh, all right.

Leo: You’re not missing a thing.

Alex: I’m just making sure.

Roberto: Anyway, let’s talk about Devo some more.

Leo: If you can’t be here in person, you can always get on demand audio or video after the fact at They are aiming a camera right now—or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts including of course iTunes but there’s a podcast app on every platform. There’s a TWiT app on every platform thanks to our wonderful, independent 3rd-party developers who—they’re writing stuff for Windows, Windows Phone, Roku, there’s I think 4 or 5 Apple TV apps. What’s the hold up, guys, you’re going to do it? All right. We’re waiting for routing. We thank you all for being here. We wish you, if you’re in the US a wonderful 4th.

Alex: If you’re in the UK a wonderful loss. They lost to Iceland.

Leo: Brexit?

Alex: Well, Brexit, Iceland and Independence.

Roberto: They lost us.

Leo: Everybody loves plucky little Iceland now. They’re America’s team.

Alex: They lost to France.

Leo: That sounds wrong (laughing).

Roberto: Doesn’t America have a team?

Leo: They’re America’s team. But we don’t have on so we’ll take them.

Roberto: All right.

Leo: No, didn’t Germany win overall or no?

Alex: Germany won over Italy and then France played Iceland today. I think they won.

Leo: This is not the World Cup though, this is the Euro Cup.

Alex: France beat them 5-2.

Leo: Ok. Plucky little Iceland’s out of it?

Roberto: Yea.

Leo: Aww.

Alex: Cash it in.

Leo: Sorry about that.

Mike: They’re still plucky.

Leo: Yes? There you go. Ladies and gentlemen, another TWiT is in the can. Go ahead and light that candle. Run Burke, run! Watch out! As we celebrate, dah dah dah dah, dah— Happy 4th of July everybody!

Leo: America. America.

Alex: Save the something, something, something.

Leo: So we have legal fireworks but this is the illegal kind.

Alex: This is really disappointing.

Mike: At least there’s no evidence this ever happened.

Roberto: This is the ham salad of fireworks.

Alex: I’m feeling more –

Mike: The mayonnaise of fireworks.

Alex: Can we get like a torch or—

Mike: There we go.

Alex: Where’s Leo’s bottle of 51?

Leo: Aww (Laughing).

Audience: (Laughing).

Roberto: Well, that was awesome.

Alex: There are so many jokes I could make right now but can’t because of the family friendly content.

Leo: Oh! There’s more! 2nd time around.

Roberto: This is the point where you lose your finger because you go up when it’s over.

Leo: It’s over.

Mike: Good idea to put it under a tree because that tree is getting lit up right now.

Leo: Oh my God. The humanity. We don’t care. We’re moving. Burn it all. Don’t touch it whatever you do because there might be another chamber.

Roberto: Throw a bucket of water on it.

Alex: Someone says, “Probably a Kickstarter,” in chat. Guy8088 that’s amazing.

Leo: That’s a Kickstarter firework. Don’t—Burke! Ok. Good.

Roberto: Oh, is that water or—

Alex: Gasoline.

Roberto: Pure vodka.

Audience: (Laughing).

Leo: Nice. Well that was a hell of a festivity! And there’s another TWiT in the—oh, it’s going, it’s going.


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